“Why Tufts?” is a classic essay question, not just at Tufts but in basically every college supplement. I’ve written this kind of essay 20 times. In fact, I wrote the “Why Tufts” essay twice: once as a senior in high school, once as a transfer. Once I got here, the question continued. Professors, teachers, other students, would ask why I transferred to Tufts. The interesting thing was how much that answer changed each time it was asked.
Having never really visited Tufts, I became an expert at its website. I took the virtual tour, watched the videos, and skimmed these very blogs. My essay was jam-packed with information about Tufts, clearly stuff you can find on the website. The suburban location, the ExCollege, TEMS, the early assurance program, the Faces of the Hill, Jumbo, the admissions website itself. All I knew was that it wasn’t an Ivy (in a good way, but I know, I was gross back then) and that it looked like a nice, chill place to attend.
When I applied the second time as a transfer, I did the exact same thing. Honestly, it’s scary to realize how some things about you will never change. But this time I looked at the professors, the classes, and the student organizations. I looked at housing options and potential majors (clinical psych + mass communications and media was what really drew me in). My essay was again jam-packed, and at first I couldn’t tell the difference. But the second one worked because it tells a story (it’s like you can picture this coming out of an admissions officer’s mouth). Instead of listing things that I found interesting, I crafted my plan for the next 3 years at Tufts. I talked about enrolling in specific classes in the ExCollege and spending my time in specific places (the Tisch library roof). I even wrote about how I’d become a blogger for transfer students. Interestingly, I’ve done nearly everything in this essay.
The first semester felt like a high. I finally transferred and everything about Tufts fell into place. The great dining hall food, the cozy Davis Square, the welcoming friends, and the elephant mascot. My classes were great and Tufts was giving me an amazing semester. When asked “Why Tufts?” I gave pretty easy answers: the liberal arts education that let me explore my interests, the location near Boston, the smaller school size. Now that I’ve been here a bit longer, the shininess of being at a new university has faded. My experience here hasn’t been perfect and there are rough days, but that doesn’t mean Tufts was the wrong choice. Nothing is perfect. It’s the little, intangible things that reinforce why I’m here: The passion for social justice, which I may not be into, but makes me aware of world. The eye-opening classes I’ve gotten to take and professors I’ve gotten to meet. The opportunities I’ve been given and the life skills I’ve learned.
As I look back on why I’ve come to Tufts and whether the sacrifices I made to transfer were worth it, I realize I’ve been looking at the question wrong. Ultimately it’s not a question about Tufts but a question about me. What I love most about Tufts is how it has shaped me into the person I am now. So Tufts, this is why.