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Boston College is not joking around this year. Admissions wants to know what keeps you up at night, which words strike a chord within you, and what you strive to achieve and discover. So, give them the scoop! First things first: start by writing down every question that comes to mind when you think about the words “meaning” and “purpose.” If that’s not working for you, try working backward. Ask yourself, “what do I hope to have learned by the time I graduate with my degree?” or “what kind of knowledge do I hope to possess in the future?”
Once you have a question in mind, focus on the “how” part of the prompt. How do you hope Boston College will help you answer this question? Your answer can and should touch on many different aspects of the Boston College student experience: academics, campus life, athletics, internships, research opportunities, networking, city living, etc. The more specific you can be, the better because admissions can easily sniff out an essay template with generic information that could apply to any schools.
Boston College wants to accept young minds that are eager to learn, expand their horizons, relate to those around them, and take action to make the world a more fair and equitable place. This prompt will likely stick out to the activists among you, and we encourage you to follow your instincts.
How have you been impacted by recent events, what have you learned, and how have you taken action to effect positive change? Maybe you examined your own privilege last year and took steps to educate yourself on the issues plaguing Black lives in this country. Did you show up to protests and marches last summer in the wake of police violence? Do you cover local BLM events for your school newspaper? Are you introducing your older relatives to new perspectives? Regardless of how you use your skills, so long as you are authentic in your response, we’re sure admissions will be impressed.
Whether you look forward to early-morning car rides to school with your dad, late-night conversations with your sister on the couch, or chatting with your cousins over Zoom, we’re willing to bet there’s at least one person in your life who you enjoy discussing current events and issues with. And Boston College wants to hear all about it.
To make sure your response stands out from the pack, be as detailed and purposeful as possible. It’s one thing to list the different topics you cover with your dad, but it’s a whole other ballgame to bring the reader in and let them sit in the backseat with you. Why do you talk about what you talk about? Why is that your go-to person for these kinds of discussions? How have your eyes been opened by these frank heart-to-hearts? Dig deep, and you’ll find the answers.
Admissions wants to know that you can do the tough work, that you can view life from different perspectives and reflect on your own behavior, values, and thought processes. That you care. As you consider this prompt, think back on those impassioned, “aha!” moments that forced you to drastically re-examine a long-held belief. As you tell your story, include sensory details to bring to life your experience defending the need for critical race theory classes at your school or challenging misogynistic dress codes. Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to the Boston College community. If this prompt jumps out at you because you have a very specific story to tell or opinion to voice, lean into it!
Which book has made the biggest impression upon you? If nothing comes to mind immediately, take a look back through notes and books from your favorite high school classes to see if anything jumps out. If you find yourself coming back to this prompt, try to focus on a subject that stokes your curiosity, a specific concept that has infiltrated your browser history, or a feeling that has burned itself into your heart or brain. Who challenges you to think of issues in new ways? Which ideologies have you yearning to learn more?
Whatever you think is absolutely essential for everyone to know and wrestle with, Boston College is aiming to bring self-motivated thinkers like yourself onto campus. Admissions officers want to know that you’ll be eager to contribute to lively class discussion and maybe even conduct research in your latter years on campus. Show them you’ll be a valuable addition to any classroom setting by getting specific—and maybe even getting them excited about a new book!