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Prospective Students Await Admissions Decisions

News Editor and For The Heights

Published: Thursday, December 9, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

It was only after a devastating ACL tear resulting in the end of her field hockey season and a major surgery that Kirsten Garvey, 17, discovered her passion for the medical profession, which led her to pursue her career aspirations by applying to Boston College for her undergraduate pre-med studies.

A senior at Duxbury High School in Duxbury, MA, Garvey said she plans to focus on a pre-med concentration at BC, which currently yields an 83 percent acceptance rate into medical school.

The holiday season will be marked by anxiety and anticipation this year for some high school seniors awaiting responses to their early applications to college. Others, including Garvey, are still in the midst of the process of completing their regular decision applications.

BC had about 6,200 early applicants this year – a seven percent increase from last year's 5,775. Of these students, about 2,500 will be admitted and about 700 to 750 will enroll in the class of 2015, according to data from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

There has been a decrease since 2008 in the number of early applicants, however, due to a policy change in the admissions office. In 2008, the office discontinued its policy of accepting early applications from students who were also sending early decision applications to other colleges. There was a 17 percent decrease in applications in fall 2008 from the previous year.

Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions strives to make the early application period a competitive one compared to most schools, said John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions.

"We apply a higher standard to early action candidates because we don't want to enroll half our class, which we could easily do, from such a small proportion of our total applicant pool," Mahoney said. "We want to ensure fairness and equity for all the regular decision candidates." BC seeks to enroll no more than 30 percent of its freshman class from its early application pool, he said.

The quality of the applicant pool has notably increased this year, Mahoney said. The undergraduate admissions office is now in the decision-making phase of processing the applications. "We have completed reviewing and rating," Mahoney said. "We assign a numerical rating to every file, and now we're deciding who to admit."

For some prospective high school students, what led them to explore BC was the school's size and its religious affiliation. "When I first started the college search, BC was the first school I was interested in," said Jodi Askey, a senior at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore and a prospective BC student. "I thought I wanted a tiny liberal arts college, but I also looked at state schools."

Askey, who is president of her senior class and a championship squash player, said she is aiming to get into BC, partly because of the university's community dynamic. "[Students have] school spirit, but I feel that I won't get lost in the cracks," she said.

Across the country, other students, including Garvey, will be focusing their college application efforts toward getting into BC over the next month.

This past summer, Garvey began exploring the medical field by taking an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training class, which provided her with the necessary training to take the certification exam this upcoming winter. Once certified, Garvey will be able to ride along in ambulances responding to emergencies. Her training is similar to the services provided by the Eagle EMS program, which has been operating on campus since 1997. The program provides Basic Life Support care from on-call EMT volunteers that are stationed at school-sponsored events.

"After researching information about Boston College, I discovered the Eagle EMS program," she said. "If admitted, I would love to participate in that program, and offer what I have learned to the BC community."

In addition to her EMT training, Garvey is a member of the varsity field hockey team and a volunteer for the African Service Project at her high school, which raised $25,000 for women in Darfur. "We raised enough funds to send two students to school for a year at Hope Academy in Uganda," Garvey said.

Academics aside, it was the BC atmosphere that first caught Garvey's eye, the overall essence of the "rigorous academics, the student body, and the nationally competitive athletics," Garvey.

For Chloe Carver, 18, a student at the Pingry School in Morristown, NJ, BC's focus on community service as well as its tight-knit and spirited student body led her to apply.

Carver, who has been commended for her work for collecting and donating 250,000 books through the Global Literacy Project (GLP), made her fourth trip to South Africa last Aug. to build a library, renovate classrooms, and hold seminars for teachers and students.

"The goal of the GLP," Carver said, "is to set up high literacy clusters in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, which includes setting up schools, homes, libraries, and community centers with the hope that this will spread."

Carver, who got involved with the GLP in Nov. 2006, works with her family and her sister, as well as another family, to collect the books from her church, school, and community.

"My church and school have been really supportive," she said.

Carver and her sister were recently awarded the New Jersey Jefferson Award for Community Service as well as the National Jefferson Award for Community Service. For this award, she attended an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. "It was interesting to meet so many like-minded people interested in community service," she said.

When beginning the college search process, Carver wanted a school where she could continue her work. "I definitely intend to continue my work, and I was looking for a school that fosters community service and values it. I liked the Jesuit influence at BC."

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