Hello, dear seniors.
You're embarking on the final stretch of a process that is—how shall we say it?—a tad overwhelming. As January 1st creeps nearer, and well-meaning onlookers crowd in with questions about your future, you might feel more pressure than ever to have your act together. Let's address the elephant in the room: the next several weeks are super important. You're likely still working on your supplemental essays and finalizing portions of the Common Application—putting together the pieces that will be our best way, come reading season, of getting to know you. We don't want you to feel alone in that endeavor. Which is why we've compiled our best advice on this page.
First thing's first: we wrote some advice blogs. Meghan tells you to do less. First-year admissions officer Abby gives you fresh insight on how we read. And Mere, the self-proclaimed queen of self-help, offers some tips on taking care of yourself.
If you gravitate towards advice in the form of Buzzfeed articles and Quote of the Day anthologies, this is for you. We asked several admissions officers to give you their most condensed words of wisdom.
Please don’t sacrifice your mental health and well-being. Go for a run, eat brunch with friends, watch the next Oscar-nominated movie at your local theater. The college process is important but it doesn’t and shouldn’t come at the cost of being healthy, happy and sane.
-Greg Wong, Associate Director of Admissions
Start your supplements now. Don’t save them for mid-December. So often your School Counselors and English teachers talk about the Common Application Essay, but I am not exaggerating when I say the supplement is the most important piece of your application to us. Give it the time it deserves.
-Meredith Reynolds, Associate Director of Admissions
Put your best effort into your applications, hit “send," and then let the process work. Realize that you’ve taken control of everything you can. Breathe. And enjoy your high school senior year.
-Karen Richardson, Dean of Admissions
Make sure to take the time to truly look over your extracurricular and awards section to add in any additional details or activities that you have been involved with. Tufts and many other schools (not all, but many) will not evaluate your resume as a part of your application. Instead, we use the Common Application's extracurricular section to understand your activities and passions outside of traditional classroom settings.
-Thomas Esponnette, Associate Director of Admissions
Be you and trust the process! Please make sure you plan a little treat for yourself after you have submitted all of your application materials. You are doing a lot of work, so do a little something to reward all your efforts.
-Derrick McCarthy-Gunter, Associate Director of Admissions
As you enter this last month before your application deadlines, I encourage you to create shorter deadlines which can break down your applications into manageable parts. For example: Dec. 1st: Complete 'Why Tufts?' Dec. 5th: Complete 'Let Your Life Speak.' Dec. 15th: Complete supplemental essay 3. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment as you work towards your ultimate goal.
-Kim Barth Kembel, Senior Admissions Officer
Authenticity shines through more than most students could imagine. Don’t focus on being uber-unique or pulling out every favorite word from your prolific vocabulary. Don’t paint your life as the climax of an epic story. Just make sure you sound like yourself and speak to things that you care about.
-Alex Most, Assistant Director of Admissions
For students applying to the SMFA at Tufts, make sure you spend a couple minutes (or more...) thinking about the order of your portfolio. Is your strongest work first? Are you happy with the overall flow of the portfolio as you scroll through it?
-Thomas Radovich, Admissions Counselor, SMFA
When you have a solid draft of your essays completed, put them away for a day or two. Taking this time away from your writing will allow you to come back with a fresh pair of eyes. Before you press submit, print out your essays (so old school, I know) and read them out loud. This can help you check for careless typos, but also for tone and authenticity. If the words feel natural when spoken aloud, you have successfully written in your own voice and should feel confident hitting submit.
-Jaime Morgen, Assistant Director of Admissions
And now for some videos...
In our "Essays That Matter" series, admissions officers talk about recent essays they loved, and explain what made them work. Click to watch the four videos below! (Using a mobile device? You can find the videos here.)