An Early Look at the Undergraduate Class of 2026

With a rise in applications, students admitted to Tufts for the fall are diverse and eager to make the world a better place

Following a surge in applications to the undergraduate Class of 2026, just 9% have been offered admission, making it Tufts’ most selective year on record, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

“We are thrilled that more students from more diverse backgrounds see themselves thriving at Tufts,” said J.T. Duck, dean of admissions for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. “Given last year’s strong positive response to our offers of admission, we have made slightly fewer offers this year and hope to be able to admit some outstanding students from our wait list in May.”

Applications to the Class of 2026 grew nearly 12% over last year to more than 34,880, making it the largest and most compositionally diverse first-year applicant pool in the university’s history.

Duck said applications to Tufts have grown by 50% in the past two years, “with increases across all schools and programs, and from students of all backgrounds and identities.”  

The Class of 2026 will bring an “extraordinary range of experiences, characteristics, and strengths to Tufts,” said Duck. Distinctive upward trends for the class as a whole include:

  • In a first for the School of Engineering, women account for 55% of the admitted engineering class, the highest percentage on record.
  • Students who are the first in their family to attend college make up 12% of the class, up from 10% last year.
  • Members of the Class of 2026 are the first to benefit from the Schuler Access Initiative, allowing Tufts to admit and enroll more Pell Grant-eligible students and low-income students with undocumented or DACA status. The program provides financial aid for these students for all four years.
  • The class expressed a connection to civic responsibilities “and a curiosity about how to engage people in the systems that improve all of our lives,” said Duck, pointing to university offerings in civic studies and the Tufts Civic Semester at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life as among the university’s strong draws.

Duck said the university’s strengths in interdisciplinary studies, and support for double majors and taking courses across schools, was another common theme, but students also connected with Tufts as an inclusive college experience.

“Our applicants told us about the sense of belonging they found when they visited campus, read JUMBO magazine or our online blogs, or spoke to students, faculty, staff, and alums,” he said. “They remind us that college is very much about feeling at home—welcomed, encouraged, and supported.”

Duck also noted that Tufts continues to appeal to aspiring artists drawn to the vitality of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, a part of the School of Arts and Sciences since 2016. Class of 2026 applications for the B.F.A. program were up 21%, continuing an upward trajectory. Over the past three years, applications have grown by 90%, outpacing the growth of overall undergraduate applications.

“Seeing our community of artists grow is one of the highlights of my job,” said Duck. “Across the board, I see students who are eager to tell their stories, create conversations, and use art to inspire change, and for them, the SMFA is the best place to do that important work.” 

Other Highlights of the Admitted Class of 2026 

Women make up 55% of the admitted class and men 42%. Four percent identify as non-binary, genderqueer, or preferred not to specify a gender identity. (Rounding accounts for the greater than 100% tally.)

Some 56% of admitted students attend public and/or public charter high schools, with the remainder attending independent schools, religiously affiliated schools, or home schools.

Admitted students represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The top 10 states for admitted students are Massachusetts, New York, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. Reflecting the changing composition of the applicant pool from across the United States, a slightly smaller percentage of the class comes from New England than in previous years, and a slightly larger share comes from South, West, and Southwest.

Seventy admitted students come from Tufts’ host communities—Medford, Somerville, Boston, and Grafton.

International students—foreign nationals who are not U.S. citizens—represent 11% percent of the class and 84 different citizenships. The top-most represented countries by citizenship are China, India, South Korea, Canada, Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, Singapore, France, and the United Kingdom.

Of admitted U.S. students, just over 56% are students of color.

Black students represent 11% of all admitted students and 13% of admitted School of Engineering students. Hispanic/Latinx students account for 14% and Asian American students for 20%. Another 11% of U.S. students are multiracial. White students comprise just under 40% of the class, and those who declined to provide race or ethnicity account for just over 4%.

Eleven admitted students identify as American Indian or Alaska Native and five identify as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Eighty-one additional students identify with a Native or Indigenous heritage as part of a multiracial identity. Twenty-four are enrolled citizens of their tribe, representing 15 tribal nations.

More than 100 of the students who participated in the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience program were admitted. About 8% of admitted students work with community-based organizations (CBOs) that support students on their paths to college. The top 16 CBO senders are: Matriculate, Trio-Upward Bound, CollegePoint, Thrive Scholars, College Advising Corps, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, A Better Chance, EMERGE, Let’s Get Ready, Minds Matter, Breakthrough, USC Bovard Scholars, College Match L.A., Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), Ron Brown Scholars, and College Horizons.

Tufts admitted 24 students through the QuestBridge National College Match program and admitted more than 200 QuestBridge Scholars.

About 40% of admitted students did not submit SAT/ACT scores, as Tufts enters the second year of a three-year test-optional pilot. About half of applicants did not submit SAT/ACT scores.

Admitted students are invited to participate in a Jumbo Month of virtual events. In addition, the Admissions Office will host several in-person ’Bo Days, medium-sized on-campus events on select days in April. Admitted students have until May 2 to confirm their plans to enroll at Tufts.

Laura Ferguson can be reached at

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