This year, Tufts accepted 13 Somerville students and 11 Medford students into the Class of 2022, according to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Enrollment Management Karen Richardson. Tufts works with schools in Medford and Somerville to support and attract high-achieving students.
“We work very closely with schools in our host communities to ensure that students from Medford and Somerville have every opportunity to apply to Tufts and that their applications are given the highest consideration,” Richardson said in an email to the Daily. “We take special steps to make this possible.”
These steps include free SAT tutoring through the college-access program Let’s Get Ready that is offered to Medford High School and Somerville High School students, workshops on writing essays and recommendations by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and application fee waivers for students from these two public high schools. In addition, the admissions dean reads all of these applications personally.
Sam Saron, a graduating senior at Somerville High School and incoming first-year in the Class of 2022, chose Tufts for a number of reasons.
“From a more concrete perspective, I chose Tufts for its convenient location and its hybrid-type campus, combining a suburban feel in an urban area,” Saron said. “Also, as an engineer, Tufts’ programs in my field were very enticing in the types of classes I would be taking, the post-grad options, in addition to the program typically being financially rewarding following graduation.”
Aside from academic reasons, Saron felt that the spirit of Tufts made it the right choice for him.
“From a [broader] perspective, I chose Tufts for the community,” Saron said. “From what I’ve heard, to my campus tours, to Jumbo Days, everybody is genuinely kind. In addition, although Tufts is a prestigious college, the people are very down-to-earth and are actual people.”
For Saron, the idea of going to a local school was not off-putting, as he was also considering Northeastern University, Boston University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
“Growing up in Somerville, everybody knows somebody who goes to Tufts,” Saron said.“So I’ve had a family friend, a teacher, a co-worker and ultimately some friends [older than me] who went to Tufts. They were my primary contacts.”
As a Medford resident, Saron is no stranger to the Tufts campus.
“I’ve known Tufts’ campus just from navigating the city, or from sledding down the hill … Once the college search began, it was not hard to schedule tours of the campus,” Saron said. “So by the time I finally decided on Tufts, I was already a seasoned expert.”
Looking ahead, Saron hopes to stay at Tufts for a fifth year to earn his masters degree and then get a job working as a mechanical engineer.
Mei Mei Collins, another senior at Somerville High School, was accepted to Tufts, but ultimately chose to go to another school whose financial aid was more generous and whose alumni network more beneficial for her post-college plans. However, Tufts had always been on her radar. Prior to being admitted, Collins had attended the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences program, this year’s TEDxTufts conference and multiple tours of the Tufts campus during school field trips.
“I was drawn to Tufts because from a young age, I have always seen the university reaching out to the community. I also knew that Tufts was known for its strong engineering program, and I planned to pursue environmental engineering,” Collins said. “While visiting the school, something that stood out to me was that everyone claimed that the people who attended were passionate and hardworking, but not cutthroat competitive like other prestigious schools.”
Like Saron, Collins had no qualms about wanting to attend a local school, in part because her sister had gone to school in New York City and she wanted to be closer to her mother. Other schools Collins looked at include Wellesley College, Northeastern, Olin College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Unlike Saron and Collins, Francesca Viggiani, a senior at Medford High School and incoming first-year in the Class of 2022, was initially hesitant about considering Tufts.
“You kind of have this romanticized idea in your head about going far away for college and having that independence and freedom, but as I looked further into Tufts, I realized there are probably some perks of having my parents right there,” Viggiani said. “The pros outweigh the cons in terms of proximity and even though I’m still a little bit hesitant about going somewhere that’s literally five minutes away, I’m excited. It’s going to be great.”
Earlier this year, Viggiani’s AP Spanish class took a field trip to a Spanish class at Tufts, where she “fell in love with the classroom style.”
“We were split up into different groups of two students who each went to a different Spanish class,” Viggiani said. “The professor whose class I went to was so nice. She really included us in the conversation, and even though we hadn’t read the book they were discussing, she took us aside and explained the whole thing to us. I was really impressed with the class and the way the professor engaged us.”
Viggiani is also on and around campus quite a bit: Her cross country team often ran by Tufts, her history teacher has extra credit opportunities for students to go listen to speakers and attend events at Tufts and she is part of Students of the Fells, which frequently partners with Tufts Mountain Club.
Academically speaking, Viggiani has always liked science, but Spanish is something she wants to continue to pursue.
“I’m pretty up in the air. I like everything — that’s my problem,” Viggiani said.
While at Jumbo Days, Viggiani came to the conclusion there was “something about the vibe from Tufts” that attracted her. As opposed to other schools she was considering, the students at Tufts seemed more passionate and intellectually minded about their varied interests.
“One guy [at Jumbo Days] really spoke to me on an insane level because he was talking about being on the pre-med track, but also his passion was musical theatre, and I do a lot of theatre at my high school,” she said. “He talked about that contrast within him, but also how he was able to pursue both at Tufts, and that really spoke to me.”
Despite Viggiani’s earlier reluctance, she has come around to the idea of attending Tufts.
“There’s definitely a stigma, not because of the school itself but the location. I think the kids that do get in are really excited,” Viggiani said. “Even though there’s that kind of initial hesitancy and lack of new energy, once you get in and actually start looking into the school as a school rather than a place in your town, it’s a different world really.”
Likewise, the university is looking forward to welcoming local Medford and Somerville students from the Class of 2022 to the Hill in the fall.
“We think they will be terrific additions to our university community, just like the local students who have preceded them,” Richardson said.