Last week during a sudden April snowstorm I visited both Boston College, a Jesuit University, and Boston University, a large private institution. While both are located in Boston and easily to confuse by name, each has distinct attributes that make them unlikely to appeal to the same candidates. Below are a few highlights of each school:
A medium sized university of approximately 9,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students, Boston College is proud of its Jesuit identity and emphasizes its emphasis on a liberal arts education, its service culture and its attention to what it calls, “student formation,” or the personal and spiritualdevelopment of students.
Boston College consists of 4 schools in order of size: Arts and Sciences (65% of students), Business (20%) , Education (10%), and Nursing (5%). All students take 15 core courses, a typical Jesuit general education approach. About 80% of students participate in community service through outreach in the Boston community or alternative spring break.
The college guarantees 3-4 years of housing depending on program and freshman are housed either on upper campus or a short bus ride away in Newton.
What distinguishes Boston College from other schools including its larger counterpart Boston University:
--all professors teach undergraduates
--the school offers many internship and other opportunities in the Boston community
--strong school spirit
--a robust alumni network
When I attended the campus information session I noted the admissions counselor’s emphasis on the university’s flexible and diverse curriculum. As the school has over 16,000 undergraduates (about 32,000 total enrollment) creating smaller communities within the school is critical.
Students can do this through joining clubs or organizations during “Splash,” the giant activities fair every fall, going on one of the over 100 study abroad programs, working with a professor on research, or taking part in a specialized major or program. One example of a new program is the Pardee School of Global Studies located within the School of Arts and Sciences.
Boston University guarantees four years of housing and 86% of students live on campus all four years. The student body is quite diverse with a high percentage of international students. It is easy to transfer between schools and programs unlike at some universities. Other special programs include a highly selective 7 year accelerated medical or dental program and EPIC (Engineering Product Innovation Center), at the School of Engineering where students practice hands-on design and proto-typing.
Both schools offer the advantages of a medium and large-sized university: a wide range of majors and classes, hundreds of activities and internships to choose among, and a strong school identity and culture. Boston College is more likely to appeal to students interested in community outreach, public service or business while Boston University is a very cosmopolitan campus with for self-motivated and urban savvy students who are proactive and assertive in reaching for their academic and career goals.