Your one-stop guide to navigating tufts.edu
If you're a recently admitted student considering Tufts, YOU DID IT! YOU SURVIVED THE COLLEGE APPLICATION PROCESS. After ages of preparation, anticipation, and quite possibly perspiration, you have tackled the beast that is college admissions. So congratulations to you! Whether you’ve found yourself with an offer from your first choice university or are getting excited about options you hadn’t put much thought into before, I hope you know that you have accomplished something in making it to this point of your academic career.
But now that the results are in, you might find yourself grappling with decisions that you are both privileged and challenged to make. For all of the hype that surrounds admissions, there is little said about this last leg of the college process (well, except for the actual college part), during which the decision is back in your hands. If you’re anything like me, you are probably thinking all of your options to death in attempting to weigh the financial, academic, social, and geographic factors that go into choosing the college that is best for you.
Through it all, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that there very well might not be one obvious “best” choice. Likely, if you find yourself considering Tufts and a number of other institutions, the schools would all be great for you in different ways, and the decision comes down to what works for you and your family. I encourage you to make a choice that speaks to you, and be honest with yourself about the reasons why you are considering different schools.
I wish I could help you compare universities X and Y, but my input would be incomplete because I can only speak to my college experiences here in Medford. Instead, allow me to offer a synopsis of a few of the factors that I considered when it was my turn to make this decision: a condensed interpretation of Tufts’ community, opportunities, and environment.
I’ve heard it (and said it myself) time and time again — Tufts is a place of and for its people. The thing that stood out to me most about Tufts during my own decision process was the allure of an inclusive, intelligent, exciting community. Part of this impression came from these very student blogs, which made me laugh, think, and want to get to know the people behind the pages.
Between these online forums, my visit to campus, and stories I’d heard from alumni or students (or friends of alumni or students), I couldn’t ignore the feeling that the opportunity to be a Jumbo seemed to promise personal connections and genuine belonging in a network of individuals who bring out the best in each other. Granted, some people click better than others, but now that I’ve been at Tufts for almost a full year, I can honestly say that a disproportionate number of my favorite people are ones I’ve met here… and I don’t think that’s by chance.
Within this community, social circles do tend to form around a main activity or interest, whether that be an athletic team, a cappella group, greek organization, academic pursuit, comedy troupe, etc. Some freshmen find their best friends in their dorms, orientation groups, or classes, and networks/friend groups inevitably form in these fashions. However, the relatively small size of this institution assures overlap and very few degrees of separation between students, so it is not hard to meet people who have perspectives that differ from your own. Personally, I like knowing people and being known, while still claiming some sort of anonymity and having the feeling that there are still so many people who I am eager to meet and get to know better.
I can’t speak for every student, but I can say that I have found plenty of avenues to pursue my interests at this school. Even though Tufts lacks an undergraduate major in urban planning, I have been pleasantly surprised to find such a present group of people who share my affinity for cities but approach the topic from backgrounds as varied as economics, civil engineering, anthropology, and cognitive brain science. If it’s not a major, you might find that there is a graduate program, student group, or professor who shares your interest.
If you’re eager to serve a community, you can join Engineers Without Borders or Timmy Global Health. If you’re a fan of comedy, you may find yourself in The Institute or Major: Undecided (subtle plug for Sophie's post). If you want to sing, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of groups that hold auditions. If you like athletics, you might play on a varsity team, join a club one, or hike your way up the Pres Lawn (yeah — it's a sport).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this little campus offers lots of opportunities for students to branch out and dive in. I think the fact that Tufts has such an intimate campus in a relatively quiet section of the greater Boston area encourages students to really be present here, attending meetings or watching performances or practicing skills.
I’ll be honest — Medford strikes me as sleepy and un-glamorous at times. When I go on runs behind my dorm, I pass pizza joints and unpolished neighborhoods before making it to the Mystic River. But chalk drawings on the sidewalks and a colorful amphitheater behind a community garden give the area character, and remind me that you don’t have to live somewhere that is breathtakingly spectacular around every turn in order to feel proud of and happy in your environment. (Although the view atop the Hill tells quite a different story, with Boston’s charming skyline and ever-impressive sunsets forcing you to take your phone out — for the millionth time — to attempt to capture the beauty for friends and family back home.)
But this setting is more than its views, and I wouldn’t change the feel of the Academic Quad in the late afternoon, the Pres Lawn during my (admittedly frantic) 8AM treks to class, or the Tisch roof any time of day. There is no shortage of lovely study spaces, delicious restaurants, and exciting sites to visit around campus and in Boston. The city really is accessible, whether you decide to study in Boston Public Library’s ornate reading room, visit the Museum of Fine Arts (free for Jumbos, might I add), or shop and stroll near the Charles River.
As far as weather goes, my hair will testify that the wind can be undesirable and my fingers will gripe about the cold — but I find joy in the changing seasons and varying temperatures. The weather brings people together on the chilly days and spreads us out across campus on the warm ones, and I can tell you that the only thing sweeter than autumn in New England is the first sandal-friendly day of second semester.
I could go on about how I've loved getting to know Bean Town and its outskirts over the course of the past few months, but this is long enough already (for blog's sake!). No matter whether you're from the other side of the world or one town over, I bet you'll discover parts of this place that speak to you, too.
Even this excessively long post cannot give enough information to accurately depict Tufts or lead you to a decision, but I hope that you recognize how special it is to be a Jumbo; surrounded by these people, doing these things, in this wonderful, wonderful place. Good luck with your decision, and congrats, again!
Your one-stop guide to navigating tufts.edu
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