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How to Respond to the Boston College Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/2023

Boston College is a Jesuit private research university located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College is located a short distance from Downtown Boston which makes it an extremely desirable place to learn. Therefore, BC’s acceptance rate is around 26%, meaning your application will really need to stand out! In order to apply, students must complete one of the five prompt options for the BC supplemental essays. 

Here’s our guide for how to ace the Boston College supplemental essay questions!

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Before answering the BC supplemental essays

All Boston College applicants, should respond to one of the following five prompts except for those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering major. Those applying for the Human-Centered Engineering major will need to reply to ONLY the sixth Boston College essay question. 

All of the Boston College supplemental essay questions have a 400 word limit. 400 words may sound like a lot but once you start writing you will realize that getting your personality on the page will take a few more words than 400. Do not stress! This just means you will have to be precise and direct with your answers. Do not drag on or use filler words! Just remember to be yourself in your response. 

Don’t miss: How to respond to the Common App essay prompts

Essay option #1

Students at Boston College are encouraged to consider critical questions as they pursue lives of meaning and purpose. What is a question that matters to you and how do you hope Boston College will help you answer it?” 

This question is essentially asking you to think of a question that matters to you. Before answering this supplemental essay question – brainstorm! This will get your ideas flowing and may make your response obvious.

If you have a set major, think of questions that you have about your major or future dream career. If you are undecided, you can brainstorm things you are extremely passionate about. 

Once you have your question solidified, time to tie it back to Boston College! How will Boston College help you answer this question? Research Boston College for their clubs, extracurriculars and academic programs available. 

It is crucial that you are as specific to Boston College as possible. 

Questions to consider

  • What is important to you?
  • How can Boston College lead you to success? 
  • What burning questions about something you are interested in do you have? 

Don’t miss: How to write an essay about yourself

Essay option #2

“In 2020, we faced a national reckoning on racial injustice in America – a reckoning that continues today. Discuss how this has affected you, what you have learned, or how you have been inspired to be a change agent around this important issue”

If you are passionate about equality and activism this prompt was made for you. It is so important that this prompt means something to you if you choose to reply to it; this essay should be taken very seriously. 

To begin this essay you should reflect on the year 2020. What were you doing during this time? Be sure to hone in on how you fought against injustice during this time. Generally, just write about how this time affected you. Did you change? Did you grow and learn from these experiences? 

Tips for responding to this prompt

  • Avoid triggering responses such as detailing extreme violence.
  • Do not write about anything incriminating to yourself.
  • Be specific! Write about specific protests attended or organizations you supported.
  • Remember even the smallest change you were a part of can have big impacts.
  • Do not write about stereotypes. (unless you are discussing overcoming them) 
  • Exercise best judgment when using certain language. 

Related: How to write a 500 word essay

Essay option #3

“At Boston College, we hope to draw on the Jesuit tradition of finding conversation partners to discuss issues and problems facing society. Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?”

I know once you read this prompt you immediately thought of someone. So who was it? Who do you talk to about anything? 

Once you have identified your favorite conversation partner, write a brief few sentences about them. How do you know them? Are they related to you? 

Now, you should reflect on past conversations you have had with this person. What do you usually talk about?

To stand out from other responses, do not simply list everything you and this person have ever talked about. Rather, find a common theme in your conversations. Maybe you always talk about music with them or maybe they act as your therapist when you are having relationship issues. 

Be sure to reflect on this person and your conversations. What have you learned from them? Emphasize how crucial conversations are. Stress how finding that right person to have a conversation with is so important. 

Questions to consider

  • Who do you have the best conversations with? 
  • What do you learn from your conversations with this person? 
  • How are conversations important for fixing problems in society? 

Don’t miss: What to include on college applications

Essay option #4

“Socrates stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Discuss a time when reflection, prayer, or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.”

Boston College is a Jesuit institution. Therefore, their values heavily align with the Jesuit traditional values. 

To answer this prompt, first identify a prayer, reflection or introspection. Do you pray every night? If so, what specifically do you pray for? 

Once you have selected a specific prayer for a specific outcome, discuss how this led you to clarity. Meaning, how did it change your perspective or allowed you to reach a greater understanding? 

If you are not a spiritual person, this prompt may not be the one for you! Luckily, Boston College lets you select one of five prompts – making sure you pick the one that best matches your personality and interests! 

Questions to consider

  • What do you pray for? 
  • Are you a spiritual person? 
  • How has being spiritual allowed you to reach a greater understanding of life or yourself? 

Also see: Top Christian scholarships

Essay option #5

“Each year at University Convocation, the incoming class engages in reflective dialogue around a common text. What book would you recommend for your class to read and explore together – and why?”

If you are a bookworm this is the prompt for you! This prompt is another opportunity to be creative in your response. 

Before answering this prompt – brainstorm! What book has impacted your life to this day? You should try to choose a work of literature that has sparked something inside of you. Meaning, choose a book that has given you valuable insight or changed your outlook on life. I know the second you read this prompt you had a book in mind so don’t hesitate to write about it! 

However, since this prompt is allowing for creative freedom try to choose a unique book. Refrain from choosing a novel such as Harry Potter since it is extremely popular and will probably be written about a lot by applicants. (Even though the Harry Potter series is one of my favorites.) 

Although, if you are dying to choose an extremely popular book or a classic make sure to then write from a new and different perspective or take. Once you have selected a book, go into detail about how it has impacted your life. This should go without saying but choose a book you have read and are familiar with! Emphasize why it would be a good fit for your class to read. What will your fellow peers learn from this novel? 

Questions to consider

  • What is your favorite book? 
  • How would Boston College benefit from reading this book? 
  • How has this book influenced your outlooks? 

Don’t miss: Top 10 books to read before college

Essay option #6 (For human-centered engineering applicants only)

“One goal of a Jesuit education is to prepare students to serve the Common Good. Human-Centered Engineering at Boston College integrates technical knowledge, creativity, and a humanistic perspective to address societal challenges and opportunities. What societal problems are important to you and how will you use your HCE education to solve them?”

This essay prompt is essentially asking you to explain how you will use an engineering degree from Boston College to serve the “Common Good.” 

To begin, research the Human-Centered Engineering program at Boston College. What programs and aspects of the program stick out to you? 

After familiarizing yourself with their program, now brainstorm a societal problem facing us right now. Try to narrow it down to one issue.

Focus on an issue that has a personal impact. For example, maybe solar electricity is not used widely in your community and you would like to see that transition. By using your own experiences, you can make your response stronger and reveal pieces of your personality. 

If you are struggling to pick a problem, the Human-Centered Engineering website has some examples you can choose from. 

Throughout this essay, make sure to tie back to how the programs at Boston College can help you solve this main problem. Be sure to include specifics about the program that can only be found at Boston College. 

Questions to consider

  • Why are you interested in engineering? 
  • What issues do you find most important? 
  • How can engineering aid these issues? 

Also see: Top Massachusetts scholarships

What makes Boston College unique?

When applying to any school, it’s a good idea to learn about what makes them unique before you start writing your supplemental essays. Once you find the unique characteristics about a school, you can describe the ones that interest you the most and explain why you will find success at a school that offers these features. This demonstrates your interest in and commitment to the school as well as your potential to perform well if admitted. Here are a couple of unique characteristics about Boston College that can help you write your best essays possible.


Being located in the Boston area is a major factor in the experience of students at BC. Boston is a huge city which is home to a wide range of prestigious universities. So, you’ll be in a bustling city full of other people your age receiving great college educations. You can write about how you are prepared to take advantage of this resource by visiting museums, utilizing city libraries, applying for internships, and more.

The Disney Class

One of Boston College’s most famous courses is the Disney Class. This course, officially titled, Studies in Children’s Literature, goes in-depth on the stories behind major Disney films throughout the history of the company, including how they changed popular fairy tales to create marketable movies. Professor Bonnie Rudner teaches the class, and adamant Disney fans and critics will both find something interesting from the course and learn to contextualize these canonical movies in a whole new light.

Impressive philosophy department

Boston College is especially renowned for its philosophy department, known for pushing barriers and including extensive coursework in the field of continental philosophy. Several faculty members at the college have well-known around the world, including prominent Heidegger scholar William J Richardson.

Next steps after applying to Boston College

So that’s what you should know about the BC supplemental essays! Now that the hard part is over and your application is flawless and submitted – take a deep breath! Congratulations, you did it! The hard part is now over! 

Continue to show demonstrated interest in Boston College so they know you are committed and prioritizing their school (even if you have a few other top choices.) 

This can be done by:

Essentially, showing interest and staying connected will allow you to get that extra foot in the door and make your name known. Exploring your interest in Boston College will also help solidify if it is the best university for you. 

Additional resources

As a student working on college applications, you’ve got a lot on your plate. There are many decisions to make along every step of the way – fortunately, we can help you through them. Check out our guides on how many schools to apply to and how to find safety, reach, and match schools.

If you’re wondering whether to send test scores to test-optional schools, we’ve got a guide for that as well. And once you start hearing back, we can help you create a college comparison spreadsheet to make your college choice. Finally, check out our free scholarship search tool to help fund your education and keep all of your college options open. Good luck!

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