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Class of 2011 Breaks BU Records

Largest applicant pool has ethnic and global diversity

Laurie Pohl, vice president for enrollment and student affairs, says the applicant pool has increased in several areas. Photo by Fred Sway

More high school seniors, including minority and international students, think that Boston University would be a good place to spend four years. The 33,894 applications for the Class of 2011 — the most in BU’s history — represent a 6.5 percent increase over last year.

“The interesting thing about the increase is that it’s evenly distributed across all schools and colleges, geographic areas, and ethnicities,” says Laurie Pohl, vice president for enrollment and student affairs. “It’s a very solid pool in that sense, because there’s no potential vulnerability by having too much of an increase in any one area.”

One of the areas that saw a jump was minority applicants. African-Americans submitted 1,638 applications, up 11.4 percent from last year, and Hispanic and Latino students sent in 2,457 applications, an increase of 6 percent.

A number of factors are fueling the increase in applicants, says Kelly Walter, executive director of admissions. “One is that BU continues to be more of a first choice institution for students.”

Another reason may be that applying to BU these days is easier. Although students have long been able to submit a common application — one form that’s accepted at nearly 300 colleges, including Northeastern University, Boston College, and Tufts University — this year it’s the only application BU accepted.

In addition, Walter says, the pool of 18-year-olds graduating from high school is bigger, and students are applying to more colleges than ever. “College admissions are more unpredictable today than 10 years ago,” she says. “The average student applies to 8 to 10 colleges on average. It used to be five to six schools.”

And more international students are considering BU. The University received 2,955 applications this year, up 10.8 percent.

“Certainly in the post-911 world there was decreased interest from overseas students, because they saw too many hurdles placed in front of them to come to us,” says Walter. “But now they’ve found that those hurdles don’t really exist.”

For example, applications from Taiwan, Thailand, Greece, Italy, Germany, India, and Turkey were up, but the biggest jump — 82.6 percent — came from China. The geographic mix remained stable, however, with applicants from all 50 states and 128 foreign countries.

Other statistics for the Class of 2011 remain virtually unchanged. Female applicants account for 59.2 percent of the total, a 0.1 decrease from last year. Average SAT scores in critical reading and math, at 1260, are just 3 points lower. Average high school GPA (3.45) and average class rank (top 15 percent) are unchanged. Almost 80 percent of the 33,894 applicants are in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Students will be notified of their acceptance to BU by April 1, and they must accept by May 1.
Catherine Santore can be reached at csantore@bu.edu.