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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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How to Write the Boston University Supplement Essay 2017-2018

If you prefer a charming New England environment amid a bustling city often consumed by heavy snow, then you might find yourself applying to Boston University, located in the heart of what has been called America’s college town. The greater Boston area provides a plethora of cultural and historic sites to indulge in, as well as a vast amount of other college students to meet. Boston University’s collection of modern high-rises and historic brownstones allow students to most easily mix right into the life of urban Boston.


Placing you and approximately 16,500 other undergraduate students in the city where an extensive amount of foundational U.S. history was made, BU offers over 250 programs of study to pursue, pleasing both the aspiring triple major and the undecided dabbler, with many courses led by renowned faculty who have won Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes and have been Poet Laureates and Rhodes Scholars, just to name a few honors.


Apart from joining one of over 450 student groups, common activities include reading a book on the BU Beach overlooking the Charles River and hopping on the Green Line of the “T” to explore downtown Boston, as well as studying abroad in all 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica) and rooting for the perennially prolific D1 hockey teams.


Obviously, BU can’t accept everyone to experience this urban college life in Boston, but good news: We here at CollegeVine pride ourselves on helping you stand out from the 60,000 other applicants. The key? Writing a stellar BU supplement for the Common App.


Here is CollegeVine’s guide to tackling the BU supplement question.

Boston University Supplemental Essay Prompt

Required Prompt

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

This question essentially amounts to the classic “Why X School?” essay prompt. Learn more about how to tackle this type of essay here.


So, why does BU care about your answer to this question? Think about one of the most valuable parts of what your application will become: a clear, concise demonstration of interest in the school. Regardless of academic background or personal circumstances, an admissions officer can immediately identify true passion in the university, helping you elevate your application over others simply because you’ve shown that you care about the specifics of the school rather than its high status.


In fact, BU admissions officers are expecting that the applicant will have done research on the institution in order to point out precisely which of its aspects best cater to his or her professional, academic, and/or personal fulfillment.


Moreover, as always, it is not enough to simply praise the university; the admission officers do not gain any knowledge about you as an applicant if they receive only praise about BU. The trick to composing a successful BU supplement response is to combine some of the school’s attractive traits with some truth about yourself that usually only becomes apparent after a high degree of introspection.


Being able to summarize yourself and convince someone else that Boston University is the best possible match for you requires careful diction and thought development in order to make the best use of the few precious words allowed to make your argument.


One possible approach would be to make a list of all the things about BU that appeal to you. Then, compare each item on that list to some aspect of who you are, whether that be a particular type of extracurricular formerly involved in, a desired academic focus, a carefully written worldview that is best supported by being constantly exposed to a plethora of people in a sizeable space, or something else unique to you.


Often, these types of short responses are actually much harder to compose than one might initially assume, due to the specificity of content required coupled with as much self-understanding that an 18-year-old can have. Therefore, it is imperative that you try to outline your thoughts in bulk before attempting to cram them all into 250 words.

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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