How to Get Into Boston University

Student in a red jacket, holding books and a coffee cup in Boston University Campus
March 16, 2023
Boston University Admissions RequirementsBoston University Acceptance RateBoston University EssaysBoston University Application Process and DeadlinesBoston University Tuition and FeesTips for Getting Into Boston UniversityFAQs: Getting Into Boston University


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 03/08/23

If you’d like to join a school that is known for dauntlessly pursuing knowledge and embracing the unlimited possibilities that come with it, read on to learn more about how to get into Boston University.

Boston University has made significant strides in history: it’s where Martin Luther King Jr. studied and honed his message of equality, it was awarded a grant by the Gates foundation to fight newborn mortality in Zambia, and it has consistently ranked amongst the top 50 universities in the nation.

BU has been considered to be a lively school full of pep and spirit! Take their mascot for instance, the Boston Terrier. Before the 50s, BU had real Boston Terriers named Rhett as their mascot. These dogs would attend every game, formal, and school celebration!

With various impressive accomplishments and an unparalleled student community, it’s no surprise that over 35,000 students call BU their home. This guide will go over the admission requirements, deadlines, costs, and tips required to join these thousands of students!

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Boston University Admissions Requirements

Boston University aims to review candidates using a holistic approach that considers their academic achievements and pursuits in and outside of the classroom. Applicants’ grades, experiences, and backgrounds will all be factored into the selection process.

Here are the specific application materials you’ll have to submit for these components to be assessed:

Boston University GPA Requirements

The most important part of your application will be your high school transcripts because they’ll share your GPA and the courses you took throughout high school. As a university that strives for scholarly excellence, it’s important your transcript demonstrates a high level of academic talent.

To demonstrate this, you should take challenging courses throughout high school and maintain a high GPA. In particular, you should have a GPA of 3.8 to be considered an attractive candidate.

There are also several prerequisites courses you should take and excel in to prove your academic merit:

Students hoping to join the College of Engineering must have one year of calculus. Similarly, those interested in applying to the Questrom School of Business must have one year of calculus or pre-calculus and one year of AP statistics.

Boston University SAT/ACT Requirements

Previously, SAT/ACT scores were considered to be the best predictors of students’ academic potential to thrive in higher education. However, as more data came out suggesting these tests largely excluded minorities, universities, and colleges began becoming test-optional to diversify and expand their applicant pool.

Boston University belongs to this category of schools and is adopting a test-optional policy during the 2023/2024 admissions cycle. Students can decide whether or not to write the SAT/ACT and will be considered equally, regardless of their choice. 

For those who do decide to write the SAT or ACT, you should aim for an SAT score in the range of 1360-1520 and an ACT score in the range of 31-34.

A Personal Statement

As part of the Common Application, you’ll be required to submit a personal statement. This personal statement should share additional information with the admissions committee that is missing from your application.

Think about significant experiences that led you to where you are today and the path you plan on pursuing with BU. What are your future goals? How can BU help you achieve these goals? How will you contribute to BU’s community?

Ensure your personal statement is unique and tells your story. Avoid vagueness and keep your statement concise! Use simple language that you’re comfortable with so that your message is received loud and clear.

Counselor Recommendation and School Report Form

Your school counselor will be required to fill out a school report form to provide BU with a letter of recommendation, details about your school’s program, an assessment of your performance, and information about any academic misconduct.

Letter of Evaluation

Students are also required to submit one letter of evaluation with their application. This letter should be written by a teacher that can attest to your academic potential, so the committee can confirm your grades reflect your abilities. 

Additional Materials

If you’re planning on applying to the College of Fine Arts, you’ll have to submit additional materials such as an audition, portfolio, or both. 

Supplemental Essay Questions

You will also have to answer at least one additional essay question, which will be discussed later in this guide!

Boston University Acceptance Rate

As you learn more about this established university, you may be wondering, “how hard is it to get into Boston University?”

To answer this question, let’s consider the Boston University acceptance rate. At 19%, this school is moderately competitive. While it has high GPA requirements, students that meet these expectations have a fair chance of getting into BU.

Boston University Essays

When discussing how to get into Boston University, emphasis must be placed on the importance of your writing skills. While your supplemental essays alone won’t grant you admission into BU, they can strengthen your application and take you from a “maybe” to a “yes.”

To ensure you write the best personal essay possible, BU offers some pointers:

Depending on the application you use to apply to BU, there will be several optional essay prompts. Since the majority of students use the Common App to apply to colleges, these are the prompts you’ll see on your application:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

While answering these questions is optional, you should consider writing at least one of these essays. Doing so can offer more insight into your character and background which can help the admissions committee get to know you better.

Aside from these essays, BU has its own essay prompt that students must answer to be considered for admission:

What about being a student at Boston University most excites you?

This may seem like a relatively simple prompt, but it’s essential you do your research to answer this question appropriately. Offer specific resources, events, programs, or principles that draw you to BU. Your answer should not exceed 250 words, so keep it straightforward and concise!

Boston University Application Process and Deadlines

To apply to Boston University, you can either use the Common Application or QuestBridge Application. When applying through these apps, you must specify the BU undergrad college you plan on joining:

If you’re unsure which school or major you’d like to enroll in, BU suggests you apply to the College of Arts and Sciences or College of General Studies and select “Undeclared” as your major.

To ensure the admissions committee can review your application and provide you with a timely decision, keep these key deadlines in mind:

Source: Boston University

Students interested in submitting early decision applications should be aware that these are binding agreements; if you’re accepted into BU, you must reject any other offers you receive.

Boston University Tuition and Fees

Part of planning for college is understanding how much you’ll have to invest into your education. Tuition and fees cost $62,360 a year for BU students. Considering other expenses you’ll have as a freshman, the total estimated cost to attend BU is over $80,000 a year.

Before these steep costs deter you from applying to BU, this university prides itself on its extensive financial aid. Over $381 million of financial aid is awarded to students, of which over 92% is needs-based and only 8% is merit-based. BU promises students will receive financial assistance for 100% of their financial need.

Tips for Getting Into Boston University

To end our discussion on how to get into Boston University, we’d like to share our top tips on how to make your application stand out:

Only Write the SAT/ACT if Necessary

Since the SAT and ACT are optional for students applying to the 2023/2024 cycle, you should carefully consider whether or not to write these tests.

Review your overall application. If you think there are weak aspects of it, like a low GPA or little involvement in extracurriculars, receiving a competitive score on the SAT or ACT can make up for these weaknesses. 

But, if you already have a strong application, save yourself the time and stress by opting out of writing these exams.

Start Your Personal Statement Early

Avoid leaving your personal statement to the last minute. Despite it being a relatively short essay, it’ll still require thought and effort to have a positive impact on the admissions committee, so start early! 

Do Your Research

It goes without saying you should conduct your own research on any school you’re interested in attending, as your undergrad will play a major role in your career trajectory.

If you’re certain BU is the right school for you, you need to be able to articulate why. Think of reasons that go beyond superficial draws such as close proximity to your house or affordable tuition. What makes BU stand out to you? What are you excited to participate in? Use these questions to guide your essays.

FAQs: Getting Into Boston University

For any remaining questions on how to get into Boston University, read on to find your answers.

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into Boston University?

Based on Boston University’s acceptance rate alone, this school is only moderately difficult to get into.

2. What Kind of Students Get Into Boston University?

The beauty of Boston University is it aims to admit a diverse pool of applicants each year, meaning there isn’t a set type of student they look for. In fact, BU encourages students to share what makes them unique so that they stand out amongst the thousands of applicants they get each year.

That being said, there are certain values BU looks for in each student: high academic achievement, community involvement, and clear direction and intent to join BU.

3. What Major Is Boston University Known for?

The most popular majors pursued at Boston University are:

Boston University is also known for its diverse range of majors, offering its undergrad students over 300 different programs to choose from!

4. Is Boston University an Ivy League School?

No, BU is not an Ivy League school.

5. How Much Does It Cost to Attend Boston University?

Tuition and fees at BU are just over $62,000 a year. 

6. What Is Boston University’s Ranking?

Boston University ranks 41st in the nation and 29th as the best value school due to its extensive financial support.

Final Thoughts

Whether you fell in love with the story of Rhett the Terrier or want to go to the same school as the influential activist Martin Luther King Jr., after learning more about how to get into Boston University, this school may be a top choice for you. 

By following the tips shared in this guide, you can ensure you submit the best application possible to maximize your chances of getting into this esteemed university!

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