Tufts Is Hot

Record applications will make the undergraduate Class of 2018 the most selective ever

students at martriculation in Sept. 2013

Undergraduate admissions officers in Bendetson Hall watched history repeat itself this year, as the number of applications for the incoming undergraduate class reached an all-time high once again. As a result, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2018 will fall below last year’s record-setting 18.8 percent. Letters of admission will be emailed to the incoming class in late March.

As of mid-January, Tufts had received 19,081 applications for the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, a 3.5 percent increase over last year, says Lee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions. This is the third record-high applicant pool in the last four years, and represents an increase of 23 percent over the last five years, Coffin says. Of note is a 16 percent increase in the number of students applying to the School of Engineering, with 3,721 applications received. Over the last five years, engineering applications have increased by 66 percent.

Early decision applications increased by 10 percent, to a total of 1,748. This is the fourth consecutive year that those binding “first choice” applications have been at a record high. “That’s an important indicator because students don’t make that decision lightly,” Coffin says.

Coffin attributes some of Tufts’ strong appeal to the continued enhancements of a revitalized undergraduate admissions website, which was launched two years ago, and to Tufts’ effort to reach out to potential applicants who may have been hampered by technical glitches that plagued the online Common Application during the fall. Software problems led to many applicants encountering frozen screens, log-in difficulties or trouble processing payments.

There has been a surge in traffic to the Tufts undergraduate admissions website. “Unique visits to the admissions website increased 20 percent over the last year, and our blogs have become a very popular feature for prospective students and their families. We’ve gotten great feedback about the way the site showcases a very authentic voice for our student body,” says Coffin. “And we continue to travel widely across the U.S. and overseas, building on a strong foundation of outreach.”

Overseas applications increased by 5 percent to a record high, Coffin says. Students applying from Massachusetts rank second after international applicants. California continued its strong growth to rank second among all states; applications from New York students increased by 9 percent.

The popularity of Tufts has crossed into the fictional world, too—readers following the “Doonesbury” comic strip during the week of Jan. 13 found the teenage character Sam discussing which colleges to visit, while prominently holding a Tufts brochure.

“It’s certainly flattering, and the strip positioned Tufts correctly as a very selective institution,” Coffin says.

Helene Ragovin can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu.

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