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Meet the Class of 2017

Most selective group of freshmen in BU history


Warning: this story may be disturbing to those with inferiority issues.

Among the members of the incoming Class of 2017 are an iPhone app creator, former interns for CNN in Hong Kong and for Boeing Aerospace, an athlete who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and a teacher of women’s education classes in Nepal.

Oh, and one who speaks six languages.

If this bunch strikes you as overcaffeinated achievers, that’s no accident. “This is the strongest class in BU’s history,” says Kelly Walter, associate vice president and executive director of admissions. She acknowledges that “yes, we seem to say this every year, but our incoming freshmen just keep getting better and better,” a product of the University’s calculated increase in selectivity.

Those matriculating freshmen survived an admissions process that began with a record-breaking applicant pool of 52,704, a 20 percent increase over last year, according to Walter. Of that pool, 37 percent were admitted, making it the most competitive class in BU history (last year’s percentage was 46 percent).

The academic profile of enrolling students is similarly sterling, Walter says. Whereas two decades ago, entering BU freshmen had an average high school grade point average of 3.09, the Class of 2017 average is 3.6. Its average SAT score is 1929, a seven-point increase over last year’s freshman class, and the students come from the top 11 percent of their high school class.

BU’s increasing selectivity has been matched by an increasingly international student body, a trend that continues with this class. Just over one-fifth of the class comes from foreign countries, another record, says Walter. The top feeder nations are China, South Korea, India, Canada, and Taiwan. (Trivia buffs: Taiwan bumped Singapore from top-five status this year.) Students representing 65 countries will flock to Commonwealth Avenue, including residents of two countries not represented last year: Finland and Moldova.

The class is 4.9 percent African American, 9.6 percent Hispanic, and 14.5 percent Asian American. American students hail from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, with the top 5 states the same as last year: Massachusetts, New York, California, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Christine McGuire, associate vice president for enrollment and student affairs, says 50 percent of the class is receiving financial aid, from grants to loans to work-study jobs; 48 percent is receiving University-financed aid; and 15.5 percent is getting federal Pell grants for needy students, the latter figure up from 14.5 percent last year.

Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

5 Comments on Meet the Class of 2017

  • Nancy Wheeler on 09.03.2013 at 2:04 pm

    Congratulation to all new students. Do you know that Dr. MLK went to BU?

  • Jane Day Violich on 09.04.2013 at 12:56 am

    Sounds like an awesome, class. Love to see that BU continues to attract a diverse and talented group of students… Hope you all learn a ton and have fun along the way which is how I recall my time at BU.

  • John Kannegieser on 09.04.2013 at 1:10 pm

    Go BU! What an impressive group of students!

  • Meredith on 09.06.2013 at 2:41 pm

    Great class! But not a single artist in the group chosen here? Your College of Fine Arts is conservatory level — I wish you had chosen just one student from the freshman class who is there for art, theatre, opera, music, visual art, etc.

    • Duda on 09.06.2013 at 3:00 pm

      We pulled students who were willing to be interviewed during their down time at orientation, so it was completely random. However there are plenty of kids who are interested in music, film, and art. Try refreshing the page to see new faces, there are actually 37 edited videos and the page displays 20 videos randomly each time.

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