Boston! It’s the academic heart of the United States. With over 150,000 students at 35 institutions of higher learning, Boston is a student paradise—as long as you don’t mind bundling up in a down parka for several months a year.

But which Boston school is for you?

Let’s start with two that have “Boston” in their very names. Perhaps for that reason, they tend to get mixed up in the minds of applicants from far away.

Athena Mentor asked Susan Gennaro, Dean of Nursing at Boston College, to explain.

Athena Advises

Boston University and Boston College could not be more different from one another.

Boston University, with close to 33,000 students, is by far the largest institution of higher education in Boston. It’s a secular university; that is, it is not affiliated with a particular religious body. BU is located right in the city, in the neighborhood called Back Bay. The heart of the campus lies along the scenic Charles River. The university is comprised of 17—that’s right, 17—schools and colleges. In addition to the College of Arts & Sciences, which is home to the traditional academic disciplines, international students are often drawn to the Questrom School of Business or the new and vibrant Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

Boston College, with just over 14,000 students, is located about 20 minutes from the city center, on the Green Line, which runs above ground as a trolley for most of the route. The beautiful, peaceful campus has all the hallmarks of a Catholic institution. Its strong Jesuit tradition means that intellectual rigor and community service are highly valued at BC.

Which is right for you, BU or BC? Perhaps Dean Gennaro’s video will help you decide!


Dr. Marlena Corcoran
Founder and CEO