How good is Tufts?

<p>How good is Tufts academically? Compared individually to Swarthmore, Smith, Brown, Wesleyan, UVa... any thoughts?</p>

<p>Ecape - I actually think Tufts may be a better match for you than either Wesleyan or Brown. In general, it offers a much more preprofessional atmosphere than some of the LACs you have been looking at; very little in the way of sports or politics or entertainment gets in the way studying. Plus, it's near enough to Boston/Cambridge that you can escape campus pretty easily.</p>

<p>Thank you. I really enjoy being politically active and attending dance parties, myself. I just have this feeling that classes plus studying should take up at least 40 hours of my week. I will check Tufts out though, as the location is ideal and it seems like a fairly international/progressive campus. I feel Swarthmore may also be a good fit, b/c students are progressive and politically active but also studious. I hope I do well in the transfer application process. I'm glad Wesleyan is a good fit for you, johnwesley</p>

<p>Is Tufts considered academically rigorous now? It didn't used to be. I knew quite a few people who coasted through with very little effort.</p>

<p>Forty hours a week of academics is not overwhelming; I gather that some science students do that practically walking in their sleep. But, there's always the question of how you categorize things like keeping up a language skill -- if you sit at a "French table" in the cafeteria is that work or is it relaxation? Or, discussing relevant subjects outside the classroom -- is that "work" or is just I think, for an educated person, just about everything you do outside the classroom is grist for the mill -- or, potentially so. Subtracting 10 hours a week for class time (I'm not counting lab work) still leaves about five hours of study a night spread over six nights (let's get real, very little work gets done on a Friday --even at Swarthmore); that's four hours a night, plus maybe an hour in the afternoon -- of sitting in front of a computer screen or scrunched up in a (hopefully) comfortable chair in the library, six nights and six afternoons a week. I think most non-science students while capable of some variant of that (like, maybe, blowing off one night and making up for it on the weekend), would object perhaps, to having a gun put to their heads while doing it.</p>

<p>Well, and I've started to figure out it varies radically by schools. At Swarthmore and presumably a few other places, your average student wanting a 3.5 GPA would definitely have to study at least that much.</p>

<p>And dke: I don't know if Tufts is academically rigorous. That's what I'm trying to figure out...</p>

<p>My impression is that Tufts and Swarthmore are two quite different places when it come to intellectual atmosphere. More preprofessional than intellectual would apply to Tufts.</p>

<p>You know, I have heard the preprofessional vs. intellectual thing a hundred times, but it still doesn't make sense to me. I normally had thought of "intellectual" as meaning more studious, but johnwesley just used "preprofessional" to mean more studious. I have intellectual conversations quite often with my group of friends at Smith, most of whom plan to attend a professional school. Perhaps preppy mainstream vs. geeky/offbeat intellectual is what people really mean? At any rate, Wesleyan is a good example of preprofessional if you judge by what their student graduates actually do. I feel that you will have some level of intellectualism at every school with high-achiever students, and that the amount of work a school makes a student do is really one of the largest determinants of success in whatever a student chooses to do upon graduation, if success rates of alums at the "hardest schools" in both graduate schools and professional schools means anything...</p>

<p>Tufts is a great school, would be regarded higher if Harvard and MIT weren't so close. Same for BU and BC.</p>

<p>Everything I've ever heard about Smith suggests that it is an intellectual place. Intellectual means being able to examine something from all angles. It's not necessarily something that you can acquire by putting in a set number of hours reading only what gets handed to you; it means means having curiosity and that means occasionally "wasting time" reading things or following lines of inquiry that initially may not be part of a class assignment. At Harvard, you may be able to graduate with Honors simply by getting a 3.5 gpa. But, at other places, including Swarthmore and Wesleyan, it means writing a thesis, and no professor is going to tell you what to write about; you have to come up with the idea yourself, and all the source materials.</p>

<p>Preprofessional degrees have some similarities with liberal arts degrees: you attend classes and read books and take tests. But, I think the premium is placed more on getting the answers right rather than learning to ask the right questions. That's about as concise a definition as I can come up with.</p>

<p>As a student at Tufts, I can honestly say that we work very hard! I find that although it may seem that students here have a plan in what they're aiming for, there are LOTS of people who honestly have no idea what they're doing with their lives and are currently trying to figure it out. Tufts is intellectual while managing the laid back attitude with no feelings of a cut-throat atmosphere. We like being mellow but when it comes down to getting our education's worth, we're plenty serious. Grades here are representations of hard work, not entitlements. We earn our GPAs and can honestly feel that what we've earned prepares us well for entering the outside world. We can rival our ivy league counterparts academically without having to boast that we're no longer the safety school - however, that doesn't mean that we can't make jokes about it :)</p>

<p>johnwesley, many schools require or at least encourage theses and many classes at many schools include open-ended assignments. I bet Harvard has classes with open-ended assignments. And truly successful professionals need those critical thinking skills as much as do professors, I wouldn't make elitist generalizations about preprofessionals not thinking critically. While creative thought and critical thinking is wonderful to improve our society, it isn't worth much w/o an excellent work ethic to carry out those ideas... that's all I'm saying</p>

<p>Ecape - all I'm saying is that "work" doesn't always have to look the way it did in high school, with students constantly asking the teacher whether something is "going to be on the test". There must be a happy medium somewhere between being a total slacker and a complete brown nose.</p>

<p>And, Harvard, as far as I can tell, is one of the most elitist institutions in America; and until quite recently it was fairly easy to make Honors there -- much easier than at Wesleyan. That's a fact.</p>

<p>And let's face it, the most preprofessional degree I can think of is probably one that requires the most critical thinking of all -- premed. That's also an area Wesleyan excels in. But, then again, so does Tufts. :)</p>

<p>Pre-med requires critical thinking? Most students on this track are grade grubbing automatons.</p>

<p>Johnwesley, there is a difference between not being a brown-noser and not doing your readings. You are not going to convince me that you can learn more by reading less. yeah Dwincho, but really good doctors are really good critical thinkers. There are *******s in every field. </p>

<p>So Tufts student, how much time would you say you and your friends spend studying at Tufts?</p>

<p>To me, the difference between preprofessional and intellectual is that the former type does everything necessary and even beyond necessary to make the grade in a professional discipline with an eye to the demands of the career and the conditions for succeeding at it. This approach is something a student (given sufficient inteligence) can decide to be based on the degree of his/her ambition and drive. The qualities of being an intellectual seem to me to be more innate. It's a way of approaching knowledge and the world that leaves aside questions of "where will this get me?" or "do I really need to know about this?" and grows more out of " these ideas really excite me and I have a personal need to know more--even if there were no career directly connected to this field, I would pursue it anyway because it gives me deep pleasure and satisfaction." In a preprofessional atmosphere, you would expect to find more people who want to be doctors or lawyers. In an intellectual atmosphere, there would be more historians, philosophers, mathematicians, poets and research scientists.</p>

<p>Of course, in the end, lots of people realize that poets often cannot support families and so they go to law school and many lawyers and doctors pursue intellectual passions in their spare time. Academic careers demand a fair amount of both qualities. Many students combine these traits. The distinction just determines the predominant social and classroom atmosphere at a college (larger universities are more likely to have more of each type). escape is probably right that preppy-geeky plays a role in making this distinction. But I've known preppy intellectuals (think Amherst, here) and geeky preprofessionals (some at Harvard). Extremes of the types in colleges might be St.John's College--great Books program vs. Georgetown prelaw--maybe I'm thinking of Reese Witherspoon in the movie "Election"??
The question of which type does more hard work is besides the point-- at the most intense end of each spectrum both groups are driven to work hard--the difference is in what drives them and where their natural inclinations lead them--also in finding friends and seeking conversation partners. I think preprofessionals are more likely to finish their Ph.D's on time, while intellectuals go off on tangents.</p>

<p>For Seven Sisters schools, I would put Bryn Mawr at one end and Wellesley at the other.</p>

<p>For every person it's different, but the work eventually gets done. I usually work 1-4 hours a night but when it comes near test time I can put in 20+ hours of studying over the course of 2-3 days or so. I remember the fun days of organic chemistry. It's all about time distribution - I personally cram easily but I have one friend that is ready about 3 days in advance by progressively learning the material as it is doled out. My group of friends are science majors so we typically spend more time studying than writing papers for humanities. My humanities friends are always at the library writing away.</p>

<p>Interesting article in the Wesleyan paper seems to reflect a variety of approaches, including cramming during reading period (isn't that why it exists?):
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>ecape, </p>

<p>Why does it really matter to you what the other students are doing? You would be free to do the '40-hour approach' anywhere. Some kids, especially at a school like Swarthmore, are going to be just plain brilliant and maybe these kids can learn the same volume of material in 20 hours. Others will slack off; So what? </p>

<p>Are you bothered when other kids do "frivolous" things instead of studying? Because it can be hard to tell what is frivolous... I recall Steve Jobs (nobody's slacker) gave a graduation speech that someone posted on CC last spring. For him, dropping out and taking calligraphy were key steps on his career path...</p>

<p>It seems like the better question would be intellectual seriousness or rather than # of hours. But from another thread I think I recall you had been at U Chicago? That school has a rep for being one of the most intellectually serious and work-heavy schools out there. If it wasn't right for you, maybe you need a different evaluation rubric. </p>

<p>Maybe it is a culture of "industriousness"-- maybe you'd be happier at a place that appeals to more older, economically diverse, or non-traditional students who have a more serious attitude and less immaturity and entitlement?</p>

<p>I'm not trying to be obnoxious about your request for information-- but I just want to point out that you have already dinged two schools that many people would say define the things you say you are looking for. This might mean the definition is not quite on target.</p>

<p>I am not trying to say every student has to have a set attitude towards their education and study the exact same way -that's not what I meant, anyway. I just think I would like a school where teachers can generally expect more of student performance than they do at Smith, but that is still a supportive learning environment, similar to Smith in some respects. I was just thinking how much time the "average" student studies might be indicative of how demanding/serious academic work is. I think part of my problem is that I attended a high school where many classes were more demanding than Smith classes and students spent most of their time studying, yet teachers were very friendly and casual and emphasized collaborative learning, so I guess I was trying to recapture a little of that in college. But after all, I know things change.</p>