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Class of 2015: Smaller but Smarter

Single most competitive year ever


Photo by Melody Komyerov

The class of 2015 may be smaller than last year’s, but it’s also brainier.

Students accepted to the incoming class of 2015 average in the top 9 percent of their high school graduating class (compared to last year’s top 11 percent), typically boast an A- GPA, and have SAT scores of 1993—a solid 29 points higher than last year’s class. And that’s not even factoring in the University Honors College students, who rank in the top 3 percent of their class and have an average SAT score of 2184.

“These students are so much stronger based on their admissions credentials,” says Kelly Walter, assistant vice president and executive director of admissions. “That’s something for all of us to be proud of. They’re bright, talented, and our hope is that they will make invaluable contributions to BU.”

Calling this the “single most competitive year ever,” Walter says the University received a record 41,760 applications and accepted 19,905 (48 percent) of those students. The goal is to have 4,000 freshmen enroll in the fall. Students have until May 1 to decide whether to attend BU.

Last year’s freshmen chose BU at a higher rate than anticipated, which led to the large size of the class (4,400 students) and the University’s subsequent decision to admit 10 percent fewer students this year.

“Ultimately, the decision is in the hand of 17-year-olds,” Walter says jokingly. “We have all kinds of predictive models, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in what we do and a lot in what families ultimately decide to do.”

Beyond being academically strong, incoming freshmen come with an impressive array of life experiences, according to Walter. One student created an iPad application, another raised $430,000 for the Strides for Life walk for colon cancer, and another worked as an oyster farmer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Students were admitted from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The greatest number of accepted students this year are from New York, followed by California and Massachusetts. (Last year, Massachusetts led the way.)

Incoming international students could represent as many as 107 countries and about 13 percent of the class, Walter says. China continues to field the largest number of applicants, but a growing number of students are applying from Korea, India, Canada, and Turkey.

Following past trends, this fall’s entering class will have more women, about 60 percent, than men, at about 40 percent.

And BU continues to draw a racially diverse mix of students: 22 percent of acceptance offers were sent to Asian students, 10 percent to Hispanic or Latino students, and 5 percent to African-American students.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.


30 Comments on Class of 2015: Smaller but Smarter

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 8:36 am

    Admitted VS Enrolled Stats

    Those are the stats for accepted freshmen. It will be interesting to see the stats for freshmen who actually enrol. BU has a yield rate of about 19%. Most top students admitted will go to higher ranked schools and applied to BU as a safety. This is the norm at all schools below the top 10 nationally.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 10:01 am

    This is a disgrace. So what about those African-American high school seniors who may not have gotten the best SAT scores, but hold an above-average GPA and are well-rounded in their contributions to extracurricular activities -the ones who have struggled and strived and demonstrated determination to make a career for themselves, that didn’t make the 5 percent of accepted students, and are now devastated to receive that rejection letter?

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 10:14 am

    thanks for implying that current BU students aren’t as “smart” as the incoming class. way to go.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 10:15 am

    Re: This is a disgrace. So what.

    Notice the line that the freshmen AVERAGE in the top 9 percent. There are always exceptions for students who don’t test well but are very smart. I should know. I’m here at BU and I did not have an A- average in High School. These things are always averages which means they got plenty of students with 4.0s or higher in high school and plenty more who got Bs and Cs. There are many different factors for an acceptance letter to go out, and everyone student applying to college knows that. Just remember that BU is promoting how high their average is, not what their cut off line was.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 10:31 am

    So Now I'm Dumb

    So does this mean that because I’m from last year’s class, I’m dumber and worth less?

    Thanks. It’s nice to know that we become obsolete as younger kids come in. Why don’t I just quit school if they’re so much better?

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 11:58 am

    Not all the top students pick higher ranked schools

    As an alum of BU, I can’t tell you how many people in my profession have commented on what a wonderful school BU is. I think we’re selling BU short by saying that most top students will go to higher ranked schools. I was in the top 3% of my class in high school, and was offered admission at some of those “higher ranked” schools. I chose BU for many reasons and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. When it comes to a college education, people need to think less about higher ranks and prestigious names, and more about what academic environment is going to challenge them and offer them the best opportunity to succeed.

  • Nick Barber on 04.06.2011 at 12:28 pm

    Stop whining!

  • David on 04.06.2011 at 12:39 pm

    they do this every year

    Last year they said the exact same thing about the class of 2014, if this trend continues we should have a class of ubermensch supergeniuses by 2024.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 12:51 pm


    My son was the top 8% of his class and got about a 1900 on his SAT’s. I am a single mother and could not afford the 1000+ dollars for the test prep to boost the score of my child. BU…You are a sick money club, you should take into account kids that did not take the prep course and live at the poverty line and still showed up! SNOBS

    • Anonymous on 11.11.2012 at 9:49 pm

      1) I’ve never taken a test prep class and I got a 2200 on my SATs.
      2) Why are you applying to a private university if you’re living at the poverty line?

      • John Delmore on 03.24.2015 at 12:45 pm

        Wow, what a way to illustrate the OP’s point!
        1. MANY of the kids that got in had coaching and multiple tests. That is simply a fact. It is an advantage. No whining here. I paid for my daughter to have some tutoring. Not a $1,000, I’m middle class, but a few hundred, but many deserving kids could never afford even that.
        2. Private schools are frequently the most affordable for low income families, IF their child is a high performer. Private schools have more available funds for financial aid than the state schools and if they want a kid they will pay the way.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 1:00 pm

    Something else to think about is how many qualified students who were admitted to BU will not be able to go due to financial constraints. When 51% of admitted students are offered financial aid, it leaves kids out whose first choice was BU. BU was my first choice, I have a 34 on my ACT w/ writing and a 3.8 GPA but got no offers of financial aid or grants. So perhaps the financial aid policy of BU also detracts from the potential of their incumbent class.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 2:44 pm

    Have some pride!

    To all the students making comments about being slighted – quit whining and be proud! This is increasing the value of your future degree!! Something you guys are doing now is making the school more desirable! As an alum, I’m so proud to see these numbers, and I’m glad to see that BU is moving in the right direction. Hopefully the enrollment numbers will be just as impressive!

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 2:44 pm

    Hahaha this article basically says we’re better than you lol. Class of 2015 woot woot

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 2:45 pm

    Nice way to diss the class of 2014. Silly me, I thought you were supposed to encourage students (or at least not bully them). I think there are more positive ways to present the facts.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 5:03 pm

    This is great news for all of us alum. More competition means a better reputation. This is positive news.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 6:16 pm

    Today I learned that SATs and class rank determine a person’s intellectual worth.

    • John Delmore on 03.24.2015 at 12:49 pm

      Nope, but it seriously determines a school’s ranking. The whole ranking business forces schools to focus on a limited matrix and dilutes/degrades holistic admissions policies.

  • olderandwiser on 04.06.2011 at 6:29 pm

    take the long view ... this IS good news

    This is great news for everyone – BU alum and current students alike. With all due respect to the 2 current students that have posted, this article was not intended to hurt your feelings; it would be wise to step away from your wounded ego and understand the impact this has on your education. The long term perspective is that each year BU is getting applications and accepting ever more competitive students. More competitive students = an even more prestigious reputation for BU. Imagine the alternative … 15 years from now, you have a degree from a school that ‘used to’ accept high caliber students. Which one sounds better to you?

    So, each freshman class that gets better enhances the value of YOUR degree from BU. Everyone wins when BU improves.

  • Anonymous on 04.06.2011 at 9:26 pm

    Huh?? Most of these comments are ridiculous!
    ALL colleges report their average admission stats, how is that news to any of you and why is that bad? I am a proud alum as well and am very happy to hear that the admissions standards at BU are rising! It does not diminish my intelligence although on “average” the incoming class is indeed much smarter than my class! That’s a good thing!

  • Anonymous on 04.07.2011 at 9:25 am

    i have to say, i’m glad to be in line with 2015er, though not decided yet. we are all proud as being one of BU, aren’t we? so why care about what words this article used to encourage our BU students? we the same!

  • Anonymous on 04.08.2011 at 10:39 am

    To the women who said BU is full of snobs, I am from a small town and have a full scholarship to BU. Otherwise, I would not have been able to go. I scored well on my ACTs without any testing prep classes. Maybe it has nothing to do with money, your son just wasn’t good enough.

  • Anonymous on 04.08.2011 at 12:27 pm


    To everyone freaking out because it was “implied” that the other BU classes are “dumber” than 2015 incoming freshman: Relax. Take a deep breath. They’re commending the school for being competitive and continuing to develop and create stronger and stronger classes. They’re discussing improvement on the school’s number of applicants and competition – not comparing the relative intelligences of sophomores vs freshmen.

  • K on 04.08.2011 at 6:24 pm

    my decision

    Im a national merit finalist and am near the top of my high school class and BU was my first choice. I had been dreaming about going there since the beginning of high school. I was accepted to BU for fall 2011; however, because my parents earn a middle class income and are not divorced I wasn’t offered much in the way of a financial package (the merit scholarship is half tuition and it is the only financing I was offered). Even with half tuition there is absolutely no way we could afford for me to go to Boston, as it would put my parents deeply in debt. ONLY because of money I will be attending UCF in the fall instead of BU because UCF offered me a National Merit package that couldn’t be beaten. BU is missing out on many motivated, enthusiastic students who ADORE the university merely because many of us fall into the middle class range (can’t qualify for financial aid, but still can’t afford to pay fir the school). I feel jipped that I worked just as hard as the “underprivileged” and it still wasn’t enough to change anything.

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2011 at 4:05 am

    Current Students should be proud, not upset

    I too am a current student and I really don’t understand why the students who have posted so far have been offended. As a few other people said, when BU gets more competitive, everyone wins. Surely you guys are not so insecure about your intelligence that a little article reporting the stats of the incoming class makes you feel slighted. If you makes you feel any better, the reason why BU is getting more competitive and attracting more students is because you are contributing to the BU community and great students like you enrolled here. We’re all ONE community, have a little Terrier pride.

  • Molly W on 04.19.2011 at 12:37 pm

    Admissions & tuitions

    I am one of several people in my family who have Bu in their resumes. My parents and grandparents all went here. My dad’s tuition in 1965 was $3,000. What is it now? going up to $50,000 !!
    This increase , i was told, is spend to improve the University. And much of this is a better “student life” and student services. Give the rocketing projection of tuition, it will be impossible for my children to attend BU and other such private Colleges. without LIFETIME debt.
    At some point , which has probably long past, schools will have to stop creating the Club Med facilities and get tuition back to some sane level..

  • Anonymous on 04.20.2011 at 4:57 pm

    I'm surprised...

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the flaw in the first sentence of the article. The size of the Class of 2015 won’t be known until after May 1st. The class size is ‘presumed’ to be smaller due to the lower acceptance rate. As for the person lamenting about the 5% acceptance rate for African Americans, the reason for such a low acceptance rate is that the number of African Americans who apply to BU is much lower than for any other ethnic group. BU does not base its decision on SAT score alone. Before screaming ‘racial injustice,’ you should get all of the facts.

  • Anonymous on 04.20.2011 at 10:19 pm

    Wonderful News

    This is an excellent article and wonderful news. It is beneficial for all- past,current, future students- when BU becomes more competitive. My son is a National Merit Scholar-commended -not finalist – but VERY enthusiastic to attend. I also love that US NEWS gave BU great ratings. Remember everyone, your school’s reputation helps you too.

  • Anonymous on 04.22.2011 at 2:32 am

    I think it’s stupid to criticize the incoming class, which I’m going to be apart of, because we’re all one big community. I don’t think they were calling anyone else dumb. But true, this isn’t about the kids who are going, just so far the kids who got in. But I’m super excited! and BTW my SATs were nowhere near 1900. I bombed on that but my grades were really good.

  • Kat Cat on 04.02.2015 at 1:38 pm

    I’m a senior and I’m DEFINITELY dumber than these kids. I would have never gotten in this round of admissions! Holy crap

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