Tufts University Guide

The Ivy Scholars guide to Tufts University’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.


Medford, MA


Private Research Institution

Acceptance Rate:



11,900 (5,800 undergrads)

Jump to Section:




Dates + Deadlines


Schools + Colleges
Core Requirements
Special Programs

Student Life

Campus + Area
Student Orgs + Athletics


Financial Aid

About Tufts University

Located just outside of Boston, Tufts University is the third oldest in the area. Founded on land donated by the school’s namesake, the school has a long history of research and academics. They have one of the strongest DIII sports programs in the country, and are well known for their International Relations program.

Tufts Statistics

Year Founded


4 Year Graduation Rate:


Gender Distribution

50% / 50%

Acceptance Rate:


Location Type:


Schedule System:


Student / Faculty Ratio:


Average Class Size:



Get access to our complete admission strategy for Tufts University!

Enter your information below and submit for access to the guide.

National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #28 Best Value Schools
  • #29 National Universities
  • #54 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #72 Most Innovative Schools

Independent Rankings:

  • #7 Best Colleges for International Relations per Niche
  • #22 Best Colleges for Computer Science per Niche
  • #25 Research Universities per Forbes
  • #27 Top Private Colleges per Niche
  • #30 US Colleges per The Times of Higher Education
  • #34 Top Colleges per Forbes
  • #68 Best Value Colleges per The Princeton Review
  • #95 Best Colleges per Money Magazine

Tufts Admissions

Application Deadlines:
Notifcation Dates:
Early Decision:

Nov. 1

Early Decision


Early Decision II:

Jan. 1

Early Decision II:


Regular Decision:

Jan. 1

Regular Decision:

Apr. 1


Mar. 15



Acceptance Rates:

  • Early Decision I + II: 10%
  • Regular Decision: 15%
  • Transfer: 14%

Average Applicant Pool: 21,500

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 3,100

Average Number Enrolled: 1,600

Application Systems: Common App, Coalition App

Average GPA (weighted):


SAT Scores: 25th% – 1390, 75th% – 1540

ACT Scores: 25th% – 32, 75th% – 34

*Test mandatory. Writing sections are not required.

Demonstrated Interest:

Tufts does consider demonstrated interest.

How to demonstrate interest

Recommendation Letter Policies:

One counselor letter is required. One letter from a teacher of a core academic subject from Junior or Senior year is required. An additional letter is accepted if the student feels it is valuable.

Tufts Essay Prompts:

  • Common App personal statement (650 words)
  • Applicants to the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and 5-Year Tufts/NEC Combined Degree answer the following two questions:
  • 1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, “Why Tufts?” (100-150 words)
  • 2. Now we’d like to know a little more about you. Please respond to one of the following three questions. (200-250 words):
    • A) It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity?
    • B) How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – shaped the person you are today?
    • C) Where are you on your journey of engaging with or fighting for social justice?
  • Applicants to the BFA or 5-Year BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree at the SMFA at Tufts answer the following two questions:
  • 1. Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why SMFA at Tufts? (100-150 words)
  • 2. Art has the power to disrupt our preconceptions, shape public discourse, and imagine new ways of being in the world. What are the ideas you’d like to explore in your work? (200-250 words)

How to write the supplemental essays

Special Notes:

  • Students applying for a BFA or joint BA/BS + BFA are required to submit an additional letter of recommendation from an Art teacher. They are also required to complete an arts portfolio
  • Alumni interviews are offered, but are an optional part of the process.
  • Students not applying for the BFA are still allowed to submit an art portfolio, though it is not required.


  • Students may apply to the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, or the Museum of Fine Arts as transfer students. 
  • The application must be done on the Common App, and requires school reports, a letter of recommendation from a college-level instructor, and a brief description of your college courses.
  • BFA students are required to submit an additional arts portfolio.

Tufts Admission Strategy

Admissions Criteria: 

The aspects tufts consider important include GPA, test scores, course rigor, essays, recommendations, and fit. Aspects that Tufts considers include legacy status, level of interest, first generation status, racial/ethnic background, geographic origin, interview, and talent.

For the Museum of Fine Arts, artistic talent as demonstrated through the portfolio is much more important, and counts much more highly for admissions. While academic preparation is still important, artistic talent will generally be the deciding factor.

Coaches recruiting athletes will be considered as part of an admissions application, recruited athletes must still meet the academic standards required by Tufts.

Tufts is looking for students with the sort of intellectual curiosity and passion that will fit into their campus environment.

What is Tufts Looking For?

Every application to Tufts is read twice, first by a regional officer, then by a second admissions officer. Applications then go to committee, where the final admissions decision is made. While there are no test scores or grades which will automatically sink an application, Tufts does expect a high level of intellectual vitality in their applicants.

For fit, Tufts is looking for students with the sort of intellectual curiosity and passion that will fit into their campus environment. While they do not describe precisely what this means, this blog post does go into some of what they consider when considering how a student will “fit” at Tufts.

Perfect scores with a lack of substance behind them will generally not be admitted. Strong, though not perfect students with more substance and a better narrative are much stronger candidates. 70% of students have the academics to be admitted to Tufts if those were the only criteria, thus they turn to the essays, and the broader narrative the application paints.

Tufts considers students by highschool, which means if multiple people apply from the same high school they will be judged in context with each other. They may all be accepted if each meets the academic standards of Tufts. 

The essays are a large part of what Tufts is looking at and for, to demonstrate intellectual vitality, curiosity, and fit with Tufts. Letters of recommendation are also used here, to learn about how students act in the classroom, and whether they exhibit the curiosity and passion Tufts desires.

Tufts Strategy:

While the standards of admission are not easier when applying ED according to an admissions blog, applicant’s chances are often better due to the smaller overall pool of applicants during the early round of admissions. Early Decision II offers similar benefits, in that the pool is smaller, although the requirements remain the same. Applying ED II is a good choice if you miss the deadline for ED.

While Tufts does consider demonstrated interest, they want students to be intentional about it; emailing or calling the admissions department purposefully will do nothing to help your application. 

The Why Tufts essay, despite its short length, is one of the more important ones they consider. This blog post explains some of what admissions officers are looking for in these essays. These are used to determine how students see themselves fitting into the community at Tufts, which is one of the more important criteria.

It is best to be interesting, rather than to have perfect scores. While what makes a candidate interesting is subjective, demonstrating passions and a desire to explore those passions is advantageous. The strongest essays make admissions officers want to have conversations with the students.

Tufts Academics

4 or 5

Required to earn credit for AP tests


Majors and Minors Offered


Schools to Choose From


Core Requirements:

  • All students are required to satisfy certain course requirements, but there are many classes which fulfill these requirements. Required courses are: first-year writing requirement; the foreign language or culture requirement; world civilizations requirement; and distribution requirements (2 classes each in humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and math)
  • Core Requirements

Courses of Study: 

AP Credit Policies:

  • Tufts awards credit for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP exams and for scores of 6 or 7 on IB exams. SAT Subject Tests may be accepted for some courses.
  • Comprehensive AP Credit Information

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

  • While there is no separate honors program, all students may complete an honors thesis in order to graduate with honors.
  • Departmental Honors (contact individual departments for more information)
  • Undergraduate Honors (graduation [Latin] honors and Dean’s List based on cumulative GPA)
  • Honors Societies

While there is no separate honors program, all students may complete an honors thesis in order to graduate with honors.

Research Availability:

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

Pre-Med Options:

  • Tufts does not offer a pre-med major, though they do have an advising program to help students with applications and academic preparation for med school.
  • The early assurance program offers students a chance to apply to and be conditionally accepted into med school while in their sophomore year.
  • Career Advising

Pre-Law Options:

Computer Science Options: 

  • The Department of Computer Science offers two majors, one through the School of Arts and Sciences, the other through Engineering. Students may select an unofficial concentration within their major.
  • A minor in CS is open to students in SAS and Engineering.
  • Computer Science student groups

Additional Specialty Programs: 

Programs for High Schoolers:

  • Pre-College Programs at Tufts include commuter, residential, and virtual offerings, and are offered throughout the year, although most of the residential programs are offered in the summer. They include chances to take classes at Tufts, conduct research, and experience life on campus.
  • Teachers and High School Students (TAHSS) program is offered by the School of Medicine for students interested in healthcare fields.

Student Life at Tufts




of students participate in Greek life


miles from Downtown Boston

School Motto: Peace and light

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: Tufts is a student-centered research university dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge. We are committed to providing transformative experiences for students and faculty in an inclusive and collaborative environment where creative scholars generate bold ideas, innovate in the face of complex challenges and distinguish themselves as active citizens of the world.
  • Additional Information
  • Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Grad Reports)

Residential Housing System:

There are more than 25 residence halls on campus. While freshmen live in traditional dorms, upperclassmen can live in apartment style housing or shared interest communities. The dorms will often host speakers or other events for the students residing therein. Students who move out of housing usually live in apartments near campus. All freshmen and sophomores are required to live in university housing, or in registered fraternities or sororities.

Housing Statistics:


of freshmen live on campus.


of students live on campus at any given time

All freshmen and sophomores are required to live in university housing, or in registered fraternities or sororities.

Campus & Surrounding Area:  

  • Located in the cities of Medford and Somerville, the campus is 5 miles from Boston proper. The campus is situated on a hill, and sections are referred to as “uphill” or “downhill”.
  • The Davis Square neighborhood near campus is a popular destination for students. The campus is regularly described as one of the prettiest in the country, and has remarkable views of the Boston skyline.
  • Safety Information: (Tufts, College Factual)
  • Virtual Visit, Virtual Tour



  • Jumbo SmashA dating app only open to Tufts students which is coded anew and then deleted each year for finals week.
  • The CannonThis replica cannon is repainted almost nightly to advertise or celebrate happenings on campus.
  • Illumination CeremonyOn the first night of orientation and the eve of commencement students gather on the quad with candles.
  • Tuftonia’s DayA carnival held to celebrate the birthday of Tuft’s founder, and the end of Spring semester.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life: 

  • 18% of students are involved with greek life on campus, with 9 fraternities and 4 sororities on campus.


  • Tufts has some local nightlife, but the primary draw is Boston, a large city with a vibrant nightlife scene, with most areas of the city accessible by public transit.
  • On-campus parties are common, hosted either by frats or houses. There are frequent shows put on by student groups and the theater department as well. 
  • Ranked the #13 party school in Massachusetts by Niche.

Tufts Financials

Yearly Cost of Attendance:

  • Total: $79,000
  • Tuition: $59,560
  • Fees: $1,302
  • Housing: $8,516
  • Meal Plan: $7,114
  • Personal expenses: $1,508
  • Books: $1,000

Financial Aid:

Tufts is need blind in admissions, and is committed to meeting all demonstrated financial need for students. This includes international students. All aid awarded is based on need, and students with parents who have incomes under $60,000 a year usually have the full cost of their tuition covered. Outside scholarships are used to reduce the amount of loans a student requires. Work study is a component of most financial aid packages. Scholarships are rarely awarded for BFA students, or through the ROTC program. 

Additional Financial Aid & Student Loan Information

Fun Facts

    • Tufts football game against Harvard in 1875 is considered to be the first using American-rules football.
    • A house on campus was a stop in the underground railroad.
    • PT Barnum was a major donor to the university, and also gifted them a stuffed elephant “Jumbo” who became the university’s mascot. The elephant was destroyed in a fire in 1975, but his ashes are still kept. Students rub the jar of ashes for luck, and it is passed off to each new athletics director.
    • Tufts fields a team of runners for the Boston Marathon.
    • There was a tradition of “Naked quad runs” on campus during winter before final exams, but it has been cancelled by the school’s president.
    • Notable alumni include actor Hank Azaria and skater Michelle Kwan. Actress Jessica Biel attended the school, but did not graduate.

Our experts make Houston area students into Ivy League applicants.

Wendy Y.
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
Arda E.
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
Samson S.
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!