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Tufts University 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Tufts University 2020-21 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 and the School of Engineering 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):

A) It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity? 

Tufts wants to accept intellectually curious applicants, so why not use this opportunity to rant and rave about your current obsession? Maybe you find marine life to be absolutely fascinating, and you’ve been reading up on the most dangerous creatures in the deep dark sea (and their preferred prey, of course). Or maybe you are super interested in Greek mythology and have been voraciously reading every book you can find on Poseidon and his many adventures. When was the last time you went down an internet rabbit hole trying to research something? When were you extremely motivated to solve a problem or create something new? What was the last fact or skill you learned outside of school that truly captured your imagination? The bottom line here is to discuss examples of what truly fascinates you, while also reflecting on what these examples say about your personality traits, interests, or learning style.

B) How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – shaped the person you are today?

This is a classic community essay, through and through. Admissions wants to know what or who has made you into the person you are today. Where do you come from? What has shaped you as a person, and how has that made your perspective unique? What you focus on here can be reflective of larger cultural constructs or specific to you and only you. Tufts is looking to add diverse perspectives to the melting pot that is their student body. Is there anything you can teach your classmates about your hometown, traditions, culture, cuisine, orientation, identity, race, or ethnicity that they might not already know? Were you raised in a Muslim family in a small southern town? Do you identify as trans or queer? Were you adopted as a child? What has influenced your identity? What do you believe and how will your worldview bring something of value to the community at Tufts?

C) Where are you on your journey of engaging with or fighting for social justice?

If you choose this prompt, then social justice is obviously important to you. And you don’t have to be a women’s march organizer to impress admissions here. It can be just as bold to question your aunt regarding her views on controversial topics that are important to you, or to utilize your creativity to draw informative comics breaking down complex issues for Instagram. If you’re feeling stuck, maybe start by thinking about the topics that are most important to you. What keeps you up at night? The prison-industrial complex? Gun violence? The maternal mortality rate in your country? Next, think about what steps you’ve taken in your life to create change, inform, and/or organize. Ultimately, the key to writing an excellent response to this prompt is in the details. Don’t just tell Tufts about something bold you’ve done recently; tell them why you did it, and maybe even share how you would like to continue engaging with or fighting for social justice in the future. 

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