Boston College or Tufts?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Boston College or Tufts?
By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 09:12 pm: Edit

I realize that these two schools are kind of different. BC has almost twice as many undergrads and they both have very different campuses. I'm interested in majoring in political science, history, or english, and I'm pretty torn between these two excellent schools. Tufts techincally has an "edge" if you look at those ridiculous USNews rankings, but can anyone offer some input on this decision?

Any help would be appreciated.

Edit: If it helps. I'm fairly sure that I'd like to pursue grad school (law, maybe) in the future. Also, financial aid is not a factor in my decision.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 09:40 pm: Edit

Tufts -- because Tufts' political science department is quite good and because of its connection with the Fletcher School and what that can offer. In addition, Tufts' history and English departments are also excellent.

However, you might access the websites of both schools and check out the curricula and faculty of all three departments to help in your decision. BTW, the BC law school is considered to be a rather good one.

By Tufts08 (Tufts08) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Academically, Tufts definitly gets the nod. But from a social standpoint, the two schools are quite different.

Princeton Review rankings of BC:
#14 Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative
#11 Students Pack the Stadiums
#19 Jock Schools

Tufts on the other hand, is known as being very liberal/diverse/tolerant and no one cares about sports.

The two schools are basically opposites as BC is the conservative/frat boy type school as compared to Tufts which is a more liberal/politically active school (not to mention, more focused on academics). Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. But you need to decide which is better for you.

By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 09:59 am: Edit

Tufts08, in BC's defense, I think some of your characterizations are a tad harsh. I grew up in the Boston area, and BC has always been the D1 school of record in town. BC sports are given almost as much press time as the professional sports in Boston. That's basically why the PR says "students pack stadiums" and "everyone loves the eagles". I don't think it's fair to write it off as a frat boy/jock school, especially since it has progressively become harder and harder to gain admission over the years.

I didnt man to write that much, but I have seen a lot of BC bashing on these message boards for some reason.

As for Tufts, I've been told that it's just an excellent school. All of the academic departments are incredibly strong and the smaller size brings more of an LAC feel within the University, hence some more opportunities. Thanks a lot for the input. Any other comments?

By Nannerl (Nannerl) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

Tufts' political science department has some amazing teachers and scholars. If you go to the department website, this becomes pretty obvious. Also, if you go to the "individual schools" area on college confidential, and read "The Truth about Tufts", that will provide more information. Other than that I can report that a young man I know, who went to GW on a full scholarship, recently transferred to Tufts as a history major and is extremely pleased with the department, particularly the small size of the classes compared to GW.
Hope that helps.
P.S. I don't have any direct knowledge about BC, but do have a general impression of the undergraduate experience as a jock/frat-oriented one. On the other hand, it has an excellent law school, which you could certainly get into with a fine record from Tufts.

By Nannerl (Nannerl) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

In my prior message I forgot to mention, that I am quite familiar with Tufts' outstanding English department, which features both terrific writers and scholars and sponsors some wonderful study abroad programs, particularly in Oxford.

Good luck whatever you choose!

P.S. My son will be attending Tufts next year, majoring in either English or poli sci, and chose the school for many of the reasons I've mentioned as well as those in the Truth about Tufts article.

By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 09:01 pm: Edit

Thanks for the help. I was wondering if any Tufts students could comment on the condition of the classroom and dorms. I noticed in the PR that the school's smaller endowment causes its facilities to lag behind and remain unrennovated. Is this true or merely exaggerated?

Hopefully I'll visit Tufts in a few days to see it myself, but input is always appreciated.

By Lakeside (Lakeside) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 10:30 pm: Edit

ooh, go to tufts!

By Uknowwho42 (Uknowwho42) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit

Tufts...I might see you there :) It owns BC.

As for the facilities, I just visited last weekend. I went to a 25-person lecture class that had really good technology and looked brand-new, and a 9-person poli sci class that lookd like a high school classroom but that class was incredibly interesting. While some of the rooms might not be the Ritz, the content you'll get out of the classes inside them is well worth the minor flaws. They're certainly far from unbearable, the condition doesn't take away from the class at all, and I think many of the comments in PR, etc. are too harsh. Good luck!

By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit

Yeah, hopefully my visit this week can assuage my fears about the facilities, but I'm largely assuming that the PR is just nitpicking at Tufts. BC's Admitted Eagle day a few days ago really wooed me with some nice classrooms and lecture halls, so it definitely raised my eyebrows when Tuft's classroom/dorm quality was questioned.

PR's testimonials basically cite "bitter Ivy rejects", facilities that remain unrennovated, etc. They also mention that "Tufts has little identity" and seem to act baffled that it "still manages" to attract such a great student body every year. Seems like a ridiculous generalization to me, so the input here is highly valued, in my eyes. Any other thoughts?

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 06:10 am: Edit

A couple of quick comments: You need to remember that PR does their assessments on a school every four years, so you don't know how current the comments are. Second, Tufts does not have the athleticism and athletic prowess that BC does -- nor the school spirit/pride that is usually associated with that. But don't let that diminish what could be a more exceptional academic experience; same for the lecture halls and classrooms since it's not the four walls that will be teaching you but the professor standing at the head of the class and the textbook in your hands.

By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 12:41 pm: Edit

Collegeparent, I agree that the PR's take is either outdated, exaggerated, inaccurate, etc. I was merely stating that I felt they were unusually harsh to state things like "Tufts has little identity", etc. My query on the facilities was fueled more by my recent visit to BC, which showcased some very nice classrooms and lecture halls.

Anyway, BC is the top D1 school in the Boston area. They basically are the fifth major professional team in the area. You definitely cannot compare that enthusiasm to a D3 school like Tufts. As a psuedo "professional" team, a good deal of BC fan turnout is from people who don't even go to BC! I don't think a comparison of D1 and D3 schools can accurately depict school spirit/pride at the latter institution. I'd like to assume that kids at Tufts are proud of their school and are very happy to be there. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding you, though. Any comments on this?

Thanks guys, keep 'em coming!

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

By school spirit/pride I meant a rah! rah! mentality (and the associated partying) that goes with such a noted and notable athletic program -- it was not intended to comment on the high regard for the Tufts campus and students. I apologize for not making myself clearer. Also, keep in mind that what you saw at BC was the best they have to offer; it's part of the public relations campaign. If you really want to check out buildings and their conditions on campus, look at the ones they don't show you. Open a few doors and look at the ceilings and paint on the walls -- also at window sills to see if the maintenance has been kept up since they get such wear and tear. Another thing to look at is the bathrooms in the older buildings; that'll give you another idea of the general conditions on campus.

By Ksmith (Ksmith) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 10:39 am: Edit

This is an active thread... so... what do you think about Tufts v. USC? Majoring in economics with plans for graduate school MBA/JD.

All views thankfully rec'd :)

By Nannerl (Nannerl) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit

A friend of mine majored in econ at Tufts and had a great four years; I know him because he worked as a legal assistant at my firm before applying to law school. He is now a first year student at Cardozo Law School, a relatively new but top-class law school in New York City. (I am an attorney here in the City.)

I really know nothing about USC so can't speak by way of comparison. Here in the East I agree we would tend to think of it as a bit of party school, but with excellent opportunities in the entertainment industry. But my view may be outdated.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit

While some of the Tufts classrooms are not exceptional, they are all very functional. Some are exceptional. The psych department has a new building that could double as an office building - it's gorgeous. Bromfield-Pearson (math) is a bit older but still excellent. Sci Tech center for chem-e and physics is new and beautiful; the EE building is nice. Continuing onwards... Braker (econ) is average, but the lecture hall is great; Crane Room was just renovated. Eaton (English and classics) is aging, but it is still functional. Pearson chem is a mix - the large lecture hall can be torturous, while the smaller one is amazing. Again, all of the facilities are certainly adequate; some are amazing.

While Tufts might have a slight USNWR edge, I think that (in MA at least), it has a much better reputation for academics. BC does have a good deal of rah-rah school spirit (not to say that they are dumb jocks!), which Tufts does not have.

By Firstechelon (Firstechelon) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 02:25 pm: Edit

Ariesathena, thanks for the specific input on the buildings. It's very confusing, considering that Fiske and PR have very conflicting views on Tufts in general. Fiske loved Tufts and said "there's not much separating it from nearby MIT and Harvard", "always committed to self-improvement,". PR, on the other hand, complained about Tuft's small endowment, which caused facilities to "lag".

When I talk to friends about BC vs. Tufts, I'm usually met with "it's a choice between fun (BC) and academics (Tufts)". Oh well, the search goes on!

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 03:13 pm: Edit

The endowment/facilities issue. When I took my cousin on a tour of Tufts (she was considering transferring from Trinity in CT), she and my uncle were quite impressed with the facilities. Recently, there has been a good deal of renovation, so PR could be outdated. In '97, there was groundbreaking for the Gantcher Center where the indoor track and tennis courts are located. That is a lovely facility that is also used for the annual Fares lecture series (bringing in people like Colin Powell, former Pres. Bush, and former Pres. Clinton while I was there). The new psych building was constructed about a year or two ago. The Crane room was renovated in its entirety last year. Pearson chem was renovated about two years ago (the exterior). Some current students may be able to elaborate on current or past renovation projects.

Tufts does have a low endowment, but it is growing considerably. In the late 70s, Tufts was nearly bankrupt. Since then, they've managed to have a respectable endowment, though it is still shy of the elite institutions. I think that during the past five years, the endowment has grown from something like $500 million to nearly $800 million, though I could be mistaken on those figures. US News uses the low endowment as a sign of lack of alumni connection, but that simply is not the case. There was a time when you added up debt and assets, and Tufts came out as bankrupt. Those days have certainly passed quite some time ago.

By Leob21 (Leob21) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 06:44 pm: Edit

Go to Tufts!

By Uknowwho42 (Uknowwho42) on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 08:17 pm: Edit

The thing about Tufts is the academics are great, but you can also have a great time. There's plenty going on on campus, and of course Boston is right there as well. If you want, you could even go to parties at BU, BC, MIT, etc. so you basically have everything open to you without having it all shoved in your face all the time. I think the only reason you get that response from your friends is because they don't know much about either place, or are just looking for a good time themselves. With Tufts you get the best of both worlds.

By Par72 (Par72) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 12:11 am: Edit

Tufts has a much better academic reputation.

By Alejandro (Alejandro) on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 10:27 pm: Edit

I had the same dilemma a couple of weeks ago, as I was accepted to both Tufts and BC. I talked to my college advisor and she told me not to even think about to go for Tufts. Tufts has a more international feeling (which was what I was looking for being an international student) and the IR is a great program. Also I was looking for a smaller campus, so its tufts for me!
Tell me if youre going to tufts though I'd love to talk to ya!

By Caligirlatheart (Caligirlatheart) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

Tufts. I visited both during my junior year, didn't even apply to BC, applied RD to Tufts, and am most likely attending Tufts next year. I had an amazing overnight stay a couple nights ago. Tufts is just top-notch across the board and has really struck an amazing balance in so many different areas.

By Rubicolor (Rubicolor) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Wow this is an active thread. I am having such a hard time deciding among Boston College, College of WIlliam and Mary, and Vanderbilt. Where should I go? Academic excellence, reputation, ranking, faculty, rate of people successful in getting a job + going to grad. school, etc. are the things that I am looking for. Any suggestions? BTW, I would like to study BUSINESS!
Any comments? plz?

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