What is it Like to Attend Boston College?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Lisa is a New York City tutor specializing in French tutoring, LSAT prep tutoring, Essay Editing tutoring, and more. She graduated from Boston College in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Check out her review of her school:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Lisa: Boston College (BC) is located in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Boston. The campus is gorgeous and is in close proximity to downtown Boston; there is a T stop (the nickname for Boston’s transit system) located at the foot of campus with several other T stops nearby. BC also runs its own shuttle bus service between the main campus and its Newton campus (which houses the law school, as well as some freshman dorms) and another shuttle bus service down Commonwealth Avenue, which will take you to nearby restaurants and the aforementioned T stations. Because of the many public transit options, you really don’t need a car. I would advise against bringing one since parking is pretty limited. The area around the campus is safe.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Lisa: Professors genuinely care about their students. BC is a medium-sized school with some large lectures, so students usually do need to take the initiative in developing a relationship with their professors and teaching assistants by going to office hours. BC also offers small seminars where I think it is easier to develop a relationship with a professor. Some professors invite their classes to their homes for dinner in order to get to know their students better.

BC also offers academic advisers who help you choose your major and make sure you’re staying on track to meet all of your requirements for graduation.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Lisa: When I went to BC, students were guaranteed on-campus housing for three years with some exceptions (members of the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Program, athletes, and perhaps nursing students were given four years). I believe BC’s ultimate goal is to provide on-campus housing to students all four years. Dorms vary in terms of size and age with the newer dorms tending to be nicer. Overall, I think the dorms are pretty nice-- albeit somewhat smaller than dorms at other schools. Also, freshmen live on either the main campus or on Newton campus (about five minutes away by BC shuttle). Students take pride in their freshmen housing, with most Newton residents believing Newton is the better option, and vice-versa.

There are also several cafeterias on campus and Campus Dining Services really works hard to serve good, healthy food. Considering the fact that it is mass-produced, I think the food is pretty good at BC. Dorms for upperclassmen tend to have their own kitchens.

BC is a very friendly and social school. When I went there, football dominated campus social life in the fall, which, if you were a sports fan, was a great way to bond with fellow students.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Lisa: The Carroll School of Management, Connell School of Nursing, and Lynch School of Education all offer strong programs and are well-respected in their fields. The most popular majors at BC tend to be Communications and English.  I majored in Communications because it offered both journalism and pre-law focused courses. Due to its popularity, there are a broad range of Communications courses, though some classes can be on the larger size.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Lisa: There is no Greek life at BC. I personally felt that campus life did not suffer from an absence of Greek life, as there were plenty of extra-curricular activities for students to join and meet people through. BC is a Jesuit university and prides itself on shaping students to be “men and women for others.” As a result, community service-oriented clubs, such as Appalachia Volunteers, tend to be very popular with students from all backgrounds.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Lisa: As with many other schools, the Career Center is what you make of it.  They offer résumé reviews and other counseling services, but you really need to be proactive about seeking them out. Companies like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers often hire large numbers of BC graduates. In recent years, there has also been a fairly large number of BC graduates receiving Fulbright scholarships and other prestigious fellowships. BC also has a very strong alumni network.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Lisa: BC has two main libraries, the modern O’Neill and the neo-Gothic Bapst.  Both tend to be crowded during finals, but are otherwise easily accessible. There are also a few other smaller libraries on campus, but these two are the most popular. The student union is housed in O’Connell House. 

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Lisa: Boston is a great college town and is home to multiple colleges and universities, so there are young people everywhere. There are plenty of cultural, sporting, dining, and shopping options for students. Surprisingly, a lot of students head downtown infrequently and choose instead to socialize on campus or in the area directly around campus, which also has its share of entertainment options, leading many students to joke about the “BC Bubble.”

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Lisa: BC is a medium-sized school. As a result, there is a mix of large lectures (especially for introductory classes) and 10-12 person seminars. I personally liked having a mix of large and small classes.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Lisa: Health Communication with Professor Ashley Duggan was a fantastic class. It was a relatively small class (about 20 students), which enabled us to have interesting discussions about timely issues, as well as develop a relationship with Professor Duggan. Toward the end of the semester, Professor Duggan invited us to her home for dinner to get to know us better. She also encouraged us to submit research papers to regional conferences and helped us prepare for our presentations when we were selected. She was a great teacher and mentor.

Check out Lisa’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.