BUA is unique. The academy is embedded in a major university and offers its students the chance to choose from every academic course in the university s catalogue. All while providing a safe harbor from which these kids can venture into the university environment. My son is about to complete his sophomore year at the Academy and his experience so far has been nothing short of transformational. Yes, he has had to work extremely hard. I attended one of the top universities in the United States and, frankly, he s working harder than I ever did. (That may, in part, reflect the times, but it also reflects the expectations BUA has for its students. One of his closest friends attends Andover Academy; both of them have concluded that my son s curriculum at BUA is significantly more demanding than his friend s curriculum at Andover.) Those who manage to stick it out, though, are rewarded not only with an education of unsurpassed richness and depth but, so long as they maintain a B average, guaranteed admission to B.U. as sophomores. Depending on the University courses they took at BUA, they can earn their undergrad degrees in 2-1/2 years. BUA's amazing. Just not for everyone.
It's very hard to write this review because my time at BUA was simultaneously one of the best and one of the worst times of my life. The students are some of the nicest kids you'll ever meet, and most of the faculty members are phenomenal as well (Dr. Proll is one of the best teacher's I've ever had). After years of being the outcast nerd, I finally found a place with kids like me, who loved to learn and wanted to be intellectually challenged. The downside was the crippling amount of work and the complete lack of caring for struggling students. At BUA, I found myself doing about 5 hours of homework on a week night and a total of about 13 hours on the weekend. I had no time for anything else. While I flourished in many classes, I drowned in the subjects where I was less proficient. Though I was falling behind in classes and had missed a lot of days, the school did nothing to help. The more I failed, the more depressed I became. I ultimately dropped out of the school because of overwhelming depression. Overall, if you think you can survive in a situation in which all you ever do is study, then BUA is the place for you. If not, BUA can ruin your life.
As you can tell from below, opinions of the school can be quite polarized. I like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle and hope to give a fair review. First of all, the school is definitely not for everyone. The workload can be large and unbalanced, stress often runs high, and it can be hard living 2 hours away from some of your friends. However there are also a number of great aspects. Most of the teachers are incredibly supportive, so long as you go to them for assistance and put in distinct effort. While some schools may have safety nets, BUA had a safety lifeline. You need to reach out and grab it, it won't just automatically catch you, and you need to grab on before it's too late. Learning to deal with the high pressure atmosphere has set me up incredibly for activities outside of the school. However, I also have friends who have either developed anxiety problems, or had existing ones worsen because of the high pressure environment. Socially, I've learned to hold meaningful relationships while at a distance, I connect with friends online and savor the time we have together in person. For me, BUA was definitely the right choice.
I was a freshman two years ago. I wanted to post something because I left after my freshman year and I wished someone had told me more about how the school works. I think it's telling that the students who write positive reviews feel the need to put down their classmates who left. It's an environment that's not supportive and the teacher's were not available. Overall I did not leave because I was not doing well in school, but because I felt like the school had some serious weaknesses that I didn't think I could live through for another three years. I am not at Commonwealth and am much happier- the teachers are more supportive. Before you commit- make sure you know what you are getting into- if you read the final two sentences of the previous comments and imagine a place where the teachers, your fellow students and the administrators are all saying that to you and see if that is an environment where you would thrive.
I graduated a month ago and had an extraordinary experience. I will miss BU Academy greatly. I have made some fantastic relationships with teachers that have always been willing to go out of their way for me. To see BUA's effectiveness, one simply has to look at the results that BUA's education, extracurriculars, and networking enable. Not merely SAT scores and college acceptances, but what my friends and I are doing the summer after our senior year. My friend and I are doing real work as engineering interns at very well-known defense contractors. Another friend is working for a consulting firm analyzing insurance markets. Some of my friends are just relaxing, but only because they wanted a last "summer off" before college. Essentially any upperclassman can participate at research at BU, if they want to. I will say that this school demands a great deal of work. If you simply aren't willing to do the work, then BUA is not the place for you: you'll get asked to leave. Some of the parent reviewers on this site need to realize that their child is not a "special snowflake". If your child was willing to put in the effort, (s)he would not have been ushered out. Simple as that.
Our son was recently accepted at this school. It was a decision between this and Commonwealth. Yes, Commonwealth has great reviews as a nurturing school, etc... but he felt that the instruction and the community was more to his liking at BUA. He's a fidgety kid and some of the revisit classes at Commonwealth were lectures which are totally not his learning style. For me personally, the admissions staff at BUA are great and approachable. For the parent interview, the interviewer was the most awesome interviewer we've ever met. Down to earth and engaging. A model for what all interviewers should be like. And we've done plenty of interviews during the past few years trying to get our kids into private schools to escape the dreadful public schools. The vast majority are cold and distant. So we'll see how it goes. I plan on posting again in the fall or early 2015 to let people know how it went.
There are better schools in the Boston area that will do more to nurture all aspects--both academic and non academic--of your child. For the very gifted, try RL, BH, windsor, Commonwealth or Milton. The school heads are approachable there and care about more than the bottom line. You'll be much happier if you shop around.
So the truth is, if you are a smart kid, you'll have a great experience. If you are not willing to work hard, go someplace easier. Pretty simple equation. No, BUA is not for everyone--that's the point.
i think it is ridiculous the negative reviews that are one here. i can relate to where they are coming from, but they are a little extreme and generally submitted by parents. in my four years here, i have definitely faced some ups and downs (mostly due to my own personal habits), but BUA has done nothing but help me with them. granted, freshman and sophomore years are incredibly hard and not very flexible, but once you get over that hump, nothing is going to get in your way. the comments that say that the school is not flexible are obviously from parents of students that didn't last the full time here. by the time i graduate in 12 days, i will have amassed 56 credits from BU, and i got them in the classes that i wanted. i took music theory and economics at BU when everyone else chose to take biology and french or spanish or whatever they wanted. i took calculus at the university instead of the academy just so that my schedule would work so i could take all the classes i wanted. while i agree that the principal doesn't know what is best for any student, parent, or teacher, it hasn't really effected my experience. choosing BUA was the best decision of my life and it will be yours too