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Boston College

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What are the academics like at your school?

I've not had any problems with the academics - though I be a poor model to go off of. Je suis brilliant, but also incredibly lazy

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BC has quality academics, its the main reason i put up with all the bro's and stick it out. the classes range in size, but outside of the science (pre med) and business school classes, the classes get to an intimate size (10-40) after the initial, 'core' freshman year classes. Of course the professors vary, but I have met very many good ones and only a couple bad ones. Many make an effort to learn the students names, but if you reach out to them, they generally respond well. and UGBC, the student government, has an online database of student reviews for every class, which are very helpful for avoiding the bad professors. I have found my major/minor depts, history and philosophy, full of very friendly, open, accepting faculty. Many people find the core requirements annoying, but personally I didnt mind. Admittedly I got out of the majority of them with AP Test scores, but the ones I did take -first year writing seminar, sociology, and philosophy/theology -very intriguing. BC requires 2 semester of philosophy and 2 semester of theology, but you can fulfill all 4 classes by taking 1 two semester course called perspecitves, which covers all western philosophy and theology together, in context, chronologically, from plato/the old testament to nietzsche and kierkegaard, and is generally pretty easy, which is doubly good since an A in the class really means two A's per semester. highly recommend it. definitely the most painless way to get through two semesters of theology for irreligious people (which are somewhat rare at this catholic university) One major drawback: they offer virtually no theology/philosophy outside the western tradition (ie indian, chinese religions are neglected)

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Freshman year its very difficult to get to know your professors because the classes are so large. As a biochemistry major, I was in all of the basic classes that premedical students have to take, so they were held in the largest halls on campus. However, professors are very interested in their students and if you seek them out they will gladly meet with you and get to know you. By the time you are in upper level classes, professors will know you by name and stop you in the hallways to say hello. My favorite class may have been Recombinant DNA Technology with Professor Hoffman, who is the jolliest man with the largest mullet I've ever seen. He's an amazing professor and really challenged us to learn. My other favorite was the Challenge of Justice with Stephen Pope, which is a theology/philosophy class. He really challenged us to live consciously, which I think is a message I've learned at BC. My least favorite class? I can honestly say I have liked every class I've taken at BC so far...I guess that makes me a nerd! Students at BC are very academically motivated, and tend to spend a lot of time studying both individually and in groups. They participate in class, meet outside to discuss issues, and meet with professors. Its a very positive atmosphere, until you enter the realm of the premeds, who are incredibly cut throat and scary. I have really loved the core and I reccomend that students take full advantage of the wide array of classes you can take. I took a painting class, an Irish step class, philosophy, and my science load one semester and the liberal arts classes definitely helped me balance out my heavy science classes.

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BC is unique in that you have to fulfill a core of 15 or so classes in all the departments in order to graduate which is cool, esp for people like me who have no idea what they want to major in: it's a good way to explore your options. I haven't seen the competitive side of students but that may be because I don't see myself as being that competitive when it comes to academics, I do my own thing and try not to worry about others. In my classes, it gets painful sometimes when teachers ask for participation but other times it gets interesting. I think this happens though because you don't really have to do work to do that well in a class. I have at least 2 classes that require reading for class, I can honestly say I havent read all semester and I have a B+/A-...I don't know if its all colleges or just BC but as long as you do well on the papers/midterms/finals, it really doesnt matter what other work you did for the class, it's real easy to figure out how to get by...Signing up for classes is kind of like the housing lottery and people get shafted more than they should, Ive been through 3 regisration periods and been near the last if not the last group everytime and esp being an athlete with severe time constraints on when I can take classes, none after 1 pm, it's a real big pain in the ass. Other schools I talk to are flabergasted at the fact that athletes don't at least get first pick before the rest of their class. Luckily for us, teachers are rather lenient about letting us into their classes after they are already closed, but things don't always go as planned.

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Other than in one very large class, every professor I have had at BC has known my name. My favorite class was probably Mass Communication Theory. My professor was extremely interactive with the class, making sure that we all understood new concepts by having us discuss the material and apply it to real-life situation. Rather than simply talk at us in an hour-long lecture, the professor made the class interesting and fun. Students definitely work hard and get their studying done during the week, but they make sure to unwind and have a good time on the weekends. BC is a "work hard, play hard" kind of place. BC students have intellectual conversations outside of the classroom, but they have just as many conversations about celebrity gossip and arguments over what Boston taqueria makes the best burritos. One of my favorite things about the conversation at BC is that I can make an otherwise nerdy reference to biology while telling a story, and my friends will know exactly what I'm talking about. I am a Communications major, which is known to many as "the major of college athletes". Communications is vastly popular at BC, so many of the core requirement classes for the major are large. However, the professors still take these classes seriously and take attendance to make sure that student are not just gliding through the courses. No matter how many students are in a class, the Communications professors are still effective teachers and are still open for extra help and questions from individual students.

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Professors at BC care so much about their students. Even in huge lecture intro classes, one visit to office hours and the professor knows your name AND uses it during class. For my intro history class, I had one question on a reading and ended up spending 45 minutes in my professors office talking about my adjustment to college. My favorite class is my Studies in Poetry class; the teacher, Sue Roberts, is so engaging and treats students as equals in the exploration of poetry. She is a companion and a guide rather than a orator or lecturer. My least favorite class was Calculus, but not for the teacher or class but my own aversion to math. Everyone studies daily and usually for upwards of 3 or 4 hours. Class participation is key. Not everyone participates but the more advanced your classes get, the more people are interested, and the more inclined they are to take a stake in the class. Class readings will often spark heated and dynamic out-of-class conversations and extracurricular groups, like Amnesty international and 4Boston foster a social conscience on campus and debates over ideas of social justice. Students are competitive; everyone was the best in his or her high school and everyone seeks the same success on the college level. The competition is more encouraging and motivation than cut-throat and discouraging. The Jesuit education and the core definitely aim at love of learning rather than jobs (except CSOM).

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Professors do know your name here. However, there are the few exceptions of when you have a bigger than usual class. Even in these classes, the professors try to reach out to you. I was in a lecture class with over 300 kids and my professor knew my name and I even went to office hours. The most unique class I've ever taken is PULSE which combines the philosophy and theology course requirements. In that class, you have to volunteer off campus for 10-12 hours a week. Although it is time consuming, it is definitely worth it. For both of my majors (English and Communications), teachers are always ready. Some teachers have even given me their cellular and home numbers so I can have access to them anytime. The academic requirements appear to be overwhelming at first but they aren't too bad. I'm pursing a double major and as well as fulfilling the core requirements and I will graduate on time. The education at BC goes along with the Jesuit tradition in trying to make its students well-rounded individuals who will be ready to change the world. I believe that when I graduate I will be able to get a job at ease and I will be a more-rounded person.

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All but one professor knew my name. Most of the classes.. probably around 95% have a class size fewer than 20. There are students that are constantly studying and others that may look like they never study. However, every BC student studies. Class participation does seem quite common. Many students speak out and express their thoughts. BC is filled with intelligent students. Although there are students that appear "incompetent" at BC, it is quite probable that the students perform academically at a high level. I believe the school has such a strong academic schedule that forces students to be intellectually competent in many subjects. The education at BC is geared towards both getting a job and learning for its own sake. It appears like CSOM (the business school) gears students in getting a job, but the College of Arts and Science gears students towards learning for its own sake. I have spent time with a few of my professors outside of class. It may seem like it's a very difficult thing to do, but they're only people, knowledgeable and old (usually) people. It doesn't hurt to talk to them outside of class.

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Unfortunately, BC is a much better school than it gets credit for in the public eye. Last year, for instance, the Carroll School of Management was ranked the 14th best undergrad B-school, but this has gone relatively unnoticed. With the exception of some lectures and seminars (Intro to Bio, etc.), the classes are typically very small, with close interactions between students and teachers. Speaking from experience in the School of Management, the professors do a phenomenal job of mixing realty/experience with theory, and they absolutely take a vested interest in their students' success. As a Jesuit, liberal-arts school at heart, BC has a 15-course core curriculum that must be taken in the School of Arts & Sciences, regardless of the school in which they are enrolled. Within CSOM, there is an additional 11-course core curriculum that each management student must take (finance, marketing, accounting, etc.), regardless of their major. The mix of breadth and depth leads to some of the most well-rounded undergraduates in any business schools, and the jobs BC students are receiving reflect as much.

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for the most part classes/learning can be bullshitted away or taken seriously. if the former is the case, you're likely to play into a lot of stupid shit that goes on here, eating up some if not all the delusions of college and of BC culture. if the latter, then you're like to feel alienated from everybody and have a tough time coping with the reality of things. i think a healthy number of people try to achieve a happy medium, but it's the extreme cases that produce more interesting life events, so try it all out! the theology, philosophy, and literary courses offer a fair amount of self-questioning (we'll say continental rather than analytical) and lend themselves to good conversations, sometimes. many at BC come from high-achieving backgrounds, so most are inclined to be somewhat competitive. fortunately, there's a fair amount of denial that goes on at this school, so if you try to balance and try to think for yourself, life will be a lot simpler.

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