BU Acceptance Rate: What Prospective Students Need to Know

With an acceptance rate of just 14%, Boston University poses a competitive challenge to prospective students. This prestigious institution evaluates applicants not only on grades but also on a variety of other factors. Many successful candidates tend to have SAT scores between 1350 and 1500, or ACT scores from 31 to 34.


Boston University attracts a diverse group of applicants from all over the globe, adding to its rich and vibrant campus life. Those who gain admission typically come from the top percentiles of their high school classes and demonstrate a strong academic background. The university’s selectivity has only intensified over the years, making every application detail count even more.

Extracurricular activities and personal achievements also play a significant role in the admission process. Prospective students are encouraged to showcase their unique talents and contributions to their communities. This holistic approach ensures that each class comprises individuals who excel not only academically but also bring unique perspectives and strengths to the campus community.

Key Takeaways

  • Boston University has a 14% acceptance rate.
  • Strong academic scores and extracurricular activities are crucial for admission.
  • The university values diverse and top-achieving students.

Historical Acceptance Rates


Boston University’s acceptance rates have undergone significant changes over the years. Understanding these trends and comparing them to other institutions can provide valuable insights into the university’s admissions landscape.

Trends Over Time

Boston University has seen a steady decline in its acceptance rates over the years. For example, in 2012, the acceptance rate was 46%. By 2022, the rate had dropped to 14.4% (College Tuition Compare).

In the admissions cycle of 2023, it was slightly harder to get in, with an acceptance rate of 14.37%. In the most recent data available, the Class of 2027 had an acceptance rate of 11% (College Transitions). This data highlights the increasing selectivity of BU’s admissions process.

Comparative Analysis

When compared to other universities, Boston University’s acceptance rates are quite competitive. For instance, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 was 11%, which is lower than many other large universities.

This trend reflects a broader pattern in higher education, where many top-tier universities have become more selective. Over a recent 11-year period, BU’s average acceptance rate was 28.29%, but recent years show a steep drop (College Tuition Compare).

These shifts make BU one of the more selective universities, requiring prospective students to have strong academic and extracurricular profiles.

Admissions Process


Boston University’s admissions process includes different pathways and requires specific documents. Applicants should understand the difference between Early Decision and Regular Decision, keep track of the admissions cycle, and ensure they submit all required documents through either the Common Application or Coalition Application.

Early Decision vs Regular Decision

Applying early can increase the chances of getting accepted. Boston University offers two Early Decision options: Early Decision I and Early Decision II. Early Decision I usually has a deadline around November 1, and students receive their admission decisions by mid-December. Early Decision II has a later deadline, typically in early January, with decisions released in February.

Early Decision is binding, meaning if admitted, students must attend BU and withdraw any other college applications. In contrast, Regular Decision applicants have a January deadline and hear back by late March. Regular Decision is non-binding, giving students the flexibility to compare offers from different schools.

Admissions Cycle

The admissions cycle for Boston University starts well before the application deadlines. Students should begin preparing their applications in the summer before their senior year. Early Decision I applicants submit materials by early November, Early Decision II by early January, and Regular Decision by mid-January.

After submitting applications, students typically receive decisions within a few months. Accepted students then have until May 1 to confirm their enrollment. It’s crucial to stay aware of all deadlines to avoid missing important dates, which can impact admission chances.

Required Documents

Applicants need to submit several key documents to complete their application. This includes high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores (if applicable). Boston University may also require applicants to complete a personal statement and additional essays specific to the university.

It’s important to gather these documents early to avoid any last-minute issues. High school counselors can help with sending transcripts and recommendation letters. Ensure that all required materials are sent directly to the admissions office before the deadline.

Common Application and Coalition Application

Boston University accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Both platforms allow students to apply to multiple schools using a single set of forms and materials.

The Common Application includes a general form, various essays, and specific questions for Boston University. The Coalition Application also has a shared form and essays but is known for providing more resources to underrepresented students.

Choosing between the two depends on the applicant’s preference and which platforms other schools they are applying to use. Both applications require careful attention to detail to ensure all parts are completed accurately and submitted on time.

Academic Thresholds


Boston University has specific academic standards for prospective students. Achieving competitive test scores, maintaining a high GPA, and excelling in advanced courses are vital components.

SAT and ACT Scores

For admission to Boston University, applicants should focus on scoring well in standardized tests. The mid-50% SAT score range for admitted students is between 1350 and 1500. For the ACT, this range is between 31 and 34. These scores reflect the academic competitiveness of BU’s student body. It is advisable for applicants to aim for scores within or above these ranges to enhance their admission chances.

GPA Requirements

A high GPA is essential for BU admissions. Typically, applicants should have at least a 3.76 GPA, which is the average GPA for BU’s freshman class. Maintaining a high GPA shows consistent academic performance. Taking challenging courses and excelling in them is also crucial. A strong GPA coupled with rigorous coursework can significantly boost an applicant’s profile.

Secondary School Record

A detailed secondary school record is important. This should include all high school courses taken, grades received, and class rank if available. Admissions officers at BU consider the strength of the student’s curriculum. Having a well-documented and strong academic record helps showcase a student’s preparedness and commitment to their studies.

AP, IB, and Honors Courses

Taking AP, IB, and honors courses can benefit applicants. These courses demonstrate a willingness to challenge oneself academically. Boston University values students who have excelled in these advanced courses. Success in AP or IB exams, as well as high grades in honors classes can highlight an applicant’s readiness for college-level work and can sometimes earn college credit, further enhancing the application.

Demographics of Admitted Students


Boston University attracts a diverse group of students from around the world. The demographics of the admitted students show a broad mix of ethnicities, genders, and geographical backgrounds.

Ethnicity and Races

The student body at Boston University is racially and ethnically diverse. A significant portion of students identify as belonging to various races, including Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and White.

According to the latest data, approximately 20% of admitted students are Asian, 8% are Black or African American, and 13% are Hispanic or Latino. White students make up about 42% of the student population. Additionally, around 5% of students identify as being from two or more races. The presence of American Indian, Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander students is relatively small.

Gender Distribution

Boston University shows a balanced gender distribution among its students. The admitted student population has a slight female majority. Recent statistics indicate that about 55% of students identify as female, while 45% identify as male.

The university has made efforts to maintain a fair gender balance in its admissions process. This balanced distribution ensures diverse perspectives and experiences across the campus community, contributing to a well-rounded academic and social environment.

Geographical Representation

Students at Boston University come from all over the United States. Every state is represented, with significant numbers from California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida.

In recent admission cycles, a noticeable percentage of students hail from the northeastern United States, considering Boston University’s location. However, there is also a robust presence of students from the Midwest, South, and West Coast. This geographical diversity enriches classroom discussions and broadens students’ learning experiences.

International Student Body

Boston University has a substantial international student population. Students come from over 100 countries, contributing to the university’s global atmosphere.

In 2022, international students constituted about 23% of the admitted class. Countries such as China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Vietnam are prominently represented. This international diversity allows BU students to engage with and understand different cultures, preparing them for the global workforce.

Programs and Majors

Boston University offers a wide range of programs and majors designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their chosen fields. The following sections focus on specific colleges and disciplines, highlighting key aspects like curriculum, research opportunities, and areas of study.

College of Engineering

The College of Engineering at Boston University offers various undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can major in areas like biomedical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering. The curriculum is designed to be rigorous, with a combination of theoretical studies and practical laboratory work.

Research is a major focus, with facilities such as the Photonics Center and the Center for Information and Systems Engineering. Students often participate in hands-on projects that collaborate with industry partners, providing real-world experience before graduation.

College of Fine Arts

The College of Fine Arts offers programs in music, theatre, and visual arts. Students can pursue degrees such as Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Music (BM). The curriculum includes both practical training and academic studies, ensuring well-rounded education.

Performance opportunities are abundant, with numerous productions, concerts, and exhibitions held throughout the year. Collaboration with professional artists and internships are also key elements, allowing students to gain insights into the professional world.

School of Management

The School of Management, also known as the Questrom School of Business, offers various business-related programs. Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), focusing on areas like finance, marketing, and international business.

The management curriculum emphasizes leadership skills, ethical decision-making, and global perspectives. Students have access to research centers like the Feld Center for Industry Alliances and participate in internships with top companies, enhancing their business acumen and employability.

College of Communication

The College of Communication provides programs in journalism, advertising, public relations, and film production. The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Communication covers both theoretical and practical aspects.

The college boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including television studios, editing labs, and a digital newsroom. Students are encouraged to participate in internships, student media organizations, and special projects, which help them build a robust portfolio and gain industry experience.

Computer Science and Engineering

Computer Science and Engineering programs are jointly offered by the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Engineering. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to benefit from a broad curriculum that includes software development, cybersecurity, AI, and data science.

Research opportunities are plentiful, with projects ranging from robotics to machine learning. Students engage in collaborative research alongside faculty, participate in coding competitions, and often secure internships with tech companies, providing a strong foundation for their careers.

Extracurricular Opportunities


Boston University (BU) offers a variety of extracurricular activities that enrich student life, including an extensive range of student organizations, diverse athletic programs, and numerous study abroad opportunities.

Student Organizations

BU boasts over 450 clubs and organizations that cover interests in arts, academics, community service, and more. These student organizations allow students to explore their passions outside the classroom and build lasting friendships.

Clubs such as the BU Debate Society and the BU Dance Theater Group provide platforms for students to hone their skills and showcase their talents. The Student Government and numerous cultural organizations foster leadership and promote diversity and inclusivity on campus.

Athletics and Recreation

The university’s athletics programs include both competitive sports teams and recreational activities. BU’s varsity teams, known as the Terriers, compete in the NCAA Division I, providing ample opportunities for student-athletes to excel in sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer.

For those interested in less competitive environments, BU offers intramural sports and fitness classes. Facilities like the FitRec Center provide state-of-the-art equipment and a variety of exercise classes, making it easy for students to stay active and healthy.

Study Abroad

BU’s study abroad programs are highly regarded, offering students the chance to gain global experiences in locations such as London, Sydney, and Madrid. These programs span a wide range of academic fields, including business, engineering, and the arts, allowing students to earn credits while immersing themselves in different cultures.

BU supports students through the application process, making the transition to international study as smooth as possible. Participants in these programs often return with new perspectives and enhanced resumes, reflecting their global awareness and adaptability.

Admissions Decisions Factors


Admissions officers at Boston University consider several key factors when reviewing applications, including standardized test scores, personal essays and recommendations, and demonstrated interest and talent. Understanding these factors can help applicants better prepare their application materials and improve their chances of getting accepted.

Standardized Test Scores

Boston University places significant importance on standardized test scores. Applicants often submit either SAT or ACT scores as part of their application.

Recent data indicates that admitted students typically have SAT scores between 1350 and 1500 or ACT scores between 31 and 34. A competitive application often aligns with these ranges.

High test scores help demonstrate academic ability and readiness for college-level work, making them a crucial part of the admissions process.

Personal Essays and Recommendations

Personal essays allow applicants to showcase their unique personalities and life experiences. Boston University’s admissions officers look for well-written essays that provide insight into an applicant’s character, ambitions, and values.

Along with essays, letters of recommendation play a vital role. Strong recommendations usually come from teachers or counselors who can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and personal qualities.

These components give the admissions team a fuller picture of who the applicant is beyond grades and test scores.

Demonstrated Interest and Talent

Boston University values students who show genuine interest in attending and who possess exceptional talent or abilities. Demonstrated interest can be shown by attending campus tours, participating in BU events, or engaging with admissions representatives.

Furthermore, unique talents in areas such as arts, athletics, or leadership can significantly strengthen an application. A well-rounded applicant who showcases both strong academic performance and special skills is more likely to attract positive attention from the admissions team.

Highlighting these aspects effectively can set an applicant apart in the competitive admissions process.

Financial Considerations


Understanding the costs associated with attending Boston University, as well as the availability of financial aid and scholarship opportunities, is crucial for prospective students.

Tuition and Fees

Boston University’s annual tuition, room, and board cost totals $68,060. This price applies to both in-state and out-of-state students.

Additional fees may include health insurance, books, and personal expenses, contributing to the overall cost of attendance. Although this figure represents the list price, many students pay less due to financial aid.

Breakdown of costs:

  • Tuition: $58,072
  • Room and Board: $14,870
  • Fees: $1,758
  • Books and Supplies: Approximately $1,000

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Boston University offers various forms of financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs.

A significant percentage of students receive need-based aid, which can substantially reduce the cost of attendance. Merit-based scholarships are also available for those with outstanding academic, athletic, or artistic achievements.

Types of Financial Aid:

  • Need-Based Grants: Determined by the student’s financial need
  • Merit-Based Scholarships: Awarded for academic excellence
  • Work-Study Programs: Provide part-time employment to help cover expenses
  • Loans: Federal and private options available

To maximize funding opportunities, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any additional forms required by Boston University. Early and accurate submission of these forms can significantly impact the amount of aid received.

Further details and application procedures can be found on Boston University’s financial aid website.

Campus Life


Boston University’s campus life offers a dynamic and enriching experience. Students can take advantage of various living and dining options as well as state-of-the-art facilities.

Housing and Dining

Students at Boston University have the opportunity to live in a variety of housing options. These include traditional dormitories, apartment-style residences, and specialty housing communities. The dorms offer a range of amenities and are spread across its campus, giving students access to Boston’s stunning Charles River and downtown areas.

Dining services provide diverse and nutritious meal options. Dining halls and food courts feature international cuisines, vegan and vegetarian choices, and meal plans that cater to various dietary needs. Locations like the Marciano Commons and West Campus Dining Hall are popular among students for their variety of food options.

Campus Facilities

The university boasts numerous facilities to support both academic and extracurricular activities. The university libraries, such as the Mugar Memorial Library, offer vast resources and study spaces. For fitness and recreation, the fitness center and pools at the Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec) are top-notch.

Student life is further enriched by cultural amenities like performing arts centers and galleries. The George Sherman Union (GSU) serves as a central hub for student gatherings and activities, featuring dining options, study spaces, and event venues.

Outcomes for Graduates


Boston University (BU) graduates often find success in their careers and hold notable positions in various industries. This section will explore their career prospects and highlight some of BU’s notable alumni.

Career Prospects

Most BU graduates secure employment within six months of graduation. For instance, BU’s Center for Career Development reports that the majority of their graduates find their career paths swiftly post-graduation. A striking example is the Graduate Medical Sciences program, where graduates boast a 100% pass rate on credentialing exams and a 92.3% completion rate.

BU also provides strong support for students and alumni, helping them connect with potential employers. Fields like healthcare, business, and technology are common career paths for many BU students. Their well-rounded education and practical experience position them well in the job market.

Notable Alumni

BU has produced many distinguished alumni across various fields. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most renowned civil rights leaders, earned his PhD from BU. In the entertainment industry, Julianne Moore, an acclaimed actress, is a BU alumna.

Other notable BU graduates include Howard Stern, a famous radio personality, and Alexandra Billings, an actress and singer. The list extends to fields like science, literature, and politics, showcasing the diverse talents of BU alumni. Each of these individuals has made significant contributions to their respective fields, highlighting the strong foundation BU provides its students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Boston University (BU) is known for its competitive admissions process. This section explores various aspects of the acceptance rate, including differences for international students, GPA requirements, and trends over recent years.

What is the acceptance rate of Boston University for international students?

The acceptance rate for international students at Boston University is not separately published. International applicants are evaluated using the same criteria as domestic students. BU’s overall acceptance rate is approximately 19%.

How does the acceptance rate for Boston University Early Decision compare to Regular Decision?

Boston University’s Early Decision acceptance rate is typically higher than the Regular Decision rate. Applying Early Decision can improve chances of admission due to the demonstrated commitment to attend BU if accepted.

What GPA is typically required for admission to Boston University?

For a strong chance of admission, prospective students should aim for a GPA of at least 3.76. Excelling in challenging courses and maintaining a high GPA is crucial.

Is it more difficult for out-of-state students to be accepted to Boston University?

Boston University does not favor in-state over out-of-state applicants. Students are assessed based on their academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and personal essays, regardless of residency.

How competitive is admission to Boston University compared to other prestigious institutions?

Boston University is quite competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 14-19%. This rate is comparable to many other prestigious institutions, making it important for applicants to submit strong applications.

What trends have been observed in Boston University’s acceptance rates over recent years?

Boston University’s acceptance rates have become more competitive in recent years. The acceptance rate used to be higher but has decreased due to an increase in the number of applicants and the university’s rising reputation. This trend reflects BU’s growing appeal among prospective students.

Helpful Resources

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