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Tufts Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts and Advice

July 13, 2023

examples of tufts supplemental essays

Tufts University has long been a highly-selective school. Yet, the Class of 2027 was the second time the acceptance rate dipped into the single-digits at 9.5%. As at any college that rejects more than 9 of every 10 applicants who apply (the overwhelming majority of whom are supremely qualified), aspiring Jumbos need every single component of their application to shine brightly. The Tufts supplemental essays are one such area of focus.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Tufts? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into Tufts University: Admissions Data and Strategies  for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Given this unprecedented level of selectivity, Tufts University’s supplemental section offers applicants a crucial opportunity to showcase their writing ability by generating powerful and detail-rich essays that will stand out to an admissions officer.

Tufts Supplemental Essay Question #1

Which aspects of the tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application in short, “why tufts” (100-150 words).

Tufts University is getting right down to business with this prompt. View this essay as akin to ending up in an elevator with a potential investor with 20 seconds to sell your million-dollar idea. In this “elevator pitch” essay, you only have 150 words to communicate why Tufts is a perfect match for you. As such, this one is going to require a fair amount of school-specific research. Further, plan on a good deal of editing in order to tighten up your essay enough to stay under the word limit.

How to write a winning “Why Tufts?” essay

  • How will you take advantage of the university’s vast resources both inside and outside of the classroom?
  • How will you become an active, contributing member of the student body?
  • Show evidence of how your past/current endeavors will carry over onto the Tufts campus.
  • Address a) why Tufts is the perfect fit for you and  b) why you are the perfect fit for Tufts.
  • Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc. (as in the examples below).

Tufts Supplemental Essays (Continued)

Below are some examples of unique facts about Tufts University that you may find helpful as you brainstorm your response:

  • There are 41 arts and performance groups on campus for the artistically-inclined.
  • There are 300 total student organizations in which you can participate—pick one or two to elaborate on.
  • Students are able to double major across colleges.
  • With a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, two-thirds of undergraduate sections are kept under 20 students.
  • There are numerous undergraduate research programs and scholarships at Tufts. Which one appeals to you and what would you research?
  • 40% of juniors study abroad and Tufts boasts a number of notable programs in Beijing, Chile, Ghana, London, and more.
  • There are more than 70 undergraduate majors to choose from.
  • The Experimental College is a one-of-kind program.
  • Tufts offers internship grants to a number of non-profit and government posts.
  • An annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium presents an exciting opportunity to present your original work to faculty.

Of course, these are just 10 out of the countless features that could be part of a successful essay. As you enter the prewriting stage, you’ll want to decide which elements will provide the most needle-moving value.

One last note on this essay—Tufts is nice enough to actually provide examples of their favorite “Why Tufts?” essays from the last admissions cycle.

Tufts University Supplemental Essay Question #2

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.

In our experience, this is the prompt that applicants tend to select most often, primarily because the “Why Tufts?” essay is so short, students don’t feel they have enough space to talk about the academic discipline they hope to study at the university.

Whether it’s a general love for math/science or literature or a specific interest in aerospace engineering or 19th century French novels, use this opportunity to share what makes you tick, the ideas that keep you up at night, and what subject inspires you to dream big. What topic makes you read books and online content until your eyes bleed? Share the manner in which you relentlessly pursue knowledge. Whether it’s falling down a Wikipedia rabbit hole about the nature of time or consuming thousands of hours of podcasts on game theory, this is a chance to illustrate the ways in which you are an obsessive learner with an endless thirst for information.

The admissions reader should emerge with the sense that you are a sincerely curious person with a strong intellectual drive. If that curiosity can be tied into your intended area of study, all the better!

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

This essay encourages you to describe how your environment/community has shaped you into the present version of yourself. Community can be a “community” in any form: an ethnic, religious, family, or neighborhood community, or a group of individuals who gather for a club, sport, or service project. You are the captain of a team, the editor-in-chief of your school paper, the president of a club… but don’t just rest on those laurels—instead, bring your involvement to life. Use your writing ability to show the admissions officer the impact your community has had on your dreams rather than merely telling them. If your family/home (parent, grandparent, sibling) was a powerful force in your growth and development, that can be the sole focus of a successful composition here as well.

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

Some students may have more direct experience with social justice than others, but—no matter your background—this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about justice and fairness in your local community as well as the global community. If applicable, you can speak about a time when you spoke up for a peer in a moment of need. Or, alternatively, share an instance when you got involved in a larger cause or movement (politics, activism, volunteer work, etc.). If you don’t have a deeply personal story to tell in this realm, you’ll want to select a different prompt. While there’s nothing wrong with simply articulating your basic beliefs in the values of inclusion, equity, tolerance, and diversity, it doesn’t necessarily make for the most compelling essay.

If you do choose this essay prompt, draw on past evidence of your commitment to being a positive force in your community and speculate how that is likely to manifest on Tufts’ campus. Research and cite Tufts’ student-run organizations, local nonprofit groups, or anything else you are drawn to. Drawing the link between your past efforts and future aims is critical here.

How important are the Tufts supplemental essays?

Tufts views six factors as being “very important” to their applicant evaluation process. These are: the rigor of one’s coursework, the GPA earned, class rank, recommendations, character/personal qualities, and—most relevant for our purposes here—the essays.

For all essays, we recommend heeding the advice of one Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Tufts University who stated: “Be yourself. When writing your essays, you don’t have to sound like you already have your PhD (spoiler: we know you don’t—you’re applying for an undergraduate program). Instead, employ a voice in your writing that feels authentically you, exploring the topics you actually care about. That’s the voice that will help you stand out in our process.”

Tufts Supplemental Essays – Want Personalized Assistance?

If you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Tufts supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote  today.

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Dave Bergman

Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

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examples of tufts supplemental essays

2 Terrific Tufts University Essay Examples

What’s covered:, essay example 1, essay example 2.

  • Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay  

Tufts is a highly-selective college located right outside of Boston. With small class sizes and an abundance of eager applicants, it’s important that your application stands out with strong essays. In this post, we’ll share real essays students have submitted to Tufts, and share what they did well and how they could be made even better (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our Tufts essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Prompt: It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity? (200-250 words)


With your big handwriting”

I’d just texted a friend about how much I was enjoying the 27-problem, AP Calculus worksheet our teacher had assigned for homework that night. I wasn’t quite sure how to reply; I knew she was joking, but she wasn’t entirely wrong. I asked Mr. Gearhart for extra problems regularly. But what’s more, I enjoyed applying my knowledge to concepts I was passionate about. I’d use my knowledge of geometric series to learn about the money multiplier in economics. I’d use my knowledge of logarithms to learn about the twelve-tone equal temperament tuning system in western music. And yes, I’d do so with giant handwriting.

It wasn’t just that I wanted to apply the mathematical concepts; I wanted to see new perspectives. To apply math to music, I had to understand how the two interacted— look at math through music-based lenses. Every time I’d grasp another application, I’d gain another set. And by the end of a month or so, I’d have filled a drawer of lenses, categorized by subject. One could call me a lens collector. But I call myself curious, always wanting to gain new viewpoints. Why? They allow me to take more pictures, wear a myriad of glasses, see a fresh outlook on the world. Every latest perspective is like coming back to a puzzle after taking a break— so many new insights to act upon. So that’s what I replied:

“I just find them as fun little puzzles haha”

What the Essay Did Well

One of the reasons this essay is so powerful is because it takes a single moment in time and expands on the thoughts and feelings behind that experience. The entire essay is sandwiched between two text messages, but because it is so focused, it allows the student to delve into how she is perceived as an overachiever and what it means to her.

This student does an excellent job of showing the reader how they go above and beyond and what they get out of it. They don’t just say they like to do extra practice to see how math affects the real world (a basic answer). Instead, they specifically connect geometric series to economic concepts and logarithms to music. By doing this, the reader sees the different academic interests this student has and how they take an interdisciplinary approach to learning.

They also go a step further than just explaining what excites their intellectual curiosity by explaining why it excites them. There is even more great use of imagery when the student compares the interdisciplinary study of math and music to a new lens to view the world through. By referring to themselves as a “lens collector”, it paints a clear picture that this is a student who is always learning new things and eager to gain new perspectives. Tufts is looking to admit “lens collectors”, so showcasing how your curiosity impacts your outlook on the world is an excellent way to take this prompt above and beyond.

What Could Be Improved

Although this is a well-written essay with a great story, the one area for improvement would be the inclusion of the text messages. While it sets up a good context for the response, when the first thing the reader sees are three disjointed lines, it makes the hook less effective. It does create some mystery and suspense, but it makes the reader take a step back and try and process what is happening. The person reading an essay should be enthralled from the beginning and shouldn’t have to try and figure out what the author is referring to.

This hook would be stronger and less disjointed if it only had one text from the student’s friend saying they were an overachiever. The fact about the big handwriting is personable, but ultimately unnecessary. The student could jump into why they are seen as an overachiever and why they actually enjoy doing extra work sooner if the opening line looked like this:

“ My phone buzzed and one big word flashed across the screen: Overachiever.”

Lunch is served. Falafel, salad, humus, pita, tzatziki sauce and mint lemonade. The common denominator: made by me. My family gathers around quietly filling their plates with my creations. They sit and the conversation begins to flow. My sister shares that King Louis XIV only showered twice in his life. My physics-obsessed grandpa urges us to read Thinking, Fast and Slow. My grandma pitches a business proposition for me to open a restaurant. My mom looks disgusted when my sister shares the not-so-fun fact. My dad joins my grandpa and demands my sister and me to read the dense book. The food is almost gone but the conversation still lingers. Maybe there is something magical in the little balls of chick-peas that prompt my family to speak of everything that crosses their mind. I don’t chat much but I enjoy listening and smiling to the continuous exchange of information. This is what excites my desire for knowledge, each member of my family knows something different and they bring it to the table. Each member fills a particular gap in my world of knowledge just like my dishes fill their bellies with the five essential nutrients. And when the conversation comes to a lul: Dessert is served.

The use of imagery and tangible descriptions really makes this essay stand out. Right away, any hungry reader’s mouth is watering at the description of a delicious meal, and we learn that this talented student made it all. But then we really feel like we are sitting at the table and listening to their family’s conversation. It’s all in the details for this essay. If it just said, “My sister mentioned a fun fact she learned in history class, while both my grandpa and dad suggested a book to read,” we wouldn’t feel like we were transported to this family’s meal, which wouldn’t make us engage with the story as much.

This student also employs some creativity to connect her family’s stories to her interest in cooking. It’s never said that cooking excites their intellectual curiosity, but it is implied since that’s what this student brings to the table. We don’t need to be explicitly told that food excites them because the way they write about cooking for their family, and the effects it has on them, is enough to understand their passion for this topic.

One thing that could improve this essay is changing the order of the family members’ conversations to make the story flow smoother. For example, since the mom’s contribution to the meal is directly related to the sister’s, her reaction should have directly followed the sister’s comment on Louis XIV. Likewise, the dad agrees with the grandpa on the book, so those should have been bundled together. 

Improving the structure and flow of the essay would make it a faster read and reduce any confusion. Admissions officers race through essays, and the last thing you want is for them to have to pause and go back to understand what is happening. By the time we hear the student’s mom was disgusted at the sister’s story or the dad likes the book, we’ve heard other family members’ stories and might not remember what they are referring to. Simple changes like this can make big differences to the quality of an essay.

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 

Want feedback like this on your Tufts University essay before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.

Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer expert college counseling packages . You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

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examples of tufts supplemental essays

Tufts University Essay 2023-24

Tufts essay 2023-2024.

If you’re considering applying to Tufts this cycle, you’ve come to the right place. In order to know how to get into Tufts and impress the admissions committee, you’ll need a compelling Tufts essay. To learn more about how to master the Tufts supplemental essays, read on!

Tufts University is a prestigious university located in Somerville, Massachusetts . Tufts is ranked #32 by U.S. News, and the Tufts acceptance rate is 11% . As with most liberal arts colleges, Tufts evaluates each student holistically. Tufts is also test-optional since 2021. Because of these factors, your Tufts essay is more important than ever.

Tufts essays are crucial to your application, which is why we’re here to help you master all of your Tufts supplemental essays. These essays include the “why Tufts” essay, and other program-specific short answer questions.

Read on to read our full breakdown on how to approach any Tufts essay.

Tufts Supplemental Essays: Quick Facts

Quick facts about the tufts supplemental essays.

Tufts College Ranking: #32 in National Colleges

Tufts Acceptance Rate : 11% — U.S. News ranks Tufts University as a most selective school. 

Tufts College Essay Requirements :

  • 1 (~ 250 words) required essay for applicants to the School of Arts & Sciences or the School of Engineering:
  • 1 (~ 250 words) required essay for applicants to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts
  • 1 (100 words) required short answer

Tufts Application : Students can submit their Tufts application through the Common Application , QuestBridge , or Coalition Application . Before you apply, make sure that your supplemental Tufts essays are prepared and thoroughly edited in a separate document.

Application Deadlines for Tufts:

  • Early Decision I deadline: November 1
  • Early Decision II deadline: January 4
  • Regular Decision deadline: January 4

Tufts College Essay Tip: The Tufts essays consist of two short answer questions, and these questions vary based on which program you’re applying to. The second Tufts essay is your “why Tufts” essay, and it’s just one sentence! 

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website. 

Does Tufts have supplemental essays?

So what’s everyone talking about when they talk about the Tufts essays?

Like many other colleges, especially high-ranking ones, the Tufts supplemental essays are an important part of your application. There are two Tufts supplemental essays, including one “why Tufts” essay.

You’ll prepare your Tufts supplemental essays in addition to your personal statement , the 650-word essay required by the Common App. Like your personal statement, the Tufts essays help admissions officers get to know you better as a person and an applicant. What are your values, what’s shaped you throughout your life, and what would you bring to the Tufts community?

There are two required Tufts supplemental essays. One of the Tufts essays is required of all students, while the other depends on the program you apply to. The Tufts essay that all applicants must answer is your “why Tufts” essay, which is a (very) short answer question. In these essays, you’ll show Tufts why you and the university are the best possible fit for each other. 

What are the Tufts essay requirements?

The Tufts essay requirements can be found on the Tufts website in the section describing short answer questions. Both of the Tufts supplemental essays can be categorized as “short answer questions,” because they ask for 100-250 word answers. However, just because your Tufts essay is short, that doesn’t mean it requires any less thought or planning. In some ways, short essays are the hardest, because you have to express yourself as succinctly as possible. 

The Tufts essay requirements differ based on the School within Tufts you apply to, of which there are three: 

  • Tufts School of Arts and Sciences
  • Tufts School of Engineering
  • School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts

If you’re applying to one of the first two programs, your Tufts supplemental essays will be the same. If you’re applying to the Arts BFA or combined BFA+BA/BS, your first Tufts essay will be a little different. However, applicants for all programs must write the one-sentence Tufts essay which will serve as your “why Tufts” essay.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the Tufts essay requirements, let’s dive into the different Tufts supplemental essays.

Tufts Essays: School of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering

Do you want to experience the nationally lauded liberal arts education at Tufts provides? Are you interested in disciplines like the humanities, pre-med, or the social sciences? If so, the School of Arts & Sciences is likely the best choice for you. The School of Arts & Sciences offers the broadest educational experience at Tufts. It’s the best choice for a student who might not know exactly what they want to study. 

Alternatively, if you are set on engineering, the School of Engineering is a perfect fit for you. There are sixteen majors under the engineering umbrella, from computer science to biomedical engineering. While lacking the breadth of the School of Arts & Sciences, it offers an in-depth, high-caliber course of study.

Luckily, whichever of the Tufts schools you choose—Arts & Sciences or Engineering—you write the same set of Tufts supplemental essays. From the Tufts website , here are your Tufts essay prompts if you’re an applicant for one of these two programs:

Please respond to one of the following three prompts in 200-250 words:

1. it’s cool to love learning. what excites your intellectual curiosity and why, 2. how have the environments or experiences of your upbringing—your family, home, neighborhood, or community—shaped the person you are today, 3. using a specific example or two, tell us about a way that you contributed to building a collaborative and/or inclusive community., school of arts & sciences and school of engineering: a closer look.

These Tufts supplemental essays prompts allow for a lot of flexibility in your answer. They also have pretty strict restrictions because of the word limit. It can seem daunting to elaborate on your intellectual curiosity or upbringing in 250 words, but consider it a challenge! Plus, all of these Tufts supplemental essays are very common topics. You’ll likely be able to reuse your Tufts supplemental essays and their ideas for another application. 

An important thing to remember when drafting your Tufts supplemental essays is that ultimately, these essays are about you . The Tufts admissions committee wants to learn more about who you are and what you value. In light of that, the Tufts supplemental essays ask questions that will help them understand you better as an applicant. Therefore, the best thing you can do when writing your Tufts supplemental essays is to think deeply about yourself and brainstorm . 

For School of Arts & Sciences or School of Engineering applicants, the Tufts supplemental essays also include a “why Tufts” essay. The “why Tufts” essay question is a little bit different from other schools: you only have 100 words.

We’ll dive deeper into the “why Tufts” essay later in this guide under the “short answer” section. First, let’s take a look at the Tufts supplemental essays for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Tufts Essay Prompts: School of the Museum of Fine Arts Essay Prompts

The Tufts supplemental essays are different for applicants for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, or the SMFA at Tufts. SMFA at Tufts “ offers a conceptually rigorous, interdisciplinary visual arts program.” If you’re applying to the SMFA program, here’s the question for your Tufts essay: 

Please respond to the following prompt in 200-250 words:

Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. what are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work.

Of course, applicants to the SMFA program are likely artists or have a strong interest in art. Accordingly, for their  Tufts supplemental essays, Tufts is asking these applicants to speak directly to their artistic vision. For students applying to the SMFA program, this question is more tailored to their academic intentions than the previous prompt.

Like with all of the Tufts supplemental essays, there’s no right way to answer this question. Instead, use this opportunity to be vulnerable and honest about your ideas and goals as an artist. If you have space, you can tie your intended artistic pursuits to Tufts and the SMFA program. However, keep in mind, you’ll write a “why Tufts” essay as part of your Tufts supplemental essays. In that question, you can dive into why Tufts in particular is where you want to grow as an artist.

Your Portfolio and Your Essays

If you’re applying to the SMFA, you have more components of your Tufts application than the Tufts supplemental essays. You also need to submit an artistic portfolio . This portfolio comprises 15-20 images of recent work, and/or up to 10 minutes of work like video or audio.

The Tufts portfolio is intended to demonstrate your “conceptual development” as well as your skill. Regardless of what media you submit, consider carefully whether it demonstrates your skill and potential. You should submit something that you feel best represents your skills and experiences with your artistic medium. 

Just like your Tufts supplemental essays, this Tufts portfolio is a way for Tufts to get to know you better. Your pieces should not only show skill, but also help the admissions committee better understand you. Choose pieces that you feel represent who you are and what you want to pursue as well as your abilities. 

Mentioning your Tufts portfolio

In your Tufts supplemental essays, especially the program-specific question, don’t be afraid to reference art in your portfolio. This especially applies if the pieces you submit are representative of a project you plan on expanding upon. They may also show something you’ve learned as an artist that you plan to carry into your next piece. 

Indeed, your Tufts supplemental essays and your portfolio can and should work together to deepen your personal narrative . Remember that your application should build a personal brand that draws a thread through your high school experiences. By the same token, your Tufts portfolio and Tufts supplemental essays together should create a clear, complex picture of you for admissions officers. 

Now that we’ve covered the program-specific Tufts supplemental essays, we’ll move into some tips on how to write the best Tufts supplemental essays—including the “why Tufts” essay.

How to “Think Outside the Box” for your Tufts Essay

Tufts receives over 30,000 applicants each year—and the Tufts acceptance rate is only 11%. When writing their Tufts essays, students often wonder: how can I distinguish myself? One way to do this is to get a little creative: think outside the box! 

So what does thinking outside of the box mean in terms of writing college essays?

First, think about your topic. The most important thing to consider when deciding on your topic is whether it feels true to who you are. However, there are topics that many students tend to gravitate towards, and sometimes these feel a little overdone. Think sports victories or other extracurricular successes, a relationship with a mentor like a grandparent or parent, or service-based extracurricular activities.

These aren’t off the table entirely but should be approached with caution. Ultimately, it’s not the topic you write about, but how you write about it. An essay about a meaningful relationship can still be a fantastic essay— if it’s focused on your own personal growth. Keep the focus on yourself and how the relationship (or event, or activity) influenced you positively.

Going Even More Outside the Box

Another way to write an attention-grabbing essay is to vary the classic structure and form of your essay. Most students, especially with a word limit as small as 250 words, will write in a fairly straightforward paragraph structure. Many write narratively, starting their essay with an anecdotal hook or incorporating dialogue. Why not change up the structure? Start at the end of your story and write backwards, or write from an unusual perspective. 

You could even incorporate non-traditional forms of writing like writing the whole thing in the second person. When drafting Tufts supplemental essays about your upbringing, you might spend most of your essay talking directly to your admissions officer: “You awaken to the sound of your mom banging on your door, the same door in the same room you’ve woken up in every day since you were born. You open your bleary eyes and take in your faded lilac wallpaper, plastered with Justin Bieber posters and your highest-scoring spelling quizzes from middle school: another morning in Omaha, Nebraska.” Now you’ve got an admissions officer’s attention!

To recap: there are many ways to write a college essay. The most important thing to remember is that this essay should tell Tufts something new about you. But even the most overdone topics (upbringing, community, academic pursuits, etc.), offer ways to grab your reader’s attention.

Tufts Short Answer Response

Now we’ve made it to the highly-anticipated “why Tufts” essay. Tufts has certainly issued a challenge with this “why Tufts” essay question. Most schools provide 250–650 words for this essay. In contrast, Tufts wants you to boil down why you want to attend into a mere sentence. 

Here’s how Tufts will ask you to answer their “why Tufts” essay on the application: 

In addition, we will ask all applicants to complete this sentence in 100 words or less:

“i am applying to tufts because…”.

When writing a “why Tufts” essay, or a “why school” essay in general, it’s important to be specific. On their website, Tufts suggest that you look at the Jumbo Magazine , Tufts’ student magazine, or student blogs . Even with only 100 words, you should still be as specific about what you want to do at Tufts as possible. That is to say, why do you have to be at Tufts to follow your dreams? 

What are you planning to major in , and why? Have you always planned on researching elephants, and are attracted to Tufts because of their beloved mascot Jumbo ? Are you a Revolutionary War buff, and can’t wait to explore Boston (maybe join a reenactment club)? Whatever you say, no one should read your “why Tufts” essay and mistake it for a “why school” essay for another college.

However, don’t confuse being specific about Tufts in your “why Tufts” essay with only talking about Tufts. Your reader wants to know what you’ll bring to the campus community, and what kind of Tufts student you’ll be. The ideal “why Tufts” essay, and any “why school” essay, combines two answers: why Tufts is right for me, and why I’m right for Tufts. Link your passions and aspirations to opportunities at Tufts. 

Since your “why Tufts” essay is only 100 words, you should be concise about why you want to attend Tufts. The beauty of your writing is less important than including as much information here as you can. When you’re writing your “why Tufts” essay, don’t be afraid to write a longer essay first. Get all your ideas out first, and then condense them into the perfect sentence-long “why Tufts” essay. 

If you’re still stumped on how to write your “why Tufts” essay, try reading “why school” essays that worked. They may inspire you in your own “why Tufts” essay.

Read on for more advice on writing short responses.

Advice for writing short responses

Up to now, we’ve covered the Tufts supplemental essays that you’ll encounter when building your application. Now, let’s talk about more advice for writing short responses. In fact, both of the Tufts essays could be considered short responses, since they are both under 250 words. 

Show Them Something New

It must be remembered that short answers, as well as other supplemental essays, should include new information. Your Tufts application will already include a lot of information about you: your GPA, classes, personal statement, and extracurriculars. Don’t rehash information available elsewhere without adding depth.

Use these extra supplemental essays to highlight something about you that the Tufts admissions committee otherwise wouldn’t know. This doesn’t mean you can’t elaborate on the information you’ve already included, like an extracurricular . But in that case, try to focus on a new perspective, or go into further detail. A 50-word description leaves out a lot: how did that extracurricular change you? What will you carry with you from that experience?

Analyze Successful Essays

Another way to prepare is to look at Tufts essays that worked and break them down. Why do you think that the Tufts essays that worked, worked? Was it the structure of the essay, or the prose itself? Was the topic especially unique, or did the applicant just do a great job of making a common topic their own? By reading Tufts essays that worked, or other college essays , you can learn tactics to write your own stellar essay.

You may even read the admissions blog from Tufts, which may yield insights into the admissions process. And of course, since it’s written by Tufts students and staff, you’ll learn more about Tufts. That could become the inspiration for your own essays.

Just Write!

If you’re stuck and can’t think of a topic, or know your topic but don’t know where to start, try free writing. Sometimes the best way to start writing is, well, to start, without any pressure to write something good or even intelligible. No-stress writing exercises like free writing can help you get those creative juices flowing. 

Free writing is for you to get out all your ideas, without editing or stopping. Set a timer for 30 minutes and answer one of the short answer questions. If that’s like pulling teeth, you could also make a mind map or do word association to generate ideas. If you can’t choose a prompt, or if you have too many topics on your mind, repeat the process as needed. Now that you’ve got a few pages of brainstorming writing done, review your writing. Find the points that feel important to include in your answers and go from there. 

For more detailed advice on how to tackle the Tufts essays, check out this guide on Tufts essays from years past. 

How important is my Tufts essay?

Your Tufts essay is only one part of your application. Everything, including your GPA , your letters of recommendation , your personal statement, and your extracurriculars , are considered by Tufts. With that said, the essays are you at your most direct and expressive, so they matter a lot .

Tufts is also test-optional , so if you choose to include SAT / ACT scores, they will be taken into consideration. If you choose not to include test scores, you will not be penalized. However, without test scores, each other part of your application increases in importance—and that includes your essays.

Overall, you should consider your Tufts essays very important parts of your application. You’ll never know how exactly the admissions officers weigh your essays in comparison to the other parts of your application. Therefore, you should act as if these essays could make or break your chance of admission to Tufts. College essays should always be taken seriously. Even if they’re only 100 words long, each of those 100 words matters. 

More key Tufts admissions requirements

What other Tufts admissions requirements should you take into consideration?

Make sure to remember deadlines when you’re working on your Tufts application. Tufts has Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. ED I is due November 1 st , and ED II and Regular Decision are both due January 4 th . 

Should you apply ED or RD to Tufts? That depends on a few factors. First, is Tufts your dream school ? If Tufts is your first choice and you’re 110% confident of that, you should consider applying ED. If you get into Tufts ED, your enrollment is binding—so you should be confident that Tufts is the school for you.

However, applying early means that you don’t have the opportunity to compare financial aid packages from different schools.  If financial aid is a significant factor for you and your family you should take that into consideration. Also, applying early isn’t a good enough reason to rush your application. If you feel like your application isn’t as good as it could be, don’t submit it before it’s ready.

Tufts Essay – Final Takeaways

Writing college essays can be daunting, and that’s true even for short answer essays like the Tufts supplemental essays. The Tufts acceptance rate is 11%, so your essays are crucial to making sure that your application stands out .

Here are some key takeaways to remember when writing your Tufts essays:

Five Tufts Essay Takeaways

1. Every student applying to Tufts must answer two required supplemental essays.

2. The supplemental essays you will answer depend on the program you’re applying to. If you’re applying to the School of Arts & Sciences or the School of Engineering, you will choose from three prompts. If you’re applying to the SMFA at Tufts, you’ll answer a different first question than the other applicants. 

3. All applicants have to write a “why Tufts” essay. This essay is quite short, at only one sentence.

4. The most important things to remember about writing your Tufts essays are to be honest and specific. Include information that the admissions officer couldn’t find anywhere else in your application.

5. Tufts has Early Decision and Regular Decision—do your research to find out which deadline is right for you. Whichever you choose, prepare your essays ahead of time so you have time to write and edit multiple drafts! 

We hope that after reading this article on Tufts essays you feel more confident tackling your Tufts app. For more advice on how to get into Tufts, check out our guide !

This article was written by advisor, Rachel Kahn . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.

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examples of tufts supplemental essays

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How to Write the Tufts University Supplemental Essays

For students applying to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree, there are two required essays: a ‘Why Tufts?’ essay, and a short essay responding to one of three possible prompts (your choice). Tufts is looking for students who are academically accomplished, but also a bit quirky and intellectually playful. The supplemental essays are the perfect place to convey your personality to the Tufts admissions committee, so when crafting both of your responses, don’t be afraid to take risks, show off your voice, and express your playful, creative side!

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

This short essay is a classic ‘why this school?’ essay. It should highlight your knowledge of the unique opportunities at Tufts, and your own special interests and perspectives. A great way to approach this essay is to do some intensive research on Tufts’ website in order to find academic programs, research opportunities, extracurricular activities and student groups, and unique aspects of student life that interest you. Focus on linking your past experiences and passions to your plans for making the most of your potential time at Tufts. For example, if you’re a high school senior who is interested in global politics, involved in Model UN, and aspires to become a diplomat, you should refer to these specific aspects of your profile and write about the resources at Tufts that will help you reach your professional goals. You might mention how Tufts’ 1+4 Bridge Year Program will broaden your perspectives on global issues and service learning, or discuss how you could complement your International Relations major with Tufts’ Peace and Justice Studies minor. If you have any other special connections to Tufts–e.g. a campus visit and tour, a friend or sibling who attended Tufts and raved about any special features of its academic or student culture–these details may also find their way into your essay.

After you’re done writing your Why Tufts essay, it’s time to choose a prompt for their second, slightly longer supplemental essay. When considering whether to answer prompt A, B, or C, you should be sure that you can write something new about yourself that hasn’t already been communicated in your Common App personal statement or Additional Information section (if applicable). As always, you should share something that feels authentic to you, and the more unique, the better.

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.

Even the way this prompt is phrased (“It’s cool to love learning”) hints at Tufts’ down-to-earth culture. You could either write about a specific subject or a specific experience or story. For the former, try to hone in on a particular unique interest within your intended field(s) of study. Instead of writing about how much you enjoy reading, for example, you can distinguish yourself from other prospective English majors by writing about your love of the 17th-century Metaphysical poets, the short story that turned you into an aspiring novelist, or how you noticed that the TV series Dickinson’s cinematography parallels the mood of some of Emily Dickinson’s poems. Alternatively, if you’ve had an educational experience that was particularly powerful–e.g. an immersive Mock Trial program, attending an intensive academic summer camp, conducting research in a lab–you could write about how the experience influenced you and shaped your passions and goals.

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

This prompt asks you to reflect on the world you come from and how your background has shaped your worldview. According to Tufts’ Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin, the admissions committee at Tufts hopes to “bring perspectives together that are different and push you to think about your own frame of reference.” Therefore, it’s important to think about and clearly express what your particular frame of reference is, and what you can bring to campus that no one else can. This may be related to a geographic identity, a religious community, a unique intersection of identities that you occupy, a family background, a place of work, a school you attend or have attended, or any other environment that has been meaningful to you. What are the life lessons you’ve gleaned from growing up in your particular neighborhood, or in your particular family? What are the most important communities in your life, and how have they shaped your values?

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

Tufts offers excellent programs in civic service and a culture on campus that, like those of nearly all higher education institutions in the U.S., will lean towards liberal and progressive politics. The admissions committee at Tufts is certainly seeking to admit students who are politically conscious and passionate about fighting for social causes that are important to them. Keep in mind that “social justice” is a broad term and may encompass issues of racial and gender inequality, immigration, LGBTQ rights, access to basic needs like health care and education, climate justice, and much more. If you’re deeply involved with advocacy and activism around one or multiple causes, this prompt could be a good place to showcase that involvement. Similar to prompt B, this essay is an opportunity to share the context behind why social justice is important to you, your social justice activism, and other aspects of your personal identity and background.

examples of tufts supplemental essays

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examples of tufts supplemental essays

How to Write the Tufts Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

Padya Paramita

November 10, 2021

examples of tufts supplemental essays

Tufts University is well-known for its rigorous and innovative research and educational programs. The college has an international reputation for academic excellence and for helping its students prepare for excellence in a wide array of professions. You could have your eyes on this Massachusetts institution for its courses—or there is a particular professor or research opportunity that has grabbed your eye. No matter what, you must take advantage of the Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 to let the admissions officers know why you’re a unique candidate. 

Prompts for the Tufts Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

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 very hardcore “why school” question. In the first question among the Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022, and within only 150 words, Tufts wants to know why you’ve chosen them. Because of the word limit, you need to be extremely specific in your answer. Find what makes Tufts unique as the place to pursue your interests and goals—and make sure this is something that you can only find at Tufts. Since you only have such a limited space, and you are going to college to pursue academics, it's best to stick to the educational aspects of “why Tufts.” Consider your major and academic aspirations in brainstorming the essay and show the admissions committee that you’ve really done your research. 

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?

This question is another way of asking why you’ve picked a particular major. The Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 want to know exactly what part of your academic journey you are the most excited about. Don’t say general things like “history.” If you’ve said you want to be a history major, the admissions officers already know you are interested in the past. Dive deeper into it. Is there something about the past that you believe shapes the future? Is there a particular era that interests you the most? No matter what field you choose, think about the topic in that area that has captured your attention like no other. This essay should be filled with lots of excitement and enthusiasm about your favorite topic—so make sure it comes across as genuine.

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

Through this supplemental prompt, Tufts is interested in knowing exactly what you’ll bring from your current life as a high schooler to their campus near Boston. If we break this prompt down further, you’ll notice that the word “environments” is broad here—the Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 has given you flexibility by listing some possible examples of the type of environments you might write about—as well as saying “or community” if it’s more applicable.

As you brainstorm, start thinking about all of the communities you grew up around and connected with on a daily basis—school, student group, sports team, neighborhood organization, family, etc. From there, think about what—from any of these communities—have had the most impact on you and why. The admissions officers who you are today—which part of you has been deeply shaped by a group of people you have spent significant time around? Let them know.

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

Choosing to tackle this third optional prompt within the Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 is a good way to inform the university about your role as an impactful leader and changemaker. Admissions officers don’t want a detailed description of the logistics of any action you have taken. Within the given 250 words you must focus on how you are making efforts to make a difference in your community—so you should take a more reflective approach. Think about your most significant involvement, but stay wary of commonly cited activities such as service trips. Remember that fighting for social justice doesn’t have to signify a large-scale activity. You could have helped your entire neighborhood or school by raising social media awareness, or you might have helped one or two individuals who belong to it, and still made a difference. 

Talk about your achievements in a way that still conveys humility and portrays you as both a team player and a respected leader. And of course, make sure your account is truthful and not overly exaggerated. Don’t write about an initiative your brother has really spearheaded and try to pass it off as your own story.

The Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 may be short, but they can really help convey your personality and interests to the admissions officers. Research the school thoroughly as well as think about what you want the school to know about you as they consider your application. As long as you’re introspective and enthusiastic about showcasing how you would bring a unique perspective and contribute to the school, you’ll give yourself a good chance. Best of luck!

Tags : applying to tufts , how to get into tufts , tufts university , tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022 , tufts essays , tufts supplemental essays

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Short Answer Questions

When you visit the Common Application or the Coalition Application by Scoir platform to fill out and submit your application to Tufts, you'll notice that the application includes Tufts-specific questions. There are two required short-answer questions, which vary depending on the program to which you are applying (read carefully below). We’ve created this page to allow you to peruse the questions without having to leave this site. Visit the Common Application site or the Coalition Application by Scoir site when you’re ready to apply online.

Updated Short Responses for the Class of 2028

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 & Sciences or the School of Engineering:

Please respond to one of the following three prompts in 200-250 words:

  • It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity and why?
  • How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – shaped the person you are today?
  • Using a specific example or two, tell us about a way that you contributed to building a collaborative and/or inclusive community.

Applicants to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts:

Please respond to the following prompt in 200-250 words:

  • Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work?   

In addition, we will ask all applicants to complete this sentence in 100 words or less:

“I am applying to Tufts because…” 

As you begin to plan for the upcoming application cycle, know that we are here to help! We encourage you to learn more about the Tufts admissions process by exploring the admissions website, reading Jumbo Magazine or our student blogs , and following us on Instagram .

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How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Tufts University Supplemental Essay Prompts

examples of tufts supplemental essays

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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examples of tufts supplemental essays

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

examples of tufts supplemental essays

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Tufts University Supplemental Essay Prompts

Tufts University is a selective university located in the greater Boston area. With a 11% acceptance rate , it is a selective university. To help increase your chances of admission, your Tufts supplemental essays need to stand out from other applicants. Keep on reading to learn how to best respond to the Tufts supplemental essays. 

Breaking down the Tufts supplemental essays

The Tufts supplemental essays ask for specific responses based on the school an applicant is applying to. 

All Tufts applicants will need to complete a sentence in 100 words or less. If you are applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering you will have to respond to one of three prompts. If you are applying to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) you will need to respond to one required prompt. 

For all applicants

“i am applying to tufts because…” (100 words or less) , do your research on tufts beforehand.

Tufts wants their applicants to be well-informed about all that their university has to offer. Therefore, do your research! Find specific classes, extracurriculars, traditions, and aspects of Tufts campus that makes it stand out from all other universities. 

You should be spending as much time as possible researching the Tufts website and social media pages to get a good idea of what you are excited about when it comes to Tufts. 

Make each word count while revealing why you chose Tufts

This prompt is only 100 words max, which is not a lot of space or time to list everything you love about Tufts. Narrow down your list to a couple of things about Tufts that stand out to you. What you select should be unique and reveal your interests. For example, you can write about being interested in the class “Sociology of Sports” because you are curious about the tough questions facing athletes in modern days. 

Throughout your response, you should not be simply stating things. Rather, use an engaging narrative to respond. For example, instead of saying you “love the campus,” describe what it is that you admire. Remember, you can always cut back words to make each word count and meet the word count!

Questions to consider when answering this prompt

  • Why is Tufts the perfect school for you? 
  • How will you contribute to the campus community? 
  • What does Tufts offer that other schools do not? 

Applicants to the School of Arts & Sciences or the School of Engineering

There are three prompts given if you are applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering and you have to select one to respond to.

It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity? ( 200-250 words ):

To answer this prompt, think about one thing that absolutely makes you nerd out! 

Consider the following questions to help you choose what to write about: 

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Is there something you want to learn more about? 
  • Why are you interested in this thing? 
  • If you could teach a class what would it be about? 
  • What do you want to major in at Tufts? 
  • What is your biggest interest in life? 
  • What subject is your favorite to learn about? 

Once you determine what interests you would like to discuss in this prompt, think about the “why.” Why are you intrigued by this subject? 

Throughout your response, you should be narrating a story. For example, instead of stating that you like biology, discuss a time when you were young and watched caterpillars turn into butterflies. Share how since that time, you have been intrigued by the circle of life in insects. 

Lastly, you should explain how you hope to further pique your interest while studying at Tufts. Be sure to mention specific classes and organizations that interest and excite you. 

How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing – your family, home, neighborhood or community – shaped the person you are today? ( 200-250 words ) 

This prompt is perfect for you if your upbringing greatly influenced the person you are today. To begin this prompt, provide some background. Be sure to discuss what exactly your culture or environment was for context. 

Once you have established your background, then you should describe how your culture and environment influenced your upbringing. Describe what pieces of yourself were formed because of your unique background. 

Make sure that you reveal pieces of yourself that are not surface level. Rather, you want to make sure you are being deep and thoughtful in your response. 

Lastly, connect your culture to Tufts. What do you have to share at Tufts? Be sure to write about how you add to the Tufts’ community. In addition, you can discuss any cultural clubs or events that exist on the Tufts’ campus that you are excited to participate in.

Questions to consider

  • What aspect of your background is most important to you? 
  • How has your upbringing contributed to your current personality? 
  • How will Tufts help you thrive? 

Using a specific example or two, tell us about a way that you contributed to building a collaborative and/or inclusive community ( 200-250 words ) 

To begin, define what community you are discussing in this prompt! Remember, a community can be anything big or small! For example, it can be a church, a club at school, a neighborhood or a sports team. 

Once you have described this community, detail how you have built a collaborative and/or inclusive community. Be sure you are telling a clear narrative, first beginning with how you became a part of this community and what the community is. Then, you should describe one or two specific examples of how you made this community inclusive or collaborative. 

For example, perhaps you joined a recycling club and you helped designate more roles in the club as most members were not a part of helping increase recycling in the school community. Or perhaps at your church you created a youth group to help more like-minded teenagers get more heavily involved in the church. 

Whatever your community or your actions to make it more collaborative and inclusive, tell your story! Make sure you are painting a vivid picture without forgetting to include your specific contributions to the community. 

To take it one step further, you should detail what you have learned from this experience and how you hope to take what you have learned with you to your new Tufts community. 

  • What is a community you are involved with that is important to you? 
  • How have you made this community more inclusive? 
  • What will you bring to the Tufts community? How will you make it more inclusive or collaborative? 

Applicants to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA)

Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. what are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work ( 200-250 words ) .

Since you are an aspiring SMFA, Tufts already knows you are a creative and artistic person. Therefore, you should describe what type of artist you are. Are you a painter, sculptor, or sketch artist? Those are just a few to start!

Identify which type of artist you are and what you typically create. If your art has a common theme throughout, share that.  If not, write about where you seek artistic inspiration from and/or what you want to artistically explore at Tufts.

No matter what you write, remember to bring it back to Tufts. Ask yourself how being  part of SMFA will help elevate your work and maybe even change the world!  

Final thoughts on the Tufts supplemental essays

Tufts is looking for unique and ambitious students to join their 11% . Therefore, the most important thing is that you are being authentic throughout your responses. Be sure to always reveal new pieces of information about your personality and interests throughout your responses, and try not to repeat yourself! Good luck during the college admissions process! 

Additional resources

Curious on the best way to write a 500 word essay ? Struggling to answer the Common App Essay Prompts ? Wondering how to write an essay about yourself ? Scholarships360 is here to help students navigate the tricky terrain of the college admissions process. Be sure to check out our guides to help! 

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write an excellent "why tufts" essay.

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College Essays


If you're applying to Tufts University, you should already have an answer to "Why Tufts?" But answering the "Why Tufts?" essay question as part of your application requires more than acknowledgement that it's a good school.

This guide to the "Why Tufts" essay prompts will guide you through the requirements, expectations, and strategies you need to write an exemplary essay.

Feature Image: HereToHelp /Wikimedia Commons

What's the Purpose of a "Why This School?" Essay?

To craft a good "Why Tufts?" essay, you need to understand the prompt. It's not about listing a school's qualifications or discussing how beautiful the campus is—a good essay will explain not just why the school is good, but why the school is good for you .

This essay is a common one at many schools. Colleges want to know what brings you to them specifically, including what interests you and how you'll contribute to the student body. Though the question of "why" may feel simple, it's a lot more complex than it appears at first glance .

First of all, the college admissions office wants to know what sets their school apart from others. In Tufts' case, that could be their history as a research university , which puts undergrads in closer contact with graduate students and encourages more communication between people in different fields of study. It could also be their emphasis on interdisciplinary studies , or a positive experience you had while touring the campus .

Use the question of "why" as a starting point . Don't stop at, "because I like that I can study engineering and English." Develop that idea further—What does that mean to you? Why does it matter?

The "Why This College?" essay also invites students to think about how they'll fit into the academic environment. Schools want to know that you're a good fit—it's to their benefit to recruit students who are passionate and committed to getting the most out of their college education.

If it wasn't, Tufts wouldn't have an acceptance rate of around 11 percent . They want students who will contribute to the learning environment and bring creativity, innovation, and curiosity to the classroom. Read and understand Tufts' mission statement before writing your essay so you're informed about what these traits mean, and how you can contribute to realizing their vision as a student .

But it's not just about whether you'll fit in—it's also important that Tufts is a good fit for you. That doesn't mean having your major or whatever clubs you might want to join, but also that your goals align with theirs. The interdisciplinary approach isn't right for every student, and others may prefer the more classic separation of undergrads and graduate students. Having a clear idea about your goals as well as theirs will help you excel, and Tufts will appreciate the clarity .

Your "Why Tufts?" essay isn't just good for the school, it's good for you, too. When you think deeply about why you want to attend a particular school, it makes you even more excited to attend, and that passion is precisely what schools want to see.

Thinking in-depth about your college choices also makes you learn more about schools and how they support your goals, which is instrumental for choosing the right school.

As you're thinking about your Tufts essay, you might learn things about the school that may not be a good fit, and it's better to learn that now than six months after you've moved onto campus. Though one or two missed checkboxes in your dream school criteria isn't necessarily a reason to pull your application, having realistic expectations for your college experience will set you up for a more positive time at the school of your choice.


What Is the "Why Tufts?" Essay Really Asking?

"Why Us?" essays may look as if they're asking a simple question—why do you want to attend this school—but there's more to it than that. These essays are also often asking one of two questions: "why us?" or "why you?"

In essence, these essays want you to describe why they're the right school for you, or why you're the right student for them . Paying attention to how the question is framed will give you a better sense of what kind of answer they're looking for, which will help you shape your essay.

Tufts actually has two versions of the "Why Us?" essay, depending on which department you're applying to. Each one asks a different version of the question, with one version emphasizing your role as a student in a community ("Why You?") and what appeals to you about the school ("Why Us?").

To figure out which one you'll be responding to, use Tufts' Majors and Minors page . This tool allows you to select which programs you're interested in and displays the school department beneath.

If You're Applying to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, or 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree:

This prompt has a 100 to 150 word limit. The prompt asks:

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

This prompt is a pretty standard "Why X School?" style of essay. Notice that the prompt is asking you to discuss certain aspects of your undergraduate experience. That means the prompt expects you to talk about one or two elements of attending Tufts in detail, not write a laundry list of the things you love about the school.

Put another way: this essay wants you to be specific about why you want to go to Tufts and prove to the admissions committee that it's the right school for you!

If You're Applying to the BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree at the SMFA:

This prompt, also 100 to 150 words, applies to students who are on one of the above listed fine arts tracks. This prompt reads:

Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)

This question still asks about your application, but pay attention to the focus—it's more interested in why you want to be part of the SMFA program in particular. In answering this question, stay away from blanket statements about the university as a whole, like the robust number of extracurricular programs or Tuft's other undergraduate degree offerings.

Your answer should discuss what draws you to this program, not the school in general. Look through their mission statement, the experiences of other applicants, and preferably visit the campus for a tour to help you better explain why this school draws you in over others .

Because you're applying to the SMFA, you need to know what that is and how it differs from the rest of Tufts University. Why this program specifically? What will the SMFA add to your experience that education at a different school would not?


How to Write your "Why Tufts?" Essay, Step by Step

With only 100 to 150 words to answer these prompts, you'll likely need to go through multiple essay drafts to get your response into prime shape. Not only do you have a low word count, but these are also complex topics. Though planning might feel like more work in the short term, it'll help you write a stronger essay from beginning to end .

Step 1: Brainstorming

Start by reading the question. Not just reading the words that are there, but really striving to understand the question beyond the prompt.

Spend some time writing down different potential angles, then sort through them to find the one that works best for you. Your essay should be clear and specific to Tufts— if you can substitute in the name of another school and have it make sense, your essay isn't specific enough .

During brainstorming, come up with as many ideas as you can. Set a timer for five to ten minutes, and think of lots of different answers to the prompt. Don't worry if they're kind of out there or undeveloped; you can always cut them or expand later !

The General Prompt

For the first prompt, consider how which aspects of going to Tufts make it the best school for you. To do this, it helps to reframe the question like this: "What can Tufts do for me that no other school can?" It's also worth thinking about how you can contribute to the school in ways that are...well, uniquely you!

Maybe you're interested in tackling issues related to climate change, and you want to be part of Tufts's research on water purification because you know clean water will become a scarce resource. Or maybe you want a career in museum curation and education, so Tufts's Museum Education combined degree is perfect for you.

The point is that you need to be specific and clear about how Tufts is the only school that can help you achieve your goals.

Along with researching programs and professors, it's also a good idea to cite specific moments from tours, if you've taken them. If you haven't taken a tour, you could refer to alumni who inspire you, courses you find on the website, or other features unique to Tufts. "Unique" is key—whatever you say, Tufts' curriculum, mission, or other specific features should support it .

For example, you could mention the school's emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. Does it matter to you that your education at Tufts will be inclusive of other disciplines rather than focused entirely on your field? Why or why not?

The SMFA Prompt

For the prompt that's SMFA focused, consider the program and what makes you want to be part of it. Why an art degree? Why an art degree at Tufts? Why an art degree at Tufts in the SMFA program, specifically?

These might seem like redundant questions, but considering every angle of "Why SMFA?" will lead to a stronger essay . Look through the course catalog and see what it has to offer—courses like "Creative Futures: Business Essentials for Artists" are unique to this program, and it's worth understanding what they offer that other programs don't. Tying that into your essay along with why you want an art degree proves that you're serious about your discipline and understand what exactly Tufts will add to your education.

Also consider how the SMFA and Tufts University intersect. SMFA is a school within a school, and it's important to understand how it differs from the School of Arts and Sciences.

Again, cite moments from a tour if you can, or be specific about particular artists, artworks, or other features of Tufts that inspire you to attend there. The more you can tie your response specifically to Tufts rather than any other school, the better .


Step 2: Avoid Generalities

When writing, avoid being too general. Again, if you can substitute in the name of another school and have your essay still make sense, you need to make it more specific . The question is, "Why Tufts?" so be sure that you answer that as thoroughly as possible—and stay within your word count, of course.

Some students default to talking about sports or campus appearance to set the stage. Avoid that, if you can. Tufts already knows about their sports teams and how pretty the campus is, and if other people are doing it, you don't want to follow suit. Your essay should be uniquely you !

"Why Tufts?" may be the question, but avoid being too shallow. Think beyond academics and reputation; your essay should consider how Tufts will help you, and how you'll help Tufts .

Step 3: Write Efficiently

The essay is short, so you're really going to have to hone in on one particular feature or event . Be prepared to edit and revise multiple times—have people you trust look over it and give you feedback, and do your best to follow it.

Eliminate extra words; in the first sentence in the previous paragraph, I could easily change "you're really going to have to hone," into "you'll have to hone" and save myself three words. It's a small change, but three words means a lot when you only have 150!

Summarize any experience you want to draw on quickly so you have time to talk about why it matters. Be brief; you want to expand where it matters rather than spending a lot of time on scenic details ("The sun was rising as I first arrived in Medford, my hands trembling from nervousness and too much coffee on an empty stomach," is great detail, but if it's not telling the school "Why Tufts?" then it has to go!).

In short, every word should be pulling weight in your argument rather than taking up space .


"Why Tufts?" Essay Writing Checklist

As you progress through each draft, run through this checklist to be sure you're on target.

Are You Being Specific?

Can you rewrite the essay with the name of another college? If you can, be more specific.

Have You Mentioned Real-Life Experiences?

Tying your essay to a specific, real-life experience (such as a tour of the college) or a person (a representative of Tufts that you've spoken with, someone who's graduated, or similar) gives it more specificity. Concrete detail will make your essay feel more solid.

Have You Answered What Makes the School Special?

Think beyond academics, sports, or prestige. What makes Tufts the right school for you above all others? Why not Columbia , UC Berkeley , or the University of Minnesota ? You don't have to answer "why not?" in your essay, but you should know the answer when you're writing.

Have You Connected What Makes the School Special to Your Interests?

Readers should be able to draw a clear line from the answer to "Why Tufts?" to you as a student. Okay, so you met an adviser who not only got your love of botany, but who understood exactly how a love for grass-type Pokemon led you to pursue gardening and eventually botany. What does this mean to you, and how does it contribute to your desire to attend Tufts?

Have You Demonstrated an Understanding of School Culture?

Tufts is quite clear about their campus culture—intellectual curiosity, research, and interdisciplinary learning are all core parts of their mission. If you can demonstrate this in your essay, you'll be set to impress!


What Does a Great "Why Tufts?" Essay Look Like?

One of the best ways to understand what Tufts is looking for in responses to their "Why Tufts?" prompts is to see what people who have gotten in have written. Thankfully, Tufts makes this easy, putting several essays that worked online for you to read . Keep in mind that the prompts for these essays may have been phrased slightly differently, but at their heart, they're all "Why Tufts" essays...which means good essays in this category all share the same characteristics!

Here's an example of a successful "Why Tufts?" essay:

As a girl interested in computer science it's common when visiting university websites to utter "you go, girl" to the lone female faculty member smiling proudly amidst a male-dominated CS department. However, Tufts is a unique community that not only encourages minorities in STEM, but actively recruits female faculty like the spunky and inspirational activist/engineer/professor/entrepreneur Dr. Laney Strange, who I met at Girls Who Code. With my passions ranging from multimedia art to Latin American culture to CS, Tufts excites me since it's where diverse interests are celebrated and where I can have stimulating conversations with anyone I meet on campus.

Let's go through this essay using our checklist to understand exactly why it worked.

Notice how this essay uses specific faculty (and a specific experience with that faculty member) to discuss what appeals to the writer about Tufts. Substituting the name of another school in for Tufts wouldn't work, because this essay goes out of its way to be clear that this is something Tufts offers that other colleges don't.

Participating in Girls Who Code not only demonstrates the writer's interest in computer science, but also gives her a connection to the school beyond its reputation. That tie to Tufts gives her some additional insight into campus culture.

This writer frames her essay around empowering women in computer sciences, but, more importantly, how Tufts excels in a way that many schools do not.

As a female computer sciences student, prominent female faculty in the CS department is clearly important to the writer—something that comes through because of how neatly she ties her field to her specific experience and again to Tufts.

The writer not only cites female faculty in the CS department, but also the school's interdisciplinary education. She clearly has a familiarity with Tufts educational goals, making this essay an excellent example of not just, "Why Tufts?" but also "Why You?"

As you can see, this writer ticked all the checkboxes for a great "Why Tufts?" essay ...which is the goal!

Let's take a look at an SMFA-specific essay that worked. Another writer answered the "Why SMFA?" prompt like this:

As an artist, I believe that one's work should reflect the world beyond it. Thus, I'm most attracted to Tufts SMFA's combination of rigorous artistic study with a challenging liberal arts curriculum at the School of Arts and Sciences. I want to inform my art-making with in-depth exploration of sociology, justice, and international relations, creating works that comment on global issues--a prospect uniquely possible at Tufts SMFA. With numerous opportunities for combining art and community work on campus and in Boston, the SMFA program shows art isn't only meant for the classroom; it's meant for the world.

This student shows familiarity with the specifics of SMFA, the kind of works the organization produces and showcases, and also how the program is also part of the larger Massachusetts community. While many schools have great art programs, the specificity here ties it uniquely to Tufts.

The previous essay mentioned faculty the student had met with, which isn't always possible. This student may not have had the opportunity to tour campus or meet with representatives, but they still go out of their way to situation Tufts within a place—the wider area of Massachusetts. The more specific you can get, especially mentioning a community, as this writer did, the better.

The last line is particularly good, as it starts out quite specific and balloons out to a wider statement about art's place in the world. The mentions of SFMA's "rigorous artistic study" in conjunction with the "challenging liberal arts curriculum" show that the student has a good understanding of what this program entails, and how it will help them reach their goals.

This essay doesn't mention a particular field, but it does begin with a statement—"I believe that one's work should reflect the world beyond it"—and then goes on to demonstrate how that's true of Tufts. This short essay reads a bit like a condensed five-paragraph essay: thesis, supporting details, and conclusion that tie the whole theme together.

References to SFMA and the School of Arts and Sciences curricula show that the student knows the difference between the two and how they feed into one another. They've clearly done their homework, and it shows in a polished, well thought-out essay that got them into Tufts!

Once again, this writer hit all the important parts of the "Why Tufts?" essay, which ultimately showed admissions counselors that Tufts is the perfect school for them.


What's Next?

The "Why Tufts?" essay is just one of the essays you'll be writing for your application. It pays to understand them ahead of time, so check out this handy guide to the Tufts supplement !

If you need help writing essays for other colleges, this compilation of tips and tricks will help get your writing on track.

Tufts University uses the Common Application, so you'll also be writing essays in response to those prompts as well. This guide will help walk you through the Common Application prompts as well as best practices for answering them!

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, writing the tufts supplemental essays.

Hello! I'm currently working on my Tufts supplemental essays and I'm feeling a bit stuck. What approaches did y'all take in showcasing your interests, passions, and fit with Tufts?

Hello! It's essential to approach the Tufts supplemental essays in a way that highlights your genuine interest in the University and its specific offerings. You can find the Tufts prompts and guides to approaching them in this CollegeVine article:

For each prompt, think about how it relates to your passions, experiences, and future goals at Tufts. Keep your answers focused, personal, and engaging. Here are some quick guides for two of the University's prompts:

1. "Why Tufts?" essay: Research the various programs, courses, extracurricular activities, and campus culture that make Tufts a perfect fit for you. Be specific and link these aspects to your interests and passions. For example, if you're passionate about environmental conservation, you might mention the Environmental Studies Program and Tufts Institute of the Environment—as well as related clubs like the Eco-Reps or the Tufts Mountain Club.

2. "Community" essay: This prompt asks about a community you belong to and how it's shaped your perspective. Reflect on your experiences within a particular community (e.g. family, school club, cultural group, sports team, etc.), and discuss how it's helped you grow personally, intellectually, or even professionally. Make sure to connect those lessons or experiences back to Tufts and how you will contribute to the university community, perhaps by joining or starting similar groups or initiatives.

Overall, make sure your essays are authentic, engaging, and directly related to your aspirations at Tufts. Demonstrate how your passions align with the university's offerings and what you'll bring to the community. Also, don't forget to proofread and revise your essays multiple times to make sure they're polished and well-written. Good luck!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

How to Write a Supplemental Essay for College Applications

Discover tips for tackling writing supplements, and read a sample essay from a current student.

Pretty young student sitting at desk and doing her homework, she is connecting to the internet with a laptop

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A supplemental essay gives you an opportunity to tell the admissions committee about something you weren't able to cover in your main essay.

Prospective students are usually aware that they must write an essay as part of the college application process . But they may not know that some schools will ask for additional writing samples such as a supplemental essay.

Avoid These College Application Mistakes

Courtney Rubin and Cole Claybourn July 26, 2023

examples of tufts supplemental essays

These writing supplements are usually shorter than the main college essay , but they're no less important, experts say.

"Every word counts in getting your story across," says Deborah Davis, president and founder of Davis Education & Career Consultants LLC, based in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Some colleges ask for just one supplemental essay while others may require several.

For example, Wake Forest University in North Carolina had six additional questions for prospective students to respond to on its 2020 undergraduate admissions application. However, a couple of the questions asked applicants to write lists – for instance, a personal top 10 list – rather than a full paragraph or two.

Supplemental essay prompts come in all shapes and sizes. In some cases, schools let applicants choose from several options. For instance, the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill 's fall 2019-20 application included four prompts – such as "What do you hope will change about the place where you live?" – from which prospective students had to select two.

Davis says two of the most common prompts she's seen are "What do you want to major in?" and "Tell us about a favorite activity."

While word counts for supplemental essays vary, they tend to be limited.

Wake Forest has a 150-word limit for each of its supplements, says Tamara Blocker, the university's senior associate dean of admissions. UNC caps applicants' short answer responses at 250 words each, according to the school's website.

In contrast, The Common Application , a platform that allows students to apply to multiple colleges at once, has a suggested 650-word limit for the main essay and 250 words for others.

These types of written responses are more like vignettes or snapshots, rather than full-blown essays, says Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions at UNC.

"I think – I hope, anyway – that students feel the opportunity maybe in the shorter responses to worry less about form and just be a little more open with us," he says.

To help prospective students familiarize themselves with supplemental essays, U.S. News obtained an example from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Ryan Sheehan from Wallingford, Pennsylvania, wrote the short piece and is a computer science major in the class of 2021.

As part of his application, Sheehan responded to the following prompt: "There is a Quaker saying: 'Let your life speak.' Describe the environment in which you were raised – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – and how it influenced the person you are today."

"As the son of two journalists, I have grown up under a lifelong inquisition: How is your room such a mess? Can you please stop chasing the cat? Will you come down from the tree already? Granted, those are all from this past year, but the point still stands. Like any good journalists, my parents have also always had a propensity for uncovering the truth. On the third night that I had my license, I decided to go to the library to study. Before 15 minutes had passed, I noticed the librarian peering at me through the shelves before quickly averting her eyes and whispering, "He's here," into her phone. Even so, regardless of how many spies they've hired over the years, I have always looked up to my parents immensely. However, I have found my inherited inquisitiveness to be a trait most useful in a place far from the realm of reporting: the robotics lab. After four years of spending almost more time in the lab than at home, I have learned that nothing is more important than asking the right questions. As a programmer, I need to be able to communicate with my builders. Come press time, if I don't interview them properly, our robot will invariably end up as a hunk of unresponsive aluminum. To make a machine, the team must work as one. So although I may be writing source code instead of a breaking story, I am glad I had such nosy parents after all."

Karen Richardson, former dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management at Tufts who is now dean of admission at Princeton University in New Jersey, explained why she liked this response: "This is a great essay because, in just 250 words, it shows rather than tells the reader who Ryan is and the things that matter to him. It gives us a sense of his family life and academic interests, and it even shows us he has a sense of humor. As an admissions committee, we learned a lot about Ryan in just one paragraph."

Here are five additional tips from admissions officers to help prospective college students craft strong supplemental essays.

Answer the Question

This may seem obvious, but applicants should carefully read a supplemental essay prompt and make sure they understand what it is asking before answering it, Richardson says.

Prospective students may want to reuse an essay they wrote for another college, but that doesn't always work because supplemental questions tend to be more tailored to an individual institution, she says.

Start With an Outline

Applicants may have their own writing process, but Davis encourages those she works with to create outlines. She says prospective students should brainstorm the personal qualities, skills or experiences they would like to convey in their supplemental essays.

Don't Repeat Yourself

Supplemental essays are a chance for applicants to give more information to an admissions committee to further show why they are a good fit for a school, Davis says. So prospective students should make sure they aren't repeating something that's already been covered in their main essay.

Narrow Your Focus

Probably the biggest mistake applicants make in supplemental essays is choosing a topic that's too big, Farmer says. For example, he says prospective students may attempt to settle a complex political issue in just one paragraph.

"I think it's better to do something small and do it well than to do something big and skate over the surface," he says.

Maintain Your Voice

It's a good idea for applicants to ask another person for editing help, but too much input can be detrimental to an essay, experts say. If lots of people – teachers, parents, peers – read and weigh in on an essay, they can weaken how clearly a student's voice comes through in the writing.

"It's great to read something that sounds like it was written by an 18-year-old and not by a machine," Farmer says, "or by someone who's trying to be prematurely middle-aged."

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Tufts University 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

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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Institute for the Study of War

Communications internship fall 2024.

  • Share This: Share Communications Internship Fall 2024 on Facebook Share Communications Internship Fall 2024 on LinkedIn Share Communications Internship Fall 2024 on X

ISW Internship Program Overview

ISW is offering remote, hybrid, and in-person internships for Fall 2024. Instructions to apply for the scholarship are below.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is committed to training the next generation of national security leaders through its innovative educational programs. ISW seeks motivated and experienced college students or recent graduates to join our intern team. ISW offers internships across diverse research portfolios and departments, including Russia, China, and Iran’s proxy networks. ISW also offers internships in Geospatial Intelligence and National Security Technologies and in non-profit management, including Business Development and Editorial.

Why Work for ISW?

ISW believes that ground realities must drive the formulation of strategy and policy. In pursuit of this principle, ISW conducts detailed open-source intelligence analysis to provide timely and accurate information on current conflicts and security threats directly to policymakers and warfighters.

Interns at ISW have an unparalleled opportunity to analyze conflicts in ways that directly inform policy-makers on some of the most pressing issues facing American national security. Our interns work directly with analysts. They receive classroom education, regular leadership engagement, and a chance to work with cutting-edge technologies employed in business and the intelligence community. Interns have the opportunity to stand at the front lines of military research and policy development, tackling the latest crises in the headlines.

The ISW Internship Program is one of three core education programs housed within The General David H. Petraeus Center for Emerging Leaders, launched to identify, educate, and develop the future cadre of leaders committed to America’s national security. ISW views interns as an integral component of its team. ISW has worked with interns to draft, edit, and publish their own research under the mentorship of senior analysts. It has also hired many interns onto its staff.

Communications Internship: ISW’s Communications Team offers a unique opportunity to candidates interested in learning more about non-profit communications with an eye towards national security. Interns will hone their skills supporting a variety of communications functions, including media relations and monitoring, writing and copyediting, social media monitoring and management, digital content creation, and media and policy research.

Over the course of a quarter, interns will receive guidance from ISW’s professional communications and publishing staff, gradually expanding their knowledge of communications strategy and sharpening their ability to improve written products. Interns will have the opportunity to create and edit videos, graphics, and written material as well as assist in special projects and company initiatives. Interns will also help develop and execute social media campaigns across platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

This internship provides a great opportunity to train alongside a small and flexible external relations team in an engaging and fast-paced work environment. This is a full-time (five days per week) in-person, remote, or hybrid internship; but part-time work will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter. Competitive applicants are strongly encouraged to also submit one or two graphic design samples.


  • Candidates must be motivated and organized college students or recent graduates with demonstrated proficiency in a related field;
  • Candidates must possess excellent writing, editing, and oral communication skills;
  • Candidates should have experience adhering to a codified writing style guide such as the AP Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, or the American Psychological Association Stylebook;
  • Candidates should have experience reviewing the written work of others; this can include peer reviews of papers, work in a college writing center, or other copyediting experience in a professional or academic setting;
  • Candidates should be self-motivated, creative, and capable of working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.

Fall 2024 Internship Program Dates: ISW internships start September 10, 2024. The program will run until December 13. Interns must both be authorized to work in the United States and be physically present in the United States during their internship tenure. Working remotely outside of the United States is not authorized. If you attend a US university on a student visa, you must be eligible for and obtain a CPT authorization before beginning at ISW . Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until August 2.

Instructions: Please upload your resume, cover letter, and writing/editing sample. If submitting an editing sample, make sure the sample demonstrates the effect of your edits in some manner. Embedded tracked changes work for this purpose as do screenshots of your communications with the writer. You may include full-page screen captures or scans of edited content, but make sure the resolution is high enough for the image to be readable. You may also include a short synopsis explaining how your edits improved the document. Your cover letter and work sample should be no longer than five pages combined; the work sample can be excerpted from a longer paper.

ISW will work with students to gain academic credit for internships where applicable.

ISW Scholarship Application

The Institute for the Study of War will offer intern candidates up to a $1,000 monthly living stipend as part of a scholarship program.* To be considered for the scholarship, candidates must upload a scholarship application as part of their internship application. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until August 2, 2024.

Candidates will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to contribute as a member of one of ISW’s research, operations, business development, or external relations teams; and
  • Financial need, such that an unpaid internship would not be possible without assistance.

To be considered for the scholarship, candidates must upload a scholarship application as part of their internship application.

Within the scholarship application, candidates should upload a 2- to 3-page cover letter which answers each of the following questions. (This should be a different cover letter than the one used for the internship application itself.)

  • Which ISW internship is your top choice? Why do you believe you are qualified?
  • What do you believe to be the most pressing national security problem the US faces today? What solution(s) would you propose?
  • Where do you see yourself in your future career? How will an ISW internship help you get there?
  • Why have you chosen to apply for this supplemental scholarship?
  • Are you currently receiving federal financial aid and/or need-based aid from your university? Feel free to describe using as much detail as you are comfortable.

*Please note that the up to $1,000 monthly scholarship is classified as taxable income.


  1. Tufts University Supplemental Essays: 2021-2022

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  3. Tufts Supplemental Essays & Why Tufts Essay- Expert Guide

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  5. Tufts Essay

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  6. Descriptive Essay: The new school supplemental essay

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  1. Tufts Supplement Video

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  1. How to Write the Tufts Supplemental Essay

    How to Write the Tufts Supplemental Essay #1. 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. Pick one of the following (200-250 words): It's cool to love learning.

  2. How to Write the Tufts University Essays 2023-2024

    Prompt 1: Please complete the following statement: "I am applying to Tufts because…" (50-100 words) Prompt 2: Now we'd like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words) Option A: It's cool to love learning.

  3. A Short Guide to the Tufts Supplemental Questions

    At Tufts, we require two responses: The first is to complete, in 100 words, the following sentence: "I am applying to Tufts because…", and one other that is your choice from three prompts (which you can read here ). These are your chance to show us that you have done your research on who we are beyond a cursory Google search, and to ...

  4. 3 Key Tips for Writing Successful Tufts Supplemental Essays

    How to Answer Prompt A. In this prompt, Tufts wants to hear about your curiosity and interests. There are two ways you can approach this essay, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks. First, you can choose an intellectual interest you have that relates to your future major.

  5. Tufts Supplemental Essays 2023-24

    Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc. (as in the examples below). Tufts Supplemental Essays (Continued) Below are some examples of unique facts about Tufts University that you may find helpful as you brainstorm your response:

  6. 2 Terrific Tufts University Essay Examples

    Essay Example 1. Essay Example 2. Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay. Tufts is a highly-selective college located right outside of Boston. With small class sizes and an abundance of eager applicants, it's important that your application stands out with strong essays. In this post, we'll share real essays students have submitted to Tufts ...

  7. Tufts Supplemental Essays & Why Tufts Essay- Expert Guide

    Tufts Essay: Quick Facts. Tufts Acceptance Rate: 11%— U.S. News ranks Tufts University as most selective. Tufts University Essay Requirements: 1 (~150 word) essay: Why Tufts essay. 1 (~250 word) essay: Choose from 3 prompts essay. NOTE: Applicants to the BFA or 5-year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree must complete two alternative Tufts supplemental ...

  8. Tufts Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    Supplemental essays, particularly for the 2023-2024 Tufts admissions cycle, play an indispensable role in the college admissions process. These essays serve as a vital platform for showcasing personal fit, allowing applicants to demonstrate how they align with the school's culture, values, and academic ethos.

  9. Tufts Essay

    There are two Tufts supplemental essays, including one "why Tufts" essay. You'll prepare your Tufts supplemental essays in addition to your personal statement, the 650-word essay required by the Common App. Like your personal statement, the Tufts essays help admissions officers get to know you better as a person and an applicant.

  10. How to Write the Tufts University Supplemental Essays

    Tufts is looking for students who are academically accomplished, but also a bit quirky and intellectually playful. The supplemental essays are the perfect place to convey your personality to the Tufts admissions committee, so when crafting both of your responses, don't be afraid to take risks, show off your voice, and express your playful, creative side!

  11. How to Write the Tufts Supplemental Essays 2021-2022

    This is a very hardcore "why school" question. In the first question among the Tufts supplemental essays 2021-2022, and within only 150 words, Tufts wants to know why you've chosen them. Because of the word limit, you need to be extremely specific in your answer. Find what makes Tufts unique as the place to pursue your interests and goals ...

  12. Real Tufts Supplemental Essay Examples

    Up first, the "Why" Essay. James Gregoire '19 (South Burlington, VT): It was on my official visit with the cross country team that I realized Tufts was the perfect school for me. Our topics of conversation ranged from Asian geography to efficient movement patterns, and everyone spoke enthusiastically about what they were involved in on ...

  13. Updated Tufts Short Answer Prompts · Inside Admissions

    Jun 21. Tufts Admissions Team Inside Admissions. We are excited to announce our short answer prompts for the 2023-2024 application cycle. These prompts are designed to provide undergraduate first-year and transfer applicants with opportunities to share with our Admissions Committee context about your lived experiences, the ideas and passions ...

  14. How to Write the Tufts Supplement 2022-2023

    Sample Admission Essays FAQ College Specific Supplements Blog Contact +1 (212) 769-2198 Caroline Koppelman. September 20, 2022. How to Write the Tufts Supplement 2022-2023 ... Tufts' supplement isn't very long and it's pretty similar to a lot of other supplements so don't freak out about it. Give yourself some time and choose the prompt ...

  15. How to Write the Tufts Supplement 2023-2024

    The incoming class of 2026 includes 1,695 enrolled students and has an admission rate of 9.7%. The Tufts supplement is pretty manageable — just 2 questions — but they're looking for a specific type of student, so we'll dive into how you should tackle these responses to have the best shot at acceptance.

  16. Short Answer Questions

    Short Answer Questions. When you visit the Common Application or the Coalition Application by Scoir platform to fill out and submit your application to Tufts, you'll notice that the application includes Tufts-specific questions. There are two required short-answer questions, which vary depending on the program to which you are applying (read ...

  17. How to Respond to the 2023/2024 Tufts University Supplemental Essay

    Tufts University is a selective university located in the greater Boston area. With a 11% acceptance rate, it is a selective university. To help increase your chances of admission, your Tufts supplemental essays need to stand out from other applicants. Keep on reading to learn how to best respond to the Tufts supplemental essays.

  18. How to Write an Excellent "Why Tufts?" Essay

    Your essay should be clear and specific to Tufts— if you can substitute in the name of another school and have it make sense, your essay isn't specific enough. During brainstorming, come up with as many ideas as you can. Set a timer for five to ten minutes, and think of lots of different answers to the prompt.

  19. Writing the Tufts supplemental essays?

    For example, if you're passionate about environmental conservation, you might mention the Environmental Studies Program and Tufts Institute of the Environment—as well as related clubs like the Eco-Reps or the Tufts Mountain Club. ... It's essential to approach the Tufts supplemental essays in a way that highlights your genuine interest in the ...

  20. Tufts University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    As soon as the 2024-25 prompts beomce available, we will be updating this guide -- stay tuned! 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.

  21. How to Write a Supplemental Essay for College Applications

    To help prospective students familiarize themselves with supplemental essays, U.S. News obtained an example from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Ryan Sheehan from Wallingford ...

  22. 2019-20 Tufts University 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.

  23. Saw this sample why us Tufts essay that they posted on their ...

    This essay is less a piece of writing than a laughable advertisement for a secondhand semicolon dealership. I'm a fan of Tufts. I have the sneaking suspicion that this is a sly way for Admissions to show discerning applicants that there can exist no ideal model for an essay predicated on a personal connection between individual and institution.

  24. Communications Internship Fall 2024

    Instructions: Please upload your resume, cover letter, and writing/editing sample. If submitting an editing sample, make sure the sample demonstrates the effect of your edits in some manner. Embedded tracked changes work for this purpose as do screenshots of your communications with the writer.