How to Write the Tufts University Supplement 2018-2019

Tufts is a private university in Medford, Massachusetts. There are approximately 5,500 undergrads and 93% of students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity. The acceptance rate for the class of 2022 was 14.6%.

Tufts provides one mandatory supplement and two options for a second (mandatory) essay. We would be remiss not to mention that their use of the word playful (not once but twice) makes us feel a bit weird.

What excites you about Tufts’ intellectually playful community? In short, Why Tufts? (250)

You’re probably familiar with this kind of question, but keep the short word count in mind before you start writing. With just 250 words, you only have room to address the following:


Start by writing about what you plan to do inside of the classroom. Look at the list of majors and minors on Tufts’ website and find something that’s related to your current academic interests. If you’re stuck, ask yourself what class you hate the least and use that as a starting point. You don’t have to stick with the major you write about in this essay when you get to Tufts, but it should be something you’re genuinely interested in because you also need to write about a few upper-level classes you plan to take. Look in the 200-300 level and find classes that are related to your interests, then explain why. They want to see that you can do research, create a plan, and that Tufts is the best place for you to advance your education. Research professors and department heads and see if you can find any special projects you’re interested in joining.


There’s a lot of school spirit at Tufts and almost every student on campus is in some way involved with an extracurricular activity. Now that you’ve picked your major, do some research and find a student organization or club that compliments the major you’ve chosen. Make sure the club you choose is a logical extension of the activities you did in high school: if you plan to major in engineering and were a member of the robotics team you might check out Tufts Hybrid Racing team.


A hint: Tufts is *very* into the fact that campus is Boston adjacent. They love it, the students love it, and the school is big into community relations (read about it here.) Many clubs and student groups work with high school students and residents from surrounding neighborhoods throughout the year. Before you close out your essay, it’s a good idea to add something about the location of the school (not about the weather) and how you plan to take advantage of being close to the city of Boston.

You’ll then choose one of the following prompts to answer.

Please answer one of the following questions - we encourage you to think outside the box. Be serious if the moment calls for it but feel comfortable being playful if that suits you, too. Your response must be between 200 - 250 words. 

Whether you’ve built blanket forts or circuit boards, created slam poetry or mixed media installations, tell us: What have you invented, engineered, produced or designed? Or what do you hope to?

Before we move on to what could work, we strongly advise ignoring the second part of this question. Pretty much everyone in the world has hopes and dreams, but for your application you want to show what you’ve already accomplished, not what you one day hope to achieve.

If you want to answer this question, think small. Your goal is to show a characteristic that hasn’t appeared elsewhere in your application. Maybe you’re creative or inventive in a technical way but you’ve so far represented yourself as more of a linguist, or perhaps you’re a secret Lego land enthusiast and your family still hasn’t broken down the tracks you made as a child. You’ve once again been given permission to be ~playful~, so don’t discount quirky ideas.

Our Experimental College encourages current students to develop and teach a class for the Tufts community. Previous classes have included those based on personal interests, current events and more. What would you teach and why?

We really like this question because it’s actually fun to design your own course. The topic you choose to teach should be an offshoot of the activities you’re already doing or a passion you have. It doesn’t have to be what you want to study in college, but it should build upon one of your other (smaller) interests.

You want the admissions office to learn something about you when they read this essay. Let’s say you plan to major in education but you’re also interested in slam poetry, or want to major in film studies but want to teach a class on the 50 best horror movies of all time. The class you choose to teach should speak to one of your characteristics or hobbies you haven’t been able to show yet.

Before you start writing, look in the department of the course you’re planning to teach (rather, the department that it would be in) and make sure it isn’t already offered: the last thing you want to do is write about a class that’s already a part of the curriculum. You’ll be able to find a syllabus online (for a class that actually does exist) and that will give you an idea of how to create your own. Write a brief class description that details the most important aspects of your course. Playing with form could be a nice change of pace here (example: your essay could simply be a syllabus) but don’t forget to address the “and why” portion of the question.

As always, we’re here to help.