Not sure how to approach the Boston College essay prompts and overcome the low BC acceptance rate? CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Boston College supplemental essay will show you exactly how to write an engaging Boston College supplement essay and maximize your chances. If you need help answering the Boston College essay prompts, create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.


Boston College Supplemental Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • The Boston College acceptance rate is 26.0%—U.S. News ranks Boston College (BC) as a highly selective school.
  • Boston College admissions requires all applicants to use the Common Application, which includes both your Personal Statement as well as one school-specific Boston College supplemental essay.
  • We recommend completing the Boston College supplemental essay thoroughly, which will maximize your chances against the relatively low BC acceptance rate.

What is Boston College’s acceptance rate?

The Boston College acceptance rate for the class of 2024 was 26%. The BC acceptance rate places Boston College among the top 100 most selective colleges and universities in the country.

The Boston College acceptance rate has steadily declined over the past five years. As students have begun applying to more schools, every college in the nation has become more competitive. Last year, the pandemic forced many colleges and universities to adopt test-optional policies. Consequently, more students applied to schools, especially competitive schools like Boston College. The BC acceptance rate from last year definitely reflects this uptick in applicants. To learn more about the Boston College acceptance rate—and acceptance rates in general—check out our article.

Wondering how your application strategy should look in light of the low Boston College acceptance rate? High test scores won’t necessarily be enough. According to the U.S. News report of Boston College Admissions, half of the admitted applicants had an SAT score between 1330-1500 or an ACT score between 31-34. The decreasing Boston College acceptance rate reflects these competitive scores.

Given the low Boston College acceptance rate, you should pay particular attention to the Boston College supplement essay. While the Boston College acceptance rate may seem intimidating, there’s one thing every admitted student has in common: they impressed Boston College admissions by writing a compelling Boston College supplemental essay. For your best chance against the BC acceptance rate, you should spend time crafting a unique, authentic, and engaging Boston College essay.

What are the admission requirements for Boston College?

Boston College admissions requires prospective students to apply using the Common Application. Your application must include your official high/secondary school transcript, letters of recommendation, your Common App Personal Statement, and an additional Boston College supplemental essay. The Boston College supplement essay is just one aspect of your application; however, it still makes a major difference in the Boston College admissions process.

Boston College admissions has made their 2021-2022 admissions cycle test-optional, which means you do not need to submit SAT/ACT scores. However, if you do not submit test scores, Boston College Admissions will place greater emphasis on the rest of your application. This includes your Boston College supplemental essay.

Does Boston College require essays?

Yes. Along with your Common App Personal Statement, you must complete one school-specific Boston College supplement essay. The writing supplement will require you to select one of several Boston College essay prompts.

Boston College admissions uses a holistic application review process. In other words, this means the Boston College admissions team will review your extracurriculars, academic achievements, Personal Statement, and Boston College supplemental essay to determine whether to admit you. While the low BC acceptance rate might seem intimidating, a strong Boston College supplement essay can make a huge difference.

Not sure how to start writing your Boston College supplement essay? Keep reading to learn more about Boston College admissions, including tips on how to approach the Boston College essay prompts and overcome the BC acceptance rate.

Is the Boston College essay important?

Yes. As the BC acceptance rate suggests, Boston College is a competitive school. This makes the Boston College supplemental essay extremely important in the Boston College admissions process. Along with your Personal Statement, your Boston College essay provides Boston College admissions an opportunity to hear about who you are through your own perspective. Your Boston College supplemental essay lets you reflect on an experience or aspect of your life that is central to who you are or who you hope to become. Spend time with each of the Boston College essay prompts, and select the prompt that best showcases who you are. Careful attention to detail will help you overcome the low BC acceptance rate.

Your Personal Statement and your Boston College supplemental essay also give Boston College Admissions a sense of your writing ability. Remember, any school with an acceptance rate like the BC acceptance rate will have a rigorous curriculum that will require you to be a strong writer. Therefore, Boston College admissions will look for strong writing supplements that show evidence of drafting, editing, and proofreading—all skills that you will use if you attend Boston College.

How do I write the Boston College supplemental essay?

The Boston College supplemental essay lets you show Boston College admissions what kind of student you are and what kind of student you have the potential to become. The low Boston College acceptance rate makes your Boston College supplement essay even more important. However, don’t let the BC acceptance rate scare you. Just as there isn’t one formula to impress Boston College admissions, there isn’t one correct way to write the Boston College supplemental essay.

On the Boston College Admissions page, you can read some encouraging words from the Office of Undergraduate Admission Director, Grant Gosselin. He suggests to students: take some time before beginning your application to think back on the experiences you’ve had that have shaped who you are and how you see the world. Following his advice, reflect on your accomplishments, the challenges you’ve faced, your successes, and your failures. Once again, while the low Boston College acceptance rate might seem discouraging, you have the power to create an application that stands out!

Getting started

Before you begin tackling the Boston College essay, brainstorm two lists. Put experiences related to your classes or extracurriculars under “Things that are reflected in my application.” If, as you brainstorm, you think of other experiences having to do with your family, your beliefs, or anything else outside of school, put these under “Things that are not reflected in my application.” If you end up choosing a topic that is related to other material in your application, be sure to build upon the story your application already tells. Remember, your Boston College essay should share something new with the Boston College admissions team. If you choose a topic that you don’t already discuss, make sure your Boston College essay reflects why it matters.

The Boston College supplemental essay requires you to select one of several Boston College essay prompts. We have provided the prompts for the 2021-2022 Boston College supplemental essay below. You’ll find a breakdown of how to approach the Boston College essay prompts as well as brainstorming exercises to help you jumpstart the writing process. We’ll also discuss additional tips for writing your Boston College supplemental essay that will help you overcome the low BC acceptance rate.

Boston College Supplemental Essay – Question 1 (Required)

All applicants, except those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) major, should respond to one of prompts #1-5 listed below. Students applying to the HCE major must respond to prompt #6 only.

The Boston College supplemental essay topics for the 2021-2022 application cycle (400 words or less):

1. Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?

2. In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America – a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.

3. At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?

4. Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.

5. Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?

6. For Human-Centered Engineering major applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?

Picking a prompt

The first step towards completing your Boston College supplemental essay is to review each of the Boston College essay prompts. Look at each of the Boston College essay prompts—which one speaks to you? If you’re stuck between several Boston College essay prompts, you might try your hand at a ten-minute freewrite.

Select the prompt that will best showcase who you are and why you’d be a good fit at Boston College. Whichever prompt you select, answer it completely. Let’s break down each Boston College essay prompt and the questions you’ll need to answer in your response.

Boston College Essay Prompt 1:

Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?

The first of the Boston College essay prompts asks you to discuss a question that is important to you. This question could be personal or apply to society as a whole. Whatever the question is, make sure it is something that an education at Boston College can help answer.

Connect your question to specific departments, learning styles, school values, or aspects of the BC community. This will help demonstrate why Boston College is the best place for you to explore your curiosities. However, don’t get too hung up on trying to describe BC and its offerings. At the end of the day, it’s most important that your Boston College supplemental essay says something about you. The question you discuss should help the Boston College admissions team learn something important about your identity.

Boston College Essay Prompt 2:

In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America—a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue.

The second of the Boston College essay prompts asks you to reflect upon racial injustice in America. The prompt offers you three ways to approach this issue: how you’ve been affected, what you have learned, and how you’ve been inspired. Your answer may address more than one of these questions. However, be sure to structure your answer around at least one of these topics.

Once again, as you consider this Boston College supplemental essay prompt, remember that your essay should be about you. This is even more important when addressing sensitive topics such as racial injustice. Avoid telling anyone else’s story. Instead, only choose this prompt if you have a personal connection to racial injustice and activism that extends beyond attending a protest or sharing a few infographics.

Boston College Essay Prompt 3:

At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?

The third of the Boston College supplemental essay prompts asks you about your favorite conversation partner. The Boston College admissions team wants to see that you engage deeply with the world around you and share that engagement with others. When considering who to write about, think about who you discuss problems in society with. Even though you might love talking to your friend about your favorite TV show, you probably shouldn’t talk about them in your response to this prompt (unless your discussions also relate to larger societal issues).

Once again, remember that your Boston College essay should be about you. Whoever you write about, don’t spend too much time describing the person. Rather, focus on the ideas you discuss, the dynamics of your conversation, and how it inspires your own reflection. Show the Boston College admissions team that you’re a critical thinker who engages deeply with those around you.

Boston College Essay Prompt 4:

Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.

The fourth of the Boston College essay prompts asks you to think of a time when your perspective was changed by looking inward. Like some of the other Boston College essay prompts, this question asks you to show Boston College admissions that you think deeply and critically about the world.

This prompt focuses on the internal rather than the external. In your response, you should address how your own thought and reflection changed your perspective. If you’re having trouble thinking of a topic, try thinking of moments where you were challenged. What got you through it? Was there a particular quote you read or thought you had that changed your perspective on the situation? How did sitting with your thoughts change your perspective? Why was this moment important to you?

Boston College Essay Prompt 5:

Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?

The fifth of the Boston College essay prompts asks you to choose a book you’d like to share with your peers. Your essay should recommend a book that embodies the tradition of BC’s First Year Academic Convocation, which asks students to reflect upon their faith and engage in conversation with others. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to focus your Boston College supplement essay on a religious text. Instead, you should simply choose a text that speaks to how you engage with the world.

Make sure the book you choose is rich enough to spark and support a deep discussion. After all, the most important part of this Boston College essay is not which book you choose, but why. What important questions does this book raise, and how would you investigate them with your peers? If you are having trouble narrowing down your book selection, take a look at BC’s past common texts and click on each book to read about why these books were chosen.

Boston College Essay Prompt 6:

For Human-Centered Engineering major applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?

The sixth of the Boston College essay prompts asks you about problems you are passionate about solving. Your essay should focus on societal issues, meaning conditions or behaviors that have negative consequences for a large number of people. This might include poverty, racism, or climate change.

Your Boston College supplemental essay should reflect, in specific terms, why this issue matters to you. The final part of the prompt requires you to answer the question of how your HCE education will help you solve these important issues. This Boston College supplemental essay, therefore, shares some qualities with a “Why BC” essay. We suggest checking out the HCE Program page to learn about the structure, curriculum, and unique features HCE offers students. By integrating specific facts about BC’s HCE program into your response, you can show the Boston College admissions team you’ve done your research. This can give your application an edge, especially given the low Boston College acceptance rate. Remember, only Human-Centered Engineering applicants should answer this prompt.

Drafting Your Boston College Supplemental Essay:

Once you’ve selected your prompt and your essay topic, all you need to do is begin writing. Remember, sitting down and writing your first draft is the hardest part. Don’t worry about making your Boston College supplement essay perfect—just focus on getting words on paper.

Start by addressing the big ideas, then go back and make sure you’ve answered the prompt entirely. Then, you can start fine-tuning your essay. Go through each paragraph and make sure every part of your Boston College supplement essay connects to who you are, how you see the world, or what you believe in.

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to leave time to review your essay with a more professional lens. Double-check that you don’t have any spelling or grammar mistakes that might distract your reader from the content of your essay. Use the questions below to help guide your writing process and impress admissions with a unique Boston College supplemental essay!

Boston College Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does my Boston College supplement essay answer all elements of the prompt?
  • Do I use specific details to tell my story?
  • Does my Boston College supplement essay tell a story?
  • Do I answer the question “Why BC?”
  • Does my Boston College supplement essay have spelling/grammatical errors?

Additional Tips for the Boston College essay

  • Mark your calendar. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete your application and write your Boston College supplemental essay. Try making an application calendar including the Boston College admissions deadline: November 1st for Early Decision I or January 1st for Early Decision II and Regular Decision. From there, work backward and set deadlines for choosing a prompt, completing your first draft, second draft, etc. Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t have to spend all of winter break writing your Boston College supplement essay.
  • Create a checklist. As you read through your Boston College supplemental essay, see if you can successfully answer the following questions: Do I answer every part of the prompt? Does my essay reflect my experiences and how they’ve contributed to who I am? Does my essay include specific details? Do I avoid any spelling/grammar errors? Does my essay tell a clear and compelling story?
  • Get a second opinion. Once you have a solid draft of your Boston College supplemental essay, ask someone you trust to look over it. This might be a guardian, a counselor, a neighbor, or a teacher. Another reader will be able to catch grammar/spelling errors you might have missed as well as give feedback on clarity and flow. If you ask someone outside of your family to review your Boston College essay, be sure to complete a draft well ahead of the deadline to give them plenty of time to give you thoughtful feedback.

Boston College Supplemental Essay: Final Thoughts

As you begin working on your Common App and writing your Boston College supplemental essay, don’t let the low BC acceptance rate deter you from applying. If you believe Boston College’s Jesuit Catholic education will help you achieve your goals, be sure to submit the strongest application you can. The quality of your Boston College supplement essay is entirely up to you. Take your time with the Boston College essay prompts and remember to draft, revise, and proofread! No matter which prompt you end up choosing, your Boston College supplemental essay should also provide an answer to the question “Why Boston College?”

Want to hear more from Boston College’s undergraduate admissions team on approaching the Boston College supplemental essay? Check out this video from the senior assistant director below.

Once again, don’t let the low Boston College acceptance rate discourage you. Boston College admissions wants to accept students from a diverse range of backgrounds who will enrich their campus community and make a positive difference in the world. Don’t be afraid to dream about the kind of future you want to build for yourself. If you can imagine how Boston College will help you reach those goals, you’ll be better equipped to show Boston College admissions why you should be admitted. Remember to be yourself and take pride in your experiences. If you’re genuine and authentic in your Boston College supplemental essay, your personality will shine through!


This 2021-2022 essay guide on Boston College was written by Stefanie Tedards. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on Boston College, click here. Want help crafting and editing your Boston College supplemental essay? Create your free account or schedule a no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.