Possibly the most daunting part of applying to college was filling out the individual applications after completing the Common App. You have to convey to the school not only that they should want you, but also why you want them. Of course, if you're applying to a school in which you're really interested, it's not hard to think of reasons why you want to go there, but it is REALLY difficult to sum it all up in 50-100 words.
As soon as I got into Tufts, I tried to forget most of the stressful application process, and instead focused on all the amazing new things I could look forward to the next year as a Jumbo. In fact, I'd totally forgotten about that short but terrifying essay I wrote until just a few weeks ago, when I realized that I'd actually been doing a lot of the things I'd talked about in it. So I searched back through my "High School" folder in my computer and finally came across a PDF titled "Tufts Supplemental Essays". During this search I learned that I was way less organized in high school than I am now, and I really should have created more subfolders underneath "High School" because that's a pretty broad category, but that's beside the point. The point is that I eventually found my supplemental essay so I could reread what I had written in high school about why I wanted to go to Tufts and to compare that to how I feel now.
Here's what I said: (Warning-- this is pretty cheesy; thanks for still accepting me, Tufts)
I can see myself painting the cannon with friends and guarding it until dawn, taking an
Immunology class, and staying over the summer to participate in the Summer Scholars
Program; I would be honored to study and do research through such an interesting program.
Tufts felt more like home than any other place I visited because of the people I saw there; I have been told multiple times that “at Tufts, it’s cool to be smart”. I think I could easily fit into the cooperative and studious atmosphere and enjoy every second of it.
Boom. 94 words.
As much as I cringed while reading this (who can read something they wrote almost 4 years ago and not?), I still agreed with everything I said. I came to Tufts because I'm a nerd and Tufts has honestly just made me into a bigger nerd than ever before. My favorite part of Tufts is the academic atmosphere I've experienced. Yes, the classes can be hard, but the environment isn't cutthroat-- no one is trying to sabotage you, or hoping you do badly so they look better-- everyone from your professors to your friends is rooting for you and collaborating with you. As you might be able to tell from my blurb, doing research in college was something I was interested in, but maybe didn't know much about it. Early on, I got involved in doing molecular genetics research, and it has truly been the most amazing part of my college experience/life/ever. So, while my idea of what college would be like when I was in high school may have included some research, I had no idea how big of an impact it would have on me. I spend my days thinking about research (we use the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, aka the fruit fly, to study DNA repair) and going to lab always puts me in a good mood. I can't imagine my college experience now without the lab and my fruit flies. If I could write my "Why Tufts" supplemental again, I would definitely still include the parts about how "It's cool to be smart" and the breadth and depth of the classes offered, but I would need WAAAY more than 100 words to talk about all the research that goes on here.
I applied to Tufts early decision, convinced that this place would be my home for the next four years, and I was right, but I only had an inkling about everything that college would entail. Little did I know that I would be taking classes where we solely read Nobel-prize-winning papers in biology, or learning more about the cell than I ever thought possible, or, best of all, getting to do my own experiments in a lab.
I may not have known it when I applied, but I came to Tufts for the fruit flies.