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Freshman Class One Of The Most Competitive Ever

Class Of 2016 Sets New BC Application Record

Heights Editor

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

fresh 9/5

Daniel Lee / Heights Editor

There were 34,000 applications for the class of 2016, a 3 percent increase over last year and a new Boston College record.

The acceptance rate was 29 percent, one percentage point higher than last year, with 9,800 students accepted. Although this rate is higher than last year, the quality of the applicant pool as measured by test scores went up. The middle 50 percent of SAT scores was 1930 to 2150, with a mean of 2022, up from last year’s 2014. The ACT average score was 30, with a middle-50 percent range of 29 to 32.

“This is not the lowest acceptance rate in BC’s history,” said John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admission. “However, with the quality of the applicant pool improving each year, the quality of admitted students is improving as well. So, I consider this to be the most selective year in Boston College admission history.”

The yield in May was 25 percent, almost 2 percent above last year’s. In recent years, the yield has generally stayed the same or decreased slightly.

“This is one of the things we’re really pleased with, given the selectivity and the quality of the applicant pool,” Mahoney said. “This is the first time in four or five years that yield has actually gone up.”

Target enrollment for this class is 2,270, with the number of students enrolled currently a little above that. Between May 1 and the fall, there is attrition as students are accepted off of BC’s waiting list, leave to attend other schools after getting off their wait lists, and defer for a variety of reasons. An exact number is not official until the first week of October, when the University census is completed.

“The difference in enrollment between May 1 and the official number feeds into projections for the next year,” Mahoney said.

Forty-five states and 31 foreign countries are represented in the class, and there are 130 international students. The top five most represented states are Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut. South Korea is the most represented country among international students.

Notably, in the last five years, the number of Chinese citizens applying has increased from about 300 to 1,300. “American higher education has become extremely attractive to Chinese families,” Mahoney said.

AHANA students make up 30 percent of the class. “We’ve reached 30 percent before, but we’ve not exceeded it,” Mahoney said. “This percentage almost perfectly matches the percentage of students graduating from high school who report that they come from AHANA backgrounds, which is between 30 and 35 percent.”

Among the four undergraduate schools, the Carroll School of Management (CSOM) saw a notable increase in yield over last year’s, from 27 percent to 32 percent. Around the time that students were receiving notification of their acceptance, a ranking in Businessweek of undergraduate business schools placed CSOM ninth, which could have influenced this increase. “It proves that people really do look at those rankings,” Mahoney said.

Looking forward to the class of 2017, this year’s application is the first to include a supplemental essay. Most of the schools that BC is competitive with for applicants already have at least one supplemental essay, Mahoney said. There are four different choices for essay topics, and applicants will select one to respond to with up to 400 words. The questions can be seen on the undergraduate admission website.

“I think the questions will really resonate with students,” Mahoney said. “It will help us determine whether they’ll be a good fit for BC. We’re not trying to complicate the lives of applicants.”

It is unclear what kind of effect this will have on the applicant pool, if any. “If I had to make a prediction, I think applications will go down this year,” Mahoney said. “Some students might find the additional essay a burden and decide not to apply. However, our yield could go up, because the students applying may be more sincere in their interest.”

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