Boston University Academy

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Boston University Academy
Motto Nil Doctis Arduum (Nothing Daunts a Scholar)
Established Founded in 1993
Type Independent secondary School
Principal Ari Betof
Students 163
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Campus One building, located in the center of the Boston University campus. BUA has full use of the University facilities.
Colors Scarlet, White and Black
Nickname BUA
Mascot Rhett the Boston Terrier
Affiliations Boston University, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Boston University Academy (BUA) is a private high school operated by Boston University. Founded in 1993 and located on the Boston University campus, the Academy is geared toward college preparatory work. As part of its integration with the university, students are able to take college courses for credit their junior and senior years, and are guaranteed acceptance to Boston University upon maintaining a 3.0 grade point average in Boston University courses.

BUA's student body is drawn from 49 communities. 48% come from independent schools, 44% from public schools, 2% from parochial schools and 6% are from home schools or international schools. 34% are students of color and 34% of students come from multilingual households (representing 22 languages). BUA provides need-based tuition assistance to approximately 38% of the students as of 2013–2014.[1]

Academic rigor[edit]

BU Academy student SAT scores [2] are consistently high: Its reported average SAT score in 2013 of 2148 was among the highest of any public or private high school in Massachusetts. [3] Nearly 100% (38 of 39 members) of its graduating class of 2012 were National Merit Commended Scholars.[4] (National Merit Commended Scholars generally score in the top 2% of all PSAT/NMSQT test-takers.)

The focus of the school, however, is not on standardized test taking or college admission. Rather, the school seeks to introduce its students to the rich western tradition while giving a solid background in academics.


The Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of both the Secondary School Admission Test Board and the Association of Independent Schools of New England.


Boston University Academy was proposed and founded in 1993 by Peter Schweich,[5][6] then the vice president of Boston University, and authorized by John Silber,[7] then the president of Boston University. Peter Schweich was its first headmaster, and served in that role until 1999, when he was succeeded by Dr. Jennifer Bond Hickman. Dr. James Tracy replaced Hickman and served until the spring of 2006, when he was replaced by the current head of school, James Berkman. On August 21, 2014, Berkman announced that he would retire after the 2014–2015 academic year. On November 14, 2014, Provost Jean Morrison announced the appointment of Dr. Ari Betof to replace Berkman effective July 1, 2015.

When BU Academy was founded, it covered grades 9-12; an 8th grade of approximately 20 students was added in 1999. The 8th grade was dropped in 2005.


Tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year: $37,988. Thirty-eight percent of students receive some sort of need-based financial aid, with the average grant covering $19,665 in 2013–2014.[8]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Philip Gambone is a published author who teaches freshman English.
  • Dr. Brett Abigaña, music instructor at BUA, was named one of the 19 most influential woodwind composers of 2011 by music authority Tim Reynish.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • J. Courtney Sullivan, who was in the Class of 1999, is a NY Times bestselling author.[10]
  • Jon Freeman, class of 2004, directs the Social Cognitive and Neural Sciences Lab at Dartmouth College, where he is a professor. Additionally, he was named as one of the top 30 scholars under 30 years of age by Pacific Standard Magazine. [11]

Student activities[edit]

Student activities include:

  • Film Club - Revived by two members of the class of 2015, Film Club is dedicated to watching and discussing films. The Academy's Film Club is widely regarded as one of the most selective clubs on campus. The application process is known for its grueling nature as potential members are required to submit a written statement and must also interview with the club's Director of Admission.
  • Entrepreneurship club, focused on designing and creating successful startups.
  • Middle Egyptian club, focused on reading and studying Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  • Model United Nations- a student run club including nearly one-third of the school's student population. BUA's Model UN team was recently ranked in the top 125 high school teams in North America.[12] BUA Model UN website
  • BUAMUN, a middle school Model UN conference run and staffed by Academy students.
  • Science Team- a large team who competes to demonstrate their superior science skills in the Western Suburban Science League.
  • Robotics-The BUA Robotics team competes in the FIRST league and many local competitions.
  • South Asian Students Association is a club founded by two Indian members of the Class of 2015 which focuses on reclaiming the heritage of South Asian students and spreading awareness about the culture of South Asia
  • Sports such as: Basketball, Crew, Cross country running, Fencing, Sailing, Soccer, Tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee.
  • Nerdly Hobbies, a semi-official student-run club which organizes Dungeons & Dragons games, Miniatures Wargames (like Warhammer 40,000), Magic: The Gathering Tournaments, and various leisure activities.
  • Dance Team
  • Photography Club
  • Craft Club
  • Yearbook
  • Cheese Club, a student run organization celebrating cheese.
  • Performing Arts Outing Club, which attends one Boston area theater performance or concert each month.
  • Math Team
  • Environmental club- A club which helps the environment through an extensive recycling program.
  • Literary Magazine (LitMag) and LitCafe, where student authors and artist can publish and share their works with the school community.
  • BU Academy Press- A student-run and edited newspaper that brings the important news to the students.
  • Art Club
  • Gallery Hoppers, where students take an afternoon to visit a local art gallery (and often grab a snack).
  • Drama, including the Drama class as well as the Senior Play and Independent Drama.
  • Many Students help in admissions, performing such functions as Tour Guides and Hosting visiting applicants
  • Student Council, which organizes most student activities and functions.
  • Peer Tutors- A group of students who help their peers by tutoring them in subjects where they need help.
  • Peer Advisors- A group of students who help new students transition to the academy.
  • Chess Club
  • MSSG- A club for members of the school coming from the north shore.
  • "Gay Straight Alliance"
  • Mandatory community service

Student activities formerly included other activities such as:

  • Music Diversity club

External links[edit]


  1. ^ BUA,facts and figures,2008,
  2. ^ College Board, SATs, 2006,
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Innerst, Carol (1997-06-08). "High school at Boston University directs students into academic life". The Washington Times. p. 2. 
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Brian (1999-06-11). "BU Academy seen as educational model". Boston University Bridge. 
  7. ^ BU Daily Free Press, A look at Boston University Academy, the elite private high school at the heart of the BU campus, 6 December 2006, who saw it as a potential feeder school for the university.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Tim Reynish,The Wind Music Of Brett Abigana,2011,
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The Brain Sciences Rock Star Who Wants Us All to Think Broadly". Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "America's Best High School Model UN Teams: 2011–2012 Spring Rankings Top 150". Retrieved 9 May 2013. 

Coordinates: 42°21′03″N 71°06′35″W / 42.350956°N 71.10982°W / 42.350956; -71.10982