I want to really quickly tell you about how I chose Tufts, because even though the story doesn’t make me sound very good, I think the outcome is really important.
Tufts was not my first choice. Or my second. Or even really on my radar. I knew it was a good school, and I was masochistically applying to everywhere that seemed remotely interesting, so it got thrown into the mix. I know that sounds kind of egotistical. I don’t want anyone to feel bad about being excited about Tufts, and I’m completely aware of what a phenomenal institution it is. I just want you to understand that until I didn’t get into my top 3 schools, Tufts was not, in my mind, a main contender. I freely admit I had a sort of inflated view of my own qualifications.
Once I got my full list of acceptances, I started weaning. My safeties were out, because I’d gotten into better schools. Too small? Out. Too specific? Out. I wanted lots of choices for majors, lots of activities, and a cool city. Eventually, I crossed off everything except Rice, Carnegie Mellon, and Tufts/SMFA, since I’d been admitted to the dual degree program. All were in cool cities, satisfyingly large without being state-school-sized, and with excellent academics. As I did more research on CMU, it started looking like their academics were more restrictive than I wanted, so they started ootching down the list, but Tufts still wasn’t my number 1. I really badly wanted to love Rice. It’s right by the Houston Medical Center, which is packed to the brim with world-renowned hospitals, and I have a lot of family in Texas, including my 97-year-old great-grandfather, who lives about 15 minutes from campus. Rice, on paper, was perfect. Unfortunately, when I finally went to visit, despite the gorgeous trees and incredible architecture, I was unmoved. The housing system wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped, the students I met weren’t as excited as I wanted them to be, and there was a disturbing overabundance of parties (specific to visit weekend, I learned later), which meant the prospies deciding between UT and Rice suddenly viewed Rice as a “party school,” which (apparently) is a not-insubstantial part of UT’s appeal. Despite my heart’s and my family’s urgings, I just couldn’t make myself excited about Rice.
That brought me to Tufts. At that point, I’d already planned to take a gap year, and it was close enough to decision date that I decided to commit to Tufts, reapply to my favorites during my year off, and if I didn’t get in, Tufts would be waiting. Again, ego. Cut to a year later, and I’ve been rejected from my top choice schools all over again. Trust me on this: it’s just as bad the second time around.
It’s the summer before matriculation, I’ve committed to a school I’ve not visited, and I have no more appealing options. I made the trek to Boston with my dad, took the requisite campus tours and asked lots of questions, and that’s when I started believing maybe I could be happy here. And heck, if I wasn’t, I could always transfer later, right?
Two weeks in and I never wanted to leave.
I didn’t pick Tufts, in the traditional sense. We were sort of thrown together by fate, admissions committees, and my own selective tendencies. But on my life I would not want to be anywhere else. This school is everything I could hope for. I have had the most incredible five years of my life on this campus, and thank any god you believe in I didn’t get into one of my top choice schools, because boy was I wrong – this is where I was meant to be all along.
Every year, the Tufts Alumni group puts on Senior Dinners. The graduating class gathers in small groups at the President’s house and enjoys a beautiful…
All students who get in to Tufts must answer the question, ‘Why Tufts?’
I got in to Tufts.
Therefore, I answered the question, ‘Why Tufts?’
Just over four years ago, I wrote this in response to “Why Tufts?”:
“Tufts is a place where I can see myself happy and thriving. It is a university with…