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 and do your work!
The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words; 1 optional essay
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Additional Info
Boston University 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations
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.
Making the mistake of simply talking about the concrete qualities of the university (such as the size of the student population, the amount of programs offered, and the proximity to Boston) without at least mentioning specific detail will cost you. Instead, focus on concrete examples such as a college visit to drive into your sensory and authentic impressions of the student body. Use a lifelong passion for a discipline, regardless of experience, to detail which specific faculty members you would love to work with. And profess your love for the Boston Central Library; though specific, it shows that you know your life at BU will be more than just the college and tourist sites.
Another example of a response to this prompt could start by taking note that the school offers one of the most comprehensive examples of diversity in coursework that a student can experience. Many other institutions do not offer such a wide array of studies, including such courses as remote sensing, aerospace engineering, hospitality administration, and lighting design. This would allow the latter part of the response to communicate how you’re not ready to settle into one particular subject area and want to maximize your breadth of study.
On the other hand, while BU is able to retain its status as a liberal arts institution, students who have already made up their minds on what they wish to study can pursue degrees that are much more specific. For example, for the precocious scholar who has known for years that she wants to study the ocean and its inhabitants — as evidenced by her diving credentials and high school projects on sea cows — being able to focus on marine science in college would give her a substantial leg up on another college graduate who was not able to study the subject more in depth than a major in general biology.
Above all else when responding to this prompt, be sure to distinguish yourself from other applicants. While a longer word count might allow for more general statements, in this case, every single topic that is mentioned in the prompt should be clearly illustrated and inapplicable to other applicants. It is indeed a difficult exercise in persuasion to have your reader remember you after only 250 words, but that is the test that BU has devised to qualify an applicant, so please remain mindful of that fact as you write.
Luckily, our Boston University essay specialists are trained in creating responses to such tricky prompts, so please do not hesitate to reach out to schedule a free consultation.
So have fun writing, write confidently, and good luck!
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