Welcoming the New Jumbos

The very select undergraduate Class of 2019 and transfers hit campus

Class of 2019 students at matriculation

With each passing year, gaining undergraduate admittance to the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at Tufts has become a little more challenging. This year was no exception, as the Class of 2019 claimed its spot as the most selective admissions cycle in university history.

The 1,360 students who make up that extraordinary class arrived on campus on Sept. 2 for the traditional matriculation exercises—the beginning of their lives as newly minted Jumbos. These young people include scientists and poets, athletes and entrepreneurs, feminists, farmers, immigrants—and 34 individuals named Alex. Together, they form a class that “matches Tufts’ institutional personality and values,” says Lee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions.


“We have been making sure that year to year each class is very similar to the last one in terms of academic achievement and personality,” says Coffin. “I think we are in an enviable admissions environment, and we are now positioned among the top 20 universities in the country in terms of undergraduate selectivity.”

To that end, the acceptance rate for the Class of 2019 was a record-low 16 percent, a tick down from last year’s record-low 17 percent acceptance rate for the Class of 2018. The pool of applicants for the class numbered 19,062, within a handful of last year’s record-breaking pool of 19,074 applicants.

Most notably, the class “yield”—the percentage of admitted students who chose to enroll—hit a record high, Coffin says. For the Class of ’19, the rate was 44 percent, up from 41 percent for the Class of ’18 and 38 percent for the Class of ’17. “The students we are admitting are enrolling, and that’s a sign of the increasing appeal of an undergraduate degree from Tufts,” Coffin says.

The class maintains Tufts’ tradition of academic excellence, with mean SAT scores of 713 in critical reading and 723 in math. The class includes 47 high school valedictorians and 57 National Merit Scholars. Its members hail from 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 44 countries.  Including foreign citizens, 33 percent of the new class self-identifies as non-Caucasian. And 138 members of the class are among the first generation in their families to go to college.

Of the international contingent, the largest number of students comes from China, followed by India and Singapore. “Asia continues to be a strong international presence in the admissions pool and in the entering class,” Coffin says. For European students, the largest number comes from Turkey, followed by the United Kingdom and France. There are students from Botswana and Burma, Ecuador and Estonia, Nigeria and Nepal, to name just a few.

Tufts awarded $18.5 million in need-based grants to incoming students, approximately 34 percent of the class.

For the entering Arts and Sciences students, the top prospective major is international relations, followed by undecided, economics and biology. For engineering students, the top major is biomedical engineering, followed by mechanical engineering and undecided, computer science and electrical engineering.

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

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