Freshman Applicants

At Boston University, we’re looking for achievers who will succeed academically and thrive in our community—a diverse mix of students with a wide variety of interests, talents and goals. The Board of Admissions reviews every application carefully to decide who will be offered admission. Here are the factors we consider:

Your high school performance

This is our best indicator of how you’ll do at BU. When reviewing your high school transcript, we look at a variety of factors, including overall level of achievement; enrollment in honors, AP- or IB-level courses; and your individual academic strengths. The most competitive students are those who enrolled and excelled in the most challenging courses available to them. (To get an idea of who meets our admission standards, see our profile of students admitted to the BU Class of 2018.)

For most BU programs, the recommended high school/secondary school curriculum includes:

  • Four years of English
  • Three to four years of mathematics (precalculus/calculus recommended)
  • Three to four years of laboratory science
  • Three to four years of history and/or social science
  • Two to four years of a foreign language

Your standardized test scores

BU requires the SAT or ACT plus Writing. Some programs have additional requirements. Please see the Program Requirements for Freshmen for your program of study.

Teacher and counselor recommendations

It’s important to have recommendations written by teachers and counselors who know you well. They can give us a better understanding of who you are as a person and in the classroom.

Other personal qualifications

We like to see what you’ve done outside of class: your activities — both in school and in your community — and after-school jobs. We also look for activities in which your experiences or interests match the opportunities available at BU. Your special skills, talents and accomplishments are also important in our review process.

Your application essay

This is an important part of your application because it demonstrates what you think and how clearly you express yourself. It’s also an opportunity for us to learn who you are beyond your grades and standardized test scores. Let your voice come through in your essay — this will help us better understand what distinguishes you from other applicants. Check our essay-writing tips.