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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.
This is a classic “why.” The admissions department wants to know why you hope to attend Tufts University next fall. 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 a club you want to join? What do you have to offer 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.
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.
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?
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.
This is almost the same exact question that applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer: Why Tufts? And, specifically, why SMFA at Tufts? Your response should offer admissions insight into your decision-making process and plans for the future. If you haven’t already, set aside some time to get intimately acquainted with the SMFA program at Tufts and read up on all of the offerings that you find interesting. What sort of resources are available to undergrads like you, both socially and academically, and in what ways do you believe these resources will help propel you into your dream career or improve your life for the better? How do you plan on diving headfirst into the SMFA community? The more detail you include, the more admissions will be able to learn about you, and the more easily they’ll be able to see why Tufts is the perfect school for you (and vice versa!).
Tufts wants to know what kinds of ideas keep you up at night. Your response doesn’t need to have static answers that will stay with you, of course; your ideas will change over your evolving life as an artist, but now is the time to try to pin down a basic explanation of what your art means to you, what it addresses, and for bonus points: why you want to spend the rest of your life immersed in it. Ultimately, like with all written components of your application, it’s integral to be highly specific and use personal details to bring your essay to life. This isn’t the place to be modest or undersell yourself; present your work proudly and succinctly, and admissions is sure to be impressed. Inspiration can be infectious, so be passionate and take them on a journey into your mind.