The application deadline is coming up fast, so to (hopefully) help you with your frantic essay writing, I decided to take myself back to three years ago (has it really been that long?!?) and think about what I wish I knew when I was writing my essays:
First, I wish I knew that admissions officers aren't looking for anything in particular. Everybody who I talked to seemed to think they wanted to see plenty of community service, well-rounded extracurriculars and strong academics. And of course, in some sense they are looking for all this. But one thing I've learned working in the admissions office is that what they're really looking for is a person. In my application to Tufts, I stopped thinking about what they were looking for and just answered the questions with the first idea that came to me. Rather than trying to slip in references to the various activities I was a part of or to that time I tutored a kid in math, I just wrote about the things that mattered to me most.
Second, I wish I knew to relax. I know, I know, this is the advice everyone gives and the advice no one takes. How could you possibly relax while you're writing college applications? But what I found is that I was happy I didn't get into the colleges I didn't get into. I got into colleges that made sense for me, where I could find a place to be happy. The places I didn't get in just weren't right for me, and I didn't realize that until after I wasn't accepted. Obviously that's not true 100% of the time, but everyone I know got into places that were right for them.
Third, I wish I knew how friendly people are. Admissions officers are not scary, faceless judges mercilessly determining your fate. And college students, even though their bios often make them sound like superheroes, are also just regular, friendly people. All of them want to help you. Having met the admissions officers at Tufts, I know that they really, truly want to make this process easier for the students going with it. I wish I had known this, and had been able to overcome my fear of admissions officers and college students to ask questions about Tufts and the other colleges I applied to.
On that note, please feel free to ask me ANY questions you might have about Tufts or applying to Tufts, either through my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the comments below. Good luck! You're almost there!