What is Tufts University Known For?

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Tufts University is a mid-sized private research university with a picturesque campus just outside of Boston. The school ranks consistently in the top 30 universities in the country. 

 

In this post, we’ll be discussing Tufts admissions, academics, social life, and other traditions, as well as how to improve your chances of getting into the university.

 

Overview of Tufts Admissions

 

Location: Medford, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,825

Acceptance Rate: 16.3%

Middle 50% SAT: 1420-1550

Middle 50% ACT: 33-35

 

It is important to note that the university is notorious for allegedly practicing “yield protection,” also known as Tufts Syndrome in admissions. This is when schools reject highly-qualified or overqualified students who are unlikely to attend if accepted. Colleges aim to have high yield rates (the percentage of students who enroll after acceptance), as that speaks to their desirability, and may boost their rankings. 

 

So how do you avoid falling prey to Tufts Syndrome? Tufts places an emphasis on admissions essays and looks for responses that demonstrate both writing caliber and creativity. You will want to pay extra attention to the “Why Tufts?” essay to ensure that your interest in the school comes across as genuine.

 

Unique Aspects of Tufts University

 

Academics 

 

Tufts University has three distinct undergraduate colleges: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and School of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts. SMFA is located in downtown Boston. Students can double major across colleges, and the most popular majors include International Relations, Biology, Computer Science, and Economics. The over 150 majors and minors offered are incredibly diverse. 

 

One notable program is the Tufts Civic Semester, where first-semester freshmen start their Tufts journey abroad. Students participate in service-learning and program costs are covered by tuition and financial aid. The current two programs offered are in Urubamba, Peru and Thiès, Senegal, which focus on sustainability, economic development, education, and community health.

 

Similarly, Tufts offers a 1+4 Bridge Year program that allows students to spend a year volunteering in Uruguay, India, Brazil, or Ecuador before starting their 4 years at Tufts. Financial aid also applies to this opportunity.

 

The university hosts many of its own study abroad programs. Most notable are the 10 Tufts-specific study abroad programs offered in Ghana, Beijing, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Madrid, London, Oxford, Paris, and Tübigen. SMFA has its own programs in London and Paris. Additionally, Tufts has summer programs in France, Italy, and Spain.

 

In terms of post-grad outcomes, many Tufts students go on to win prestigious awards and complete fellowships. In 2019, 10 Tufts students were named Fulbright scholars. In 2020, 94% of graduates were employed or planning on attending graduate school within 6 months of graduation.

 

Extracurriculars

 

Tufts has over 300 student-run organizations and also Greek organizations. The most popular student clubs include the fencing team, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, and Quidditch. The university has an active student government and many student-run publications. In fact, the newspaper the Tufts Observer, which was established in 1895, is ranked as one of the best college newspapers according to the Princeton Review. In terms of sports, Tufts is part of NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) and has 28 men’s and women’s sports teams. 

 

Traditions

 

Tufts has many traditions that students participate in throughout the year. Below is a list of the most popular traditions.

 

  • The Cannon: There is a large cannon on Tufts campus that is a replica of a cannon from the USS Constitution. Students will paint the cannon for special events, but will only do it at night. 

  • Tuftstonia Day: Tuftsonia Day is an annual celebration to mark the end of the spring semester. The entire campus is transformed into a carnival with games, rides, and food.
  • Pumpkining: The day of Halloween, students will find pumpkins all over Tufts campus. The tradition has been around for over 74 years and no group ever takes responsibility for the prank. 
  • Illumination Ceremony: First-year students light candles in honor of Charles Tufts on the first night of classes. Then, the night before graduation, students participate in the ceremony for the last time.
  • Spring Fling: Spring Fling is an outdoor concert event that occurs before final exams. Many famous musical artists have performed, such as Childish Gambino, Kesha, and Matt & Kim. 

 

Dorms 

 

Dorms at Tufts are divided based on year at the university. All first and second-year students are guaranteed on-campus housing, and there is a 2-year housing residency requirement. There are over 10 first-year residence halls and most are doubles and triples and a few singles. Juniors and seniors typically live off-campus.

 

Tufts is also known for its special interest housing. 15 different houses exist with a certain “theme,” and students can apply through the housing portal. These themes can revolve around a language (Japanese Language House, Spanish Language House, German Language House, French Language House) a shared interest (Craft House, Arts House), or a culture (Russian/Slavic culture house, Jewish Culture House, Latinx Culture House).

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Financial Aid

 

Tufts meets 100% of demonstrated need for students. Forty-five percent of students at Tufts receive some sort of financial aid, and the average need-based aid awarded is $47,191. Tufts rarely offers merit-based scholarships, but those who are National Merit Scholars receive up to $500 per semester for 8 semesters while at Tufts. The university also provides ROTC scholarships through MIT.

 

Resources 

 

Tufts has many impressive resources on its campus. The Aidekman Arts Center located on Tufts campus has many rotating art collections and famous artists such as Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Auguste Rodin have permanent collections on campus. The Edward Glinn library has original collections of United Nations and League of Nations documents, as well as several famous international treaties. 

 

Tufts students often frequent Davis Square, a neighborhood very close to campus that has restaurants and shopping. Students can easily access Davis Square through the subway system.

 

Tufts students can access the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for free. Students can also become members of the Tufts Mountain Club, a group that owns a mountain retreat in New Hampshire and participates in outdoor adventures across the Northeast. 

 

Location

 

Tufts is located on the border of Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts. The campus is only about 5 miles from the center of Boston, and you can get from Tufts to the city center in about 30 minutes on the subway (known as “the T”).

 

Students love the location of Tufts due to its proximity to Boston, and on weekends, students will often explore different areas of the city.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Tufts University?

 

Tufts University is extremely selective with an acceptance rate of 15%. While having strong academics are crucial to gaining admissions, admissions officers also look beyond test scores and GPA for leadership potential, diverse interests, intellectual engagement. 

 

Are you curious to find out your chances of getting into Tufts University? Check out our free chancing calculator which will tell you your chances of admission, and what you can do to strengthen your application.

 

Using the chancing calculator, you can determine schools that would be a good fit for you and narrow down your selection to look at size, location, and major. Using the chancing calculator can help you better prepare your application materials for each college and come up with a cohesive college list.

 

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Short bio
Juliette is a senior at Cornell University studying Industrial & Labor Relations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, running, drinking coffee, and exploring different hiking trails in Ithaca.