Dear High School Seniors,
For those of you out there who are planning to apply to the Tufts School of Engineering, I want to provide you with some helpful pointers to “engineer” your engineering application.
At Tufts, we enroll a diverse array of engineers, some who have been on a STEM track their whole lives, some who have always embraced their inner Bob the Builder and others who may have always excelled in math and science classes but only recently stumbled upon engineering as a potential career path. The important thing is that regardless of your exposure, in your application, there is some evidence of not only your budding engineering interest but also your fit for our Tufts engineering community. So, here is my list of ways to show your excitement about engineering on your application.
1. Apply to the School of Engineering
As simple as this sounds, it’s important (that’s why it’s number 1). When we read your application, we do so in the context of the program to which you are applying (Arts & Sciences, Engineering, or SFMA at Tufts). The very first way we can tell if you are interested in engineering is if you apply to the School of Engineering!
2. Choosing your Academic Interests
With six departments offering 16 majors, eight of which are ABET-accredited, our School of Engineering has a number of options to choose from. At Tufts, we understand that you may not have everything figured out at 17 or 18 years old, so we won’t hold you to the academic interests that you list. With that being said, I encourage you to do your homework on the different engineering majors we offer and to think about which one you are most interested in right now. Also, you don’t need to list three engineering interests. It is not uncommon to find Tufts engineering students taking classes in every department from Sociology to Political Science to Spanish, so if you are excited about other areas in addition to engineering, feel free to list them too!
Engineering students at Tufts will take many math and natural science classes, and if you’re interested in studying engineering, math and science classes may be some of your favorites in high school, but that doesn’t mean that courses in other disciplines should fall by the wayside! Keep pushing yourself in a demanding curriculum that challenges you and excites you across a variety of academic disciplines. Understanding the impact of engineering in society as well as communicating technical ideas to non-technical audiences are vital skills for Tufts engineers, so keep up your work in those US government and English classes while also continuing to piece together the connections between the things you are learning in chemistry and physics.
We understand that not every student has had access to engineering opportunities. Don't fret. With any applicant, essays are the best way for us to hear your voice and learn about your personality and intellectual interests. Tell us what about engineering sparks your intellectual curiosity or how you stumbled upon engineering in the first place! Beyond this, we're also reading in between the lines to find those hard to quantify essential skills that might suggest you have the grit, collaboration, kindness, creatively, resilience to be a Tuftsy engineer.
5. Extracurricular Activities
For those of you who have participated in robotics, engineering related internships or summer programs, this is the place to tell us! Engineering related activities can take many different forms. If your Eagle Scout project included some hands on, building or construction work, let us know! If you have been in theatre tech all throughout high school, from lighting to set design, that’s engineering! We want to know about your hands on experiences, how you have problem solved and worked collaboratively in teams. In the description, don't forget to give us more detail about what kind of work you did and what role you played in each project.
6. Letters of Recommendation
This is where we learn what kind of classmate and community member you are. This is also a great place for us to learn about those engineering essential skills like teamwork, collaboration, and grit. We recommend that engineering applicants send us a letter of recommendation from a teacher in a STEM discipline, though this is by no means a requirement.
7. Optional Maker Portfolio
You can read more about this here, but to make a long story short, a Maker Portfolio gives you the opportunity to share a project with us in the same way applicants to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts share their art with us. So, if you have made something, built something, researched something, consider sending in a portfolio showcasing your work. These portfolios are evaluated by current Tufts engineering students (not admissions officers), so they know their stuff!
Here you have it! My PSA on how to engineer your application. Your application does not need to scream engineer in every single aspect. Trust yourself to highlight your inner Tuftsy engineer and trust us to find those qualities that we think would make a great fit for our community. Good luck!