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Admissions Receives 25,000 Applications for Class of 2017


By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Jan. 31, 2013

A strategic decision to implement a supplementary essay for undergraduate students applying to Boston College this year has led to what administrators describe as the best suited and most academically talented applicant pool in school history, despite an overall decrease in applications of 26 percent.

The decision, which Admission Director John Mahoney Jr. describes as an attempt to “right-size” BC’s applicant pool after a decade of steady increases, has resulted in 25,000 applicants for the 2,270 seats in the incoming class of 2017, a pool that Mahoney describes as serious applicants who are well matched for Boston College.    

“We are not interested in simply seeing our application numbers grow,” Mahoney said.  “We are interested in attracting more serious, intentional applicants to Boston College who see themselves as a good fit for the University. The essay, no doubt, has deterred some less interested students who in the past might have adopted a ‘Why not?’ attitude in terms of applying. The essay is helping us to make better decisions among the thousands of qualified and deserving students who have applied.”

Mahoney pointed out that between 2004 and 2012, the number of national high school graduates increased by 5 percent, yet Boston College’s applicant pool grew by 52 percent to a high of 34,061 in 2012. Among those applicants, Mahoney said, were many high school students who were casually interested in Boston College and were likely applying because of the University’s ranking and not because of its specific attributes as a Jesuit, Catholic university. 

Mahoney stated that the 25,000 applications received this year put Boston College in line with its primary competitors such as Georgetown University and the University of Notre Dame, both of which average approximately 20,000 applicants annually.   

“Students who really wanted to attend Boston College had asked for a supplemental essay as a means of conveying their sincere interest in BC,” said Mahoney. “This essay provides them with an opportunity to express their interest, and gives our Admission staff an opportunity to more thoroughly evaluate the applicant pool.”