Boston University Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

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

  • Boston University Acceptance Rate: U.S. News ranks BU as a most selective school. The Boston University acceptance rate is 14%. 
  • Boston University Essay Requirements: 
    • 1 (~250 word) essay
    • Additional information, materials, or writing samples (Optional)
  • Boston University Application: Applicants must submit their Boston University application on the Common App website. Be sure that your Boston University supplemental essays are ready before you apply. 
  • Boston University Application Deadlines: 
    • Early Decision I: November 1
    • Early Decision II: January 4
    • Regular Decision: January 4
  • Boston University Essay Tip: With only one required Boston University supplemental essay, we recommend answering the Boston University essay thoroughly and thoughtfully. 

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: 

Boston University Essay Prompt #1 – the “Why School” EssayWord CountRequirement
“What about being a student at Boston University most excites you?”250 words maxRequired
Boston University Essay Prompt #2Word CountRequirement
“Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.” 2000 KB max PDF fileOptional 

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: 

Boston University Essay Prompt #1 – the “Why School” EssayWord CountRequirement
“What about being a student at Boston University most excites you?”250 words maxRequired

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! 

Self-reflection

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:

Boston University Essay Prompt #2Word CountRequirement
“Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.” 2000 KB max PDF fileOptional 

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?

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

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If it sounds like you, then please share your story. 
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? 
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 

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:

why boston university essay

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 essay

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: 

  • Submit the Common App and all required materials by December 1.
  • Complete a 600-word essay response to one of two essay prompts.

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:

  • Nobel laureate and BU professor Elie Wiesel once said: “There is divine beauty in learning…To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers, and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests.” Is there a book, film, podcast, or life-experience that has made you feel more connected to your personal history/identity, and what is the most important thing you learned from it?
  • 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? 

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. 

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

  • Common App or QuestBridge Application 
  • High School Transcript
  • Senior Year Grades
  • Counselor Recommendation and School Report Form 
  • Teacher Evaluation
  • Standardized Tests (Test-Optional for Fall 2023/Spring 2024)
  • Two Essays

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

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. 

Finally, to get ideas on how to answer the “Why School” essay, watch our Boston Schools 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 CollegeAdvisor.com 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 CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.