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Top college applicants now seek ‘academic rigor’

Colleges increasingly promote rigor over flashy amenities

Boston University has some of the swankiest student amenities around: There’s a dorm with walk-in closets and plasma TVs and a gym with a 35-foot rock climbing wall and a “lazy river’’ fitness pool that would not be out of place at a water park.

But in the school’s new recruiting brochure, those perks don’t show up until page 29. Instead, BU’s pitch to prospective students starts on page 3 with a paean to “a notoriously hard grader,’’ “one of the toughest professors you’ll ever meet.’’

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