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The Boston Globe



Boston College finds a way to cull the herd of applicants

How do you plan to serve others? Did you ever know all the facts but not their meaning? How has time changed your perception of something you heard for the first time? What book would you pick to explore Jesuit ideals, community service, and learning?

Boston College this year required an extra essay of no more than 400 words, answering one such question above. It was a simple act that instantly stripped away casual applicants from those who truly wanted to attend BC: Applications for its 2,270 freshman spots dropped nearly 27 percent, from 34,000 to 25,000. Many of the 9,000 applicants who disappeared were probably long shots. Many others were sure bets who really wanted to go somewhere else, tossing in an application to BC in case a preferred college didn’t come through.

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