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Boston College vs. Boston University?

AYEITSJAYEITSJ Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
edited March 2008 in Boston College
Sorry, I may be comparing apples to oranges here but I am very unfamiliar with the two.

How do these two stack up in terms of...well, everything.
Post edited by AYEITSJ on

Replies to: Boston College vs. Boston University?

  • gfrishegfrishe Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    both schools are universities; bc having 4 schools, bu having more
    boston college has a more of a classic college campus in Chestnut Hill, which is a suburb outside Boston (not too far! you can take the train...) and BU is right on comave in boston. it has a sidewalk campus that is like more than a mile long right on the road. it doesnt have much in terms of green space.
    generally speaking, bc is both smaller and more difficult to get into than bu

    in terms of program strengths and weaknesses, the schools are very different and would not be easily compared
  • GroovyGeekGroovyGeek Registered User Posts: 889 Member
    Let me try to take a hack at the answers you will get here:

    1) BC is great, better school spirit, better location, better connections
    2) BU is impersonal, ranked much lower, its campus is not really a campus as much as a stretch of buildings along Mass ave
    3) BC is ranked much higher for a reason, classes are much smaller, you will get a lot more personal attention
    4) The Jesuit philosophy
    5) At games you can hear other students chanting "It sucks to BU"
    6) Blah, blah, blah

    If you ask the same question on the BU board, you will be told
    1) BC may be ranked higher, but that is only because of the Division 1 sports and all the morons who apply to bask in reflected glory and drive the selectivity up
    2) It is more difficult to get into BC, but once you are in it is not very difficult to graduate and get good grades
    3) BC is sterile and lacks much diversity of opinion
    4) Blah, blah, blah

    In reality, the schools are close enough academically that you will have to pick on secondary factors. Do you have particular academic interests and where are they better represented? Which campus "speaks" to you, do you prefer an urban or suburban environment? When you contact the school or department, which one answers your question promptly and thoughtfully? Can you look past the non-negligible religious influence at BC? Are there any impacted majors in either school and is yours one of them?

    Here is a post from the BU board that thoughtfully discusses some of the pros and cons of BU, and draws interesting parallels to BC: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/1060007272-post14.html
  • RedduneReddune Registered User Posts: 1,490 Senior Member
    BC students, and probably many BU students as well, have been asked many times about the differences between the two schools. Yes, they are apples and oranges, but by how much? Does going to one school equal a better college experience? Will a BC/BU degree get you the internship that the other school won't? I don't think it matters how difficult it is to get into a school or its ranking relative to another, but what kind of experience will you have for four years. Therefore, my post will strive for objective over subjective as much as possible. Once you get past the cosmetic differences, I think there are some very fundamental differences.

    Student Body:
    There can't be no doubt that BU is a larger school with the student population about twice that of BC. BU admits about 4100+ a year, while BC has about 2200+. BC has about 14,500 students (graduate included) total while BU has about 30,000 total. This makes BU a full size university and BC a mid size. The importance will be revealed later.

    American Indian/Alaskan Native (Both has less than 1%)
    Asian/Pacific Islander (BU has 15%) (BC has 12%)
    Black/Non-Hispanic (BU has 2%) (BC has 5%)
    Hispanic (BU has 7%) (BC has 8%)
    White/Non-Hispanic (BU has 57%) (BC has 68%)
    Non-Resident Alien (BU has 7%) (BC has 2%)
    Race/ethnicity unreported (BU has 11%) (BC has 3%)
    College Search - Boston College - BC - At a Glance
    College Search - Boston University - BU - At a Glance

    In term of URMs, BC has more in percentage, BU has more in term of number. In term of international students, BC has about 8% according to its 07-08 fact book (p. 36), while BU has a bit more.
    About 81 countries are represented at BC (ibid, p.41), about 100 at BU.

    Social Economic
    Another difference in the makeup of the student body is the social-economic one. The following data is from the previous incoming class of students who were judged to have financial need: BU (1,933 or 46%); BC (960 or 42%).
    From this we can infer that BU student population is a bit more economically diverse than BC.
    College Search - Boston College - BC - Cost & Financial Aid
    College Search - Boston University - BU - Cost & Financial Aid

    Quality of Incoming Students
    in top 10th of graduating class: BU (51%); BC (80%)
    in top quarter of graduating class: BU (85%); BC (96%)
    SAT 25-75th Percentile of CR: BU(580 - 680); BC (610 - 700)
    SAT 25-75th Percentile of WR: BU (590 - 670); BC (620 - 710)
    SAT 25-75th Percentile of MT: BU (590 - 690); BC (630 - 720)
    ACT Composite: BU (25 - 30); BC (28 - 32)

    We can see that overall BC has an edge over BU in term of academically competitive students in term of the incoming class.
    College Search - Boston College - BC - SAT®, AP®, CLEP®
    College Search - Boston University - BU - SAT®, AP®, CLEP®

    Happiness of Students
    This is an incredibly subjective thing. It is difficult to quantify something like it. But one way we can see how happy students at each school is to use their retention rate after freshman year. After all, if a student is happy at a school, she won't be transferring.

    Percent of students who return for sophomore year: BU (91%); BC (96%)

    From this we can see that BC does a slightly better job of retaining its students.
    College Search - Boston University - BU - Admission
    College Search - Boston College - BC - Admission

    Student spirit at BC is considerably higher than BU. The competitive D1 sports at BC make BC feel like a very traditional university. BU students, on the other hand, have the world-at-their-fingertips advantage when it comes to closeness to city life and jobs.

    Financial Aid Generosity:
    Number who applied for need-based aid: BU (2,410); BC (1,219)
    Number who were offered aid: BU (1928 or 80%); BC (960 or 78%)
    Number who had full need met: BU (987 or 40.9%); BC (960 or 78%)
    Average indebtedness at graduation: BU ($24,939); BC ($20,350)
    Are International Students qualified for aid: BU (yes); BC (no)
    Scholarships / grants: BU (71%); BC (75%)
    Loans / jobs: BU (29%); BC (25%)

    Overall, BC offers better aid to more students than BU does. But the two systems are very different. BU awards its aid based on merit-base system while BC uses need-base system. What this means is that if you are middle-class who are very well credentialed in term of academics, then BU may offer you more aid; BC, on the other hand, offers very generous aid to low-income students regardless of their academic background.

    Academic Quality:
    This is also a bit subjective thing to look, there are pros and cons on both sides. BC, being a smaller university, has fewer majors and colleges within its umbrella than does BU. BC's nine colleges focus on the humanity, while BU's 17 colleges focus on a more diverse body of study--leaning toward professional study (i.e. med, communication, dental) and sciences. Overall, BU's breadth of study can only be matched by very few schools in the country. You will have a incredibly diverse selection of classes at BU

    The down side to this is that BU is too heavily focused on research over teaching. BU research grants run in the very impressive hundred of millions, while BC has only about $51 mil (Factbook 07-08, p.82). BC has a 11:1 student to professor ratio (while BU has a 12:1), but despite this minor difference, more of BC professors are there to teach undergraduate classes than to research. BC's class size is about 22; BU is about 30. BC undergraduate education, therefore, has an edge over BU in term of quality; BU has a huge edge over BC in term of quantity.

    I should note also that you can take classes between the two schools without paying any extra money. So you can still have a BU/BC education even if you are attending the other school.

    BU makes its large student body work because of how spread out its campus is. This allows for integration into the surrounding community. When a BU student claims that you are a part of the community, she does literally mean it. You can easily get to downtown Boston without a problem. Yes, you sacrifice green-lawn and trees, but many students really enjoy the city life with its robust vitality. Some, however, feels that it's too alien or too much activities without a place to catch your breath.

    BC, on the other hand, is very self-contained. Unlike BU, it does not integrate with its surrounding community, who is mostly upper-middle class professionals who really want a peaceful and quiet neighborhood. The surrounding neighborhood is wonderful and you can really enjoy the scenery while jogging or walking. The downside is that your neighbors want to keep it that way. You can easily get the sense that you are in some far off place. It makes a great place to study, play and relax during the school years. Off-campus is another matter however. Parties can be easily shut down because of neighbors' complaints. Traveling to Boston takes about 15-20 minutes, depend on your route.

    The two campuses are too different to be compared objectively. It's all about your subjective feeling toward them. This makes visiting both places extremely crucial. BU students can call their experience a cosmopolitan one; BC students can say they have a traditional experience of college.
  • Momentum23Momentum23 Registered User Posts: 166 Junior Member
    Wow, thanks for the info!!
  • CoopjustCoopjust Registered User Posts: 784 Member
    I've visited both.

    The big thing for me (why I chose to apply to BC and not BU) is that BC is a community from which you can access Boston, Boston University IS Boston, right in the middle of things. I'm not a city type of guy, so I really preferred BC (I stayed all day at BC and walked off campus at BU after 10 minutes- it felt too uncomfortable) but if you like being in the middle of things, BU would probably be better.
  • tennisboy1005tennisboy1005 Registered User Posts: 277 Junior Member
    agree with coopjust. visited both yesterday and i personally hated bu. it feels more like the city and not a college campus. it is a bunch of random buildings in the middle of the city and u do not get a sense of community. when visiting bc i found a beautiful campus where everyone was a community. after visiting both bu is no longer on my list and bc is at the top.
  • bunkeybunkey Registered User Posts: 103 Junior Member
    yea same, i visited both, and liked BC a lot better. But i dont know if i;ll get in there, wereas BU i think i will. but im not sure i would want to go to BU since theres really no campus... hopefully i'll get into BC so i wont have to make that decision!
This discussion has been closed.