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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply to be a Presidential Scholar at Boston College?

To apply to be a Boston College Presidential Scholar you must apply Early Action, and meet the early action deadline of November 1st. There is no separate Presidential Scholars application form.

What qualifications must an applicant have to be eligible for the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program?

There is no minimum GPA or SAT score requirement. However, we are looking for students with outstanding academic records, who hold leadership roles in their school and who are committed to and have a demonstrated interest in community service. Typically, the students selected are in the top 1-2 percent of the national pool of freshman applicants.

How are finalists selected?

Letters of invitation are sent out to the finalists between Dec. 18-20th each year. Finalists visit Boston College (at the University's expense) in late January/early February to learn more about the University, the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program, and the city of Boston. During their visit candidates are interviewed by faculty and administrative staff; and they participate in other evaluative experiences which all serve as the basis for the final choice of Presidential Scholars, who are generally notified in March.

How many Scholars are selected each year?

We invite about 15 students to become Presidential Scholars. Once admitted to BC as Presidential Scholars, students remain in the program for their 4 years at BC provided they maintain a 3.5 GPA and remain model citizens of the BC community throughout that time. Presently, there are 60 Scholars in the program.

Will accepted students receive a scholarship?

Presidential Scholars receive a merit scholarship that covers full tuition at BC, regardless of financial need. If the merit award does not meet their financial aid requirements, Scholars receive additional grant and aid resources sufficient to meet full need. The cost of summer programs is covered by a separate award.

Will I live with other Presidential Scholars and will I have housing all four years?

Freshman Scholars are placed throughout campus and are fully integrated with all other freshmen. After freshman year, Scholars select their roommates; often Scholars do become roommates. Presidential Scholars receive 4 years of guaranteed on-campus housing.

If I decide to study abroad my junior year, what will happen to my scholarship?

Presidential Scholars are encouraged to study abroad. Boston College has a well established study abroad program with over 40 partnerships worldwide. Scholars who participate in a Boston College administered study abroad program will remain eligible for all their BC financial aid and any state and federal financial aid that they normally receive.

What activities/programs are held during the academic year for the Presidential Scholars?

At the beginning of each academic year all the Scholars come together for an overnight retreat held in Dover, MA.  It is there that the sophomore Scholars announce to the entire group of Scholars what particular social consciousness project they want to unfold throughout the coming year for the entire university.  Soliciting the participation of other Scholars, they establish a year-long program to heighten Boston College's responsiveness to the world in which we live.  Additionally, the freshmen Scholars work together (with guidance from upperclassmen Scholars) to produce the PSP newsletter, Ex Libris during the academic year.  In addition, during the academic year Scholars meet on a weekly basis to either discuss their academic disciplines, career discernment or to attend a cultural event in Boston or in one of the surrounding communities.

Are there activities for Scholars during the summer months?

Yes, Scholars participate in three summer programs after their freshman, sophomore and junior years. During the summer after their freshman year Scholars explore the problems of hunger, homelessness and educational inequality in the Boston area through participation in a program modeled after PULSE, Boston College's nationally acclaimed course of study and service. Placements in recent years have included the Spectrum Boy's Unit, the Suffolk County House of Correction, Rosie's Place, the Labouré Center, the Italian Home for Children, the Project Bread Hunger Hotline, Haley House and St. Francis House.

The summer following their sophomore year, Scholars concentrate on language competencies in a language of their choice.  Often they will be immersed in another language and culture for a long enough period of time (even into their junior year) so as to be able to converse comfortably and correctly in another tongue.

Following their junior year, Scholars work as interns in high-level professional settings. Designed to introduce them to the inner workings of the organizations that shape society, the internships include financial, government, corporate, and nonprofit institutions, depending on Scholar's individual preferences.