Frequently Asked Questions
How to Apply Questions
How do I apply?
I want to apply Early Decision—what should I know?
- Students who apply for Early Decision will receive an admission decision by December 15
- Students who apply for Early Decision 2 will receive their decision by February 15
- If you have applied for any of our merit scholarships, you will receive your scholarship decision by early April.
Is there a checklist of required materials?
You will find all requirements in our Application Instructions. You also may view a comprehensive list of all required, received, and uploaded materials for your application in the MyBU Portal under the “Application Status” page. The MyBU Portal opens to applicants in early October each year.
What is Boston University’s test policy?
Boston University will adopt a test optional policy for first-year applicants applying for fall 2023/spring 2024.
- This policy applies to all undergraduate schools and colleges at Boston University as well as all scholarship programs.
- International students will be required to submit the TOEFL, IELTS, or DET test as the primary means for evaluating English-language proficiency.
If you choose to submit standardized test scores:
BU does not require the optional essay on the SAT test or the optional writing component for the ACT.
- SAT: 3087
- ACT: 1794
BU superscores both the SAT and ACT. To take advantage of superscoring, we recommend submitting all your test scores if you take more than one test or take a test multiple times. For both the SAT and ACT, BU will use the highest score of each section, regardless of test date, to best represent you as an applicant.
- If you’ve taken the SAT more than once, you can select which results you want to send to us using Score Choice. We will only review the highest SAT scores you submit.
- For the ACT, we will recalculate a new composite score using the highest score from each section, regardless of test date.
With BU’s new test policy, should I submit standardized tests?
Prospective students and applicants must decide for themselves whether or not to include standardized test scores with their application for admission to Boston University. When making this decision, students should consider the totality of their academic record, their contributions both in and out of the classroom and to their communities, and whether they feel confident that the sum of these experiences fully reflects their academic ability and potential.
Students will have the ability to indicate whether they would like BU to consider their standardized test scores when they apply. Once they have submitted their application, this answer cannot be changed.
What is BU’s policy on the College Board’s Score Choice and ACT Super Scoring if students choose to send BU their test score?
If students choose to submit test scores, BU strongly recommends students submit their scores from each test administration. BU has always considered a student’s highest SAT section scores in making admissions decisions and will continue to do so. For more information about Score Choice, please visit the College Board website.
For the ACT, if you send in scores from multiple test dates, the Board of Admissions will consider the scores from each of the subcategories, noting the highest scores achieved for each. For this reason, we encourage applicants to submit scores from all ACT test administrations as well. We recommend that you request to have your test scores sent three weeks prior to the application deadline.
I don’t know what I want to major in. Can I apply ‘Undecided’?
If you are applying as a first-year student, yes, you are not required to select a major until the end of their sophomore year. Most schools and colleges within BU have an ‘undecided’ option; however, first-year student applicants will need to select one of our schools or colleges for your application to BU.
Transfer applicants must declare a major when applying. We encourage students to explore the extensive academic opportunities available at BU. See our complete list of majors as well as a list of our undergraduate schools and colleges.
What is BU’s policy on the College Board’s Score Choice and ACT Super Scoring?
BU does strongly recommend students submit their scores each time they take the exam. BU has always considered a student’s highest SAT section scores in making admissions decisions and will continue to do so. For more information about Score Choice, please visit the College Board website.
For the ACT, if you send in scores from multiple test dates, the Board of Admissions will consider the scores from each of the subcategories, noting the highest scores achieved for each. For this reason, we encourage applicants to submit scores from all ACT test dates as well. We recommend requesting to have your test scores sent three weeks prior to the application deadline if possible.
Are there any additional application requirements? Do I need anything more?
The only programs that have additional application requirements are the College of Fine Arts and our Seven-Year Accelerated Medical Program. Please read our program requirements carefully to be certain that you have submitted the required materials. If you have any questions, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Status Questions
How do I know that my application has been received by BU?
We will send you an email within 3-5 business days acknowledging that we have received your application. Be make sure your spam filters are not sending email from BU Admissions (email@example.com) to spam folders or the trash. (Please note that this is different from email messages that the Common Application may send you).
IMPORTANT: In this email we will give you instructions for setting up an account on the MyBU Portal. Please do this as soon as you receive your application acknowledgement email.
What is a MyBU account?
The MyBU portal is a password-protected, secure site where applicants set up personal accounts to monitor the status of their applications. Once you set up a MyBU account, you can verify that all required credentials have been received by BU. You will also be able to view your admission decision on the portal when decisions are posted. It is very important that you set up your account as soon as possible and check it regularly to be sure your application is complete.
How do I know that you have received all of my additional application materials?
You will be able to determine the status of your application materials on your MyBU portal. Please allow up to two weeks for processing from the date your materials arrive at BU. Please do not send multiple copies of your materials, as this will cause processing delays.
What do I do if I haven’t heard from BU?
Boston University will contact you primarily through email and via messages on your MyBU portal. If you haven’t received any information from us you may want to check the following:
- You have submitted your application via the Common Application.
- You have provided our office with your correct email address. You can verify this by reviewing your saved application on the Common Application website or by contacting our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-353-2300.
- Your spam filters are not sending email from BU Admissions (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) to spam folders or the trash.
- You have submitted your passport on time.
When will I receive my admission decision and how?
BU will send you an email when a decision is posted on the MyBU portal. Decisions are posted as follows:
- Early Decision: No later than December 15
- Early Decision 2: No later than February 15
- Regular Decision: Late March to early April
Please note: We cannot release admissions decisions over the phone.
I received the email saying that I have a decision, but the MyBU portal won’t let me check it.
A few things may be causing this:
- You did not set up your MyBU account. If this is the case, you can set up your account using the original application acknowledgement email that was sent to you. If you do not have the email, you can request it be re-sent by emailing us at email@example.com.
- You are not using the correct username and password combination. Please note that your email address is your username and you created your own password. If you cannot remember your password it can be sent to you again by using the Forgot Password link on the MyBU log-in page.
- You have used the same email address for a previous BU application or program. You will need to call our office at 617-353-2300 and have your MyBU account reset, or you will need to provide us with an alternate email address.
If you have gone through the troubleshooting on the MyBU portal help page, please feel free to contact MyBU Help at 617-353-2780.
Recommended Coursework Questions
What courses should I take to be a strong applicant?
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 or social science
- two to four years of a foreign language
*Applicants to the Questrom School of Business and the College of Engineering are required to have a year of calculus. For students enrolled in IB courses, this requirement would be met with enrollment in HL or SL Math Analysis & Approaches or HL Math Applications & Interpretations.
What happens if I change my coursework after I apply to BU in my senior year? Will it affect my application?
Admission to BU is highly competitive and we encourage you to take the most rigorous curriculum available at your high school. If you have made any adjustments to your course schedule since you submitted your application, please send us a written explanation for the course change and have your guidance counselor submit an updated transcript showing the dropped and/or added courses along with the mid-year report form.
Financial Aid Questions
I want to apply for scholarships. When do I need to do that?
Please see our pages for first-year merit scholarships, transfer student merit scholarships, or need-based scholarships. Scholarship requirements vary; please review all requirements and make sure deadlines are met. Some have an application deadline of December 1. All scholarship recipients are notified by early April.
I will be applying for financial aid. What are the financial aid application deadlines?
BU requires both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile™ as components of the application for financial aid. The financial assistance deadlines vary based on the type of admission you are applying for. Please see the financial assistance chart for a comprehensive overview of the various deadlines. All financial aid decisions are released when admissions decisions are released.
I’m not applying for financial aid. Is that a problem?
This will not affect the review of your application for admission. Some scholarships require that a student submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Please review our scholarship requirements to learn more.
Who is eligible for “full need” financial assistance?
You must be a first-year student with financial need as calculated by BU Financial Assistance based on your FAFSA and CSS Profile. Also, you must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen and meet our financial aid application deadline.
How much aid can I expect to receive?
Applying for aid is the only way to know for sure, but our MyinTuition: Quick College Cost Estimator or our Net Price Calculator can give you an estimate of what is likely. Generally, if your family income is below $40,000 and you have minimal assets, you can expect financial aid to cover your tuition and a portion of your living costs. If your family income is below $100,000 and you have modest assets, you can expect financial aid to cover most of your tuition. However, we encourage everyone to apply and let us make a determination. Also, there are other forms of financial aid available if you do not qualify for need-based aid. Learn more about affordableBU.