boston college supplemental essays

Boston College Supplemental Essays 2022–2023

Quick Facts: Boston College Supplemental Essays

  • Boston College Acceptance Rate: 19%—U.S. News ranks Boston College as a most selective school.
  • Boston College Supplemental Essays Requirements: 
    • 1 (400-word) essay
  • Boston College Application: Boston College admissions accepts the Common Application, which includes both your personal statement as well as your Boston College essay. Boston College is also part of Questbridge.
  • Boston College Essay Prompts Tip: You should read the Boston College essay prompts carefully, choosing one you can answer thoroughly in your Boston College essays. This will maximize your chances against the relatively low Boston College acceptance rate.

BC is a private liberal arts college in the college town of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Ranked among America’s top 50 colleges by U.S. News, Boston College has secured a place on many college lists. When wondering how to get into Boston College, focus on writing strong Boston College supplemental essays.

Successful Boston College applications have strong Boston College essays—one, to be exact. Boston College supplemental essays respond to one of six Boston College essay prompts. We have provided the Boston College essay prompts for 2022–2023 Boston College essays in this guide.

Here, you’ll learn how to approach the Boston College essay prompts, plus some brainstorming exercises to help you get writing. We’ll also discuss additional tips for writing Boston College supplemental essays that will help you overcome the low Boston College acceptance rate.

Does Boston College require a supplemental essay?

Yes. Along with your Common App personal statement, you must complete one of six possible Boston College supplemental essays. Boston College essays 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 extracurriculars, academic achievements, and Boston College essays will determine admission. While the low Boston College acceptance rate might seem intimidating, well-crafted Boston College supplemental essays can make a huge difference.

Only one essay?!

Don’t be fooled: the Boston College application isn’t necessarily easier just because there’s a single essay. How hard was it to write your Common App personal statement? Even choosing one of the Boston College essay prompts can be challenging. Which of the Boston College essay prompts speaks to you, and can you write a compelling essay in response?

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

What are the Boston College essay prompts?

boston college supplemental essays

There are six Boston College essay prompts for the 2022–2023 application cycle. Students must craft a response of 400 words or less to one of the six Boston College supplemental essay prompts. However, students applying to the Human-Centered Engineering program must respond to prompt number six. The Boston College essay prompts are as follows:

Boston College Supplemental Essay Prompts:

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?

Aside from applicants for the Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) major, everyone should respond to one of the Boston College essay prompts. Just one! Students applying to the HCE major must respond only to the last of the Boston College essay prompts.

The first step towards completing Boston College supplemental essays is to review each of the Boston College essay prompts. Let’s examine the Boston College essay prompts and the questions you’ll need to answer in your response. We also provide some reflection questions for each of the Boston College essay prompts. Refer to these as you’re drafting your Boston College essays.

Boston College Essay Prompts #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?

Boston College supplemental essays for the first of our Boston College essay prompts have to discuss a personally important question. 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 Boston College community. These should have come up while you were searching for colleges and researching Boston College. This will help demonstrate why Boston College is the best place for you to explore your curiosities. Strong Boston College supplemental essays are both specific with features they highlight and personal in connecting them to the author.

However, don’t get too hung up on trying to describe Boston College and its offerings. At the end of the day, effective Boston College supplemental essays are about the author. The question you discuss should help the Boston College admissions team learn something important about you. How will you engage with opportunities and communities on campus to answer your question?

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Do you clearly state a problem and why it matters to you?
  • Strong Boston College supplemental essays give specific details about the school: do you show that you did your research?
  • Does your essay connect facts or features of the school with your interests and background?
  • Do you present new information not included elsewhere in your Boston College application? If not, do you expand on something you’ve mentioned before?

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.

Boston College supplemental essays answering the second of the Boston College essay prompts must reflect on racial injustice in America. The prompt offers you three approaches: how you’ve been affected, what you have learned, or 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, these Boston College supplemental essays should still center you, the author. Before choosing a prompt for any essay, consider whether you have a personal connection that you can write about. Can you answer the prompt directly and adequately while keeping yourself at its center? The same applies when considering Boston College essay prompts.

This is even more important when addressing sensitive topics such as racial injustice. Avoid telling anyone else’s story, or writing about something inconsequential. Only choose this prompt if you have a personal connection to racial injustice and activism. If you’ve only attended a protest or shared a few infographics, consider skipping on this prompt.

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Do you make clear your relationship with racial justice, and why it matters to you?
  • Does your response directly answer one or more of the three main discussion points?
  • Are you able to, like all effective Boston College supplemental essays, speak to the wider scope of the topic?

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?

Basically, Boston College supplemental essays responding to the third prompt talk about a favorite conversation partner. Strong Boston College supplemental essays show the author engages deeply with their world and share that engagement with others. While some Boston College essay prompts ask about your engagement with Boston College resources, this is about how you think.

When considering who to write about, think about who shares difficult discussions with you. Sure, you might love talking to your friend about your favorite TV show. But would you talk with them about the social problems that make your palms itch? In addition, think about what your discussions with this person says about you and your reasoning skills.

Once again, remember that good Boston College supplemental essays are about the author. 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.

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Do your Boston College essays address both your partner and what you usually discuss with them?
  • Are you—not your conversation partner—at the center of your essay?
  • Does your essay show that you enjoy critical thinking and in-depth discussion about complex subjects?

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 our Boston College essay prompts asks about 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. However, unlike Boston College essays for the previous prompt, these Boston College supplemental essays will feature the author alone.

Internal focus

Of the Boston College essay prompts, this focuses most directly on the internal rather than the external. In fact, effective Boston College supplemental essays should address how your own thinking and reflection changed your perspective. You should be introspective, making connections between your experiences, your realization, and how it changed you.

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?

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Does your essay clearly identify the issue at hand and how you came to reflect deeply on it?
  • Do you illustrate the implications of your new understanding—how you may change your behavior or attitude?
  • Is your willingness to reconsider your beliefs and to discover new ways of thinking on display?

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. Strong Boston College supplemental essays will recommend a book that embodies the tradition of Boston College’s First Year Academic Convocation. This event asks students to reflect upon their faith and engage in conversation with others. However, this doesn’t mean that Boston College supplemental essays must focus on a religious text. Instead, you should simply choose a text that speaks to how you engage with the world.

Choose wisely

Books for these Boston College supplemental essays should be rich enough to spark and support a deep discussion. After all, the most important part of these Boston College essays 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 Boston College’s past common texts. Consider why they were chosen and why your book matters to you. How can you include admirable qualities in Boston College supplemental essays?

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Have you chosen a book that you genuinely enjoy and wish to share?
  • Does your chosen book reflect the values behind the First Year Academic Convocation?
  • Do you provide a compelling argument for why this book is worthy of discussion?

Boston College Essay Prompt #6

boston college supplemental essays

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 about problems you are passionate about solving. Impactful Boston College supplemental essays focus on societal issues—in other words, conditions or behaviors with wide-reaching negative consequences. This might include poverty, racism, or climate change. Boston College supplemental essays should be genuine and passionate; choose an issue you’re really concerned about.

These Boston College supplemental essays should reflect, in specific terms, why this issue matters to you. As with all strong Boston college essays, give concrete reasons and tie them to your own experiences or values. Readers of these Boston College supplemental essays should understand exactly why and how deeply the author cares.

Propose a solution

The last of the Boston College essay prompts asks how your HCE education will help you solve these issues. These Boston College essays, therefore, share some qualities with a “Why Boston College” essay. Check out the HCE Program page to learn about the structure, curriculum, and unique features HCE offers students. What puts this program over other colleges on your list? Remember, applicants outside of Human-Centered Engineering applicants should answer other Boston College essay prompts.

By integrating specific facts about Boston College’s HCE program into your response, you can show the Boston College admissions team you’ve done your research. This can give your Boston College application an edge, especially given the low Boston College acceptance rate. 

Reflection Questions for Boston College Essays

  • Are you applying for the HCE program? If not, you must choose one of the other Boston College essay prompts.
  • Effective Boston College supplemental essays are direct: do you state clearly the societal issue you care about?
  • Similar to the first of our Boston College essay prompts, do you give concrete examples of HCE resources?

Selecting a prompt & drafting your Boston College essay

So, after reading the Boston College essay prompts, it’s time to choose. Which one speaks to you? Of the Boston College essay prompts, yours should best showcase you and why you’re a good fit at Boston College. If you’re stuck between several Boston College essay prompts, you might try your hand at a ten-minute free-write.

Another key point is showing why Boston College is a good fit for you. Why is it on your college list? At the end of the day, you’re the one who’ll ultimately accept an offer and attend. Why do you feel Boston College is a place you want to be? Whichever one of the Boston College essay prompts you select, ensure you can answer every part of it. 

Once you’ve read the Boston College essay prompts and selected yours, it’s time to start writing. Sitting down and writing your first draft is the hardest part. Don’t worry about making your Boston College supplemental essays perfect—just focus on getting words on paper. In fact, you might draft several Boston College supplemental essays for different Boston College essay prompts. That’s fine, too!

Start with the big ideas

Start by addressing the big ideas, then go back and make sure you’ve answered the Boston College essay prompts entirely. Then, you can start fine-tuning your Boston College supplemental essays. Review each paragraph—does every part of your Boston College essays connect to you, your worldview, or your beliefs? Remember, effective Boston College supplemental essays put the author and their passions or interests at the center.

Last, but certainly not least, make time to review your Boston College essays thoroughly. Do you have any spelling or grammar mistakes that might distract your reader from the content of your essay? Do you have any logical errors or awkward turns of phrase? Revising—not just drafting—is the key to impactful, unique Boston College supplemental essays!

How do I write the Boston College supplemental essay?

boston college supplemental essays

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

Before beginning your Boston College application, consider experiences that have shaped who you are and how you see the world. Reflect on your accomplishments, the challenges you’ve faced, your successes, and your failures. While the low Boston College acceptance rate might seem discouraging, you can create a Boston College application that stands out!

Getting started

Before tackling Boston College essays, brainstorm two lists: things that are and aren’t reflected on your Boston College application. Experiences related to your classes or extracurriculars will be on your transcript or activities section. These can go under “Things reflected in my application.” If you’ve already written your personal statement for the Common App, put that topic in this list, too. Put other experiences regarding your family, your beliefs, or anything else under “Things that are not reflected in my application.”

Boston College essays that introduce new topics should be very clear about why they matter. As always, give discrete details about Boston College that are relevant to whichever of the Boston College prompts you chose. At the same time, don’t just throw course names and faculty titles around without context. Instead, relate those details to the interests and identities that you consider most important.

Highlight new aspects of yourself

It’s absolutely fine to write Boston College essays on topics mentioned elsewhere in your application. However, if you try to draft Boston College supplemental essays like this, build on the story your application already tells. Remember, Boston College supplemental essays should share something new with the Boston College admissions team. If you’re not giving entirely new information, be sure your Boston College essays provide a new perspective.

As you’re drafting Boston College supplemental essays—perhaps trying multiple Boston College essay prompts—consider the following questions.

Boston College supplemental essays Reflection Questions:

  • Do my Boston College supplemental essays answer all elements of the prompt?
  • Does my response engage the reader with specific details about myself and about Boston College?
  • Do my Boston College supplemental essays tell my story in a unique and compelling way?
  • Have I fully answer the question “Why Boston College?”
  • Do my Boston College supplemental essays have spelling/grammatical errors?

Don’t skip the editing phase

Especially if writing Boston College supplemental essays is really challenging, it can be tempting to submit a first draft. Forget editing, you’re tired of looking at this thing! But if you know this first thing about how to get into Boston College, you’ll know editing is crucial. Make plenty of time to leave your drafts alone before returning to them for the editing round.

Don’t just fix technical errors: review your essays for content to make them shine. Read essay examples to see what worked well, and how you can improve your own. Ask someone you trust, like a family member or teacher, if your essays portray you accurately. Reflect on the questions included with the Boston College supplemental essays above when revising.

Is the Boston College essay important?

Absolutely. Along with personal statements, Boston College essays provide Boston College admissions an opportunity to hear about you through your own perspective. They should give a fuller picture of you than your transcript and activities lists. 

Boston College supplemental essays let you reflect on an aspect of your life central to your present and future selves. So, read each of the Boston College essay prompts, selecting the prompt for which you can draft effective Boston College essays. Starting off on the right foot will help you overcome the low Boston College acceptance rate.

Showcase writing ability

Personal statements and Boston College supplemental essays also give Boston College admissions a sense of your writing ability. After all, any school matching the Boston College acceptance rate will have a rigorous curriculum. Furthermore, as a liberal arts college, Boston College will certainly call upon your writing skills regardless of your major. Can you efficiently and clearly convey ideas? Can you engage readers of your Boston College essays?

If you enroll at Boston College, you’ll have a lot of writing ahead of you. Therefore, Boston College admissions wants strong Boston College supplemental essays that show evidence of drafting, editing, and proofreading. These are all skills that you will use if you attend Boston College. Effective Boston College supplemental essays show that the author has what it takes to succeed at Boston College.

Overcoming the Low Boston College Acceptance Rate

As mentioned in the Quick Facts, the Boston College acceptance rate for the class of 2025 was 19%. The Boston College acceptance rate places Boston College among the top 100 most selective colleges and universities in the country. As the Boston College acceptance rate suggests, Boston College is a competitive school.

In light of the low Boston College acceptance rate, do you know how to get into Boston College? High test scores won’t necessarily be enough. According to the U.S. News report of Boston College admissions, half of admitted applicants had an SAT score between 1420 and 1530 or an ACT score between 33 and 34. The decreasing Boston College acceptance rate reflects these competitive scores.

Given the low Boston College acceptance rate, Boston College supplemental essays are extremely important to every Boston College application. 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 compelling Boston College supplemental essays. Moreover, for your best chance against the Boston College acceptance rate, you should craft unique, authentic, and engaging Boston College essays.

What are the admission requirements for Boston College?

boston college supplemental essays

Remember, prospective students can complete a Boston College application using the Common Application or Questbridge Application. Note that Boston College does not accept the Coalition Application. An application must include:

Boston College Admission Requirements:

As you can see, Boston College supplemental essays are just one aspect of your application. However, Boston College essays are essential to the Boston College admissions process, especially as the Boston College acceptance rate declines.

Declining acceptance rates

In addition, the Boston College acceptance rate has steadily decreased over the past five years. So, as more students have begun applying to more schools, acceptance rates across the nation have become more competitive. In addition, the pandemic forced many colleges and universities to adopt test-optional policies. Consequently, even more students applied to college, especially competitive schools like Boston College and the Ivies. The Boston College acceptance rate from last year definitely reflects this uptick in applicants.

Recently, Boston College has made their admissions process test-optional as well. If you so choose—or, of course, are unable—you don’t need to submit SAT or ACT scores. However, if you don’t submit test scores, Boston College admissions will place greater emphasis on the rest of your application. This includes Boston College essays, so make your choice wisely. Even if your standardized test scores are solidly in the middle—or even slightly below average—submitting them may not hurt.

Additional Tips for the Boston College essay

Boston College Supplemental Essays Top Tips

#1- Mark your calendar

Make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete your application and write your Boston College supplemental essays. Try making an application calendar including the Boston College admissions deadlines. The November 1st deadline for Early Decision I has already passed for 2022. However, Early Decision II and Regular Decision are both due  January 1st. From there, work backward and set deadlines for choosing a prompt, completing your first draft, second draft, and so on. Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t have to spend all of winter break drafting Boston College supplemental essays.

#2- Create a checklist

As you respond to the  Boston College essay prompts, see if you can successfully answer the reflection questions for each one. And here are some more general questions:

  • Do I answer every part of the Boston College essay prompts?
  • Does my essay reflect my experiences and how they’ve contributed to who I am? 
  • Have I included specific details in my essay?
  • Do I avoid any spelling/grammar errors?
  • Does my essay tell a clear and compelling story?

#3- Get a second opinion

Once you have some solid drafts of your Boston College essays, 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 or spelling errors you might have missed. They can also give feedback on clarity, flow, and style . Moreover, if you’re stuck between two responses to Boston College essay prompts, maybe they can tell you which they prefer. Be sure to complete drafts well ahead of the deadline to give them plenty of time to give you thoughtful feedback.

Boston College Admissions

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.

Boston College Supplemental Essay: Final Thoughts

Thinking about how to get into Boston College, well-crafted Boston College supplemental essays should be top of your list. As you review and respond to the Boston College essay prompts, don’t let the low Boston College acceptance rate deter you from applying. If you believe Boston College’s Jesuit Catholic education will help you achieve your goals, submit the strongest application you can.

The quality of your Boston College supplemental essays is entirely up to you. Take your time with the Boston College essay prompts and remember to draft, revise, and proofread! Whichever one of the Boston College essay prompts you choose, your Boston College essays should answer, “Why Boston College?”

Focus on the positive

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. So, 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 Boston College supplemental essays guide was written by Gina Goosby. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. In fact, 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 CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.