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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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2 Terrific Tufts University Essay Examples

What’s Covered:

 

Tufts is a highly-selective college located right outside of Boston. With small class sizes and an abundance of eager applicants, it’s important that your application stands out with strong essays. In this post, we’ll share real essays students have submitted to Tufts, and share what they did well and how they could be made even better (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

 

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

 

Read our Tufts essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

 

Essay Example 1

 

Prompt: It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity? (200-250 words)

 

“Oh I see

Overachiever

With your big handwriting”


I’d just texted a friend about how much I was enjoying the 27-problem, AP Calculus worksheet our teacher had assigned for homework that night. I wasn’t quite sure how to reply; I knew she was joking, but she wasn’t entirely wrong. I asked Mr. Gearhart for extra problems regularly. But what’s more, I enjoyed applying my knowledge to concepts I was passionate about. I’d use my knowledge of geometric series to learn about the money multiplier in economics. I’d use my knowledge of logarithms to learn about the twelve-tone equal temperament tuning system in western music. And yes, I’d do so with giant handwriting.

 

It wasn’t just that I wanted to apply the mathematical concepts; I wanted to see new perspectives. To apply math to music, I had to understand how the two interacted— look at math through music-based lenses. Every time I’d grasp another application, I’d gain another set. And by the end of a month or so, I’d have filled a drawer of lenses, categorized by subject. One could call me a lens collector. But I call myself curious, always wanting to gain new viewpoints. Why? They allow me to take more pictures, wear a myriad of glasses, see a fresh outlook on the world. Every latest perspective is like coming back to a puzzle after taking a break— so many new insights to act upon. So that’s what I replied:

 

“I just find them as fun little puzzles haha”

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

One of the reasons this essay is so powerful is because it takes a single moment in time and expands on the thoughts and feelings behind that experience. The entire essay is sandwiched between two text messages, but because it is so focused, it allows the student to delve into how she is perceived as an overachiever and what it means to her.

 

This student does an excellent job of showing the reader how they go above and beyond and what they get out of it. They don’t just say they like to do extra practice to see how math affects the real world (a basic answer). Instead, they specifically connect geometric series to economic concepts and logarithms to music. By doing this, the reader sees the different academic interests this student has and how they take an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

 

They also go a step further than just explaining what excites their intellectual curiosity by explaining why it excites them. There is even more great use of imagery when the student compares the interdisciplinary study of math and music to a new lens to view the world through. By referring to themselves as a “lens collector”, it paints a clear picture that this is a student who is always learning new things and eager to gain new perspectives. Tufts is looking to admit “lens collectors”, so showcasing how your curiosity impacts your outlook on the world is an excellent way to take this prompt above and beyond.

 

What Could Be Improved

 

Although this is a well-written essay with a great story, the one area for improvement would be the inclusion of the text messages. While it sets up a good context for the response, when the first thing the reader sees are three disjointed lines, it makes the hook less effective. It does create some mystery and suspense, but it makes the reader take a step back and try and process what is happening. The person reading an essay should be enthralled from the beginning and shouldn’t have to try and figure out what the author is referring to.

 

This hook would be stronger and less disjointed if it only had one text from the student’s friend saying they were an overachiever. The fact about the big handwriting is personable, but ultimately unnecessary. The student could jump into why they are seen as an overachiever and why they actually enjoy doing extra work sooner if the opening line looked like this:

 

“My phone buzzed and one big word flashed across the screen: Overachiever.”

 

Essay Example 2

 

Prompt: It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity? (200-250 words)

 

Lunch is served. Falafel, salad, humus, pita, tzatziki sauce and mint lemonade. The common denominator: made by me. My family gathers around quietly filling their plates with my creations. They sit and the conversation begins to flow. My sister shares that King Louis XIV only showered twice in his life. My physics-obsessed grandpa urges us to read Thinking, Fast and Slow. My grandma pitches a business proposition for me to open a restaurant. My mom looks disgusted when my sister shares the not-so-fun fact. My dad joins my grandpa and demands my sister and me to read the dense book. The food is almost gone but the conversation still lingers. Maybe there is something magical in the little balls of chick-peas that prompt my family to speak of everything that crosses their mind. I don’t chat much but I enjoy listening and smiling to the continuous exchange of information. This is what excites my desire for knowledge, each member of my family knows something different and they bring it to the table. Each member fills a particular gap in my world of knowledge just like my dishes fill their bellies with the five essential nutrients. And when the conversation comes to a lul: Dessert is served.

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

The use of imagery and tangible descriptions really makes this essay stand out. Right away, any hungry reader’s mouth is watering at the description of a delicious meal, and we learn that this talented student made it all. But then we really feel like we are sitting at the table and listening to their family’s conversation. It’s all in the details for this essay. If it just said, “My sister mentioned a fun fact she learned in history class, while both my grandpa and dad suggested a book to read,” we wouldn’t feel like we were transported to this family’s meal, which wouldn’t make us engage with the story as much.

 

This student also employs some creativity to connect her family’s stories to her interest in cooking. It’s never said that cooking excites their intellectual curiosity, but it is implied since that’s what this student brings to the table. We don’t need to be explicitly told that food excites them because the way they write about cooking for their family, and the effects it has on them, is enough to understand their passion for this topic.

 

What Could Be Improved

 

One thing that could improve this essay is changing the order of the family members’ conversations to make the story flow smoother. For example, since the mom’s contribution to the meal is directly related to the sister’s, her reaction should have directly followed the sister’s comment on Louis XIV. Likewise, the dad agrees with the grandpa on the book, so those should have been bundled together. 

 

Improving the structure and flow of the essay would make it a faster read and reduce any confusion. Admissions officers race through essays, and the last thing you want is for them to have to pause and go back to understand what is happening. By the time we hear the student’s mom was disgusted at the sister’s story or the dad likes the book, we’ve heard other family members’ stories and might not remember what they are referring to. Simple changes like this can make big differences to the quality of an essay.

 

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 

 

Want feedback like this on your Swarthmore essay before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with one of our experts to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.

 

Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Our advisors also offer expert college counseling packages. You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

 


Short Bio
Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.