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College notebook: Boston College proud of decline in applications

Published: March 7, 2013
Section: News


Boston College will continue to see fewer applications as they uphold their decision to include a supplemental essay. BC received 9,000 fewer applications during the last year as compared to the previous year, accounting for a 26 percent decrease, according to The Boston Globe.

Generally, schools across the country attempt to increase the buzz about their school, in order to increase the number of students that are interested in applying. Other universities in the area such as Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts have all seen increases in applications. At a faculty meeting Thursday, Brandeis President Fred Lawrence celebrated the highest number of undergraduate applications for the 2013-2014 school year: nearly 9,500 to date this year.

Colleges have adjusted admissions requirements for different reasons, but rarely is the intent to narrow down the applicant pool as in Boston College’s case. The director of undergraduate admissions at BC John Mahoney told the Boston Globe, “This was a deliberate move on our part,” adding, “We’re trying to make good decisions.”

The school’s decision is not meant to decrease the quality of applicants, but rather to weed out applicants that are not serious about attending the school. With the reduction of application requirements and the ability to apply to schools easily online and through the Common Application, students sometimes apply to dozens of schools in an attempt to maximize their options. Because rankings and admissions statistics are prevalent on the Web, students are applying to as many schools as possible.

The decrease in applications to BC comes after a long swell of applications between 2004 and 2011, during which applicants increased by 52 percent, according to The Boston Globe. The school, however, is concerned because the yield rate declined from 32 to 23 percent during this period.

Boston College accepts the drop in applicants as beneficial. The admissions director has stated that the quality of applicants and accepted students has not decreased with the number of applications. Ursinus College in Pennsylvania has seen a familiar trend after weakening admissions requirements before strengthening them in order to receive fewer applicants but the same quality of student. Boston University has decided to go in the opposite direction by eliminating the supplemental essay and SAT Subject Test requirements, which resulted in a 20 percent rise in applications, according to The Globe.