On April 5, 2021, social media users across the country opened the Boston College Facebook page to find it showing off its latest achievement. BC had chosen its Class of 2025—easily one of the most competitive and diverse classes in the school’s history.
The admitted class profile boasted bold numbers that showed the far reach of the new freshman class. Students from 50 states, three U.S. territories, and 75 countries would be walking down Linden Ln. come fall.
But how many students were really coming from out of state? How far was this diverse group traveling to attend BC? And how did these numbers compare to other schools? HireAHelper, a blog focused on all things moving-related, made it a mission to find out.
On Oct. 7, it published its report, “2021 Study: Which Colleges & Universities Do Freshmen Travel Farthest For?” Among its key findings, it states that the “average distance traveled by a student to study in a top 200 college is 293 miles.”
Ranked 53 nationwide, BC’s incoming out-of-state freshmen have traveled an average of 549 miles to attend school, placing the school well above average.
Yet, BC does not feel like a school with a strong out-of-state presence, according to some students. Roommates Kathleen Malone and Carolina Ibarra, both MCAS ’25, agreed with this sentiment, despite having very different hometowns.
Malone is from Attleboro, Ma., which—located 36 miles from BC—is less than an hour away by car. On the other hand, Ibarra’s hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico is a four-hour plane flight, and almost 1,700 miles from BC.
“I’ve seen more diversity [elsewhere] for sure,” Ibarra said. “All the people I know are from different small towns in Mass.”
Malone attributed this to the school being well known in the area.
“I feel like definitely a lot of people from Massachusetts do decide to apply to BC just because it has a big, like, presence,” Malone said. “I went to a basketball game here when I was 9, even my brother went here.”
The two girls live in a quad. One of their other roommates is also from Massachusetts, as is one across the hall, and so are two of the four next door, making a ratio of close to 50-50 in their immediate vicinity.
While the ratio is not actually that high across the University, the percentage of students from nearby states helps further the perception that BC is a predominantly local school.
In an email to The Heights, Vlad Kupriyanov, a senior research analyst for HireAHelper, explained the concept of “pull” that its recent article worked to demonstrate. Schools like the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University, have the nation’s strongest pull, with students traveling an average distance of over 1,000 miles to attend school, according to HireAHelper.
“According to NCES data, about a third (38%) of Boston College new admissions come from states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island,” Kupriyanov wrote. “While Boston College certainly has a diverse mix of students from different states, the institution’s national ‘pull’ isn’t as strong as other Massachusetts-based higher education institutions.”
With a rank of seven in the state, BC’s “pull” falls behind MIT, Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, Brandeis University, and Northeastern University. Nationally, BC ranks No. 36 out of the nation’s top schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Roughly 31 percent of all college students nationally left their home state to attend college, the highest rate since 2005, the report said.
Malone and Ibarra said that in their first semester at BC, they have encountered students from about 15 other states and three other countries, numbers far from the 50 states and 75 countries BC showed on its Facebook page back in April.
Kupriyanov hopes this data allows people to see how willing American students are to move to pursue their degrees.
“Data shows that those college students that have chosen to further their education are more likely to shop around, not just limiting their options to schools local to them,” Kupriyanov wrote. “The findings seem to indicate that they’re not afraid to abandon the comfort of their home to pursue a degree.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Ikram Ali / Heights Editor