Campus Comment | Tufts is a “new Ivy”- but do Jumbos care?

In the 2007 Kaplan College Guide released in August 2006, Tufts was named as one of 25 “New Ivies” – quite a distinction for a college informally known for its high number of Harvard rejects.

On Nov. 15, the Experimental College will be hosting a forum for members of the Tufts community to discuss what it means to be a “New Ivy.”

But do Tufts’ students actually care about their new leafy status?

Apparently not. “I would say that while people are impressed [to hear “Ivy”], it doesn’t mean much. It has no influence on the type of education we’re getting,” junior Howard Hsu said.

Others thought that the new label didn’t really change people’s minds: “I don’t know if people from our generation care, because in people’s minds there are old-school Ivies and they’ll always be that way,” junior Matt Chan said.

According to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, the Ivy League began as an athletic league that contained four colleges-hence “IV”-and has grown to include four more, all of which are known for their high academic standards.

Tufts is part of a different athletic league, NESCAC, with a different set of academic standards – but Kaplan’s guide demonstrates how those differences are blurring.

But the list of 25 new Ivies doesn’t convince many students. “People won’t take seriously a list like that – people think it’s a joke to induct new schools into the Ivy League,” Chan said.

For seniors beginning their job searches, having an Ivy League name on their resumes might make life easier – but a list from Kaplan won’t change things any time soon, according to some students.

“I think [the importance of Tufts’ “New Ivy” status in the job search] depends on how much employers know about it, and right now it’s too recent,” senior Darya Rudym said.

Another student agreed. “For our year, the Ivy thing won’t matter much, but Tufts still has a good name,” senior Sasha Kunin said.

Most students think the new title will make a difference for future applicants, though.

“It could help Tufts get more applicants, because people who would usually apply to normal Ivies will apply here,” junior Matt Cohen said.

“Having a label like that might encourage better quality students to apply – if anything, there will be more interest in Tufts,” Hsu agreed.

Many current Jumbos say the non-Ivy status didn’t cross their minds when they applied. “When I applied, I didn’t really care about Tufts being an Ivy,” Kunin said.

“When we applied to Tufts, we knew we’d be in that echelon anyways, so the Ivy name wasn’t important,” Hsu said of himself and his fellow Jumbos.

For Hsu, the constant struggle to be on par with Harvard is almost embarrassing.

“One problem is that being a “New Ivy” shows we’re trying to be an Ivy, which has always been our reputation,” he said.

But one student believes that the title certainly can’t hurt.

“I think it’s kind of cool. [Being a “New Ivy”] absolutely makes me more proud to go here,” Cohen said.

“I think the [cons of the copycat nature of the title] are outweighed by the benefits – we’ll get a better applicant pool and getting pride up is well worth it.”