2000 Comm. Ave., the former apartment building that opened this year as Boston College student housing, had about 100 vacancies at the beginning of the semester. The vacancies are the result of more students going abroad in the spring this year than in the fall, according to Director of Housing Operations Greg Jones.
Nick Gozik, the director of the Office of International Programs, could not provide specific numbers of students who went abroad this year, but he said that in the past three years, more students were going abroad in the fall than in the spring.
“In this case it is difficult to know whether we are dealing with a trend or aberration, since the shift is very recent and not consistent across the U.S., or even locally for that matter,” Gozik said in an email.
Director of Admission John Mahoney said in an email that while his office is monitoring abroad trends closely, there have been no discussions so far about adjusting housing awards to reflect the changes. Gozik said it is difficult to predict how the situation will evolve based on limited data, so it is unclear whether changes will be necessary.
Gozik said that one speculation about why the abroad trend flipped this year is that more students have been advised to be on campus in the fall, when they can participate in recruiting for industries like banking and consulting. He added that some companies can interview students over Skype or in the spring, when they’re back on campus.
“It may be that the need to stay on campus is at times more of a perception than a reality; however, this also depends on the industry and hiring practice,” Gozik said.
According to Amy Donegan, the assistant dean for undergraduate career advising in CSOM, students applying to jobs in banking, corporate finance, operations, and other industries might not have that option. Donegan said well over 300 current juniors are finance majors, including double concentrators. Normally, about 40 percent of the students go abroad junior year, and because of the change in recruiting season, that has shifted from the fall to the spring.
Donegan said that students need to be on campus for these types of interviews. Career advising has not seen much flexibility with companies granting Skype interviews, because the steep competition means the incentive is low for them to do something abnormal. Donegan has seen some students land consulting internships with Skype interviews, but those are rare because making connections is difficult without being on campus.
“It makes it difficult because it’s not enough to just submit your resume, the recruiters need to know you and that networking piece of crucial,” she said.
Gozik said that his office does not normally encourage students to go abroad in one or the other semester, but it is better to have an even split. With more balance, there is less competition to get into highly-coveted programs, and BC services like housing have less trouble when there is more of an equilibrium.
Total study abroad participation for BC students in the 2014-15 school year was 50.9 percent, good for 15th among the top doctorate-granting universities, according to a study by the Institute of International Education.