Posts Tagged ‘BU Admissions’

Monday
January 30

London Calling: A PR major’s adventures across the pond

By Stacey Milton

Welcome to our first installment of a series on studying abroad. Through this week and next we will be introducing you to several BU students who studied overseas last semester, as well as showcasing some interesting and unique study abroad opportunities available here at Boston University.

Cheers! My name is Hannah, and I am a junior in BU’s College of Communication, majoring in Public Relations, with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies.

Enjoying high tea in London

Enjoying high tea in London

Many of you reading this are contemplating a pretty important transition: the move from high school to college. This past September I made a big move myself, from Boston, Massachusetts, to London, England. I spent the past Fall semester studying, exploring, and interning in one of the most metropolitan, international cities in the world.

With roommate Tara, and some classic phonebooths

With roommate Tara, and some classic phonebooths

Spending a semester in London was an amazing opportunity! Field trips took on a whole new meaning when my entire history class went to the center of London to walk in the steps of the suffragettes who campaigned for women’s right to vote outside of Parliament. My Literature of Shakespeare class took advantage of our phenomenal location and visited the Globe Theater for an acting workshop.

With friends Steph (CAS'12) and Jessica overlooking the Thames

With friends Steph (CAS'12) and Jessica overlooking the Thames

One of the best parts of my semester abroad, and one of the main reasons I chose to study in London, was the opportunity to intern at a public relations agency. For the last two thirds of the semester I spent four days a week working at one of the largest PR agencies in the world: Weber Shandwick. Through this experience I learned a few things. First, English people do actually drink a lot of tea, and often make tea for each other as a gesture of kindness. I also learned that they swear a lot more than American’s (the accents might sound posh — but English people can also be incredibly crude!).

Taking in the view in Florence, Italy

Taking in the view in Florence, Italy

Beyond my anthropological observations regarding the English people, I learned a lot about my chosen profession – public relations. I was given real work to do as an intern in the the branded content division, pursuing different opportunities that brought brands and films or TV shows together. Part of my job was even watching the TV shows (on fast forward) to monitor how often our client’s products were featured on screen. I also had the chance to write a business proposal which was sent to various major corporations, asking them to consider sponsoring the production of a feature film.

Molly (COM'12) and I in Dublin, Ireland

Molly (COM'12) and I in Dublin, Ireland

My semester in London wasn’t solely spent behind a desk. A typical weekend meant heading to one of London’s numerous markets to shop followed by a cheap curry lunch and a trip to a museum (many of the museum’s in London are free!), and later enjoying a pint of cider in a local pub. Although, I’d say it’s hard to call any weekend abroad “typical.” More often than not you could find me grabbing a plane to Barcelona, Dublin, or Brussels — just a few of the cities I had a chance to visit! I’ve relaxed in the thermal baths of Budapest and eaten pizza in the center of Rome. I’ve visited DaVinci’s Mona Lisa in Paris and Picasso’s Guernica in Madrid. Traveling in Europe exposed me to so many different places, people, and cultures, and I tried my best to to take full advantage of the small window of time overseas.

Visiting the Louvre with Dani (CFA'13) while in Paris

Visiting the Louvre with Dani (CFA'13) while in Paris

My semester in London was one of the most challenging, rewarding, and enriching periods of my life. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to pursue some of the things I love doing, which I now know to be traveling as well as working within the PR industry. While BU may be my home away from home I think London will have a soft spot in my heart from now on as well.

Hannah_ParisHannah is a Junior in the College of Communication majoring in public relations and minoring in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Originally from Ambler, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia), Hannah is involved with the Community Service Center and the Public Relations Student Society of America. She’s also a huge fan of brunch and most trashy television shows. Feel free to email her with any questions at hfree13@bu.edu. If you want to learn more about Hannah’s experiences abroad, check out her blog, where she chronicled her entire semester.

Tuesday
January 10

The life-cycle of a BU application

By Stacey Milton

Although campus is still relatively quiet, and classes won’t begin for another week, there is a lot of activity happening here in the BU Admissions office. Over the next couple months, our staff will read and review over 40,000 applications for the Class of 2016. So how do we do it?

Well, there is a lot of coffee involved (and luckily, a Starbucks and a Panera across the street). This time of year, we spend most every day reading applications, sometimes in the office; sometimes at home (which makes my cat very happy). In fact, there’s a pretty good chance your application could be initially reviewed by someone sitting at home in their pajamas!

When we receive an application from the Common App, it is  uploaded into our system, where it is then matched with all other required forms – recommendation letters, transcripts, school reports – and any test scores that we may have received. Eventually, these are all matched together with a student’s name, and a University ID is issued to the file.

Once a file is complete, it enters our online reading system so that we can begin the review process. As you may already know, BU Admissions reads regionally, and so we each tend to focus on our own state, or states, initially. I work specifically with PA and DE, and I’m thrilled to see the names of students that I remember meeting this past fall while visiting high schools in my region. We also read for all nine undergraduate schools and colleges.

After an initial review has been completed, a few things can happen. A decision may be recommended and the file will be looked at in committee, where several members of the board of admissions will discuss the applicant and come to a final decision. Or, if an applicant is clearly a strong candidate for admission, we may be able to make a final decision and move along to the next. With each file we review, we also may be considering an applicant for a scholarship or our highly selective Kilachand Honors College. Applicants to our College of Fine Arts receive an initial academic review and are also discussed in committee once an artistic evaluation (based on a portfolio or audition) is completed.

The process of reviewing applications is often referred to as an “art, rather than a science.” This is especially true for BU Admissions, where our applicant pool is predominantly made up of academically impressive students. Thus, we are attempting to build a class of individuals who will not only thrive as BU students, but who will truly enjoy their experience, and who really want to be here. We are thinking, “Would this student contribute to the classroom discussion?” or “Would they get involved with an a cappella group, the Community Service Center, or take advantage of research opportunities?” and one of my favorites, “Would you want this student as your roommate?

Believe it or not, it’s also a lot of fun, which makes the long days and slight eye twitch bearable. My colleagues and I look forward to reading many, many more applications over the next couple months as we complete the class. And we all look forward to April, when we get to leave our offices, rejoin the world and meet all of the wonderful students who have been offered a place in BU’s Class of 2016!

Tuesday
December 13

Admissions Tip#6: Don’t wait until the last minute to hit submit

By Stacey Milton

Online applications can hit glitches. Make sure you have enough time to fill them out, check them, and fix them. Starting on them the day before a deadline is a don’t.

Over 95% of Boston University applications are submitted online, and many of those come through during the last week of December.

If you wait until December 31st to submit your application, you may find yourself flirting with disaster: not only will many other students be submitting applications through the Common Application (lots of online traffic!) but the BU Admissions Office will be closed until January 3rd, so you won’t be able to contact anyone right away if you encounter problems. Keep in mind that this won’t hurt you with regard to application consideration, but it will add some unnecessary stress to your holiday break!

If you are ready to submit your application — your essays have been proofed, you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s — then take a deep breath and send it our way! Then you can take that great sigh of relief in knowing that it’s out of your hands for a few months.

Thursday
December 8

Admissions Tip #5: Create a plan to manage college correspondence

By Stacey Milton

Separate correspondence from your friends and family from the college process. Designate an email account for college stuff only so you don’t miss a message between Aunt Betty and spam.

I don’t know about you, but I get way more emails a day than I could possibly read. Between work messages, Facebook updates and notifications of holiday sales, it’s a mess in there. One remedy is to clear out the unnecessary clutter with a designated email account that you can use exclusively for college applications. Many colleges, including BU, will be in touch primarily through email, so it’s important to be sure that you are getting those important messages.

In addition, BU applicants can check their application status through their Web Account, so it’s also good to get into a habit of checking it pretty regularly to see if we are requesting anything. But, if you forget to check your Web Account, we will most likely email you to let you know if we are missing anything for your file. Even more importantly, we’ll be sending you an email when your decision is available online later in the spring, and you won’t want to miss that!

(Plus, as an added benefit, there’s nothing potentially questionable about staceyscollegesearch@gmail.com compared to some of the other email addresses we’ve seen!)

Wednesday
December 7

Admissions Tip #4: Staying on top of all those deadlines!

By Stacey Milton

Get organized. Buy a calendar and put college deadlines on it.

We are headed toward mid-December, with many college deadlines, including BU’s, quickly approaching. This, combined with the end of the semester, final exams and papers, is a wonderful combination for stress! So, give yourself a break and map out what you are going to need to do over the next month. Using a calendar, planner, or even an Excel sheet, can make it much easier to stay on top of upcoming deadlines. You can also make notes for yourself. Notes like “Essay written, need to proofread” or “Need to check website for audition dates” can help you to see what is, and still needs to be, completed.

Once you have everything organized and on one page, use it! Check it weekly to remind yourself of what is coming up soon and then prioritize. And don’t forget that the brochures you collected over the spring and fall from college fairs, visits at your high school, and other events probably have all of the info you are looking for — or, just go online! Most colleges have a page on their website with a consolidated list of all application requirements and deadlines. This time of year you’ll probably find the answer more quickly by checking the website than calling the office. And make sure you check off the items you have completed or submitted! There’s a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are that much closer to being completely done.

And if, lo and behold, you do miss a deadline, get in touch with the admissions office quickly, and by phone. We are happy to help if we can and trust us, yours probably won’t be the first or only panicked call we receive!

Happy planning!

Monday
November 28

Admissions Tip #3: How can I write an essay that will stand out?

By Lisa H.

Be yourself. When writing an essay, stay true to who you are. Don’t try to come off as someone you’re not. Admissions directors have read thousands of essays. And the ones that consistently stand out are the ones that are written from the heart, not the thesaurus.

After two months on the road meeting with interested students, I’ve heard all kinds of questions — everything from “What are your most popular majors?” and “How is your psychology program?” to more surprising and unique questions like, “Do students decorate their rooms for the holidays?”

Overall, I’d say one of the most common and difficult questions I am asked is, “What can I write in my essay that will make me stand out?

While I (and my colleagues) completely understand where this question is coming from, the inherent issue here is really about how to best approach writing your college essay. In most cases, it’s not about “what” you write but “how” you write it.

Our office received over 42,000 applications last year and each staff member will potentially read over 2,000 applications by the end of application season. Quite simply, we aren’t given the luxury of being able to interview our applicants. So, the essay plays a huge role  in allowing us a glimpse of who you are  – outside of everything else we learn about you from your application. It’s not about surprising us or making us laugh (or cry, as the case may be) but really just letting your voice come through and enabling us get to know you better.

So, while I cannot tell you what to write or how to make your essay stand out, I can offer some advice on what not to do and how to prevent your essay from standing out in the wrong way:

Avoid repetition. There is a big difference between highlighting your leadership role in a club, difficulties you’ve faced within that position and how you addressed them in an essay and writing 2-3 sentences about the six different activities that I already know you are involved with from the extra-curricular section of the application. Take advantage of the open space to give us new insight.

Answer the question that was asked of you! If you are given a specific prompt, it’s for a reason. You could write the best essay ever, but if it doesn’t answer the provided question it won’t really help us get to the information we were looking for.

Don’t focus on being unique. Write about what’s true to you and do it well. Relationships with family members, injuries that impacted you, or exciting and life changing travel stories are all popular topics, but that doesn’t mean you should stay away from them if that is what is true to you. One of my favorite essays was about a student’s relationship with her mother.

A popular saying in our office: If you’re creative, be creative. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re not especially funny, now is not the time to attempt a satirical or humorous essay.

Don’t wait until the last minute. This is a pretty important part of the application, and procrastination can lead to sloppy writing and weaker, unformed ideas. Give yourself the time to write a rough draft, set it aside, and come back to it. Have friends and family read it not just for edits, but for more critical feedback. Ask them, “Does this sound like me?” If so, great! If not, then maybe it needs some reworking.

PROOFREAD! You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, and yet we still see essays rife with silly mistakes. Keep in mind, however, that while you should have others help you edit and proofread your essays, you should never let someone edit your writing so much that it is no longer your own voice. This would defeat the whole purpose!

Sunday
October 23

Applying Early Decision: A current BU freshman looks back on his application process

By Stacey Milton

John-Michael (left) & friends

John-Michael Sedor (COM'15), left, and friends

Hi there!

My name is John-Michael Sedor and I am from Philadelphia, PA. About a year ago, I started my senior year at the Westtown School and began the process of applying to college –  I had three schools in mind and BU was one of them. A friend of mine was at BU and this was one  reason I decided to apply. I’ve been interested in working in radio since I was a kid, and my friend happened to work at WTBU, Boston University’s radio station. I visited him early in the year and was able to take a tour of the school and the radio station. I loved everything about BU and Boston! Everyone I met was extremely nice and I felt very comfortable. After that visit I decided to apply Early Decision.

The main reasons I decided to go ED was because I loved the school, and a representative from BU mentioned that my chances of admission could be higher under ED (there are only about a thousand applicants, versus 39,000!). Applying ED meant that I would be one of the first students to hear where I might have a place for the fall. By mid-December I was notified that I had been admitted into BU’s College of Communication. I was thrilled, and it was a great feeling to know where I was going so early! This was also great for my senior year because I was finished with the stressful college process early, and did not have to balance that with all of my school work. It also felt awesome to know where I was headed while most of my friends were still wondering whether or not they would be admitted to their first-choice colleges.

Hanging out at Fenway Park

Hanging out at Fenway Park

Now I am a quarter of the way through my freshmen year and I am having an awesome time. I love my classes and there is so much to do in the city. To be honest, I was a little nervous about BU seemingly not having an “actual campus,” but I quickly found that’s not the case. Plus, all of the academic buildings (and classes) are on one main street: Commonwealth Avenue. BU does a great job of enabling new students to immediately become immersed in extra-curricular activities. I work with two radio shows at WTBU and am also a part of BUTV. Already as a freshman I have controlled a radio show and helped film an episode of Terrier Nation, a Boston University college sports show. I never imagined that I would be this involved so early. Also, Boston is an amazing city; it has so much to offer and it’s easy to get around.

Freshman John-Michael Sedor with Rhett, BU's mascot

With Rhett, BU's mascot

I am really glad that I applied to BU early decision and I am excited about my future here as a Terrier!

Saturday
October 8

From the Alamo to Plymouth Rock to Mexico City – our staff is covering the globe!

By Stacey Milton

Here are few pictures sent in by our staff this week. As you can see, we’re not spending too much time in Boston these days!

Thanks to Stephanie, Zoe and Duffy for sharing their photos from the road. Safe travels out there!

View of the Auditorio Nacional in Parque Chapultepec.

View of the Auditorio Nacional in Parque Chapultepec.

Stephanie Gonzalez snapped this shot while visiting Plymouth, MA.

Stephanie Gonzalez snapped this shot while visiting Plymouth, MA.

Zoe Winkler, our Texas rep, was joined by Assistant Director Jeff Williams and current student, Dexter, at the Alamo.

Zoe Winkler, our Texas rep, was joined by Assistant Director Jeff Williams and current student, Dexter, at the Alamo.

Tuesday
October 4

To be, or not to be…applying Early Decision?

By Stacey Milton

Associate Director Jon Korhonen, regional rep for Southern FL

Associate Director Jon Korhonen, regional rep for Southern FL

Greetings prospective BU Students!

My name is Jon Korhonen, and I am the Associate Director for Early Decision at Boston University. My colleagues and I have met many of you already during our travels this year. It is always exciting to learn that BU is a #1 choice for so many seniors!

If you have decided that Boston University is your top choice, I would like to encourage you to consider being an Early Decision candidate for admission.  Last year we received about 42,000 applications for admission, and only about 1,000 of those were for Early Decision. This means that you have a unique opportunity to stand out and highlight your candidacy for admission within a smaller applicant pool.  We value a student’s demonstrated interest in BU, and Early Decision is certainly the best way to show that you are really excited about being a BU Terrier!

If you are applying Early Decision, please remember that both the application and the CSS Profile (if you are applying for need-based financial aid) are due on November 1. You will receive a decision letter and financial aid award by December 15.  As you may already know, Early Decision is a binding process, and is different from Early Action (which BU does not offer), therefore it is expected that admitted Early Decision students will enroll with our class next year (the enrollment deposit is due by January 15, 2012).

If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Best of luck to all of you, and I look forward to seeing your Early Decision application in a few weeks!

Sunday
October 2

BU in Racine, Wisconsin

By Stacey Milton

Wind Point Lighthouse in Racine, WI

Wind Point Lighthouse in Racine, WI

Thanks to Dan Casseley, our regional Assistant Director for the parts of the Mid-West, for sharing this photo from Wisconsin! We love that old school BU binder you’re rocking, Dan.

Minnesotans: Dan will be visiting high schools around the Twin Cities this week, so be on the lookout!