Boston College Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice

July 20, 2023

EssayBoston College’s 15% acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 is half of what it was just five years ago. Today, accepted students earned an average SAT score of 1511. Additionally, you need an all-around stellar academic resume to get serious consideration at this highly-selective Jesuit university. Writing an excellent Common App and Boston College supplemental essay are two of the more critical components of the BC application.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into BC? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Boston College for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Below are the BC supplemental essay prompts for the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Additionally, we offer tips about how to write a winning composition. NOTE: If you are applying to Human-Centered Engineering, you must respond to the Human-Centered Engineering-specific prompt. All other applicants will choose one of the four remaining options.

Boston College Supplemental Essay Option #1

Each year at University Convocation, our incoming class engages in reflective dialogue with the author of a common text. What book by a living author would you recommend for your incoming class to read, and why would this be an important shared text? 

By the age of 17/18, many of us have at least one book that holds a special place in our hearts and speaks to us in a deep way about the human condition. For this prompt, you can select a fiction or nonfiction work. It can be a commonly read text that you encountered in school or a book that you read for pleasure. There are genuinely no limits here. As long as you can eloquently communicate how the text can be a launching off point for a powerful and generative discussion about one or more essential elements of the human experience.

Boston College Essay Option #2

At Boston College, we draw upon the Jesuit tradition of finding worthwhile conversation partners. Some support our viewpoints while others challenge them. Who fulfills this role in your life? Please cite a specific conversation you had where this conversation partner challenged your perspective or you challenged theirs.

Who do you engage in deep conversations with? For some, this may be a sibling, parent, grandparent, or other family member. For others, it may be a friend, spiritual leader, or teacher. If you are someone who regularly engages in meaningful discourse with another individual or a group of peers or adults, this can be an excellent prompt to choose. Note that the prompt specifies “issues and problems facing society”. This offers limitless possibilities from the environment, to global conflict, to political polarization. Feel free to use the 400 words worth of real estate to cover two or more conversational topics/themes.

BC Supplemental Essay Option #3

In her November 2019 Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi warned viewers against assigning people a “single story” through assumptions about their nationality, appearance, or background. Discuss a time when someone defined you by a single story. What challenges did this present and how did you overcome them?

You have the option of taking this in the same direction as the author. If you have been judged by your nationality, appearance, or background, prompt #3 is an opportunity to share a deeply personal story, showing vulnerability and grit in overcoming obstacles. However, there is another legitimate avenue in addressing this prompt…

Human beings have a tendency to pigeonhole others. Families, in particular, may take one incidence of something in childhood and define you by it for years (or even decades) to come. You don’t have to be part of a marginalized population to experience a reductive attack on your sense of self. Either approach this prompt can result in an intriguing composition that reveals more about how you perceive the world.

BC Supplemental Essay Option #4

Boston College’s founding in 1863 was in response to society’s call. That call came from an immigrant community in Boston seeking a Jesuit education to foster social mobility. Still today, the University empowers its students to use their education to address society’s greatest needs. Which of today’s local or global issues is of particular concern to you and how might you use your Boston College education to address it?

The admissions committee wants to make sure that your personal aims align with those of the university, as indicated in their mission statement. This mission is foster“the rigorous intellectual development and the religious, ethical and personal formation of its undergraduate, graduate and professional students in order to prepare them for citizenship, service and leadership in a global society.” The strongest answers usually include some level of previous participation/community service on the part of the applicant. For example, if you are concerned about voting rights and the preservation of the democratic process, you may have volunteered with a relevant organization.

HCE Essay Prompt

Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) 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 merger of science/technology and humanity forms the core of the HCE program which opened its doors in the fall of 2021. You undoubtedly have reasons for choosing this particular engineering program that “integrates BC’s core liberal arts curriculum with courses in foundational and advanced engineering that emphasize societal responsibility.” You may want to use the list of foundational topics covered in the program as you enter the prewriting phase for this essay:

  • Introduction to Human-Centered Engineering and Design
  • Human Factors in Engineering Design
  • Engineering for Development
  • Engineering Foundations Studio (includes topics such as Dynamics, Circuits, Transport phenomena, Thermodynamics, and Environmental Systems)
  • Introduction to Data Science and Machine Learning
  • Advanced electives
  • Collaborative Service Engineering Project
  • Senior Impact Project

How important are the essays at Boston College?

Presently, Boston College considers two factors to be “very important” in evaluating a candidate. They are: the GPA earned, and the rigor of one’s curriculum. Further, nine factors rate as “important”: class rank, recommendations, essays, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, legacy status, religious affiliation, and volunteer work. In other words, the essays are definitely an important admissions factor at BC.

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