The Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University, Lee Coffin, wrote a nice piece for the Tufts University Admissions Department’s “Inside Admissions” blog about the committee process. He says that there’s nothing particularly mysterious about committee, how it’s simply the process by which they select the incoming class. Since the reading period has wrapped up, now it’s time for the admissions counselors to debate the pros and cons of various applicants based on the evaluations of their application. In a sense, it’s very much akin to jury duty!
At this point, two admissions counselors at Tufts have already read and evaluated each file. Now it’s the time for debate! Writes Coffin, “[There's] an organic cross-check for personal bias (the good kind—we all have our soft spots—as well as the subliminal variety that reflects our personal tastes). It’s a holistic review (we look at the sum of the parts) but it’s unavoidably subjective. That’s what happens when the acceptance rate dips into the low 20s. We must make fine distinctions as we shape the class.”
Coffin also describes how there’s often quite a bit of debate at committee and that, sometimes, a more junior member of the staff will stand up to him to support the merits of an applicant they believe would make a great addition to the incoming class at Tufts. He also describes how, at other times, there’s agreement. No debate. An easy admit. Or an easy deny. They read between the lines of what teachers are saying in their recommendations. That student who works really hard to get the “A” could indeed be interpreted as a student working for a grade. And highly selective colleges like Tufts not only don’t like students working for the grade, they don’t like students having to work for a grade. They like it to come naturally to them.
What do you think about the Tufts University admissions process as described by Lee Coffin? Let us know your thoughts by posting below!