How to Get Into Boston College: Admissions Data and Strategies
From 1980 to 1990, Boston College accepted as few as 31% of applicants and as many as 45% of prospective Eagles. Between 1994 and 2003, the average SAT score jumped roughly 100 points with the 50th percentile scores climbing from 1120-1270 up to 1210-1360. The most generous year for acceptance was 1991, when 56% of those who applied were successful. Fast-forward to 2020, and only 26% of applicants were accepted and average SAT score was right around 1400. While you don’t quite need a Doug Flutie-level Hail Mary pass to gain acceptance into today’s iteration of BC, you do need to have much stronger credentials than in previous eras.
Given that the process of gaining acceptance into Boston College becomes increasingly challenging with each passing year, this blog is designed to provide you with:
1) An understanding of how highly-selective the Boston College admissions process truly is.
2) Data that will help you better assess how you measure up to the competition.
3) How the Boston College admissions committee operates and what they look for in a successful candidate.
To accomplish these goals, we will touch on the following topics:
- Boston College’s Class of 2024 acceptance rate
- Boston College’s ED acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Boston College applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2024
- The demographics of current Boston College undergraduates
- Boston College’s yield rate
- How Boston College’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to Boston College
- How to assess whether applying to Boston College is even worth the $80 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Boston College: Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
Boston College received 29,382 applications for its 2020-21 freshman class and accepted only 26%, one degree lower than the 27% acceptance rate for the Class of 2023, and two points lower than the 28% mark for the Class of 2022.
Boston College: Early Decision Acceptance Rate
In constructing the Class of 2024, the university admitted 37% of those applied ED, compared to just 22% in the regular round. The previous year, BC admitted an identical 37% during ED but a slighter higher 24% in the regular cycle. BC offers both ED I and ED II, with November 1 and January 1 deadlines.
Boston College Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
The average SAT for Class of 2024 members was 1397, the second highest all-time mark after last year’s 1412. The average ACT score was 32, identical to last cycle’s number. An overwhelming 82% of Class of 2023 grads finished in the top decile of their high school class; 93% placed in the top quartile.
Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2024)
- The 29,382 applications received in 2019-20 was a steep drop from the 35,500 received the previous year.
- One reason for the decline was BC’s switch from early action to binding early decision. This prevented students who applied ED elsewhere from also applying EA to Boston College in last year’s cycle.
- The school admitted 296 Pell Grant recipients into the Class of 2024.
- Boston College was comprised of 229 first-generation college students; that figure was 256 the year before.
- The Class of 2024 was made up of 36.5% AHANA (people pf African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American descent) than the previous year’s class which came in at 33.7%.
Who Actually Gets Into Boston College?
Let’s look at the demographics of Boston College undergraduates:
Geographically, the Class of 2024 included the following breakdown:
- New England: 31.1%
- Mid-Atlantic: 30.7%
- Midwest: 7.9%
- South/Southwest: 8.6%
- West: 12.0%
- Other U.S.: 0.8%
- Outside the United States: 8.9%
As with all selective colleges, those from lower-populated, more remote areas of the country (e.g. Wyoming, South Dakota, and Alaska) enjoy a boost to their admissions prospects. The Class of 2024 hailed from only 44 states.
Out of the 42 countries represented in the Class of 2024, the most common were:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- United Arab emirates
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the current undergraduate student body is as follows:
- Asian American: 11%
- Hispanic: 12%
- African American: 4%
- International: 8%
- White: 58%
The breakdown by gender of all students in the Class of 2024 reveals 8% more female students than males.
- Male: 46%
- Female: 54%
The Class of 2024 hailed from the following types of high schools:
- Public: 45.7%
- Catholic: 24.1%
- Private: 30.2%
What the Class of 2024 be studying—a breakdown by college:
- Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences: 1598 (66%)
- Carroll School of Management: 589 (25%)
- Lynch School of Education and Human Development: 116 (5%)
- Connell School of Nursing: 105 (4%)
BC’s Yield Rate
Boston College’s yield rate — the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted — was only 31% last year. For comparison, schools like Stanford, Harvard were over 80%, and the University of Chicago, MIT, and Yale all sported 70%+ yield rates. Boston College also finished behind other elite private institutions such as Vanderbilt (47%), Rice (42%), and Carnegie Mellon (37%).
How Boston College Rates Applicants
There are only three factors that Boston College ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, and standardized test scores. Rating as “important” are: class rank, GPA, essays, recommendations, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, legacy status, religious affiliation, and volunteer work. “Considered” factors are: first-generation status, race/ethnicity, and work experience.
In the words of Boston College admissions officers themselves: “We review each application with a level of thoroughness and thoughtfulness that reflects the time and effort you have invested in Boston College. In making admission decisions, we consider grades, standardized test scores, what you do outside of school, teachers’ and others’ appraisals, and how you express yourself through writing.”
Tips for Applying to Boston College
If you plan on joining the 29,000+ Boston College hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- There are no interviews offered through the university. As such, you’ll need to use the essays and recommendations to forge a personal connection with an admissions officer.
- Boston College does not consider “demonstrated interest” so it less important that you make contact with the admissions office, connect through social media, and (when COVID-19 is no longer an issue) visit campus or meet Boston College reps at college fairs near you. However, engaging in any of those activities is never a bad idea, if only as a way to learn more about whether BC is the right fit for you.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essay required by Boston College. In the 2020-21 cycle, the instructions/prompts are as follows:
We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts. All applicants, except those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) major, should respond to one of prompts #1-4 listed below. Students applying to the HCE major must respond to prompt #5 only.
- Great art evokes a sense of wonder. It nourishes the mind and spirit. Is there a particular song, poem, speech, or novel from which you have drawn insight or inspiration? (400 words)
- When you choose a college, you will join a new community of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. What is it about your background, your experiences, or your story, that will enrich Boston College’s community? (400 words)
- Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why? (400 words)
- Jesuit education considers the liberal arts a pathway to intellectual growth and character formation. What beliefs and values inform your decisions and actions today, and how will Boston College assist you in becoming a person who thinks and acts for the common good? (400 words)
- For Human-Centered Engineering major applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College strives to develop people who will integrate technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. How would a Boston College engineering education enable you to contribute towards these goals?
CT Advice: Everyone likes to be given choices in life, but for many Eagle hopefuls, having to choose from four prompts brings more anxiety than joy. Don’t fret. There is no right or wrong answer here. The goal here is to reveal deeper aspects of your personality that may not be discernable though stats and activity lists alone. Any one of the above prompts can elicit such a response. Be sincere, be thoughtful, and make sure to leave time to go through multiple drafts, with feedback from adults you trust in between.
Should I Apply to Boston College?
With Boston College growing more competitive each year, you will likely need to possess stellar SAT scores, near-perfect grades, and earn a place in the top 10% of your high school class. Applying ED will provide a sizable edge if you find yourself “on the cusp” from an admissions standpoint.
All college-bound teens need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll definitely want to do this in conjunction with an admissions professional (including your own high school counselor).
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).