Given the significant impact of COVID-19 on college admissions, I’d like to send you occasional communications this fall about what’s going on at Tufts University and in our admissions office. In this rapidly changing landscape, I want to make sure you have the information you need to advise your students, and to suggest Tufts to students who may be a good match for our intellectually playful, academically rigorous, and diverse residential community.
1. A few things to know about Tufts
We’re a medium-sized research university with 5,800 undergraduates enrolled in our School of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts. We have the strengths of a liberal arts college (small classes, individual faculty mentorship, gorgeous New England campus) and the resources and opportunities of a tier 1 research university (over 150 majors and minors to choose from, over 60% of students conduct research with faculty). Students apply to and enroll at one of the three undergraduate schools, and then have access to courses and opportunities at all three.
We offer generous financial aid that meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, regardless of citizenship (this includes meeting the full financial need of foreign citizens, undocumented, and DACA-mented students). For families earning less than $60,000, we replace loan expectations with an institutional grant. We encourage prospective students to fill out our Net Price Calculator or our shorter MyinTuition Calculator to estimate their cost of attendance.
We’re part of the fabric of metropolitan Boston. Our Medford/Somerville campus sits on a hill overlooking the city skyline, and our SMFA campus sits in the midst of the Fenway section of Boston. A subway station heading downtown is just a few minutes’ walk away in nearby bustling Davis Square, and a new “T” station opens right on campus next year. We’re very much a part of a humming higher education scene in a vibrant urban area, while also just minutes from the ocean and countless outdoors excursions.
Really, though, our students say it best. To hear them explain in their own words why they enjoy Tufts, including a very relatable statement about chicken nuggets, check out this video:
2. Our Fall 2020 semester
Tufts has given undergraduate students the choice of whether to enroll remotely or in-person on campus this fall. The health and safety protocols that have been established for those coming to campus have been made with the guidance of university leadership and public health experts, and in accordance with the Massachusetts governor’s working group on higher education.
As our newly admitted first-year students weighed their options, we absorbed a manageable increase in gap year requests that we expect to have minimal impact on our next admission process.
After new students formally matriculate to the university next month, I will share with you the latest information about our incoming class. In the meantime, read about our admitted Class of 2024.
3. How our work is changing this year
Our admissions staff is immersed in auditing and re-imagining our work to meet the moment we are all living in and to promote equity and access for students from all backgrounds and identities. Here are just a few of the things we’re focusing on:
SAT and ACT test-optional – for the next three admission cycles, all undergraduate applicants, including home-schooled students and international students, have the option of applying with or without SAT or ACT scores. And we mean it – we really and truly are test-optional. Our admissions process is holistic, and test scores have always been just one component among many that we have considered. The rigor of a student’s curriculum, their performance in their classes, their contributions to their school, family, and local communities, and their potential contributions to Tufts will shape our discussions about candidates in our committee-based application review process, whether or not scores are submitted. As always, we will work to make good decisions about each applicant’s potential to thrive as students at Tufts based on the information we have.
Regional virtual programming (for students AND counselors) – This fall, we are unable to welcome admissions visitors to our campus and we are not able to travel to you – so we’ve expanded our virtual offerings to fill the gap. In addition to our robust regular virtual programming, we are introducing regional virtual events. We will offer “Meet Your Tufts Admissions Counselor” mini-information sessions for students (college advisors are welcome, too!) throughout the fall – we’re thinking of them as regional school visits, replacing most of our traditional single-school visits. We’ll also offer virtual regional counselor conversations to allow you to learn more about Tufts and to get your questions answered. We will also continue to schedule individual CBO virtual visits. We will provide details via email to you and your students in the near future.
Commitment to antiracist practices – Tufts University is engaging in vigorous work to live out its commitment to being an antiracist institution. There is a seriousness of purpose to these ongoing conversations and initiatives that gives me hope. Our office has made a public commitment, as part of our Statement on Racial Injustice, to actively critiquing our work, and recognizing, interrogating, and disrupting the structural and individual racism that impacts educational opportunities for students of color. We recognize that many of our students, faculty, staff, and alums have been engaged in this work for years, and Tufts is a better place because of their contributions – but this work is never done. We will communicate our office’s journey and our progress periodically via our website.
4. Finally, how you and your students can get to know us better
Voices virtual fly-in program – Our annual fly-in program for US-based high school seniors, Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience, is being re-imagined as a two-day synchronous virtual experience this October. Participants have the opportunity to learn more about Tufts through guided virtual tours, interactive student panels, application and financial aid presentations, and conversations with admissions staff and representatives from our identity-based resource centers within the Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion.
While Voices has traditionally attracted participants from underrepresented backgrounds – including but not limited to students of color; first-generation college-bound students; LGBT students; students from low-income backgrounds; and students from rural communities – any student interested in learning about diversity at Tufts is welcome to apply. Applications are due by September 18. Please encourage some of your high-achieving students to apply to Voices. You may also nominate students for Voices by Friday, September 4; we’ll send an email to any student you nominate encouraging them to consider applying for the program. Students do not need to be nominated to apply to Voices. *New this year: While we always waive our application fee when it poses a financial hardship, all applicants to Voices will have their admissions application fee waived automatically.
Virtual counselor programs with Boston-area universities – Admissions staff from several Boston-area universities will conduct programming for college advisors about applying to college in the time of COVID-19, including a discussion of policy changes and how we expect to review applications. We will focus on how to best guide your students through the process, and reserve a portion of the time for questions. Counselor Program for US-based counselors with Boston University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University: September 15, 2-3pm EDT. Register here.
Counselor Program for international counselors with Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University: September 10, 8-9am EDT. Register here.
Thank you for all you are doing to support your students and community right now, even as we are all building the plane while it flies.
Your continued commitment to providing young people with the tools and opportunities that will empower them to become the leaders and citizens and change-makers of tomorrow is meaningful and appreciated. If we can support you, please reach out.
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and in good health, and I wish you all the best as you embark on this school year.