How to Get Into Tufts: All You Need to Know

Thursday, March 28, 2024


Tufts University is a private, highly competitive research university in the Greater Boston area in Massachusetts, just minutes from downtown Boston. Focusing on building a one-of-a-kind, diverse community and emphasizing student and faculty collaboration, Tufts is an exciting place to live, learn, and grow.

Tufts is highly selective and only admits a small percentage of applicants every year. To increase their chances of admission to Tufts, prospective students should start to prepare early by building their profile, doing their research, and gathering their application materials. To learn more about what it takes to get into Tufts University, read on.

How to Get Into Tufts: Table of Contents

  1. When to Apply to Tufts
  2. How Hard Is It to Get into Tufts: Early Prep
  3. How Do You Actually Get into Tufts: The Application
  4. Class Profile
  5. What Makes Tufts Unique?

When to Apply to Tufts

Generally, students looking to attend Tufts University should apply between November 1 and early January of their application cycle. Tufts offers several different application options to applicants depending on their needs.

Tufts Deadlines

In 2023-2024, Tufts had two different application deadlines for its three admission types. For Early Decision, the application deadline was November 1. Early Decision II and Regular Decision deadlines were January 4. Exact deadlines may vary slightly each year, so applicants should always double-check the exact deadline for their admissions cycle.

Early, Rolling, and Regular Decision

Students can choose from several different application types when applying to Tufts. Regardless of where you ultimately decide to apply, it’s important to understand the key differences between these application types, like Regular Decision, Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Early Action.

The Tufts admission process includes Early Decision, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Early Decision is a binding application option, which means that if you are admitted Early Decision, you must enroll in that college. Early Decision II is also non-binding, but the application deadline is later, usually closer to the Regular Decision deadline.

Early Action is another early application option, but unlike Early Decision, it is non-binding, which means you can decide whether to attend if you are admitted. Tufts University does not offer an Early Action deadline, nor does it offer rolling admission. Learn more about Early Action vs. rolling admission, which may be options at other schools.

Waitlisted Applications

If you apply to Tufts University Regular Decision, there are three possible decision notifications you may receive: accepted, denied, or waitlisted.

The Tufts waitlist is made up of strong students that the university wanted to admit but did not have the space to admit. Considering the high volume of applications Tufts receives as compared to the number of spots they have available for their first-year class, it makes sense that they have to deny or waitlist very strong applicants.

When receiving a waitlist admissions decision, a student can choose whether they want to accept or deny their spot on the waitlist. If a student accepts their spot on the waitlist, there is a chance they may get off the waitlist during the late spring or summer before the start of the academic year. However, the chances of getting off the waitlist are low. Tufts waitlisted 2,644 students for fall 2022. Of these, 1,328 accepted a place on the waitlist and 183 were admitted — a 13.78% acceptance rate.


An Early Decision application to Tufts University has three possible admission decisions: accepted, denied, or deferred. To defer essentially means to wait. When an admissions committee defers an application for admissions from Early Decision to Regular Decision, they are deferring making a final admissions decision until the Regular Decision round. Sometimes, this may be because they want to wait for additional information, like a student’s completed grades from the first semester of their senior year.

If you are deferred, your application will be reevaluated within the Regular Decision applicant pool. So, what should you do if you’ve been deferred? The best thing to do is to send the university any additional academic information that may add to your application. Typically, that means sending your first semester senior year grades and a letter of continued interest. Before you send anything, however, check the school’s requirements: not all universities accept additional materials.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Tufts: Early Prep

As a renowned liberal arts and research university, Tufts offers the best of both worlds. It’s no wonder that it has become increasingly competitive to gain admission. Students who want to increase their chances of acceptance to Tufts should start preparing early to best equip themselves for the application process — the earlier, the better.

Build Your Profile

So, what does Tufts look for in an applicant? They describe their community of multidimensional students as “Intellectually playful. Kind. Collaborative. Civically Engaged. Globally Minded.” Tufts is looking for students who will rise to the occasion, immersing themselves in the interdisciplinary learning through its three undergraduate schools — The School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. To be a competitive applicant to Tufts, prospective students should start building their profile as early as possible. Your profile includes everything about you as an applicant: your academic background and history, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, and standardized test scores, if applicable.

These days, highly selective colleges are looking for “pointy” students who show a depth of interest and engagement in their field(s) of interest. Students ideally demonstrate this engagement through their high school course selection, academic engagement outside the classroom, and extracurricular activities that align with their interests.

The earlier a student starts to build their profile, the more time they have to make their profile extra “pointy” toward their field of interest. For example, a student looking to apply to Tufts’ School of the Museum of Fine Arts will want to have a strong art portfolio and a demonstrated history of making art.

Visit the Campus and a Class

One of the best ways to get to know a campus is by visiting. There’s nothing like stepping foot on campus, looking around, chatting with current students, and imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes.

There are a couple of different ways that prospective students can visit Tufts University. Students can register for an official campus visit at either the Medford/Somerville campus for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, or the Fenway campus for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA).

For students who are not able to visit campus in person, Tufts also has a robust offering of virtual options, including information sessions, guided tours, audio tours, and Jumbo Chats — an opportunity for prospective students to connect with current Tufts students. SMFA also offers virtual information sessions, tours, and one-on-one portfolio reviews.

Tufts also offers a few special open houses for prospective students, including the virtual Fall for Tufts program in the fall and the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience, a two-day visit that introduces prospective students to diversity and community at Tufts.

Regardless of how you visit the campus, it’s important to do so. This will give you a great inside look at the university and will also demonstrate interest to admissions officers.

Connect With a Student

Connecting with current students is the best way to get a sense for whether a school is the right fit. Tufts makes it easy, offering opportunities for prospective students to connect with current students, including Jumbo Chats, a forum in which prospective students can ask questions. Students visiting the Tufts campus can connect with their tour guide, who will not only show them around campus, but share their student experiences.

Learn About Any Student Experiences

If you get the chance to visit the Tufts campus, you can feel out the vibe by talking to a current student. You can learn about student experiences by taking a campus tour and staying behind after the tour to chat with your tour guide or with other students in the admissions office. Some prospective students may even strike up a conversation with a student on campus. Places like the student union or Walnut Hill are great for chatting with prospective students.

How Do You Actually Get Into Tufts? The Application

Now that you’ve learned more about the college application process, it’s time to consider how you get into Tufts. Application requirements can vary by school, so it’s important to understand what to submit to Tufts during the admission process.

Tufts University uses the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge for undergraduate admission. Prospective students must submit the application (including the personal essay), essay supplements, and letters of recommendation. Tufts is currently test-optional, but strong scores can give you a competitive edge.

Students applying to either the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering must write two essay supplements, whereas students applying to SMFA must submit one additional essay and a Visual Art portfolio.

GPA Requirements

Tufts University does not report the high school GPAs of their admitted students. However, of the class of 2027 students who submitted their high school class rank, 87% graduated in the top 10% of their class. Since Tufts is a highly selective institution, it is in your best interest to have the highest GPA possible if you want to gain admission.

SAT and ACT Scores

Tufts became fully test-optional in the fall of 2021. This means that students can choose whether they want to submit an SAT or ACT score as a part of their application. The university will review a student holistically regardless of whether they submit a standardized test score, but a strong SAT or ACT score can go a long way in helping you gain admission. At IvyWise, we recommend submitting any scores that meet or exceed the middle 50% test score range.

According to Tufts’ Common Data Set for 2022-23, 37% of admitted students to the class of 2027 submitted SAT scores, and 19% submitted ACT scores. The middle 50% test score ranges were 1460-1540 for the SAT Composite and 33-35 for the ACT Composite.

Personal Statement

Regardless of which application platform applicants choose to use for Tufts, they will need to write a personal statement. This is one of the most important “soft” factors of the application process. Applicants should take the personal statement as an opportunity to introduce themselves to the admissions committee beyond the numbers and other hard factors in their application. It’s a great way for students to share something about themselves that’s not already mentioned elsewhere on their application.


Students using the Coalition Application or Common App to apply to Tufts University are required to respond to additional essay prompts — what Tufts refers to as short answer questions. Students applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering are required to complete two supplemental essays.

Students were asked to respond to one of the following three prompts in 200-250 words for admission to the Class of 2028:

  1. It’s cool to love learning. What excites your intellectual curiosity?
  2. How have the environments or experiences of your upbringing — your family, home, neighborhood, or community — shaped the person you are today?
  3. Using a specific example or two, tell us about a way that you contributed to building a collaborative and/or inclusive community.


All applicants are required to complete this sentence in 100 words or less:

“I am applying to Tufts because…”

Students applying to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts are required to answer the following question in 200-250 words:

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?

Letters of Recommendation

Tufts University requires one counselor recommendation and one teacher recommendation. Letters of recommendation are an important part of the application puzzle, as they give admissions counselors a chance to see applicants through the eyes of a student’s teachers and counselors. Be sure to ask your teacher and school counselor to write your recommendations early to give them enough time. A great time to ask is at the end of junior year, for example. Don’t just pick a teacher whose class you have the best grades in — pick one who can speak to your intellectual curiosity and who knows you the best.

Admission Interviews

Tufts does not require evaluative admissions interviews, but they are available upon request. Applicants can request to schedule an interview with a member of the Tufts Admissions Network, which may be an alumni volunteer or a senior student interviewer. We always recommend taking advantage of an opportunity to interview, even if it’s not required, as it gives the admissions committee a chance to learn more about you outside of your application and for you to learn more about the school. Learn what to expect during college admissions interviews.

Contribution to the Tufts Community

Tufts University students make valuable contributions to the school community through their wide variety of interests and expertise, and applicants should showcase their academic and extracurricular interests in their application. Ultimately, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions seeks to put together a well-rounded and diverse class of students. They consider each applicant’s qualitative factors in many ways, including how they will contribute to the campus community. This is part of why it’s important to be specific in the Tufts University supplement, highlighting the most impressive parts of your profile. Tell admissions officers what excites you about Tufts, what offerings you’ll take advantage of that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and how you plan to contribute to the campus community.

Class Profile

So, how many people apply to Tufts? For the class of 2027, Tufts received 34,000 applications and accepted 3,444 students. While these numbers vary from year to year, they are a good representation of how selective Tufts is. That said, Tufts also values diversity, with 50% of its first-year class in fall 2022 identifying as students of color.

Acceptance rate 10.1%
Class size 1,739
Undergraduate majors 90+

What Makes Tufts Unique?

Tufts is perched at the top of Walnut Hill, which boasts stunning views of Somerville and Boston below. It’s a beautiful campus with incredible academic and extracurricular offerings for its students. Students can choose from over 300 student organizations, from intramural sports to student government to community service groups.

With its connection to the Museum of Fine Arts and its own university galleries, Tufts has excellent art offerings, including works by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. The Aidekman Arts Center and the Granoff Music Center are other arts spaces where students can catch performances and exhibits.

In addition to its undergraduate offerings, Tufts boasts a few world-renowned graduate programs on its Medford/Somerville campus, including in its medical and dental school in downtown Boston. Tufts is also home of the Fletcher School, a graduate school of global affairs. Being in this robust academic environment with advanced degree-seeking students is an exciting part of being a student at Tufts.

Ultimately, Tufts is a great fit for students looking for a liberal arts environment with many of the rich academic offerings of a larger research university.

Admissions Counseling

A private admissions counselor can be a great partner for students seeking admission into highly selective colleges and universities like Tufts — especially counselors who have visited the campuses themselves. We visited Tufts University so that we could give our students an in-depth explanation of what the university is like and who might be a good fit. No matter where you end up applying, an independent counselor can guide students through the entire admission process, from building a competitive profile, to creating a balanced college list, and crafting strong essays and supplements. Experienced college admissions counselors will help set applicants up for success so they can increase their chances of acceptance and achieve their academic goals.

Getting into Tufts University can be a challenge, which is why it can be helpful to receive expert guidance during the admission process. Take the first step toward getting into your dream school and schedule an Initial Consultation with an IvyWise college admissions counselor.


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