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College Essays

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If you're applying to Boston University this year, you're in luck: most applicants only need to submit one supplemental BU essay.

In this article, we'll cover what the Boston University essay prompts are, how to answer them, and provide key tips for writing the best application essays possible.

What Are the Boston University Essays?

Boston University requires all its applicants to respond to one Boston University essay as part of its admissions requirements (in addition to the Common App or Coalition App essay). You may also have to respond to an additional essay, depending on what school or program you're applying to.

Boston University accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application for admission , so you can choose whichever application you prefer and apply to Boston University (including submitting your essays) through that application's platform.

The essays are an important part of your application—they give you a chance to show the admissions committee a different side of your personality than what they see in the rest of your application. The Boston University essays also give you a chance to wow the admissions committee with your creativity and writing skills, so it's important to put a lot of effort into your essays to make them as strong as possible.

Boston University Essay Prompts and Requirements

There are a number of different Boston University essay prompts, depending on what program you are applying to and whether or not you decide to apply for a scholarship.

All students must answer the "Why Boston University" essay. You can also choose to submit additional work in the "Extra Space" part of the application. Applicants to the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine, Kilachand Honors College, and the Trustees Scholarships must also answer additional essays, each with their own word count and requirements.

Let's take a look at each of the prompts:

"Why Boston University"

"Extra Space" [OPTIONAL]

For Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine applicants:

For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

The mission of Kilachand Honors College is to offer a challenging liberal arts education grounded in critical and creative thinking, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and the real-world application of knowledge. Please see https://www.bu.edu/khc/about/ for more details about our program, and then respond to one of the following questions in an essay (600 words):

Option A: What about the Kilachand Honors College resonates with you, and how would Kilachand's curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals?

Option B: If you could create a new Kilachand course, what would it be? How would your imagined course align with the core values of Kilachand?

For Trustees Scholarship applicants: Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective. (600 words)

  • Option A: Howard Thurman, who was the dean of BU's Marsh Chapel from 1953-1965, once wrote: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Can you describe a particular experience you have had or an activity that you participate in that makes you come alive? How would you try to integrate that experience or activity into your time at BU?
  • Option B: Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone or marginalized in a situation. How did you respond to that moment and how has it informed your actions moving forward?

Boston University Essay Prompts, Analyzed

Let's take a look at each of the Boston University essay prompts. In this section, we'll break down what each prompt is asking, how you should answer, what kind of topics will work to answer the prompt, and what you should avoid talking about.

What about being a student at Boston University most excites you? (250 words)

The Boston University Supplement Essay prompt is a classic "Why this school" essay prompt. These types of essays ask you to demonstrate to the admissions committee why this school is the one for you.

Your answer should be Boston University-specific. You should do your research on Boston University to be able to name specific classes, programs, or professors that excite you. Your essay should focus on why you want to attend Boston University—not why you want to attend college in general.

Don't speak generically—Boston University knows that it has great academics and interesting classes. You need to name specific parts of the school that are attractive to you as a student. Maybe you're interested in film and television and want to be part of BUTV10, or perhaps you want to work on a Senior Design Project in College of Engineering. Whatever your reason, make it specific to BU—something that you can't get at any other college or university.

For more information on how to answer the BU essay prompt, visit our article on the subject!

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Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider. (2000 KB PDF file)

This prompt may seem intimidating—what should you upload? First, remember that this is an optional prompt, and if you choose to leave it blank, that won't be a black mark on your application. If you do decide to answer it, y ou should use it as a chance to a.) demonstrate the quality of your work and/or b.) present yourself as a well-rounded person.

If, for instance, you are the first chair in your high school's wind symphony, you might want to upload a MP3 file of your playing. Boston University will have lots of students applying who are musicians—sending in a file of yourself playing can demonstrate the quality of your musicianship.

On the other hand, if you've been playing in a punk band with some friends for fun for five years but didn't mention it elsewhere on your application, this essay prompt gives you the perfect opportunity to present another aspect of your personality.

Whatever you choose to upload, make sure that it is high quality and well put-together. Submitting something that's confusing or sloppy can give the admissions committee the wrong impression, so if you don't have anything that stands out as something you'd want to submit, we recommend skipping it.

The Accelerated Programs Admission Committee is interested in learning more about you. Please write an essay on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. Please make sure your essay is completely distinct from the one you submitted on the Common Application. (750 words)

This prompt is only for students who are applying to the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine. This Boston University Supplement Essay prompt is a pretty standard example of a health professional admissions essay, but the long word count is tricky. You want to be specific and passionate, not redundant and long-winded.

You can break your essay down into two main parts: why you decided to enter the health professions and what you hope to gain from doing so. When you talk about why you decided to enter the health professions, be sure to highlight any specific experiences that influenced your decision. Don't speak in generalizations or platitudes—call out real experiences that made you decide to apply. Don't, for instance, say that you want to change the world through medicine, unless you can back it up with a solid explanation of why.

Discussing what you hope to gain from the profession is an opportunity to hammer home why Boston University is such an important part of your education. Talk about what you hope to achieve in your career and how Boston University can help you get there.

Students who are applying to Boston University's Kilachand Honors College must answer an additional 600 word prompt. You'll choose between two prompts, and both require you to discuss what about Kilachand is important to you and how you think it could help you achieve your goals.

The Kilachand Honors College is a living and learning community where you have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning activities, so it's a good idea to highlight how practical application and real-world experience is important to you in this essay.

The key to either of these prompts is to be specific. You don't need to talk about all of your academic interests here—in fact, it's probably better to just discuss one or two that are really important to you. Whatever interest you choose to write about, you should make sure that you highlight how you would continue to explore that interest at Boston University, and Kilachand specifically. Whether you choose Option A or B, make sure to discuss both your own personal interests/goals as well as how they relate to the values of Kilachand and the opportunities it offers.

Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective. (600 words)

  • Option A: Howard Thurman, who was the dean of BU’s Marsh Chapel from 1953-1965, once wrote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Can you describe a particular experience you have had or an activity that you participate in that makes you come alive? How would you try to integrate that experience or activity into your time at BU?

Students who are applying for the Boston University Trustees Scholarships must answer an additional essay of 600 words.

The Trustees Scholarship asks you to pick between two prompts. Both are geared towards helping the admission committee learn more about your interests and values.

If you choose Option A, you'll discuss your passions...which can be pretty fun! Think of something in your life where you light up with excitement or joy. That's what you need to focus on for this essay prompt. The key to this answer will be twofold: you need to be sincere, but you also need to be able to explain how that passion will make you a good member of the BU community.

Maybe the thing that makes you feel most alive is mountain biking. You love the physical challenge, but you also love the way the wind whips over you while you're doing a massive downhill trail. When you get to BU, you want to join the Boston University cycling team! You're hoping to make friends (and win national championships!) while at BU.

Option B wants to know how you react when you're outside of your comfort zone. It can be easy to be confident, respectful, and thoughtful when you're in a place you feel comfortable in, but once you leave that place and don't feel as valued or secure as you should, what are you like?

College is all about expanding your comfort zone, and BU wants to make sure you can handle these changes gracefully. In your response, briefly describe the situation when you felt outside your comfort zone and how it made you feel, then spend the bulk of your response explaining your reaction and what you took away from the experience. Maybe you learned to listen more than you speak or now always look out for people who seem to be overlooked in a situation because you understand how it feels. Above all, BU is looking for students who use challenges as an opportunity for growth and remain open-minded even when a situation is tough. 

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Key Tips for Writing an Amazing Boston University Supplement Essay

Ready to write an amazing Boston University supplement essay? Follow these key tips to do so!

#1: Use Your Own Voice

The point of a college essay is for the admissions committee to have the chance to get to know you beyond your test scores, grades, and honors. Your admissions essays are your opportunity to make yourself come alive for the essay readers and to present yourself as a fully fleshed out person.

You should, then, make sure that the person you're presenting in your college essays is yourself. Don't try to emulate what you think the committee wants to hear or try to act like someone you're not.

If you lie or exaggerate, your essay will come across as insincere, which will diminish its effectiveness. Stick to telling real stories about the person you really are, not who you think Boston University wants you to be.

#2: Avoid Clichés and Overused Phrases

When writing your Boston University essays, try to avoid using clichés or overused quotes or phrases. These include quotations that have been quoted to death and phrases or idioms that are overused in daily life. The college admissions committee has probably seen numerous essays that state, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Strive for originality. Similarly, avoid using clichés, which take away from the strength and sincerity of your work.

Boston University's admissions committee will see thousands of essays that talk about how much the applicant loves Boston. Saying that you want to study in the world's greatest college town is trite and overdone. If you are excited about going to school in Boston, make sure that you have a really specific reason that also ties to Boston University's opportunities.

#3: Check Your Work

It should almost go without saying, but make sure your Boston University essays are the strongest example of your work possible. Before you turn in your Boston University application, make sure to edit and proofread your essays.

Your work should be free of spelling and grammar errors. Make sure to run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit.

It's a good idea to have someone else read your Boston University essays, too. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend. Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it possibly can be.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which program you're applying to at Boston University, you want to make sure that your Boston University essays are a great example of who you are as a student and a person and why Boston University should accept you.

Your essay should:

  • Be personal
  • Be specific
  • Be free of spelling and grammar errors

Your essay should not:

  • Be focused on Boston, not Boston University

The more effort you put into your essays, the better chance you have of getting accepted to Boston University!

What's Next?

Do you want to learn more about the Why Boston essay? We created an in-depth guide to help you ace this essay. Check it out here!

Starting your essay is often the hardest part. If you're unsure where to begin, check out this guide to starting a college essay perfectly , so you're ready to ace that introduction!

A good essay is just one part of a successful Boston University application . If you want to really wow the admissions office, be sure your grades and test scores are up to snuff, too!

how to write the kilachand honors college essay

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Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now :

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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Mastering the Boston University Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

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If Boston University is on your dream school list, you're going to need to impress them with more than just your transcript and test scores. A key component of your application will be your response to BU's supplemental essay prompts. Let's take a deep dive into understanding these prompts and crafting outstanding responses.

Boston University Supplemental Essay Prompts

What about being a student at Boston University most excites you? (250 words)

Optional: Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider. (500 words)

Approach to Each Prompt

Why are you interested in Boston University? This prompt asks you to elucidate your motivations for applying to BU. When crafting your response, remember to highlight how your academic and career goals align with the opportunities available at BU. Mention specific programs, faculty, or resources that interest you, and how you plan to engage with them.

The quest for knowledge knows no bounds, and at Boston University, I see an academic environment that not only encourages this quest but also provides ample opportunities for exploration. One aspect that particularly excites me is the interdisciplinary approach at BU, specifically within the Kilachand Honors College.

As a prospective Computer Science major, I’m drawn to the Kilachand Honors College's emphasis on integrating knowledge across different fields. I firmly believe that the most innovative solutions emerge at the intersection of diverse disciplines. This belief is what leads me to BU. The opportunity to explore the relationship between technology and society, perhaps through a project examining the ethical implications of AI, resonates with my aspirations.

Furthermore, I’m excited about the rich and vibrant community life at BU. From participating in coding competitions with the BU Computer Science Club to cheering on the Terriers at the Agganis Arena, I look forward to fully immersing myself in the BU spirit.

Ultimately, what most excites me about being a student at BU is the promise of growth. With its diverse community, abundant resources, and the freedom to traverse academic boundaries, I believe BU will nurture my intellectual curiosity, hone my technical skills, and shape me into a well-rounded individual prepared to tackle real-world challenges.

Optional: Additional information This is your opportunity to discuss anything significant not mentioned elsewhere in your application. It could be a personal anecdote, a challenge you overcame, or a unique project you've worked on. Whatever you choose, ensure it adds a new dimension to your application and tells the admissions committee something new about you.

In my sophomore year, I embarked on a project that fused my love for computer science and social work - developing a mobile application to help my local community's homeless population connect with available resources.

While volunteering at a local food bank, I realized that many homeless individuals had access to smartphones but were unaware of the myriad resources available to them. Leveraging my programming skills, I conceptualized a user-friendly application that would consolidate information on shelters, free meal locations, health clinics, and job opportunities.

Navigating the challenges of developing this application, from ensuring its user-friendliness for a potentially less tech-savvy audience to keeping the information up-to-date, was an enriching learning experience. But the real reward came when a local non-profit agreed to partner with me to maintain and promote the app.

This project has not only honed my programming skills but also taught me valuable lessons in problem-solving, empathy, and the potential of technology as a tool for social good. If accepted to Boston University, I plan to continue exploring these intersections between technology and social impact, potentially through the Societal Engineer program offered at the College of Engineering. I also hope to bring my app to a larger platform, reaching more individuals and hopefully making a tangible difference in their lives.

Top Tips for Your Essays

Do Your Homework : Thoroughly research about BU. Find unique programs, classes, professors, or traditions that genuinely excite you. This shows the admissions team that you're seriously interested in BU.

Be Specific : Don't just say BU is a great school. Provide specific reasons why BU is a great school for you .

Show Impact : If you're writing the optional essay, be sure to illustrate how the experience you're discussing has shaped you as a person.

With these tips, we hope you feel ready to take on Boston University's supplemental essays. We look forward to seeing you on Commonwealth Avenue!

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How to Write the Boston University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

how to write the kilachand honors college essay

Found stretched across the scenic Charles River, Boston University (BU) is a private research university found slightly west of Boston’s city center. BU boasts a robust undergraduate body of 16,000 students, but still maintains a strong 10:1 student-faculty ratio.

For the class of 2022, BU accepted only 22% of freshman applicants, and the members of its incoming freshman class, on average, were in the top 7% of their graduating class. In the latest US News university ranking , Boston University ranked #42.

For students matriculating in the fall of 2018 and onward, BU has implemented a new general education curriculum, called the BU Hub . These requirements fall into six different categories: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historic Inquiry; Scientific and Social Inquiry; Quantitative Reasoning; Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Leadership; Intellectual Toolkit; and Communication.

There are also several programs within the larger university that you could apply for: the Accelerated Program in Liberal Arts and Medicine, a seven-year BA/MD program; the Kilachand Honors College, an interdisciplinary liberal arts program; and the Trustees Scholarship, a full ride program.

Overall, as a large, but private university, BU offers a plethora of different avenues for its students to take advantage of. Many of the supplemental essay prompts may seem daunting at first, but we here at CollegeVine will help you tackle them to the best of your ability!

The Boston University Essay Prompts

Prompt 1: please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider. (2000 kb pdf file), prompt 2: what about being a student at boston university most excites you (250 words), prompt 3: for accelerated program in liberal arts and medicine applicants:, the accelerated programs admission committee is interested in learning more about you. please write an essay on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. please make sure your essay is completely distinct from the one you submitted on the common application. (750 words).

Prompt 4 : For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

Kilachand Honors College offers a challenging liberal arts education grounded in critical and creative thinking and interdisciplinary problem-solving. What do you think this approach means? Reflect on what has been missing in your education to date, giving at least one concrete example to support your response. How would Kilachand’s interdisciplinary curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals? (600 words)

Prompt 5: for trustees scholarship applicants:.

“Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective. (600 words)

Option A:  The list of works banned throughout history is long and sometimes surprising. Examples include the Bible, King Lear, The Origin of Species, Mein Kampf, Lolita, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Isaac Asimov wrote: “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Do you agree? Is such censorship ever justified? If so, who or what should determine which books are read and which are forbidden?

Option B: Economists describe a “moral hazard” as individuals’ tendency to take greater risks when they believe that they will not bear the full cost of their actions. Some may be less careful driving, for instance, if they know that their insurance provider will cover potential accidents, while the uninsured will drive with more caution. A recent study similarly suggests a correlation between greater access to Narcan, the drug used to reverse potentially fatal opioid overdoses, and a rise in the use of opioids. In your opinion, should the concept of moral hazard affect public policy? If so, what are the relevant factors policymakers should consider in assessing questions of public safety and individual responsibility?

Option C: “The perfect search engine,” Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin has said, “would be like the mind of God.” In your opinion, will science and technology eventually allow us to know all things knowable? Are there limits to what the perfect search engine will reveal, or might it indeed become like the mind of God?

Prompt 6: Please submit a short essay to the following statement: “Something that’s not on the resume.” Give us a glimpse of a passion, dream, or mental pursuit that absorbs and delights you. (300 words)

Because of the sheer volume of applications college admissions officer comb through, you don’t want to burden them with even more writing unless it is absolutely necessary. Be wary of posting long school essays that might be strong in writing quality, but may not be the best for an admissions reader to dig through. Images of art should be sent through the arts portfolio section, not here.

“Additional information” usually means extreme circumstances that you may have not had the opportunity to place anywhere else. Overall, however, if you feel very strongly compelled towards a certain piece of writing that describes you in a way that cannot be described elsewhere, you should by no means limit yourself.

The key to these “Why X School?” prompts is to first lay out the specific aspects of the school that excite you and then supplementing these aspects with how your personal traits and qualities would make an excellent fit. Most importantly, you want to thoroughly research the aspects of BU that excite you and would be a good fit for you.

You should definitely research the wealth of academic programs BU offers for its undergraduates. Here are some possible avenues:

1. You could dote on BU’s extensive undergraduate research opportunities. Maybe you have always been interested in studying mental illness, as it is something you had to reckon with your entire life. You could talk about BU’s Approach Motivation and Participation (AMP) Lab, where you would have ample opportunity to interact with participants dealing with things like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

2. If you want to study business and are applying to the Questrom School of Business, you could talk about wanting to join the Questrom Honors Program, where you would be given unique opportunities to attend seminars on niche business topics of your interest, like green technology and intellectual property, and participate in networking events with alumni. Remember to talk about your own experiences in business, whether in DECA or starting your own business, and mention why Questrom would be a perfect continuation of your current desires.

3. If you know you want to study abroad during college, you could mention BU’s comprehensive study abroad program . Say you know you want to study international relations with a focus on Francophone countries—you could then talk about how you would apply for the fall Sciences Po program in France, and build your understanding of American-French relations through taking classes on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you have visited the campus or have attended a summer program at the university, you should definitely note that in the essay. Include sensory details and specific moments, whether it was visiting certain halls you could see yourself learning in, lying down in “BU Beach” and catching the breeze, or simply sitting down in the grassy fields and observing the great diversity on campus.

You could also talk about Boston more broadly as an urban environment you feel like you would thrive in. You could mention Boston, “America’s College Town,” and how its hustle and bustle differs completely from the quiet, suburban neighborhood you grew up in and want to get away from. However, you shouldn’t talk too much about the city, as it detracts from specific aspects of BU itself, and can verge on being generic and applicable to all the other Boston colleges.

You should apply to BU’s extremely selective seven-year BA/MD program if you are certain you want to become a doctor. You also ideally want to have clinical and research experiences you could talk about in this essay. This 750-word prompt certainly asks many different questions, so you should make sure to read through the questions carefully and answer every prompt.

Chances are, if health and becoming a doctor are a big part of your identity, you probably would have at least mentioned it in your Common App. You could always modify your Common App personal statement just for BU, and then revise it for the rest of your colleges if you feel trapped.

First, to answer the “why” part of the program will require a few different parts: why the values of becoming a doctor match your current values, and how you have come to fulfill the prerequisite experiences to become a doctor.

In regards to values, talk about the basic tenets of being a doctor, which include altruism, a commitment to service, a difficult path to the profession, and an excitement for seeing the lives of others improved. Talk about how everything about yourself aligns with these aforementioned values.

You should talk about all of the important experiences you have had that concretized your desire to become a doctor, such as clinical experience (shadowing or scribing), research experience (wet lab or dry lab, authoring a journal article), volunteer experience (working in nursing homes or making gifts for kids in hospitals), etc. You want to make sure that you cite experience in both the patient interaction and the scientific research side of things, maybe one of each.

Because you probably already listed these experiences in the activities section of your Common App, you should refrain from simply listing once again. Use the essay to illustrate specific breakthrough anecdotes that have strengthened your commitment to becoming a doctor.

As a side note, however, you should refrain from talking about the oft-cited cliche of wanting to become a doctor because of an experience seeing a close relative hospitalized. However, if this is an experience critically important to you, you should still mention it, but perhaps not make it the entirety of your essay.

In the last part of your essay, “what you hope to gain from your chosen profession,” talk about why you want to become a doctor over everything else. You could talk about how the unique combination of patient interaction and science research is something you need to thrive as a human, and something you feel like you will get only as a doctor.

how to write the kilachand honors college essay

Prompt 4: For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

In this prompt, you want to reflect on what your ideal college education looks like. The Kilachand Honors College is a rigorous, supplemental program to your already intense BU education, so if you love learning for learning’s sake and want to spend four years cross-pollinating over different disciplines to better comprehend the world, the Honors College may be the right choice for you.

For the first part of the prompt, “what do you think this approach means,” make sure to first research what the program is about because you want to both reiterate and personalize the Kilachand curriculum. You want to familiarize yourself with all the required coursework of the program, and mention in the essay why you would thrive in and enjoy the first year seminars, the keystone projects, and the second and third year classes looking at global issues.

In regards to the second part of the prompt, reflecting on your past education, brainstorm the most counterproductive and uninspiring aspects of your school curriculum thus far. Chances are, your high school curriculum was defined by state and national standards, with AP, IB, and SAT tests that may have felt more like tedious memorization instead of “critical and creative thinking and interdisciplinary problem-solving.” You could mention things like a particular moment in math where you felt like what you were learning was so rigid (not what you imagine math to be), or a moment in English where you felt like the AP style essay was no more than a formula where you filled in the blanks (not what you imagine English writing to be).

Talk about how different this experience would be when compared to a Kilachand first-year seminar like “The Ethics of Food,” where you could sit around a table with other passionate first years and mull over the greater issues surrounding global food consumption. Or you could talk about a class like “Biomedical Enhancement and the Future of Human Nature”. Maybe you’re pre-med, and love interacting with others, but want to better understand how technology is changing the fundamental nature of both humans and human interaction.

You could even bring up the community aspect of the program, the third pillar of the honors college, by talking about how you never had a community of people dedicated to learning growing up, and about how you see the Kilachand community (130-150 students per class) as the perfect size to create a mini ecosystem in the greater BU campus. You could talk about how you want a small, liberal arts college-esque intellectual environment without being cloistered away in a faraway rural town.

Lastly, you want to talk about your dreams and passions to answer the last part of the prompt. Make sure to address the “interdisciplinary” nature of these goals, and how you need to incorporate various academic disciplines in order to best carry out your intended career. Maybe this is becoming a chemist, where you want to understand not just chemistry but also the economics of the pharmaceutical industry and the politics of weapon creation. Maybe, this is becoming a visual artist, where you want to understand technology’s morbid impacts on the world, which will help you in your goal of mirroring society through art.

“Please select one of the questions below and respond with an essay explaining your perspective.” (600 words)

The Trustees Scholarship is BU’s most prestigious merit-based scholarship and provides a full ride to about 20 students. Historically, thousands of students have applied for this scholarship for a handful of spots, so make sure that if this is something you really want, you put serious thought into the essays. These essays diverge from traditional college supplemental essays, and almost veer into the academic, tackling some of society’s greatest moral and ethical questions.

However, 600 words are not nearly enough space to compose a fully formed argumentative essay. The key here is to be concise and to the point. Don’t overindulge in flowery language and long-winded philosophy—stick to answering the question to the best of your ability. If you can have a fresh angle on these societal dilemmas, feel free to give them a try here (as long as they are supported by strong arguments). These essays should reside in a middle ground between personal reflections and academic prose.

Another tip is to proceed with caution. The essay readers may have their own personal views towards these questions, so you may not want to come off incredibly strong on one side or another without strong backing. Moreover, these questions are all designed to provoke multiple lines of thinking, so don’t be dissuaded if you believe your answer isn’t 100% airtight (although it should be as airtight as possible).

Don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect answer to any of these essay questions, as these are questions that are still confounding the smartest people in the world. Just choose the topic you’re the most curious or knowledgeable about, and go from there.

Prompt 5 Option A: The list of works banned throughout history is long and sometimes surprising. Examples include the Bible, King Lear, The Origin of Species, Mein Kampf, Lolita, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Isaac Asimov wrote: “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Do you agree? Is such censorship ever justified? If so, who or what should determine which books are read and which are forbidden?

Of the three, this question is probably the most one-sided because of the books that they cite (books that were once banned but are now widely read and distributed), as well as the fact that BU is an institution of higher learning, where freedom of thought and access to learning is paramount. BU’s mission statement even talks about “insistence on the value of diversity.” The mission statement also talks about BU’s commitment to the “liberal arts,” a phrase that has its roots in the Latin liberalis , which means “free.”  

However, the answer here is far from straightforward. Although free speech does exist in the United States today through the First Amendment, limits have been placed on speech: the 1969 Supreme Court Case Brandenburg v. Ohio stated that speech is no longer protected under the law once it is proved to incite or produce “imminent lawless action.” You must think carefully about where you stand in this grey line, and if you believe in censorship, how far a book must go into the realm of hate speech and illegal speech to be censored.

If you want to cite evidence backing your claim, make sure they come from sources not too overdone ( 1984 , Fahrenheit 451 ). There are numerous historical examples of book burning and literature tackling issues around censorship ( Lady Chatterley’s Lover ,  The Gulag Archipelago ), so you can use these examples to enhance your arguments.

The notions of free speech are a linchpin in college campuses today, and so this essay also asks whether or not you’ve thought about these issues. Colleges have often been criticized for being too limited and homogenous in their ideological scope, which is something you also want to think about while writing.

Prompt 5 Option B: Economists describe a “moral hazard” as individuals’ tendency to take greater risks when they believe that they will not bear the full cost of their actions. Some may be less careful driving, for instance, if they know that their insurance provider will cover potential accidents, while the uninsured will drive with more caution. A recent study similarly suggests a correlation between greater access to Narcan, the drug used to reverse potentially fatal opioid overdoses, and a rise in the use of opioids. In your opinion, should the concept of moral hazard affect public policy? If so, what are the relevant factors policymakers should consider in assessing questions of public safety and individual responsibility?

This question is another difficult question to answer, so make sure you either do your research or have a thorough knowledge of political economy before starting off. Although this prompt sounds very specific to the issue, the prompt actually opens up the possibility of discussion quite a bit, down to the very nature of “what is government?”

This prompt will inevitably lead to you talking how much of a role the government should have: should public institutions intervene in influencing individual behavior more or less than it currently does? Should politicians consider more paternalistic behaviors, like, in the case of Narcan, limiting access to Narcan if they believe it will lower opioid overdoses? Or should they be more libertarian, letting the markets and behaviors run their course?

The issue of “public and individual safety” and “individual responsibility” are two politically charged terms that have divided our two major parties for much of their existence. Make sure to tread these lines carefully, and back up your arguments with good examples. The most common use of the term “moral hazard” probably has to do with the 2008-2009 Stock Market Crash, which people in your age group grew up seeing the consequences of. If you choose this example, you would answer the question, “should the government have bailed out the banks as they did?”

Prompt 5 Option C: “The perfect search engine,” Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin has said, “would be like the mind of God.” In your opinion, will science and technology eventually allow us to know all things knowable? Are there limits to what the perfect search engine will reveal, or might it indeed become like the mind of God?

This prompt is another thorny, looming question society is seeking to answer.

If you say yes, you could talk about how rapidly search engines and artificial intelligence are improving. You could also talk about the prospect of singularity (when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence) and the possibility for this artificial intelligence to be God. In this case, what do you think society would look like? How would humans live and work in this environment?

If you say no, you might want to take an approach more in line with traditional humanities thought, bringing in philosophical notions of consciousness and the soul, notions that have been contested all throughout history. To have a strong argument, you may even want to bring in the points of an engineer or scientist who has talked about the intellectual limitations in their own field.

A question this prompt does not specifically ask for but implicitly invites, is the “so what?” of this question of technology. You should definitely think of the consequences of such technology on our society, and more generally how rapidly advancing technology is changing what it means to be human. It would be good to end the essay talking about this, painting yourself as someone who cares about how to best live in a human society in the future.

This essay prompt is clear in that it does not want you to talk about your awards, achievements, or academic accomplishments. You could talk about a serious and weighty passion of yours, or you could talk about something more lighthearted. Here you even have the opportunity to introduce a part of yourself you previously considered “unfit” for a proper college application.

Don’t worry too much if this activity sounds unimpressive or “basic” if it is something you are passionate about—college admissions teams here are trying to see the full scope of your humanity, from your academic side to your playful side.

Here are some possible examples:

For example, say that your background is one that is pretty traditionally STEM: you participated in science olympiads, you did science research, you led science honor societies, etc. Here, you have the platform to talk about non-science interests that you have. Maybe you fell in love with pottery after that required art class you had to take freshman year. You never entered any competitions or had success in art fairs, but in your spare time, you love checking into your school’s workshop and sculpting bowls and pots.

If your background is traditionally humanities, you could wax poetic about something completely not humanities, like skateboarding or going to hip-hop concerts or hiking.

Maybe your dream is to become an astronaut, which you had wanted for your entire life but never considered seriously, assuming that nobody actually became an astronaut. However, you’ve spent the past year doing research, and even visited NASA facilities, and your fascination with space travel has always grown. You want to study engineering, and eventually become an engineer, but you will hold this dream of becoming an astronaut for the foreseeable future.

Don’t feel limited in this essay, and have fun with it (within reason, of course). Show the admission team a person who they would love to hang around just because.

We wish you the best of luck in your writing, as well as the rest of your process!

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

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Boston University | BU’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Additional info essay.

Please use this space if you have additional information, materials, or writing samples you would like us to consider.

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

Boston University is dedicated to our founding principles: “that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community—local and international. These principles endure in the University’s insistence on the value of diversity in its tradition and standards of excellence and its dynamic engagement with the City of Boston and the world.” With this mission in mind, please respond to one of the following two questions in 300 words or less:

1. Reflect on a social or community issue that deeply resonates with you. Why is it important to you, and how have you been involved in addressing or raising awareness about it?

2. What about being a student at BU most excites you? How do you hope to contribute to our campus community?

The mission of Kilachand Honors College is to offer a challenging liberal arts education grounded in critical and creative thinking, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and the real-world application of knowledge. Please see https://www.bu.edu/khc/about/ for more details about our program, and then respond to one of the following questions in an essay of 600 words or less:

1. What about the Kilachand Honors College resonates with you, and how would Kilachand‘s curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals?

2. If you could create a new Kilachand course, what would it be? How would your imagined course align with the core values of Kilachand?

Please write an essay of 600 words or less in response to one of the following two topics:

1: Nobel laureate and BU professor Elie Wiesel once said: “There is divine beauty in learning... To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests." Is there a book, film, podcast or life- experience that has made you feel more connected to your personal history/identity, and what is the most important thing you learned from it?

2: Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone or marginalized in a situation. How did you respond to that moment and how has it informed your actions moving forward?

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

how to write the kilachand honors college essay

Boston University's Flagship Living and Learning Community.

Kilachand offers the best of two worlds: the intimate class size and the communal atmosphere of a small liberal arts college alongside the range and resources of a major urban research institution., arvind and chandan nandlal kilachand honors college, about kilachand.

Kilachand offers an integrated, four-year curriculum that includes experiential, team learning, and co-curricular opportunities and the infrastructure to engage in a sustained experience of intellectual discovery through the Keystone Project. Kilachand students leave Boston University with the capacity to understand and confront major challenges as they affirmatively and skillfully engage with diverse social, cultural, scientific, and philosophical perspectives.

how to write the kilachand honors college essay

Congratulations Class of 2028

Congratulations on your admission to Boston University and Kilachand Honors College! We invite you to explore our resources to learn about the unique curriculum, community, and experiences Kilachand has to offer.

OUR THREE PILLARS

What makes kilachand unique.

Kilachand Hall entrance

Interested in learning more? Join us for a Virtual Information Session or contact us for a 1-on-1 meeting.

Kilachand in the News

Kilachand urop student feature .

In the summer of 2023, Kilachand Honors College teamed up with UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) to co-fund up to 10 students who have designed excellent Keystone Projects and who would benefit from a summer of work. Several Kilachand students were chosen for this funding opportunity; below we feature 3 of those students, who tell […]

KIP Student Feature – Diana Reno 

Diana Reno (Pardee’24) is an International Relations major on the Africa and the Middle East and Business and Economics tracks. During her 2023 summer internship she supported the collaboration between Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, the State Department’s Bureau of Global Women’s Issues, and a local nonprofit to secure federal grant funding for […]

KIP Student Feature – Alina Keshodkar 

During the summer of 2023, Alina Keshodkar (CAS’26, Political Science & Economics) participated in an internship at the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute, conducting research on the economic impacts of incarceration to its local communities. Keep reading to learn more about Alina’s summer and how this work helps inform social justice reform.   Q&A with Alina Keshodkar  […]

KIP Student Feature – Isaac Killilea 

Isaac Killilea (Pardee ‘25) put their International Relations knowledge to work this summer in the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, interning with the Environmental Justice Department. In this feature, Isaac tells us more about his internship and the relationship between environmental and social justice.   Q&A with Isaac Killilea  Could you give […]

KIP Student Feature – Prerna Shankar 

Prerna Shankar (CAS’26) is a neuroscience major on the pre-med track and has a strong interest in public health. This past summer she interned with Minnesota Connect Aphasia Now (McCan), helping their team raise awareness for Aphasia and increase access to McCAN services.   Q&A with Prerna Shankar  Could you give us a brief description […]

KIP Student Feature – Sydney Aslan

Over the summer Sydney Aslan (CAS’26, Political Science) got the opportunity to intern with Chancellor Anne C. Martin in the Davidson County Chancery Court, Part II. In this feature, Sydney provides great advice about the importance of maintaining relationships and tells us more about her work in court. The photos below show Sydney with Chancellor […]

KIP Student Feature – Ethan Wanner 

Ethan Wanner (CAS’26) is a biology major on the pre-med track and spent the summer at the Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic in Milwaukee. The Clinic is a part of the Aurora Health Care network and is the largest free clinic in the state of Wisconsin. In this interview, Ethan shares more about the work […]

KIP Student Feature – Nathan Clark

Nathan Clark (ENG'25) spent the summer working at Noblis and fulfilling social justice work through engineering. Noblis is an "independent, nonprofit organization with a proud tradition of serving federal clients objectively and with the highest caliber of scientific and technical excellence" with a mission to produce "work [that] makes an impact on the civil, defense, […]

Kilachand Honors College Events

Special chocolate chat w/wingmasters, co-curricular: the game of life: a conversation starter about wealth disparity, chocolate chat w/professor holt, irb workshop for khc students, klab open office hours, klab escape room, keystone symposium 2024, keystone reception.

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Boston University Essay Guide 2020-2021

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In this Boston University Essay Guide, CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert and BU graduate Sally Kim will cover how to approach the 2020-2021 Boston University supplementary essays. For more guidance on personal essays and the college application process in general, sign up for a monthly plan to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.

Supplemental Essay Prompt (Required)

You’re sitting down, hands poised over the keyboard, eyes glued to the screen, looking at one important question:

“What about being a Boston University student excites you?” (250 words)

This is a question that all applicants, regardless of program interest, have to answer when applying to Boston University. It’s a question that I had to answer as a senior in high school, too!

You’ve seen this question before, and you’ll see it again. It may not be in the same format, but the question of “Why us?” will come up time and time again during the application process.

So, how do you answer this question in a way that completely wows the admissions officers poring over your application just a few months later?

My biggest advice: be as specific as possible to Boston University — in the Greater Boston Area alone, there are close to 60 colleges and universities , making Boston one of the most educationally dense cities in the country.

This question has a two-fold purpose: to learn what makes you excited (academically, socially, and otherwise), and to gage your interest in BU. This is the time to get as specific as possible — this essay is the only major supplement question Boston University provides, so it’s time to buckle down and pore over information provided by the University .

In my supplement essay, I discussed specific classes, professors, extracurricular clubs, and University facilities I could imagine immersing myself in. The point of this essay is to show how the multitudes of opportunities at Boston University can enrich and impact your collegiate life, so give it all you got!

Boston University Essay Guide

Now, the question above is the one supplement essay questions that all students have to answer, whether you want to be a mechanical engineer or a student in the Classics. But if you’re interested in the Kilachand Honors College, there are two essay questions you will need to respond to (choose just ONE of the prompts to answer).

Kilachand Honors College

The Kilachand Honors College is an integrated four-year program at Boston University that encourages students to think in a critical, creative, and interdisciplinary manner to address important societal, political, and economic challenges.

Students enrolled in Kilachand attend various seminars and studio courses that allow them to take multifaceted looks at big societal questions, ranging from the political to the literary. Kilachand Honors students also attend exciting, stimulating co-curricular events that help solidify their foundation in the liberal arts. During senior year, students are required to complete the Keystone Project , which is a “substantial work of empirical or scholarly research, creativity, or invention by the close of their senior year.”

As you apply, it’ll be critical for you to think about what you would like your college education to look, feel, and be like. The Kilachand Honors College provides intensive, interdisciplinary education on top of your general education and your major degrees. As such, Kilachand is a great fit for students who 1) love learning and 2) enjoy interdisciplinary studies to better inform them of the world.

Should you be interested in applying to the Kilachand Honors College, you must choose to answer one out of the two following questions:

Option A: What about the Kilachand Honors College resonates with you, and how would Kilachand’s curriculum fulfill your academic, creative, intellectual, and/or professional goals? (600 words)

For Option A, you’ll want to take a look at the Kilachand curriculum carefully, and draw on specific examples for how the opportunities in the Honors College will satisfy your academic, creative, and intellectual ambitions and desires. Think about Kilachand will enrich your personal, academic, and professional goals — whether it’s specific courses offered through Kilachand, the small college-within-a-college community you’ll find, or the faculty you’ll meet.

Also, keep in mind the benefits you’ll reap from an intensive, interdisciplinary education, and what that will mean for you as you move forward after graduating from Boston University.

Option B: If you could create a new Kilachand course, what would it be? How would your imagined course align with the core values of Kilachand? (600 words)

For Option B specifically, take a look at what Kilachand already offers — especially the first-year seminar and studio courses . The goal of this prompt is for you to create an interdisciplinary course that addresses a societally relevant topic.

As you can guess, being as specific as possible here will only help — including things like required readings, in-class or out-of-class activities, and discussion topics will all help your imaginary course come to life on paper. It would be an added bonus for you to describe experiential and team learning experiences with this course.

And remember, this course should relate to your passions and interests — you should want to take this course, if it was offered at Boston University.

So, are you ready to knock some (red) socks off with your responses now?

This Boston University essay guide was written by Sally Kim , Boston University ‘18. If you want to get help writing your BU application essays from Nadiya or other CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts , register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.

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COMMENTS

  1. 3 Expert Tips for the Boston University Supplement Essays

    Please write an essay on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. Please make sure your essay is completely distinct from the one you submitted on the Common Application. (750 words) For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

  2. How to Write the Boston University Supplemental Essay

    How to write each supplemental essay prompt for Boston University. Prompt 1: “Community”/”Social Awareness” essay. Prompt 2: “Why Us” essay. How to write the Kilachand Honors College essay. Prompt 1: “Why us” essay. Prompt 2: “Creating a new course” essay. How to write the Trustee Scholarship Essay. Prompt 1: "Personal ...

  3. How to Write the Boston University Essays 2023-2024 - CollegeVine

    Prompt 1: Boston University is dedicated to our founding principles: “that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community—local and international. These principles endure in the University’s insistence on ...

  4. 3 Strong Boston University Essay Examples | CollegeVine Blog

    This well-crafted writing seamlessly leads into an introduction about the writer, their values, and what they are looking for in a college education. The following paragraphs show how the Kilachand Honors College is an ideal fit for them. The key to writing any “Why This College?” essay is to highlight specific resources that the college ...

  5. Mastering the Boston University Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    One aspect that particularly excites me is the interdisciplinary approach at BU, specifically within the Kilachand Honors College. As a prospective Computer Science major, I’m drawn to the Kilachand Honors College's emphasis on integrating knowledge across different fields.

  6. How to Write the Boston University Supplemental Essays 2018 ...

    Please write an essay on why you wish to enter the health professions, including what experiences have led you to this decision and what you hope to gain from your chosen profession. Please make sure your essay is completely distinct from the one you submitted on the Common Application. (750 words) Prompt 4: For Kilachand Honors College applicants:

  7. Boston University Essay | Boston University Essay Prompts

    The Kilachand Honors College essay has a 600-word limit. So, students should take advantage of the additional space, thinking carefully through the prompt they select. Both of these Boston University essay prompts aim to capture if a student would be a good fit for the Kilachand Honors College.

  8. Boston University | BU’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts | CollegeVine

    250 Words. Boston University is dedicated to our founding principles: “that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community—local and international. These principles endure in the University’s insistence on ...

  9. Kilachand Honors College - Boston University

    March 29th, 2024. In the summer of 2023, Kilachand Honors College teamed up with UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) to co-fund up to 10 students who have designed excellent Keystone Projects and who would benefit from a summer of work. Several Kilachand students were chosen for this funding opportunity; below we feature 3 of ...

  10. College Essay Guides - Find the 100 Free Info at College Advisor

    The Kilachand Honors College provides intensive, interdisciplinary education on top of your general education and your major degrees. As such, Kilachand is a great fit for students who 1) love learning and 2) enjoy interdisciplinary studies to better inform them of the world. Should you be interested in applying to the Kilachand Honors College ...