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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Boston College 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations
The Requirements: Choose one out of four prompts. 400 words max.
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Oddball, Community
The writing supplement topics for Fall 2018 first-year applicants are: We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts. (400 word limit)
1. Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.
What motivates you? Why do you get up in the morning? What do you look forward to day-to-day? And how do these things truly inspire you? Did your out-of-the-box thinking help solidify a solution for a problem at your summer internship? Maybe you were so touched by someone’s account of a natural disaster that you wrote a poem that was featured in your local newspaper, educating hundreds of people and encouraging them to donate to the cause. Ultimately, this question is asking you to reflect on your passions and drive. The admissions department at BC wants to see what gets your creative juices flowing and how those activities link up to your commitments.
2. Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?
Everyone loves a good problem solver and definitive choice-maker. And there will be a lot of those applying to BC this application season. But HOW you approach your decision making — especially with a difficult choice in front of you — can set you apart from the pack. When thinking about the example you want to reflect on here, you can choose anyone from a public figure to someone in your personal life. Just make sure you reveal your logic and give admissions a window into your values. Maybe your best friend was promised, and then denied, the team captain position on the soccer team and had to decide whether to approach her coach to make her case or keep quiet so as not to ruffle any feathers. What did she do? What would you have done? Or maybe you live in Alaska and your senator, Lisa Murkowski, voted against a major bill which resulted in backlash from her political party. Would you have done the same? What admissions is looking for here isn’t a right or wrong answer, but rather a thoughtful and measure perspective on decision making when it isn’t easy.
3. Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?
Are you an engaged citizen of the world? Are you aware of what’s going on around you, and do you have the drive to effect change? How would you take other people on this journey with you? These are just some of the things BC is hinting at with this prompt. Maybe you want to the history of concussions in sports to address the role of sports culture in the modern healthcare system. Or history and literature to dive deeper into modern gender politics. Once you decide on the issue you want to address, make sure you structure your essay around the creation of a course and get creative. Think beyond “Social Media 101” and show admissions you have the ability to package your creation with style.
4. Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?
This is a short version of the Why essay, and you should treat it as such. Boston College wants to make sure you are gearing up for the full college experience — to THEIR school — and specificity helps. Talk about your academic and professional goals — how will the offerings at BC help you achieve them. What unexpected subjects might you want to pursue in addition to the topics that line up with courses you have pursued in the past? How will you push yourself? Don’t forget to include details about personal growth. What about the BC experience will enrich your life overall? What extracurricular activities and organizations will you take advantage of? What about the BC culture inspires you? Almost anyone who has attended college will attest that the next four years will be a time for personal growth and development — so if you’re having trouble answering this question, ask your older siblings, parents, and cousins what college did for them. We bet you’ll hear a thing or two that makes you say, “Yes! I want to achieve that by 2022!”