Getting ready to write your Boston College supplemental essays? Read on to learn how to make your essays stand out!
Hey future Eagles! Feeling stuck on your Boston College supplemental essays? Unsure of where to start or what to share? This guide has got you covered! We’ll go over each Boston College supplemental essay, break down how to approach them, and provide you with winning examples to use as your muse!
Let’s begin with the basics; how many supplemental essays do you need for Boston College? Fortunately, you’ll only need to answer one of the BC supplemental essays. You’ll be given the following five prompts to choose from:
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?
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.
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?
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?
5. 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?
These questions aim to get personal, which means you could probably ramble on and on about each of them if you had the chance. But here's the kicker: you have to keep your response to a maximum of 400 words! So, stay on point, keep it snappy, and get to the heart of what matters most. No room for rambling here!
Here’s how to ensure all of your BC supplemental essays are concise, compelling, and captivating!
Follow these suggestions if you choose to respond to the first prompt:
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to discuss a philosophical or highly complex book to impress the admissions committee. Select a book by a living author that resonates with you personally and aligns with your values. It could be a novel, a memoir, a collection of essays, or even a work of nonfiction.
Consider how this book has impacted your perspective and why you believe it would have a meaningful impact on your incoming class.
Consider starting your essay with one of your favorite lines in the book or a favorite fact about the author to make it stand out.
Dive into why you find this book important and why you believe it would be a valuable shared text for your incoming class. Discuss the themes, ideas, or messages in the book that you think could spark meaningful and reflective discussions among your peers.
Use the essay to express your own personal experiences and reflections while reading the book. Show the admissions committee how this book has influenced your thinking and shaped your perspective. Why does this book resonate with you more than others?
The prompt makes specific mention of BC’s tradition of reflecting on a common text during convocation, so you’ll want to explain how this book would contribute to a meaningful and engaging University Convocation experience. How would it inspire reflective dialogue among your incoming class?
Share your vision of how discussions around this book could encourage personal growth and deeper connections within the BC community.
Discuss the importance of a shared text and how it fosters a sense of unity and understanding among incoming students. Doing this will ensure you go beyond the explicit instructions of the text and can apply your critical thinking to broader ideas.
End your essay by reiterating why this book is an excellent choice for the incoming class. Emphasize its potential to ignite intellectual curiosity, encourage empathy, and inspire personal growth. Ensure you leave the reader with a lasting impression!
Feel like you’ve had a few notable experiences where your beliefs were challenged? Follow these steps to write about one of them:
Step One: Identify Your Conversation Partner
Think about a conversation that truly had an impact on you, not just someone disagreeing with your top horror movie choice. Who is someone in your life that has really challenged your perspective or brought fresh insights to the table?
It could be a family member, a friend, a teacher, or anyone else who encourages thought-provoking discussions. This person will be your conversation partner for this essay.
Introduce your conversation partner and briefly explain your relationship with them. Share why they're so important to you and why their viewpoints matter.
Now comes the juicy part! Describe a specific conversation you had with your partner where your perspectives clashed, or they challenged you in a significant way. Be detailed and share your thoughts and emotions during the discussion.
Don't shy away from discussing how this conversation challenged you. Were you initially resistant to their ideas? Did it force you to reevaluate your beliefs? Embrace the growth and learning that occurred during this exchange.
Show the reader how this conversation impacted you. Did it open your mind to new possibilities? Did you gain a deeper understanding of yourself or the world around you? Be authentic and express the lessons you learned from this experience.
Connect the conversation and your experience back to the Jesuit tradition of finding worthwhile conversation partners at Boston College. Explain how this tradition resonates with you and how it aligns with your experiences.
Share your excitement to meet people with differing opinions to have these important conversations!
Another one of the Boston College supplemental essays you can consider responding to deals with the impact of making assumptions. If this prompt interests you, here’s how to answer it:
While you don’t have to watch the TED Talk referenced in this essay prompt, doing so can inspire you and help you brainstorm. You may even want to quote the speaker within your own essay to show you went above and beyond by watching the TED Talk to answer this question to the best of your ability.
Dive into your personal experience. Consider beginning your essay with what this person said to you or the assumption they made as a hook.
Be real about the hurdles you faced due to this narrow perception. Did it lead to misunderstandings or prejudice? How did it affect your relationships or self-esteem? Did it cause any self-doubt?
Show how you broke free from this single narrative and proved them wrong. Did you take the opportunity to educate and enlighten them about the real you? How did you defy their expectations and showcase your true colors? How did you show your resilience in the face of this challenge?
Celebrate the growth that came from this experience. Emphasize the lessons you learned about empathy, understanding, the power of individuality, and your commitment to avoid making similar assumptions.
But, be careful not to display a superiority complex where you prove you’re better than this person or any others that make these assumptions. Focus on your own growth instead and the importance of diversity.
Connect your story to Boston College's values of embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity. Express your eagerness to continue these conversations at BC and learn from a community that values every person's unique narrative.
Close off by briefly emphasizing the importance of breaking down stereotypes and seeing past the single narrative assumptions people make so often.
Let’s tackle how to respond to this fourth prompt:
Start by identifying a local or global issue that deeply concerns you. It could be related to social justice, environmental sustainability, education, healthcare, or any other cause you're passionate about. Pick an issue that truly moves you!
Introduce the issue you've chosen and explain why it's particularly meaningful to you. Share personal experiences or insights that have influenced your passion for addressing this problem.
You may even open your essay with an anecdote about your personal experience with this issue or an experience you heard about in the news or through others.
Like in all of the other Boston College supplemental essays, connect back to BC’s roots. Show how BC's founding mission resonates with your desire to make a difference in the world and emphasize how your BC education will enable you to continue this legacy.
Showcase how you'll use your Boston College education to address the issue. Discuss specific ways your studies, skills, or extracurricular activities will contribute to making a positive impact. Share your vision of how you'll engage with the issue both on and off campus.
Demonstrate your dedication to driving change and improving society. Highlight any volunteer work, advocacy, or initiatives you've been involved in related to the issue. Admissions officers want to see your genuine commitment to creating a better world.
The final Boston College supplemental essay prompt is for HCE applicants only and is somewhat similar to prompt four. Here’s how to approach it:
Identify the specific societal problems that ignite your passion. Considering this is a question for engineering, the issue you choose should be related to this field. Whether it's developing sustainable energy solutions, improving healthcare accessibility, or enhancing urban infrastructure, choose a problem that truly drives you.
Explain why these issues are meaningful to you. Share any personal experiences or encounters that sparked your interest in making a difference in these areas.
Highlight how Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College perfectly aligns with your goals.
Discuss how the program's integration of technical knowledge, creativity, and humanistic perspective will equip you to address these societal challenges effectively and prove you’ve done your research by including additional features of the program that excite you and will aid you in your goals to address the societal issue.
There is no room for vagueness in your essay. Describe innovative engineering approaches or projects you envision tackling to make a tangible impact on the identified issues. Research solutions that already exist and include your insights and ideas on these or introduce new ones.
Share any relevant experiences, projects, or initiatives you've been part of to help solve these issues. Highlight any leadership roles or hands-on work that demonstrate your dedication to solving real-world problems through engineering.
Connect your solutions to the Jesuit value of serving the Common Good. Explain how your Human-Centered Engineering education will empower you to serve society and create a positive impact.
Close off by expressing your enthusiasm about joining Boston College's Human-Centered Engineering program and driving change in your chosen societal issue.
There’s no better way to grasp how to write the Boston College supplemental essays than to learn by example!
A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up for anything." This compelling quote from "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini serves as a poignant reminder of the valuable lesson this book imparts to students.
As students, we often encounter challenges, both academically and personally. This book can remind us of the powerful significance of advocating for our beliefs and values. By learning to assert ourselves and confront our fears, we cultivate the confidence and resilience necessary to address societal issues and make positive contributions to our communities.
Consequently, for our incoming class at University Convocation, I wholeheartedly recommend "The Kite Runner" as our shared text. This novel takes readers on an emotional journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, and redemption. Through Amir's experiences, we learn the importance of standing up for ourselves and others, even in the face of adversity.
"The Kite Runner" not only inspires self-reflection but also fosters empathy and understanding. The novel delves into cultural complexities, providing a window into Afghanistan's history and the impact of personal choices on individuals and society. As we engage in reflective dialogue during University Convocation, this shared text will encourage open discussions about diverse perspectives, nurturing a more inclusive and compassionate community.
Moreover, Khaled Hosseini's masterful storytelling captivated me, evoking emotions and allowing me to build connections with the characters. This shared experience can unite our class, forging a shared bond that extends beyond the pages of the book.
As we embark on our exciting academic journey, "The Kite Runner" will serve as a timeless reminder of the value of empathy, resilience, and the power of standing up for what we believe in. It will inspire us to be active participants in shaping a more just and compassionate world, embodying the Jesuit values that Boston College holds dear.
This BC supplemental essay response works for several reasons:
This essay is successful because it effectively conveys the book's significance, draws connections to the student's experiences and values, and aligns with Boston College's mission.
It’s murder—plain and simple”, my best friend Emily proclaimed with unwavering conviction.
With a fiery passion for justice and a fierce dedication to her beliefs, Emily is never afraid to challenge the status quo and speak her mind. As such, we’ve always had lively discussions on various topics, but one particular conversation stands out vividly in my memory.
In our sophomore year, we were discussing a news article detailing the story of a terminally ill patient who had opted for medical assistance to end their life peacefully. As a staunch advocate for individual autonomy and the right to make end-of-life decisions, I expressed my support for medical-assisted dying, believing that it offers compassionate choices for those facing unbearable suffering.
However, Emily's bold statement gave me pause. I respected her deeply-held beliefs, but I felt the need to question her stance and challenge her perspective and the broader implications of prohibiting medical-assisted dying altogether. I highlighted the anguish that some terminally ill patients might experience when they are denied the choice to control the manner and timing of their death. I also stressed the importance of compassionate end-of-life care, including palliative options, to ensure that individuals facing terminal illnesses have the support they need to make informed decisions.
As our conversation evolved, Emily's arguments made me pause and reflect on the complexity of the issue. While I still valued individual autonomy and compassion, her viewpoints challenged me to consider the potential unintended consequences of medical-assisted dying and the importance of striking a delicate balance between individual choice and societal well-being.
Throughout this conversation, Emily and I maintained a deep respect for each other's beliefs and approached the topic with an openness to learn from one another. The experience taught me the value of engaging in conversations with worthwhile partners who challenge my views, as it broadens my understanding of complex issues and helps me become a more empathetic and well-informed individual.
As I embark on my new journey at Boston College, I will embrace my role as a conversation partner, and support and challenge myself to have a more profound understanding of the world around me. Keeping with the Jesuit tradition Boston College embodies, I look forward to conversing with all intellectual partners I’ll meet at BC, as we collectively strive to enhance our empathy, wisdom, and social consciousness.
You’ll notice many successful BC supplemental essays begin with an intriguing hook, as this one does! This is to captivate the reader from the beginning and urge them to read on. Here are some other features from this essay that you should implement in your essay:
Overall, this response demonstrates the student's intellectual maturity, critical thinking skills, and genuine interest in being an active participant in meaningful discussions at the university!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Ted Talk on "The Danger of a Single Story" struck a chord with me, as I've personally experienced being defined by a single narrative. During my high school years, I relocated to a new town, and my accent immediately labeled me as “the foreign kid." People assumed I couldn't speak English fluently and knew nothing about their culture, reducing my identity to a mere stereotype.
This presented several challenges. I felt the constant need to prove myself, academically and socially, and struggled to fit in and be accepted. The isolation and misunderstanding affected my confidence and made it difficult to connect with others.
However, I was determined not to be confined by that single narrative. I actively immersed myself in clubs and extracurricular activities, striving to showcase my multifaceted self. By participating and engaging in conversations, I revealed my diverse experiences, perspectives, and passions. Gradually, I noticed a change in how people perceived me. They began to see beyond the initial assumptions and recognize my individuality.
Overcoming these challenges required time and resilience. I learned the value of asserting my voice and sharing my authentic stories, which allowed others to understand me beyond the surface level. Breaking free from the constraints of the single story empowered me to build better connections and find like-minded individuals who appreciated me for my true self.
My experience of being defined by a single story during my high school years has had a lasting impact on my outlook and values, which align closely with the principles upheld by Boston College. Boston College's commitment to a Jesuit education, founded on the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, resonates with my journey of breaking free from stereotypes and embracing diverse narratives.
Adichie's Ted Talk holds even greater significance now, as I'm reminded of the importance of avoiding simplistic judgments about others based on appearances or backgrounds. I understand the power of embracing diverse narratives and perspectives, fostering empathy, and recognizing the richness that each individual brings to the table.
Here’s what to reflect on as you read this essay example:
This essay goes beyond simply answering the prompt—it is highly reflective, insightful and conveys the importance of avoiding stereotypes, embracing diversity, and fostering empathy. All of these traits are valued by BC!
The magnitude of climate change requires comprehensive and collaborative efforts from individuals, communities, and institutions. As a student at Boston College, I aspire to leverage my education to address this critical global issue and contribute to sustainable solutions.
While I already volunteer at my local recycling facility, participate in beach clean-up events, and am an executive member of my school’s environmental club, I plan on doing even more at Boston College and beyond. First, I intend to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies, combining scientific knowledge with social and policy perspectives. Through interdisciplinary coursework, research opportunities, and engagement with faculty, I aim to develop a deep understanding of the complexities of climate change and its multifaceted implications.
Beyond the academic realm, Boston College's commitment to fostering a caring and inclusive community aligns perfectly with my vision of creating positive change. By actively participating in student-led environmental organizations and joining forces with like-minded peers, I hope to cultivate a vibrant campus environment that values sustainability and collective action.
Moreover, I will have access to valuable internships and networking opportunities that will enable me to collaborate with organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and advocacy. By interning with environmental NGOs and participating in climate-related policy discussions, I hope to contribute to impactful projects and support the creation of policies that drive positive change.
Climate change, as a global issue, requires collaboration and engagement on an international scale. Boston College's global perspective will offer me the chance to connect with students from diverse backgrounds, enriching my understanding of environmental challenges across different regions and cultures. By embracing this multicultural environment, I can foster a broader perspective and contribute to innovative solutions that transcend borders.
By pursuing an education in Environmental Studies, actively engaging in student-led initiatives, advocating for sustainable policies, and embracing Boston College's inclusive community, I hope to make a meaningful contribution to addressing climate change and shaping a more sustainable and resilient future for all. With the support and resources provided by Boston College, I am confident in my ability to make a lasting impact in the fight against climate change and fulfill my commitment to addressing society's greatest needs.
This essay works for several reasons:
The student demonstrates a clear plan for making a difference on campus and beyond, showcasing their commitment to addressing climate change in a comprehensive and collaborative manner. The essay leaves a positive impression of the student as a driven, socially conscious, and ambitious individual.
In a world that faces ever-evolving societal challenges, I am deeply drawn to the field of Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) for its potential to enact positive change and serve the common good. As a prospective HCE student at Boston College, I am committed to using my education to address two critical societal problems that are of utmost importance to me: healthcare accessibility and sustainable infrastructure development.
First and foremost, healthcare accessibility remains a pressing concern globally. Many communities, particularly in underserved regions, lack adequate access to essential healthcare services. I am determined to use my HCE education to bridge this gap and improve healthcare delivery systems for vulnerable populations.
Drawing on the technical knowledge and humanistic perspective emphasized in the HCE program, I aspire to design and implement innovative healthcare solutions. By collaborating with healthcare professionals and community members, I aim to develop technologies and systems that are tailored to the specific needs and challenges faced by these communities. Whether it be telemedicine solutions to reach remote areas or the development of affordable medical devices, I envision contributing to the improvement of healthcare accessibility and making a tangible impact on people's lives.
Integrating the principles of sustainability and creativity into my engineering solutions, I seek to minimize the ecological footprint of infrastructure projects. I plan to advocate for the adoption of renewable energy sources and the implementation of green building practices. By prioritizing environmentally friendly technologies and materials, I aim to contribute to the creation of resilient and sustainable urban environments that harmonize with nature rather than deplete it.
Boston College's emphasis on serving the common good aligns perfectly with my vision for using HCE to tackle these societal problems. Additionally, the Jesuit values of social responsibility and ethical leadership will guide me in my professional journey.
I am eager to take advantage of Boston College's resources and engage in service-oriented initiatives to implement real-world solutions and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.
None of the other Boston College supplemental essays are program specific. As such, it’s imperative you focus on the HCE program, why you’ve chosen it, and what you plan on doing through it! Here’s how this student does so:
In summary, this essay effectively combines the student's passion for HCE and joining BC with their commitment to addressing pressing societal issues.
You can find the answers to any remaining questions about the Boston College supplemental essays below:
You only need to write one Boston College supplemental essay, but you will be given five prompts to choose from.
Your BC supplemental essay should not exceed 400 words. Having said that, you also do not need to meet this maximum. Aim for quality over quantity. Ensure you answer the prompt completely but do not add any fluff to make your response longer, as it will only reduce the efficacy of your writing.
Remember, the Boston College supplemental essays provide an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and aspirations. Share meaningful insights, experiences, and how your goals align with Boston College's values.
Make a strong impression, take your time, edit diligently, and let your passion and intellect shine through!