Have you ever looked at a university and wondered if it could look like something that’s not typical? You have a gander at most elite universities and see that they all look the same no matter how many perspectives you try to put it. But when you look at Tufts University (known as Tufts everywhere), you'll find yourself wondering if it's even a university to begin with. With its illustrious outdoor areas and old-school design on the buildings that somehow still feel magical today, Tufts can sure pack a punch for prospective students who'd like to sprawl here. It’s even inspired a student to make a blog post about the reasons they chose Tufts. Cool right?
So, you think you got what it takes to gain admissions to Tufts and see what makes this university one of the best among applicants? You sure can with the guide we have for you below!
1. Be aware of the myths surrounding Tufts admissions
When a university is difficult to get into, it’s a big thing that people will start spreading myths about them. That's why Tufts took the privilege of detailing the many common myths going around on their website here. As they said, “Admissions officers answer lots of questions. It's part of the job description. And many students ask us similar versions of the same questions. The blogosphere is filled with viral rumors about college admissions, what "counts," and what doesn’t, and why. These ideas fester in high school cafeterias and cyber spots like “College Confidential” and Facebook, among others, so we want to use this corner of the Internet to clear the air.” Curious what are the myths they’ve debunked? Here are a few of them with their responsive arguments:
- It's better to get a lower grade in a more challenging course than getting a higher grade in a more straightforward course.
Well, yes and no. Part of our academic assessment of your application is a consideration of curricular rigor. We determine the availability of advanced coursework at your school (AP, IB, honors, etc.) and evaluate your transcript on a scale from “most demanding available” to “below average.” Your GPA is assessed in that context, so yes, sometimes the "lower grade in the harder course" is "better" than the "higher grade in an easier course." But that doesn't mean that a transcript full of Cs in AP classes is better than straight As in classes a step-down. Know yourself and put together a schedule that will challenge and engage you but not cause you to flounder academically.
- I have a better chance of getting in if I meet my admissions officer, send them emails, and get an interview with them.
While we welcome your questions and feel free to reach out to us with specific concerns, this type of contact with us will not "help" your application. We don't offer interviews with our admissions staff as part of our process, and you don't need to meet with the admissions officer who reads for your territory on your campus visit. You shouldn't. The individual presenting at your information session is happy to answer questions and has the same knowledge and expertise as the person who will eventually read your file.
The lesson here is don't send emails or request meetings just for the sake of it. There are better ways to show us "demonstrated interest." If you can visit the campus, meet us if we visit your high school, or say hello at a college fair, we will appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to get to know Tufts and assess whether it is a good fit for you. If you write great, specific responses to our supplemental questions (particularly "Why Tufts?") based on the research you did online, we notice, and it helps. So when thinking about showing demonstrated interest, please be purposeful.
The lesson to be learned here: Don't believe in the myths and listen to Tufts. They may not reveal much, but they're vigilant in letting applicants know these myths hold no value at all.
2. Learn a bit more on how Tufts determines whether a student is a good fit for the university
While the myths are indeed helpful to debunk, it doesn't point out much on Tufts’ wants in a student, let alone knowing if they're a good fit for the crew. That's why it's good to see that Joseph “JT” Duck, who was named dean of admissions last year, was able to elaborate on this briefly in an interview. When he was asked how he can figure out if an applicant is a good fit for Tufts and vice versa, he said, “Tufts is fortunate to receive a huge and deep pool of compelling applicants each year. Through a careful, holistic, contextual, and committee-driven evaluation of applications, the admissions office identifies a subset of applicants to admit that is the most likely to contribute to—and benefit from—Tufts. The goal is to build a diverse cohort of students each year to push each other to great heights while contributing to the university in different ways. Broadly, I understand Tufts students to be collaborative, innovative, intellectually curious, globally conscious, and highly engaged in the world around them. Some are deeply devoted to the fine arts, others to engineering, and others to economics—and some to all three. Those same students might be passionate thespians, competitive athletes, or renowned musicians—and some might be all three. Collectively, the admitted students will reflect Tufts’ values, even as they bring with them different interests, experiences, and backgrounds.”
A more straightforward way to put it: It takes a lot of effort on Joseph's part, along with the admissions team, to pick students who can indeed be the ones that Tuft wants in their halls.
3. Develop your spike
Tufts may not put out much on what they look for, but as you've learned from Joseph earlier, he believes Tufts students are a diverse group. So what's an excellent way to be different when you're creating your application? Develop your spike. What’s that? As PrepScholar says here, a point "is what sets you apart from all other applicants. It goes against the spirit of simply being well-rounded. By nature of being unique, you don't fit in with all of the other well-rounded applicants; you do something that truly stands out in a meaningful way." It’s another way of saying you’re going to so great at something it’ll make you look like you’re on top of the world.
But going for this kind of status will take a lot of time and effort to achieve. You may even want to throw in the towel before things get any good for you. If you're feeling negativity, look up to Conan O'Brien. Yes, the talk show host can make you laugh out loud a lot. He's famous for being a late-night talk show host and make fun of himself. But you have to think that just because he can earn money and making others laugh doesn't mean it comes easy. He's even going through his online video shorts that reach out to others. If he can reach the status of being one of the world's most awesome talk-show hosts with comedy prowess, then you can become great at your area of interest too!
4. Plot out an area of interest and schedule for spike development
When you're ready to develop your spike finally, you'll need to pick out the area of interest that you can do it with and a schedule that works for you. For example, if the area of interest that you're very good with involves tech repair, then you can start making a schedule where you’ll improve on your spike after school, the moment you wake up, during breaks, and other moments on your week that'll let you get things revved up. You can also decide on the resources you'll use, such as online classes and one-on-one tutoring, to further your levels to the max.
5. Tackle the AP classes and ace the exams
When you got time, consider taking on the AP classes your school offering and ace the exams. What are they? Fully known as Advanced Placement classes, AP classes let you tackle some of the stuff you'll encounter in college and help you earn some college credit. When you've done the AP classes, you'll be tasked to do the exams that will mark your accomplishment. It's a way of giving yourself a bit of a college workload on the side while you're still attending high school. It's an excellent way to boost your application because you'll not only get credits that may be credited at Tufts, but the admissions team will see you're a determined applicant who won't sit down and settle down with the easy stuff.
6. Be the school volunteer everyone’s talking about
While most students would just go home after a long day in classrooms, you can do something different to get your application pumped by being the school volunteer. From helping out the staff to improving on things that’ll make your school more sparkly, it’ll get everyone thinking how cool you’ll be. It’s a great way to boost your application because it’ll help the teachers who’ll write your recommendation letters, and it'll show Tufts that you're the vibrant applicant. You can contribute significantly to a community.
7. Try out a foreign exchange program
Have some urge to travel overseas while you’re still in high school? Go for a foreign exchange program! It’ll give you a chance to see the world from a different perspective and also let you learn more about what a country different from your own is like from the other side. It’ll rev up your application because it’ll show Tuft you're the kind of applicant who wants to learn beyond borders and grow as a person. It'll also show them you got the diversity they wish to see in their students.
8. Select your preferred course at Tufts
Gathered the things you need that Tufts wants to see in you? You can now pick your preferred course at Tufts. If you're stumped on what to go for, you can check this course catalog here. The courses aren't as detailed as other catalogs from other universities, but you can check on the subjects included so it'll give you an idea of what you'll be studying when you do get accepted.
9. Get the requirements you’ll need when applying to Tufts
When you’ve successfully picked your course, you’re now ready to collect the requirements for your application. You can check for the conditions with more details here, but you can have a peek at the essentials below:
- Completed Common or Coalition Application
- Completed Tufts Writing Supplement
- Secondary School Report
- SAT or ACT score results (currently optional)
- Senior grades
- High school transcript
- $75 application fee or fee waiver form
- Letters of recommendation (requires one letter from a teacher in a junior or senior year primary academic course (math, natural science, social science, English, or a foreign language) and one letter from a school counselor for all applicants)
- Art Portfolio (required for those applying to BFA or Combined Degree BFA + BA/BS programs at the SMFA at Tufts)
A thing to note is the Art Portfolio is optional for other courses. You don't need to send it in, but if you got the knack for the arts and want to boost your application a bit, you can send it in. You can also see that the SAT and ACT score results are optional, which gives you the option of submitting the scores. It's explained more on the Tufts website.
10. See the SAT and ACT scores Tufts is delighted to view
As you've learned, SAT and ACT score results are optional, according to Tufts, which means you don't need to worry too much about getting the scores. But it's still a good idea to know the scores because if you do plan on going for the optional, you'll want to know what Tufts loves to see. Curious? Here’s College Simply’s lowdown on what they are:
As you can see above, your SAT score must be above 1460, and your ACT score must be above 32. But because SAT and ACT results are optional, there won't be too much worry here. Still, you'll want to be ready to take on the next step and always do it.
11. Score significantly on the ACT and SATs (optional, but recommended to be taken)
SAT and ACT results are optional requirements when applying for Tufts, so you’re free to skip this step. But it’s still a great idea to take the tests and submit because you can’t predict what the world will become in the next few months. You can’t even tell if Tufts will stick with their current requirement setup for a long time, so you must be prepped up for all possibilities. That’s why when you want to achieve the scores Tufts is delighted to view on your application, you can follow these tips:
- Practice the tests
There’s nothing like practicing, so it pays to practice your tests and know them by heart. It’ll be a bit of a drag, but you have to think that athletes go through the process of practicing every single day. So if they can do it and achieve results that will have everyone go nuts, then you can practice the tests and ace them to show the world you’re no slouch at all.
- Prepare with the apps.
When you’ve done your practices, it’s time to get prepared with the app versions. You had to practice the tests with so much material cluttered around you in the good old days. Now, the app versions make it convenient because you can use your phone, computer, or other devices to let you have it in simplified versions. You can also apply what you’ve learned in your practices and see how well you do with the tests the app has prepared for you.
- Get a tutor expert to help you out.
While you're practicing the tests with the apps, consider getting a tutor expert to help you out. It'll cost a bit, but you'll learn the inner workings of how an achiever did their thing and will show you the ropes on their tactics and methods. It'll also show you that even the expert had to struggle and work their way to finally get the high scores they needed.
- Make an effective study schedule.
When you’re studying for the tests, be sure to have a great schedule that works just for you. You can’t expect to be prepared for the SAT and ACTs while you’re on the road or trying to see whether you can do the practice tests or not when you’re doing homework, so make sure your schedule has space you to study. So if it means you have to pitch in 30 minutes of SAT and ACT practice or study sessions before doing some studying for your high school class, then let it be that.
12. Have a gander at Tufts’s acceptance rates
Tufts may not let everyone know in full detail what they look for in a student, but they made the world know that the myths are nothing and the dean has a way of knowing how to pick a good student. But when it comes to acceptance rates, it can sure paint a different picture. If you’re wondering about the rates, TopTier Admissions can elaborate further on this:
The acceptance rate from 2017 was as high as 18.73%, and the rate went slowly down to 14% in 2020. Surprisingly, it’s estimated that the rate will go a little higher in the following years. But you’ll want to keep the acceptance rates in your mind at all times because you got other applicants to compete with, so don’t be complacent about all this.
13. Rev up your application
Got everything for submission? You're now ready to create your application and rev it up with enthusiasm. Before you go high and mighty, here are tips to remember in doing it:
- Learn some great tips from the admissions team themselves
While most elite universities will just give out advice sparsely, Tufts is generous enough to dedicate a page for application advice here. From how to write your essays to creating your profile, the admissions team wants to help you out. Follow their information, and you'll get your application up and running.
- Write your essays with excellence with the tips Tufts gives
As required, you'll be writing supplemental essays with your application. Don't worry; Tufts also gave some great tips on how to ace them here. It'll give you an insight into what Tufts wants to see from you, and it'll cut down the daunting task into bite-sized chunks of easiness to be comfortable.
- Consult the experts
When you've finally come close to completing your application, consult the experts. It'll give you a good idea of how it looks, what stuff to add, and other aspects that'll help you improve it further. You can also ask around for anyone who's graduated at Tufts and ask them how they made their application.
- Take a virtual tour
If you’re going to be part of this great university, how about giving them a tour in the virtual dimension? You can check for the details about how to do them here. It'll not only let you know more about Tufts deeply, but it'll get them to know you better, and you'll be able to understand more about who they are and how they are as a community. Plus, you'll get a significant boost in reputation because when the admissions team sees your application, they'll remember you from the virtual tour you took, and it'll raise your chance of being part of the team.
- Prioritize what you’re addressing when it comes to your achievements
It'll delight Tufts when they see you're the kind of student who isn't ordinarily living life like other students, but don't go boasting around in other activities that just add clutter to your profile. Instead, try prioritizing what you want to address with your achievements. It's a must to add the area of interest that you're developing your spike while adding 3 – 5 to achieve significant areas of interest. You can then add the other activities you did as a volunteer while also letting Tufts know of your foreign exchange program experience. So boost your application with less of the clutter and more of the awesome.
14. Submit everything, cross your fingers, and hope for the best
Once you've got it all under wraps, make that submission, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. It's not a guarantee you'll get right in, and you can already see the acceptance rate is relatively low that you got to hope. So it's all in a matter of patience.
You’ve come home and can see a reply to your application. The result? Rejection! In the end, Tufts doesn’t see them as a student for them. So is hope all lost for you? No, not yet, because there’s still another option to pursue. It's not the usual option, and it's no guarantee you'll get in, but you've already tried applying, so giving it a go won't have you lose much. Here it is:
Alternative Option: Attend a different college and transfer to Tufts later
You can try applying for a different college and transferring to Tufts later. The requirements for sharing are here, and some exciting details on how being a transfer student will work in their institute. If you’re a bit worried that the transfer acceptance rate is low, you can rest easy because Campus Reel reports it's at 14.47%, which is close to the acceptance rate for regular applicants above. But don't think that just because the rates are similar doesn't mean other factors aren't at play: You did apply for Tufts before so that the admissions team will see you again, and chances of you getting accepted this time might be a bit low. But on the other hand, you can show Tufts you've changed, and you're letting them have a second chance at seeing you in a different light.
Tufts University is quite the university to be a part of. It may not look like the average elite university, but it sure beats them all down in design and aura. It can give the students that'll become part of it a community that lives and thrives in peace and energy. It's going to be tricky applying for this place, but with the guide we have for you, you can go for it and know that you can walk this green area with a smile in time.