Impressions Of
Boston University

Academic Experience

Male Environmental Analysis and Policy Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s really competitive. It can be pretty intense sometimes. Boston University is known as one of the hardest grading schools. There’s a trend here called grade-deflation. Getting an A in a class here is much harder than it was at my previous school [I transferred from]. Classmates are usually pretty helpful and there is an environment in my major where you can ask people for help or work together in the library. I say it’s competitive because, at least in my circles, there is a lot of stress with getting decent grades. It has its pros and cons because employers know it’s a tough grading school and you learn to keep an agenda where you’re always getting work done. [See The Tab article and CBS News article where B.U. was ranked among the toughest grading in the U.S. and The Daily Free Press article, “Student Government investigates grade transparency.”]

How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. With the exception of maybe one professor, you can easily meet with them at office hours and email them questions.

Female Biology Major C/O 2022

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
My math class last semester was taught well. I had an incredible professor who took the time to know the students. She was very helpful and supportive when I was struggling. I’m not thrilled with the way the Kilachand Honors College has worked so far. It doesn’t necessarily add anything to my education that I couldn’t do by taking classes outside of my major [on my own] to be more well-rounded. It’s a requirement to take seminars freshman year, but it does constrain my schedule to some extent in terms of studying abroad or taking other classes.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very competitive in the sciences, especially in the big weed-out courses. In the honors college, and my smaller classes, it does feel more collaborative. The weed-out courses consist of a lot of pre-med students who are competitive in general and want to stand out for medical school. The curve in my classes are a little scary, so people try and be on the upper end of that.

How accessible are your professors?
I would say they are pretty accessible. You do have to advocate for yourself and reach out, especially in a large class. You have to go to office hours or email the professors if you can’t make their times, and let them know you’d like to meet.

Male Business Administration Major with concentration in Finance C/O 2020

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
In the business school at BU, the way it works is your first two classes you take a bunch of business classes with liberal arts classes sprayed in. The past year and a half the majority of the classes I’ve taken have been in finance, accounting, business information systems, operations, and stuff like that. This upcoming semester and the semesters before I graduate the classes will be predominantly Finance classes. Within all the business classes I’ve taken, there’s a lot of reading and a lot of case analyses, and in the finance-heavy courses, there are more problem sets.

Is there anything you feel the business school does especially well or poorly?
I think the professors they have at the business school are some of the best in the country. Every professor I’ve come in contact with has either come from a superior institution or had a tremendous career outside of the classroom, so they bring in a cool perspective when you take their class. I also think another thing the business school does well is there’s a lot of team collaboration, so that really helps when you start interviewing for jobs and internships [because you have examples of working in groups to talk about]. At one point in the business school, you do a project called [The Cross Functional Core Project] where you take four business classes while simultaneously being placed in a team of ten that has to develop an [extensive] business plan by the end of the semester and present it. That tends to be a busy semester, but I think that type of experience becomes valuable in interviews and understanding the different aspects of starting a business.

Social Opportunities

Male Environmental Analysis and Policy Major C/O 2019

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
I’m 22 so I go to the bars. You can always go see a Bruins, Celtics, or Red Sox game. There are also student discounts at museums, so I’ve done that. There is a house party scene in Allston, which is a town adjacent to BU, but I haven’t participated in it very much. It’s not as good as what you’re going to get at other schools. Those are hosted by Greek life and by clubs.

What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Just the weekends because of class, so Friday and Saturday.

What’s an alternative to going to a bar that you like for a night out?
I like to go to concerts. In the Fenway district there is the House of Blues which is pretty good. When they’re playing, I like to go to the Red Sox games. There are plenty of alternatives on and off campus.

How happy are you with the weekend options at BU? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m satisfied. If I could get out of the city more, I’d love to do that. Anyone coming to BU should be ready for an urban school experience. You’ll be watching your friends who go to state schools and sometimes be disappointed that BU isn’t like that. I wish I had those opportunities for places with a little more privacy, but I don’t.

Male Business Administration Major with concentration in Finance C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
A lot of people go to bars in Allston, which is pretty fun, and a lot of people will go to bars in Faneuil Hall and the more downtown area of Boston. It’s cool because when you get old enough it’s a mix of different type of nightlife experiences and a mix of people. You get a lot of different options that you get. As far as being a freshman, there are parties that happen in the Allston neighborhood at Greek life houses and off-campus houses.

 

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I’m decently familiar with Greek life because I have friends who are part of Greek life. Some of my best friends are involved in Greek life and they like it because they can form relationships, but it is by no means a necessary facet to the life of a student. It’s not that big of a deal.

Male Physics Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Me personally, I don’t go out too much. I prefer staying in. I’ll have a relaxed, small gathering in a quieter environment with a few friends as opposed to going out to frat parties. I haven’t gone out to bars or anything because I’m not 21. Once I turn 21 I’ll definitely go out to bars more often.

Greek life exists at BU, but is not big in the sense that if you’re not part of it you feel like you have to be a part of it. It is there, and a lot of people go out to the frats. I went to frat parties probably eight or ten times my freshman year. I was lucky in that I knew somebody on my baseball team who was in a frat, so I was able to get in through him. If you don’t know anybody in the frat it can be very difficult to get in.

What do you and your friends like to do together?
Typically, we’ll hang out and watch a sports game or a movie. The Red Sox are right next to campus, so when it’s baseball season we’ll go to a lot of Red Sox games because you can get $9 tickets with a student ID. Every once in a while, we’ll go into the city, maybe go to the public library, or just go explore and eat food that’s not in the dining hall.

Campus Culture

Male Environmental Analysis and Policy Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s good. It’s pretty bar-heavy from my experience, but I know it’s much more varied for other people. It’s a very diverse school and there are a lot of different niches that you can fit into here. You can pick out your social scene because of that. [BU’s undergraduate population is about 10% Hispanic, 3% Black, 42% White, and 12% Asian.]

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix on campus?
I thought my previous school mixed a lot more in terms of race. I couldn’t speak to the experience as far as sexual orientation. Even though I would say the school is very accepting of diversity in general, it’s not very mixed. Most of my friends at my old school were White and here I hang out with a lot more Asians.

Male Business Administration Major with concentration in Finance C/O 2020

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s very much what you make of it. You could choose to join Greek life and throw yourself in that, you could join a club or a club sports team and focus on that, or you could do a mix of both. When you’re older you can do stuff in Boston. There is such a mix of options that it’s about what you’re most interested in. I really like that there is no pressure to go one way or another.

How would you describe the student body?
Extremely diverse. BU prides itself on its diversity. If I had to define the student body and university in one way, it would be diverse. [About 37% of the student body is White and 22% are international students. Socioeconomically, 32% of students come from the top 5% and 4.2% of students come from the bottom 20%.]

Non-Binary Undeclared on Major in C/O 2022

Do you feel more so like you’re a resident of Boston than a student at BU?
No, I  feel that as much as BU is integrated into Boston, there is a divide between being a student or a resident of the city. There are lots of things going on in the city that students don’t know about.

How accepted have you felt as a Muslim student?
I have felt fairly accepted. It’s definitely an improvement from home where there wasn’t a comfortable space. Here, people don’t act disrespectfully and will accommodate me a lot of times, which is great. This has definitely been an improvement.

How strong is the LGBTQ community on campus?
It’s pretty strong, not in terms of organizing, but in terms of being present and proud. Everyone is pretty open, but I haven’t seen many [LGBTQ] organizations and haven’t been to many events because I’m not super into those. Overall, it’s pretty loud and proud.

Boston, MA

Pros of

  • “You’re really close to everything. Fenway Park is right next to you and there is good nightlife nearby. You’re in the middle of Boston, which is cool.”
  • “There is public transportation less than a block from campus.”
  • “It has everything you would look for in a city. There are the big sports teams, historic landmarks, and pretty good food.”
  • “The city has so many schools and so many college students.”
  • “It’s easy to get to if you have to fly, which is really nice.”

Cons of

  • “It’s very cold and the winters are brutal.”
  • “Sometimes people have had trouble transitioning into a big city if they come from a smaller area. I got lost a lot when I first came to campus, so learning to navigate it can be difficult.”
  • “If you wanted to have a car, it’s not the best place to have a car given that the weather will hurt your car and there isn’t a ton of parking.”
  • “It’s expensive.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Biology Major C/O 2022

What is something you wish you knew about Boston University before entering as a freshman?
You really have to reach out for yourself. You have to be willing to take that step to be successful, especially in large courses. Know the transition isn’t as difficult as it sometimes may seem. The first couple of weeks are the hardest but you will get settled and meet great people, and it’ll all work out.

What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Try to get into more than just the dorm they show you, and try to meet professors in the department you may be interested in. It’s a good way to get an idea of what your experience might be. Try and explore the city as well so you know if it’s something you like doing.

Male Business Administration Major with concentration in Finance C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Boston University before entering as a freshman?
This is more for me personally. My first year and a half I limited myself to only staying around campus, but there is so much to the city and around campus. I wish I started to explore the other areas around campus, like Brookline and Allston, because I really enjoy them now.

What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I hear that the campus tour focuses more on East Campus, which is the Kenmore and Fenway area, and they don’t go much into the Fenway area. If I were a prospective student, I would make sure I hit West Campus because I think that’s the most popular area to live freshman year and even all four years. I’d also check out Brookline because, in my opinion, that is the coolest area to hang out in or potentially live in.

Non-Binary Undeclared on Major in C/O 2022

What is something you wish you knew about Boston University before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew it was important to meet your advisors to build rapport when you first get here. It’s important to have that confidence and relationship with the advisors because it makes it easier to navigate through, and figure out career choices and where you’re going.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Walk the entire length of Commonwealth Avenue, because I don’t think people realize how big it is until they walk the entire thing to get to class. Take your time to enjoy the sites, and know where they are.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Boston University

To Attend

  • “First and foremost, if you come into BU with any goal, you can accomplish it. The resources are there for you to do that. There’s funding in all kinds of places that you couldn’t even imagine. No matter what field you want to study, you can find a program through extracurriculars or classes.” [See Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.]
  • “You’re in Boston, which is a great place to be as a young person. There are so many college students in Boston, so there’s a lot of youth culture.”
  • “The professors are some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met in my life.”
  • “The resources as far as getting a job. It’s a great place to go for your career.” [92% of recent graduates found employment or other placement within six months of graduation.]

To Not Attend

  • “Weather. The winter’s terrible and the summer can be really humid.”
  • “If you’re intimidated by being in a large city with a lot of other students, this could be a hard thing to get over.”
  • “It’s really competitive and can feel cutthroat at times. Sometimes you’ll spend 80 hours in a week doing work and you have to wake up the next week and do it again. You have to be ready for that. You can accomplish the goals that you want, but you really have to know that that’s what you want to do.”
  • “If you don’t like big classes.” [The average class size is 27 students and there is a 10:1 student-faculty ratio.]
Notice: Boston University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Boston University.

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