Boston University Supplement Essay

Thank your lucky stars you chose to apply to Boston University! This application supplement is a gift: two of the most straightforward prompts you could ask for, and only one of them is required. But beware, a simple supplement is no reason to ignore a school or save it until the last minute. In fact, it means you have no excuse not to nail your essay, so pay attention and do your work!

The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words; 1 optional essay

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Additional Info

Boston University 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

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

You’ve seen it before and you’ll see it again: the classic why essay. The point of this sort of prompt is twofold: to learn what makes you tick and to gauge your commitment to the school. So, the more time you spend researching the school, the better you’ll be able to demonstrate both. This is, essentially, the only question BU is asking you, so you have no excuse not to buckle down and spend some quality time poring over the school website. Take notes on anything and everything that appeals to you across all aspects of student life: classes, professors, labs, clubs, speakers — literally everything! The point is to paint a picture for admissions that clues them into your passions and demonstrates how BU will help you cultivate them. Once you’ve completed your preliminary research, narrow the list to your top five or so items to focus on. Remember, this essay is only supposed to be 250 words.

Additional Information (optional): Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.

Typically, when a school includes an optional “additional info” essay, admissions is giving applicants a chance to address any red flags in their academic or disciplinary history. It’s your chance to show admissions that a few bad grades or lapses in judgement don’t define you. That being said, Boston University has cast a wider net with its additional info prompt. Still, this essay isn’t for everyone. We recommend this prompt for students who would like to address specific blips in their past or applicants with truly outstanding portfolio pieces. The point is, your response to this prompt shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should shed new light on who you are as a person or student.

Who fits into the first group? Maybe you were coping with an illness that slowed you down during your sophomore year and prevented you from taking a more rigorous course load. Maybe a rough introduction to calculus only motivated you to study harder and overcome your difficulties in future years. Or perhaps you were juggling an array of family responsibilities that distracted you from your school work. Whatever the case may be, yours should be a story of resilience and tenacity. Describe what you learned and how you have grown as a result of these challenging experiences.

What about the second group? Are you an award-winning author or scientist? If you choose to submit additional materials, you should be sending in show-stopping work that proves you are ready to pursue your interests at the college level.

Writing Your Essay

High school seniors applying for admission to the Kilachand Honors College often ask what we’re looking for in our potential students and what they should include in their essays.

First, read the information on this website. Look at how the Kilachand Honors College fits with your program of choice. Read more about the co-curricular events and the purpose they serve. Peruse our course offerings and look at the four-year curriculum of the program. The Kilachand Honors College isn’t for everyone, but if it is a good fit for you, you’ll know after reading this information.

Second, think about what your personal goals and interests. Kilachand Honors College students stand out for their accomplishments, motivation, and excitement about the opportunities around them.

The relaxed atmosphere and intimacy of a six-student class allows for flexibility in the curriculum, and it also provides an open forum for discussions of observations and ideas. I like how I’ve used what I’ve learned in this class in my others, in terms of addressing all sides of arguments and being comfortable during open discussions.
Marissa Petersile (CAS’15), Undeclared

If you’re like many of the Kilachand Honors Students, you probably still want more information. Here is Professor Charles Dellheim, Director of the Kilachand Honors College, explaining how Kilachand Honors College students stand out from students in a traditional honors program:

“What are we looking for? We’re looking for people who are intellectually curious, motivated; they may have an intense interest in the subjects. A lot of our students are doing a number of different things. I’ll tell you what we don’t want—If you are an English major, or a chemist, or a violinist, and all you really want to do is English or chemistry or violin; if you don’t want to learn about other disciplines and other ways of looking at the world, you would be very unhappy in the Kilachand Honors College, because that’s not our purpose. We give people a lot of opportunities, especially in the second year, to pursue their own interests; in fact, we require them to do that. What we want are students who will be engaging with different ideas, different methods, different approaches, different ways of looking at the world. And also people who will enjoy being in a community that is made up of students from all over the University.

I’ve had conversations with students who were accepted and said I only want to be with students from my school; I want to be with the students in my degree. I have to tell you, I think that’s a disaster. When you’re with one group of people, especially when you’re in college, it can get old really quickly—you don’t learn anything about the disciplines outside of your own.

It isn’t that we’re looking for people who are well roundedthat’s a phrase I don’t like. I had a professor who said “Well-roundedthat means a person without edges! Without personality!” We are trying to find students who have a lot of ability and who would really flourish in college and add something to the community, but maybe didn’t have the highest SAT scores or GPA.”

If you’re interested in sitting in on a Kilachand Honors College class or talking with a current Student Ambassador, please contact us.

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