Boston College Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Stephen

The academics are top notch. The courses are somewhat difficult to figure out at first depending on the subject and the workload may put some students off initially. However, the professors are more than helpful for students who are struggling and the subjects taught in school courses are interesting and engaging.

ted

good

Doris

There are quite a few big lecture halls especially the introductory courses in the sciences. Professors will not learn your name unless you give them a reason to. It is very easy to glide by without looking your professor in the eye. The courses vary in difficulty depending on the department. The sciences are pretty difficult whereas the social science classes are less vigorous.

Uyen

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.

Sam

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

Rachel

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.

Jillian

most the the professors here actually care, theyll set up office hours and give extra credit. all but one of my classes freshmen year were under 40 people, the one that wasnt was lecture style and that was only 150 people. even though BC is known for academics, most people arent nerds who study 24/7, im pretty sure the rigor and study hours are the same at most other colleges. the thing that sets it apart is the extensive core. theres a moderately large list of core courses everyone has to take. if you do well on APs/IBs youll get exempt from a lot though-i came in with 24 credits and got rid of most of my core! as a jesuit college you do need to take theology as part of the core but especially if you pair it with philosophy, its really the philosophy behind religion-its NOT shoving religion down anyones throat

Paul

I was a chemistry major, so I took many of the same classes as the really competitive pre-med students. These classes are huge lecture based classes thus making faculty interaction minimal. Most of the chemistry department never bothered to learn anything about their students. One standout was Steve Bruner. His classes always were interesting and he made an effort to remember anyone who came to visit him at his office. I also was a math minor, which I loved. I thought the math department was great. I loved each of my professors.

Court

While there are certainly some students who slack off, they're only hurting themselves. BC is a tough academic institution, and if you want to be at the top of the hiring pool or readily admissible by the best graduate/law/medical programs in the nation, then you better work-work-work during your four years here! The type of work you have depends on your major (I wrote a LOT of papers), and if you plan your time properly and manage your reading and assignments, you'll never have to miss a football game or pull an all-nighter.

Steve

Classes aren't as hard as one might think, lots of great professors, diverse classes and majors, going abroad is EXTREMELY well supported if you want to study in another country for a semester or two (I'm going to University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia next year :)))).

Megan

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.

Valeria

Depending on the classes you take (seminars, or big introductory classes) professors dont always get to know your names. Professors do respond rather quickly to emails. BC students are very competative. Class participation is very common.

Caroline

professors know your name if you want them to know your name. the size of classes vary from 200 kids to 5 kids which i found was great. studying is necessary at BC, but doing so every night is not common. being prepared for class discussion is always expected, and participation is highly desired by professors. I can't think of a class i thought to be unique, but my favorite class was Media, Law and Society. I loved the professor who taught it and the class was extremely interesting. I majored in Communications and minored in History. both departments were great and very helpful in directing me through courses over the years. BC is also extremely helpful in finding their students jobs and internships

Chris

Class size ranges from 300 to 10. Students are very competitive, and most come from a high-level high school in which the student is used to getting straight A's (therefore they expect the same in college). Students have intellectual conversations outside of class but often times it's just to make themselves seem smart in front of others, most likely out of insecurity so that they can tell themselves that even though they don't get perfect grades, they're still smart. I've been taking core classes so far and none have been unique.

Christine

Some classes are good and some just plain suck. You'll find that at any college. The PEPs on the UGBC website are great to read. Students really try to give a clear view of what a class or professor is like. The math department is pretty dry, but there are a few shining professors that you will want to take for every class. They are working to change the curriculum for education and math majors which will be golden for the future, because the math major is pretty darn difficult. Some classes like Capstone and PULSE really allow you to bond with your professors. The core requirements sometimes are a real damper, like the history, but it does force you to take a class that you would normally overlook which adds to the Jesuit education.

Chris

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)

Bianca

Academics at BC are what you want them to be. There are a variety of classes to chose from, and depending on what you major in, you may find yourself in a 300 person lecture hall or a discussion setting with ten students. Most students have a combination of big and small classes. Depending on your major, your academic experience differs. Those enrolled in the premed program have twice as much class time as other students and find themsleves in a competive environment. However, for many other majors the experience is more centered on learning, especially from eachother. However, regardless of your major, students are expected to work hard.

Dan

Academics are what you make of them. Some people take really hard classes, and some people can pull off close to a 4.0 with almost no work. I was in the pre med program for a while, which was really competitive and classes were extremely difficult. The major classes freshman year (introductory courses) will have 150+ students, but most have about 20 students. The vast majority of kids here follow the "work hard, play hard" mantra and are smart (they have to be to get into BC). However, while the students here are bright, this isn't Tufts or Harvard, and you won't get into conversations about U.S. foreign policy at a party.

Morgan

Depending on your program, academics are very challenging. Some majors are easier, and one can get away with and do well with minimual work. The pre-med and business programs tend to be more challenging, and these students can be found in the library at all hours of the night. As a finance major, I am in the library everyday for 4-7 hours. Students do have intellectual conversations out of class, often about politics. People want to learn from their peers, and students go to events when speakers are brought to campus or there is an opportunity to learn out of the classroom.

katie

The academic workload at BC is pretty tough, but of course that depends on your major. Professors are pretty willing to help students and for the most part want them to do well. I am in the School of Education and a Human Development major, which is considered easy(for the most part true). This department has a lack of good professors and I look for challenging but rewarding classes outside of my major.

Andy

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.

Regina

There is a lot of core which is good and bad, because you graduate with a lot of knowledge in many different fields, but it limits your exploration process to see what you want to major in. There is a lot of participation required, mostly in smaller classes, but in the seminars it is usually digital participation. Through the semester you at least have one group project which is also good and bad, because you get to meet people, but it is time consuming.

Jess

Freshman year you will definitely take a few small classes (15-20 students) where the professor will know your name. even in 300+ person lectures, some teachers are very good at getting to know each and everyone of their students. the biology department is pretty good, but extremely demanding. if you are a bio major, and especially are in the pre-med program, it is nearly impossible to study abroad during the academic year, but there are tons of awesome summer programs in all areas and all over the world. to fill my fine arts requirement, i took a 3 week drawing course in venice, italy, which was an amazing experience

Alla

Awesome!!! This is my favority part of Bc.

Charlie

The Academics are challenging. There are many places to study, you can go to one of the libraries, study lounges or the Chocolate Bar. We tend to have intellectual conversations.

Frances

Some classes I honestly don't really care about. If I'm going to double major in music I could care less about my survey to bio class. No offense to the bio professor, but bio is just not my forte. I think this year I have only been focused on fulfilling my core requirements and have not really found any classes that were absolutely awesome. I don't spend time with professors, or TAs and I'm just trying to get by with decent grades so I can move on to more interesting classes.

Andy

I've found that BC students are not very competitive, in that they are always open to help you, or form study groups to prepare for exams. In general, the classes are small, and the professors are definitely there for you, but you may have to put in a little but of effort. I find professors love it when you go to their office hours, and hence they are very helpful when you are there.

Dave

Once you declare your major and move to upper level courses, you move away from large lecture hall style classes and classes become more friendly.

Carson

You rarely have to take a large lecture after freshmen year, so you always know your professor's name. My favorite classes are the ones i take for my major. My least favorite are the core classes that we have to take.

Kaitlin

BC is a place where you can make the most out of it if you want to. There are some outstanding teachers here but there are always some classes that bore you to death that you are required to take. Students here are serious about their school work, but they get it done in and seem to let it go. It's up to you if you want to take a class in a big lecture hall or one with just 30 students. In the smaller classes participation is almost always required and attendance is usually taken.

Martha

I have taken some great classes at BC, but I have also taken some that seemed like a waste. Though I like the idea of a core curriculum, I wish that in some of the areas of study there were more interesting classes that counted towards it. Depending on the way in which professors like to teach, class can be very engaging or pretty dry. There are many options to take smaller, more intimate classes, which i find easier to be engaged, but at the same time I have had some amazing lecture professors. I actually chose history as a major because the history classes that I had taken freshman and sophomore year were the most interesting and captivating classes that I had taken in college. I looked forward to going to class to learn, in both large lecture settings, and smaller classes with more personal interaction and discussion.

Harry

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.

Chris

The classes at BC are fine for the most part. Other then some teachers being brought in at way to young of an age and making an ass of themselves by trying to pretend like they know more than they do. The academics is really the only good thing about this school. As long as you get a few more classrooms your all set. The Networking here is better than anywhere in the country.

Elizabeth

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.

Dylan

The majority of the professors here are very good. There are many that are incredibly good at their subject and aren't condescending about it. They take the time to get to know your name and who you are, if you're willing to put a little bit of effort into it. The only downside is that, as a freshman, you get shafted for the upperdivision classes. The really good and popular ones are always full by the time you go to register, so you're left kind of hanging.

Andrew

The academics are good. The class sizes are rarely huge, so it is easy to get to know your professors. The one problem I have with academics at BC is that at times, you are just expected to just take your professors word for it on certain things. You can take classes that are geared toward a profession and you can take classes just for the sake of learning. They require 5 classes per semester, while most schools require 4. You get a chance to take more electives that just interest you.

Ally

Professors are very nice and helpful, classes vary in size.

Mike

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.

Cody

The classes here are generally taught by professors, however some are taught by grad-students,and a majority of them don't speak English. The professors here do care about their students and they make themselves available through office hours. Most students don't spend time with their professors out of class freshman year because the big lectures make it hard to get to know them. BC is a liberal school so in turn students are required to take certain classes as part of the core. This can seem restricting at times because it differs students from taking classes they may be interested in taking so that they can fulfill the requirements.

Kate

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).

Andrew

Professors are either excellent or terrible, there is very little "middle ground."

Kyle

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?

Taylor

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.

Tristan

Professors generally know you and care about you. Opportunities exist to take small classes and large ones, and most of the big lecture classes are supplemented with weekly discussion groups. Students are very competitive. Prof's do spend time with students outside of class.

Tony

I actually have a midterm in a few hours so I will have to stop here I hope you appreciate the answers I have given, good luck with your survey.

Abby

The only advice I have for choosing classes, is check the PEPs on the teacher first. Students can log on and rate their teacher and tell you their strengths, weaknesses, how hard the class is and how much work you usually have to do. It's a great tool, and I use it every time I have to choose my classes. They can be found at http://ugbc.org/peps.php .

Claire

Professors are genuinely interested in the welfare of their students, they want you to succeed. BC students are generally very academically focused, and there is a wide range of unique classes to choose from. The core curriculum is a great way to ensure that each student experiences an array of academic interests and options.

Kristin

some professors know my name, you have to make an effort. least favorite - history of evolution how often do students study - very often, but bc students also procrastinate class participation - yes but sometimes the people who participate can dominate a class and not allow the rest of the students to answer intellectual conversations outside of class - from what ive seen, yes competitive - YES. unique class - peace or war major - sociology department has been very helpful with my declaration professors outside of class- no bc's academic requirements - i'm okay with the core curriculum education is for learning for its own sake

john

Most professors know your name, study times vary on a student to student basis, class participation is a must, music department is small but quaint.

Casey

The Theater department at Boston College is like a close-knit family. Everyone works together on a daily basis. A lot of people think that BC students are just at this school to get a good job in the future. Worse however, is the idea that BC professors and its curriculum aid that desire. All I can say is that the first day of one of my classes, my professer said, "who the hell cares about getting a job? Just do what you love. Find your calling here."

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