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Head start

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Freshmen are choosing more demanding courses

Increasingly, Boston College freshmen are arriving on campus with multiple Advanced Placement (AP) credits from course work accomplished in high school. As a result, many are opting to enroll in second-year classes instead of introductory ones.

According to admissions data, the 2,309 members of this year's freshman class, the Class of 2008, took 4,549 AP exams in high school, with 2,689 of their scores high enough to place the holder out of an introductory-level or core-required course at BC; some 55 percent of the freshmen presented at least one such score. Eleven years ago, the Class of 1997 entered with 1,290 qualifying scores, distributed among 37 percent of the freshmen, with a total 2,371 exams taken.

With Advanced Placement credits, freshmen appear to be increasingly taking a fast track into their majors: 411 members of the Class of 2008 satisfied their core mathematics requirement with AP Calculus credit, for instance; and by the end of the academic year, 111 of them will have taken "Multivariable Calculus"—a course that is required for the chemistry, computer science, geophysics, mathematics, and physics majors. On average, 104 freshmen per year have taken this course since 2002; during the five years before that, the average number of freshmen in the class was 68.

"Molecular Cell Biology," a second-year course that is required of biology and pre-med students, enrolled 33 freshmen in 2003–04; this year, 70 freshmen were enrolled. Freshmen number 115 in "Spanish Composition," a third-level course, compared with about 85 in recent years.

And 54 freshmen have registered for the second-year courses required of English majors, with an additional 44 signing on for other upper-level courses in the department.

According to Mary O'Keeffe, OP, associate dean of the freshman class, some freshmen are arriving with upwards of a dozen Advanced Placement credits. Students with enough credits may apply for advanced standing with the University, accelerating their graduation by a semester or an entire year. Eight members of the Class of 2008 have opted for such standing.

Stephen Gawlik


Stephen Gawlik is a staff writer in the Office of Public Affairs.

 

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