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The Requirements: Answer two essay prompts of roughly 250 words each.
This is a why essay with a twist. The admissions department doesn’t just want to know why you want to attend Tufts University, they’ve actually given you a hint about the qualities they expect to see in your essay. What does “intellectual playful” mean to you? What makes learning fun, and where do you see opportunities at Tufts? To nail this essay, you’re going to want to explore what Tufts means by this and how you see yourself fitting in. Start by browsing the Tufts website and reminding yourself why this school is on your list to begin with! Does Tufts offer a major that’s hard to find at other institutions? Is there a professor you’d really like to work with or club you want to join? And how will you fit into Tufts’ community? This could even be an opportunity to work in a brief anecdote to illustrate how your own personal qualities align with the ones in the Tufts community. Maybe your favorite classes are the ones in which you and your classmates discuss literature and debate symbolism. Perhaps you are the punniest person you know and think this core part of your character will help you assimilate into Tufts’ playful culture smoothly.
Do not be overwhelmed by this prompt! You don’t have to have curated an art gallery in Chelsea to impress admissions with your response here. The prompt even says itself, your invention could be as seemingly unimportant as a blanket fort, admissions just wants to know how you think. What kinds of things do you make and what motivates you to make them? This prompt is as much about ingenuity and problem-solving as it is about creativity. Did you build a lemonade stand when you were in third grade that allowed for customers to select their own plastic cup without contaminating any others? Did it increase sales or make your mom proud?
What are your special skills? What could you talk about for hours? This prompt allows you to showcase your greatest passions while also demonstrating your fit. Neat! A savvy applicant will think not just about the content of the course, but also the resources available at Tufts. Your why essay research will continue to serve you well on this prompt, but make sure you have a feel for how the program works. Presenting a course that uses the right terminology and follows the basic structure of other student-led courses will demonstrate your attention to detail and commitment to the school without you ever having to say it outright. In other words, geek out but be informed! Once you’ve got the basic structure down, the sky is the limit! Have fun and don’t overthink it. Writing up your dream course will show admissions a lot about the way your mind works. Nothing is too silly or out there. Maybe you’d want to spend a semester unpacking the nature of fame in the digital age: from influencers to trolls. Perhaps you grew up on a dairy farm and you’d want to teach a practical on the chemistry of cheese-making. This is a great way to reveal something new about yourself, show what you know about your major, and/or demonstrate how well-rounded your interests actually are.
This question is extremely similar to the first prompt of the School of Arts and Sciences application, and the same advice applies here. So scroll up for the nitty gritty. But keep in mind that Tufts want to know why you have specifically chosen the SMFA program, so go beyond the basic school details and drill into the details about the arts education you expect to receive. Why get a BFA rather than a BA? What goals will this degree help you achieve?
This is it! Your mission statement as an artist. We couldn’t possibly assume what issues you’d like to tackle or how, but we’d advise you to pay close attention to the way the prompt frames the three examples of Ai Weiwei, the Obamas’ portraits, and Yayoi Kusama. Each example goes beyond the question of craft or material to the purpose of their work. So: what matters to you? Where does your inspiration come from? What change or impact would you like to inspire in your audience? While this is an inherently philosophical question, try to anchor your response with concrete details from your personal experience. Explain how you came to care so deeply about a particular issue and how it found a way into your art.