It was a dreary, rainy day when I toured the Tufts University campus with 50 other independent college counselors last month. I was anxious to visit campus again, because it had been over a decade since my last visit. Fortunately, the rain didn’t dim my view of campus. Stately buildings line the academic quad and an impressive performing arts center is located just across the street.
Tuffs is a mid-sized university located in Medford, MA, which is just minutes from Cambridge and downtown Boston. Tufts enrolls nearly 6,000 undergraduates who can choose to study in the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering. Students studying in the School of Arts and Sciences must fulfill writing and foreign language requirements as well as distribution requirements. Engineering students complete half of their coursework in engineering and the other half in arts and sciences. Much of the coursework is interdisciplinary. Exceptional students can apply during their sophomore years to very selective Tufts early assurance programs: medical school, dental school, and veterinarian school. Admissions cautions, however, that only a select few are admitted. Tufts also has an elite combined degree program with the New England Conservatory and recently partnered with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Our tour guide was an engineering major from New Jersey. He entered Tufts undecided as to his major within the School of Arts and Sciences. Tufts’ flexible curriculum along with skillful advising allowed him to find his academic passion and switch his studies between arts and sciences and engineering. Additionally he spent a semester in California in a study away program with Claremont McKenna. He is still scheduled to graduate in four years. Again, he contributes this to the personalized advising and careful scheduling.
Unlike many mid-sized schools, housing is not guaranteed all four years. Freshmen may choose to live in all-freshmen dorms or mixed-year dorms. Specialty housing and apartment style living is popular among upperclassmen. The majority of students choose to live off campus after their sophomore year in apartments within walking distance to campus.
It’s not surprising that students are very involved outside the classroom. Greek life does not dominate the social scene, with just 20-percent of the student body joining one of the nine fraternities or four sororities. However, our tour guide told us that Greek life is growing in popularity. Athletes compete in division III athletics within the NESCAC Conference. Many students chose to play intramural and club sports as well. Performing arts groups are plentiful and popular. Dance troupes are especially big here. Most students stay on campus on the weekends. However, students also take advantage Boston’s nightlife using the nearby “T” (Boston light rail/street car).
Admissions told us that there is no stereotypical Tufts student, and after visiting I have to agree. However, admissions did say that collectively Tufts students are bright, down-to-earth, collaborative, involved and diverse. Nearly 18-percent of all students are international.
Tufts offers students the flexibility of applying with the Common Application or the new Coalition Application. Students must apply to either the School of Arts and Sciences or School of Engineering. Students are required to submit SAT with two SAT Subject Tests scores or ACT scores. Students are no longer required to submit SAT/ACT writing scores. Students interested in studying engineering must submit one SAT math (I or II) and one SAT science (chemistry or physics) Subject test. Tufts meets full demonstrated need.
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