Feb. 17, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 11

Data Shows More Freshmen Seeking Advanced Courses

If Boston College aims to offer a challenging academic experience, the high-achieving students who come to BC are more than willing to take it, according to recent enrollment data.

Administrators say greater numbers of freshmen are opting for advanced instead of introductory classes and choosing more demanding coursework, such as the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program.

Based on admissions statistics, the 2,309 members of the class of 2008 came to campus better prepared for college-level work than any past class. The average SAT score of incoming freshmen at Boston College reached a new high with a combined math and verbal SAT score of 1,317, a 25-point increase over the class admitted four years ago. Since 1996, the mid-range average SAT scores of freshmen entering BC have risen from 1200-1340 to 1250-1400.

If Student Services statistics are any indication, these high-caliber students are not exactly taking the easy route through their college years. Seventy freshmen this year - more than double the 33 from a year ago - enrolled in Molecular Cell Biology, a second-year course, while 115 first-year students took the third-level course, Spanish Composition, compared to about 85 in previous years. In addition, 54 freshmen registered for the second-year courses required for English majors.

The A&S Honors Program, which typically though not exclusively enrolls freshmen in the top 5 percent of their classes, includes 207 members of the Class of 2008. In 2001, 168 freshmen were enrolled in A&S Honors.

"This is something we've just started to track," said Director of Student Services Louise Lonabocker. "It makes perfect sense. As Boston College attracts better students each year, it's not a surprise that those students wish to challenge themselves academically."

College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Sister Mary O'Keeffe, OP, who is dean of the freshman class, says that many students are coming to BC having completed a substantial number of advanced placement courses. "Some students have taken as many as 12 or 13 of these courses. This means they are often prepared to take on the challenges of advanced college course work.

"Students will be much better prepared for graduate school, medical school or law school with the extra work they complete. Some will also be able to graduate in under four years, which is sometimes done to save to money for graduate school."

The annual Student Services report offering a statistical snap shot of enrollment trends also indicates that communication (943) and English (814) remain the two most popular majors in A&S, followed once more by political science (796), history (595) and biology (581). Finance (763) and marketing (392) are the most popular majors in CSOM, as they were last year.

In the Lynch School of Education, human development (314) and elementary education (270) are again the most popular majors. The Connell School of Nursing, offering just one major at the undergraduate level, has 329 students enrolled.

Other highlights of the enrollment report:

*The largest minors in A&S are history (178), International Studies (124) and Hispanic Studies (82).

*The largest dual degree program is the Master of Business Administration/Master of Finance, with 28 students.

*Undergraduate majors seeing the highest enrollment levels in 25 years are art history (60), classics (33), history (595), physics (61), theater (124), theology (151), human development (314) and secondary education (161).

*The number of undergrads in the College of Arts and Sciences is 5,967, followed by the Carroll School of Management (1,977), Lynch School of Education (786) and Connell School of Nursing (329). Graduate students number 4,755, which combined with all part-time students brings the total University enrollment to 14,528.

For an in-depth look at enrollment statistics see

-Stephen Gawlik

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