Institution: Tufts University
Study: Major in biopsychology on a pre-med track
High School Experience
Like all high school students, when I went from middle to high school, I had to to get acclimated. Freshman year I was very unsure of myself and socially insecure. If you were to compare the personalities of me then and me now, you would find a stark contrast between the two. As time went on through high school, I found myself being more comfortable in my own skin, and becoming better at academics. I attribute those improvements to time management practice and confidence in my scholastic abilities.
My academic interests primarily revolved around reading, writing and any kind of science. I took every honors science class that was offered, managed to fit AP Bio into my schedule senior year, and was a lab assistant too. I was also in AP Literature and AP Language.
I did! I took Spanish 5AP and got a four on the exam. I also took AP Language, and got a 5 on the exam. My senior APs, which I have not yet received the scores from, include AP Government, AP Literature, and AP Biology.
For leadership positions, my senior year I was on student council, and I was also an editor for the school paper. I wrote for the paper last year, and moved up the journalism-food-chain to become an editor this year. I have done theatre for five years, and tennis for two. I also do graphic design and photography, and both of those have served as a creative outlet and definitely shaped my interests.
I loved my teachers, and I truly think they reciprocated equally. I tried to ask teachers where there was a balance of good grades and they also knew me as a person, not just as a machine that spits out assignments. I asked my AP Literature teacher and AP Bio teacher; I love both of them as teachers as well as people.
My common app is relatively personal, but it is still intertwined with my academics, which I feel like is a good fit for what they (whoever is reading it) are looking for. It has to do with my social struggles growing up (when I was younger I was diagnosed with Aspergers; i.e. I’m on the autism spectrum) and how I have changed over time through different extracurriculars.
There are so many other people that wanted to go to this university, and I often think about what it could have been that set me apart. I heard that the ED acceptance rate was 10%, which surprises me even more. I think it may have been how genuine I came across in my “Why” essay (Tufts puts a lot of weight on that essay). I included a joke in it, cut straight to the point, and tried to come off how I am in person: warm and approachable.
Take it from a guy who was inhaling Q&As like these to find out if he had a shot at Tufts: you can do it too. Be wise if you plan on EDing anywhere (not just Tufts) because it is restrictive; make sure that you are in the academic ballpark. If you want it, and the grades are there, and the desire to be on that campus is apparent in that “Why” essay, you’ve set yourself up for the best possible shot. Again, take all this with a grain of salt; college applications are sometimes a wildcard, we get accepted to far-reaches and rejected from safeties. All you have to worry about is setting yourself up for success.
I was worried that writing about a social disability (Autism & Aspergers) would make them disinclined to accept me, but I was proved otherwise.
I ED’d. I told myself that I didn’t really want to go to an Ivy League because I knew I found feel like I was in a pressure cooker of stress and competition, so then I started looking at similar schools. Lo and behold, I found Tufts, one of the “Little Ivies.” I was interested, so I toured, and I fell in love with the campus, the people, and the ideologies they supported. It was all I talked about, thought about, and dreamt about. So I did early decision, and I am so fortunate that it worked out.