In the most competitive year of Boston College’s undergraduate admissions yet, 42 percent of admitted students in the Class of 2026 identify as AHANA+ students.
The University invited accepted AHANA+ students to attend the annual Keith A. Francis AHANA Day on April 9. The one-day on-campus event was renamed in 2012 after Keith A. Francis, BC ’76 and member of the BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame, to honor his legacy.
The University previously hosted admitted AHANA+ students for a weekend-long program where participants would stay overnight on campus, according to an event brochure. The 2020 and 2021 AHANA Days, however, were held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant Gosselin, director of undergraduate admission, said the University planned AHANA Day in January and February when BC still had a temporary mask mandate, so they were unsure what type of event they would be able to host safely.
“Given our desire to provide admitted AHANA students with multiple opportunities to explore campus, we decided to plan for a day program with hopes it would be possible,” Gosselin said. “Fortunately, our forecasts were accurate, as a day program was feasible and an overnight program was not.”
In the future, Gosselin and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions staff plan to return to hosting the event in its full capacity.
“In total, approximately 80 students were in attendance, roughly half of the amount we have hosted prior to COVID,” Gosselin said. “As we look forward to next year, we hope to return to the full, three-day overnight program that we held prior to the pandemic.”
Jen Lozano, Student Admission Program (SAP) AHANA outreach coordinator and LSEHD ’23, served as the event’s main coordinator. Lozano said she was excited to host admitted students at an in-person event.
“I really, first and foremost, wanted to be able to invite the admitted students on campus because I think just like in itself, stepping on campus … is so impactful when making your decision,” Lozano said.
When planning the day’s events, Lozano said she hoped to give students insight into life as an AHANA+ student at BC from the perspectives of students and administrators involved with the AHANA+ community.
“The main goal of this event is really to be able to connect prospective AHANA students and admitted AHANA students with us within SAP and with other students outside of SAP,” she said.
The day started with a welcome ceremony in Devlin Hall where Gosselin, Lozano, and Shawna Cooper-Gibson, vice president for student affairs, spoke. After the opening ceremony, admitted students were invited to attend small group check-ins, a student life panel, meals in the dining halls, a dance performance, a student involvement fair, and a closing ceremony.
Of all of the day’s events, Lozano said that she was most proud of the student panel she moderated because it allowed students to get an honest look into the life of an AHANA+ student at BC.
“It was just basically a big Q&A portion, but there’s like no other counselors in there,” Lozano said. “No parents [or] adults, it was just us students, so they were really able to, I think, get an insight into what it means to be an AHANA student on campus and then also just get basic questions answered that they were probably kinda nervous about.”
Francesca Vilmenay, an admitted student visiting from Milford, Mass., said she particularly enjoyed attending the dance showcase and the involvement fair.
“[The fair] was really interesting,” Vilmenay said. “I got to speak to some students and get their perspective and kind of hear about what they do and their respective extracurriculars.”
Another admitted student from Massachusetts, Uche Ogbue, said she was glad to see that there was an event specifically for AHANA+ students because she wanted to see what the experience of students of color is like at BC.
“One of the biggest things that I was worried about coming to BC was just the POC community and how strong it was because although I’ve been going to PWI, my PWI has a very good, you know, strong bond,” Ogbue said. “So I wanted to see if BC kind of had that.”
Vilmenay and Ogbue both said they were glad to learn about the resources and communities that support the AHANA+ community at BC.
“That was like a game changer for me—just the fact that there are so many resources available that students can take advantage of, the fact that students are taking advantage of them and benefiting from,” Vilmenay said.