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Boston College

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What are the academics like at your school?

Professors know your name as long as it isn't a huge lecture. My favorite class is hard to pick because of the nature of my major I'm in classes with my friends a lot so a lot of them are fun. Academically speaking my most interesting class was a class called Composition Performance Workshop. We were able to do something I'd never thought of before in creating art performances from phrases or we did a lot of work on a trial that happened a few years ago. My least favorite class was Survey of Biology because I just couldn't grasp how much material there was and i struggled to keep my GPA up as a result. It was just frustrating because I attended every class and paid attention and took good notes and it just didn't pay off however the teacher was great it was just the nature of the class and the way that it was organized that was difficult for me. Students study a fair amount, of course there is procrastination like you'll find everywhere but when it comes down to it people do study when they need to. Class participation is common, it definitely depends on the nature of the class and the teacher. I like discussion based classes and I've had a couple of those and the teachers are always willing to answer questions and frequently ask us questions in class. BC students definitely have intellectually based conversations outside of class. Sometimes its a continuation of something that you discussed in class or telling your friends about it or some kind of discussion when thinking of an essay topic. Students are competitive but its not a hindering competition. I think that students are competitive with themselves as much as they are with others so they push themselves rather than having the competition push them. The most unique class I've taken I already described. I am a Theatre and a History Major. The theatre major is a very tight knit community I can go to the professors with any problem I have and they are very willing to talk to you about anything, help you find out anything you need to about jobs etc and just sit and listen. The nature of the major is very hands on so the people in the major are also very likely to all know each other quite well and become good friends. The professors in the history department aren't as easy going by nature of the subject but are all very welcoming and willing to go over things with you and answer any questions that you may have about the material or any given grade. I spend time with my theatre professors outside of class in rehearsal and in meetings. They come out to dinner with us sometimes to celebrate a show's opening or after a final exam we all may go get coffee. I think the academic requirements are fair I mean its a hard school to get into so the classes aren't going to be easy and the grading is definitely fair. The requirements in terms of core are sometimes hard to willingly fulfill. I think most students have one core that they really wish they could just get out of but I do think that it is important to have a well-rounded knowledge of different subjects and to explore to see what you are truly interested in. I think that you can decide for yourself whether its geared towards a job or learning. You can make it either depending on your own drive and what you're looking for. You're education will prepare you for a number of jobs but that doesn't mean that those are the jobs that you're looking for?

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BC has a very small computer science department. As a result, the professors know almost all of the students, and you will frequently have the same professor more than once in your college career. I think this is a great feature because it allows the students to form a much stronger relationship with their professors. I'm taking five classes as a senior, and I have had all of the professors at least once before. I spend most of my time in the computer lab in the basement of Fulton Hall. It is designed for the computer science majors, and there are always at least a few CS kids in the lab. This is great for working on homeworks or projects because your classmates are always there to help you if you have a question. It is also very similar to a lot of computer labs in the real world where we might end up working one day. CS majors, like most college students, have a tendency to procrastinate and leave large programming assignments until the night before. It is great to have the computer lab because everyone will be there working together and helping each other out when one of us hits a bump in the road. You can't learn computer science just by reading text books (I never even open mine), so it's great to have a place where you and your peers can learn together from one another. My only regret is that I did not discover this computer lab until the end of my sophomore year. It would have been great to know about this useful resource as a freshman. I took a year of physics as part of my "hard science" requirement for my CS major. This was the only "pre-med" class that I took at BC, and I really did not like the format of the class. It is my understanding that all pre-med classes are set up in the same way. No one actually gets As or Bs on the tests and it is all based on a curve. Thus, all of the students are competing against one another and hoping that their peers do poorly on the exams. I do not think that this is very conducive to learning. I prefer to have all of the students working together to help one another learn the material and to succeed.

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BC has a HUGE core requirement that includes like 15 courses or something like that if you don't have any AP credits. These core classes are generally pretty big and pretty boring but they really do help you narrow your focus if you have no idea what to study when you first enter college. I think one of the best programs we have is the Cornerstone classes as well as the PULSE and Perspective programs. Cornerstone classes are first year seminars that help freshmen learn about themselves and their vocation as well as learning how to navigate college. It makes students take time out to reflect about their experiences in college and think deeper about their studies. The PULSE program is my favorite class so far. It is a service-learning course that knocks out the 2 theology and 2 philosophy core requirements in one course over 2 semesters in conjunction with 10-12 hours of service. It is by far one of the most popular program that everyone tries to sign up for besides Perspectives (which also knocks out the theology and philosophy core without the service component). But PULSE is special because it connects philosophy text to current life and with the service we do in the communities around us. It was PULSE that helped me find my vocation and future career path. I can also say that every single PULSE professor is loved by their students and they care so much for their students on personal levels that I don't think other programs have. Some professors even invite students over for dinners. We have things like "Professor and Pastries" where students can just come and chat with professors over coffee and desserts. One of the complaints I have about our academic system is the academic advising. We really don't have any besides your adviser giving you the access code to register for classes, at least that's been my experience so far.

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Students can be competitive in CSOM, but I've never heard of people giving the wrong answers to classmates or ripping pages out of books in the library. (which I have heard of from friends at other schools) There is competition to do well but it is based on individual achievement and doing the best you can. Professors know your name if you want them to. Obviously if you sit in the back and never speak you will be invisible. This is college, theoretically you are here because you want to learn, some self-motivation will be required. Students study very different amounts, I probably spend 1-2 hours a week per class unless there's a big project, paper, or test. It depends on the individual and how efficiently you spend your time. The work load is definitely manageable if you stay on top of it and make sure you don't have all hard classes in one semester. Right now I'm taking a class (new this semester) called Economic Development: The El Salvador Experience. Only 10 students are in the class and we had to apply and interview, but it is amazing. We study development and El Salvador with Fr. McGowan who is great in and of himself. Then for spring break the university pays for all of us to go down to El Salvador. I'm a double major and a minor, in three schools at once. Human Development from school of ed, Economics from A&S and then a minor in Organizational Studies from CSOM. It is the perfect combination of subjects for my future plans. The univeristy has been flexible in allowing me to create this rather unique combination. I wish that I had been required to become fluent in a language - one regret about core requirements. Other than that I think it's great to experience different subjects and learn about things you wouldn't otherwise even try. People have found majors that way.

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Professors Know Your Name: if you participate, most often, yes. Some teachers actually try to get to know all their students-somewhat rare. Favorite Class/Least: Creative Writing with Kim Garcia, Spanish Culture and Civilization with Kathy Lee How Often do you study: As an English/Economics major, I have substantial reading and writing for English. Economics is mostly administered with lectures and exams. You find a balance, although a large part of it is what major you are Class Participation Common: If you want to get a good grade then participate, teachers hate awkward silence just as much as we do. Intellectual Conversation Outside of Class: Depends on who you hang out with, for the most part no. However, I would not like to spend all my free time discussing Kant and James Joyce either. Students Competitive: Depends on the major. Most are competitive but for the sake of high grades not necessarily for knowledge. Unique Class Taken: Microeconomics with Zhi Qui Major department: English is good, need to diversify literature courses beyond African American literature though. Economics is a good program but has a detached faculty. Time with Professors Outside Class: Very rare, unless you are really want to. BC's Academic Requirements: Rigorous curriculum, students balance it out by taking joke classes though. Education-Getting a job or learning:

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As an English major, I've had the privilege of having much smaller classes. While some of my core classes are 80+ students, none of my major classes have been more than 35 people. My English professors get to know all of us, especially through our writing. I love my writing classes. I get a chance to get to know the other people in the class in a way I wouldn't normally. I think the relationship with a professor is what a student makes it. There are some teachers I have put in the effort to get to know on a personal level, and those are the people I will stay in touch with once I graduate. Yet I also have professors that I've never had a personal conversation with, and don't know anything about me. But that doesn't mean that the professor never made him/herself available for me to start that conversation. I think what the classes are geared to depends on your major. CSOM's classes advance in a specific way, and are geared towards job experience. My classes, on the other hand, are more for all around development. English majors are helpful in so many fields that the experience is how you apply it in a job situation.

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No matter where you decide to attend college, you will get out of your studies what you put into it. If you choose to take easy classes and breeze through, you will probably still graduate, but you won't have much knowledge or skills to show for it. At Boston College, there are lots of opportunities to challenge yourself. In general, I found the faculty and available courses to be truly exceptional. Some academic departments are stronger than others, but I think that's probably true of most educational institutions. Boston College does have extensive core requirements, which means that students must have a certain number of credits in a variety of specific subjects (English, math, history, theology, philosophy, science, etc) in order to graduate. While this requires students to take courses they might not otherwise take, it can seriously limit your freedom to take things you're really interested in. Also, because fulfilling the core requirements often eats up a significant portion of your schedule, pursuing a double major is sometimes out of the question.

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While BC offers a challenging curriculum for the students, it's doable. You should expect several hard weeks with papers, midterms and exams, but it's not every week which helps to balance the work load out. Depending on your major, you could be on campus in class for 5 hours a day to 2 hours a day. You're required a minimum of 5 classes each semester (or the equivalent of it by the end of each year to be eligible for your freshman/sophomore/junior/senior status). The best part of academics at BC is that the professors and TAs (when you have them) are amazing. I've never and a professor I felt I couldn't approach to help me study, or go over a paper with and if you can't make it to their office hours, there's the Learning Center that offers tutoring five days a week in almost every subject. The professors and administration really like to get involved in the students life, and if you get lucky enough to get a Jesuit as one of your teachers, or advisors-you're in for an amazing experience.

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I am a Communication major, and love it. You have to take two classes that require a large research paper (25 pages), but other than that, its awesome. The Public Relations courses are great, as well as advertising and Public Speaking. I always felt comfortable seeking out teachers for help outside of class. If you combine the education opportunities at BC with the Career Center on campus, finding a decent job or internship out of college is not as tall of an order as you may think. No one ever really knows what they WANT to do, but there are so many avenues to go down as you age at BC. Studying is not all its cracked up to be...unless of course your parents still reward you for your GPA. Participating in class is always a good thing...it helps teachers distinguish you from the group. Go to class, ask questions, and turn stuff in on time. You're golden after that.

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Professors always know your name in small classes, and if you go out of your way in a big class to meet them, they'll know your name as well (just go to an office hour or two or talk to them after class). Some students have intellectual conversations outside of class, but I try to avoid them as often as possible. Students are competitive in that they want to succeed, but they aren't cut-throat, they'll usually give you a hand with a problem or something like that if you need it. The core curriculum kinda sucks, it takes a lot of electives away from you, but at the same time it does make you pretty well rounded, which isn't a bad thing. The education is not directly aimed at getting a job, but you definitely are learning things you'll need for a job at some point.

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