In order to write an effective response, it is important to understand why Tufts University is asking this. Students typically apply to several colleges, so this question is meant to see how serious the applicant is about attending the school. When answering this question, you should be asking yourself, why would I rather attend Tufts as opposed to any other college?
This mindset will help you discover unique reasons that make Tufts stand out from other universities. It is very important to be specific with this response. If you can replace the word Tufts with the name of another school, then it needs to be refined further to include Tufts-exclusive details.
For example, if there is a specific program that Tufts specializes in, such as the International Relations program, definitely mention that. The nature of the program itself does not have to be unique, but the descriptions about it have to provide unique insight that is not applicable to any other school. For instance, International Relations itself is not an exclusive course of study; in fact, Stanford, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Southern California all offer such a major in their undergraduate program.
However, only Tufts requires a capstone component which can be fulfilled through intensive seminars in one’s chosen concentration or directed research mentored by one of the professors. Therefore, when citing the International Relations program as one of Tuft’s allures, it is insufficient to mention its prestige; instead, discuss how the capstone project will allow you to develop your perspective on the tensions between world superpowers under the seasoned guidance of Professor Hitchner.
Because of the restrictive word limit, choose one aspect and describe it in an in-depth manner. The most important thing is to demonstrate how your personal strengths can contribute to that unique facet of Tufts. Doing so allows the admissions officers to understand that you are a good fit for the school, not just the other way around.
Are you planning on applying to Tufts University for Fall 2018 admission? Not sure where to start on your supplemental essays? Tufts has been so kind as to release some real life college essay examples that helped students earn acceptance to the great school! We thought we’d share a few of our favorite with you so you can see what works!
Up first, the “Why” Essay.
James Gregoire ’19 (South Burlington, VT):
It was on my official visit with the cross country team that I realized Tufts was the perfect school for me. Our topics of conversation ranged from Asian geography to efficient movement patterns, and everyone spoke enthusiastically about what they were involved in on campus. I really related with the guys I met, and I think they represent the passion that Tufts’ students have. I can pursue my dream of being a successful entrepreneur by joining the Tufts Entrepreneurs Society, pursuing an Entrepreneurial Leadership minor, and taking part in an up-and-coming computer science program.
Lena Novins-Montaque ’20 (Denver, CO):
Before my tour, my dad and I stopped in Brown and Brew for coffee. We saw a stack of The Tufts Daily, and beside it, copies of Canon. The poetry and prose I read was carefully curated and well written. As a writer, this instantly excited me. During the tour, my guide Ed enthusiastically said, “Tufts is full of people who are interested and interesting.” Tufts offers an environment that encourages intellectual curiosity that matches perfectly with what I want for my college experience
Megan Rivkin ’20 (Lincolnshire, IL):
Give me a blank page– I’ll draw all over it.
When I visited, a Jumbo studying theatre and psychology was directing “Next To Normal.” That sounds like me. I want to make theatre useful by studying other areas as well. At Tufts, interdisciplinary thinking is a key part of the culture.
Playwright Neil Labute told me to find a college where I can pave my own way, not be force-fed opportunities. I need a creative space that will hand me a blank page and care how I use it.
Though he may not have known it, Mr. Labute described Tufts.
Next up, the “Let Your Life Speak” Essay
Justin Dorosh ’20 (North Reading, MA)
As a child, my family’s TV got only 33 channels. It’s never good when the Home Shopping Network is considered “good TV.” As a result, my kindergarten entertainment was a Leap Pad rather than Cartoon Network. I used the interactive learning device to memorize all 206 bones in the body as well as every state and its respective capital. I did this not only because my parents thought it was good for me, but because I was interested in the world around me. I sought to understand life beyond the 150 square-foot room I shared with my brother.
Even after we upgraded to basic cable, I found that traditional mental exercises were more fun. I like to think and problem solve. No sitcom gives me the rush of excitement that I get from filling in that last number in a Sudoku puzzle or penciling in the right word to a crossword. Puzzles and riddles are challenging and I embrace challenges.
My curiosity for my Leap Pad is largely responsible for my hands-on approach to doing things. I am a doer rather than a spectator. I’m one who would rather toss a football in the yard than watch the big game on TV. One who would rather work on a project than listen to a presentation. More importantly, I am one who believes in self-education and thinking beyond the classroom. I think that thinking is cool.
Ray Parker ’19 (Waitsfield, VT)
All my life I have been surrounded by science, filled with science, covered in science. I grew up with an electron microscope in the house, a holography lab and darkroom in the basement, and a cleanroom next door. While my friends were playing in sandboxes I was playing with dry ice in the sink. It is not impossible that I may have been influenced by this. I grew up with an interesting mix of science and art, which comes from my parents. My mother is a photographer and holographer, as well as an optical engineer; my father is an entrepreneur and the creator of the plasma ball light sculpture. They embrace both science and art and have taught me to embrace both as well. When I was young my mother taught me how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and at about the same time my father introduced me to BASIC programming. This laid the seeds for nearly everything that has come after. I kept much of my childlike creativity, and infused it with technology. Nearly all of my school projects have had an extra element that made them much more interesting; a book project on Cities in Flight was a magnetically levitating model of a city, a tectonic map project became a Blender animation, an English class final project was a trio of holograms.
My family has taught me to do interesting things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, and fun.
Quincey Kras ’20 (Madrid, Spain)
Raised by an architect and an interior designer, I learned at a young age that creativity and imagination are integral parts of life. My dad would let my sister and I sit with him while working, placing a pencil in our hands and pointing at objects for us to draw. I also have fond memories of sitting on piles of fabric swatches “organizing” them for my mom. I grew up believing my purpose in life is to wonder and create. Even after my parents divorced, art was the thread that kept us connected to each other.
At age 14, I moved to Madrid with my mom, step-dad, sister and new baby brother. It was quite a challenge at first–mostly because of the language barrier and my Spanish school. But the experience allowed me to appreciate and absorb a new culture, make new friends and discover strengths in myself that I didn’t know I possessed. For the past three years, I have tested my courage, and language skills, and used my love of art as a way to navigate the city–its architecture and museums are especially energizing to me. Conquering my relocation has made me a more inquisitive and adventurous person and will help me to transition to university life. I have grown as a person, and as an artist, and I look forward to continuing on that arc.
Finally, the “Choose Your Own Prompt” Essay:
Miranda Janice Macaulay Miller ’20 (Sacramento, CA)
“It’s Cool to be Smart”
Most languages have, on average, 200,000 words. There are 6,912 living languages. At this moment in history, that is roughly 1,382,400,000 words being used to express emotions, to carry out transactions, to run countries.
For every language, there are words that have no equivalent in any other language. It is like a secret that only those with the special code can share. “Mamihlapinatapei” is the Yaghan word for the look that two people give each other when they both want to initiate something, but are hesitant to act. I have felt this way, but have never been able to express it because I am bound to the limits of the English language. And then there are words like “rakhi,” the Hindi term for a string that a sister ties on her brother’s arm, asking for eternal protection. I have never considered a need for this word because the idea of it is not a part of my world. This ritual does not exist in other cultures, so there is no word for it.
To know multiple languages, to be able to communicate with various groups, is to transcend multiple realities. By breaking down language barriers, we open countless doors to understanding the politics, traditions, and values of millions more people. And if that’s not “Θpoustouflant,” or mind-blowing, then I don’t know what is.
Jonah Loeb ’20 (Rockville, MD)
“Celebrate the Role of Sports in Your Life”
While it is not featured on ESPN and does not fill stadiums each week, backpacking is my chosen sport. It has a home team, the group of Boy Scouts whose friendship and encouragement kept me going and made huddling under a small tarp hung three feet above the ground in the pouring rain the best part of the trip, and an away team, the mountain range that stared us down each time we looked up at it. It has a score, (most often: mountain: 1, me: 0) and buzzer beater shots, as we raced to set up tents with the sunlight rapidly fading and the rumble of thunder echoing ominously.
I started backpacking the summer after ninth grade. Full of naivete, I thought, “It’s just walking, how hard could it be?” It was only on my first overnight, climbing up the umpteenth hill, hunched over from the weight of my pack, unable to see anything but the rubber toe of my hiking boot, that I realized what I was getting myself into. But then, like in most sports, in the heat of a game something clicked and with my backpack sliding off my shoulders once again, I found the determination I needed. A backpacking Zen propelled me forward and taught me to succeed when every part of me said otherwise. Now, with more experience, better equipment, and focused training, I often find myself drawn to the backcountry, sampling dehydrated cuisines and knowing this time, the score will be different.
Tessa Garces ’19 (Larchmont, NY)
“Celebrate the Role of Sports in Your Life”
My first vivid memory of swim practice is of being yanked by the ankles from underneath the kitchen table, my nails scratching against the wood floor and my screams loud enough to elicit the neighbors’ concern.
Clearly, I hadn’t “gotten” swimming yet. As a first grader, I simply couldn’t understand how shoving my hair into a cap, wearing goggles that almost pressed my eyes out of their sockets, and flailing my limbs in freezing liquid for an hour could possibly be worth my while.
However, as I came to understand the mechanics and elegance of the sport, my attitude started to change. It really changed in 4th grade, when I began to win races. The little gold medals gave me a confidence that was addicting. More than that, they motivated me to cultivate good habits before I learned that discipline, daily practice, and just being part of a team are rewards in and of themselves.
Swimming has definitely influenced the way I move through the world. To avoid head-on collisions with lane mates, swimmers are taught from the beginning to always stay to the right of the lane, called circle swimming. Sometimes I feel as though I “circle-live”-walking on the right, driving on the right (naturally), even sleeping on the right. Yet, thinking of how focused and alive I feel after swimming, I think it’s more accurate to say that my time in the pool keeps me centered.
We hope you found some inspiration in these successful college essays! If you’re looking for more tips on what you should and shouldn’t do in your college essay, we’ve got you covered.