In a notable departure from the established tend, Boston College has seen a 26 percent decrease in applications for the class of 2017. Application numbers had been rising year in and year out, leading to a record of 34, 051 for the class of 2016. Only about 25, 000 applications have been received for this year's applicant pool. This can almost certainly be attributed to the addition of a personal statement to the application beyond the one that is required for the Common Application, officials said.
Many students enrolled at BC have expressed relief that they narrowly avoided having to write another essay in their already lengthy and emotionally draining college application processes.
BC's new supplement asks the applicants to chose between four essay topics, two of which notably describe the Jesuit ideals upon which the university bases itself. While current students are doubtlessly familiar with the ideals of service and religion that are frequently espoused, applicants may find them off-putting or simply do not know how they can be applied to their own personal statements.
Before this year, BC was rare among top universities for its lack supplemental essays beyond that of the Common Application. A BC freshman said that he only applied in the first place because there were no supplemental essays. Others said that the lack of essays was a factor in their decision to apply, but given the chance they would do it again whether they had to write the essays or not. A sophomore said that perhaps the obvious religious themes in a few of the questions may have been “off-putting” for those applicants who were not Catholics or Christians.
With the decrease in the number of applicants comes an increased likelihood that the average SAT/ACT scores and GPA of the incoming freshman class will be higher than they have been in the past, as more serious students who would not be deterred by the extra work are expected to apply. In addition, the school’s admissions counselors should theoretically be able to choose a better class based on getting to know the applicants better through their essays. The size of the class itself is not expected to differ from the approximately 2,250 that is normal. The yield, or the number of students accepted who end up enrolling, is also expected to increase with the rise in the number of serious applicants.