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

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student standing in the middle of a hallway

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

Both Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) and Boston University (BU) are highly reputed universities in the United States. In order to compare the two, we need to look at a variety of factors, including location, academic programs, faculty, research opportunities, campus life, athletics, housing, career services, and cost of attendance. Let’s delve into these factors in more detail.

Location and Campus Features of Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University

WashU is located in St. Louis, Missouri, a city known for its diverse cultural landscape, musical history, and iconic Gateway Arch. The campus itself is spread across 169 acres and boasts world-class facilities, including a cutting-edge neuroscience research building, a state-of-the-art golf center, and an innovative art museum.

BU, on the other hand, is situated in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, a bustling and vibrant city that is home to some of the top universities and research institutions in the world. The BU campus spans 169 acres and includes impressive buildings such as the Questrom School of Business and the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering.

Aside from its impressive facilities, WashU is also known for its commitment to sustainability. The university has implemented various initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, such as using renewable energy sources and promoting sustainable transportation options. Additionally, WashU has a strong focus on community engagement and encourages students to get involved in local service projects and volunteer work.

View of hands placed on top of each other.

Meanwhile, BU is renowned for its extensive network of alumni, which includes numerous notable figures in various fields such as politics, business, and entertainment. The university also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, from sports teams to student organizations, providing students with ample opportunities to pursue their interests and passions outside of the classroom.

Enrollment Statistics and Demographics

When it comes to enrollment, WashU has a total undergraduate population of approximately 7,600 students, while BU has around 18,000 undergraduate students. Both universities have a diverse student body, with international students making up a significant percentage.

At WashU, for instance, around 16% of the undergraduate student population is made up of international students, while at BU, the percentage is even higher at 22%. Additionally, the gender ratio is nearly equal at both schools, with WashU being slightly more female-dominated and BU being slightly more male-dominated.

Another important demographic factor to consider is the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body. At WashU, students of color make up around 28% of the undergraduate population, with Black or African American students being the largest minority group at 7%.

At BU, students of color make up around 35% of the undergraduate population, with Asian students being the largest minority group at 19%. Both universities have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusivity on campus through various initiatives and programs.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates at Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University

Getting into either WashU or BU is no easy feat, as both universities have highly selective admission processes. At WashU, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2024 was just 13%, while at BU, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2024 was 18%.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

WashU looks for students with a strong academic background, extracurricular involvement, and demonstrated leadership skills, while BU focuses on well-rounded students who are intellectually curious and community-minded.

It is important to note that admission requirements for both universities go beyond just academic achievements. Both universities also consider factors such as essays, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.

Additionally, WashU offers an optional interview process for applicants, while BU does not. It is recommended that prospective students thoroughly research the admission requirements and prepare accordingly to increase their chances of acceptance.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered

WashU and BU both offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines. At WashU, popular majors include biology, psychology, economics, and political science, while at BU, popular majors include business, communication, engineering, and international relations.

Both universities have a strong focus on interdisciplinary studies and offer unique programs such as BU’s “Wheelock Integrated Preschool Teacher Education Program” and WashU’s “Beyond Boundaries” program, which allows students to design their own major.

In addition to the popular majors and unique programs, both WashU and BU offer a variety of academic resources to support student success. WashU has a Writing Center, Math Center, and a Career Center that provides students with career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities.

BU offers a Center for Career Development, a Center for Writing and Rhetoric, and a Center for English Language and Orientation Programs to support students in their academic and professional pursuits. These resources are just a few examples of the many ways in which WashU and BU prioritize student success and provide a well-rounded education.

Faculty Quality and Student-to-Teacher Ratio at Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University

At both WashU and BU, there is a strong emphasis on hiring high-quality faculty members who are experts in their fields. WashU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, meaning that students receive personalized attention from their professors, while at BU, the student-to-faculty ratio is slightly higher at 10:1. Both universities boast world-renowned faculty members who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.

Female teacher talking to her students.

Additionally, WashU and BU both offer opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. At WashU, students can participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium, where they can present their research findings to the university community. BU offers the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, which provides funding for students to conduct research with faculty members.

Furthermore, both universities prioritize diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices. WashU has a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, which works to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, and staff.

BU has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which focuses on increasing diversity among faculty and staff and promoting cultural competency among all members of the university community.

Research Opportunities and Funding Availability

Both WashU and BU are major research universities, with a significant portion of their budgets dedicated to research and development. WashU received over $600 million in research funding in 2019, while BU received over $500 million.

There are many opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research projects, either independently or under the guidance of faculty members. There are also numerous resources available to students who are seeking funding for their research projects, including grants, scholarships, and fellowships.

Additionally, both universities have established partnerships with various research institutions and organizations, providing students with access to cutting-edge technology and equipment. These partnerships also offer students the opportunity to collaborate with professionals in their field of study, further enhancing their research experience.

Furthermore, WashU and BU have dedicated research centers and institutes that focus on specific areas of study, such as medicine, engineering, and social sciences. These centers provide students with a platform to engage in interdisciplinary research and explore new areas of interest. They also offer workshops, seminars, and conferences that allow students to present their research findings and network with other researchers in their field.

Campus Life at Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University

When it comes to campus life, both WashU and BU have a vibrant and active student body that is involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities. WashU has over 300 student organizations, ranging from cultural groups to Greek life to academic clubs.

Multiracial students talking while walking.

BU has over 450 student organizations, including a Quidditch team and various acapella groups. Both universities also offer a variety of on-campus events and activities, such as concerts, lectures, and festivals.

In addition to the numerous student organizations and on-campus events, both WashU and BU offer a variety of opportunities for students to get involved in community service and volunteer work. WashU has a dedicated Center for Community Engagement and offers programs such as Alternative Spring Break, where students can participate in service projects during their break. BU has a Community Service Center that connects students with local organizations and provides opportunities for volunteering and service learning.

Furthermore, both universities have a strong emphasis on athletics and offer a range of sports teams for students to participate in. WashU is a Division III school and has 19 varsity sports teams, while BU is a Division I school and has 24 varsity sports teams. Both universities also have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including gyms, pools, and fields, that are available for student use.

Housing Options for Students

Both WashU and BU offer a variety of housing options for students, including traditional dormitories, apartment-style dorms, and off-campus housing. At WashU, freshmen are typically required to live on campus, while at BU, it is recommended but not required. Both universities offer a variety of dining options on campus, including meal plans, cafes, and dining halls.

Additionally, WashU offers themed housing options for students who share common interests or identities. These include the Women in STEM floor, the Global Citizenship Program floor, and the LGBTQIA+ floor.

BU also offers specialized housing options, such as the Substance-Free Community and the Healthy Living Community. Both universities prioritize creating a safe and inclusive living environment for all students.

Career Services and Alumni Networks at Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University

Both WashU and BU have robust career services centers that offer a wide range of resources for students and alumni. These include resume and cover letter reviews, networking events, career fairs, and job postings. Both universities also have extensive alumni networks that offer opportunities for mentorship, networking, and job placement.

In addition to the resources offered by the career services centers, WashU and BU also have specialized programs to help students explore and prepare for specific career paths. WashU’s Career Center, for example, offers programs for students interested in entrepreneurship, while BU’s Center for Career Development has resources for students pursuing careers in the arts and media.

Furthermore, both universities have partnerships with companies and organizations that provide internship and job opportunities for students. WashU has partnerships with companies such as Boeing and Monsanto, while BU has partnerships with organizations such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Red Sox.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Availability

As with most private universities in the United States, both WashU and BU have a high cost of attendance. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the total cost of attendance at WashU was $77,490, while at BU it was $76,236.

Group of students walking in the campus.

However, both universities offer generous financial aid packages to help offset the cost. At WashU, over half of all students receive some form of financial aid, while at BU, around 70% of students receive financial aid.

It is important to note that the financial aid packages offered by both universities are need-based, meaning that they are awarded based on a student’s financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to need-based aid, both universities also offer merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or other talents.

Furthermore, both WashU and BU have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process and manage their finances while in college. These resources include financial aid counselors, budgeting workshops, and job placement programs to help students find part-time work to offset the cost of attendance.

Overall, while the cost of attendance at these universities may seem daunting, the availability of financial aid and resources can make attending these institutions a viable option for many students.

Graduate Outcomes and Job Placement Rates

Graduates of both WashU and BU go on to make significant contributions in their respective fields. According to the latest data from WashU, around 97% of graduates are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.

Similarly, according to BU’s latest data, around 91% of graduates are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation. Graduates of both universities have gone on to work for prestigious companies and institutions, including Google, Goldman Sachs, and the U.S. State Department.

Furthermore, both universities offer extensive career services to their students and alumni. WashU’s Career Center provides resources such as resume and cover letter reviews, career fairs, and networking events. BU’s Center for Career Development offers similar services, as well as career counseling and job search strategies.

In addition, both universities have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and opportunities for graduates. WashU’s alumni network includes over 150,000 members worldwide, while BU’s network includes over 300,000 members. These networks offer mentorship, job leads, and other forms of support to recent graduates as they navigate the job market.


WashU and BU are both excellent universities that offer a wide range of academic programs, research opportunities, athletic programs, and extracurricular activities. The decision to attend either university ultimately depends on individual preferences and priorities, such as location, academic interests, and campus culture. However, regardless of which university a student chooses, they can be assured of receiving a top-quality education that prepares them for success in their future careers.

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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