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Boston College (BC) 2024-25 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Boston College 2024-25 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 1 essay of 400 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Oddball, Community, Why

The writing supplement topics for the 2024-25 application cycle (400 word limit):

*Please select one topic

Each year at University Convocation, our incoming class engages in reflective dialogue with the author of a common text. What book by a living author would you recommend for your incoming class to read, and why would this be an important shared text? 

Calling all bookworms! This prompt asks you to discuss a book by a living author that has made a big enough impression on you to warrant your recommendation to others. At CEA, we always recommend that you choose an unexpected work in order to stand out from the pack. So, you might want to steer clear of books that were assigned reading in school. What have you read that stuck with you because of who you are and what you care about? Which characters did you relate to? Maybe you recently read a memoir that changed the way you approach presence. Why would your peers benefit from a new perspective on living in the moment? Perhaps the thriller you read last summer explores nuanced ethical dilemmas, a conversation-starter you think everyone should engage with. Try to be as creative as possible with your selection here and think about which books have really struck you at your core and why.

At Boston College, we draw upon the Jesuit tradition of finding worthwhile conversation partners. Some support our viewpoints while others challenge them. Who fulfills this role in your life? Please cite a specific conversation you had where this conversation partner challenged your perspective or you challenged theirs.

Whether you cherish early-morning car rides to school with your dad, late-night conversations with your sister on the couch, or chatting with your extended family over Zoom, we’re willing to bet there’s at least one person in your life who has challenged your perspectives or vice versa. And Boston College wants to hear all about it.

To make sure your response stands out from the pack, be as specific and purposeful as possible. Boston College has even gone so far as to ask you to cite a specific conversation, so follow through with a detailed account. Maybe you’ve had your beliefs challenged by a cousin who leads a very different lifestyle from you over Thanksgiving dinner. Or, perhaps, you’ve asked probing questions about your dad’s beliefs in order to better understand his worldview during a game of golf. If you can’t recall where you were at the time, no problem; but details are your friend here to add credibility. Whatever conversation you decide to write about, remember that BC is looking to accept thoughtful students to campus who are open to new ideas and engaging with diverse viewpoints.

In her November 2019 Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi warned viewers against assigning people a “single story” through assumptions about their nationality, appearance, or background.  Discuss a time when someone defined you by a single story. What challenges did this present and how did you overcome them?

This prompt will likely stick out to students who know what it’s like to be reduced to one aspect of their background or identity, and odds are, you’d have a specific memory in mind. As you write your response, you’ll want to make sure you summarize your account as succinctly as possible; that way, you can dedicate most of your words to discussing how you felt, how you responded, and how you overcame these challenges. You only have 400 words to work with, so you won’t be able to write a thesis on the general public’s preconceived notions about people living with a disability or women who choose to wear hijabs, but you can reveal more information about your background and experiences living in a world where stories are often assigned to you before you have the chance to introduce yourself.

Boston College’s founding in 1863 was in response to society’s call. That call came from an immigrant community in Boston seeking a Jesuit education to foster social mobility. Still today, the University empowers its students to use their education to address society’s greatest needs. Which of today’s local or global issues is of particular concern to you and how might you use your Boston College education to address it?

Admissions wants to know how you plan to use a BC education to address issues dear to your heart. What you focus on here can be reflective of larger cultural constructs or specific to your city or town. Maybe you have experienced environmental racism firsthand, having had your community’s air and water supply polluted by nearby factory farms for decades. Are you pursuing an Environmental Geoscience degree in hopes of eventually changing laws to improve the health of your community and others experiencing similar injustices? Perhaps you’ve been filming your family and friends since you could wrap your fingers around a camera, so you’re pursuing a degree in Film Studies in hopes of changing peoples’ hearts and minds about your community, however large or small that may be, through powerful documentary storytelling. Whatever path you’re on and issue you’re hoping to address in your career, be sure to use specific examples—both from your own past and from BC’s offerings—to distinguish yourself.

Human-Centered Engineering (HCE) Applicants only: One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?

This prompt, exclusively for Human-Centered Engineering Applicants, is incredibly similar to prompt #3, and our advice is the same: select at least one societal problem that weighs on your heart, explain its significance to you, and describe how you will take advantage of an HCE education to find a solution. You’d be wise to spend some time exploring the HCE program and BC’s offerings at large to show that you’ve done your research and dedicated time to thinking about your future goals and the steps you will take to achieve them.

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School Stats:

State: Massachusetts
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Undergrad Population: 9,575
Tuition: $66,410
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