Admitted to Boston U CGS - pros and cons

We’ve started educating ourselves about Boston U College of General Studies, a program we were not familiar with. Your replies explaining your CGS experiences and knowledge may be able to help further inform us…

We (DD and parents) have a wide range of feelings. She applied ED1 to Questrom (marketing); like so many others, DD was bummed to be deferred. We all now have a controlled and uncertain excitement about her getting admitted to Boston’s CGS.

Enthusiastic about these potentialities: Maybe CGS will develop skills she didn’t acquire from limited HS opportunities (only 1 AP offered), that could support her future success at Boston U. And she is 100% interested in study abroad, so London is great. She also wants to build relationships with professors (she enjoyed success with this in high school), so that is a real good opportunity.

She demonstrates the potential to succeed (ACT 34/ SAT 1380) with a good measure of ex curricular involvements. The top student (rank 1of50 or so) in a tiny rural Midwest public school. Reading, writing, discussion and debate are squarely in her wheelhouse. So, her potential academic success is not an issue.

We are wrestling with this drawback: DD had Boston as #1 favorite bc of its excellent academic rep, Boston location, and what she perceived to be a most diverse and inclusive student body. Yet, in cursory internet research of CGS it doesn’t take long to encounter Boston U students who throw shade at CGS. This type of behavior resembles the ignorant and divisive group-think behavior she hoped would not be an issue in such a highly-regarded university. How pervasive is this CGS shade at BU? Is that behavior tolerated and/or ignored or is it challenged and/or put in its place?

I am looking forward to reading your responses. Your insights are appreciated!

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Just reading about it you get a two year degree and can transition to any other school they have.

It also said it’s their second biggest college.

I’d worry about you and not what others think.

Do you have direct admit business somewhere else ?

If not, how bad do you want BU ? There’s lots of schools your daughter can be happy at. It’s too bad kids fall in love with one.

Basically it seems like a trial but a trial where you can and will succeed.

Ps. Now that I’m reading the spring start and summer in London…this is what my neighbor is doing. Sue was pumped. The summer is at Oxford.

I personally would not do a spring start bcuz relationships have formed. But from what I’ve been told, she is enjoying her time.

Good luck

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CGS students segue into bachelors programs at BU. My kid’s roommate one year raved about this program. He said it prepared him well for his final two years at BU where he got his bachelors.


N1CK - We are in the exact same boat. Had never heard of CGS prior to being admitted. Our daughter sounds very similar to yours in terms of the merits of her application, although applied to the School of Business. Will be interested to her others’ responses. Keep us posted on your daughter’s decision. Thanks!

CGS does not offer an associate degree.

“Yet, in cursory internet research of CGS it doesn’t take long to encounter Boston U students who throw shade at CGS.”

If you are looking at reddit, that forum tends to attract constant complainers and other malcontents.

Transitioning into Questrom from CGS will not be a problem. There are issues for students who intend to transfer into Sargent and Engineering.

If you chose BU CGS I would recommend doing the London summer semester.

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As I understand it, it is not a 2-year degree, but it is a 2-year study experience. Followed by 2 years of study in her major of choice. Not sure if there are further requirements to be “admitted” to the marketing major at that 2-year midpoint.

Yes, she has direct admit into business, with honors and/or scholars at 3 well-ranked public Midwest universities. So, the decision is still up in the air. But, she loved her August visit to Boston. So, we’re going to Boston’s CGS open house during her spring break in April to get a better sense of the program. Also waiting for one school’s Ivy day decision.

Thanks for the positive encouragement.

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Tom, I’ve been reading your succinct and on-point posts for some time. Your knowledge and experience with the Boston area schools is valuable, and I’m glad that you share it in this forum. Thank you!

I concur that it is not a 2-year associate degree.

You are correct about my reading Reddit.

She is not interested in Eng nor Biological Sciences. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if she shows interest in a major related to Communication. Students sometimes change their major as they discover new interests. Hopefully, that should be a feasible transition after year 2 to either college.

Yes, a 6-week London summer study was the only CGS option that Boston offered to her in the admit letter. And that’s great because she eagerly wants to study abroad.

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Our D is in the same situation. BU is her top choice. After waitlists and rejections from her other top schools, she is beyond excited about this offer. Based on what we’ve read about the CGS program, our only concern is the Jan start date. But D seems okay with it. She is waiting on a few decisions this week but seems very intent on accepting the BU offer.

Sorry - i stand corrected - i meant two years and transition. In my mind, I was aligning with Oxford / Emory…but that’s not correct.

My neighbor is going to Oxford this summer and is jazzed - as part of the program.

I suspect starting in Spring has its drawbacks - but as long as you get the BU degree, I don’t think that’s harm.

The spring start could be depending on the student…it’s hard to form relationships that have started - but then again, you’re going in with a cohort so you’ll be able to form relationships with them.

What is everyone going to be doing in the fall?

Looks like the only gateway from CGS to a major is a 2.0 college GPA:

However, the student must have taken the prerequisite courses for the desired major. This may be more difficult if the desired major has a large number of prerequisite courses that cannot be fulfilled with the CGS courses or the small amount of elective space:

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DD has been on campus only one time, in August. And she has a month to get as informed as possible before the May 1 decision deadline.

DD, mom & I are going to admitted student CGS open house next week. Spending a few days in Boston to check it out. Also going to an admitted student open house at another university the following week.

Until those visits are complete, DD isn’t indicating a favorite.

We came away very impressed after attending Boston University’s CGS open house event yesterday. In that one day, DD was moved from “not really feeling it” (a result of sitting for a long time with an ED1 deferral) to “thrilled about BU’s College of General Studies.”

Prior to the kickoff, advisors circulated around and even spoke specifics one-on-one with DD before the event. There were several administrators, three faculty, and two CGS students (now BU seniors) there to introduce and explain CGS. There were abundant opportunities for Q&A–the final Q&A had parents in one room and accepted students in another. I got the sense from the administration’s explicit remarks about the selectivity of this year’s admissions and also from most people’s questions that this group of parents and students is full of high-level thinkers–a fantastic group to be a part of!

A most impressive and engaging event on Saturday was the three BU faculty/chairs who gave intellectually stimulating “mock class” presentations on the same interdisciplinary topic from the three different perspectives of BU hub required CGS freshman courses: from the social sciences, humanities, and rhetoric perspectives. Score! Score! Score! It was a hat-trick of thoughtful, intellectual experiences. Many parents and students (including ourselves) remarked at how fantastic that was!

Prior to this experience, we did not have much of a sense of what CGS was about. After this experience, we came away with an awareness of and appreciation for the awesome intellectual growth that the CGS students will be challenged to develop.

DD also was allowed to get a limited tour inside of Warren towers, and she liked it! Other opportunities to get inside other places were available, but we had to leave to catch a flight back home.


I almost forgot to mention this very relevant point: At the CGS open house, the two BU students largely dispelled the widely-held concern about students starting “behind” after a gap semester.

The students said that they were super-excited and more than ready to start the spring semester after the gap semester. Both students worked during the gap semester. One student also took a college class during the gap semester. Also, these students said that there is both some anxiety and excitement at the beginning of each and every semester, and you got the sense that the students were fueled by that energy–it is a good thing.

Finally, they encouraged students to participate in the welcome events for CGS students and also to join student organizations during Splash (a twice-per-year student org open house).

Finally, both students are on track in their programs. Administration also confirmed that CGS students receive the academic advising and scheduling, opportunities, and support to help ensure that they stay on track in their chosen program. We were convinced that the gap semester had no ill effect on a student’s ability to complete any major of study within 8 semesters (4 years).

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So no concerns for being behind socially and graduating at an off time ?

Some think Dec graduation is better bcuz there’s less competition.

It’s great your student is jazzed. Wherever they can be happiest and have the most internal growth is where they should go…assuming it’s affordable.

I have known many successful people to come out of the program. No doubt, from what you shared, your student will be on the higher end. I would move forward with my only reservation being that based upon what you shared, she is on par with the business school kids - in my opinion.

Sometimes life is not fair, but cream will rise in her case.


Graduation would not be at an “off time.” Graduation would be “on time” in May, 2026, because the students take 12 (or maybe 13) credit hours in the summer when they are in London (or in New England).

I agree with you: how the student feels about the university is important to choosing the one to attend. And I told her: you need to be on the campus of your top three choices one more time here in April before you make this big, important decision. So, she is with her mom at an event tomorrow to see if that lights her fire more or less than BU did.


We haven’t been able to attend an Open House but have consumed every article, video and social media channel we could find (the BU CGS Parents FB Group and the CGS student Instagram takeovers have been very helpful). After considering everything we have learned, we feel that the pros far outweigh the cons for our daughter. We found the smaller cohort of students (small school w/in large university); small class sizes; access and engagement with professors and advisors; and opportunity to spend the summer in London (and study abroad again if desired) very appealing. We were concerned about a Jan start but after reading about how CGS students spend their gap semester, we now see this as an opportunity for daughter to further her growth and maturity, and decompress from a stressful high school career (COVID quarantine/virtual school was not easy). Daughter will use the time to work, volunteer, pursue hobbies, travel, and spend time with family. BU was one of our daughter’s top schools and she is more excited about it than ever. She is weighing her options, but I believe she will commit shortly.


Students will take a full time course load of 4 courses/16 credits in the summer session.

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