How to Get Into Tufts University: Admissions Data and Strategies
Situated just five miles outside of Boston, the campus of Tufts University has long been a destination point for high-achieving teens in the Northeastern United States. However, as with many other prestigious institutions over the last few decades, Tufts has seen a consistently climbing number of applications and a commensurate decline in acceptance rates. Between 1990 and 2000, Tufts experienced 87% growth in the number of annual applicants. From 2001 to 2022, the number of applications rose from approximately 12,000 to almost 35,000 in this current cycle.
Even more than in previous years, gaining acceptance into Tufts requires, for most applicants, an A/A- average in a full roster of the most rigorous courses available to you as well as extracurricular involvement/talents, and SAT/ACT scores that exceed the 95th percentile. On that last note, it’s important to know that the school has adopted a test-optional policy that will still be in effect for those applying in the 2022-23 cycle.
Given the highly-selective nature of Tufts, applicants need to be well-informed and understand the level of competition at this university. Toward that aim, this article will touch upon:
- Tufts’ Class of 2026 acceptance rate
- Tufts’ Class of 2026 ED acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Tufts applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2026
- The demographics of current Tufts undergraduates
- Tufts’ yield rate
- How Tufts’ admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to Tufts
- Tufts University Essay Prompts
- How to assess whether applying to Tufts is even worth the $85 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Tufts’ Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
Out of 34,880 applicants, just 9% were offered admission for the 2022-23 academic year. This single-digit figure represents a decrease from the previous two admissions cycles when 11% and 16% were accepted.
Tufts’ Early Decision Acceptance Rate
This university offers an Early Decision deadline of November 1 and an Early Decision 2 deadline of January 1. Tufts does not report current early decision admissions data, but we do know some of the peripheral statistics. For instance, ED applications for the Class of 2025 were up 19% from the previous cycle. The past few years, the total number applying ED was in the neighborhood of 2,000-2,500 individuals. It’s a solid bet that applying ED (I or II) yields a substantial advantage—however, the true degree of that edge is unknown.
Tufts Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank
Those enrolled in the Class of 2025 sported middle-50th percentile standardized test scores of 1450-1530 on the SAT and 33-35 on the ACT. An impressive 82% of 2021-22 freshmen hailed from the top 10% of their high school class and 97% placed in the top quartile.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- The number of applications rose 12% for the Class of 2026 from the previous year.
- 40% of admitted Class of 2026 applicants did not submit SAT or ACT scores.
- 56% of admitted domestic students in the 2021-22 cycle identified as people of color.
- 229 members of the Class of 2025 are first-generation students.
- 55% of those accepted into the School of Engineering for the Class of 2026 were women.
Who Actually Gets Into Tufts University?
First, let’s now look at the demographics of the Tufts Class of 2025.
The states producing the greatest number of 2021-22 freshmen were:
- New York
- New Jersey
As at any highly-selective university, competition is toughest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (see above). If you hail from a less-populated state like West Virginia, Montana, or Arkansas, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances.
The countries from which the highest percentage of Class of 2025 international students hail from are (in order):
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of members of the Class of 2025 was as follows:
- Asian American: 17.7%
- Hispanic: 12.5%
- African American: 7.8%
- White: 47.9%
- Two or More Races: 10%
The breakdown by gender of 2021-22 freshmen student body notably favors women:
- Male: 43%
- Female: 55%
- Non-binary: 2%
The number of 2020-21 freshmen enrolled in each school are as follows:
- Arts & Sciences: 1,508
- Engineering: 299
- School of the Museum of Fine Arts: 82
The Class of 2025 attended the following types of high schools:
- Public: 53%
- Independent/Religious/Parochial: 47%
Next, let’s look at Tufts University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was 51% for the Class of 2025. For comparison, many other top private universities have slightly higher yield rates such as Northwestern (60%) and Duke (61%).
How Tufts Rates Applicants
There are six factors that Tufts ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, class rank, the essays, recommendations, and character/personal characteristics. Extracurricular activities and talent/ability are designated as “important”. Considered factors are: standardized test scores, the admissions interview, first-generation status, legacy status, geographical residence, ethnicity, volunteer work, work experience, and the level of demonstrated interest.
In the words of the admissions office: “Make sure to take the time to truly look over your extracurricular and awards section to add in any additional details or activities that you have been involved with. Tufts and many other schools (not all, but many) will not evaluate your resume as a part of your application.” They also warn: “Don’t let the college application process consume your life at the expense of your other responsibilities. When your schedule feels jam-packed, I encourage you to prioritize your academic success in your senior year courses – this will pay off most in the application process.”
Tips for Applying to Tufts
If you plan on joining the roughly 35,000 aspiring Jumbos for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- As noted earlier, the test-optional policy at Tufts University is in effect for at least the Class of 2027.
- On the Common Application, you are required to list the School/Program to which you are applying. This can be a) the School of Arts and Sciences b) the School of Engineering c) BFA program d) BFA+BA/BS Combined Degree or e) 5-year Combined Degree with the New England Conservatory.
- Tufts does not offer on-campus interviews with admission staff; however, first-year applicants can request an optional evaluative interview with an alumni member of the Tufts Admissions Network.
- Tufts does weigh “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. Therefore, it will be noted whether or not you made a campus visit (in non-pandemic times), contacted an admissions officer, etc.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental short-answer essays required by Tufts. In the 2021-22 cycle the prompts are as follows:
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?
For detailed advice on each prompt, visit our blog entitled: Tufts University Essay Prompts and Tips.
Should I Apply to Tufts?
With acceptance rates falling under 10% in recent years, Tufts University is a school that is looking for students who sit among the very top of their high school class and have posted SAT/ACT that are at or above the 95th percentile. Remember, even though there is room for those who take advantage of the newly adopted test-optional policy, the median SAT score for one recent class was 1,480.
With such a competitive admissions process, all students need to make sure that they, in conjunction with a counselor, formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. Hopefully your dream of entering the next Tufts freshman class becomes a reality, but, in the event that things don’t unfold as hoped, you’ll still end up at an institution with comparable attributes and opportunities.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).