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Class of 2015 Applicants Set Record

Number of hopefuls jumps by 9 percent


Navigate through the graphic above to see how the demographics have grown and changed. Each figure represents 200 applications. Graphic by Joseph Chan

Prospective students vying for one of 4,000 slots in next year’s freshman class face the toughest competition in memory: a record 41,734 applications—up 9 percent from last year—have been submitted to Boston University’s undergraduate programs. The extraordinarily large pool of applicants is extremely well prepared and more diverse than last year’s. As a group, the applicants have a higher grade point average and SAT score averages (1,896) that are 22 points higher than last year’s. Of those hoping for admission to the class of 2015, 48 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The pool shows a 19 percent increase in applications from international students, mainly from China, Korea, and Taiwan, an 8 percent increase in the number of African American students, and a 22 percent increase in Hispanic/Latino students.

Laurie Pohl, vice president of enrollment and student affairs, says she believes that high school seniors are responding to real changes at BU. “They like BU more now because there is more to like,” says Pohl. “Over the past five years, the University has put more money into growing the faculty and increasing financial aid. It’s also made significant investments in programs to support student life and student services, dormitories, concerts, and clubs.”

Pohl believes students interested in BU are also responding to efforts to “take a more student-centric approach to admissions and to the conversation we have with prospective students.”

“We’ve made a conscious effort to stop talking about the University as a place,” she says. “We spend more time helping prospective students understand why this university is a good fit for them, and how they will be better prepared after four years to compete in whatever venue or venture they choose. If you add up all the things we’ve done over the past five years, the end result is more prospective students hearing better things about BU. The changes give students a clearer sense of what’s in it for them.”

Admissions ambassador coordinator Chelsea Carter (CAS’11), who has led more than 100 tours for prospective students, says high school students who visit the campus respond visibly to the energy they see in places like the George Sherman Union. “Especially if it’s one of those days when it’s really hopping,” she says. “They really like going into places like the union, seeing the energy.”

Carter says students taking the tours listen closely to the personal stories of tour guides, and ask about life in the dorms. “They want to know what it is we like about BU, even if it’s just something like Starbucks at the GSU,” she says. “They also like to hear that it’s OK for them to be undecided about what they want to major in, and that BU is the kind of place where you don’t have to have all of your life goals planned at the age of 18.”

Quincy Wright (COM’12), who has been leading tours for two years, thinks much of BU’s appeal is its urban setting. Prospective students “are sometimes surprised when they see you get the benefit of a city-like atmosphere,” he says, “but you have a cohesion of campus that many urban schools don’t.”

The students who take the Ultimate Terrier Tour, which includes West Campus, are most likely to be impressed, he says. “When I bring kids into FitRec, their eyes widen. They see the rock-climbing wall and the pool; then you take them to see Agganis. They are really blown away when you cap it off with StuVi 2.”

Wright says most students visiting in the past year talk about BU as their first, or perhaps second, choice rather than number four, five, or six, as might have once been the case.

“The kids I see arrive with a lot of knowledge about BU,” he says. “They know a lot about our programs before they get here. They’re not coming here just because their moms thought BU would be a cool place to go to school.”

Kelly Walter, assistant vice president and executive director of admissions, says this year’s applicants show increasing interest in BU’s professional schools, a trend that may also reflect concern about the economy. “People want to make sure that when they graduate, they have the best possible skill sets,” she says. Walter sees more interest in the College of Engineering, the College of Communication, and Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “Sargent is particularly hot right now,” she says. “There is a lot of emphasis on health issues.”

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu. Joseph Chan can be reached at joechan@bu.edu.


11 Comments on Class of 2015 Applicants Set Record

  • Anonymous on 01.20.2011 at 7:32 am

    America going once Going twice.....

    The selling off of America even in the education arena. Why not educate those whom will be taking our companies overseas. At least they can pay us for their education.

    Evergreen solar is not unique. I find it interesting that the regular growth of applicants has been 30% and International is over 50%.

    In the next 20 years we will have to listen to all our graduates ask “where did all the jobs go”. The answer is to your clasmates country.

    That Corporate mantra Spend America Spend mentality may not be working after all. America the home of the Take my job overseas and the Rock Star CEO.

  • Anonymous on 01.20.2011 at 9:33 am

    BU Receives 6,000 More Undergraduate Applications than Harvard!

    Harvard: “almost 35,000” applications
    BU: 41,330

    Just sayin’

  • Anonymous on 01.20.2011 at 1:40 pm

    glad im done with the admissions process. good luck to all applicants!

  • Chris on 01.20.2011 at 3:27 pm

    41k applications because BU is the biggest safety school. everyone applies there as a backup in case they cant get into a good school. would you rather go to tufts or bu? harvard or bu? nyu or bu? johns hopkins or bu? etc. its a safety school. i went to emory but even i applied to bu as my safety schoo

    • Jerry on 01.20.2012 at 8:34 pm

      Apparently they didn’t teach grammar and punctuation there.

  • Anonymous on 01.25.2011 at 10:18 am


    Dear 41k,

    You are jealous because you didn’t get in to BU. Thats why you are still reading BU today even though you went to Emory- work on your grades a bit more and maybe you can transfer!

    again, good luck applicants!

  • Liz on 02.01.2011 at 11:46 am

    Loved my time at BU

    I loved my time at BU and I hope the applicants chosen to attend this wonderful University enjoy it as much as I did. I recently was accepted into a graduate program, also at BU. I think that says a lot about the high regard I have for this school and its programs. You can’t go anywhere without finding someone in the wide network of BU students and alumnae. I love being a part of this institution.

  • Anonymous on 02.05.2011 at 4:09 pm

    To answer your questions, 41k:

    Harvard or BU? BU. Everyone is too stuck up at Harvard. Why would anyone want to go someplace where everyone thinks they’re better than everyone else?

    Tufts or BU? BU. Tufts isn’t even a thought.

    NYU or BU? BU. BU has a beautiful campus compared to NYU plus urban appeal and sports teams in Division I.

    Anything other than BU? Please. Especially Emory of all places.

  • ACCEPTED!! on 03.30.2011 at 8:15 pm

    I am sooo excited i got in. This is my top pick. I just hope that the financial aid package is good, or I won’t be able to attend, which i will then be devastated :(

  • City Girl on 09.01.2011 at 10:14 am

    Congratulations to all incoming Freshman. My son is part of the class of 2015 and I could not be more proud. He was courted by Yale, Columbia University, NYU to name a few, and he chose BU because of it’s diversity and curriculum. It is a wonderful university that offers everyone an extraordinary array of classes, social activities and of course the splendor of Boston! I am a born and bred New York City girl and I am thrilled by my son’s choice. Once again congratulations to all!

  • KG. on 03.27.2012 at 2:51 am

    my son went here for SMG. SMG designs a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to be successful in the commercial world – team-based approach, harvard case studies, presentations etc.

    however, bu has bad management. CAS needs improvement, alumni network is lacking, administrative staff is doing very little to try to improve the school (rankings have been stagnant…. really hope it will change someday.

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