tufts supplemental essays
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Tufts Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

If you’ve already started researching how to get into Tufts, stats like the The Tufts acceptance rate may make the Tufts application seem daunting. Getting familiar with each part of the Tufts application, including the Tufts supplemental essays ahead of the deadline can help you feel confident as you prepare for the admissions process. 

In your Tufts essays, you’ll highlight what makes you unique and why Tufts is the right place for you. Additionally, the Tufts essay prompts will intentionally push you to explore what Tufts provides its students. So, the more you know about the school, the stronger your Tufts essays will be. Also, the stronger your Tufts supplemental essays, the better your admissions odds will be.

Given the low Tufts acceptance rate, Tufts admissions can be incredibly competitive. This means you should do your homework so that your personality, passions, and goals shine through in each of your Tufts supplemental essays.

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 essays:
      • 1 (150 word) essay: Why SMFA at Tufts essay
      • 1 (~250 word) essay: What ideas would you like to explore essay
  • Tufts University Application: Students can submit their Tufts University application through the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
  • Tufts University Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision: November 1
    • Early Decision 2: January 4
    • Regular Decision: January 4
  • Tufts Supplemental Essay Tip: Both essays are required by Tufts admissions, so we recommend answering all Tufts supplemental essays comprehensively and thoughtfully.

How many supplemental essays does Tufts require?

Tufts University requires a personal statement that you’ll write for the Common App or Coalition App as well as two school-specific essays.

This makes the Tufts supplemental essays are one of few opportunities to make your application stand out. Like any supplemental essay, your Tufts supplemental essays should demonstrate why the university is a good fit for your goals while also sharing your personal experiences.

When it comes to the Why Tufts essay, you’ll want to be as specific as possible in sharing why Tufts is the school for you. A popular rule of thumb is that if you can replace the name of the university in the essay and it still makes sense, your essay may not be specific enough. 

What are the Tufts Supplemental Essay requirements?

Tufts has two school-specific essays in the Common App. As you consider the Tufts supplemental essays, you’ll notice that while the Tufts essay prompts are different, both essentially ask you to introduce yourself to the Tufts admissions team.

tufts supplemental essays

Why Tufts essay

In the Why Tufts essay, you should highlight the research you’ve done on Tufts and the reasons why you’d hope to attend. Your essays should also highlight how your experiences and goals tie into what Tufts offers.

Schools like Tufts that require a why school essay look for students who are specifically passionate about attending Tufts. That means you should include specific details about Tufts, like their academic curriculum, campus culture, student extracurriculars, or research opportunities. Rather than just listing them, you’ll want to articulate why these features excite you. You should also discuss how you imagine them helping you reach your goals.

More about you essay

In the second Tufts supplement, you’ll share more about your interests, passions, and community. While there are multiple ways to approach each of the Tufts supplemental essays, remember to cover new information in each of your responses. The exception to this rule, however, is if you are covering a new aspect of a previously mentioned experience/activity.

Unlike the why Tufts essay, you’ll have your choice of three different prompts to respond to. Each prompt covers a slightly different area of your life and interests, so you’ll have to select a prompt and narrow down your topic before you can begin writing the second of your two Tufts supplemental essays.

Tufts Supplemental Essays #1 – Why Tufts Essay?

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

Before you start approaching this Tufts essay, you should make sure you understand the key features of the school. Chartered in 1852, Tufts University is a research university with a low student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. They also offer nearly 150 majors and minors. Tufts is located in Medford, Massachusetts and has a unique mascot—Jumbo the elephant. Unique traditions abound that make life at Tufts all the more exciting.

Famous Tufts alumni include Nobel Prize winner Roderick MacKinnon, singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, and the former prime minister of Greece, Kostas Karamanlis. It could be beneficial for your Tufts supplemental essays, especially the Why Tufts essay, to reflect on the university’s rich history and expansive offerings.

Highlight what makes Tufts right for you

The Tufts essay prompts let you channel your personality and reflect on the research you have done. Hopefully, when you put your list of colleges together, you asked yourself, Why Tufts? If not, now is the time to take a moment to seriously consider this question. In fact, to answer this prompt well, take a moment to consider why you want to attend college. Do you know what you want to study? Do you have clear personal and professional goals that tie into your college education? Are there activities that you hope to continue or try during your undergraduate career?

Once you’ve thought about your answers to these questions, think about how they specifically translate to a school like Tufts. What does Tufts offer that no other school does? Why do you see yourself attending Tufts? Are there specific opportunities you hope to take advantage of during your time at Tufts? Or are there certain faculty or alumni whose work has inspired you?

There are many ways you might choose to answer the question “why Tufts,” and we understand that writing a why school essay is no easy task. Here are some tips to use and questions to ask yourself as you tackle your why Tufts essay.

Leverage your word count

To help your Tufts supplemental essays shine, be sure to leverage your word limit to your advantage. 150 words doesn’t give you a ton of space to be wordy or expansive in your why Tufts essay. So, one of your challenges will be to concisely explain why Tufts is the place for you.

Rather than listing every single reason you’re interested in Tufts, focus on just one or two things in your why Tufts essay.  If you’re having trouble pinning your ideas down, it can be helpful to start your brainstorm with two lists. Title one, “Why college?” and the other “Why Tufts?” 

Under the “college” list, write general goals for your college experience. This might include what you want to study, the experiences you hope to have, and the professional goals that you’d like to achieve after college. Under the “Why Tufts” list, write the specific things that drew you to Tufts. Stay away from general attributes like prestige and reputation, as you can find these things at many other schools.

Find overlap

Once your “Why Tufts” list is complete, look at both lists for parallels you can touch on in your why Tufts essay. For example, if you’re excited to find new friends and community in college and one of your personal goals is to advocate for civil rights, you can talk about how excited you are to join the student organization ACTION (Advancing Civic Thought In Our Nation) and help in their after school programs. You might also consider some unique opportunities, classes, or faculty that connect with your educational goals. For example, a student planning to study engineering might discuss Tufts’ focus on socially-conscious engineering in their why Tufts essay.

Consider the future

The best why Tufts essay will also consider a student’s future beyond Tufts. The student interested in socially-conscious engineering, for instance, may want to discuss how they hope to channel what they will learn to solve a problem in the world or contribute to a new field of study.

While you have to stick to a singular prompt for your why Tufts essay, this Tufts supplement still  gives you some flexibility. Perhaps you have been a leader in one of your extracurricular activities. How do you see yourself applying these experiences to a specific organization or opportunity at Tufts?

As the shorter of the two Tufts supplemental essays, your why Tufts essay is relatively brief. Don’t waste words when establishing the “why” in your “Why Tufts” essay. This is not the time to share your love of Medford or Boston at large—unless you can tie in a specific connection with Tufts. Instead, channel your excitement for Tufts’ location into a description of how you’d like to get involved in the local community through Tufts’ own offerings.

Resources from Tufts Admissions

If you’re still not sure how to craft your why Tufts essay, take a look at admissions’ Tufts essays that worked. These examples can be valuable resources. Each of the nine Tufts essays that worked showcase student’s with different goals, academic interests, and approaches to the why Tufts essay. As you read each example, try to consider what aspects of their why Tufts essay really helps you imagine each student as part of Tufts’ campus community.

You can also check out why school essay examples from other top colleges, include Yale and Barnard, for more inspiration.

Tufts Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Do you share experiences or interests that you hope to explore further in college?
  • Does your why Tufts essay provide information that enriches the rest of your application?
  • Do you provide college-specific examples that address why Tufts?
  • Is it clear that Tufts fits your ideal college experience?

Tufts Supplemental Essays #2- Choose One

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

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

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

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

Here, you have multiple Tufts supplemental essay prompts to choose from. But which essay prompt is the best choice? While no individual topic is automatically better than another, consider what you have already shared apart from your why Tufts essay. Also, keep in mind that your Tufts supplemental essays show your audience your writing ability and overall readiness for college.

Highlight new details

Try not to repeat material you have already shared elsewhere in your Tufts supplemental essays. However, there is an exception to this rule—you can share something new with your readers within a topic that you’ve already discussed.

For example, in our why Tufts essay overview, we described a student hoping to study engineering through the lens of social consciousness at Tufts. If they felt really passionately about this topic, they could expand what they wrote about in their why Tufts essay in the second of their Tufts supplemental essays.

That student could talk about how their understanding of social justice (the third Tufts supplement) has led them to ask bigger questions about engineering—specifically, why do some individuals have access to resources and others don’t? They may talk about how in learning about social justice, they have learned the importance of representation and diversity in fields like engineering.

Now that we’ve given you an idea of how your Tufts supplemental essays might play off of one another, it’s time to focus on your second Tufts essay. Let’s dive into the three prompts for the Tufts supplemental essays!

Tufts Essay: Option A

Let’s look at Option A for the Tufts supplemental essays. While you could use this prompt to describe your potential major, you could also reflect on another intellectual interest. No matter the topic, ask yourself how have you explored this subject in the classroom and beyond? With over 150 majors and minors available at Tufts along with many student organizations, you have plenty of options to explore different interests. You might tie your intellectual curiosity to a class, or even an organization or activity that you hope to experience at Tufts.

Not sure what you want to major in? Check out our article. In it, we walk through how to choose a major and how your choice can affect your college applications.

Avoid writing about generic interests

You may find your most passionate intellectual curiosity may not be related to your major, and that’s okay! However, you should avoid stating generic interests like reading or the news. Instead, you want to be as specific as possible in your Tufts supplemental essays. 

For example, you may discuss how you stumbled upon an old Dutch-to-English translation of your favorite children’s book, which sparked your interest in the Dutch language. Just like you did in your why Tufts essay, use this space to share how your passions evolved and why they matter to you. When reading your Tufts supplemental essays, admissions officers want to see that you’re a self-motivated learner who will bring your diverse interests and passions to the Tufts community.

Tufts Essay: Option B

Considering Option B for your second Tufts essay? Remember that your Tufts supplemental essays are for you to share where you have been, where you are, and where you hope to be.

To start your brainstorm, we recommend getting your ideas flowing with another set of lists. Similar to the why Tufts essay, create four lists—family, home, neighborhood, and community—and write big events and people that have shaped you in each.

While “family” and “home” may seem identical, they’re not. For example, you may want to talk about how your family’s immigration story has shaped who you are today. This is completely different from someone who wants to talk about how living in many different types of homes (apartments, single-family houses, and townhomes) shaped how they live with and interact with others. In other words, you’ll want to think outside of the box and share something personal to you and your story.

In each list, try to zoom in on one or two examples and expand on them. Think about how they have made an impact on you, how you think, or how you approach new situations. While it may seem intuitive to share gratitude towards people or places that have been most impactful on you, remember that you are the protagonist of your Tufts supplemental essays. You wouldn’t want the admissions team to learn more about your hero or community than they do about you!

Tufts Essay: Option C

Option C is probably the toughest of the Tufts essay prompts. Done incorrectly, this Tufts essay can be preachy or veer into vague, philosophical musings on social justice. To answer this Tufts prompt well, you should be specific.

In general, Tufts supplemental essays give you plenty of leeway to be creative. However, you should still give concrete examples wherever possible. For this essay, think about ways that you engaged with social justice in your community. Perhaps you have participated in discussions or events near you. Or, maybe you have educated yourself and others through books, articles, or conversations.

Whatever experiences you choose to highlight, make sure that your essay stays away from performative social justice. In other words, avoid mentioning how many likes your social justice-themed posts garnered, name-dropping prominent activists that you’ve met, and/or co-opting the stories of others.

Tufts Essay Reflection Questions:

  • Do you focus on your own experiences instead of those of others?
  • Does your response share what distinguishes you from other applicants?
  • Does your draft use active voice instead of passive language?
  • Do you focus on one or two experiences instead of sharing a laundry list?

Tufts Supplemental Essays – BFA & 5 year BFA + BA Applicants

Applicants to the BFA or 5-year combination BFA/BA program will complete a different set of Tufts supplemental essays. These essay prompts are similar to the why Tufts essay and option A of the Tufts supplemental essay prompts.

SMFA essay #1: Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)

SMFA essay #2: 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)

As you can see, the prompts have similar word counts and topics they want applicants to cover in each essay. That means the tips and questions outlined above will still be helpful as you consider how to approach these prompts.

For the first BFA program Tufts essay, highlight why this program is the right fit for you. Like the first general Tufts supplemental essay, you’ll want to remain as specific as possible. Share details about why the Tufts BFA program is the right fit for you. 

In the second essay, highlight who you are as an artist and individual. Why do you want to make art? How do you see your art helping make the world a better place? What inspires and motivates you? Once again, the more specific you can be, the better. 

How to write Tufts Supplemental Essays: Five Easy Steps

Five Steps for Writing a Tufts Essay

#1- Research

Doing your own research will help you get familiar with Tufts and their application process (while hopefully getting you excited about the possibility of attending Tufts)! We recommend exploring the Discover Tufts page, where you’ll find information on Tufts academic schools, curriculum, and opportunities as well as campus life and student organizations. You’ll also find helpful links, like Tips for a Virtual Visit and tips for writing your essays

#2- Brainstorm

Even if you’re eager to jump into your first draft, remember brainstorming is one of the most helpful steps in the writing process. Use our suggested exercises to make lists, focus your ideas, and choose what to write about.

#3- Draft

If you’re feeling stuck with writer’s block, that’s totally normal! Remember, your first draft doesn’t need to be a work of art. Focus on just getting your ideas down in sentences so you have material to draw from for your final draft.

#4- Edit

While getting your first draft down is an accomplishment, the editing process is where your essay will really start to take shape. Especially since you are working within such tight word limits, you’ll probably need to edit out portions of your first draft. Every sentence (and every word) should string together to tell your story, so make sure you edit for conciseness and clarity.

#5- Proofread

No essay draft can be finalized without a comprehensive spelling and grammar check. Before you submit your essay, try to finish your draft at least a week before the deadline. Then, you can take some time away from your essay before your final proofread. Better yet, ask a mentor or peer to take a second look at your essay to check for clarity and any errors you might have missed.

How important is my Tufts essay?

Your Tufts supplemental essays are a crucial part of your overall application. With over 31,000 students applying to Tufts University this past year, you should be sure to put your best foot forward in your Tufts supplemental essays. Even if you have outstanding grades and test scores, many of the other students applying will, too. Your Tufts essays are your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and make an impression on the admissions team.

That being said, try to stand out while also remaining true to yourself. Don’t feel pressured into feeling like you need to embellish your experiences or make them seem more important than they are. If they are truly important and valuable to you, they’ll be just as important and valuable to admissions. This application advice can get you started on your Tufts essays and help you figure out Why Tufts is the place for you. 

Wondering how you can find opportunities that are unique to Tufts University? Fortunately, Tufts also offers online open houses to help you get a glimpse of the greater community. Additionally, check out resources such as the Tufts YouTube channel. These resources can give you insider insight to make your Tufts supplemental essays shine. 

Tufts Admissions Requirements

Now that we’ve discussed the Tufts supplemental essay prompts, let’s look at the rest of your Tufts application. In order for your essays to be considered, you need to make sure you’ve successfully completed all of Tufts’ admissions requirements.

tufts supplemental essays

All Tufts applicants must submit:

  • A completed Common Application or Coalition Application
  • Completed Tufts supplemental essays
  • High school transcript(s)
  • Senior grades

No matter which application platform you choose to apply through, you’ll need to submit your Personal Statement, two letters of recommendation, and your extracurricular activities. If you’re not sure how your extracurriculars will be considered as part of your application, check out Tufts’ application checklist for more context on how extracurriculars are evaluated.

Tufts Portfolio

Students who are applying to the School of Arts and Sciences of the School of Engineering may choose to submit a Tufts portfolio, but this is optional. However, students applying to either the BFA or 5-year combination BFA/BA program are required to submit a Tufts portfolio along with their Tufts supplemental essays.

Make sure you check the requirements for your Tufts portfolio to ensure you submit everything necessary. Students can also request a personal portfolio review prior to officially submitting, which is a great opportunity to discuss any questions you have about your Tufts portfolio and the overall application process.

As a reminder, Tufts is a test-optional school, meaning applicants have the choice of whether to include SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. Also, Tufts admissions reviews applications holistically, so your scores will be considered within the context of your entire application.

Tufts Supplemental Essays—Final Thoughts

Your Tufts supplemental essays are an essential piece of your plan for how to get into Tufts. Both of your required essays, especially the Why Tufts essay, can help you stand out in the admissions process. Overall, your Tufts essays can be the difference between a good application and a great one.

Remember, grades and test scores are only two pieces of the application equation. Your Tufts supplemental essays should help your reader learn about what really makes you tick.  If you’re ever feeling stuck in the writing process, remind yourself that the Tufts essay prompts are not trying to stump you. Instead, each Tufts supplement can shed light on the passion and potential that you would bring to the Tufts community.

Start early

To submit the best Tufts supplemental essays you can, you should start drafting your Tufts essays early—a few months before applications are due. The Tufts supplemental essays are not especially long, but you will need time to revise and get another pair of eyes (or two) on each Tufts supplement.

Make sure to pay special attention to the why Tufts essay. Clearly articulating why Tufts is the place for you will form the foundation of a strong application. Then, use the second set of Tufts essay prompts to share your passions and experiences with the admissions team. Use strong, dynamic language to draw your reader into your Tufts supplement.

Tufts alumni interview

In addition to the Tufts supplemental essays, be sure to request your alumni interview once you have submitted your application. Although they are optional, interviews can add value to your overall candidate profile.

Wondering where to start? Check out some of these Tufts YouTube videos on Tufts supplemental essays.


Also, the Tufts Associate Director of Admissions, Lauren Wilkes, helps give students some tips on how to succeed in your interview. A strong interview and well-crafted Tufts supplemental essays can help you submit the best possible application to this great research university. Good luck!

This Guide to the 2022-2023 Tufts Supplemental Essays was written by Stefanie Tedards. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a 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 CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.