How to Write the Boston University Supplemental Essay: Examples + Guide 2022/2023

essays for boston university

Want to geek out on stats and data and make more informed choices about college? Read Boston University’s Common Data Set , for an extensive, by-the-numbers look at its offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information.

Boston University’s supplemental essay prompt might be a little basic, but the university is anything but. To find out why and get some key phrases that you can use to make your essays amazing , read its strategic plan . Reading through this will give you the inside scoop on what Boston University values and what changes will shape the university in the future. 

BUT, please don’t just copy and paste chunks of the plan into your essay because a) that’s plagiarism and it's basically an academic crime, and b) anyone could do that. 

Think about this: What aspects of BU’s plan speak to you? Does it matter to you that the student-to-faculty ratio has dropped? Think about what this signals and whether that resonates with you (does more face-to-face time with professors appeal to you?). What about a new career planning center? This might be exciting if you’re planning on getting internships and taking advantage of help finding a job after college. Are you interested in global studies? Would you be excited to take classes at “one of the country’s largest schools of global and regional studies”? Keep reading to connect the dots. 

What is the Boston University supplemental essay prompt?

Boston university supplemental essay prompt #1.

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

How to Write the Supplemental Essay Prompt for Boston University

This prompt is a version of the “Why us?” essay. As such, we recommend checking out this complete guide on how to write the “Why us?” essay and paying close attention to the “Why Cornell” and “Why Penn” examples, which are our favorites.

Here’s the short version of how to write the “Why us?” essay:

Spend 1 hr+ researching 10+ reasons why Boston University might be a great fit for you (ideally 3-5 of the reasons will be unique to Boston U and connect back to you).

Make a copy of this chart to map out your college research.

Create an outline for your essays based on either Approach 1, 2 (recommended), or 3 in the full guide above.

Write a first draft!

As you write, try to avoid these common mistakes: 

Six Common Mistakes Students Make on “Why Us?” Essays

Mistake #1 : Writing about the school's size, location, reputation, weather, or ranking.

Mistake #2 : Simply using emotional language to demonstrate fit.

Mistake #3 : Screwing up the mascot, stadium, team colors, or names of any important people or places on campus.

Mistake #4 : Parroting the brochures or website language.

Mistake #5 : Describing traditions the school is well-known for.

Mistake #6 : Thinking of this as only a "Why them" essay.

Here’s a great sample essay for the BU supplemental essay. 

If plotted on a three-dimensional graph, BU stands as the intersection between science (X=1), humanities (Y=1), and a global education (Z=1). At point (1, 0, 0) you will find “CAS BI 206: Genetics,” while “CAS XL 342: Travel Writing and the Muslim World ” will likely be found closer to (0, 0.75, 0.50). Classes involving travel or fieldwork all lie along the plane Z=1. In our three-dimensional world, BU prepares the next generation of students to see beyond X and Y. As a budding geneticist and physician, I am often told that I will have to sacrifice fundamental pieces of who I am in order to pursue a career in science. But as a (1, 0.5, 0.25), as an avid researcher but also an activist, volunteer, and community advocate, I know that I have to find a college that allows me to grow in all directions. I know that BU is exactly that. And because an entire college experience can never be broken down into numbers alone, I hope to work in the lab with Dr. Ho, as her research builds off of the work I am currently involved in at Columbia University to study genomes for disease-causing mutations. Additionally, the International Affairs Association combines both my passions for Model UN and service through BarMUN and Global Civics. Fun and exploration, awareness and advocacy find a home at Boston University, and I hope that I will as well. 

Tips + Analysis

Consider weaving in a key phrase from BU’s strategic plan: Even if you just skim the strategic plan (we know some can be super long), find a few key phrases. This is like the Cliff Notes studying version or preparing for your final on Shakespeare. Can you get an A without reading the whole play? The answer is yes (don’t tell your English teacher). This student uses the phrase “a global education,” which directly links to BU’s new initiative to become “one of the country’s largest schools of global and regional studies.” (Pro tip: Try not to do this more than once in the essay; it’ll feel like you’re just telling BU what it wants to hear.)

Consider referencing specific classes and professors: Knowing that Boston University has classes such as “CAS BI 206: Genetics” and “CAS XL 342: Travel Writing and the Muslim World” shows the reader that this student dove deep into the academic offerings available. Bonus: These classes are pretty uncommon, especially the second one. Try to avoid referencing generic classes that every college will have such as Intro to Physics. Connect the classes to your specific interests (the more narrow, the better) and demonstrate what kind of student you’ll be. By referencing two distinct classes, this student reinforces her interdisciplinary path and appeals to BU’s desire to become even more of a global university (see the strategic plan in the intro). 

Brag, humbly: Instead of just stating that she hopes to “work in the lab with Dr. Ho” (a BU professor), this student connects her future plans at BU to college-level research she’s currently doing “at Columbia University to study genomes for disease-causing mutations.” This is what we call a subtle brag: Show off that you’re conducting college-level research as a high school student without sounding like a jerk or randomly dropping it in. Because it directly connects to this student’s values and future goals, it works. But if you haven’t done Ivy League-level research as a high school student, that’s okay. Almost no one has, and they still get accepted to great schools. Think about what you have accomplished so far and see if you can connect some of those experiences to your future plans. Tutored your cousin in math? Awesome. You can use that. 

Connect your values to the college’s: Fun, exploration, awareness, and advocacy are all values that matter both to BU and to this student, connecting the specific classes, research opportunities, and institutional priorities to her own academic and non-academic interests. Take a look at your Values List and see how yours align with what excites you about BU.

From first looking at countries’ GDPs without knowing what they meant, to exploring Keynes and Marx and neo-classical theory, I love that Economics challenges me to think about conflicts in aspects like religion, culture, and ethics that have significant impact on our lives. At Boston University, I want to explore how these important issues can be analyzed through Economics.  I am interested in both Behavioural Economics and Developmental Economics. Even though I have not studied them in school, books like The Undercover Economist  and TED talks have made me curious about different branches in Economics. Boston University Professor Raymond Fisman’s research paper, “Experience of Communal Conflicts and Intergroup lending” explores the connection between religion-based communal violence and lending, a connection I find interesting as religion is one of the factors that has enabled the economic development of my father’s hometown in India. To explore more about how religion connects with economics, I researched and wrote a 4,000 word essay on the contribution of religious pilgrimage and tourism of Ujjain for my IB extended essay.  Apart from Economics courses, Boston University’s community interests me because of things like India Club and Debate Club. India Club will help me to feel at home. And I really like debating, which has made me open to and aware of different beliefs and values and has connected me to people with different opinions. I’m also interested in the Boston University magazine, which helps generate conversation and connection among people. 

Tips + Analysis:

Consider describing research you’ve already done (if you’ve done some). This student starts off with his interest in Economics. Then, he describes how he’s already furthered this interest. By reading “books like The Undercover Economist” and listening to TED talks, this student shows the reader what he’s done so far (although he could get a bit more specific here and list which TED talks were most memorable). These details give him the opportunity to connect professors, classes, and opportunities at BU to his interests in a specific way. He also mentions his IB Extended Essay, “a 4,000 word essay on the contribution of religious pilgrimage and tourism of Ujjain,” which shows he is capable of specific, high-level academic research and writing in his chosen field. If you’re an IB student, mentioning your essay topic in your supplemental prompts is a great way to demonstrate your academic readiness for college. If you’re not an IB student, think about other advanced work you’ve done and maybe find a way to work it in. 

Consider showing how you’ll engage with BU outside the classroom: This prompt asks what excites you about BU, which implies that it’s expecting you to go beyond just academics. The more detailed, the better. Really imagine yourself on campus. Where will you live? What will you do on the weekend, in the evenings? Who will your friends be? How will you meet them? This student mentions his excitement to join the India Club and the Debate Club, painting a picture of how he’ll fit into the wider student community at BU and getting a chance to further highlight his culture. 

Make personal connections: This student connects a BU professor’s research paper, “Experience of Communal Conflicts and Intergroup lending,” to the economic development of his father’s hometown in India, demonstrating that a) he’s read a college-level research paper and done a deep dive into BU’s Econ department, and b) this research has personal significance to him. Once you’ve found some good research about the college, remember to connect it back to your why (why are you interested in this subject, professor, paper, topic, etc.?). The more specific you are, the better your odds are of standing out.

Want advice on dozens of other supplemental essays? Click here.

Special thanks to Cathleen for her contributions to this post.

Cathleen CEG

Cathleen is a USC alumna, writer, college admissions and essay consultant, and international speaker based in Los Angeles, California. She loves dancing and learning new languages even though she’s terrible at both :)

Top Values: Curiosity | Bravery | Close Relationships


Create amazing supplemental essays for the most selective schools, polish your activities list, and complete everything else with ease and joy. Learn more here.



Watch the lessons on your own or via the live option. 

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Boston University 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Boston university 2022-23 application essay question explanations.

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

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why , Additional Info

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!

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.

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3 Strong Boston University Essay Examples

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Boston University is a top research university in the heart of the city. With a fairly low acceptance rate, admissions is pretty selective, and writing strong essays is essential to standing out.

BU requires one essay for all applicants, and has an additional information prompt that is optional. Applicants to the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine have another essay, and Honors College applicants have two additional essays.

In this post, we’ll then go over example essays from a real applicants, analyzing what they did well, and what could be improved.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our BU essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

BU Main Application Essay Example

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

I am most excited by Boston University’s Societal Engineer vision. As an aspiring engineer with a strong interest in government, I love that BU encourages engineering majors to strengthen their communication skills and global awareness. 

Academically speaking, I would explore political science courses through BU Hub requirements like Historical Consciousness and Ethical Reasoning. In addition, I would explore the world through the semester-abroad programs offered by BU for engineering majors. If admitted, I would love to study in Grenoble (and brush up on my French!) as a sophomore.

Beyond academics, BU’s student groups also align with the Social Engineer vision. BU’s Engineers Without Borders mission spans both engineering and communication, as their project in Zambia involved both in developing sanitation systems and presenting posters on these systems to the community. Given my strong desire to help others through engineering, I would devote my time and energy to EWB’s projects at BU. 

I am also intrigued by BU’s political student groups, and I appreciate that BU’s student government offers students from all colleges leadership as Senators. I work closely with my high school’s administration as the vice president of our honor society and the overseer of student elections, and I would enjoy doing something similar at BU.

At BU, I can see myself tinkering with Autodesk Inventor late into the night and petitioning legislatures to fix gerrymandered districts. Because BU’s Societal Engineer vision would encourage both my STEM and humanities interests, I am very excited about being a student at BU. 

What the Essay Did Well

This essay is a strong response that adequately conveys what the student hopes to obtain from an education from Boston University. The applicant begins with a straightforward statement that expresses their interests in engineering and government.

Establishing this cross-disciplinary interest immediately sets the candidate apart from other engineering majors and makes their response more unique. By mentioning the intersection of engineering and government, the candidate hits upon a rare niche that demonstrates a willingness to bridge two seemingly disparate subjects. 

The student also mentions a study abroad opportunity specific for those within their major. They mention a specific study abroad destination, which further underscores their interest in this offering. The inclusion about brushing up on their French establishes a personal connection to their location choice, which also strengthens this portion of the response.

Next, the applicant discusses BU’s relevant extracurricular opportunities:

This inclusion is a good example of taking a BU-specific offering and expanding on what specific project the author intends to work on. They do a good job of connecting an engineering-related club to their humanities-related passions. 

The applicant then concludes with the following: 

These final sentences do a nice job of wrapping up the response in a way that allows the essay to flow smoothly until the end. The mentions of Autodesk Inventor and petitions provide readers with specific details that corroborate the points made earlier in the response. The applicant ends with a forward-facing sentence that solidifies their desire to attend BU. Similarly, you should aim to wrap up your response with a final statement that encapsulates your essay thus far and also points ahead to your future at the university.

What Could Be Improved

This essay could be strengthened in that the candidate does not necessarily establish a personal connection to BU’s Societal Engineer vision. To improve this, they could briefly elaborate on what drew them to this academic intersection. Perhaps volunteering at a homeless shelter opened their eyes to housing inequalities, which stem from issues with both finding cheap building materials and their city’s budget. Or, perhaps their interest in creating sustainable plastic substitutes drew them to explore both materials engineering and environmental policy. This personal connection would strengthen the overall authenticity of this essay and provide a flow for admissions officers to follow. 

The next portion of this response could also be improved. It centers on BU’s academic opportunities:

The applicant demonstrates that they have researched their major and mention a specific requirement. This is a good start; however, they should elaborate more on why they chose to mention this specific category. They can talk about how they hope to learn more about specific courses within this category. 

For instance, maybe they want to learn about security in America to inform their sense of national politics, or delve into the representation of the Holocaust in film, as they feel current policies on religious diversity should consider this topic. This further elaboration will round out this portion of the response rather than leaving it underdeveloped.

BU Kilachand Honors College Essay Example 1

What about the Kilachand Honors College resonates with you, and how would Kilachand’s curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals? (600 words)

I am an example of societal rejection. My lack of adherence to gender constructs breaks traditional expectations as my queerness takes over any sense of “normality” that society could see in me. As a queer, nonbinary person of color and an Indian immigrant, I’ve moved away from expectations that demand a definition of my characteristics and have begun to explore who I am on a profound level. It’s this concept of exploration that I aspire to integrate into my education so that I can learn more about others and understand the incomprehensible by any means, whether it be through interacting with different aspects of humanity, connecting with new communities, or increasing my knowledge on a topic. 

I’ve found this same ring of curiosity and educational passion that distinguishes Kilachand Honors College and have come to resonate with it, whether it be through the different community based circle meetings, the dissimilar seminars focused on developing critical and creative thinking, or the focus on experiential learning. However, Kilachand takes this interest for learning one step further, adding another dimension to the challenging liberal education through building on layers of global, social, corporate, and geopolitical challenges within the classes. This interdisciplinary aspect of the Kilachand curriculum provides me with the chance to understand issues from different perspectives, which I’d take advantage of to fulfill my professional goal of directing a human rights campaign. 

Specific classes like KHC HC 401: Epistemologies and the Process of Inquiry and KHC HC 301: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Challenges offer new intellectual opportunities I have been seeking while also supporting me in utilizing my education in a way that benefits my community. The emphasis placed on exploring the real life impact of students’ work in Kilachand’s integrated curriculum is empowering and would help me use education as a tool to build on my global perspective and make a meaningful difference.

It is my goal to learn more about the unfamiliar so that I can apply that knowledge to “unsolvable global issues” that are only labeled as such because of a cultural disconnect or societal difference. Kilachand supports this goal through offering co-curricular events and residencies where I can connect with other cultures through visiting different cultural institutions or having enlightening discussions with leading professionals. I am inspired by the passion behind the Kilachand community; events such as the POC and LGBTQIA+ Circle meetings are features of the Kilachand community that I hope to contribute to and learn from. By learning about others’ experiences and sharing my own, I aspire to be a part of the intellectual curiosity that is shared among Kilachand students.

The copious academic, cultural, and social opportunities at Kilchand all connect back to the same pillar of change that I have continuously been drawn to. Even though my interests are diverse and follow multiple tracks, the diversity of opportunities at Kilchand resonate with my varied passions and offer an accepting community connected through curiosity, which I hope to contribute to. 

The essay starts out with a bold, unexpected first sentence that hooks the audience into continuing to read the essay. This well-crafted writing seamlessly leads into an introduction about the writer, their values, and what they are looking for in a college education. The following paragraphs show how the Kilachand Honors College is an ideal fit for them.

The key to writing any “Why This College?” essay is to highlight specific resources that the college offers. This essay does that well by mentioning a wide range of BU resources by name, including classes, the integrated curriculum, the interdisciplinary educational philosophy, and extracurricular activities. By directly stating that they want to take “specific classes like KHC HC 401: Epistemologies and the Process of Inquiry,” the writer shows that they have done thorough research into the Honors College. More than anything else, evidence of this research demonstrates interest in the offerings of the Honors College and a strong “why” for applying.

The writer has not created a laundry list of resources with their essay either. They show that they have a personal interest in each resource by using “I” statements and explaining their ideas for making the most of the Honors College in the future. Instead of simply stating “I am looking forward to joining clubs related to social justice at BU,” the writer presents a much clearer and more confident vision for their academic future with the phrase “…events such as the POC and LGBTQIA+ Circle meetings are features of the Kilachand community that I hope to contribute to and learn from.”

Though the essay is highly specific with the resources it mentions in most parts, several sentences in the second paragraph could be strengthened:

However, Kilachand takes this interest for learning one step further, adding another dimension to the challenging liberal education through building on layers of global, social, corporate, and geopolitical challenges within the classes. This interdisciplinary aspect of the Kilachand curriculum provides me with the chance to understand issues from different perspectives…

Many other colleges offer an interdisciplinary curriculum, so the writer should write additional details here about Kilachand’s “interdisciplinary aspect.” They should ask themselves, is there a specific university value which encourages professors to tie many academic disciplines together in the classroom? Does BU require Kilachand students to take an honors core curriculum that covers many areas? Answering these questions would add the right level of specificity to the writer’s point about Kilachand’s educational philosophy. 

The essay would also be stronger if the writer explained exactly how Kilachand fosters curiosity. If curiosity were a core value of the Honors College, the writer could clarify by changing part of the essay’s last sentence to “an accepting community connected through the value of curiosity.”

BU Kilachand Honors College Essay Example 2

Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone or marginalized in a situation. How did you respond to that moment and how has it informed your actions moving forward? (600 words)

“The last 10% is 90% of the work.”

It was written on a small, ripped-off piece of yellow legal paper in fading blue ink. And now, it still sits in my desk drawer, four years after it was given to me by my band director, Mr. Laghari. It was one day in ninth grade, about two weeks before I was to perform my very first audition, that Mr. Laghari strolled over to where I was sitting.

“Alright Kat, let’s hear this district piece!”

What followed, looking back, was absolutely the most mediocre performance you’ve ever heard.

“Well done! I have a few comments for you though. Mainly, it seems like you have the notes and rhythms down, but you gotta add some musicality!”

I had no clue what he was talking about; it showed in my face.

“Expression! Dynamics! You know!”

But I didn’t.

“Oh come on! It’s the last part, right before the audition, the hardest part. You know, my high school band director once told me…”

He took out his yellow legal pad and began writing.

“The. Last. Ten. Percent. Is. Ninety. Percent. Of. The. Work.”

He ripped it off, and gave it to me. And I took it to heart. I looked up musicality, expression, dynamics, and worked to map out phrases in the music. I recorded myself to see what I could add to make it musical .

When the audition came around, I was ready. When they called euphoniums, I enthusiastically left my school’s group and walked with the rest of the auditionees to the holding room. But it was a long walk. Not only did I start to miss the safety of my school group, I started to get in my own head. What if I put in all my hard work for nothing? What would people think? My parents? Mr. Laghari? In the holding room, I squirmed in my seat, waiting for my name to get called. The clock on the wall ticked and ticked, my anxiety building all the while. Finally, my name was called, second-to-last, and as I followed the volunteer to the audition room, I suddenly remembered Mr. Laghari’s slip of paper. I just needed to give my ninety percent. I focused myself, and did just that.

So it came as a surprise to me when Mr. Laghari told me that I placed seventh, and they took the top six players, on the bus ride home. Not only was I surprised, I was crushed. “We’ll get ‘em next year!” he said. But all I heard was “You didn’t make it this year.” It was a bitter trip.

It took me about a week to realize what he said, and that I would crush it next year. I told myself it wasn’t a matter of auditioning to see if I could make it. I told myself auditioning was a formality. And as I looked at the blue ink on that slip of paper, with all of those crushing memories now attached, I told myself that I would give my ninety percent not just on the last ten percent of the work, but on all of it: every year. And with that mindset, I’ve not only placed first in All-Districts on trombone and euphonium, but have made it all the way to All-State. 

So, whenever I need inspiration for a project, motivation to finish my homework, determination not to give up, I just open up my desk drawer. And one day in the near future, when I move off to Boston University, that slip of paper is what I’ll be taking with me.

This essay is a moving example of how to tell a story with dialogue. Beginning the essay with dialogue is unexpected, which automatically makes for a gripping hook. At the same time, dialogue is an excellent way to organize the essay and convey main ideas in a succinct, yet creative way. The one-sentence introduction of the essay summarizes its entire message more effectively than a paragraph.

The writer then shows how they felt out of their comfort zone and responded by focusing on several specific moments of their journey to become a better musician. Writing about a few parts of a story with vivid detail will result in stronger narrative than a more general, big picture account. 

Lastly, the essay is cohesive and moving because of its motif, or recurring theme, of Mr. Laghari’s slip of paper. This one detail ties the whole essay together from start to finish. The motif makes the essay flow well and stay on topic, which are among the greatest challenges for any college essay writer. Of course, the motif makes for an awe-inspiring concluding sentence as well!

The writer could strengthen their essay by responding further to the last question of the prompt about how their moment of discomfort informed their actions moving forward. The writer certainly touches on this, but only talks about working harder as a musician and high school student. Adding a few more sentences to the second-to-last paragraph about their plans for the far future would answer the prompt more completely. For example, they could expand the final sentence of that paragraph to the following:

And with that mindset, I’ve not only placed first in All-Districts on trombone and euphonium, but have made it all the way to All-State. I’m now inspired to put 100% into my dream of becoming a professional musician in a philharmonic orchestra.

Where to Get Your BU Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your BU essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. In fact,  Alexander Oddo , an essay expert on CollegeVine, provided commentary on the essays in this post. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Boston University Supplemental Essay Examples for

Boston University Supplemental Essay Examples

Perusing some Boston University supplemental essay examples will be a great foundational step to writing your own college application essays for Boston University. Excellent essays are one option for making your college application stand out.

Why look at example essays at all? Even knowing how to start a college essay can be a tricky prospect; looking over sample essays is a great first step, because you will see how other people kicked their own essay off. Or, maybe you’ve been working on your essay for a long time, and even though you’ve studied expert college essay tips , you don’t know how to apply them to refine your essay.

In this article, we will look at the two required essays for a Boston University application, the common application essay – a personal statement – and the supplemental essay. Then, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to write any kind of essay generally and supply you with specific information you need to write your Boston University essays.

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Article Contents 8 min read

The boston university supplemental essays.

Boston University requires students to complete two essays, a BU-specific essay and a Common Application personal statement.

Each of these essays fulfill a specific purpose in the Boston University application process, and you should take those purposes into consideration.

Boston University-specific Essay

Prompt: “What about being a Boston University student most excites you?”

Length: 250 words

This question, “Why Boston University?” is a common question asked by most universities and colleges of their prospective students. What they want to know here is why you fit perfectly with their school, and how you will mutually benefit each other.

First, you need to know about the school. What is so special about Boston University? Look up the programs they have but dive deep. A lot of schools teach math or have English lit courses. What does Boston University do that no other school is doing? Consider research that is being conducted or find out about any unique programs they have that excite you.

Of course, most of this you’ve already found out; it’s what inspired you to put Boston University on your list of top-choice schools, after all. All you need to do is pick your favorite reason – maybe two of them – and talk about them in the essay.

You can mention things like the beauty of the campus, but don’t focus on those aspects. You’re applying based on something deeper than the lovely buildings. The best subjects to talk about are academics and values.

Display not only why you would be excited to attend the school, but also why you will fit well with the school’s mission statement and their directives. This isn’t just about why you want to attend their institution. After all, they know their school is great – they love it. They want to check compatibility, like an academic dating app. Give them every reason to swipe right.

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

Length: None specified; aim for about a page or 600 words.

A personal statement is meant to introduce yourself and answer the question of who you are as a unique applicant. Therefore, you need to think about something you can say about yourself that is unique and shows off your perspectives, experiences, and accomplishments to any member of the admissions committee who is reading your statement.

What sorts of things might you include? You should think beyond your resume. Your transcript has your “stats,” so give them something extra. Give your reader insight into how you think. For example, you might take something you’ve done – a particular laboratory class, for instance – and speak to how you changed your thought processes, or what you learned about lab work. Your CV says you did the lab and got this-or-that grade, but if you talk about how this experience changed you, you give a far greater understanding of yourself to the committee.

With those samples in mind, you should have a pretty good idea of how to go about creating your own, perfect essay.

Some general tips and advice on how to write a college essay won’t hurt, so read on for a little extra information.

Let’s start off with format. The format you’re going to follow is a standard essay writing format, with an introduction paragraph, a body, and a conclusion.

Your college essay introduction should be a paragraph that sets up the rest of the essay, or story, that you’re relating to the admissions committee. Think of this as a way to set up expectations, but also to grab attention. You want to “hook” your reader in with a great opener. Do this with enough panache that they would want to read the whole essay whether they were on the admissions committee or not.

The other main thing your opening paragraph does is tell your reader what they have to look forward to. Maybe you’re going to emphasize a particular mentor, a skill you’ve developed, or academic performance and growth, but whatever your focus is, set that up in the opener.

That brings us neatly to the body of the essay. This is where your college essay topic is unpacked, expanded on, and explored. You should cover two or three main points – don’t overstuff this section. Whatever you set up in the opener becomes the bulk of your material. Do showcase at least two major elements of yourself here – give the impression of being well-rounded and having many qualities, even though you’re only touching on a couple of them.

Finally, conclude your essay by fulfilling the expectations of the opening paragraph. Your goal here is to conclude in such a way that the admissions committee wants to hear more, which means they will invite you to the next step in the admissions process, and then you just have to worry about how to prepare for a college interview .

Working on your Common App essay or personal statement too? Check out this video for tips:

Take note of how the BU-specific essay referenced Boston University’s GCIL initiative and the Hub. Those are unique learning opportunities at BU. The writer also shows why those particular aspects of BU are important to them, demonstrating why they would “gel” with the school.

Both essays focus on the uniqueness of the writer, so any admissions committee members will want to see more from this person, increasing their chances of an invitation.

Boston University gives no firm word count limits but be sure to check before applying; that might change from year to year. Read carefully over your prompts and instructions before working on your essays.

That is a wealth of information, both in examples and advice, which will serve you well in your essay-writing and application-filling days ahead. If you need more, go in search of other college essay examples to further boost your confidence and technique.

Remember to refine your essay, giving it all the care and attention it deserves – which is a lot. Your application depends on all aspects allowing you to shine through. Give yourself the best personal introduction you can.

We recommend that you dedicate time every week for three to four weeks to work on your essays; you don’t have to work full-time on them, but you do need to give yourself the time to brainstorm, write, review, edit, and polish your work.

The first is about 250 words, but the second is unspecified. Be careful not to go overboard. A page is plenty, and we recommend that you try to keep your work to no more than 600 words. There is no need to pad your essays; just answer the prompts.

Common App, or Common Application, is a centralized service used by post-secondary institutions all over the world. It allows students to create one application and send it in to multiple colleges or universities.

In complete congruity with its name, the Common App is widely used. A list of which schools use Common App is a long list: literally hundreds.

There are several factors to consider here. Different schools might weigh these two documents differently, so check with the school. Some schools have cutoffs, which means that a poor grade average on your transcript might eliminate you from having your essays read at all.

The best way to approach your application is to assume that all aspects are extremely important. Why chance anything? Why do less than your best?

Yes. Boston University accepts applicants from out of the state and out of the country. In fact, in a recent year, Boston University’s international students made up 24% of the student body.

The acceptance rate was 14% in a recent year.

The Common App allows for this, yes; you can change your essays after submission.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 expert tips for the boston university supplement essays.

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College Essays


If you're applying to Boston University this year, you're in luck: most applicants only need to submit one supplemental BU essay.

In this article, we'll cover what the Boston University essay prompts are, how to answer them, and provide key tips for writing the best application essays possible.

What Are the Boston University Essays?

Boston University requires all its applicants to respond to one Boston University essay as part of its admissions requirements (in addition to the Common App or Coalition App essay). You may also have to respond to an additional essay, depending on what school or program you're applying to.

Boston University accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application for admission , so you can choose whichever application you prefer and apply to Boston University (including submitting your essays) through that application's platform.

The essays are an important part of your application—they give you a chance to show the admissions committee a different side of your personality than what they see in the rest of your application. The Boston University essays also give you a chance to wow the admissions committee with your creativity and writing skills, so it's important to put a lot of effort into your essays to make them as strong as possible.

Boston University Essay Prompts and Requirements

There are a number of different Boston University essay prompts, depending on what program you are applying to and whether or not you decide to apply for a scholarship.

All students must answer the "Why Boston University" essay. You can also choose to submit additional work in the "Extra Space" part of the application. Applicants to the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine, Kilachand Honors College, and the Trustees Scholarships must also answer additional essays, each with their own word count and requirements.

Let's take a look at each of the prompts:

"Why Boston University"

"Extra Space" [OPTIONAL]

For Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine applicants:

For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

The mission of Kilachand Honors College is to offer a challenging liberal arts education grounded in critical and creative thinking, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and the real-world application of knowledge. Please see for more details about our program, and then respond to one of the following questions in an essay (600 words):

Option A: What about the Kilachand Honors College resonates with you, and how would Kilachand's curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals?

Option B: If you could create a new Kilachand course, what would it be? How would your imagined course align with the core values of Kilachand?

For Trustees Scholarship applicants: Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective. (600 words)

Boston University Essay Prompts, Analyzed

Let's take a look at each of the Boston University essay prompts. In this section, we'll break down what each prompt is asking, how you should answer, what kind of topics will work to answer the prompt, and what you should avoid talking about.

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

The Boston University Supplement Essay prompt is a classic "Why this school" essay prompt. These types of essays ask you to demonstrate to the admissions committee why this school is the one for you.

Your answer should be Boston University-specific. You should do your research on Boston University to be able to name specific classes, programs, or professors that excite you. Your essay should focus on why you want to attend Boston University—not why you want to attend college in general.

Don't speak generically—Boston University knows that it has great academics and interesting classes. You need to name specific parts of the school that are attractive to you as a student. Maybe you're interested in film and television and want to be part of BUTV10, or perhaps you want to work on a Senior Design Project in College of Engineering. Whatever your reason, make it specific to BU—something that you can't get at any other college or university.

For more information on how to answer the BU essay prompt, visit our article on the subject!


Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider. (2000 KB PDF file)

This prompt may seem intimidating—what should you upload? First, remember that this is an optional prompt, and if you choose to leave it blank, that won't be a black mark on your application. If you do decide to answer it, y ou should use it as a chance to a.) demonstrate the quality of your work and/or b.) present yourself as a well-rounded person.

If, for instance, you are the first chair in your high school's wind symphony, you might want to upload a MP3 file of your playing. Boston University will have lots of students applying who are musicians—sending in a file of yourself playing can demonstrate the quality of your musicianship.

On the other hand, if you've been playing in a punk band with some friends for fun for five years but didn't mention it elsewhere on your application, this essay prompt gives you the perfect opportunity to present another aspect of your personality.

Whatever you choose to upload, make sure that it is high quality and well put-together. Submitting something that's confusing or sloppy can give the admissions committee the wrong impression, so if you don't have anything that stands out as something you'd want to submit, we recommend skipping it.

The Accelerated Programs Admission Committee is interested in learning more about you. Please write an essay on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. Please make sure your essay is completely distinct from the one you submitted on the Common Application. (750 words)

This prompt is only for students who are applying to the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine. This Boston University Supplement Essay prompt is a pretty standard example of a health professional admissions essay, but the long word count is tricky. You want to be specific and passionate, not redundant and long-winded.

You can break your essay down into two main parts: why you decided to enter the health professions and what you hope to gain from doing so. When you talk about why you decided to enter the health professions, be sure to highlight any specific experiences that influenced your decision. Don't speak in generalizations or platitudes—call out real experiences that made you decide to apply. Don't, for instance, say that you want to change the world through medicine, unless you can back it up with a solid explanation of why.

Discussing what you hope to gain from the profession is an opportunity to hammer home why Boston University is such an important part of your education. Talk about what you hope to achieve in your career and how Boston University can help you get there.

Students who are applying to Boston University's Kilachand Honors College must answer an additional 600 word prompt. You'll choose between two prompts, and both require you to discuss what about Kilachand is important to you and how you think it could help you achieve your goals.

The Kilachand Honors College is a living and learning community where you have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning activities, so it's a good idea to highlight how practical application and real-world experience is important to you in this essay.

The key to either of these prompts is to be specific. You don't need to talk about all of your academic interests here—in fact, it's probably better to just discuss one or two that are really important to you. Whatever interest you choose to write about, you should make sure that you highlight how you would continue to explore that interest at Boston University, and Kilachand specifically. Whether you choose Option A or B, make sure to discuss both your own personal interests/goals as well as how they relate to the values of Kilachand and the opportunities it offers.

Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective. (600 words)

Students who are applying for the Boston University Trustees Scholarships must answer an additional essay of 600 words.

The Trustees Scholarship asks you to pick between two prompts. Both are geared towards helping the admission committee learn more about your interests and values.

If you choose Option A, you'll discuss your passions...which can be pretty fun! Think of something in your life where you light up with excitement or joy. That's what you need to focus on for this essay prompt. The key to this answer will be twofold: you need to be sincere, but you also need to be able to explain how that passion will make you a good member of the BU community.

Maybe the thing that makes you feel most alive is mountain biking. You love the physical challenge, but you also love the way the wind whips over you while you're doing a massive downhill trail. When you get to BU, you want to join the Boston University mountain bike team! You're hoping to make friends (and win national championships!) while at BU. 

Option B wants to know how you react when you're outside of your comfort zone. It can be easy to be confident, respectful, and thoughtful when you're in a place you feel comfortable in, but once you leave that place and don't feel as valued or secure as you should, what are you like?

College is all about expanding your comfort zone, and BU wants to make sure you can handle these changes gracefully. In your response, briefly describe the situation when you felt outside your comfort zone and how it made you feel, then spend the bulk of your response explaining your reaction and what you took away from the experience. Maybe you learned to listen more than you speak or now always look out for people who seem to be overlooked in a situation because you understand how it feels. Above all, BU is looking for students who use challenges as an opportunity for growth and remain open-minded even when a situation is tough. 

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Key Tips for Writing an Amazing Boston University Supplement Essay

Ready to write an amazing Boston University supplement essay? Follow these key tips to do so!

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond your test scores, grades, and honors. Your admissions essays are your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the essay readers and to present yourself as a fully fleshed out person.

You should, then, make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't try to emulate what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will diminish its effectiveness. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think Boston University wants you to be.

#2: Avoid Clichés and Overused Phrases

When writing your Boston University essays, try to avoid using clichés or overused quotes or phrases. These include quotations that have been quoted to death and phrases or idioms that are overused in daily life. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Strive for originality. Similarly, avoid using clichés, which take away from the strength and sincerity of your work.

Boston University's admissions committee will see thousands of essays that talk about how much the applicant loves Boston. Saying that you want to study in the world's greatest college town is trite and overdone. If you are excited about going to school in Boston, make sure that you have a really specific reason that also ties to Boston University's opportunities.

#3: Check Your Work

It should almost go without saying, but make sure your Boston University essays are the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your Boston University application, make sure to edit and proofread your essays.

Your work should be free of spelling and grammar errors. Make sure to run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit.

It's a good idea to have someone else read your Boston University essays, too. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which program you're applying to at Boston University, you want to make sure that your Boston University essays are a great example of who you are as a student and a person and why Boston University should accept you.

Your essay should:

Your essay should not:

The more effort you put into your essays, the better chance you have of getting accepted to Boston University!

What's Next?

Do you want to learn more about the Why Boston essay? We created an in-depth guide to help you ace this essay. Check it out here!

Starting your essay is often the hardest part. If you're unsure where to begin, check out this guide to starting a college essay perfectly , so you're ready to ace that introduction!

A good essay is just one part of a successful Boston University application . If you want to really wow the admissions office, be sure your grades and test scores are up to snuff, too!

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Boston University Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

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Do you need help writing your Boston University supplemental essays? Then this Boston University supplemental essay guide is for you.

First, we’ll look at each of the Boston University essay prompts to help you figure out how to write strong Boston University supplemental essays. Then, we’ll also describe how the Boston University supplemental essays fit into the overall Boston University admissions process. 

But first, before we dive into how to write the Boston University essay, let’s learn more about Boston University. 

Boston University

Boston University (BU) is a private university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1839, Boston University has a total undergraduate enrollment of just over 18,000 students. Also, Boston University is ranked #41 in National Universities according to U.S. News. Lastly, the Boston University acceptance rate is 14% , making Boston University a highly competitive school. 

If you’re wondering how to get into Boston University, we can help. The key to standing out in the Boston University admissions process is writing strong Boston University supplemental essays. 

So, ready to learn more about the Boston University essay prompts for the Boston University supplemental essays? In this Boston University essay guide, we’ll explore a key component of the Boston University application – the Boston University supplemental essay. 

Boston University Essay: Quick Facts

How many essays are required for Boston University? 

There are two Boston University essays that are required for admission. The first required essay is the Common App essay, and the second required Boston University essay is their version of the “Why this College” essay. We’ll provide the prompt for this Boston University supplemental essay in the next section of this guide. 

In addition to the two required Boston University essays, there is one optional Boston University supplemental essay listed on the Boston University application. This Boston University essay is optional, but it can be useful to provide further context for your application. We’ll list the prompt for this optional essay in the next section of this guide. Later, we’ll discuss what to include in this additional essay if you choose to submit it along with your Boston application. 

What are the Boston University Essay Prompts? 

You can find the prompts for the first Boston University essay on the Common App website . We will also include them later in this essay guide.  

Below are the Boston University essay prompts for the required and optional Boston University supplemental essays: 

We’ll examine the Boston University essay prompts in more detail later. First, let’s explore the Boston University essay: “Why this College” essay. 

Boston University Essay: Why This College Essay

This Boston University supplemental is their version of the “Why this College” essay. The purpose of this Boston University supplemental is to highlight what excites you the most about Boston University. So, this means you’ll have to include specific details in your response. We’ll explain how to write this Boston University supplemental in more detail later in this guide. 

Let’s take another look at this Boston University essay prompt: 

Before you start writing this Boston University supplemental, you first need to identify what interests you the most about becoming a Boston University student. Perhaps you want to live and learn in one of the best college towns , major in the liberal arts , or study architecture at Boston Architectural College . 

Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to use this Boston University essay to describe what excites you the most about Boston University. Also, bonus points if you can incorporate how attending Boston University will help you reach your goals in your Boston University supplemental. 

You might wonder how doing research can help you write your Boston University supplemental essays. The Why School essay shouldn’t just be about you. It should also explain why, out of all the colleges and universities you could possibly attend, you’re a fit at this specific university. 

Do your research

That means you’ll need to reference something specific about Boston University in your Boston University supplemental essays. To do this well, you’ll want to spend some time researching what interests you about Boston University. 

So, grab your computer or cell phone. Your next tip for writing the Why Boston University essay is to do your research. If you don’t already know a lot about Boston University, don’t worry. Spend some time on the Boston University website to learn more. Check out the pages on admissions , student life , and the mission of Boston University. 

As you research, look for things about BU that pique your interest. Then, incorporate those features into your BU essay. What is it about Boston University that has you excited about joining the campus community? When you picture yourself at Boston University, what are you doing? Who are you learning from? Finally, how are you involved on campus? 

Many colleges and universities have a “Why this College” essay prompt. However, you shouldn’t recycle your “Why this College” essay response for the Boston University supplemental essay. 

Remember, Boston University admissions officers are looking for applicants who want to attend Boston University. Moreover, they want to find students who would be a great addition to the campus community. So, you should use your response to this Boston University essay to show exactly that! 


Additionally, self-reflection is a vital part of writing standout BU essays. Think about the story your application tells. What kind of person would you be on BU’s campus? Moreover, why should BU want you to join their community?

This self-reflection aspect is key to making your Boston University supplemental essays as strong as possible. In order to show who you are to the Boston University admissions office, you need to know who you are. 

This is where self-reflection comes in. So, think about yourself—your personal background, identity, and interests. What do you want the admissions office to know about you? What makes you unique? Finally, what can you bring to the table that no one else can? 

We’ll go over more tips for writing the Why School essay in the rest of this guide. 

Boston University Essay: Additional Information

Next, let’s look at the second of the BU supplemental essay prompts:

This BU supplemental essay is truly optional. However, it does give you a great opportunity to share any more details with BU to help them understand your application.

If there are any discrepancies in your grades, transcript, GPA, test scores (if applicable), or disciplinary history, you’ll want to use this additional information essay to address them. This is also your opportunity to explain how a lower-than-average GPA or lack of extracurricular activities doesn’t accurately represent who you are as a student or future college student. So, if you have any concerns about your application, use the second of the BU essay prompts to assuage BU’s hesitations.

You could also use this additional information essay to submit a portfolio of writing. Additionally, you can use this space to highlight information that is not otherwise listed in your Boston University application. However, you should only do so if it will meaningfully enrich the rest of your candidate profile.

Finally, keep in mind the preferred format for the second BU supplemental essay. If you have something to include for this Boston University essay, make sure that you upload it as a PDF that does not exceed 2000 KB. 

How do I write an essay for Boston University?

Boston University Supplemental Essays

With two required Boston University supplemental essays and one optional essay as part of the Boston application, you might be wondering where to start . How you write an essay for Boston University depends on which of the Boston University supplemental essays you want to begin with. Next, we’ll break down how to write your Boston University supplemental essays.

First, let’s look at the Common App personal statement. 

The Common App essay : 

The Common Application personal statement essay is the first required essay that is a part of the Boston University application. Out of all the Boston University supplemental essays, the Common App essay is the longest essay at 650 words. 

There are a total of seven essay prompts that you can choose from for your Common App personal statement.

Common App Essay Prompts 2022-2023

All of the Common App essay prompts are open-ended, which allows you to fill in the blanks by telling your story. It also lets you highlight what makes you a unique applicant.

Acing your Common App essay is especially important, as it will be sent to every college you apply to through the Common Application portal. 

Choosing an essay prompt

If you are having a hard time choosing between the Common App essay prompts, you should start with a writing exercise. First, select 1-2 (no more than 3) essay prompts that interest you. Then, set a timer on your watch for 10 minutes and begin writing. Write down everything you can that comes to mind. Then, repeat the process for each essay prompt you selected. 

When you are finished with this writing exercise, review what you have created. Compare what you’ve written for each of the essay prompts you selected. Were you able to write a lot about one specific topic? Additionally, can you connect your response to your overall application narrative ? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then that is the Common App essay prompt for you.

Above all, you’ll want to select the prompt that makes the most sense for you . So, don’t try to force it. Instead, choose the prompt that best allows you to highlight what makes you unique. 

Now let’s turn our attention to Boston University’s Why School essay —the main supplemental essay requirement for the Boston University application. 

The Why School essay:

Boston University Supplemental Essays

As we previously stated, the Why School essay prompt is fairly common and used by many colleges and universities. However, while multiple schools may ask for the same essay, you still should not recycle your responses. It’s easy to tell the difference between a well-crafted essay and one that you copied and pasted from a different application. 

The purpose of this essay is to show who you are and what interests you. Additionally, you’ll also want to describe how you will be a great fit for the Boston University campus in this essay. Writing a strong response to the Why School essay might sound hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Use the advice in this guide to help you build a strong Why School essay for BU.

Additional Information essay: 

Out of all the Boston University supplemental essays, the additional information essay is optional. However, you should not skip this Boston University essay if you have something in your personal or academic history that you might want to explain. 

Still, this BU essay is truly optional. If you don’t have anything to include, don’t use this space to repeat information contained elsewhere in your application. You won’t be penalized for not completing the second of the BU supplemental essays.

More tips for writing the Why Boston University essay

Need more tips for writing the Why Boston University supplemental? Let’s start from the beginning. 

boston university supplemental essays

Getting Started

As we mentioned above, the purpose of the Boston University supplemental essay is to showcase who you are, what matters to you, what your goals are, and how Boston University will help you get there. Next, we’ll offer more tips to make your Boston University supplemental essay as strong as possible. 

Before you start the writing process, it’s important to solidify your overall application narrative. Like a candidate profile, your application narrative should be one to two sentences that emphasize why you are a unique applicant. You can think of your application narrative, or candidate profile, as the theme of your application. 

One way to identify the theme of your application is to focus on what you are passionate about. So, let’s look at how you can highlight your passions in your college applications.

Determine Your Passions

If someone were to ask you what you are passionate about, could you easily answer that question? No? Well, now is the perfect time to pinpoint your passions! 

You might wonder how identifying your interests could help you write the Boston University supplemental essays. So, think back to the “Why School” essay prompt. The Boston University supplemental essay prompt asks you to write about two things: what excites you and how that connects to becoming a Boston University student. 

Let’s focus on the first part of that prompt – what excites you? Perhaps you’re a whiz at analyzing data and you’ve been interning in a government office to prepare for majoring in economics in college. Or, maybe your personal background influenced you to volunteer with refugee organizations. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to reflect on your interests and passions. That way, you can talk about them with ease in your Boston University supplemental essays. 

Make A List

You’ve have reflected on your application narrative and identified your passions. Next, it’s time to make a list of what you have discovered about yourself. Write down 5-10 items that connect your interests and passions to your overall application narrative. 

With only 250 words, you won’t be able to talk about everything on your list in your Boston University supplemental essay. But that’s okay! You’ll use what is on this list to eventually narrow down what you do plan to include in your Boston University supplemental essay. 

Learn More About Boston University 

As we’ve discussed, research is a key part of writing strong Boston University essays. However, this research doesn’t have to feel daunting.

You don’t have to know everything about Boston University to write an effective Boston University essay. Instead, set aside 30 minutes to an hour to look over the Boston University website. While you research, make a second list of what intrigues you the most about Boston University. 

You’ll want to focus on specific details for this second list because you will need to reference them by name in your Boston University supplemental essays. Are there any particular courses, programs, or professors you can see yourself interacting with or learning from? Focus on the aspects of Boston University that make it a great fit for you. Then, write them down and use them in your BU essays.

Make Connections

Okay, so you’ve determined your passions, learned more about what Boston University has to offer, and have two lists to reference before you start your Boston University supplemental essays. Now what? 

This is arguably the most important tip for writing the Why Boston University essay. When you put the two parts of the Boston University essay prompt together, your response needs to address what excites you and why Boston University is the only place to help you reach your goals. 

To do this, you’ll need to make connections. So, think about how attending Boston University will help support you as you choose a major and pursue your passions. Then, reference the lists you’ve made and how you can connect the two in your essay. 

If you’re thinking about skipping this step – don’t. Lots of students will only focus on themselves in this Boston University essay. Instead, make sure that you show who you are, what you are interested in, and how Boston University will help you cultivate those interests. 

More Boston University essays to look out for 

Boston University Supplemental Essays

Besides the two required Boston University essays, there are more Boston University essays to keep an eye out for. For example, when prospective students are submitting their applications, they can chose to apply for merit-based Boston University scholarships . These include the Trustee Scholarship or Presidential Scholarship, both of which require an essay. So, make sure you include these essays in your BU application strategy.

Out of all the Boston University scholarships, the Trustee Scholarship is the most prestigious. Next, let’s explore some of the requirements and essays you’ll need to tackle if you choose to apply. 

Trustee Scholarship requires applicants to: 

When you submit your Boston University application by the priority deadline, you will also need to writer a long essay responding to one of two prompts. The two prompts from which you will choose are listed below.

Boston University Trustee Scholarship essay prompts:

Need additional Boston University essay tips for these Boston University scholarships? Our Boston University Scholarship guide can help. In it, you’ll find additional Boston University essay tips to help you write your Boston University essays. 

How to win Boston University Scholarships

Does Boston University care about essays? 

Boston University Supplemental Essays

Yes. The Boston University supplemental essays are an important part of your application because they give you the ability to tell your story to the Boston University admissions office. 

Boston University admissions receives thousands of applications each year, which is why the Boston University acceptance rate is so competitive. So, to stand out in the Boston University application process, you’ll need to write compelling Boston University supplemental essays. 

Writing strong responses to the Boston University supplemental essays will help you ace your “how to get into Boston University” strategy. 

Now that we know more about the Boston University essays, let’s explore the connection between the Boston University supplemental essays and the admissions process. 

Boston University Supplemental Essays & the Admissions Process

boston university supplemental essays

The Boston University supplemental essays are an important part of the admissions process. As we noted above, there are two required Boston University essays including the Common App essay. There is also one optional Boston University essay in the Boston University application. 

You’ll want to use the Boston University supplemental essays to highlight why you are a perfect addition to the Boston University community. We’ll go over some final tips on writing the Boston University essay in the next section of this guide. 

Aside from the required Boston University supplemental essays, there are other materials you’ll need to gather for your Boston University application. Your Boston University application requires you to include the following items : 

Boston University Application Requirements

If you apply to the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, you’ll also need to include several additional application requirements. These include portfolios, auditions, and interviews with the College of Fine Arts admissions team. 

Holistic review

Once you submit your Boston University application, the Boston University admissions office will begin the holistic review process. This means that they will take your entire application narrative into account by reviewing your academic achievements, background, and life experiences within the context of your environment. 

It’ll take much more than just good SAT scores or a stellar GPA to get into Boston University. Because the Boston University acceptance rate is so competitive, you can expect the admissions process to be just as competitive. The key to standing out in the admissions process is making your Boston University supplemental essays shine. 

Boston University is looking for students that are highly motivated and intellectually curious. They also want to recruit students who will positively contribute to the larger Boston University community. So, your Boston University supplemental essays are the perfect way for you to address how you match these requests. 

To learn more about how to get into Boston University, visit the admissions overview page . 

Top 3 Tips for Writing the Boston University Essay 

1. start early.

The Boston University essays are a crucial part of your overall Boston application. This means you’ll want to spend as much time as possible getting the Boston University essays right. Make sure you start the writing process early, well in advance of the Boston University application deadline, so that you can craft the strongest Boston University supplemental essays imaginable. 

2. Do your research

The purpose of the Boston University supplemental is to learn more about you and how committed you are to attending Boston University. So, you’ll want to have an answer for both parts of the Boston University essay prompt, which means you’ll need to do your research. Start by looking at the school’s website and jot down what excites you the most about becoming a BU student. Even if you don’t get to use everything on your list in your Boston University supplemental essays, that’s okay. The more research you do, the better your responses will be to the Boston University supplemental essays. 

3. Be specific

This tip goes hand in hand with the one above. After you’ve done your research about what to highlight in your Boston University supplemental, you’ll want to include specific details in your Boston University essay to support your claims. You can mention courses, professors, programs or clubs/organizations at BU by name.  You only have 250 words to get your point across, so make sure you are as specific as possible in your Boston University supplemental essays. 

CollegeAdvisor resources on Boston University 

Looking for more resources on how to get into Boston University or how to write the Boston University supplemental essays? We’ve got you covered.

To review Boston University admissions requirements, the Boston University application, the Boston University acceptance rate, and more, read our “How to Get into Boston University” guide . 

How to Get Into Boston University (BU) Guide

As you prepare your own Boston University supplemental essays, we suggest reviewing past essay guides to get more ideas about how to write your college essays. Check out our 2021-2022 Boston University essay guide or 39 essay tips from admissions experts for more essay writing inspiration. 

Boston University Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022

Finally, to get ideas on how to answer the “Why School” essay, watch our Boston Schools panel. 

Boston University & Boston College Panel

Boston University Supplemental Essays – Final Thoughts 

As we mentioned above, including well-crafted Boston University supplemental essays in your Boston University application will help you stand out in the admissions process. Writing a thoughtful response to the Boston University supplemental prompt takes time, so be sure to start the process early. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to write, edit, and revise your Boston University essay before the application deadline. You can also let someone else read your Boston University supplemental essays to give you feedback and ideas on how to make them stronger. 

We hope this guide gave you a better understanding of what to include in your Boston University supplemental essays. Remember, Boston University is looking for applicants that are smart, ambitious, innovative, and proactively seek out new experiences. Try to incorporate these values and make connections in your Boston University supplemental essays to show how BU will help you reach your goals as well as how you will be a great addition to the BU community. 

We’re here to help

So, if you are still struggling to write your Boston University supplemental essays, we can help. Register with today to get personalized guidance on your entire college application process, including the Boston University supplemental essays.

boston university supplemental essays

This article was written by Claire Babbs . Looking for more admissions support? Click  here  to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how  can support you in the college application process.

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How to Ace Boston University’s Supplemental Essay | Guide & Examples, 2022-2023

Brad Schiller

Brad Schiller

Well, hello there! If you’re hanging out in this corner of the Internet, we’re going to assume you’d like to go to BU. (If that’s not true, umm … maybe head over to our Writing Center and check out our guide to a college you are interested in!)

Now, if you do want to go to BU, bad news: you’ve got to bottle up that desire (to be at BU) and sell it in 250 words. 

On the other hand, good news: we can guide you through exactly how to do that. Here’s BU’s prompt:

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

In addition, BU asks an “additional information” prompt that we’ll show you how to approach as well:

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

(For help with all aspects of your college application, head to our College Essay Help Center .)

Put lots of BU specifics in your “Why BU” essay, while showing off your intellectual curiosity

The question is:

‍ Step 1 — Understand why BU is asking “Why Us” 

We’ve written specific guidance on “Why Us?” essays , which you should review. It’s the background that will show you what admissions officers are looking for when they read a Why Us essay. 

Oh. You just want the gist? Fine:

Admissions readers want to know (1) if you’ll be a good fit at BU and (2) if you’re likely to attend if admitted. This means you should write about two things:

Step 2 — Choose your best academic/extracurricular experiences

You want to start by knowing what material you’ll be aiming to show off. 

You get the idea — the prompt asks what “ most ” excites you, so you need to focus on one big thing that really matters to you. In other words, your essay needs to show off what you can do. 

Therefore, you start with what’s strongest on your academic/extracurricular resume. Then find stuff at BU that matches it.

Note that if you’re great at math but can’t wait to ditch it (or if you’re so, so, so *done* with Performing Arts), that’s fine. You can do whatever you want once you’re admitted . For now, this is the best way to show the admissions team that, whatever you set your mind to, you’ll do it well.  

Step 3 — Research to support your experiences

Alright. Now you can see that this “research” piece isn’t overwhelming — you don’t need to sift through every page of every course catalog. Just get to know the places that would likely most appeal to you anyway. 

By the way, though we’re steering you in a traditional academic/extracurricular direction (which is the easiest and “safest” - that is, tends to be most appealing to admission officers), you can be looser than that. You can find great material for this essay in:

Step 4 — Write it: succinctly, focusing on your actions, your achievements, and your excitement about BU

Spend exactly zero minutes on style. You’re not being graded on style , trust us. 

“Why BU” — Example

Warning: at Prompt, we do not believe in modeling your essays on what anyone else has done. We’re just inventing this example to give you a rough idea of what this answer could look like. Please don’t take this made-up example too seriously. 

Why BU example:

When I visited BU, I had an amazing chat with a sophomore who was hoping to get Departmental Honors in Economics . I couldn’t believe that she was already working toward a thesis that she would defend in her senior year. I loved the challenge that she accepted and the responsibility that BU was affording her to pursue this level of research.

Since I won a high school Economics prize for my research paper comparing how families decide between our local public school and the charter school alternative, I’ve only wanted to solve more problems using Economic analysis. I was drawn to that problem because of how students talked about the decision as being very “political” — Democrat/Republican. But when I analyzed why families actually made the choice, political thinking wasn’t a factor at all: instead race, educational outcomes, and word of mouth were the biggest factors convincing families to apply to the charter lottery. At BU, I know I’d want to major in Economics and take classes like “The Economics of Education” and “The Economics of the Public Sector” and learn more about how those institutions operate.  

I’m excited about many aspects of being a BU student. That includes being able to pursue tennis, which I love, at a high level and living in an exciting city like Boston. But refining my skill and technique in Economics is definitely what most excites me right now. 

“Additional Info” — follow our advice on whether to write this answer and how to do it well

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

In the Common App , the Additional Info section can be an enormous asset. But it’s also highly anxiety-producing to many. BU’s own “Additional Info” question here is extremely similar to the Common App one. 

That’s why we recommend you learn all about the admissions-boosting possibilities of the “Additional Info” space — as well as its real pitfalls — before deciding how to tackle this question in your own application.

Bottom line: most students should probably leave this question blank, though it can be a huge boon if you’re one of the students who have a way to make use of it. 

Helpful info on all the “other” stuff you’ll consider as you apply to BU (and other schools)

A few helpful resources for the non-supplement parts of your application:

BTW, here’s our guidance for approaching any college supplement + here’s where you can find our guides for almost every college’s supplements . 

Feeling inspired? A great place to start is at our College Essay Help Center . 

More articles on’s admissions-boosting methods:

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How to Respond to the Boston University Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/2023

essays for boston university

For many students, supplemental essays can be one of the most intimidating portions of a college application. But they are not so bad! The Boston University supplemental essay invites you to elaborate on the experiences and perspectives you bring to the table. Plus, they are your chance to show admissions why their school is your ideal place to study. 

Boston University has two supplemental essay prompts, and one is optional. If you are applying to multiple schools, these may be shorter questions than you are used to. However, the prompt’s simplicity makes it especially important to come up with a thoughtful, fresh answer. 

We will walk you through both prompts and provide questions to begin asking yourself. These thought starters will help you generate ideas and find the story you’d most like to share. 

Related:  Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

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

To ace this prompt, you need to do some research. There are tons of exciting aspects about college, from living in a dorm to picking a major to cheering on your school’s athletic teams. But what is it about BU specifically that makes it your dream? Explore BU’s website, look at the course catalog, check out its social media pages. Take notes on anything about the school that genuinely intrigues you! Another way to approach this essay is to think of what you are currently involved with in high school, or any passions you have. Look into what BU offers that might allow you to channel those interests. How does BU fulfill what you desire out of your college experience more than any other school? When you back up that claim with examples, it signals you have done your homework.

Questions to consider: 

Related:  How to write an essay about yourself

Prompt #2 (Optional)

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

First, remember that this is not a required prompt, so do not feel pressured to answer. But if you do have additional information that would enhance your application, go for it! 

An example could be sharing a poem that won an award and supports your declaration that writing is your biggest skillset. Connecting any talent or interest that you reference with how BU enables you to further pursue it will elevate your response. This is also the space to address any red flags your application may have. Maybe you had abnormally low grades one semester due to extenuating circumstances. If you feel comfortable, you can share the reasoning behind this lapse in your academic record. Vulnerability and humility will be appreciated here! Overall, try to stay optimistic and showcase what you’ve learned from overcoming those obstacles.  

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Final thoughts

After reading the above tips, you should be well on your way to writing stellar Boston University supplemental essays! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to write and revise. 250 words is not “a lot” for most students who are applying to a college like Boston University. However, it is all the more challenging (and fun!) to allow “you” to come through with such a limited word limit. Best of luck with your supplemental essays!

Also see:  How to choose a college

Additional resources

Make sure to check out our guides on writing both 250 word and 500 word essays . Our guide to responding to the Common App prompts might also come in handy, so take a look. When you are done writing your application essays, make sure to take the time to apply for scholarships.  Our free scholarship search tool is the perfect platform to custom-match you to vetted scholarships. Our easy to navigate platform will keep you on target, as it automatically updates when new opportunities are available (and reminds you about deadlines of all!). Good luck on your academic journey! 

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