Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A bookworm smiling while holding a pile of books in the library.

Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Choosing the right college can be a daunting task, especially when you consider the wealth of available options. Two popular choices for students seeking quality education are Boston College vs the College of William and Mary. Let’s take a closer look at these two schools to help you make an informed decision.

A Brief Overview of Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Boston College (BC) was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The college maintains a strong Jesuit Catholic foundation, which is reflected in its curriculum and programs.

On the other hand, the College of William and Mary (W&M) was established in 1693 in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the second-oldest college in the country and has a rich history, having played a crucial role in shaping the United States during the colonial era.

One of the unique features of Boston College is its emphasis on service and social justice. The college requires all students to complete a service-learning component as part of their education, and many students participate in volunteer work throughout their time at BC. Additionally, the college offers a variety of programs and initiatives focused on social justice issues, such as the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center, which supports students of color and promotes diversity on campus.

The College of William and Mary is known for its strong liberal arts education and its commitment to undergraduate research. The college offers a wide range of majors and minors and encourages students to explore different fields of study. W&M also has a strong research program, with many opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on research projects. The college is home to several research centers and institutes, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Schroeder Center for Health Policy.

Location and Campus Comparison

When it comes to location and campus, both schools boast a beautiful and picturesque campus. Boston College covers a sprawling 1200-acre campus and is located in a suburban area close to downtown Boston. The College of William and Mary, on the other hand, is situated on a 1,200-acre campus in Williamsburg’s heart, a historic town known for its colonial charm.

Both schools provide diverse and vibrant campus experiences, with a range of extracurricular activities on offer. However, BC’s location provides more opportunities for students to take advantage of Boston’s cultural and intellectual capital, with access to museums and other educational resources. William and Mary students, meanwhile, enjoy the historical and recreational opportunities offered by the colonial-era town.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Another factor to consider when comparing the location and campus of these two schools is the climate. Boston College experiences cold winters and mild summers, while the College of William and Mary has a more temperate climate with hot summers and mild winters. This can be an important consideration for students who prefer a certain type of weather or who may have health concerns related to extreme temperatures.

In terms of transportation, both schools have easy access to major highways and airports. However, Boston College is located closer to public transportation options, including the subway and bus systems, making it easier for students to explore the city without a car. The College of William and Mary is more car-dependent, with limited public transportation options, but the campus is pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate on foot or by bike.

Admission Requirements: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

The requirements for admission to both colleges are highly selective. BC looks for high-achieving students with strong academic profiles, with particular attention paid to the student’s academic record, essays, and extracurricular involvement.

W&M is also selective but focuses on more than just academic prowess. They seek intellectually curious and well-rounded students who show leadership qualities and the ability to take on significant challenges. The admission committee considers several factors, including standardized test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and recommendations.

Additionally, both colleges have a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they consider the whole student and not just their academic achievements. This means that factors such as personal background, life experiences, and unique talents can also play a role in the admissions decision. Both colleges also offer opportunities for interviews, which can provide further insight into the student’s character and potential fit for the school.

Academic Programs Offered in Both Colleges

Both schools offer a wide variety of majors, ranging from the arts and humanities to the natural sciences and business fields. Boston College has a strong reputation for its pre-professional programs, particularly in business, nursing, and education. W&M, on the other hand, is well known for its strong liberal arts programs while also maintaining specialized programs in business, law, and public policy.

In addition to their undergraduate programs, both Boston College and W&M offer graduate and professional degree programs. Boston College’s graduate programs include a highly ranked law school, as well as programs in social work, theology, and education. W&M offers graduate programs in fields such as business, education, law, and public policy, as well as a highly regarded joint degree program in law and public policy.

Both schools also offer a variety of study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and cultural immersion. Boston College has partnerships with universities in over 30 countries, offering programs in areas such as Europe, Asia, and Latin America. W&M has a strong focus on language immersion programs, with options to study in countries such as Spain, France, and China.

Faculty Strengths and Weaknesses: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Both institutions boast highly qualified faculty members, who are experts in their respective fields. The faculty-to-student ratio is also noteworthy, with Boston College having a lower ratio. This means students at BC receive more personalized attention as compared to W&M.

That said, the student-faculty relationship at W&M is more collaborative, with professors taking a keen interest in students’ personal and academic growth. This relationship is further reinforced by W&M’s small class sizes, which provide students with unique learning opportunities that are harder to come by at larger universities.

Students talking about something in a room.

Another strength of Boston College’s faculty is their extensive research experience. Many of the professors at BC are actively involved in research projects, which allows students to gain hands-on experience and learn about cutting-edge developments in their fields. Additionally, BC’s faculty members are known for their accessibility and willingness to provide guidance and support to students outside of class hours.

On the other hand, William & Mary’s faculty members are known for their interdisciplinary approach to teaching. Many professors at W&M have expertise in multiple fields, which allows them to provide a more holistic perspective on complex issues. Furthermore, W&M’s faculty members are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment, which is reflected in the wide range of courses and programs offered at the university.

Campus Culture and Student Life: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Student life and campus culture are essential factors that play an integral part in any college experience. At Boston College, the campus culture is heavily influenced by the Catholic and Jesuit traditions. Students at BC are known for their strong sense of community and service-oriented approach to life.

Similarly, William and Mary promote a sense of community that is shaped by the prestigious and academic nature of the institution. The emphasis on academic excellence is reflected in the student’s dedication to learning, and the arts and sports are an essential part of campus life.

Moreover, both Boston College and William and Mary offer a wide range of extracurricular activities that cater to the diverse interests of their students. At Boston College, students can participate in over 200 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and service organizations.

Similarly, William and Mary offers more than 400 student organizations, ranging from academic and professional groups to recreational and social clubs. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and explore their passions outside of the classroom.

Sports Programs Offered in Both Colleges

Sports play an integral part in the college experience at both institutions. Boston College is notable for having strong NCAA Division 1 sports programs, particularly football, and basketball, while William and Mary offers a wide range of varsity sports.

Both schools have sporting facilities to cater to the development of athletes, with William and Mary having notable facilities like the Millie West Tennis Facility and the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center and Boston College having the Alumni Stadium, Conte Forum, and Silvio O. Conte Forum.

Sports equipments placed next to each other.

Additionally, both Boston College and William and Mary offer opportunities for students to participate in intramural and club sports. These programs allow students of all skill levels to engage in sports and physical activity, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Boston College offers intramural sports such as flag football, soccer, and volleyball, while William and Mary offers club sports such as ultimate frisbee, rugby, and sailing.

Prestige and Ranking Comparison

When it comes to prestige and ranking, both schools have continuously ranked highly. Boston College is regarded as a highly selective institution, with high graduation rates and graduates that are highly sought after by top employers. The College of William and Mary is similarly respected, with high rankings in various categories. It is often cited as one of the top 10 public liberal arts colleges in the country.

However, there are some differences in the areas where each school excels. Boston College is known for its strong business and finance programs, with its Carroll School of Management consistently ranked among the best undergraduate business schools in the country. On the other hand, the College of William and Mary is renowned for its strong programs in government, public policy, and international relations, with its government department being one of the oldest and most respected in the country.

Career Opportunities and Placement Rate: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

After graduation, students have access to several career opportunities. Boston College offers a range of job opportunities to graduates, primarily focused on their pre-professional programs such as business and nursing.

William and Mary has a well-established Career Center, which works with students, preparing them for various job assessments and providing career advice. The career center has partnerships with top organizations such as Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, and various government agencies.

Additionally, Boston College boasts a high job placement rate for its graduates, with over 90% of students securing employment within six months of graduation. This is due in part to the strong alumni network and connections that the university has with various industries.

William and Mary also has a high job placement rate, with over 95% of graduates securing employment or enrolling in graduate school within six months of graduation. The Career Center at William and Mary plays a significant role in this success, providing students with the necessary resources and support to achieve their career goals.

Cost of Attendance, Financial Aid, and Scholarships Comparison

College tuition is often a significant consideration for prospective students and their families. Boston College and William and Mary are both private institutions, meaning the cost of attendance is higher than public colleges. Both schools offer excellent financial aid and scholarships to deserving students. Prospective students should research the schools’ financial aid packages and other forms of support to find what works best for them.

Scholarship application form with keyboard and pen


It is important to note that the cost of attendance at Boston College and William and Mary varies depending on the program of study. For example, the cost of attendance for a graduate program in business at Boston College may be higher than the cost of attendance for an undergraduate program in liberal arts at William and Mary. Prospective students should research the cost of attendance for their specific program of interest.

In addition to financial aid and scholarships, both schools offer work-study programs to help students offset the cost of attendance. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus, allowing them to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. Students should consider work-study programs as an option when researching financial aid and scholarships.

Alumni Network: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Networking opportunities and the potential for alumni connections are valuable resources for graduates. At Boston College, the alumni network is extensive, with truly determined, highly successful graduates who offer excellent mentorship opportunities and networking possibilities.

Similarly, the College of William and Mary has a vast alumni network spread across the country and around the world, which provides graduates with valuable lifelong connections.

On the other hand, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has a unique alumni network that is known for its diversity and inclusivity. With over 500,000 alumni worldwide, UCLA graduates have access to a wide range of industries and professions. The UCLA Alumni Association also offers various programs and events that allow alumni to connect and give back to the university community.

Campus Amenities and Facilities: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Amenities and campus facilities are central to any college experience. Boston College has excellent sports facilities, such as the Conte Forum, state-of-the-art research and technology center, and modern dormitories.

William and Mary offer students a diverse range of indoor and outdoor facilities, including the 300-acre Lake Matoaka, where students can sail, kayak, or canoe. They have also recently invested over $1 billion in campus infrastructure improvement projects.

Additionally, Boston College has a wide range of dining options, including multiple dining halls and cafes, as well as a farmer’s market that offers fresh, locally sourced produce. William and Mary also has a variety of dining options, including a food truck that serves international cuisine and a student-run coffee shop that sources its beans from fair trade cooperatives. Both schools prioritize sustainability and offer composting and recycling programs to reduce waste on campus.

Student Organizations, Clubs, and Activities Offered in Both Colleges

Both institutions provide an array of student organizations, clubs, and activities that cater to many interests. Boston College offers academics, arts, culture, service, faith, and many other organizations, such as Club Field Hockey, BC Investment Club, and the Islamic Society of Boston College.

William and Mary has over 500 student organizations, including the William & Mary Global Film Festival Student Committee, Chess Club, and Mandarin Language Association.

Group of students walking around the campus.

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, Boston College also offers a variety of student-run publications, including The Gavel (a news and opinion website), The Classic (a literary magazine), and The Laughing Medusa (a feminist publication). These publications provide students with opportunities to develop their writing and editing skills, as well as to express their opinions and creativity.

At William and Mary, students can participate in a number of academic clubs and organizations, such as the Neuroscience Club, the Economics Club, and the Pre-Law Society. These groups offer students the chance to explore their academic interests outside of the classroom, connect with like-minded peers, and gain valuable experience and knowledge in their chosen fields.

Diversity on Campus: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

When it comes to campus diversity, both schools have made significant strides in recent years. However, Boston College lags behind William and Mary in terms of diversity, with a smaller percentage of minority students enrolled.

The College of William and Mary, on the other hand, is committed to increasing diversity on campus, with students from over 50 countries and a diverse student body that represents over 30 states.

William and Mary’s commitment to diversity is not just limited to their student body. The college also has a diverse faculty, with professors from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This diversity in the faculty brings a unique perspective to the classroom and helps students broaden their understanding of different cultures and perspectives. Additionally, the college offers various programs and initiatives to support and promote diversity on campus, such as cultural clubs, diversity training for faculty and staff, and scholarships for underrepresented students.

Study Abroad Opportunities Offered by Both Colleges

Studying abroad is a valuable opportunity for students to experience new cultures and gain a global perspective. Boston College has an extensive study abroad program, with more than 130 partner institutions worldwide, and students studying in Europe, Asia, and South America.

William and Mary also offers a variety of study abroad programs that allow students to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a firsthand understanding of international issues. The College has over 90 study-abroad partnerships in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Both Boston College and William and Mary offer study abroad programs that cater to a wide range of academic interests. Students can choose from a variety of programs, including language immersion, internships, and research opportunities. These programs provide students with the chance to develop their language skills, gain practical experience in their field of study, and make valuable connections with professionals in their industry. Additionally, both colleges offer financial aid and scholarships to help students cover the costs of studying abroad, making it an accessible opportunity for all students.

Research Opportunities Available: Boston College vs the College of William and Mary

Both Boston College and William and Mary are committed to promoting research and scholarship in various fields. Boston College has established research centers, such as the Boston College Irish Institute and the Center for International Higher Education, to research and find solutions to pressing global issues.

W&M also fosters a research culture through its undergraduate research program, which allows students to take part in faculty-guided research projects. Additionally, the College has several research centers, including the Schroeder Center for Health Policy and the Center for the Study of Law and Society.

Three students walking outside a building.

Furthermore, both Boston College and William and Mary offer opportunities for students to present their research at conferences and symposiums. Boston College hosts an annual research day, where students can showcase their work to the community.

William and Mary also has a research showcase event, where students can present their research to faculty, peers, and industry professionals. These events provide valuable experience for students to communicate their research findings and network with others in their field.


Overall, Boston College and the College of William and Mary offer a high-quality education and campus experience to their students. The schools provide students with unique opportunities and resources to explore and grow both academically and personally. Choosing between the two ultimately depends on what a student is looking for in their college experience.

Prospective students should consider the factors discussed above, and determine which college best aligns with their interests and aspirations.

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