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BU Class of 2017 a Select Group

Overall admission rate of 36 percent


Becoming a Terrier got a little harder this year: only 36 percent of Class of 2017 applicants were offered admission to Boston University, compared to 46 percent last year.

“The BU Class of 2017 is truly extraordinary and among the most accomplished in the University’s history,” says Kelly Walter, an associate vice president and executive director of admissions. Collectively, the students offered acceptance come from the top 9 percent of their high school class, have an A- average, and scored an average 2016 on their SATs. But they aren’t just a bunch of brainiacs: some speak six languages, others have earned a black belt in tae kwon do, marched in Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee parade, and conducted research on the neurosystems of zebra fish.

“What I really have come to appreciate over the years is that our students are multifaceted,” Walter says. “Academics has been a priority, without a doubt, but these students are not one-dimensional. They do have talents, skills, and high aspirations, and they want to bring them to BU.”

Admissions received a record-breaking 52,693 applicants to fill 3,800 seats in the Class of 2017. That’s a 20 percent increase over last year’s record of 44,006 applicants for a class of 3,900. Walter says the jump in applications came as a surprise, but proves the University’s strengthening position in the marketplace. Students have until May 1 to accept their offers.

While BU’s overall admissions rate was just over one-third of students, it was much tighter in certain schools and colleges. The School of Management had 42 percent more applicants and admitted just 22 percent.

Sargent College reported a whopping 67 percent increase in applications and an admission rate of 22 percent. “The quality of the admitted students is much higher, given that we were able to be so selective,” says Gloria Waters, dean of SAR. “SAT scores of admitted students are 42 points higher than last year. In addition, students accepted to Sargent had the highest GPA and high school rank of any college in the university.”

The professions are gaining in popularity, Walter notes, as jobs are becoming more plentiful in industries like health care and business. “There are always trends and patterns in enrollment based on what is happening in society,” she says. During the height of the financial crisis five years ago, fewer students were interested in SMG. “People were skittish about studying business.”

Boston University’s admission rates are now on a par with peer institutions like New York University and Boston College, Walter says, and the University is even more selective than institutions like George Washington University and American University.

“We’re very proud of where we are today and what we’ve accomplished,” Walter says.

Leslie Friday, BU Today, Boston University
Leslie Friday

Follow Leslie Friday on Twitter at @lesliefriday.

62 Comments on BU Class of 2017 a Select Group

  • student on 04.02.2013 at 7:21 am

    I’ve always thought BU was underrated.

  • Steven Washburn on 04.02.2013 at 8:34 am

    The entire Washburn & Lee Families are very pleased that Alexis Washburn has confirmed, June 11th travel arrangements are set, and she is NOW a Boston Terrier! What an amazing Blessing!!!

    • Barron Roth on 04.02.2013 at 9:29 am


    • Matthew O'Brien on 04.02.2013 at 10:13 am

      Congrats Alexis!!! Can’t wait to have her here in the fall. She’s going to make a great addition to the Terrier Nation

    • Liz on 04.04.2013 at 10:29 am

      Congrats Alexis! WELCOME!

    • Eric Suen on 04.04.2013 at 4:35 pm


  • SMG Student on 04.02.2013 at 8:36 am

    SMG and Sargent had the same admissions rate? What were the number of applicants to the two schools?

    • Leslie on 04.02.2013 at 10:43 am

      Good question. They did have the same admissions rate. Kelly Walter says her office received 7,365 applications to SMG and 2,538 applications to SAR.

  • Anon on 04.02.2013 at 9:05 am

    You guys say this every year

    • TerrierGrad on 04.02.2013 at 9:50 am

      That’s what you want! BU is improving every year!

    • huh? on 04.02.2013 at 9:52 am

      Facts? They say the facts? Strange how that works.

      The numbers don’t lie — BU is on an upward trajectory. Not sure if I could get in if I applied now, which IMHO is a good thing.

    • Kimberly on 04.02.2013 at 10:10 am

      Because it’s true.

  • KittensInTheTree on 04.02.2013 at 9:18 am

    This only serves to make students in the classes before these kids feel like idiots.

    • BU student on 04.02.2013 at 10:23 am

      Not really. I’m in the class of 2016 and I’m actually really proud and excited that my school is becoming more selective and therefore strengthening its reputation.

    • recentalumnus on 04.02.2013 at 1:00 pm

      Not true at all. I graduated a few years ago and frankly, the fact that my alma mater’s reputation is increasing rapidly will only help me and my peers in the job market.

    • Portland Maine on 04.02.2013 at 1:48 pm

      At this rate, with each and every passing year the value of your diploma (or future diploma) from BU is increasing, regardless of what class you are in. New BU classes are essentially strengthening the school’s prestige, and in the process, making all BU alums and current students more attractive candidates in employer’s eyes. So, don’t feel stupid, this is benefiting you more than you know!

  • Emily on 04.02.2013 at 10:39 am

    I think the lower admission rate is simply because of a higher applicant volumn from international students…

    • Barron Roth on 04.02.2013 at 9:47 pm

      Excuse me, but what is a ‘volumn’?

    • Steve on 04.02.2013 at 10:20 pm

      If this is the case, it could also mean that BU has an increasing international reputation, which fits the theme of this article.

      • Sarah on 05.12.2013 at 10:19 pm

        It does in fact mean this, I am an international student coming from China and every person who I have mentioned BU to has immediately known where it is, what it is, and been really impressed. Everyone knows it as the school thats on the same level as Beida (Peking university). I can only see this as a good thing for future graduates who want to get jobs abroad.

  • Michael J. Walsh Jr. on 04.02.2013 at 11:02 am

    The admissions requirements have become more competitive and the admissions rate more selective, since the incoming Class of 2015. Prior to 2015, Boston University’s Admissions Department advertised that approximately 70% of children of faculty & staff that applied to Boston University were accepted. I’m sure the BU Faculty & Staff Community are very interested in learning the percentage of employees’ kids that were accepted into the Class of 2015, 2016, and 2017.

    If the acceptance percentage is below 25%, which I imagine is the case for at least the Class of 2017, then 100% or 90% Tuition Remission for Employees Children should no longer be advertised as a huge “perk” of employment, since the benefit only impacts a minority of employees.

    Would the University consider increasing the number of employees’ kids that could use Tuition Remission at an institution other than Boston University? Currently, Boston University authorizes 10 children of employees (based on BU Hire Date) to take advantage of this benefit. How about doubling this number to 20 children per year? This would certainly elevate this benefit to a viable “perk” in the eyes of faculty, staff, and potential employees.

    Has employee retention been negatively effected since 2011 (Class of 2015), with fewer employees’ kids being accepted to Boston University?

    M.J. Walsh, MET ’08
    Staff – MET College

    Parent – ENG 2008
    Parent – CAS ’12 & CGS ’10
    Parent – University of New Hampshire 2015

    • what? on 04.02.2013 at 11:52 am

      Why should an employee’s child have a greater percentage of getting in? If their application is good, then they should get in. If it’s not, then they shouldn’t.

      The perk is that if your child is admitted, you don’t have to pay (as much) tuition.

      Are you saying you are a staff member at BU to get your kids into college?

      • Thomas on 04.02.2013 at 4:02 pm

        You’ve misunderstood Mr. Walsh entirely. His point is not that the admissions rate for employee children should be higher, but that there should be a greater quota available for Tuition Remission to those who have already been granted admission.

        As it stands, Tuition Remission is heavily advertised for BU employees, and Mr. Walsh’s point is that this is somewhat misleading, as the benefit only affects a (very) small number of people.

        • Michael J. Walsh Jr. on 04.03.2013 at 11:25 am

          Thanks Thomas for clarifying the intent of my comments!

          Addressing “What’s question:
          I didn’t initially come to work at BU with the intent of my kids getting the majority of their tuition paid by the University. However, it’s certainly one of the main reasons I have remained a BU employee; 2 sons attended BU and one graduated. This was a savings of approximately $170,000 for 10 semesters at Boston University. I would say my coming to work for Boston University was a pretty smart investment. Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Leslie on 04.03.2013 at 10:06 pm

            Here’s further clarification from Kelly Walter:

            “The children of faculty and staff are always given special consideration by BU Admissions. Historically, the admit rate for these students is higher than that of the overall applicant pool. Despite the increased selectivity this year, we offered admission to 66% of the applicants whose parents are employed at the university.”

  • Proud mother of a Terrier on 04.02.2013 at 11:17 am

    What a wonderful thing. My daughter will be graduating in 2014 from a terrific school with wonderful opportunities – couldn’t be prouder! Keep up the good work BU!

  • RichD on 04.02.2013 at 11:27 am

    My daughter got accepted as part of the Class of 2017 and I couldn’t be more proud!

  • S. Ghosh on 04.02.2013 at 11:38 am

    “Admissions received a record-breaking 52,693 applicants to fill 3,800 seats in the Class of 2017.” – These numbers are always baffling. Since the stated admission rate is 37%, these 52,693 applicants obviously are not competing for 3,800 seats. Someone must explain this anomaly otherwise these statistics that BU publish are meaningless

    • lucy on 04.02.2013 at 11:51 am

      Here is the reason: The school accepts more students than it has place for because not everyone who receives an acceptance will come to BU. The school has to try to guess what percentage of accepted students will choose BU.

    • Current Student on 04.02.2013 at 11:54 am

      They admit many more students than the seats they have available, assuming a certain percentage of admitted applicants will choose to attend another school.

    • O. Jones on 04.02.2013 at 12:04 pm

      They have to admit more than the number of available seats- you have to take into account the number of admits that will turn down the offer.

    • Duh on 04.02.2013 at 12:14 pm

      They accept more people than the number of seats available obviously because not everyone accepted is going to choose BU.

      • S. Ghosh on 04.02.2013 at 4:46 pm

        To this “Duh” and all others who responded with similar statement:

        Your suggestions are probably incorrect. When you look at statistics obtained from College Board or other similar organizations, it always says admission percentage for college XX for the year xxxx is yy. When you look at this number say for MIT, Harvard, Columbia or other famous or not so famous colleges, there number of applicants, total number of enrolled students and acceptance percentage always match. And to you all, in all these colleges (no matter which category they belong to) there is always a big wait list. If you don’t know, look at wait list acceptance letter for any college from a real student and don’t bother posting a comment).
        Also, 37% of total applicants this year would mean about 19,500 students. Which would mean even if 2 out of five accepted student would want to enroll, BU will not have enough space.
        A clarification on these numbers from knowledgable BU administrator or the writer of this article would be appreciated. Thanks.

        • Jay on 04.03.2013 at 4:48 pm

          The yield rate and acceptance rate are not the same.

        • BU2016 on 06.07.2013 at 11:13 am

          S. Gosh, you are incorrect and “Duh” is correct. Admission rate is how many stay students are accepted and retention rate is how many of those whom have been accepted choose to go to said University. Schools like MIT/Harvard have high Renton rates b/ most of their accetped students choose to go to said University.

          ps don’t comment if you don’t know these basic things

    • Brendan on 04.02.2013 at 12:20 pm

      Because the number if admitted students is much more than 3,800 — the admissions at BU take into account that some may be admitted but choose not to attend because they did not get enough financial aid/scholarship or they were not admitted to their first choice college (within the university)

    • Steven on 04.02.2013 at 10:16 pm

      This acceptance rate calculation is an industrial standard. Other schools use it as a measurement too. Therefore, it won’t be a misleading number, since it is used to compare.

    • Peter MSCIS on 06.04.2013 at 12:01 am

      @S. Ghosh — Before you suggest (accuse) school administrators of fudging their admissions statistics, it would serve you well to be better informed. Learn from what others have posted here, rather than get defensive. By the way, it behooves you to know that these statistics you mention from the College Board and other organizations (say U.S. News and World Reports) are actually sourced through — surprise! — the colleges themselves.

  • Anderson on 04.02.2013 at 2:55 pm

    Just imagine what these numbers would look like if we got rid of CGS!

    • Jason on 04.02.2013 at 3:38 pm

      CGS needs to be re-purposed like the School of General Studies at Columbia. It should only be for non-traditional students who do not take a direct path to an Undergraduate education. These are students who have had children, served in the military, and worked in business, and they are the ones that CGS should serve.

      • Anon on 04.02.2013 at 6:39 pm

        That’s what the Metropolitan College (MET) is for… it’s non-traditional and evening learning that has some great classes. I believe CGS is still around because of the University’s charter saying something about having a general studies division, but that is really outdated at this point. While some people get a lot out of CGS, I believe that the University would still be much better off without it.

      • Student on 04.02.2013 at 10:29 pm

        they would never do this. CGS students are the ones that pay full tuition and fund most of BU

      • Daniel on 04.03.2013 at 12:38 am

        Wouldn’t that be what the MET college is for… more or less?

  • Anonymous on 04.02.2013 at 5:30 pm

    That is a nasty comment!!

  • Anon on 04.03.2013 at 7:29 pm

    What about the admission rate for the college of engineering?

    • Leslie on 04.03.2013 at 10:09 pm

      It was 36 percent as well, but ENG did have an increase in applications over last year.

  • BillC on 04.03.2013 at 9:26 pm

    Is undergraduate Business School in BU better than Northeastern?
    Overall admission rate in Northeastern is lower than BU.

  • person on 04.09.2013 at 4:07 pm

    lol sorry BU Today but GWU’s acceptance rate is 33.4%… 36% is not more selective than 33.4%…

    • Christine on 04.29.2013 at 5:44 pm

      Exactly my point! GW accepted even fewer than 33.4% this year

  • John on 04.10.2013 at 12:25 am

    I wouldn’t say “on par” with Boston College…

    • BU student on 07.25.2013 at 1:06 pm

      probably a Boston College Student…

  • Josh on 04.22.2013 at 11:24 pm

    Can someone explain to me why it says the class of 2017 like it already happened? Last I checked it was still 2013.

    • JT on 04.23.2013 at 9:43 am

      The incoming freshman class will graduate in 2017. They are the class of 2017.

    • um what on 06.03.2013 at 5:23 pm

      Are you serious?

      They’re very obviously talking about the incoming freshmen…

  • Christine on 04.29.2013 at 5:43 pm

    GWU accepted 33% of applications for the class of 2016 and accepted even fewer to the class of 2017, so I definitely wouldn’t say that BU is “more selective” than George Washington. I also wouldn’t compare GW to American. If anything, I’d say that BU is “on par” with George Washington because it is certainly not on par with BC.

  • Peter MSCIS on 06.04.2013 at 12:38 am

    @Christine — A school’s admit rate — whether it’s BC’s 26%, BU’s 36%, or GW’s 33% — is only meaningful to a point. It doesn’t necessarily follow that if Jane is accepted at BC, she would certainly get into BU and GW as well. Rational people know this to be true. Why then engage in this silly talk about parity?

    All three are excellent schools with very competitive admissions.

  • tony bologna on 07.14.2013 at 12:16 am

    BU comparing itself to NYU or GW when it had one good admissions rating year is silly. It hasn’t even caught up to Northeastern University yet.

  • marion on 08.14.2013 at 9:45 am

    What was the college of engineering admit rate and yield? Also, what is the overall yield fot the freshman class?

    • Leslie on 08.14.2013 at 10:05 am

      The admit rate for the College of Engineering and the entire freshman class was the same by complete chance. They were both 36 percent.

      • marion on 08.14.2013 at 3:36 pm

        Thank you, Leslie. I am the proud mother of an incoming freshman engineer. Do you also have the yield data?

  • marion on 09.14.2013 at 2:32 pm

    Do you have the yield rate for each? Also, I love the newest rankings!

  • Bostononian on 10.08.2013 at 8:16 pm

    I am glad to see that BU has increased in selectiveness but I don’t think its better or even close to as good as a school as BC, NYU, or GWU…but definitely American U! BU does not nearly provide as good an education compared to the other universities I listed. I personally got into BU, GWU, and American. I decided to go to GWU because they gave me the most money so the value for my education was unparalleled. Looking back, I think I made the right decision.

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