What is Boston University Known For?

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What’s Boston University known for? Employability—94% of BU graduates find employment or placement in graduate programs, military service, and fellowships within six months of graduation. Employers have an extremely positive opinion of Boston University; the Times Higher Education ranks it 14th in graduate employability, ahead of world-class schools like Brown, UCLA, and Carnegie Mellon. 


Keep reading to find out what sets BU apart from other schools. Plus, get tips on what aspects of life at BU to feature in your admissions essays!


Overview of Boston University Admissions


Location: Boston, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 18,500

Acceptance Rate: 18.3%

Middle 50% SAT: 1430-1540

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35


Boston University is one of the largest private, non-profit universities and over the years has developed a reputation for attracting high-achieving students from both the U.S. and across the globe. BU’s class of 2025 is notable for the record-breaking number of applications received and the low acceptance rate of just 18.3%—53% of whom were admitted through early decision. 


BU is becoming increasingly competitive; admitted students, on average, ranked in the top 6% of their class and had an average GPA of 3.9. But academic excellence is just one factor in admissions. BU prides itself on attracting diverse and global classes—students offered admission to the class of 2025 include an ultramarathoner, a Broadway performer, an inventor who thought up 3D PPE for doctors during the pandemic, and a programmer who built an app to connect farmers with restaurants. 


Learn more about Boston University and see your chances of acceptance.


Unique Aspects of Boston University


The BU Hub is the foundation of a Boston University education, through which all its students develop the knowledge, skills, and habits to succeed in a complex and interconnected world. Students who enter BU as first-years are required to complete 26 Hub units (generally between 10 to 12 courses) spread across six capacities: 


  • Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation
  • Scientific and Social Inquiry
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship
  • Communication
  • Intellectual Toolkit


What is BU known for? Its wide variety of majors, vast number of courses, and intimate class sizes all help BU stand apart. Boston University proudly touts its tiny student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 and its small average class size of 27, both of which are particularly impressive for a school with more than 18,000 undergraduates. BU offers 72 majors—from Acting to Urban Affairs—through its 11 undergraduate schools and colleges:


  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Communication
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of General Studies
  • College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College
  • Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences 
  • Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies
  • Questrom School of Business
  • School of Hospitality Administration
  • Wheelock College of Education & Human Development


Students who are unable to find a particular course at BU, or who are interested in learning what life is like at another institution, are in luck—BU is a member of the Boston Area Consortia, which allows BU students to cross-register for one elective course per semester at Boston College, Brandeis University, Tufts University, Hebrew College, and MIT.


Study abroad plays a large role at BU, with nearly half of undergraduates participating in the program. BU was one of the first schools in the nation with a study abroad program and believes in providing its students with cross-cultural learning experiences. BU offers 70 study abroad programs in more than 20 cities, in over 15 countries, and on six continents.




Boston University competes in 24 Division I sports. Their best-known athletic program is the men’s hockey team, which is one of just a handful of programs to have won five or more NCAA Championships—taking home the title in 1971, 1972, 1978, 1995, and 2009. Another program of note is the women’s soccer team, which has taken home a handful of Patriot League titles, most recently in 2018.  


There is no shortage of activities to take part in at BU; the school is home to more than 450 student groups that cater to wide-ranging interests such as anime, beekeeping, curling, skiing/snowboarding, and photography. Greek life has a small but vibrant presence on campus.


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Every year on the first two Mondays in February, BU’s hockey teams square off against local rivals Boston College, Northeastern, and Harvard on the ice at the Beanpot Hockey Tournament. BU’s men’s hockey team hasn’t had much success at the Beanpot in recent years (their last championship was in 2015), but they’ve historically been the most successful program, taking home 30 titles—Boston College is a distant second with 20.  


Patriot’s Day is a state holiday that commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord and it plays a special part in the lives of Boston-area students, including those attending BU. Patriot’s Day coincides with the running of the Boston Marathon and the Red Sox typically play a morning game. Patriot’s Day also means no classes at BU, which adds up to a festive long weekend.  


Nothing says New England like a lobster, and BU has been dishing this local delicacy out once a year since 1985. On Boston University’s annual Lobster Night, each student receives a full steamed lobster with potatoes, corn, and plenty of melted butter.  




Boston University is known for delivering a residential college experience while also providing the chance to go to school in an urban environment. Freshmen are required to live on campus and on-campus housing is guaranteed for four years. About 75% of undergraduates live on BU’s campus and are housed in a wide variety of living arrangements, from traditional residence halls to modern high rises to historic brownstones. 


Boston University also has a variety of living-learning communities, specialty communities, and faculty-in-residence options. These unique living arrangements allow students the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom, meet like-minded peers, and receive the support needed for a successful college career. 


Financial Aid


Boston University practices need-blind admissions, which means they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when deciding whether or not to accept a student. In 2020, BU expanded its financial aid to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of its domestic students. 


College is an investment, and in the case of Boston University, it’s a good one. The website Payscale ranks BU 215th out of 1,978 colleges in the country for value. 




BU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) connects students with research projects in a variety of fields, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, education, and the arts. With more than $1 million in annual funding, UROP affords undergraduates the opportunity to pursue research in their chosen academic discipline. 


Boston University has a mammoth alumni network that can pay big dividends when job hunting or searching for a mentor after college. BU has more than 300,000 alumni spread across 189 countries. 




The website Niche places Boston University 13th in the country in its rankings of best college locations in America. Boston is one of the U.S.’s great cities—it’s rich in culture, history, entertainment options, dining, and employment opportunities. Boston is also one of the world’s great college towns. More than 70 colleges call the greater Boston area home, including world-renowned institutions such as Harvard, MIT, and Northeastern, along with highly ranked liberal arts colleges like Wellesley, Wheaton, and Stonehill. 


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at BU?


Boston University is a very selective school that is trending toward being even more competitive to get accepted. Great grades, excellent test scores, and impressive extracurricular activities provide the foundation of an eye-catching application, while BU’s supplemental essays provide an opportunity to distance yourself from the competition and show admissions officials why you belong there. 


CollegeVine can help you understand your chances of acceptance at BU and over 600 other schools in the U.S. Our free admissions calculator uses a variety of data points to predict your odds of admission. More so, it highlights strengths and weaknesses on your college profile, allowing you to bolster your bona fides and odds of acceptance at your dream school.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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