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What Makes the Class of 2014?

Students are diverse and competitive

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More than 38,000 students applied to the Class of 2014, the most in BU history and a 1.2 percent increase from last year. Photo by Frank Curran

When Eda Aslanoba arrives at Boston University in September, she’ll be thousands of miles away from her family in Bursa, Turkey. But Aslanoba isn’t nervous. “I’ve chosen to be an individual in the world instead of a little girl in my hometown,” she says. “I take my steps confidently.”

An only child, Aslanoba (ENG’14) acknowledges that leaving her parents will be difficult. But she’s known for years that she would study abroad, so her apprehension has had time to settle into conviction. “Although there are great schools in Turkey,” she says, “they can’t give me the academic opportunities I’m seeking.”

Aslanoba, who plans to study mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace engineering, is one of 38,250 students who applied to BU’s Class of 2014 — the most in BU history and a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

Kelly Walter, executive director of admissions, says the University admitted approximately half of the applicant pool, and officials predict that about 4,100 students will accept its offer. “Our competition is keen,” says Walter. “Students who apply to BU also tend to apply to Ivy League and other top-tier institutions.”

This is first time the University has invited members of the incoming freshman class to enroll in the new University Honors College, designed to include cross-disciplinary classes, intensive seminars, and independent studies for seniors.

“We selected just over 300 students for the program,” Walter says. “Our hope is to enroll approximately 50 freshmen this fall.” Selected students were in the top 3 percent of their class, had an A average, and an average SAT score of 2171.

Walter is particularly excited about this year’s applicants, because of their “rich, diverse” experiences. “We have students applying from all walks of life,” she says. “They’ve contributed hundreds of hours of community service all over the world. One young woman went to Africa to build huts in a Tanzanian village. One student sang for Pope Benedict XVI, another had an internship with Katie Couric.”

While test scores and GPAs are considered during the review process, Walter says the admissions office takes a more holistic approach to establish which students it will accept. “We ask whether we’re confident the student will be successful academically,” she says, “and we ask how the student will contribute to or enrich the BU community.”

Reviewers begin by looking at high school records. “We look at the totality of their record: rigor of courses, trends in records, test scores,” Walter says. “Advanced Placement courses are generally a good predictor of how well students will do here.”

Writing samples are also a major factor. “Open-ended essay questions give applicants an opportunity to use their own voice,” she says, “and share what makes them special.

“We want to see how they spend their time out of the classroom,” she continues. “Are they three-sport athletes? Are they editor of their high school newspaper? What are their passions, and will they bring them to the BU community?”

Aslanoba says she will bring hers. “Even though I’m studying engineering, I have many hobbies and passions,” she says. “I play the piano and the cello; I play sports.”

She is particularly excited about joining an intramural sports club. “I’ll join some science and engineering organizations, of course,” she says, “but I’d really like to get involved in a golf or rowing club.”

International applications continue to rise, with 4,892 applications, a 16 percent increase from last year. Students from more than 144 countries applied, the majority from China, India, Korea, Canada, and Taiwan. Domestically, students applied from all 50 states.

Another area that saw an increase was applications among underrepresented minority students; in particular, applications from African-American students increased by 15.7 percent.

Female applicants account for 58.7 percent of the total, a 1 percent decrease from last year. The applicants’ average composite SAT score was 1874, 2 points higher than last year. The average high school GPA was 3.4, and the average class rank was in the top 16 percent.

Students accepted to BU’s class of 2014 had an average class rank in the top 11 percent, an average GPA of 3.6, and a composite SAT score of 1967.


7 Comments

7 Comments on What Makes the Class of 2014?

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2010 at 2:19 pm

    Experience vs Achievement

    The article is really great. It looks like our class of 2014 will be a studious one. I would just like to point one thing out in reference to our new students… has there been an increase in the students attending who come from lower income families? Affirmative action is pointless if we just look to diversify ethnically. We need more students who come from lower middle class and lower economic families. Not only that, but what exactly does it say about a person if they sang for the pope or built huts in Africa? Unless they competed for those things regardless of financial status, those experiences are COMPLETELY negligible. Who wouldn’t want to travel to a foreign land to provide shelter of food to those in need. Some of us never had those opportunities. We shouldn’t be judged based on our extraordinary experiences. That is the same as saying, “Okay, we have some students who have been to Disney World ten times! Isn’t that amazing! BU is lucky to have students whose family can afford such extravagance.” Please… who wouldn’t want an internship with Katie Couric? Who’s to say someone else wasn’t more qualified? Someone got lucky; they lived in the right place at the right time. Please don’t tell me an experience dependent on socio-economic background, citizenship, or residence makes a difference in a person’s character, because truth be told they are more often than not influenced negatively. When you get every golden opportunity handed to you because you can afford it, or are the only person there, you become lazy, spoiled, and arrogant. Is that really how we want the class of 2014 to be presented?
    PS- The class of 2013 includes students who have patents and others who have begun their own business (among many other marvelous achievements). Things that anyone can attempt but they succeeded at doing. How does the class of 2014 compare to that?

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2010 at 2:20 pm

    checking this

    i just want to see if shorter comments get posted

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2010 at 5:35 pm

    to the Experience vx Achievement guy:

    I agree with you absolutely, positively 100%! it irritates me when universities laud things like travel experiences and summer programs as being proof of drive and achievement. they’re nice, and the community-service related ones are great, but I’d take more pride in going to school with the girl who spent the summer before her senior year working two jobs to support her siblings than the one who spent the summer traveling Italy and took a week out of that at a soup kitchen. thank you for saying that, random poster. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  • Anonymous on 05.04.2010 at 10:35 pm

    RE: Experience vs Achievment

    You seem to have a big problem with the students your child will be around. The school is not trying to point out the fact that a bunch of rich kids are attending classes, it seems more like they are pointing out the quality of students at the University. If your son or daughter is admitted you should be a proud of their accomplishment and a little less concerned about some ones else position in life.

  • Anonymous on 05.05.2010 at 3:05 am

    Re: Experience vs Achievement

    To the person that posted the message titled ‘Experience vs Achievement’…I think you misunderstood the point of the article. The point of the article was indeed to highlight some of the unique experiences that the soon to be freshman bring to BU.

    First, off I would like to disagree with your stance. After reading what you wrote it seems as though you would negate the achievements of those that might have strived equally hard as anyone if their family has money. Does being born into wealth automatically disqualify a persons hard work and achievement?

    Secondly, you dont seem to be aware of the fact that top internships (across the country and the world) are coveted and hotly contested. For example in the Financial industry, as many as two thousand students can compete for as few as one internship positions at firms like Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs. Interning with Katie Couric (like her or hate her) is unlikely to be something you can just sign up for. My guess if that he/she had to be well qualified and likely competed against a good number of people. As with the person that sang for the Pope..

    Thirdly, you are very naive in your assessment of peoples motivations. To step outside of your little bubble as a 16, 17 and 18 year old to go to Tanzania is bold and courageous action. You act like it is the simplest thing in the world to do and that everyone would and the absolute only thing that holds them back is being from a low income family! Ridiculous. If that was the case how come there isnt a mass movement of rich people going there to do similar work? (and trust me…there isnt, ive worked all over the continent for over 5 years!) Rich or poor, doing work like that has incredible merit. Specially for the live he/she was able to help. Admire him/her!

    Fourth, if you had to struggle and work your way through BU then that is an admirable achievement. Something that you should be proud of. However, do not project your anger at your financial situation on other equally deserving students. Do not pretend to understand other people situations merely by looking at them. I myself worked and have been struggling my way through BU. I was aware of how much it cost before getting here. I was aware of far cheaper options. I CHOSE to go here – just like you did and I live with my decision – as should you! It is foolish and immature to be jealous of others for merely being born into a slightly more favourable financial situation. Make your own success.

    Lastly, BU needs to be admitting and recruiting the best possible students – this NEEDS to be done regardless of ethnicity, financial status etc.. You seem to suggest that unless BU admits students from lower income families it is a failure. No. BU needs to admit the BEST students possible. Then if they happen to be rich, poor, black, white, green, blonde brunette etc. is an entirely different matter.

  • Anonymous on 05.05.2010 at 3:56 am

    Wow, as a member of the class of 2014, I am proud to call these people my classmates and am excited to hear about their experiences. In regards to “Experience vs. Achievement,” I don’t believe that the intention behind this article was to show off a student’s financial background, but rather to recount the numerous opportunities that some were lucky enough to have as well as to suggest the skills or values that they may have gained during such experiences. Like you said, these people were given the opportunity; however, that didn’t stop others from taking the initiative to find opportunities of their own. Rarely does such an experience ask for much beyond leadership, community service and academics and to suggest otherwise, to be frank, undermines a person’s genuine efforts. Call me biased, but the class of 2014 is no less than the class of 2013. Many of my classmates, whom I have spoken to, have worked hard to become a part of the BU community and have come upon such extravagant opportunities by chance or by hardwork. And so, if by chance my classmates don’t hold as many patents as those of 2013 or have had more extravagant experiences, they are only individuals in a bigger group and do not classify the entire class of 2014.

  • Anonymous on 06.09.2010 at 4:48 pm

    thousands of students

    wow looks like a busy time of day – i see many familiar faces

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