How to Write Tufts University Essays 2019-2020
Set in idyllic Medford, MA, Tufts University was founded in 1852. As a research university, Tufts boasts both graduate and undergraduate schools—ranging from the School of Arts and Sciences to the School of Medicine. Known for its strong programs in international relations and medicine, Tufts primarily draws students for its academics. However, the Jumbos field over 25 Division III athletic teams with 15 national championships won since 2010—making it no slouch when it comes to athletics.
Tufts University is ranked #27 by U.S. News and World Report with an acceptance rate of 14.6% for the Class of 2023. Tufts allegedly practices yield protection, meaning that the school rejects or waitlists “overqualified” students they believe won’t ultimately enroll. Yield is the percentage of accepted students who matriculate, and higher yield is associated with greater prestige and desirability. Yield protection is actually also known as “Tufts Syndrome,” since the school is frequently accused of using this practice.
To avoid falling victim to yield protection, you’ll want to demonstrate your genuine interest in Tufts. One of the best ways to do that is through your essays. The college applications process may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry—Collegevine is here to help you tackle Tufts’ 2019-2020 application!
Tufts University Supplemental Essay Prompts
Applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering
If you are applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or Engineering, you can’t skip out on this question. First, take a step back and think about why you added Tufts to your school list. Simply seeking out a prestigious university isn’t sufficient. Reflect on your life and interests to tie it back into Tufts’ values and traditions. Maybe you’re a passionate environmentalist who is drawn to Tufts’ Food Systems and Nutrition minor, as you want to learn more about ways to increase sustainability in the food industry. Or, maybe the 1+4 Bridge Year caught your eye, as you want to live and intern abroad in Mexico before beginning your studies at Tufts, to better understand the border crisis and explore your interest in immigration law. Or, perhaps the Traveling Treasure Trunk theatre group caught your eye, as you love putting on imaginative plays for children.
With only 150 words, you won’t have a ton of space to list everything you love about Tufts. Be sure to pick just 2-3 relatively unique factors, and avoid generalities such as a “great location near Boston” or “strong math major.” You want to make it clear that you genuinely want to attend Tufts by doing your research.
Finally, remember that attending college is not only about academics, but also what you do outside the classroom. So, sure to mention at least one extracurricular/social factor that drew you to Tufts, along with at least one academic aspect.
Choose from one of the three following options for Prompt 2
You have a lot of freedom with this prompt, so feel free to show some personality. The key to writing a strong response is picking a specific topic; take note of the examples given, and aim for that level of precision. A common pitfall will likely be discussing something too general, such as a sport. You can start by brainstorming wider topics, but then try to refine them and put spins on them that show more about who you are. Take the example of “running.” That in itself is much too broad, as many students could pick this topic and discuss how it’s a democratic sport that doesn’t require fancy equipment, or how it brings people together. Instead, look at this topic from a personal angle. Maybe you faced several running injuries but persisted to finally run your first marathon. A stronger example of a topic would be: “how running isn’t actually innately bad for your body, contrary to popular belief.” You could then discuss your personal experiences, how important it is to use proper form and build adequate strength, and how you want more people to experience running, as it’s been empowering for you.
This prompt is perfect for creative students, but is also open to those who have a creative vision that isn’t yet realized–note the final part of the prompt, which asks what you hope to create. Writing about what you hope to create is also valuable, as it gives admissions officers further insight into your goals and how you might use a Tufts education.
If you have created something, here’s a way to outline your essay:
1. Briefly tell us the story behind your creation. What inspired you? How did you build the skills to create what you did?
2. Walk us through the process of creation. How long did it take? Was it grueling? Did you work with other people?
3. Show us the impact of your creation. Did your writing resonate with others? Did the community event raise lots of money for charity? Did the computer you build run super quickly and make for a better gaming experience?
For those who hope to create, you can follow a similar outline, but in a more hypothetical sense. Tell us what inspired your desire to create, what you envision the creation process to be like, and what you hope the results to be.
This is the most open-ended prompt of the three, and resembles the Common App prompts. To get started, you should reflect on the experiences in your life that made the person you are today. It could be growing up in a border town, which allowed you to meet people from all walks of life and become more open-minded. Maybe you’re an expert Rubik’s cube solver, but it took you months to finally master the skill. Or, perhaps you have a massive stamp collection, with help from people around the world.
Whatever your story, be sure that it complements the rest of your application. If you already discussed your love of tennis in another essay, pick another topic for this prompt. If there’s an aspect of who you are that isn’t represented yet in your application, this is a great space to discuss it.
Applicants to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree)
The first question is very similar to the “Why Tufts?” essay. However, this one asks you to tie your experiences back into why you want to enroll in SMFA.
Your goal here is to make admissions officers clearly see you maintaining a presence in their SMFA program. If you don’t like being bound to the restrictions of having to be shuffled into a major, write about how the SMFA program’s freedom of delving into a specific medium or exploring a variety of options caters to your goals. Let’s say that you are interested in both the arts and doing research in a STEM field. Instead of having to choose between one or the other, at Tufts, you can take the shuttle to SMFA in the morning and research the impact of certain elements on human cells in the evening.
Tufts is one of two schools in the nation that is affiliated with a museum. If you want to gain more insight into art history and see paintings for yourself, SMFA will allow you to do so. SMFA’s Morse Study Room even gives SMFA students access to papers that are not available to visitors. Therefore, those who wish to seek more than what is offered in the classroom and explore ranges of art will be well-suited to the program.
If there was a specific instance where you realized that you didn’t necessarily “fit in the box,” this prompt would be a good one to address that. But if you want to knock this question out of the park, ask yourself what you can contribute to the program. Tufts looks for students who want to add to the intellectual vigor of its campus. If you can convey the kind of person you will be on campus, Tufts will be able to visualize the impact you will make more clearly.
As an artist, you have most likely developed some kind of theme or style that is recurring. Look back through your past works. Is there a pattern that seems to repeat itself? If so, write about that pattern and why it comes across your work so much. Did you grow up in New York City? Maybe your art reflects the bustle and diversity of the countless people you see every day. Or perhaps your art could signify the tranquility you seek away from the honking cars and glistening lights. If your work does not have a common theme, or if you are gravitating towards a different theme in your work, explain why this is. Tie your work back to Tufts and explain how a Tufts education will break the current limits you face as an artist.
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