The beautiful thing about a diverse institution like Tufts is that we welcome students with a wide variety of different experiences to apply and join us on campus. In line with that, we see applications from some students that boast “unique” experiences, ranging from transferring high schools to taking non-AP curricula, that students often have questions about before pressing “submit”. While your experiences are certainly unique to you, there are some “unique” situations mentioned in students’ applications that we see on a regular basis. Here are some common “unique” situations we hear about from students and how we handle them here at Tufts!
Q: I changed high schools—how will Tufts look at my application in this case?
Many students change high schools for many different reasons—moving to a new city, seeking out a different academic experience, personal or medical changes, and more. That’s okay! Just make sure that you send us individual copies of each transcript and take the opportunity when possible to explain why you changed schools, either in the “Education History” section of the Common App or in any “Additional Information” sections of the application you complete. We will consider your application in the context of the school you currently attend but will have the appropriate information from each school, written in a School Profile, that will help us assess your full educational experience.
Q: My school doesn’t offer AP/IB/Dual Enrollment coursework but does offer advanced coursework at the equivalent level. Will my advanced courses count the same way as other students who have a more traditional curriculum?
We see students coming from schools that offer a range of different types of coursework; provided that your School Profile notates the level at which your courses are taught, and designates which courses are the equivalent of an AP/IB/DE course, we will consider that course at that level. You can also ask your school counselor to note in your letter of recommendation how many courses you took at that most rigorous level. Finally, we consider students within the context of their school, not within the entirety of our applicant pool. We are not comparing your curriculum to all other applicants; rather, we are looking to see that you took advantage of the highest level of rigorous coursework available at your specific school. If that means you took all honors level courses when that was the highest level of rigor you could take, we’ll know you pushed yourself to the highest level possible.
Q: I took a gap year or served in the military. How do I talk about this in my application?
We want to know what you might have been up to during your time between high school and the moment at which you are applying to Tufts. We would ask that you submit a final high school transcript with your application and tell us in the “Education Interruption” section of your application what you did during that break. The more information we have, the better!
Q: My school uses a non 4.0 GPA scale/my school doesn’t calculate GPA. How do you look at my grades in this case?
This information is typically provided to us in your institution’s school report. We will want both the school report with detailed information about the way grades are recorded (or not) at your school in addition to your full transcript. If you have questions about your unique transcript, please contact the Admissions office for more details.
Q: I had a serious medical/personal/natural emergency that impacted my time in high school. How do I talk about it?
We have a number of students report that their educational journey has been disrupted by severe medical, personal, or local events (such as a serious hurricane or natural disaster). If a natural disaster or other local major event seriously impacted your entire school, it will likely be discussed in the School Profile, but you can also ask your school counselor to provide more details in their letter of recommendation. If said emergency is of a more personal nature, I would still encourage your school counselor to discuss the matter in your letter of recommendation (only if you feel comfortable divulging!) or write about it in your essays or in the additional information section of your application. As I said before, the more context we have about you and your experience, the better equipped we are to know who you are as a student and person. However, I will note again that you do not have to disclose this information if you are uncomfortable and can choose to provide more information at another time if you change your mind.
If your specific “unique” experience was not covered here, that’s okay too! Please contact your region-specific admissions counselor if any questions arise; you can find their contact information here. We’re here to help and make sure you have the tools and knowledge needed to successfully navigate the application process.