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Boston University vs. Northeastern

RisingChemistRisingChemist Registered User Posts: 218 Junior Member
edited September 2012 in Northeastern University
I keep seeing Northeastern's name come up. I always thought of it as a safety for BU but have been told that is not true. The main difference that I am aware of is that Northeastern is a 5 year co op program. Please compare/contrast these schools so that we may become more aware of the reality of Northeastern.
Post edited by RisingChemist on

Replies to: Boston University vs. Northeastern

  • blinkangel44blinkangel44 Registered User Posts: 1,159 Senior Member
    So many people must decide between these two schools (I'm so glad I chose NU over BU).

    Check out this thread, with links to 7 BU vs. NU threads.

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,621 Senior Member
    Twenty years ago, Northeastern was a safety school for BU hopefuls. In fact, thirty years ago Boston College was a safety school for BU hopefuls. That is no longer the case for either school.

    In the past twenty years, Northeastern has moved from being a mostly commuter school serrving Massachusetts students to being a residential campus seeking a national student body. A prime motivator of this change was the development of UMass-Boston as a full university. Prior to 1990, UMass-Boston was just a liberal arts school. Northeastern dropped its "no frills", low tuition model and upscaled. It offers mamy opportunities that are not availasble at any of the UMass campuses. Actually, BU and BC made the same transition in the 1970's and 1980's.

    Part of Northeasterns's rise is due to actual improvements: the construction of a beautiful, defined urban campus, the emphasis on internationalization of the curriculum, the expansion of cooperative education into the experiential learning model etc. The other part of the rise is due to a greater recognition of what Northeastern has always offered: a solid professional education interspersed with coop work periods. In the 1990's, Northeastern appointed its first outsider president, Richard Freeland from MIT. After ten years, he moved on and Joseph Aoun from USC was appointed with a mandate that includes the globalization of the school.


    About ten years ago, Northeastern started offering a four year coop option in many programs. That option was recently expanded to virtually all programs (pharmacy, BSIB are exceptions). The four year coop option is now actively marketed to prospective students. Most students are still choosing the five year option though.

    Boston University, on the other hand, has been stagnant for decades. The controversial 25 year presidency of John Silber (there should really be term limits for university presidents) resulted in few innovations. After Silber's departure, there was a "puppet president" as he was called since Silber had been appointed Chancellor, a new position. When BU finally sought an outsider as president, the search was botched. A new president was announced with much PR hoopla. A month later it was announced that the incoming president would not be coming to the university and that BU would pay him a $1.8 million termination fee.

    Finally, BU selected Robert Brown as president and he has finally started to turn BU around. In 2010 BU started an Honors College, something that Northeastern has had since 1987. The BU College of Engineering started an optional coop program (I wonder where they got that idea!). BU is of course a reseach power house due largely to it medical school, which Northeastern and BC both lack.

    Presently, the freshman profiles of Northeastern and BU are simlar with Northeastern being a bit higher in test scores. According to the Common Data Sets for 2010: Northeastern's mid 50% SAT is 1820-2070, for BU it is 1770-2050 for SAT's; 28-31 for Northeastern and 26-30 for BU in the ACT. Those are the figures for students actually enrolled.

    Northeastern will never offer the "traditional college experience" that BU offers. The comings and goings of students due to coop will always make Northeastern unique. Also, the purely academic orientation of a humanities student may be better served at BU, although the options offered through experiential learning (besides coop) attempt to address the needs of this type of student.
  • UNHBUMOMUNHBUMOM Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Great synopsis, TomSrOfBoston. Amazing how things change. I applied to college 30 years ago and was surprised to see the changes at these schools as my D has currently been going through the college search/application process.
  • fishymomfishymom Registered User Posts: 1,849 Senior Member
    Is it true that Northeastern only reports the GPAs and test score of fall admits, and not the lower stat kids who start in January? If this is true, that would certainly skew the numbers in NU's favor. I personally don't put a lot of faith in rankings, but it looks like NU is playing the ranking game pretty well lately.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,621 Senior Member
    Students offered Jan Admit are in reality denied for Fall Admit. They are not playing a game. If you are wondering, BU has started offering Jan Admit this year for the first time (and without warning). BU will be reporting these as Fall denied too.
  • bgwhitebgwhite Registered User Posts: 157 Junior Member
    If anything, many of the people doing NUin could have helped the GPA/SAT averages. Most of them looked like strong candidates for Fall admit.
  • WiseGuy57WiseGuy57 Registered User Posts: 204 Junior Member
    Also, when you have 43,000 applicants, there isn't much of a reason to select some lower scoring students and try to sneak them in in January- there are plenty of students with high scores to choose from.
  • Buhockey2010Buhockey2010 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I started my undergrad at bu in 2006 and bu had an honors college then, I think you are mistaken. Also no one, inside or outside of Boston perceives neu as better than bu other than new students and alum. It's a simple choice, if you want anything to do with science, got to bu over neu or bc, the rest I can't speak for any differences. They are all good schools and they are all not Harvard or MIT.
  • WiseGuy57WiseGuy57 Registered User Posts: 204 Junior Member
    You'd be surprised.
  • neuchimieneuchimie Registered User Posts: 1,562 Senior Member
    No one but new students and alum? As in, the people who are trying to go to college and the people who have jobs and donate money? Oh of course, those people don't matter at all.
  • Totoro66Totoro66 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    The rankings are close enough for both universities that it really depends on the program you are interested in. It is true that Northeastern has been on the rise and has even become more selective than BU recently. In fact, it is quickly closing ranks on Boston College, which is currently the highest ranked of the three. Northeastern also has a much nicer campus than BU, but not as nice as BC.

    Northeastern could still be considered a safety school for BC, but not for BU.
  • maggie1821maggie1821 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    In regards to BC having a nicer campus than Northeastern, I would say not necessarily. Yes, BC has the classic feel with beautiful gothic style architecture...but when you compare with NU, BC's workout facility for non-varsity athletes (the plex) is very outdated and has no air conditioning-no comparison to Marino. Also, BC doesn't have a student union and NU is renovating Curry Student Center this summer (it was already pretty nice) and should be amazing when completed this Fall. Certainly love the fact that NU is right in the heart of Boston, BC is a slow train ride away. We seriously looked at both BC and NU, didn't even put BU on the list for several reasons, but in the end liked the feel of the campus at NU better.
  • nctrani713nctrani713 Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    Do you guys have any incite on where you think northeastern will be in the next go around for '13 rankings?
  • wallaceicy06wallaceicy06 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    I have to say this because it was brought up earlier. NU will provide you with a good education, no question. Rankings are a bunch of BS. One thing I would really warn you about is deciding whether you really want to be IN the heart of Boston. In my opinion, NU's campus life was lacking because many people chose to spend as much time in the city as possible. That's totally fine if you're into that, but if you are looking for a traditional college experience with lots of events and student activity on campus, I would caution against going to NU or BU.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,621 Senior Member
    As BU and NU proudly promote themselves as urban universities, the urban experience should not come as any surprise to entering students.

    If you prefer an insular college experience where all you see are other college students, or a gated campus where the community is seldom welcome, you should look elsewhere.
This discussion has been closed.