Effort To Draw More African-Americans

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College will seek to raise the number of applications from African-American students under a plan implemented by the Office of Admission that emphasizes student roles.

As part of the initiative, Undergraduate Admission Director John Mahoney Jr. invited all current African-American students to a Sept. 15 meeting to discuss how they can assist the University in the recruiting process. According to Mahoney, these students would act as mentors for prospective freshmen, and assist them in applying for admission and financial aid.

"Ideally, the current students would keep in touch with the prospective students on a regular basis, corresponding by electronic or regular mail," Mahoney said. "Our hope is this contact will have a positive impact on their decision to attend BC, that they will feel as if they already have a connection here."

Administrators said these efforts are intended to build upon the University's recent success in attracting more African-American students. Mahoney noted that since 1990, the number of African-Americans applying to Boston College has increased by 54 percent, and the 635 applications received for the Class of 2001 was a record.

The 105 African-Americans in this year's freshman class is among the most in the University's recent history, Mahoney added. This also marks the third consecutive year the University has enrolled over 100 African-American students, he noted, representing another milestone.

"But far from being satisfied with this trend," Mahoney said, "we see it as a foundation for moving to the next level. We are determined to have an active program that will encourage more African-American students to consider Boston College as the place to pursue their educational goals."

Mahoney said the University laid groundwork for this initiative when the Admission Office sent letters to top African-American high school seniors this spring to stimulate their interest in Boston College.

This initial contact will be supplemented by two major events this fall, Mahoney added. During Oct. 16-19, the University will sponsor a "Discovery Weekend" and invite approximately 40 talented African-American and Hispanic students to visit the campus. They will be paired with current students, and have the opportunity to attend classes, speak with faculty and administrators, and listen to presentations, including workshops on the admissions and financial aid process.

From Oct. 30-Nov. 1, BC will entertain a group of Washington, DC-area students organized by a volunteer network of African-American alumni in that area. As with the "Discovery Weekend," undergraduates will act as hosts and help introduce the prospective students to the University.

The participation of current students will be integral to the success of the initiative, Mahoney said, as is the continued support of the office's recruitment efforts provided by AHANA Student Programs Director Donald Brown and his office.

"We want to have students feel an investment in attracting others to Boston College," Mahoney explained. "We want to convey to them the possibility of being part of something bigger, something they can look back on as alumni with a sense of achievement."

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