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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the Tufts Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

The Tufts application evaluation process prioritizes academic rigor and personal character. Other factors—like strong extracurriculars, interviewing, and demonstrating interest—can help set your application up for success.

If you want to get into Tufts, you’ll need to write an application that holds up against the Tufts application review process.

To do that, you need to know what Tufts admissions officers are looking for. Enter: the Tufts Common Data Set. The Tufts Common Data Set reports on all kinds of admissions data that you can use to make your application stand out.

Let’s take a look.

How Tufts Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

In the Tufts admissions process, only six factors rank as very important: rigor, class rank, GPA, application essay, recommendations, and character. Even your extracurricular activities and talent are secondary.

This combination of factors indicates that Tufts is on the search for students who excel in the classroom and are good community members.

Very important Important Considered Not considered
Rigor Extracurriculars Test scores State residency
Class rank Talent/ability Interview Religious affiliation
GPA   First generation  
Essay   Alumni/ae relation  
Recommendations   Geographical residence  
Character/personal qualities   Racial/ethnic status  
    Volunteer work  
    Work experience  
    Level of applicant interest  

Does Tufts track demonstrated interest?

Yes, Tufts tracks demonstrated interest. It is in the “considered” category, so it is not the most important factor. But since they do track it, you should open those emails, do virtual or in-person visits, and engage with Tufts in whatever way feels genuine and feasible.

Does Tufts care about standardized test scores?

Tufts does care about standardized test scores, but they aren’t as important as factors like GPA, your essays, or your course rigor.

Still, over half of enrolled first-year students submitted standardized test scores. Of those, 31% chose to send SAT scores, and 23% submitted ACT scores.

Does Tufts care about essays?

Yes. Essays are one of the most important things you can focus on in your Tufts application. When you look at everything in the “very important” category, you’ll notice that your essays are really the only piece over which you have total control. Take advantage of that.

Your essays are also the perfect place to demonstrate that last factor—your character and personal qualities. That’s why we recommend writing strengths-based essays.

What GPA do I need to get into Tufts?

The Tufts Common Data Set doesn’t tell us very much about the GPAs of admitted students. But it does report on the class rank data for enrolled first-year students.

Of all the first-year students who reported class rank, nearly 100% were in the top half of their high school graduating classes. Another 97% were in the top quarter, and 82% were in the top tenth.

Since Tufts admissions officers consider class rank to be very important, you should look at your own class rank to determine how you stack up against these statistics.

Tufts Acceptance Rate

Tufts has an 11.4% acceptance rate. The Common Data Set reports that of the 31,198 applicants this year, 3,566 were admitted. And of those admitted students, 1,804 enrolled as first-years.

As far as acceptance rates go, 11.4% may seem like no problem compared to Harvard’s 4% or Yale’s 5.3%. But 11.4% is still highly competitive, so Tufts will likely be in the “reach” category when you build your school list.

Tufts Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Tufts offers Early Decision options. But the Tufts Common Data Set doesn’t reveal any admission statistics, so we can’t evaluate whether there is any statistical advantage to applying ED.

What’s the right application option for you?

Since we don’t have ED admissions data, whether you want to apply Early Decision or Regular Decision is really up to you. We have a whole post on Early Decision strategy, but there are a few things for you to think about.

First, you’ll have to decide if Tufts is your top choice. Since ED applications are binding, you’ll be expected to attend Tufts if you’re admitted.

Second, you’ll also have to think about your application timeline. ED I applications are due in November, whereas ED II and Regular Decision applications are due in January. If you need more time to craft the best application you can, you might consider applying ED II or RD.

Most popular majors at Tufts

As you’re building your college list, you’re likely looking at how popular your desired major is at each institution. The Tufts Common Data Set indirectly tells us what the most popular Tufts majors are by reporting on the percentage of degrees awarded across different academic fields.

The most popular majors at Tufts are those in the social sciences—nearly 30% of Tufts degrees awarded went to students studying a social science. Computer and information sciences, biological and life sciences, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies were the next most popular, each accounting for about 10% of degrees awarded.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Social sciences 27.4
Computer and information sciences 9.6
Biological/life sciences 9.6
Engineering 9.4
Interdisciplinary studies 9.4
Visual and performing arts 5.4
Psychology 5
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics 4.3
Health professions and related programs 3.3
Mathematics and statistics 2.6

There are two things to keep in mind when building your school list based on your desired major. First, the more popular a program is, the greater the chances it’s a strong program at that school. Better programs attract more students and contribute to the overall prestige of a school, so schools that are well-known for your major are good places to start looking. On the flip side of the popularity coin, however, is the fact that more popular can also translate into more competition. Finding the right balance is key.

What should you do with all this information?

Getting into Tufts is…tough. An 11.4% acceptance rate means that almost 90% of applicants will be rejected.

To increase your chances of admission, focus your application on the things that count most. That means highlighting your academic achievement and personal character, finding the right major fit, showing the magnitude of your extracurriculars, and emphasizing your community impact. That's what it means to craft a cohesive application narrative.



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