View All Stories


View All News


The University has broken the 60,000 mark for freshman applicants for the first time, with students of color driving the surge.

Kelly Walter, associate vice president for enrollment and executive director of admissions, says BU has received 60,817 applications, to be precise, for the Class of 2021, which aims to enroll 3,400 freshmen. The number of applications is 6 percent greater than last year’s applicant pool.

“BU is the first institution in New England to exceed 60,000 fall freshman applications,” says Walter, adding that she knows of only one private school in the country, New York University, with a larger applicant pool. (Some public universities receive applications in the six digits.) Data for applicant numbers are shared among universities and are available from other sources, such as the federal government.

Burgeoning applicant numbers are “a testimony to the growing reputation of Boston University as a major research university,” says President Robert A. Brown. Other factors, he says, are continuing refinement of the University’s academic programs and “the interest of today’s undergraduate student in the very urban and global experience that is our hallmark.”

Walter says no single BU school or college is driving the application surge.

The bigger pool mainly comes from US applicants, “and in particular underrepresented minority students,” she says. A total of 4,325 African Americans applied, representing 7 percent of the applicant pool and a 15 percent jump over last year’s percentage of black applicants.

Hispanic and Latino applicants, at 6,543, exceed 11 percent of the applicant pool, and mark an 11 percent increase over last year.

Walter believes that new recruitment efforts played a key role in this year’s record pool. “We expanded our multicultural student outreach and access initiatives,” she says, with BU representatives visiting 105 community-based organizations. The University added a second contingent of students from California’s Bay Area to its Posse Foundation scholars, awarding scholarships to high-achieving urban high schoolers.