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Last updated June 8, 2023

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How to Write the Tufts Supplemental Essays

Key Takeaway

Tufts wants to see you stand out in your supplemental essays. Use thoughtful responses that show school fit and personality to set yourself apart from the sea of sameness.

Tufts splits their supplemental essays into two groups. Most applicants will answer the first two questions. But If you’re applying to the SMFA BFA in Studio Art, you’ll answer the second two.

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

If the “Why Tufts?” didn’t give it away, this is a pretty cut and dry “why us” essay. As the prompt indicates, you’ll want to write about why you’ve decided to apply to Tufts. Remember that you should write about academic and other areas of fit. The key is being specific.

Explaining that you like Tuft’s campus or are excited about the “intellectual atmosphere” won’t actually tell Tufts admissions officers much about why you’re a good fit for Tufts. Instead, do some good research. Find particular opportunities, resources, professors, or extracurriculars that connect what you want with what Tufts has to offer.

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):

To choose between the following prompts, you might want to think about your application narrative. Remember that your narrative should be deep but diverse: not enough substance, and you won’t tell admissions officers enough about you; too much of one thing, and you won’t come across as the multidimensional person you surely are.

So take a step back and look at your application holistically. Think about how your personal statement balances with your answer to the first Tufts prompt. Which of the following questions will add the most to your application narrative?

Once you’ve decided, listen to Tufts’s own advice: take a risk and go somewhere unexpected (if that’s what suits your answer). This is your opportunity to let your personality, quirks, values, etc. shine through.

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

    As an academic interest prompt, this question wants you to show your scholarly side. Take a cue from the first sentence, and don’t be afraid to geek out a little. Admissions officers want to see your excitement and be able to picture you as an active, engaged member of the Tufts classroom.

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

    Here you have a community prompt that allows you to bring up important parts of your upbringing. This prompt probably calls for a more serious tone, though not necessarily. You could think “outside the box” in how you define your environment or experience, or you could be creative in thinking about how to portray your story. The important thing is that you give your admissions officer insight into how you got to where you are (and who you are) today.
  • Where are you on your journey of engaging with or fighting for social justice?

    This prompt is an opportunity for you to show maturity, engagement, and reflection. It’s also a way for you to demonstrate values alignment with Tufts. Start by doing some research on Tuft’s own perspectives on social justice (like their diversity and inclusion page, for example), and see where there’s alignment with your own beliefs. As you’re answering the question, be specific and use examples.

So those are the prompts for most applicants. But if you’re applying for the SMFA BFA in Studio Art, then you’ll be answering the following two questions instead. Let’s take a quick look.

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

This one’s very similar to Prompt #1 for other applicants. You’ll want to approach it in a similar way, but you should be specific about why SMFA at Tufts appeals to you. Feel free to talk about particular resources, professors, opportunities, internships, or coursework. Identify areas where you can authentically write about how you’ll contribute to the community, too.

Please answer the following question – we encourage you to think outside the box. Be serious if the moment calls for it but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too. Your response must be between 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?

For your final SMFA at Tufts prompt, you have the opportunity to show academic and school fit through your intellectual vitality. Your answer should revolve around a topic you deeply care about. Like a good journalist, don’t forget to talk about the what, how, and why: what are the ideas, how do you want to explore them, and why are they important? Take a hint from the first sentence of the prompt and consider how your art disrupts, shapes, or even imagines. The key to a good response is also subtly showing school fit by demonstrating how you will contribute to the SMFA at Tufts classroom and community as an artist.

And there are the Tufts supplemental essay prompts! Before you get started writing, consider checking out our supplemental essay guide for even more advice about acing your supplemental essays, no matter the school.

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