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Last updated June 22, 2023

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How to Get into Tufts

Key Takeaway

With an acceptance rate of around 11%, Tufts is tough to get into. To increase your chances, focus on crafting a compelling application narrative, taking rigorous courses, earning a strong GPA, making an impact through extracurricular activities, and writing outstanding essays.

Located in Medford, Massachusetts, Tufts is a highly-selective private institution that prizes student-centered classrooms and an interdisciplinary approach to education.

It’s also a tough school to get into. With an acceptance rate around 11%, it counts as a reach school for the majority of applicants.

In this post, I’ll go through some strategic approaches you can apply to your Tufts application to increase your chances of admission.

Let’s get started.

How to Apply to Tufts

To apply to Tufts, you’ll of course need to submit an application. You’ll also need a number of supporting materials. Here’s the full list:

  • A completed application
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Extracurricular activities list
  • Tufts Short Answer Questions
  • High School Transcript
  • Application Fee

Depending on your situation, you may also choose to include the following application components:

  • Standardized Testing
  • Alumni Interview
  • Arts or Maker Portfolio
  • English Proficiency Exam

Simple, right? I know—it’s a lot. But the good news is that the only things you’ll have to do for Tufts specifically are the Tufts supplemental essays and potentially a portfolio or alumni interview.

Does Tufts use the Common Application?

Yes, Tufts uses the Common Application. You can also apply through the Coalition Application or QuestBridge.

Tufts Application Options

Tufts has three application options: Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision.

Remember: Early Decision applications—whether you’re in round I or round II—are binding. That means that you’re agreeing to attend the school if you’re admitted.

Tufts Application Deadlines

Early Decision I: November 1

Early Decision II: January 4

Regular Decision: January 4

How hard is it to get into Tufts?

Getting into Tufts is as hard as getting into Georgetown, Rice, and Tulane. Tuft’s acceptance rate is 11.4%, putting it just above the double digits.

As you probably know, any school with an acceptance rate less than 10% counts as a reach school. And at 11.4%, Tufts isn’t too far off. That means that getting into Tufts is, well, tough.

It may be a more realistic reach than Stanford or Harvard, but it’s a reach nonetheless.

What does Tufts look for in applicants?

With an acceptance rate around 11%, Tufts is very selective.

They have tens of thousands of applicants to choose from, so admissions officers get to be a little picky.

What does that mean for you?

It means that the competition is steep, and you’ll have to write an application that stands out.

Part of accomplishing that is knowing what Tufts admissions officers look for in the first place.

In general, Tufts admissions officers will expect that you’ve taken the highest level of course rigor available to you, earned a strong GPA, and have made some kind of notable impact on your community through your extracurricular activities (more on those at the end of this post).

Admissions officers will use your recommendation letters and school report to contextualize your course work and grades and assess what kind of participant they think you’d be in the Tufts classroom.

They’ll also read your essays to get a sense of who you are, where you come from, and how well you can communicate through writing.

In short, Tufts admissions officers want to see a compelling and cohesive application narrative that is rooted in your strengths.

Tufts SAT Scores

For now, Tufts has a test-optional admissions policy, so you’re not required to submit your test scores if you want to apply.

So now you’re faced with a decision: to submit your scores or not to submit your scores. That is the question! We have a whole post about test-optional admissions that will walk you through the nuance.

But to summarize, your decision will likely depend on where your scores fall within Tuft’s middle 50% ranges.

Let’s take a look at them:

SAT Composite: 1450 - 1530

ACT Composite: 33 - 35

If your scores are within these ranges (or, preferably, at the upper end of them), then you should consider submitting your scores.

Does Tufts superscore?

Yes, Tufts will superscore. Superscoring is the process of taking the highest individual scores from each section to create one “super score” that represents your best possible composite number. For both the SAT and ACT, Tufts will accept your highest section scores.

What high school course work do I need to get into Tufts?

Tufts recommends that you take four years of English, math, science, social studies, and a foreign language.

That’s just a recommendation, though, so you’re still allowed to apply even if you weren’t able to meet those. For example, if your school may not offer four years of history, then you won’t be penalized for that.

Or if you choose to take AP Computer Science and AP Physics in your senior year and don’t have room for a fourth year of Spanish, then admissions officers will understand that you made a calculated decision given limited time and resources (that’s also something you can explain in your additional information section!).

What extracurriculars do I need to get into Tufts?

Tufts admissions officers use your extracurricular activities section (and any extracurriculars you write about in your essays) to evaluate how well you would fit into the Tufts community as a whole.

So what do they look for?

Admissions officers look specifically at the type of involvement you’ve had and the levels you’ve achieved.

Have you shown a longstanding commitment to a particular activity? Or did you try out something new every year? Did you excel in an activity or show strong leadership? How did your involvement shape the people and community around you?

Tufts explicitly states that they know not every applicant will be an ASB president or debate captain. Instead, they want to see how you as an individual meaningfully engage with your surroundings.

To learn more about how to communicate about your extracurriculars in an impactful way, check out our separate post about extracurricular magnitude and impact.

Final Takeaways

By this point in the post, it shouldn’t be news that the Tufts application is challenging to crack.

But by approaching your application narrative strategically and with Tuft’s application review process in mind, you’ll give your application a fighting chance on the Tufts committee room floor.

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