Application Instructions

The Board of Admissions conducts a rigorous and holistic review of each application. To apply to Boston University, you must submit each of the following:

Please complete and submit the Common Application.

Specify a school or college

You must apply to a specific BU school or college and indicate an area of academic interest. To see all of your options, please refer to our Schools, Colleges, and Programs guide. If you have no specific school or subject in mind, we suggest you apply to the College of Arts & Sciences and select “Undeclared” or the College of General Studies. These liberal arts and sciences curriculums give you two years to decide on your field of study.

Please note that admission to BU schools, colleges, and programs is dependent on program size and competition. While you are guaranteed consideration for the school or college you apply to, it’s possible that you could be offered admission to the College of General Studies beginning in either the September or January semesters or another BU program for which you qualify. There are a few exceptions:

  • The College of Fine Arts
    You will be considered only for the program to which you apply.
  • Accelerated Medical and Dental Programs
    If you apply to one of the accelerated programs in Medicine or Dentistry in the College of Arts & Sciences, you will be considered only for the program to which you applied.

Application fee and materials

Your $80 nonrefundable application fee can be paid by credit card when you submit the Common Application.

Please note that all materials and documents submitted as part of an application for admission become the property of Boston University and cannot be returned.

Official copies of your secondary school transcripts for all grading periods completed at the time of application must be submitted by a school official. If you are enrolled in an international curriculum with national exams, these results should be submitted as well.

To see the high school/secondary school curriculum recommended for most BU programs, click here.

Homeschooled Students

Boston University encourages applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds, including homeschooled students. The Board of Admissions attempts to be as fair as possible in evaluating these applicants and ensuring that they are given every consideration in the application process.

It is important to note that we maintain the same academic standards for all applicants (please see our Admissions Criteria). However, we acknowledge that the transcripts of homeschooled students may be different than those of traditional high school students. Along with their applications, homeschooled students should submit as much information as possible describing their curriculum, which may include course descriptions, texts read, and skill levels completed. While these are not requirements, this information can be very helpful to the Board as we examine a student’s ability in the five academic areas of math, science, social science, English, and foreign language.

For more information regarding the review of homeschooled applicants, please contact BU Admissions at 617-353-2300.

You’ll find the Guidance Counselor Recommendation form and School Report Form on the Common Application website.

The Teacher Evaluation form is on the Common Application website. Please allow enough time for your teacher to write the evaluation and stress the importance of returning the form by the application deadline.

Early Decision Applicants

  • All Early Decision applicants are expected to submit first marking period grades, which may be first quarter or first trimester grades, as soon as they are available.

Regular Decision Applicants

  • If you are on a semester schedule, please send your first marking period or first quarter grades if available. Your counselor must submit first semester grades once they are available. If you are on a trimester schedule, please have your counselor submit your first trimester grades once they are available. They can use the Mid-Year Report Form through the Common Application.

If you’re applying to BU as a freshman and have completed college or university coursework, you must submit official transcripts from these courses. If you’ve enrolled at a college or university as a candidate for a degree, you must apply to Boston University as a transfer student. If you’re not sure of your status at the school you attended, please contact the registrar’s office at that institution.

Submit your results from the SAT or the ACT with writing.* Consult the Program Requirements chart for more detailed information.

When you register to take your tests, make sure you indicate on the registration form that you want your official score report sent directly to Boston University. The BU codes to use are:

  • SAT: 3087
  • ACT: 1794

Your official score reports must be sent to BU directly from the College Board or ACT, even if your scores are recorded on your high school transcript.

*SAT/ACT test scores are not required for applicants to the College of Fine Arts, with the exception of those applying to the Double Degree Programs, Kilachand Honors College, or for any of BU’s merit scholarships. The SAT/ACT is not required for College of Fine Arts artistic scholarships.

Score Choice

Boston University participates in the College Board Score Choice program. Although BU allows you to choose this option, we strongly encourage you to submit your scores each time you take the SAT. BU has always and will continue to use your highest SAT section scores in making admission decisions. For more information about Score Choice, please visit the College Board website.

Proof of high school graduation will be required of all students who are offered admission to BU prior to enrollment to ensure satisfaction of all state graduation requirements. If you aren’t graduating from a regionally accredited high school, submit the results of your Test of General Education Development (GED) or high school equivalency exam.

Please do not submit portfolios, videos, CDs, DVDs, tapes, PowerPoint presentations, or other multi-media materials or artistic work through email. These materials will not be considered by the Board of Admissions or reviewed by faculty. Artistic portfolios and auditions are considered for College of Fine Arts applicants only.

Students applying to BU’s Accelerated Medical and Dental Programs must submit:

  • Three Accelerated Programs Teacher Evaluation forms—one each from a teacher of English, laboratory science, and either history or a foreign language.
  • In addition to the SAT or ACT Plus Writing, applicants for this program must also submit SAT Subject Test results in Chemistry and Math 2 with foreign language recommended.
  • See the Program Requirements chart for more information.
  • The deadline for submitting these forms is November 15.

Portfolios and Auditions

Students applying to the College of Fine Arts must submit a portfolio or audition for consideration. Visit the College of Fine Arts website for more information.


Interviews are not a required component of our admission review, with the following exceptions:

  • Selected finalists for our Accelerated Medical and Dental Programs must participate in an interview at Boston University.
  • All students applying for nonperformance majors in the School of Theatre must schedule an interview with that School.

Also, please read the following detailed instructions carefully before beginning your application.

Early Decision and Early Decision 2 are binding programs available only for high school seniors applying for September admission. The deadlines to apply to Boston University are November 1 for Early Decision and January 3 for Early Decision 2. To apply for Early Decision, you must submit your completed application and all supporting credentials by those deadlines. Students who apply for Early Decision will receive an admission decision by December 15, and students who apply for Early Decision 2 will receive their decision by February 15. Read more specific instructions for applying Early Decision here.

English is the language of instruction at Boston University. You must be able to understand rapid, idiomatic English and express yourself clearly in speech and writing.

If your first language or the primary language spoken in your home is not English, you must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

For more information on BU’s English proficiency requirements, please visit the International Application Instructions page and refer to the English Proficiency section.

In order for Admissions to stay in contact with you, it’s crucial that you include a valid email address on your application and notify us whenever you change this address. Once your application is processed, we will email you instructions for setting up a secure account on the Applicant Link. This will allow you to:

  • check for missing application credentials
  • view your admission decision online
  • view your financial aid award and scholarship decisions (if applicable)
  • sign up for admitted student events, such as Open House programs and admitted student receptions

Please add to your email contacts or approved senders list to ensure that our messages can reach your account.

Many BU programs offer a January Admission option. Please check your chosen program on the Program Requirements chart.

If you previously applied and were denied admission to Boston University, or if you were offered and declined admission to the College of General Studies, you may reapply only after completing one full academic year of coursework elsewhere.