Even without the optional essay, there are many opportunities to talk about yourself and why you love Tufts. I think people who apply early are generally okay with the optional essay and welcome the chance to strengthen their applications but the issue is for people who are applying to several schools and end up skipping Tufts because its all too much. It's not easy for most applicants to pass on an optional prompt so I have problems with the optional concept. I think both sides of this debate have good points to make. But it seems like there would be a happy medium between gaming the stats by having no supplement and requiring a push of a button--something several of peer schools do-- and requiring more essays than any other school.