Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College: A Closer Look

July 17, 2023
By AdmissionSight
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Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College: A Closer Look

When it comes to choosing the right college or university, many students and their families face the challenge of deciding which institution is the best fit for their academic and personal goals. Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College rank among the top private institutions in the US, offering a wide range of programs. In this article, we will compare and contrast the key aspects of these two institutions, from their location and campus to their academic programs, and campus life.

Location and Campus

Washington University in St. Louis is located in the suburban area of Clayton, Missouri, just a few miles west of downtown St. Louis. The campus covers 169 acres and features a mix of historic and modern buildings, including the iconic Brookings Hall, which dates back to 1900. The university is surrounded by a lively community of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues, such as the St. Louis Art Museum and the Delmar Loop entertainment district.

Boston College, on the other hand, is situated in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. The campus covers 338 acres of green hills, gardens, and sports fields, and boasts an impressive Gothic-style architecture, with buildings like Gasson Hall and Bapst Library. The university is located near the scenic Chestnut Hill Reservoir and is served by multiple public transportation options.

Both universities offer a unique campus experience, with Washington University in St. Louis providing a suburban atmosphere with easy access to the city, while Boston College offers a more secluded, nature-filled campus with a short commute to downtown Boston. Regardless of location, both universities prioritize creating a vibrant and inclusive community for their students, with a wide range of extracurricular activities and events to get involved in.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered

Both Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College offers a wide range of academic programs and majors for undergraduate and graduate students. Washington University has seven undergraduate schools, including the highly-ranked Olin Business School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The university also has a respected research enterprise, with centers and institutes in fields such as medicine, neuroscience, energy, and global studies.

College students walking in the campus.

Boston College has nine schools and colleges, including the Carroll School of Management, the Connell School of Nursing, and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. The university is well-known for its strong humanities and social sciences programs, as well as its graduate programs in law, theology, and social work. Additionally, both institutions offer robust study abroad programs, research opportunities, and interdisciplinary initiatives to their students.

Furthermore, both universities offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in. Washington University has over 300 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and service organizations.

Boston College has over 200 student organizations, including clubs focused on community service, performing arts, and student government. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and explore their interests outside of the classroom.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity

Admission to both Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College is highly competitive, with acceptance rates in the low teens for most undergraduate programs. In addition to strong academic credentials, such as high school GPA, test scores, and curriculum rigor, applicants are evaluated based on other factors, such as extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated interest. Both institutions offer early decision and regular decision options for their applicants, as well as need-blind and need-based financial aid options for eligible students.

It is important to note that both Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements.

This means that applicants who have faced challenges or obstacles in their lives, or who have unique talents or experiences, may have an advantage in the admissions process. Additionally, both institutions prioritize diversity and inclusion in their student bodies and actively seek out applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

Student Body Diversity and Inclusion

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among their student bodies, faculty, and staff. Both institutions have dedicated offices and initiatives that support underrepresented and marginalized groups, such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s Center.

Group of students walking in the campus.

The student populations of both universities are diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, geographic origin, and socioeconomic background, with ongoing efforts to increase representation and access. Moreover, both institutions have strong records of fostering a sense of community and belonging among their students, through orientation programs, mentoring, and social events.

At Washington University in St. Louis, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a range of programs and resources to support students from diverse backgrounds. These include scholarships, leadership development opportunities, and cultural events. The university also has a strong commitment to promoting social justice and civic engagement, with many students involved in community service and advocacy projects.

Similarly, Boston College has a long-standing commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, with a range of initiatives aimed at creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. These include the Diversity and Inclusion Summit, which brings together students, faculty, and staff to discuss issues related to diversity and equity, and the AHANA Leadership Council, which supports students of African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. Boston College also has a strong tradition of service and social justice, with many students involved in volunteer work and advocacy efforts.

Faculty Quality and Research Opportunities

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College have highly qualified and accomplished faculties, who are engaged in cutting-edge research, scholarship, and teaching. Both institutions have numerous endowed chairs, research grants, and collaborative projects that involve students as well as faculty.

Students have access to a wide range of research opportunities, including laboratories, workshops, field experiences, and internships, as well as funding and mentorship resources. Moreover, both institutions have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research and partnerships, with centers and programs that focus on areas such as innovation, health, entrepreneurship, and social justice.

At Washington University in St. Louis, students have the opportunity to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium, which showcases the research projects of students from all disciplines.

The university also offers a Summer Research Program, which allows students to work closely with faculty members on research projects over the summer. Additionally, the university has a number of research centers, including the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, which brings together scholars from around the world to collaborate on research projects.

Boston College offers a variety of research opportunities for students, including the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, which provides funding for students to conduct research with faculty members.

The university also has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Center for Retirement Research, the Institute for the Liberal Arts, and the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics. Boston College is also home to the Boston College Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, which provides resources and support for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Campus Life, Clubs, and Extracurricular Activities

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College offer rich and diverse campus experiences, with plenty of opportunities for students to explore their interests, engage with peers, and develop leadership skills.

Multiracial students talking while walking.

Both institutions have hundreds of student-led clubs and organizations, ranging from academic and professional societies to cultural and identity groups, to sports and recreational clubs. Students can also participate in community service projects, volunteer initiatives, and outreach programs, both locally and internationally. Additionally, both institutions have well-equipped fitness centers, sports facilities, and outdoor spaces, as well as multiple dining options, coffee shops, and cultural venues.

Furthermore, both universities offer various leadership and personal development programs to help students enhance their skills and prepare for their future careers. These programs include workshops, seminars, mentorship opportunities, and internships. Students can also attend career fairs and networking events to connect with potential employers and learn about different industries.

Moreover, both institutions have dedicated offices and resources to support students’ mental health and well-being, such as counseling services, wellness programs, and mindfulness activities. Overall, Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College provide a vibrant and inclusive community that fosters personal growth, academic excellence, and social engagement.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College have robust and generous financial aid and scholarship programs, designed to make higher education affordable and accessible to all eligible students. Both institutions have need-based financial aid policies, which take into account the family income, assets, and expenses of the student, as well as merit-based scholarship options, which reward academic excellence and leadership potential.

Additionally, both institutions have loan reduction and forgiveness programs, as well as work-study and internship opportunities, to help students cover their educational costs and gain valuable professional experience.

Washington University in St. Louis offers a variety of scholarships and grants to students, including the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to exceptional students who have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to social justice.

The university also offers the Danforth Scholars Program, which covers full tuition and room and board for students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership potential, and a commitment to community service.

Boston College offers a range of scholarships and grants to students, including the Presidential Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and leadership potential.

The university also offers the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program, which covers full tuition and room and board for students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership potential, and a commitment to service and social justice.

Study Abroad Opportunities for Students

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College offer extensive and diverse study abroad opportunities for their students, which allow them to enrich their education, explore new cultures, and develop global perspectives.

Students walking on the streets.

Both institutions have partnerships with universities and programs around the world and offer different options for short-term and long-term study abroad programs, as well as language immersion programs, research opportunities, and internship experiences. Students can study in countries such as France, Spain, China, Australia, Italy, and many more, and can receive credit towards their degree requirements.

Campus Resources for Students with Disabilities

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College are committed to providing equal access and accommodations to students with disabilities, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws and regulations.

Both institutions have dedicated offices and staff who work with students to identify their needs and provide appropriate services and accommodations, such as assistive technology, note-taking, sign language interpreters, and accessible transportation. Students can also receive academic and personal support, counseling, and advocacy services, as well as participate in disability-related clubs and organizations.

Moreover, both institutions have ongoing efforts to improve their physical and virtual accessibility, by renovating facilities, providing accessible signage and websites, and promoting disability awareness and inclusion.

Sustainability Initiatives on Campus

Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College are committed to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship on their campuses, as well as in their communities and beyond.

Female environmental student taking a sample from the river.

Both institutions have comprehensive sustainability plans that address energy consumption, waste reduction, water conservation, transportation, and education. Students can participate in sustainability-related clubs and organizations, as well as pursue academic and research projects in fields such as environmental studies, sustainability science, and green engineering. Additionally, both institutions have received recognition and awards for their sustainability efforts, and have demonstrated leadership and innovation in this area.


Depending on their individual preferences and priorities, students and their families should carefully consider these factors and do their own research, before making a final decision about which institution to attend.

Ultimately, both Washington University in St. Louis and Boston College offer outstanding academic and personal experiences and can prepare students for successful and fulfilling careers and lives.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.

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