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Fitting in at Tufts

bmorekidbmorekid 1 replies1 threads New Member
Hi all, I've heard that the students at Tufts tend to have interests that are off the beaten path and not "mainstream". I've also heard that the political climate at the school is very liberal. As someone who considers himself to have pretty mainstream interests and who identifies as a moderate, will I be able to fit in at Tufts? This is something I'm pretty concerned about, so thanks for taking the time to read my question.
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Replies to: Fitting in at Tufts

  • milousmommilousmom 24 replies3 threads New Member
    I don't think tufts students have "not mainstream" interests and much as they just have a lot of interests. It is definitely a liberal campus, though.
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  • micmatt513micmatt513 396 replies13 threads Member
    Just reposting what I wrote in another thread on the exact same topic:
    The fact that the admissions office overused the word "quirky" is really annoying for a lot of us Tufts students.

    There are people who really represent what the admissions committee would consider quintessential Tufts. Everyone knows one or two of these people. I have one friend who's an Olympic weightlifter/CrossFitter/fitness enthusiast, opera singer, motivational speaker, incredibly smart, and more energetic than anyone else I've ever met. She's not the norm at Tufts; she's great and I'm really glad to be friends with her, but I'm also glad that not everyone at Tufts exudes her energy. There are people who are just your pretty typical upper middle class elite college students; Tufts has loads of these. A lot of them act like they're unique, but they're really not that different from most students at other similar schools. Then there are a few kids who are really just incredibly strange; I have one friend who asked me if he could take ~50 headshots of me so that he could construct a 3-D model of my head and print it using a 3-D printer (I declined, if anyone's curious). Tufts has a good amount of people who are a little nuts in a good way. I'm not sure if there's a higher concentration of them at Tufts than elsewhere, but I know a few pretty eccentric kids that I never would have met otherwise.

    I think Tufts gives people a platform to feel relatively okay about enjoying things that aren't particularly typical, but it's by no means overwhelming. My roommate was a star tennis player in high school and is also an incredible metal guitarist. I have friends who spend most of their time working on problem sets and writing lab reports, but every Thursday night they get together and juggle fire. In my experience, Tufts students are friendlier than students at a lot of other schools, are incredibly smart, and generally very willing to bore you with all the minutia of whatever they're passionate about. I don't know if that makes us quirky, but it's the general vibe of the campus.

    The short version is that no, Tufts isn't particularly quirky, at least not any more than other comparable universities.
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  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 1203 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Tufts' student body isn't particularly quirky, IMO. There's a lot of "hipsters" here, but I would say most people I meet are your average college students. Generally speaking most people on campus dress the same, have similar interests and do the same things as college students anywhere. Honestly, the quirkiest thing I've found about Tufts is that they consider a microwave in the rooms a fire hazard but have a fire juggling team that practices on the dry grass outside my dorm ;)

    It is very liberal, though. If you have conservative viewpoints you may struggle to express them without feeling ostracized/drowned out. There are conservatives and moderates here, they're just greatly outnumbered.
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  • mathmommathmom 32647 replies160 threads Senior Member
    My son started Tufts as a liberal and became more conservative by the time he graduated. He commented once that Tufts was nerdy, but more political nerdy than board games playing nerdy and he'd have preferred more of the latter.
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  • Naspy58Naspy58 64 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Anecdotally at least, it appears that fewer students choose to transfer out of Tufts. This would certainly be some indication of how well students feel they fit in. I don't know what the actual stats are.
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  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 1203 replies9 threads Senior Member
    @Naspy58 While Tufts' retainment rate is very high, I'm not sure if this is indicative of how well students feel they fit in, as Tufts admissions select people they feel will be a good social fit and the pool of applicants to Tufts tends to be self-selecting in terms of political leanings and interests.
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  • Naspy58Naspy58 64 replies1 threads Junior Member
    That's my point -- however it's achieved, Tufts students generally feel at home there. Whether it's because Admissions knows who will fit in, or the applicants do (& I don't think they are self-selecting, to the extent that for example, Reed or Oberlin students are -- after all, Tufts gets an awful lot of applications) the result is that students feel they fit in and don't seek to transfer out.
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  • hikinggirlhikinggirl 9 replies3 threads New Member
    I'm a freshman at Tufts and the school is big enough that you'll find your people. Campus is definitely liberal but in terms of the quirkiness factors you won't have a problem.
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  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 1203 replies9 threads Senior Member
    If I hear someone in admissions describe us as "quirky" one more time, I'll combust.
    There is a large handful of hipsters (and arguably even the hipsters are too homogenous to be "quirky") but your average Tufts student is very...average. Most kids here are your standard upper-middle class kids from New York or New Jersey. Campus is very very liberal but as long as you aren't a diehard republican you'll be fine.
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  • ATXDAD15ATXDAD15 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    any feedback on how students from the South, as in TX fit? Just visited and DS liked it, just wondering how NE centered it is.

    TIA
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  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 1203 replies9 threads Senior Member
    @ATXDAD15 It's pretty NE centric. I would say 80-85 percent of people on campus are from the Northeast- mainly MA, the greater New York City/Long Island area, CT, and NJ. There are also sizable populations from Cali and the DC area. As a student from the South, she would be in the minority- I have met one girl from Houston and one girl from Atlanta but that's it. But I would also say if she understands how liberal and NE centric it is, thinks she can handle the weather and liked it anyway, she should be fine.
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  • Naspy58Naspy58 64 replies1 threads Junior Member
    D is a sophomore from California,which I think ranks 3rd, after MA and NY, for kids going to Tufts. I can't speak to how a southerner might feel, but D says there is a lot of NE regional pride in the area ("Boston is so patriotic," is how she puts it). Whether that stems from its colonial stature and significance, or the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots, it's hard to say. Probably both. It's not at all disturbing to her, however, just different. Which is the college experience anyway.
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  • Charger78Charger78 707 replies4 threads Member
    @ATXDAD15 A couple other perspectives to add to #11 . . . Texans are populating the east (and west) coast boarding schools at increasing numbers, if I read the evidence correctly. They also matriculate at the coastal universities. Generally, this population reflects the more affluent community that has prospered in Texas, whether these kids get financial aid or not. They tend to be from the more cosmopolitan and curious set, too. They < adapt > to the eastern environment, and I suspect a lot will end up working outside of Texas.

    From the Boston end of it, we are talking about the historic "Athens of America", the intellectual birthplace of this nation, beginning in the Puritan 1630s, that began attracting students from other states and nations by the mid-1800s. The north-of-the Charles academic communities of this city are used to welcoming a broad sample of American youth. The diversity represented in the businesses and the arts of the area speak to that. In Tuft's own Davis Square, the restaurants give a taste from all around the world, but one I like in particular is a barbecue joint that compares favorably to what you'll find in the south and west. https://www.redbones.com So, Tufts is most definitely "NE centric", though all schools draw predominately from their own geographic region, and the NE schools often have a very strong mid-Atlantic representation as well (in addition to NY and NJ, include PA and MD/Washington D.C./NOVA). The overall environment, both on and off campus, is, however, less parochial compared to many others.

    What does "less" mean and feel like? The caveat to what I have said is well summarized in the first six paragraphs of the following article. Harvard and Tufts strive for student diversity, but that doesn't mean an individual won't feel out of place. OTOH, feeling out of place, for a period of time, might not be such a bad thing.

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/3/26/regional-diversity-scrutiny/
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  • RenaissanceMomRenaissanceMom 1066 replies12 threads Senior Member
    As I've seen reported on CC in other threads, even the Ivies with their emphasis on geographical diversity, and their magnetic pull, are still predominantly filled with Northeastern and Californian students. According to the Crimson article posted above, 51.5% of harvard's class of 2018 came from just 4 states: MA, NY, NJ and CA.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    liberal--yes, politically active--yes, quirky?? no way. I can think of several colleges with more angular students than Tufts.
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  • ATXDAD15ATXDAD15 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the feedback - all very helpful - and actually I have been to Redbones and it is on par with good BBQ in TX :-), I think IF he (my Son) gets in, it will be his top choice, and he is looking forward to experiencing a different community - though he is proud to be a 6th generation Texan!
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