Opinions, Column

Is Attending Boston College Something To Be Proud Of?

As I trekked through Chicago O’Hare International Airport during my move-to-Boston flight layover in the middle of last August, I heard a man yell, “Go Eags!” Between my airport anxiety, my many, many bags, and my state of shock that I was moving across the country for a significant chunk of the year, I didn’t even realize that I was wearing the Boston College hat I had bought when I got accepted. The hat was gray, with the iconic image of a BC eagle on the front. The shout that initially shocked me turned into a 15-minute-long conversation with a couple who went to BC years ago. They raved about how the University set them up for success and how much they loved their four years here. 

The BC alumni network is regarded as one of the most robust alumni networks in the country. It seems as though all alumni are proud they went to BC and eager to help out a “baby Eag.” This network is one of the school’s biggest attractions—besides its location, gorgeous campus, and prestige, of course. So, when choosing BC, it was reassuring to know that people were proud to go here. 

I’m sure that more than 38 percent of alumni are proud of their time spent here, but the number 38 is a massive point of pride for the school. If you aren’t someone who has done a deep dive of BC’s websites, 38 percent refers to the percentage of AHANA students enrolled in the Class of 2027. This number, of which the institution seems extremely proud, is subpar compared to surrounding Boston schools. As of the fall of 2021, Harvard’s student of color population is around 65 percent and Boston University’s is 61 percent

This is not to say, however, that a lack of diversity discredits the wonderful aspects of BC. The problem is the fact that since 2020, when BC accepted QuestBridge’s invitation to join the national non-profit program, it has not adequately publicized its diversification efforts or initiatives, leaving many to wonder what efforts the institution is making to grow that number moving forward.

And with the Supreme Court decision banning race-based affirmative action in college admissions, it is necessary for the BC administration to push other forms of diversification, such as placing a continued emphasis on the importance of first-generation students. 

Race and diversity is just one of the area’s that BC’s administration must take a closer look into. The school’s lack of support for students is also shown through subpar University mental health resources. In speaking with my classmates, I have found a general sense of feeling discouraged by BC’s mental health services—with long wait times for appointments and little long-term availability. Additionally, University Counseling Services is tucked away in a basement of the college’s most iconic building, Gasson, which creates an out-of-sight and out-of-mind attitude toward mental health at the school.

Finally, financial segregation can be an additional pressure for some students. Seventy percent of BC students come from the top 20 percent of incomes nationally, but the other 30 percent often rely on need-based aid. But even with the benefits of BC’s need-based aid policy, students from the middle and lower classes are often left with a burden of debt. 

So, the question remains: Is attending BC something to be proud of?

This article isn’t meant to strip current BC students of the pride they might feel about attending what was, at one point, their dream school. But instead, it is meant to create the argument that this institution could be more picture-perfect with efforts from the administration to tackle these issues head on. Thus, as students, it’s essential to recognize and advocate for a more even playing ground for all. 

At the end of the day, no institution is perfect, but it is important to be critical of such imperfections to strive for a better future and equal opportunity for other prospective students.

November 19, 2023