Boston University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Curved corner of modern Boston University building
The Student Center at Boston University. Barry Winiker / Getty Images

Boston University is a private research university with an acceptance rate of 22%. To apply, students can use the Common Application or Coalition Application. BU has an Early Decision program that can improve admission chances for students who are sure the university is their top choice school.

Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the BU admissions statistics you should know, including the average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Why Boston University?

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Campus Features: One of dozens of Boston area colleges, Boston University's urban campus sits near both Fenway Park and the Charles River Esplanade. The MBTA Green Line has several stops on campus.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 10:1
  • Athletics: The Boston University Terriers compete in the NCAA Patriot League and Hockey East Conference.
  • Highlights: BU typically ranks among the top 50 universities in the United States. Even though the school is one of the largest private universities in the country, students receive a lot of personal attention from the faculty and staff.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Boston University had an acceptance rate of 22%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 22 students were admitted, making BU's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 64,482
Percent Admitted 22%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 25%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Boston University requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 70% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 650 720
Math 680 780
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of BU's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Boston University scored between 650 and 720, while 25% scored below 650 and 25% scored above 720. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 680 and 780, while 25% scored below 680 and 25% scored above 780. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1500 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at BU.

Requirements

BU does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Boston University participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. BU has different SAT requirements for the Accelerated Medical Program and the College of Fine Arts, so make sure to review the requirements for the program to which you are applying.

ACT Scores and Requirements

BU requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 39% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 31 35
Math 27 33
Composite 30 33

This admissions data tells us that most of Boston University's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to BU received a composite ACT score between 30 and 33, while 25% scored above 33 and 25% scored below 30.

Requirements

Boston University does not require the ACT writing section. Unlike many universities, BU superscores ACT results; your highest subscores from multiple ACT sittings will be considered.

GPA

In 2018, the average high school GPA for incoming Boston University freshman was 3.71. These results suggest that most successful applicants to BU have primarily A and B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Boston University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Boston University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Boston University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Boston University has a highly competitive admissions pool with a low acceptance rate and high average SAT/ACT scores. However, BU has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. A strong application essay and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their test scores are outside Boston University's average range.

Admission standards at BU vary by school and college. Applicants to the College of Fine Arts must audition or submit a portfolio, and applicants to the university's Accelerated Medical Program have additional testing and course requirements.

In the graph shown here, the blue and green dots represent accepted students, and you can see that most students who got into BU had averages of B+ or higher, SAT scores (ERW+M) above 1200, and ACT composite scores above 25. Students with "A" averages and SAT scores above 1300 are most likely to be admitted, and there are very few red dots (rejected students) in the upper right corner of the graph. However, there's a lot of red hidden behind the blue in the middle part of the graph. Some students who have grades and standardized test scores that are on target for Boston University will still get rejection letters. As a result, even if Boston University is a match school in relation to your credentials, you should still make sure that you apply to a couple of safety schools in case the admissions decision doesn't go your way.