With almost 81,000 applications from those wishing to join the Class of 2026, Boston University has entered the realm of the most desirable private universities on the planet. It also continues to climb to new heights in terms of selectivity with just a 14% acceptance rate for entering 2022-23 freshmen. In contrast, just twenty years ago, BU accepted 70% of those who applied. This brings us to the topic of the Boston University supplemental essay.

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

Boston University has become a school where you may need more than just strong grades and test scores to gain acceptance—the average SAT for those submitting applications last cycle was 1442. Through its one required essay prompt, the BU supplemental essay affords applicants an opportunity to showcase what makes them uniquely qualified for admission. Below is the Boston University supplemental prompt for the 2022-23 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address it:

2022-2023 Boston University Essay Question

Prompt 1: What about being a student at Boston University most excites you? (250 words)

This is your quintessential “Why Us?” essay which comes with the typical pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. We don’t want to label these as “mistakes” (there is nothing inherently wrong with them); they just don’t add any needle-moving value, which is, of course, the only goal here!

Common components of a vanilla “Why BU?” essay

  • Generalities about why Boston is an ideal location for your college experience.
  • Generalities about why Boston is an exciting/cosmopolitan/diverse/culture-filled city.
  • Mentioning Fenway Park.
  • BU is top-ranked, prestigious, and has a great reputation.
  • Too many generic expressions of feeling (e.g. I know with all my being that BU is the school for me…).
  • Recycled statements from your other “Why Us?” essays that come across as stale, impersonal, or worst of all–irrelevant/inaccurate.

How to write a winning “Why BU?” essay

  • Firstly, be sure to address why Boston University is the perfect fit for you and why you are the perfect fit for BU.
  • Also cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc.
  • How will you be an active, contributing member of the BU student body?
  • Additionally, show evidence of how your past/current endeavors will carry over onto BU’s campus.
  • What special talents and passions will you bring to BU?
  • Lastly, how will you take advantage of BU’s immense resources both inside and outside of the classroom?

Big-picture thoughts on the Boston University supplemental essay

In any “Why Us?” composition, you need to show that you’ve done your homework on a given school. However, you don’t want it to read like a robotic list of items that you Googled five minutes before writing the essay (even if the timing of the Google search is roughly accurate). In addition to the pure research element, a lot of the time and skill required in creating a stellar BU essay will involve connecting the classes, professors, opportunities, etc. of interest that you have uncovered to your distinct values, talents, aims, proficiencies, and future goals.

Should I answer the optional BU question?

Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.

When considering whether or not to utilize this inviting blank space, consider that the BU admissions office is deluged with applications and will only want to see highly-compelling and essential information included in this section. For more on how to decide whether or not to take advantage of any Additional Information section in an application visit our blog on the subject.

How important is the essay at BU?

The factors that Boston University weighs as being “very important” in evaluating a candidate are the rigor of your secondary school record, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, and talent/ability. The essay is  “important” and sits alongside letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities.

Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

In conclusion, if you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Boston University supplemental essay, we encourage you to get a quote today.

Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).