Boston College Vs Boston University – which one is better In 2023?

There’s no shortage of schools in and around Boston, Massachusetts. More than 100 colleges and universities are in the greater Boston area. Boston College and Boston University are two of the best places that students often think about. Even though Boston College and Boston University are in the same place, the two have many differences. In this post, we’ll discuss what they have in common and what makes them different, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. So let’s start.

Let’s Take A Look…

Boston College Vs Boston University

There’s no shortage of schools in and around Boston, Massachusetts. More than 100 colleges and universities are in the greater Boston area. Boston College and Boston University are two of the best places that students often think about. Even though Boston College and Boston University are in the same place, the two have many differences. In this post, we’ll discuss what they have in common and what makes them different, so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

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Boston College vs. Boston University: Overview

Boston CollegeBoston University 
LocationChestnut Hill, MABoston, MA
Campus TypeSuburban Urban 
Undergraduate Enrollment9,92718,515
Acceptance Rate27%22%
US News Ranking37 (tie)40 (tie)
Middle 50% SAT1340-1480 (2018)1420-1540 (2020)
Middle 50% ACT31-34 (2018)32-35 (2020)
Sticker Price$78,617$77,662
Need-blind, no-loan, or meets 100% demonstrated need?Need-blind100% demonstrated needNeed-blind100% demonstrated need

Boston College vs. Boston University: A Closer Look

Location and Weather

Boston College vs. Boston University Location: Boston is home to both BC and BU, but each school has a different take on what it’s like to live there. BC is in a village called Chestnut Hill, six miles from downtown and a short train ride, or “T ride,” from the city itself. On the other hand, BU is right in the middle of the city.

About Boston: With 710,195 people, Boston is the 21st biggest city in the United States. Because of this, both BC and BU students can enjoy all the perks of attending school in a big city. Boston has teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, which are the four big sports leagues.

It also hosts world-class events like the Boston Marathon. Boston has a lot of well-known museums for students who want to learn about art, science, and history. Some museums are the Boston Museum of Art, the Museum of Science, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Symphony Hall, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays, and the New England Aquarium are two more places to visit. Students who want to see other places can take flights worldwide from the Boston Logan Airport, including direct trips to Paris and London.

Boston is not only a big city but also a college town. In addition to BU and BC, here are some other well-known schools in the city or close by:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Harvard University 
  • Northeastern University 
  • Tufts University 
  • Emerson College 
  • Brandeis University 
  • Babson College 
  • Wellesley College
  • Bentley University 
  • Suffolk University

Boston Weather: Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England right now, just wait a few minutes.” It is a great way to explain Boston’s weather. Boston has four seasons, slightly fewer bright days (200) than the average U.S. city (205), and more rain and snow. In July, the average high is about 82°F; in January, the average low is about 19°F. It can get very cold and windy in the winter and very hot and muggy in the summer.

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One of the most noticeable differences when comparing Boston University vs Boston College is size—BU has roughly twice as many students as BC.

Boston College: There are 9,377 first-year students at Boston College, and the total number of students is 14,107. The number of professors to students is 1:11, and 93% of BC’s 860 full-time professors have doctorates. BC students will generally have small classes because 48.6% of its classes have less than 20 students.

Boston University: BU is proud of its small class sizes because it is a big school with over 18,000 undergraduates. The number of teachers to students is 1:10, and 62% of classes have fewer than 20 Students. With an average class size of 27, it’s easy to spend time with one of the school’s well-known teachers, 90% of whom have a P.h.D. or a degree with the same level of education.


Boston College: BC is split into nine undergraduate and graduate schools: 

  • Carroll School of Management
  • William F. Connell School of Nursing
  • Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  • Robert J. Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
  • Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society
  • James A. Woods, S.J. College of Advancing Studies
  • Boston College Law School
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Theology and Ministry

Since the 2013-14 school year, Economics, Finance, and Biology have been the three most popular courses out of the more than 60 that Boston College offers. At BC, first-year students can choose a major at the end of their second year. However, all first-year students must finish the 15-course Boston College Core Curriculum to get a degree. This curriculum explores the arts, natural sciences, and social sciences.

The Boston Consortium is a group of select schools and universities, including Boston University and Boston College. BC sophomores, juniors, and seniors can take one elective course at Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Pine Manor College, Regis College, or Tufts University each fall and spring term if Boston College doesn’t offer a similar course.

At Boston College, a popular option is to study abroad. Half of all first-year students participate in one of the school’s more than 200 programs, which are offered in six countries and for all majors.

Boston University: BU offers 72 majors through its 11 undergraduate schools and colleges:  

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Communication
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of General Studies
  • College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College
  • Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies
  • Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College
  • Questrom School of Business
  • School of Hospitality Administration
  • Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Business Management, Marketing, Communication, and Journalism are some of the most popular fields at BU. At BU, students can pick a major at the end of their second year. BU’s core curriculum comprises liberal arts courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. These courses are meant to give students a strong intellectual base.

The Boston Consortium also includes Boston University. Full-time and part-time BU undergraduates can sign up for one class per term and cross-register for certain classes at Boston College, Brandeis University, Tufts University, Hebrew College, and MIT.

BU also has a practice of studying abroad. It was one of the first schools to offer study abroad programs, and it now has more than 100 programs in 20 countries and 30 cities.

Boston College Vs Boston University

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Boston College: Most first-year Boston College students are guaranteed campus housing for three years. The third year can be spent off campus, but 90% of grads choose to live on campus for their last year.

First-year students live in traditional rooms, while sophomores can choose their roommates and could live in either a traditional room or an apartment-style room. Seniors get the first choice when finding a place to live. Six-person “mods” flats that look like townhomes are especially popular.

Boston College also allows students to live in a living/learning community where they can meet people interested in the same things as them and work together. At BC, there are eight places to live and learn:

  • BC F1RST
  • Healthy Living
  • Shaw Leadership Program
  • Sustainability
  • Multicultural 
  • Perspectives
  • Kostka Women’s Experience
  • Seacole Scholars

Boston University:

Undergraduates at BU are guaranteed a place to live for all four years of their studies. BU has many different kinds of housing, from single rooms to suites for six people to brownstones from the 1800s. At BU, first-year students must live on campus, and three-quarters of students live on campus for all four years.

Boston University has six living/learning groups that professors lead:

  • Core Curriculum Floor
  • Core Curriculum House
  • Earth House
  • Global House
  • Kilachand Honors College Floors
  • Kilachand Honors College House

Additionally, numerous speciality communities—specific floors or houses for students with shared academic or cultural interests—reside on Boston University’s campus. Examples of a BU speciality house include:

  • Classics House
  • Music House
  • Women in Science and Engineering Upper Class House
  • Writers’ Corridor

Sports and Extracurriculars

Boston College Sports: Boston College is a Division I school playing sports like basketball and skiing. The football team and tailgating before home games are big Saturday draws in the fall. The BC hockey team is one of the best in the country. It is one of only three schools to have won five national titles, four of which came in the 2000s. Even though Boston College and Boston University are rivals on the ice, both schools have won five national titles.

Boston College Vs Boston University

Boston University Sports: BU has 12 women’s Division I sports and 11 men’s Division I sports. The games range from lacrosse to golf. Mike Eruzione, leader of the 1980 “miracle on ice” U.S. hockey team, and Brett Brown, coach of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, played sports at BU. Hockey is the main thing that brings people to BU. More players from BU have gone to the NHL than any other college or university. The BU women’s soccer team is worth mentioning because they have won three of the last five Patriot League championships.

Boston College Clubs: Boston College has intramural sports, in which BC students compete against each other, and club sports, in which BC students compete against students from other schools. BC students can join one of more than 300 student clubs outside of sports. These groups cover various topics, from baking to investing to old video games.

Boston University Clubs: At BU, more than 450 student groups cover a wide range of hobbies, from anime to knitting to acting out a trial. Also, BU has a full schedule for students, such as going to Red Sox games and movie shows. Community service is an important part of many BU students’ lives. The BU Community Service Center (CSC) comprises more than 1,500 people who put in more than 75,000 hours of service each year.

Boston College Greek Life:There are no frats or groups at Boston College. BC is a Jesuit school, and Greek life is usually not allowed because it doesn’t fit Jesuit values.

Boston University Greek Life: There are 12 fraternities and 12 sororities on the BU campus. They are a small group, but they are very busy. About 10% of first-year students at BU take part in Greek life.

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How to Decide Between Boston College vs. Boston University

Boston College is an especially strong choice if:

  • You want to attend a school with easy access to city life but a more suburban feel 
  • Saturday football games are very important to you 
  • You’re seeking a Jesuit education/want to attend a Catholic College
  • Do you prefer a smaller, tight-knit campus community
  • Greek life isn’t essential to your college experience 
  • A powerful and large (182,736 and counting) alum network is important to you
  • You plan on majoring in business—we ranked BC #14 on our list of best colleges for business.

Boston University is especially strong for students who:

  • Want to live in the heart of the city
  • Want a great school experience; BU is Boston’s largest college or university. 
  • Are career-oriented—in 2017, the Times Higher Education (THE) ranked the employability of BU alum 6th internationally and 5th in the United States
  • Are you seeking an LGBTQ-friendly community; BU is known as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly universities in the country.
  • Want to attend a school with frats and sororities but don’t want them to be an overwhelming presence on campus
  • Are interested in research opportunities—BU is categorized as a very high research activity university according to the Carnegie Classification. 

Boston College Vs Boston University


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