Meet the Class of 2016
Freshmen selected from record number of applicants| From BU Today | By Amy Laskowski
Members of the Class of 2016 at the University's annual Matriculation ceremony at Agganis Arena on September 2. Photo by Cydney Scott
Staff at Boston University Admissions ask two questions as they go about the business of building a class.
“First, will this student be academically successful at BU? And then, will this student contribute to, and enrich, the BU community?” says Kelly Walter, an associate vice president and executive director of admissions. “Building a class isn’t just about SAT scores and GPAs.”
And so while the incoming Class of 2016 is the strongest academically ever to enter the University, it is also notable for other accomplishments: one is a Broadway performer, another a chronic myelogenous leukemia researcher, a third a certified tae kwon do black belt instructor.
“The incoming Class of 2016 as a whole is very talented,” Walter says. “Their experiences are unique, so exceptional, and these are the future leaders of BU and the world at large.”
This year’s freshman class of 3,900 students was whittled down from a record number of 44,003 applicants. Only 45 percent of applicants were offered admission, the lowest in BU’s history.
The incoming freshmen boast an average high school GPA of 3.57, with 56 percent of them graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. This represents a slight increase over last year’s entering class, which had an average high school GPA of 3.53, with 55 percent of students ranking in the top 10 percent of their class. Freshmen entering BU two decades ago posted an average high school GPA of 3.09, with 34 percent graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
This year’s freshmen come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. More students hail from Massachusetts than any other state, followed by New York, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The Class of 2016 is notable too for its record number of international students. The class has approximately 700 students from abroad, with China, Korea, India, Canada, and Singapore the top countries. These international students comprise 18 percent of this year’s class, up from 16.1 percent last year, a figure that reflects BU’s growing reputation abroad. In 2001, 2,017 international students applied to BU. This year, 7,117 international students applied, a 253 percent increase.
Walter says that international students tend to want a prestigious university with a high global ranking. “They are drawn to our faculty and our strong network of international alumni,” she says. “They like the fact that they can go back to their home country and connect with the alumni community there. And our urban Boston location couldn’t be better.”
In terms of diversity, 5 percent of the Class of 2016 is African American, 9 percent Hispanic (approximately double what it was in 1994), and nearly 16 percent Asian American.
Given the rising cost of higher education, it is not surprising that the majority of freshmen—nearly 65 percent—is receiving some form of financial assistance, according to Christine McGuire, associate vice president for enrollment and student affairs. That figure is up from about 57 percent two decades ago.
“BU is a complex, sophisticated, innovative university,” Walter says. “We are looking for that energy, vitality, and commitment to excellence in our students. We really want those students who have academic aspirations, who will push the limit, challenge their peers, and be extraordinarily inquisitive.”