Boston University Supplemental Essay 2023-24 Prompts and Advice

Boston University Supplemental Essay 2023-24 Prompts and Advice

With almost 81,000 applications from those wishing to join the Class of 2027, Boston University has entered the realm of the most desirable private universities on the planet. It also continues to climb to new heights in terms of selectivity with just an 11% acceptance rate for entering 2023-24 freshmen. In contrast, just twenty years ago, BU accepted 70% of those who applied. This brings us to the topic of the Boston University supplemental essay.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into BU? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Boston University for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Boston University has become a school where you may need more than just strong grades and test scores to gain acceptance—the average SAT for those submitting applications last cycle was 1441. Through its one required essay prompt, the BU supplemental essay affords applicants an opportunity to showcase what makes them uniquely qualified for admission. Below are the Boston University supplemental prompt options for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address them:

2023-2024 Boston University Supplemental Essays

Boston University is dedicated to our founding principles: “that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community—local and international. These principles endure in the University’s insistence on the value of diversity in its tradition and standards of excellence and its dynamic engagement with the City of Boston and the world.” With this mission in mind, please respond to one of the following two questions in 300 words or less:

1. Reflect on a social or community issue that deeply resonates with you. Why is it important to you, and how have you been involved in addressing or raising awareness about it?

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or

2. What about being a student at BU most excites you? How do you hope to contribute to our campus community?

Note regarding word count: Although BU asks you to respond in less than 300 words, the Common App provides 350 words of space.

Prompt Option #1

Reflect on a social or community issue that deeply resonates with you. Why is it important to you, and how have you been involved in addressing or raising awareness about it?

To craft a strong response to this prompt, you’ll first need to choose an issue that is important to you on either a global, regional, or community scale. If you pick something general (and popular), like women’s rights or social media, consider choosing a specific angle that relates to you personally. For example, while tackling “social media” in general would be a daunting proposition, discussing a particular platform or the impact of technology on your interpersonal relationships could be far more specific and accessible.

Boston University Supplemental Essays (Continued)

To answer the second part of the prompt, you’ll need to discuss how you’ve engaged with the issue in real life. Have you attended rallies, protests, or fundraisers? Did you create or join an after-school club or volunteer opportunity? Have you shared your perspective at community or school board meetings? On a smaller scale, have you made an effort to converse with peers and/or adults about your chosen issue? If so, what was the outcome?

This prompt is not asking for a hypothetical answer. Therefore, crafting an effective response will necessitate that you have outwardly engaged with your issue of choice on some level. As such, if you have trouble brainstorming an issue that you have addressed or raised awareness about, you’ll likely want to respond to the second prompt option instead.

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Prompt Option #2

What about being a student at BU most excites you? How do you hope to contribute to our campus community?

This is your quintessential “Why Us?” essay which comes with the typical pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. We don’t want to label these as “mistakes” (there is nothing inherently wrong with them). They just don’t add any needle-moving value, which is, of course, the only goal here!

Common components of a vanilla “Why BU?” essay

  • Generalities about why Boston is an ideal location for your college experience.
  • Generalities about why Boston is an exciting/cosmopolitan/diverse/culture-filled city.
  • BU’s ranking, prestige, or reputation.
  • Too many generic expressions of feeling (e.g., I know with all my being that BU is the school for me…).
  • Recycled statements from your other “Why Us?” essays that come across as stale, impersonal, or worst of all-irrelevant/inaccurate.
  • Lastly (and most importantly), mentioning Fenway Park.

Boston University Supplemental Essays (Continued)

How to write a winning “Why BU?” essay

First things first—consider why you’re excited to become a BU student. Is it the academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, mission statement, etc.? Try focusing on 2-3 offerings that feel particularly significant rather than attempting to create a laundry list of everything you might possibly take advantage of. In addition, be sure to address how you will take advantage of the resources you decide to write about.

Secondly, you’ll need to discuss your prospective contribution to the BU campus. How will you be an active community member? Will your past/current endeavors carry over onto BU’s campus? How so? Will you bring special talents or passions?

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Boston University Supplemental Essays (Continued)

In any “Why Us?” composition, you need to show that you’ve done your homework on a given school. However, you don’t want it to read like a robotic list of items that you Googled five minutes before writing the essay (even if the timing of the Google search is roughly accurate). In addition to the pure research element, a lot of the time and skill required in creating a stellar BU essay will involve connecting your selected opportunities of interest to your distinct values, talents, aims, proficiencies, and future goals.

Should I answer the optional BU question?

Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.

When considering whether or not to utilize this inviting blank space, consider that the BU admissions office is deluged with applications and will only want to see highly compelling and essential information included in this section. For more on how to decide whether or not to take advantage of any Additional Information section in an application visit our blog on the subject.

How important is the essay at BU?

The factors that Boston University weighs as being “very important” in evaluating a candidate are the rigor of your secondary school record, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, and talent/ability. The essay is “important” and sits alongside letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities.

Boston University Supplemental Essays – Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

In conclusion, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Boston University supplemental essay, we encourage you to get a quote today.