Application Instructions

The Board of Admissions conducts a rigorous and holistic review of each application. View a checklist of our application requirements and learn more about each of them below:

The Common Application

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. 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.
  • Previous applicants
    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.

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.

Secondary School Records

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. For students studying overseas in national schools, please check the Required Secondary School Credentials to see the specific requirements for your own country.

You must also submit a copy of any terminating or qualifying examination results or certificates.

All documents written in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized English translation. Please note that both documents are required—the original in your first language and the English translation.

In addition, proof of high school graduation is required of all students who are offered admission to BU prior to enrollment.

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 secondary 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 or 617-353-4492.

Guidance Counselor Recommendation and School Report Form

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

Teacher Evaluation

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.

Final Year Grades

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 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.

College/University Transcript(s)

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.

Standardized Testing Results

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 secondary 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.

English Proficiency Testing Results

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)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Read on to learn more about fulfilling our English proficiency requirements.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Boston University accepts results for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as evidence of English proficiency.

Internet-based TOEFL exam (iBT):

Students who are most competitive for admission will have a composite score of at least 90-100 and minimum scores of 20 in each section. The Board of Admissions looks closely at the score for each section as well as for consistency across all subscores within each single language proficiency test.

Indicate on the TOEFL registration form that you want your test results sent directly to Boston University. The TOEFL code for Boston University is 3087.

Paper-based exam:

  • Students who are most competitive for admission will present a composite TOEFL score range of at least 577-600.

For information about the TOEFL, contact:

TOEFL Services
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151

For testing in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and US Territories, call 877-863-3546.

For testing in other countries, call 609-771-7100.

Send email to

You can also find information online at the TOEFL website.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

In lieu of the TOEFL exam, you may submit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A score of 7 or higher will also satisfy BU’s English Language proficiency requirement for all programs. Learn more on the IELTS website.

Vericant Interviews

As an additional way to demonstrate your English language proficiency, BU recommends scheduling an in-person interview with Vericant. This is offered for students in China, Taiwan and Korea. Please note that the submission of a TOEFL or IELTS is also required.

Documentation of Financial Support

Since you and your family or sponsors must assume all responsibility for student expenses, you should review the estimates in the Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support Confirmation before deciding to apply to BU.

To complete your application and receive the necessary papers for obtaining a visa, you must submit both of the following by the application deadline:

a) the completed Confidential Statement for Financing Studies & Sponsorship Support form

b) documents confirming available funds for the annual costs of study (such as savings deposits, checking accounts, or a signed bank letter verifying the ability to pay educational expenses). All documented sources of support must be:

  • photocopies or original documents
  • current (within 12 months of starting date at Boston University)
  • written in English and documented in US Dollars
  • signed and stamped by a bank official

You may submit this form and supporting documentation as PDFs with your Common Application. On the My Colleges tab, select Boston University. You will find the link to upload your documents in the Other Information section of the Application Questions. Make sure your documents are less than 500 MB in size. You may also send these materials via email to

If you prefer to submit your documentation by mail (courier recommended), please use the following address:

Boston University Admissions
881 Commonwealth Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215

Be sure to keep copies of all documents sent to the University. You will need this information for: 1) getting a student visa from the US Consulate, 2) US Customs and Border Protection upon entry to the United States, or 3) transferring from another US school.

Passport Photocopy

All international students must supply a photocopy of the photo/data page of their current, valid passport. This can be uploaded via the Common Application, emailed to, or faxed to 617-353-5334. PDF is our required file format.

Additional Supporting Credentials

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.

Accelerated Medical and Dental program applicants:

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:

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

BU Applicant Link Account

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 scholarship decisions (if applicable)
      • sign up for admitted student events, such as Open House programs and Admitted Student Receptions

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

Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP)

If your TOEFL or IELTS score is below the required minimum, it is possible that you can still be admitted to BU by attaining the minimum score before classes begin. You may choose to come to campus early and enroll in intensive English courses at our BU Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP). Once you’ve achieved proficiency in English, you can continue your studies at BU. For more information, please visit the CELOP website.

Early Decision Program

Early Decision and Early Decision 2 are binding programs available only for secondary school students applying for September admission. The deadlines to apply to Boston University are November 1 for Early Decision and January 4 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 Placement Examination

International students who have demonstrated English proficiency are still required to take an English placement examination before the first semester of study. Depending on your results, you may be required to take noncredit English courses to strengthen your language skills.

January Admission (Spring Semester)

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

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid is available only for US citizens, applicants who hold a US Permanent Resident or Immigrant Visa Green Card, or other eligible non-citizens as confirmed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

A limited number of merit scholarships are available for international students. For further information, visit our Trustee and Presidential Scholarship pages.