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This year Boston College changed their essay prompts. I’m going to be honest, I have never loved their essays. They weren’t inspiring, and applicants struggled to find answers for many of the prompts. But (thanks, BC!) this year they changed them enough to make them fascinating.

1. Each year at University Convocation, our incoming class engages in reflective dialogue with the author of a common text. What book by a living author would you recommend for your incoming class to read, and why would this be an important shared text? 

This one is a holdover. If you’re not a reader, then this one isn’t for you. But finding a book that will inspire BC students shouldn’t be hard. But them you’d have to know the book well enough to write a good answer.

2. At Boston College, we draw upon the Jesuit tradition of finding worthwhile conversation partners. Some support our viewpoints while others challenge them. Who fulfills this role in your life? Please cite a specific conversation you had where this conversation partner challenged your perspective or you challenged theirs.

There is a slight variation on this essay at Yale, Brown, and Princeton. I swear, sometimes I have an applicant who just does not have a good answer for this, and I think it hurts them. So finding a good response can help a lot here.

3. In her November 2019 Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi warned viewers against assigning people a “single story” through assumptions about their nationality, appearance, or background.  Discuss a time when someone defined you by a single story. What challenges did this present and how did you overcome them?

New prompt alert: and wow, what a great question. We have all been pigeon-holed and a story about us takes hold and we spend a long time dispelling it to friends and peers. Answering a new prompts is HUGE! So find a good story and tell it well!

4. Boston College’s founding in 1863 was in response to society’s call. That call came from an immigrant community in Boston seeking a Jesuit education to foster social mobility. Still today, the University empowers its students to use their education to address society’s greatest needs. Which of today’s local or global issues is of particular concern to you and how might you use your Boston College education to address it?

Another holdover. BC is very social justice oriented. So show them you care about something important and how will BC help- you solve it.

As always, these are 400 word essays. And if you want to know more about how I work, reach out at 917.886.9272, or