Boston University Common App Essay

Thank your lucky stars you chose to apply to Boston University! This application supplement is a gift: two of the most straightforward prompts you could ask for, and only one of them is required. But beware, a simple supplement is no reason to ignore a school or save it until the last minute. In fact, it means you have no excuse not to nail your essay, so pay attention and do your work!

The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words; 1 optional essay

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Additional Info

Boston University 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

What about being a student at Boston University most excites you? (250 words)

You’ve seen it before and you’ll see it again: the classic why essay. The point of this sort of prompt is twofold: to learn what makes you tick and to gauge your commitment to the school. So, the more time you spend researching the school, the better you’ll be able to demonstrate both. This is, essentially, the only question BU is asking you, so you have no excuse not to buckle down and spend some quality time poring over the school website. Take notes on anything and everything that appeals to you across all aspects of student life: classes, professors, labs, clubs, speakers — literally everything! The point is to paint a picture for admissions that clues them into your passions and demonstrates how BU will help you cultivate them. Once you’ve completed your preliminary research, narrow the list to your top five or so items to focus on. Remember, this essay is only supposed to be 250 words.

Additional Information (optional): Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.

Typically, when a school includes an optional “additional info” essay, admissions is giving applicants a chance to address any red flags in their academic or disciplinary history. It’s your chance to show admissions that a few bad grades or lapses in judgement don’t define you. That being said, Boston University has cast a wider net with its additional info prompt. Still, this essay isn’t for everyone. We recommend this prompt for students who would like to address specific blips in their past or applicants with truly outstanding portfolio pieces. The point is, your response to this prompt shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should shed new light on who you are as a person or student.

Who fits into the first group? Maybe you were coping with an illness that slowed you down during your sophomore year and prevented you from taking a more rigorous course load. Maybe a rough introduction to calculus only motivated you to study harder and overcome your difficulties in future years. Or perhaps you were juggling an array of family responsibilities that distracted you from your school work. Whatever the case may be, yours should be a story of resilience and tenacity. Describe what you learned and how you have grown as a result of these challenging experiences.

What about the second group? Are you an award-winning author or scientist? If you choose to submit additional materials, you should be sending in show-stopping work that proves you are ready to pursue your interests at the college level.

Opportunities to maximize your education. The most academically ambitious students can participate in a number of Dual Degree or combined BA/MA programs, the Seven-Year Accelerated Medical or Dental programs, Honors in the Major programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, or the Kilachand Honors College. 

A BU degree opens doors. CEOs and recruiters have ranked BU grads #12 in the US and #31 worldwide for employability, thanks to the combined theoretical and practical education you’ll receive here. 

You’ll learn with the crème de la crème. 
Undergraduates study and live with classmates who ranked in the top 8% of their high school classes and had an A- average. 

Research opportunities abound. Our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers hundreds of options, funding student research under a faculty mentor. 

Nearly half of BU undergrads study abroad. We have more than 100 study abroad programs and 4,000 internship opportunities throughout the world.

BU invests in your future. The Center for Career Development (CCD) begins advising students freshman year. And we have extensive networks to help you find internships both in Boston and abroad. 

We are the world. We prepare the next generation of global leaders by teaching students from more than 100 countries to adopt a global perspective. And our ranking as the #32 Best Global University by U.S. News & World Report is testament to our worldwide connections.

The best way to see if BU is a good fit for you is to come to campus where you’ll meet current students, take a tour, and hear from the board of admissions on what makes an application competitive. Every fall, we also travel the world to visit you in your area! Visit to learn more. If you can’t make it to campus, be sure to check out our virtual tour (

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