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Tufts University 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Tufts University 2019-20 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: 1 essay of 100-150 words; 1 essay of 200-250 words.

Supplemental Essay Type: Why, Oddball

Think outside the box as you answer the following questions. Take a risk and go somewhere unexpected. Be serious if the moment calls for it, but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too.
Applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer the following two questions:

Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts?’ (100-150 words)

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.

Now we’d like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words):

From recognizing break dancing as a new Olympic sport, to representation in media, to issues of accessibility in our public transit systems, what is something that you can talk about endlessly? What do you care about and why?

What subject could you talk about for hours on end with your friends, family, or even a complete stranger? Maybe it’s your fascination with true crime, which has fueled your desire to pursue a career in criminal justice. Perhaps it’s the ways in which Kendrick Lamar has revitalized Hip Hop and its relationship to American politics. Maybe it’s the need for legislation regulating toxic chemicals in everything from our cosmetics to our food and water sources? With this prompt, it is a good idea that you touch on when or where your passion first began, how it developed over time, and how you are planning to pursue this interest in college. This prompt gives you a wonderful opportunity to reveal something new about yourself through discussing your enthusiastic engagement with a given topic; in the process, you will showcase your curious, well-rounded nature to admissions–huzzah!

Whether you’ve built circuit boards or written slam poetry, created a community event or designed mixed media installations, tell us: What have you designed, invented, engineered, or produced? Or what do you hope to?

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?

We all have a story to tell. And with over 5,000 undergraduate students on our campus, that is over 5,000 stories to share and learn. What’s yours?

Although this prompt appears daunting at first (did they really just ask me what my story is after mentioning the other 5,000 undergraduates currently attending Tufts? Gah!), never fear. Every one of us possesses a unique, beautiful story that needs telling–including you! What you need to do is dig down deep inside yourself to unearth a tale that communicates something essential about who you are. What are the stories that illuminate or explain who you are? What have some of the defining moments in your life been, and how have those moments impacted your beliefs, values, passions, or priorities? This prompt is purposely (and wildly) open ended, so you are free to do SO many different things with it. You could begin by writing about a childhood memory (a flashback) and then tie that scene back to your current values or interests. You could tell your life’s story in 2nd person (using “you,” rather than “I’)  from the perspective of an outsider looking in. You could focus on the challenges you’ve faced and overcome in your family or in your environment, be it a small town or a sprawling metropolis. 

Whatever you choose to write about, be sure to include specific details–the scar on your mother’s left hand, the hum of the Southern spiritual– to pull admissions into your story. 

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