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How to Write the Boston College Supplement Essays 2016-2017 bc example

Nestled in Chestnut Hill, a village just west of downtown Boston, Boston College is a private Jesuit Catholic research university that was founded in 1863. The idyllic campus contains over 120 buildings on a hill overlooking the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, but is also conveniently located near the bustling city, with easy access to Boston’s “T” public transit system with direct routes to the city.
From the bright orange Indian tapestry and the intricately woven Iranian prayer mat hanging on the wall to the Romanian tea kettle perched precariously among piles of ungraded papers and tests, Ms. Moore’s World Literature classroom can more accurately be likened to a room in the Museum of Natural History than a 10th grade English classroom. Contrasting with the typical “hang in there” and “math is fun!” posters plastered on the walls of my other high school classrooms, the unconventional décor of Ms. Moore’s room is the first clue to any visitor that Room 187 is a unique learning environment. Darting from one end of the room to the other, a just under five-foot woman with cropped brown hair and glasses greets me as soon as I walk in the door. Calling me a biscuit, a nickname she reserves for her students, Ms. Moore makes coming into English feel like coming home. The room is warm and filled with excitement, a community of people passionate about literature and global issues presented in our readings. Although 10th grade has come and passed, the room and its owner still welcome me and all other students. The room itself, the teacher, and the community of Room 187 make it a place where I was and still am completely content. Read more.

Boston College has 8 schools and offers undergraduate degrees in 4 of them: the Robert J. Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences; the James A. Woods, S.J., College of Advancing Studies; the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education; and the Carroll School of Management.

The question asked here is typical of many supplemental essays. Essentially, the admissions folks want to know why their school is of particular interest to you.

Academics are top-notch at BC, which ranks among the highest among American research institutions in producing Fulbright scholars and houses eight research libraries containing over two million printed volumes.

Keeping close to my childhood dream, I have volunteered at places like homeless shelter and nursing homes. And as I see my brother, who is about to graduate from medical school, helping my grandma and his neighbors who are in need with his college education, I decided to pursue a career in nursing. Firmly associated with my new vision, I have researched institutions where I can serve as a nurse with a BSN. Upon completion of this process, I decided to try out for ROTC to serve my country which has provided me with security and an opportunity for education. And for the side plan, to broaden my range of help, I plan to go on mission trips to third-countries through Living Water Church and institutions like Christian Medical and Dental Associations and International Healthcare Opportunities Clearinghouse which allow students in nursing school to join. Also, enjoying engaging with a variety of programs, I was allured by diverse international and domestic service programs offered from Boston College and strongly look forward to participating in these to assist anyone who wants and needs my aid. And for my final future endeavor, I want to enable students who hold the same vision and support them by sharing my experience and knowledge.

Students studying here are also given a chance to let loose and show some school spirit, especially while watching the men’s hockey team, which has won five national championships so far.

BC has claim to fame in its alumni network as well, having graduated notable alumni such as John Kerry, previous U.S. Secretary of State; Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston; and numerous Rhodes, Truman, and Marshall scholarship awardees.

Admissions officers will certainly take note of the fact that this applicant has done some research and has thoughtful reasons for wanting to attend Duke. When a supplemental essay asking "Why Our School?" could be applied to numerous schools, the author has failed to respond to the prompt effectively. This is not the place to be generic or lazy. Do your research, and articulate the unique reasons why the school is a good match for your interests, personality, and goals.

Boston College has a competitive application process, having received almost 30,000 applications in the 2015-2016 cycle and accepting about 30% of those students. Because of this competitive admissions process, it is imperative that your essays stand out.

The second point about the history curriculum is key to this essay's success. This applicant knows what lies beneath the university's surface. She has clearly researched the curriculum. She is not applying to Duke simply because of its beauty or its reputation, but because she likes how the university approaches learning.

CollegeVine essay specialists have put together a guide to the supplemental essay prompts below.

Boston College Application Essay Prompts

We would like to get a better sense of you. Please select one of the questions below and write an essay of 400 words or less providing your response.

Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.

Together they have more than 90 years experience reading, and judging college essays: John Mahoney, director of undergraduate admissions at Boston College, Jennifer Desjarlais, dean of admission and financial aid at Wellesley College, and Gail Berson, vice president and dean of admissions at Wheaton College.

Best for those with a humanitarian bent (and whose activities reflect that), this is a loaded prompt with many aspects to address. There are two main topics involved: volunteer/humanitarian-related work and creativity.

Before we discuss the actual essay, think about the prompt. The admissions officers want to know if there is something "in particular at Duke" that makes the applicant want to go there. A bad essay never discusses features that are unique to Duke.

The prompt asks how helping others has led to an outpouring of personal creativity in your life, weaving the two topics together.

Choose an experience where you responded to a need, and how you were able to exercise creativity through it. This will most likely show up in the form of having to come up with unconventional ways to solve problems that you face with volunteering.

The supplemental essays for college admissions can be a stumbling point for a lot of applicants. Many students put significant time into their longer personal statement but then rush off the shorter supplemental section of the application. A typical result is something like this weak supplemental essay.

Did you need to serve dinner to a couple hundred people at a homeless shelter and had to come up with a spontaneous line organization system?

You don’t need to limit yourself to strict volunteer work, though.

Although I cannot possibly understand and cure every disease, through The Boston College's William F. Connell School of Nursing's approach to aiding human life, I can utilize the wealth of advantages offered to garner knowledge and passion to genuinely serve and understand the people whose lives I wish to impact, like my grandmother. Believing the notion of St. Ignatius of Loyola that "Love is shown more in deeds than in words," I will embrace and apply all the valuable learnings from Connell School of Nursing, solidifying my goal to bring lifetimes of good health and good spirit.

You can write about teaching your younger sister how to tie her shoe in a way she could remember, or starting a food compost system at your school with limited supplies. Just remember to illustrate your creativity through solving the problem.
If you want another strong example of a supplemental essay, check out this supplemental essay for Oberlin College.

Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?

This prompt also allows for a wide range of responses.

Dec 19, 2012 #1
I just finished my Boston College Supplement and I would like to get some feedback from you all! Feel free to edit it and harshly criticize my essay!!!

You can write about virtually anyone here. The essay should be divided into two portions, the first part describing the event and its consequences, and the second your thoughts on whether you would have made the same decision and why.
One area I would suggest giving a little more attention to how exactly AHANA functions. You mention that the term was coined as an alternative to the more negative term "minority," and that the group exists to "promote understanding..." etc. But I still want to know more about HOW the group works to achieve their goals; do they sponsor events on campus? hold workshops? etc. You did an effective job of explaining the philosophy of the group, but I would be interested in seeing just a little bit more of how it works in action, so to speak.

Feel free to choose a widely publicized event or one that is more personal, at which you may have been present. You have higher chances of landing a more unique topic if you choose to talk about a friend’s decision versus a political leader’s, but choose whatever you feel most strongly about; what matters most is your analysis of the event and decision, not the event itself.

Your paper is coherent, well-organized, and very informative. You do a nice job of incorporating various theorists and applying their ideas to the phenomenon of AHANA. You also do a good job of considering "the opposing viewpoint" and introducing relevant arguments to substantiate your position.

The goal of this prompt is to communicate to admissions committees your method of thought and the process through which you come to logical conclusions.

You can choose to delve into something deep such as the U.S. deciding to bomb Japan to end WWII, or something lighter, such as someone deciding between pursing college or going directly to the workforce to support family (keep in mind the restrictive word count). Can you detect the ramifications of certain actions, beyond the obvious? The key is to explain clearly your reasoning for whether or not you would have chosen the same path.

College supplemental essays are designed for applicants to demonstrate their personality and passion, but applicants are often stumped when they look the essay prompt. Applicants tend to overthink the supplemental essay topic, often spending too...

Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?

Similar to the second question, this prompt provides an opportunity for you to write about real-world thoughts and experiences.

Step one of the college application process: research and explore colleges to apply to. Not sure where to begin with your college list? Take the advice of the following 5 college students who were just...

Keep in mind that the prompt is focusing on a problem (contemporary or otherwise). While you should definitely choose a topic that you are passionate about, remember that the class is supposed to address and discuss a problem rather than a set, concrete topic (such as microbiology).
Everything that I've noted with square brackets is plot summary. The sentence that begins "Feeling rejected, the creature wanders away..." is borderline because you're making a judgment about the creature's motivations, but in general you shouldn't spend time repeating the events of the story. The second part of this paragraph is much better in that you're talking about motivations and making arguments.

This question is best for those who are passionate about a contemporary issue or general problem, and have spent a bit of time thinking about it. The prompt asks you not so much to explain how you would structure the class, but rather why you would choose that question/topic for your course.

The second point is that you might want to explain in greater detail how subjective experiences shape the need for a group such as AHANA. You mention that racial and cultural differences do exist and that the "differing perspectives caused by these distinctions exist regardless of whether they are acknowledged." This is a very integral part of your argument, so maybe developing it further would be helpful. I realize it's a very broad concept to try and condense within your paper, but focusing on explicating that part might be helpful. Overall, I think you have a very strong paper that seems to fulfill the parameters of the assignment quite well.

Why are you passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer? Why are you really interested in the food-waste problem in the United States? Ideally, you would have thought about the issue to an extent that you have ideas of rough solutions.

For rising seniors, it may seem like you need to have all the answers right now about where to go to college, what to study, perhaps even what you want to do in life. But...

Feel free to break up your essay into three paragraphs: stating your issue, explaining why you chose that issue (this paragraph should be the longest), and providing thoughts on possible solutions to this problem.
Are you looking to apply to Boston College or just starting to build out your college list? Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. See how they got in, and how you can too!

Keep in mind that the point of every essay is to reveal more about who you are. The admissions officers want to know more about you than they do about the topic you are writing about, so keep in mind while writing to write intentionally and portray yourself in a light in which you wish them to see you.

The following are actual responses to some of our recent submissions to the Online Writing Lab, although the names have been changed to maintain the anonymity of student writers. You can expect similarly global-oriented comments and suggestions for developing your own work. Of course, length and type of feedback vary between individual tutors and between essay submissions.

Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life.

Thank you for submitting your paper to the OWL; I am a Political Science major and very much enjoyed reading it. Below you will find a few suggestions for how to strengthen your writing during the revision process.

How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?

This is a subtle “Why Boston College?” question, and if you have strong, specific reasons for applying to BC, you may want to take this opportunity to write a more school-specific essay.

The strong essay below was written in response to the application to Duke University's Trinity College.

The question itself is broad, and like for other essays, focus on being truthful and stick to what you are passionate about. Take some time to think about how you truly want to grow in college.

What kinds of skills (academic and otherwise) do you want to learn? Are there are any personal characteristics you wish to strengthen or weaknesses you hope to turn into strengths? Is there a specific research project at Boston College that you wish to work on? You don’t need to know where you will be in four years; in fact, the question is not asking how attending will meet your personal goals, but rather how your current goals will help you grow during your college career.

I hope you found some of the questions I've raised valuable. You've touched on some interesting issues in this paper, and there is definitely plenty of room for you to develop them even further. If you have any questions about anything I've said, or any further questions, please feel free to write back to me. Good luck with your paper and thank you for submitting to the OWL!

In this response, be sure to have a balance of personal and academic goals; mention your desire to delve into metaphysics and also your wish to try something completely new and out of your comfort zone, like hip-hop dancing.

One change i would like to say is "Also, because of my enjoyment in engaging in a variety of programs. ...". The original sentence sounded grammatically incorrect. Otherwise your essay is very strong, personal, amd convincing.

Admissions officers want to know that you are coming into BC with developed interests and passions, but also a heart to gain new ones.

The “living a meaningful life” phrase in the prompt is key. Reflect on how your interests and goals tie into living (what you consider) a meaningful life, and how you hope to develop and grow those ideas in college.

I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of getting sick. I’m afraid of ghosts in my basement. I’m even afraid to eat my Grandma’s cooking - those expiration dates are there for a reason! Being home alone frightens me because I never know what could happen. A robber could break in. A tree could fall and crash through the roof. The electricity could go out and I could fall down the stairs in the dark. I was never afraid of elevators until I went on the Tower of Terror at MGM Studios. Now I’m afraid of ending up in the “Twilight Zone” instead of the hotel lobby. All of these fears paralyzed me for years and I was unable to fully enjoy life. View full.

Communicate to BC how going there will influence you as a person, and also touch on how you might be able to make an imprint on the campus as well.

The Boston College prompts allow for deep, personal reflection and the chance to share that with admissions officers.

Your personal narrative is without a doubt at its best when you give vivid details of the day from your perspective, which is, as you describe, a very unique one. The "chalky taste" of the air, for instance, is a detail that really brings the scene to life.

Don’t be afraid to be honest and candid in your answer.

Want more assistance on your application? Check out the CollegeVine application guidance program.

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CollegeVine College Essay Team

Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process, evaluated upon their skill in writing and knowledge of college admissions. We then train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.
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