Visiting Colleges in Beantown

You’ve heard that Boston is a college town. You know that there are several colleges in Boston. Did you know there are 31 colleges in Boston proper? And over 50 colleges in the Boston area? With all those colleges, it’s not surprising that there are over 240,000 students living in the Boston area.

We visited only four of those colleges in February: Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Boston College. We listened to admission counselors give hints on how to write the impending essay and watched our tour guides walk backward. Here’s what we learned.

Boston University, located near Kenmore Square, Fenway Park, and the Citgo sign, is very much an urban campus with its old and new buildings scattered along Commonwealth Avenue, just a block from the Charles River. The campus is long and linear, its 33,000 students melding with other pedestrians as they run from class to class. The school offers more than 250 programs of study, and many of BU’s 18,000 undergraduate students graduate with a dual degree. The university ranks ninth in the nation for its large contingency of international students from more than 140 countries.

Only a few blocks away, Northeastern University is in the museum district, just down the street from the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. Another urban college, Northeastern’s strategically placed buildings hide the city around it, creating more of a campus feel. Northeastern focuses on “global experiential learning,” where its 16,000 undergraduate students participate in two to three co-ops or internships in the U.S. or abroad to gain real world experience before they graduate.

Brick buildings comprise the hilltop Tufts University (founded in 1852) in Medford where you can see the Boston skyline without actually being in it. Cambridge is just a few minutes walk down the road; hop on the subway, and in less than half an hour, you’re walking along the Freedom Trail. We learned that Tuft’s 5200 undergraduate students are engaged in the search for knowledge, that they are leaders and take action in the world around them.

The million dollar steps at Boston College help keep this college’s student body in shape as they climb the hill to attend classes in the old stone buildings. BC is located in Newton, another short subway ride from Boston. At BC, students hold doors open for each other, community is important, and most of the 9100 undergraduate students go to the sports events. According to the students we spoke to, service is so important to BC students that participating in a service project can be very competitive.

Next stop, more colleges on the East Coast.

Trip taken February 2013.

All photos used under Creative Commons.

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