1,300 words. That is how many words you have to fill out the Tufts writing supplement plus the personal statement in the common application. While that may not seem like a lot, our office thinks that if those 1,300 words are used wisely and effectively, we can make a thoughtful admissions decision. Now, let me define what I mean when I say "wisely" and "effectively". For Tufts, you have 4 different prompts (including 3 supplement questions and the personal statement from the common application). That is 4 distinct opportunities to tell us something different about yourself. My biggest piece of advice for you? Take advantage of every opportunity! I can not stress this enough. One my pet peeves when reading applications is when I have gone through all of the different materials that make up your application and my response is "this application hits one one note" or "I only know one thing about this person." When you only give me so much information to latch onto, it does make it hard for me to come up with an argument to admit you and even harder for me to fight for you when we are in committee.
Now, I think there are two ways to tackle this. The first way is more for the type of applicant who is involved in a LOT of different activities and has a lot of different things that he or she wants to talk about in 1,300 words. They have their varsity sport, their experience doing theater, their love of physics and a few other things. My piece of advice? Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, write down the prompts of the four essays you will be writing for Tufts (including the common app) and on the other side, write down everything that you want to make a part of the application, whether it is what you are passionate about or something about your personality that is crucial to the person you are. Now it is time to slot things in! By looking at your essays as part of the bigger picture, you can make sure that the most important aspects of your life are being talked about and that your application gives the reader a complete and whole sense of who you are.
On the flip side, let's say you are an applicant who has devoted all of their time in high school to one specific thing- maybe you are the starting goalie on your school varsity hockey team, and you travel with a club team on weekends and you coach a youth team in your free time. That is perfectly fine too! Even though it may be a little more difficult to "slot things in" (because they all revolve around one central theme) there are still a lot of different personality traits that come through even when just looking at their experience with hockey. This applicant is probably compassionate and patient from coaching but also competitive and determined from playing varsity starting their freshman year. Does that make sense? The same topic can be used in a lot of different ways (and from a lot of different angles) to paint a complete picture of who the applicant is.