Interdisciplinary. Liberal Arts. Demonstrated Interest. Distribution Requirements.
Sitting through information sessions can sometimes feel like wading through waves of jargon. What does it all really mean?
As much as I can, I am going to provide some definitions. Hopefully this helps make the process just a smidge easier.
1. Interdisciplinary – The textbook definition is “relating to more than one branch of knowledge.” An interdisciplinary teaching method will involve multiple branches of knowledge to facilitate discussion, education, and engagement.
2. Liberal Arts – A method of study that includes mathematics, literature, history, various sciences, and creative arts. Liberal Arts degree earners are encouraged to learn effective communication and problem solving skills that are applicable to real-time problems.
3. Demonstrated Interest – This is how a college or university knows that you are interested as an applicant. Applying is, of course, one way you can show a school that you are interested. Attending information sessions, e-mailing school representatives / admissions counselors / coaches, and applying through ED or EA also demonstrate interest.
4. Early Decision I & Early Decision II / ED I & ED II – Processes in which students make a commitment to their first-choice school. Tufts has two Early Decision processes.
5. Meets Full Demonstrated Need – Tufts is fortunate to be among a small group of US colleges and universities with the financial means to meet the full demonstrated need of all admitted students. Our financial aid office will use the financial documentation you provide to determine how much your family can reasonably contribute to your college education, and whatever cost is leftover will be covered with a comprehensive financial aid package from us.
6. Fit – Fit refers to how snuggly a school can meet your wants and needs. Does the school have the programs and academics that you are looking for? Can you envision yourself in both the school’s classroom and social scenes? How does the vibe feel? The campus? How about the food? All of these create what we call fit. There are a variety of ways to find out if Tufts is a good fit for you. You can go on a student-led tour, apply for an overnight program, attend a virtual information session, or contact school representative / alumni for their take.
7. Distribution Requirements – Former Tufts Admissions Counselor Aidan O’shea explained it best:
Imagine a big, capital letter “T”— this represents your Tufts education. The upright stroke of the letter corresponds to your major, the deep dive into an academic discipline that serves as the focal point to your studies. But a T is no T without the horizontal upper stroke. This, my dear friends, represents the distribution requirements, which serve as the foundation for your four years of academic inquiry on the hill. (Unless you double major, in which case maybe the metaphor is the pi symbol, but let’s not get too technical.) Essentially, we’ll ask you to take a handful of courses scattered across the different academic disciplines—because we think it will make you a better thinker to appreciate the various modes of thought and analytical frameworks used in these different disciplines. Now how to use this knowledge strategically: challenge yourself with rigorous and diverse courses in high school. The joy of learning for learning’s sake is one of those hallmark Tuftsy qualities we strive to identify in our selection process
8. Context – During the evaluation and reading of an application, admissions counselors take special care to understand and account for the context of an applicant. What classes are offered in their school, what extracurricular are offered, the number of AP courses available to students and so on.
9. Holistic – We read everything on the application. The essays, the recommendation letters, the transcripts, any additional information as well as an information submitted about the school’s context. We take care to consider everything on the application under a holistic lens while we evaluate applications.