On Thursday, March 19, thousands of high school students hailing from all 50 states and over 70 countries received emails accepting them into the Boston College Class of 2019. Facebook, Twitter and the WeAreBC Snapchat story were immediately flooded with celebratory posts from those admitted following the most selective round of admissions in years.
The number of applications for the class of 2019 rose 27 percent to over 29,400 for 2,280 available spots. Of the hopefuls, 8,400 were admitted into the freshman class–28 percent of the applicant pool, down 6 percent from the year before.
The new freshmen’s average standardized test scores increased from those of the class of 2018, with an average ACT score of 32, up from 31, and an average SAT score of 2120, up from 2104. The rise in scores and drop in acceptance rate will potentially catch the eye of more elite students, prompting more and more qualified students to apply in years to come.
John Mahoney, director of Undergraduate Admissions, insists that scores are not the main focus of admissions officers. “If we admitted just based on grades and scores, we would exceed our enrollment capacities,” he says. “We’re not admitting numbers. We’re admitting people–the people who will represent Boston College for years to come."
For the first time in the school’s history, applicants were informed of their admission decision through email. Accepted students will also receive a physical package in the mail while those rejected will only be notified electronically.
In 2013, the number of applications dropped 28 percent with the addition of a supplemental essay. Applicants from the Class of 2017 were expected to write a 400-word essay that prompted many potential students to simply opt out of applying unless they had a particularly strong interest in BC. The number of candidates to fall sharply just after the school’s record high number of applicants in 2012.
The supplemental essay is intended to “provoke thoughtful responses from our applicant with an emphasis on Jesuit values and ideals,” Mahoney said. Though the questions themselves have changed, primarily to keep things interesting for application readers, they remain designed to draw out more from a student than just their standardized-test scores.
Since the initial drop in applications with the addition of the supplemental essay, however, the applicant pool has grown. Supplemental essays have become an expected part of the Boston College application process as opposed to the deterrent they were two years ago, and interest in the school has risen with its reputation.
These factors, coupled with increased outreach by the Office of Public Affairs, may partially be responsible for the increase in the number of applications.
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