As a graduating pre-medical senior, I tend to get a lot of questions about pre-med life at Tufts. What’s the workload like? Are there enough research opportunities? Do they prepare you for the MCAT? What are the weed-out classes? Should I take organic chemistry over the summer?
As a prospective first-year I definitely asked all of these questions (and more), and by the time I got here, I had talked to a lot of people and felt very focused on having the ideal pre-med experience (read: lots of studying, time spent in the lab, and clinical work).
As a senior who has thankfully been accepted to medical school(s) for matriculation this fall, I can definitely say that Tufts played an important role in my admission, but not in the ways that I had expected. All of the questions that I had (and possibly you currently do too, if you’re a prospective pre-med) were important ones, but not the only ones I should have been asking. Tufts does an excellent job at preparing students with the academic rigor needed to qualify for admission – the classes are difficult but manageable, the health advisors are helpful in planning for the future, and I felt like I had a very solid base to build off of when studying for the MCAT. But that alone is not what’s going to get you that coveted letter of acceptance.
During the application cycle, I found that the things I talked about were the experiences I had by chance – the class that I taught because I thought it might be cool, my role as student house manager in the Asian American House that I had not expected having, the time that I tried to start a club and failed miserably, the conversations that I had with peers about how class privilege is never talked about, the summer where I was rejected from a number of research internships and ended up taking a policy internship unrelated to my major that changed the course of my career. These were the things that admissions committees seemed to care about because these were the things that were salient in my life. I did have medical experiences, but to be honest, so did everyone else. It’s all about what you’ve done that’s made you an interesting and cool person, and Tufts is a space that fosters that. Tufts certainly prepared me to have the GPA and the MCAT score that I needed, but it also provided me with a host of unique opportunities, a community that I learned from immensely, and a space where I grew as more than an academic student.
In short, yes, Tufts prepared me to get into medical school. But it’s not for the reasons you might think.