Boston College (visited 9/14/17)
BC’s architecture, at least in Middle Campus, consists of beautiful stone buildings. The campus tour focused mainly in this part of campus which houses most of the academics. Lower Campus houses the athletics facilities, and most of the upperclassmen live there. Upper Campus has freshmen housing. “There are a lot of steps here,” said the tour guide. “They don’t go away!”
This Jesuit college sits in Chestnut Hill on the outskirts of Boston; the last stop of the T’s red line gets students easily in and out of the city (it’s about a 25 minute ride to downtown). The tour guide said that he “didn’t come here because it’s Jesuit. I’m not even Catholic, but I’ve come to appreciate the culture and values here.” This is a highly residential and involved campus. Almost all freshmen (~99%) and 85% of students overall live on campus. Housing is so good that seniors tend to move BACK to campus if they moved off in junior year. Food is also great, according to the tour guide. They have a pastry chef who used to work at the Four Seasons, and the dining hall makes a New York Times rated steak sandwich!
This campus falls on the “smaller size of Tier 1 Research Institutions” but it’s still a liberal arts institution at heart. “We’re trained to think in different ways,” said one of the students. There are 15 core requirements but with at least 30 choices within each one. Complex Problems is a 6-credit core co-taught classes: topics include Race, Gender, and Violence and Global Implications of Climate Change. Students are ask to grapple with critical questions of global significance, looking at where they fit into those issues and what steps they may be able to take to address them. Enduring Questions classes are similar, but are paired, thematically linked 3-credit classes such as Epidemic and Disease. This used to be a small program; now they save 1000 seats for First Year students.
Students must take 2 theology courses as part of their core requirements There are plenty of options including Person and Social Responsibility Perspectives on Western Civilization. Students can enroll in the Pulse Program to fulfill this. Classes has15-20 students who do service-learning work in Boston in their choice from one of 15 or so placements. These range from GED tutoring at a Correctional Facility to suicide prevention to working in a nursing home. They connect to social justice issues and to life outside the university.
Some academics worth noting:
- The nursing school is well regarded and trains students well. They complete 7 clinicals at some of the best hospitals.
- The School of Management: Students choose up to 2 concentrations within the Carroll School; they can double major into the Arts&Sciences (but not vice versa!)
- They have a 95% acceptance rate into med school.
There are 2 traditions that bring all members of a class together: at Convocation (during orientation), students come together for the Common Read (the 2017-18 book is A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka). Students group together by Res Hall with banners and march down to the hockey arena where they hear the Common Read author speak. To book-end things, students come together again at commencement: they stay up all night and watch the sun rise from the top of the parking garage. After changing to cap and gown, they march together through the rotunda to graduation.
There is a lot of school spirit when it comes to athletics, and the teams don’t disappoint. The yearly “Holy War” football rivalry against Notre Dame draws a huge crowd. Hockey is particularly huge here: “It gets cold and dark here in the winter. What else are you going to do?” said the tour guide. They also play in the Hockey Round Robin with Northeastern, BU, and Harvard. Last year they lost in overtime to Harvard.