Admissions updates Spanish page to be more accessible for families

Screenshot via Tufts admissions Tufts Undergraduate Admissions website in Spanish is created for international students coming from Spanish-speaking countries and Latinx parents who may not speak English. Screenshot via Tufts admissions

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has begun to update its Spanish language page this fall to make it more accessible for Spanish-speaking students and their families, according to Farley Flores, a student who works in admissions.

Jessica Acosta-Chavez, a former Tufts admissions officer, led the creation of the original Spanish language page, according to a statement written collectively by Office of Admissions. Acosta-Chavez, a first-generation college student from a Spanish-speaking family, created the resource to aid families like hers with prospective Tufts students, the statement said. 

However, the page had not been updated in three years, according to Flores, a senior, so this year, he is collaborating with admissions counselor Eric Lopez to update the page and make it more useful for families. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions said they are working this year to gather a team of Spanish bloggers and create more Spanish podcasts and videos. 

“Our hope is that the admissions page will, as a result, feel more accessible to families as their children make decisions about college,” the statement said.

Tufts is one of the only schools to provide admissions information in Spanish, according to Flores. The page, which can be found through the main admissions website, provides information on life at Tufts, the Common Application, financial aid and more.

According to Flores, the improved page is intended to ease communication between potential Tufts students and their families, as well as provide more general information on how to apply to college. Flores expressed his frustration over trying to navigate the complicated wording of the old Spanish page with his family when he was applying to college, inspiring his interest in the project. 

“I know for a lot of first-generation students, many of their families do not speak English. They barely have any education in Spanish,” Flores said. “I want to make sure that they have a website that is not only applicable for people coming to Tufts but also for other people looking for more resources in Spanish.”

Flores cited his discomfort with the lack of diversity, especially socioeconomic diversity, on campus as his chief reason for joining the Tufts admissions team. He hopes that efforts like this one will allow students lacking college preparation resources to have better access to schools like Tufts, thereby increasing diversity on campus.

“I feel like we could do better and we have the resources to help out other students,” Flores said. “I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for people who do not have the extra help to be able to understand, ‘how do we apply to college?’ Because I was lost. When I was applying to college I would have had no idea what to do if it wasn’t for my high school counselor. But what about those people who do not have that?”

International Center Director Jane Etish-Andrews echoed the importance of achieving diversity on campus, citing the experiences of students who participate in programs like Global Orientation.

“It’s part of Tufts’ core values, it’s part of who we are. We want to make Tufts available to all students, nationally and internationally.” Etish-Andrews said. “International students provide a perspective that might not be here if they weren’t here.”

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions stressed the importance of involving students like Flores in the process of reworking the Spanish page.

“Students remember and are still very close to the college admissions process. It’s helpful for us to learn about how students experience that process,” the statement said. 

Etish-Andrews noted that all international students have to demonstrate English proficiency to be admitted to Tufts. Thus, the website may be more helpful to families than the students themselves.

“Certainly it’s a gain for any Spanish speaker, but international students have to show a certain level of English proficiency, so I can’t answer for them if the changes will make it a much easier process,” Etish-Andrews said.

Currently, Flores is trying to set up communication between Spanish-speaking first-generation students and those from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. He hopes these students can be used as resources for prospective students.

“We want to put a lot more information on for right now. When we compare [Spanish language website to] the [English] Tufts website, which is incredibly nice and interactive, hopefully one day it will be like that,” Flores said. “But for now I’m focusing more on the data and the stuff that is there to be accurate and extensive to the point that you can understand it.”

“I’m very excited to see that we’re making progress, but there’s still a long way to go,” he added.