Freshman Applicants (International)

Boston University defines an international student to be a non-US citizen or non-US Permanent Resident Green Card Holder. Exceptions apply if you are currently in the US in one of the following statuses: Refugee, Asylum, Parolee, or Confidential Entrant.

You are eligible to apply for admission to Boston University as an international undergraduate student if you’ve completed the equivalent of a United States secondary school education (approximately 12 years of formal education starting at age six). You must have either an appropriate diploma or leaving certificates.

You will apply to BU as a freshman if you:

  • Are currently in your last year of secondary school
  • Have completed secondary school
  • Are a GED recipient
  • Have taken college classes without enrolling in a degree program or will have less than 12 credits when you plan to enroll at Boston University

Some secondary certificates represent an education that exceeds or falls short of the preparation required for entering BU. Please refer to Required Secondary School Credentials to find the admission requirements for the country (or countries) in which you studied. You will need to send original or certified copies of your home country’s credentials as part of your application.

The Board of Admissions reviews every application carefully to decide who will be offered admission. Here are the factors we consider:

Your Secondary School Performance

This is our best indicator of how you’ll do at BU. When reviewing your high school/secondary 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.

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

  • 4 years of English
  • 3-4 years of mathematics (precalculus/calculus recommended)
  • 3-4 years of laboratory science
  • 3-4 years of history and/or social science
  • 2-4 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 ask teachers or counselors who know you well to write your recommendations. 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 and gives you a chance to explain circumstances that may reflect certain grades or choices in your curriculum. 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.

Questions? Contact us at intadmis@bu.edu or 617-353-4492.

Applying for a graduate program?

Students interested in applying for admission to one of Boston University’s graduate programs should visit the Graduate Admissions Office in the school or college they are interested in attending.