Boston College Admissions Statistics

Learn About Boston College and the GPA, SAT and ACT Scores You'll Need to Get In

Higgins Hall at Boston College
Higgins Hall at Boston College. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle

With an acceptance rate of 32 percent, Boston College is a highly selective university. Students will need broad strengths to be admitted: high grades in challenging courses, strong standardized test scores, and meaningful extracurricular involvement. Scores from the SAT or ACT are required as part of the application. Boston College, like hundreds of other selective institutions, uses the Common Application.

Boston College's many strengths earned it a spot among the top Massachusetts colleges and top New England colleges.

Why Boston College?

  • Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
  • Campus Highlights: Located near dozens of other Boston area colleges, Boston College's beautiful campus is distinguished by its attractive Gothic architecture, and the college has a partnership with the stunning St. Ignatius Church.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Athletics: The Boston College Eagles compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • Highlights: BC's undergraduate business program is strong, and the school was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. The university ranks among the nation's top Catholic universities.

Boston College Admissions Statistics 2017-18

For the class entering Boston College in the 2017-18 academic year, Boston College had an acceptance rate of 32 percent. Below are SAT and ACT score percentiles for admitted students.

SAT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 660 760
Math 660 730
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

If you compare SAT scores for the country's top Catholic colleges and universities, you'll see that only Georgetown University and the University of Notre Dame are more selective.

ACT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75 Percentile
English 31 35
Math 28 33
Composite 31 33

An average ACT score is about 21, so you can see that nearly all Boston College students have scores that are significantly above average. Note that the SAT is slightly more popular than the ACT among BC applicants.

Boston College GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Graph

Boston College GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
Boston College GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. See the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in at Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The GPA, sat score, and act score data in the graph was reported by actual applicants to Boston College. You can see the real-time graph and calculate your own chances of getting into BC with a free Cappex account.

Discussion of Boston College's Admissions Standards

As one of the country's top Catholic universities, Boston College sends out significantly more rejection letters than acceptances. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students, and you can see that most students who got into BC had averages of A- or higher, SAT scores (ERW+M) above 1250, and ACT composite scores above 26. Students with "A" averages and SAT scores above 1400 are most likely to be admitted. Realize that among students with mid-range scores there's a lot of red hidden beneath the blue and green. Many students whose scores and grades are on target for Boston College still get rejection letters. The graph below makes this point clear. At the same time, keep in mind that Boston College does not have minimum grade or test score requirements for admission — all students who apply will receive careful consideration.

Boston College, like nearly all highly selective colleges and universities, has holistic admissions — the admissions folks are looking at the whole applicant, not just numerical measures such as grades, rank, and SAT scores. One of the most important features of a winning application is not just high grades, but high grades in challenging courses. Boston College likes to see students with four years of math, social science, foreign language, science, and English. If your high school offers AP, IB, or Honors courses, the admissions folks will want to see that you have challenged yourself by taking those courses. The majority of successful applications to Boston College were from students who ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class.

To further increase your chances of getting accepted at Boston College, focus on having a winning essays, strong letters of recommendation, and interesting extracurricular activities. Like many top colleges, Boston College uses the Common Application, but you'll want to do more than send off a "common" application. The college requires a 400-word or shorter writing supplement in addition to the standard Common Application essay; make sure you put time and care into that additional essay to show that you are both thoughtful and seriously interested in attending BC. 

Students who have some kind of remarkable talent or have a compelling story to tell will get a close look even if grades and test scores aren't quite up to the ideal. As an NCAA Division I school and member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Boston College will be actively looking for strong scholar/athletes. 

Note that interviews are not part of the Boston College application process. 

Students with interests in studio art, music, or theater can use Slide Room to upload files of their visual or performing art. Applicants are also welcome to use the "Additional Information" section of the Common Application to draw attention to artistic skills that may not be evident elsewhere in the application.

Rejection and Waitlist Data for Boston College

Rejection and waitlist data for Boston College
Rejection and waitlist data for Boston College.

Graph courtesy of Cappex 

The graph of acceptance data may make it appear that students with "A" averages and SAT scores above 1400 are nearly guaranteed admission to Boston College. If we strip away the blue and green accepted student data, however, we see the painful reality. Many high-performing students get rejected from Boston College.

Why would the college reject a straight "A" student with high standardized test scores. The reasons can be many: perhaps the student didn't take challenging classes achieve adequate depth in mathematics or a foreign language; perhaps the application essay was generic or filled with errors; perhaps a letter of recommendation raised red flags; or perhaps the applicant's work and extracurricular history is thin and suggests little engagement outside of the classroom.

More Boston College Information

Your decision to apply to Boston College will take into account many factors other than admissions standards. You'll see that students who qualify for financial aid often receive quite sizable grants from BC. Also, the university's healthy retention and graduation rates suggest academic programs that do an excellent job preparing students to succeed.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 14,628 (9,921 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 47 percent male / 53 percent female
  • 98 percent full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $53,346
  • Books: $1,250 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $14,142
  • Other Expenses: $1,850
  • Total Cost: $70,588

Boston College Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 55 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 43 percent
    • Loans: 38 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $40,716
    • Loans: $3,607

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Biology, Communication Studies, Economics, English, Finance, History, Marketing, Political Science, Psychology
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Graduation, Retention and Transfer Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 95 percent
  • Transfer Out Rate: 6 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 88 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 92 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs:

  • Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Sailing, Skiing, Soccer, Swimming, and Diving, Tennis, Track & Field
  • Women's Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Rowing, Sailing, Skiing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Data Source: Graph from Cappex; all other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics