Boston Univ.? Fordham?

bestyearsMarch 4, 2014

We're wrapping up a few college tours, and wondered if any GWers have direct experience with Boston Univ., or Fordham. My daughter liked both schools. I probably preferred Fordham, not that it matters particularly, because I think of the two she preferred BU. These aren't the only two schools she is considering (Tulane and UT Austin are strong contenders too). I've read lots of student reviews, and am concerned about the negative BU reviews. If you have personal experience, would you mind sharing it?

Thanks so much,

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Well, I don't have personal experience, but my neighbor's son goes to BU and is happy there. I also know a local teacher who has twin sons who are freshmen -- one is at BU and the other is at Northeastern, and the one at BU isn't too happy but she seems to think it's more about his living situation than the school itself (he ended up in a dorm that is far from the buildings where his classes are, and he feels like he's almost not living on campus).

My DS looked at BU and liked it a lot in terms of the academic programs, but he didn't want to be that close to home (we live about 6 miles away!). He liked Northeastern better and would have decided to go there if he wanted to be close to home. He is off to Syracuse in the fall...too far for me, but he's excited!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:23AM
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I can't offer info on BU but I'm a Fordham grad. Granted, I graduated 24 years ago and some things have changed on campus since then, but I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the beautiful campus and appreciated that the campus was "enclosed" in its urban environment rather than just being a bunch of buildings spread out amongst city blocks with no real campus. I felt totally safe walking around at if I was at the library or other building late at night across campus from my dorm, I wasn't worried about walking around alone. It was also a nice treat being right across the street from Little Italy, the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and a short walk to both the subway and Metro North. I used the subway to get into Manhattan for a part time job I had, and for fun trips with girlfriends to shop, see a show, etc. I made great friends (just met up with 15 friends in Manhattan last month...hadn't seen most of them in nearly 20 years!).

I can't speak for what it is like now, but felt like I had a solid, rewarding academic education and that, along with all that NYC had to offer, provided me with great opportunities. My friends have all been very successful in a wide variety of careers: banking, fashion/retail, accounting, broadcasting to name a few. Some had liberal arts degrees in English, political science and history and others were business majors. Back then, they had a good career center that was key in helping students get jobs and internships, providing on-campus interviews for post-graduation jobs/careers. Most of my friends had jobs lined up before we graduated.

I'm not sure where you are from, but I grew up in MD. Back then, Fordham students were mostly from the tri-state area though I had several friends from the Boston area, quite a few from Philly and there were a handful from the DC area among my group of friends. I think that's changed over the years and they have done more outreach to broaden the student population.

While I don't know much about BU, it has a pretty large student body, correct? Judging from the other schools on her list, it looks like the larger schools might be more appealing? While I didn't want to go to a huge school myself, Fordham might be too small for her taste? I didn't find it small personally (I came from a fairly large h.s. At the time with 630 in my graduating class), but Fordham was a good size for me though I can certainly understand where others might want more anonymity.

Sounds like she has quite different locales she's considering! Such a personal decision but hopefully she will be happy wherever she decides to go. I have about two more years b/f going through this process with my oldest. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Best, I hear your concern. All her choses are good ones. It's hard not to get involved.

I was overly enthusiastic with my oldest. (As was her guidance counselor, so not just me excited about top tier schools) She wound up transferring. Learning from experience, I stepped back with the youngest. She loved her chose.

BU is always a popular chose at our town's HS. Both my daughters have had friends there and I have never heard a negative.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Does your daughter know what she wants to major in? One way to look at it is which school has the strongest program for her major. It certainly wasn't the only criteria, but it's where we usually started in coming up with a list of possible schools, then went from there.

All the schools you mentioned have good reputations, so she couldnt go wrong picking any of them. My kids all loved the schools they went niece was not happy at her first choice and transferred after freshman you never really know.

In your case, with the schools she picked you have the warm/sunny as opposed to the snow/cold factor...something else to consider.

Good luck....I thoroughly enjoyed going through the process with my three.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:55PM
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My daughter goes to BU. She's been very happy there. She has found her classes to be, for the most part, interesting and challenging. BU has really moved up in the ranks as of late; I've seen a few lists praising the "employability" of the graduates. They also offer so many majors.

Boston is a great city for students, they are a large portion of the population. There's a lot to do; concerts, museums, restaurants, etc. The public transportation is excellent. My daughter is in her junior year and has never felt the need for a car.

In my opinion, the big downside is the cost. BU is way up there with the most expensive schools. It is also big, but that hasn't been an issue for my daughter.

Feel free to ask me any other questions. Good luck at this stressful time!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:14PM
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More than a few years ago, I had to chose between Fordham and a small college in Boston that's not far from BU. I went with Boston.

I agree with joaniepoanie--if the program that she is considering majoring in is clearly better at one school, your DD should be giving that school serious thought. That was the main deciding factor in my decision.

Boston in general has a huge student population. There is a ton to do outside of classes--most colleges and universities offer their students free or reduced price tickets to the smaller theaters and concert venues, as well as many of the museums. My college was a short walk from BU and Kenmore Square, and there was always something going on. BU provides lots of on-campus activities for the students, as well. And it is very easy to get around the city, either by walking or on the T.

For the most part, the area is pretty safe, if that's one of the things worrying you. No one should take foolish chances, like walking home alone from an MIT frat party on the other side of the river, say, but the college kids tend to go places in groups.

Of course, Fordham is in NYC, and NYC has a lot to offer as well. You might have your DD write out the pros and cons of each school, so that she can evaluate them.

But don't neglect her gut feeling. I went through the college application process with a first choice school in mind. And when I got accepted there, I assumed I'd go. Everybody assumed I'd go there. Then I spent an overnight visit there for prospective freshmen and realized that I didn't fit in, the courses weren't what I wanted, and I just didn't like the place.

Twenty years later, I know I made the right decision, even if a degree from that rejected first-choice school would have opened a lot of doors. But I would have been miserable there.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 6:52AM
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My oldest went to Fordham in Manhattan. He was able to take classes at the Bronx campus too, so he got both the traditional and the urban campus experience. His teachers made good use of the city's museums, and he also had access to the massive NY Public Library & several specialty research libraries. His teachers seemed caring; he frequently mentioned running into past & present teachers at coffee stops or the library and having long discussions with them. My take was that there were a lot immigrant kids, first generation in the US, who were trying to push ahead with a college degree (back then, a lot of Russian kids from Brooklyn). In our experience, those are good kids to go to school with -- hungry for success, a bit more serious. My son had some amazing tales of the kids he'd met. The suburban middle class was well represented, but on the whole, the student population was a good mix. My son came out of Fordham well educated and city-savvy.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Thanks all. I typed a response yesterday but it seems to have disappeared. I really appreciate the positive responses regarding BU -eases my mind. The Fordham info is appreciated too. awm03, your son's experience sounds terrific. We also looked at the Lincoln Center campus, but didn't have time for an official tour.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 9:08AM
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