How to Get Into Boston University: All You Need to Know

Monday, April 10, 2023

BU Campus

Boston University, or BU as it’s known, is a top private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university has 10 undergraduate schools and colleges to choose from, as well as dual degree and double major options.

Boston University has become increasingly competitive throughout the last few years, receiving record-breaking numbers of applications from across the country and around the world. Read on to learn the best practices applicants should use to increase their chances of admission to Boston University.

How to Get Into Boston University: Table of Contents

  1. When to Apply to Boston University
  2. How Hard Is It to Get Into Boston University: Early Prep
  3. How to Actually Get Into Boston University: The Application
  4. Class Profile
  5. What Makes Boston University Unique?

When to Apply to Boston University

If you’re considering applying to Boston University, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the Boston University application timelines. The university offers several different application types including Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Boston University does not offer a non-binding Early Action application. Here is an overview of application deadlines and the Boston University admissions process:

Boston University Deadlines 

Boston University’s application deadlines vary slightly from year to year but are always around the same time of the academic year. The deadlines for students applying to start during the 2022-2023 academic year were as follows:

Early Decision: November 1

Early Decision 2: January 4

Merit Scholarship Consideration, Regular Decision: December 1

Regular Decision: January 4

Boston University offers two merit-based scholarships: the Presidential Scholarship, which covers half of tuition, and the Trustee Scholarship, which covers all of tuition. Students who want to be considered for either of these merit-based scholarships must apply for Regular Decision admission by December 1. All Early Decision applicants will be automatically considered for these merit-based scholarships.

Early, Rolling and Regular Decision

There are several different application types that students can choose from when applying to college and specifically, when applying to Boston University. Regardless of where you ultimately decide to apply, it’s important to understand the key differences between these application types, like Regular Decision, Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Early Action.

Early Decision and Early Action have one major differentiating factor. Early Decision is a binding application option, which means that if you are admitted Early Decision, you must enroll in that college. Early Action is an early application, but it is non-binding, which means that you can decide whether to attend a college if you are admitted through Early Action. Boston University does not offer an Early Action deadline.

Boston University offers Early Decision and Early Decision II. The Early Decision deadline is at the beginning of November, and students receive their admission decision by mid-December. The Early Decision II deadline is the same as the Regular Decision deadline, in early January, and students receive their admission decision by mid-February. Meanwhile, Boston University does not follow a rolling admissions timeline. Rolling admissions is when universities accept applications throughout a prolonged period, from September through May.

Finally, Boston University offers a Regular Decision option, which is neither early nor binding. The Regular Decision deadline is in early January and students receive their admission decision by mid-to-late March.

Waitlisted Applications 

If you apply to Boston University Regular Decision, there are three possible decision notifications you may receive: accepted, denied, or waitlisted. The waitlist is made up of strong students that the university wanted to admit but did not have the space for. Considering the high volume of applications Boston University receives compared to the number of spots they have available for their first-year class, it makes sense that they have to deny or waitlist very strong applicants. When receiving a waitlist admissions decision, a student has the option to choose whether they want to accept or deny their spot on the waitlist. If a student accepts their spot on the waitlist, there is a chance they may get off the waitlist during the late spring or summer before the start of the student’s freshman year.


If you apply to Boston University Early Decision or Early Decision II, you may also receive a deferral admission decision. This means your application will be reevaluated within the Regular Decision applicant pool. So what should you do if you’ve been deferred? The best thing to do is to send the university any additional academic information that may add to your application. Typically, that means sending a progress report of your current grades and a letter of continued interest.

How Hard Is It to Get into Boston University: Early Prep

Boston University is one of the top universities in the Boston area and one of the country’s top research universities. It is a popular choice on many students’ school lists and receives a high volume of applications every year. To stand out from the pack, start preparing early. Students can improve their chances of admission by doing their research and tailoring their applications accordingly.

Build Your Profile 

Boston University is excited about academically rigorous students who have interdisciplinary interests and passions. Students should understand what Boston University is looking for as they decide whether they would like to apply there. Boston University is looking for students who understand what the university has to offer and can express on their application why they want to attend the university. Though Boston University employs the holistic admission review process, which considers several diverse aspects of a student’s application, academic rigor and performance carries the most weight.

BU requires that students have taken four years of English, 3-4 years of a social science, 3-4 years of math, 3-4 years of science, and 2-4 years of a language. This may vary for some international curricula and for particular programs, like the College of Engineering, which requires that students reach calculus in high school.

Boston University requires all applicants to select a particular school or college in their application. The university has 10 schools and colleges to choose from including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Questrom School of Business, and the College of Communication. Students don’t have to select a major within the school or college, but they can select areas of interest. Boston University will evaluate how a student’s academic and extracurricular profile matches their interests and goals. Because BU has so many major options and allows students the flexibility to take on double majors and even dual degrees, Boston University values applicants with multiple and diverse interests.

In addition to academic interests, Boston University looks for multitalented and involved students who have made significant contributions to their high schools. Applicants should highlight their involvement in their applications and thread connections to how their interests make them a good fit at BU. Boston University appreciates depth and consistency in extracurricular activities. Rather than list as many activities as possible, applicants should highlight the activities they are the most committed and passionate about.

Visit the Campus and Attend a Class 

Visiting campus is the best way to really find out if Boston University is the right fit for you. Located in the heart of Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue, Boston University blends with the city itself. It’s important to plan your visit well in advance so you can register for an official campus visit through the Boston University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. BU considers demonstrated interest in the admissions process, so it’s important to ensure that admissions has a record of your visit.

The visit includes an information session with an admissions officer and a current student. The session tells prospective students and families about the college and what makes it unique. It also gives visitors a chance to hear from a current student about their experiences and achievements at the college. The visit also includes a campus tour with a student tour guide. This allows visitors a chance to see a large section of campus and get a feel for student life.

Though sitting in on a class isn’t a standard part of a Boston University visit, interested prospective students can certainly request that this be coordinated through the Office of Admissions. If you are admitted, the Boston University Explore program, an on-campus admitted students’ program, includes the opportunity to attend a class.

Connect With a Student 

There’s no better way to learn about a college than speaking directly with a current student. Boston University Admissions has an excellent team of student workers tasked with supporting the admissions office and connecting with prospective and admitted students. You can connect with a student by reaching out to the admissions office via email or phone. If you have specific questions about a major or about the student experience, they will connect you with a student with similar interests.

Learn About Any Student Experiences 

You can also connect with students during a campus visit. Besides the students you will meet during the information session and your campus tour, you can chat with students around campus. Students are proud to be Terriers, and they want to talk about it.

There’s nothing like hearing directly from students about their experiences. You can ask questions directly and get honest responses based on firsthand experience. If you’re not able to visit campus, Boston University admissions will help connect you to a current student.

How Do You Actually Get Into Boston University: The Application

Now that you have learned more about Boston University and the application options, it’s time to consider how to apply. The application process is in line with that of most U.S. colleges and universities. It’s important to learn about the process early on and give yourself plenty of time. The earlier you begin to prepare, the more strategic you can be about the process and position yourself as the strongest possible candidate. Remember that the admissions process is made up of both hard and soft factors, all which come together in the holistic admissions process. Colleges evaluate applicants through holistic admissions to ultimately make their admissions decisions.

GPA Requirements 

Most colleges don’t have official minimum GPA requirements, including Boston University. That said, it’s important to learn about the college’s admitted student profile.  The class profile shows the average profile of its latest class of admitted students. In 2022, the middle 50% GPA range of an admitted student was between a 3.8 and a 4.0 GPA.

SAT and ACT Scores 

For admission for fall 2023, Boston University was test optional, meaning it did not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. However, admitted student SAT scores ranged between 1360 and 1520. The middle 50% ACT score for admitted students ranged between 31 and 34.

Personal Statement

For schools that participate in the Common Application, the personal statement is one of the most important soft factors of the application process. The Common Application gives students the option to choose between seven different prompts ranging from specific to very open-ended. This is to say that students can write about virtually anything. Applicants should take the personal statement as an opportunity to introduce themselves to the admissions committee beyond the numbers and other hard factors in their application. Because Boston University doesn’t have an interview process, the personal statement is one of the best ways students can “interact” more personally with application readers.


Most universities require at least one essay supplement in addition to the Common Application Personal Statement. Boston University requires one additional supplement for all applicants, regardless of the school or college they choose.

  1. “What about being a student at Boston University most excites you?”


This supplement is an opportunity for applicants to express their interest in BU. Students should be as specific as possible regarding the academic and extracurricular opportunities they’re looking forward to at BU.

If you are applying to be considered for merit-based scholarships like the Trustee Scholarship (full tuition) or the Presidential Scholarship (half tuition), there is an additional required essay supplement. The application requires applicants to choose one of two essay prompts:

  1. Nobel laureate and BU professor Elie Wiesel once said: “There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests.” Is there a book, film, podcast or life-experience that has made you feel more connected to your personal history/identity, and what is the most important thing you learned from it?
  2. Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone or marginalized in a situation. How did you respond to that moment and how has it informed your actions moving forward?


Letters of Recommendation

Boston University requires two recommendations, one from your college counselor and one teacher evaluation from a core academic subject. Applicants often submit two teacher evaluations, although only one is required. College counselors are also required to submit a school profile with academic and demographic information about your high school.

Admission Interviews 

BU does not offer evaluative interviews. In some cases, BU admissions may offer non-evaluative, informational interviews to applicants. This is a good opportunity for an applicant to generate additional demonstrated interest, showing their commitment to and interest in Boston University. However, it is important to remember that these interviews are not officially evaluative. This means that they are not meant to contribute to a student’s official application. An informational interview can, however, show demonstrated interest.

Please note that if you are applying to the College of Fine Arts, there are additional portfolio, audition, and/or interview requirements.

Contribution to the Boston University Community 

Boston University students make valuable contributions to the school community through their wide variety of interests and expertise. As a Boston University applicant, you should showcase your academic and extracurricular interests in your application. Ultimately, the office of undergraduate admissions seeks to put together a well-rounded and diverse class of students. They consider each applicant’s soft factors in a number of ways, including how those factors will contribute to the campus community. This is part of why it’s important to be specific in the Boston University supplement. Tell admissions officers what excites you about BU and how you plan to contribute to the campus community as a BU student.

Class Profile

Acceptance rate 14%
Class size 3,634
Diversity % range 56%
Undergraduate majors 300+

Don’t forget to review the Boston University class profile for the class of 2026 as you are learning more about the school. Every school includes slightly different information in their class profile, but most highlight that year’s acceptance rate, class size, and demographics. This information can help you get a sense of the college and assess your chances of admission. How your application stacks up against their most recent class profile can give you a good idea of where Boston University falls on your balanced school list.

What Makes Boston University Unique?

Boston University is a major research university in the heart of Boston. It’s also very strong in a variety of key disciplines, from its College of Engineering to its conservatory-style School of Theatre. Set along either side of the ambling Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Allston and Kenmore neighborhoods, it’s one with the city. Though there are about 60 other institutions of higher learning in the Boston area, it is one of a kind in the heart of Boston.

The BU Hub is Boston University’s unique general education program, giving students multiple pathways toward fulfilling their distribution requirements. Students can complete the BU Hub program with 10-12 courses that involve six core capacities. Each capacity involves several units:

  1. Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation
  2. Scientific and Social Inquiry
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship
  5. Communication
  6. Intellectual Toolkit


Finally, a discussion of Boston University would be incomplete without a mention of extracurriculars, which includes over 450 different student clubs and activities. These clubs include special interest groups, political associations, volunteer initiatives, club sports, Greek life, and more. If you are interested in playing sports at a higher level, BU participates in NCAA Division I sports, the most competitive division in the country.

Boston University is a good fit for you if you want to be in a big but manageable city surrounded by smart and talented students from all over the world.

Admission Consulting 

To gain admission to a top university like Boston University, most students could benefit from additional guidance.  A private admissions counselor is an invaluable resource for students looking to apply to highly selective colleges and universities. Counselors can guide students throughout the entire process, from building a competitive applicant strategy, to building a balanced college list, to brainstorming strong essays and supplements.

You should contract an admissions counselor if you’re ready to take on the challenge of the college admissions process. If you’re interested in Boston University and other highly selective schools, hiring a college admissions counselor may be the right choice for you. Why go through the process alone when you can do it with the guidance of an expert? College admissions counselors who are accredited, experienced, and knowledgeable in the field will provide key advice to set applicants up for success.

Getting into Boston University can be tough. That’s why IvyWise admission experts are here to help you make your application as impressive as possible. Take the first step toward getting into your dream school and set an Initial Consultation.


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