Boston University

Boston, MA: The first thing I noticed about Boston University was the amount of grass on campus. For a school set on city streets, the sprawling campus looked like a park. Okay, a small park with buildings and roads running through it. In fact, after the hour-long tour, I took a nap on the bench-spotted lawn in front of the College of Communications. Of course, the traffic on Commonwealth Avenue and the rumbling of the “T” can be a nuisance, but after all, it is a city.

Someone once described Boston as “a city that reaches out and hugs you.” This is the second thing I noticed about BU. I was greeted with a smile at the admissions office, and even though I was late, a student graciously escorted me to the information session. Each of the four tour guides assigned to direct and separate our large group of possible applicants was amiable, knowledgeable and seemed to like their school. However, BU is the third largest independent university in America, with slightly more than 30,000 students and nearly 3,000 faculty. My tour guide, an enthusiastic sophomore from Hawaii, assured us that classes are capped at 150 students. It can be assumed that it’s easy to get lost in the system of this university, unless you are organized and self-motivated.

The city itself is one of BU’s finest attributes. It’s a small city with all the offerings of a large one. Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, Kenmore Square, a Navy and Army surplus store and IHOP are all within walking distance of campus. My tour guide also bragged that the neighborhood is the safest in Boston, with the neighbors committing only 2% of Boston’s crime.

BU’s library is extensive and the hours seem accessible. The tour guide mentioned a variety of the university’s sports several times, hockey in particular and also the rowing team which practices in the Charles River which runs alongside the campus. Although he is a member of a fraternity, the guide stressed more than once that BU was not a “go-Greek or go-home school.” The dorms are small and community bathrooms abound, perhaps this is why 60% of the students live off campus.

Two things confirmed my decision to apply to BU. The fact that it offers more classes than any small university ever could, and I could take any of these classes, no matter which college I enter, because of the Collaborative Degree Program. This was designed for us more fickle students who may not have decided exactly what we want to do. Many universities and colleges offer dual majors but still expect the student to commit to a specific area of interest. At BU I could get a degree from both the School of Hospitality Administration and the College of Engineering with a minor in classical studies. I don’t want to, but I like that option.

Anyone can send for Boston University’s brightly colored brochures, but they are designed to sell the product, so I suggest a campus visit. f

Reviewed in 1997