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Colleging In New England: Tufts University

- Alex

The summer before your senior year of high school is a time when many families pack the car and embark on a grand pilgrimage to as many colleges as they can possibly fit in their schedule. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already done this numerous times, with my most recent tour in New England where I visited Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut; Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; and Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Here is my take on Tufts University.

• Tufts is located stradding the Boston suburbs of Medford and Somerville. Medford itself is pretty residential, but about a 15 minute walk from campus is Davis Square. Davis is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and activities, and it looks like it is heavily populated by college and grad students. There is also a Boston “T” (public transportation) station that can take students from Davis Square into downtown Boston in about 30 minutes. I really liked the energy I felt in Davis Square.

• Tufts is a very…interesting campus. First of all there is a precipitous hill that runs from the top of the campus to the bottom. Supposedly students take buffet trays and sled on them down one of the hills when it’s covered with snow! There’s a great view of the city of Boston from the top of the hill, which is coincidentally named “Alex’s Place”. Tufts’ central campus area is gated which gives it an intimate feel.

• Tufts describes itself as a “liberal arts university” and that is how I felt about the school as well. With about 5,000 undergraduates, the size is still small enough for that liberal-arts atmosphere that many like me crave. Yet since this is combined with university research opportunities (which are exceptional), it produces a school that has the best of both worlds.

• One of the info session speakers mentioned something very poignant about the admission process that I think is important to any prospective college student: “Your data—GPA, SATs, grades — is only half of your file. Your other half consists of telling the college who you are and why they should accept you. So be yourself and let your personality shine through in your essays and activities.”

• As for the student population, it’s hard to pinpoint a stereotypical Tufts student. My mom seems to think that there are a lot of “New England rich kids,” but I noticed that there certainly are many diverse (about 50% international or minorities), eccentric, and not-your-typical types of students. This is one of the many attributes of Tufts that I am attracted to.

• One of my favorite parts about Tufts was its global approach and “active citizenship.” As a person who seeks to be involved with the world and make a difference, Tufts would offer me plenty of opportunity in terms of community service, global outreach, and overall awareness. It is the home of the well-known Fletcher School of Diplomacy and has welcomed prominent international and political figures such as Hilary Clinton and other diplomats. In addition, Tufts’ study abroad options are vast, including a fabulous summer session in the French Alps! But in terms of going global, Tufts is at the top of its game.

• All of the above factors produced such a positive effect on me that Tufts is now at the top of my college list. My overall advice for finding the coveted “perfect school?” College is what you make of it, so you can find numerous exceptional qualities about whatever school you end up attending. Nevertheless, you really don’t know a school until you actually visit and experience it. On that note, happy college hunting!

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