I'm in my 7th year of reading applications, voting on decisions, recruiting in the US and overseas (you should see my passport). I work at one of the most selective private universities in the US.

I'm gunning to answer whatever last minute questions you have... Who cares where you're applying?

There is way too much secrecy in college admissions (I originally wrote the word crap and then deleted it and then told you that I deleted it), and the best way to make good admissions decisions is to make sure people can send in good applications. With deadlines for a WHOLE bunch of schools sitting today (though, not mine), it seems like a good day sit at a computer and goof off on Reddit (or tell you useful things, whatever).

Verification: http://admissions.tufts.edu/files/resources/img_1389.JPG

Ask me Anything!

Comments: 356 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

wallrus750020 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly29 karma

I'm keeping a list of potential prompts for next year. That just made the list.

Drizzy_Banks15 karma

How do you have so much swag? The people at your university must be so lucky to have you!

IntheSarlaccsbelly15 karma

Careful and unending practice of the Top Gun High Five

aThousandArabs12 karma

Hi. I wanted to ask about the impact and logic behind legacy's.

In the UK and Europe, being a legacy carries no impact, however in the US, it can , in some cases, double an applicants chances of being accepted.

Whats the idea behind it? And what do you think about it? Most universities are very hush hush about the impact it carries. How much does it really help?

IntheSarlaccsbelly13 karma

First, let me up vote your username. 999 Arabs just would not do.

Legacy is muddy, and every school gets to decide how much it matters. There are some schools in the US that don't give it any weight. Others that give it, as you say, a lot.

This gets to a question of merit, and the distinction between how you might define merit and how a University defines it (I originally wrote "how we would define it," but on this question, I think I'm closer to your POV). Lots of US schools have decided that they value an engaged alumni community (either through monetary philanthropy or more general association). If that's a value a school wants to weight that heavily enough against other values in the admissions process, then a student applying who represents an opportunity to build on that engagement represents "merit" to that school.

My school falls closer to not weighting it than to a 'doubling' - but it is still something the school values to some degree. My own experience is that the only students that this helps are either those with very significant family connections (very rare) or students where we're already seriously debating whether to take them, and this is the extra little thing that tips them over the line.

ramdaman12 karma

Dan is the man. Here's one: how does Affirmative Action play a role in admissions?

IntheSarlaccsbelly12 karma

Finally, a tough one.

In a completely different way then how you think. First, and this will sound sort of cliche: every single admit we make is an affirmative action. It's not like there's a magic list of kids we're "supposed" to admit and then we take some out and put others in if they are from minorities (which is what I assume you're asking about). No one is an admit if I can't find the reasons to advocate for them.

Perhaps the most important non-quantitative reason to advocate for an admit is how you think and (tied to that) how you perceive. A huge piece of that is your life and your background. Too often, diversity is presented as a function of race, and I think that's idiotic. There's socioeconomics, religion, geography, rural/urban, sexual orientation, and a whole bunch of other things. There's politics, ideology, interests, the differences between linear thinking and creativity, emotional vs rational (kirk v Spock). All of this matters because it builds a class that learns from each other as much as it does from a professor.

So race matters. I'm not afraid to say it: we want a racially diverse class, and some groups are significantly underrepresented, so they tend to have higher admit rates. But what we're doing for race is the same as what we do for a farm kid in a pool dominated bythe suburbs, or the conservative kid who wants to come to a campus filled with liberals.

FatLever7 karma

Dan, this is unrelated but I wanted to thank you for being a kick-ass RA at South Hall from 05-06.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Honored to be remembered. Now, time for us to perform the secret South Hall handshake to symbolize our communal living bonds.

pntbttrkelly5 karma


Really though, as a current Tufts student and all around Dan fan, I think this is great. I remember half the stress of admissions stemming from feeling overwhelmed and alone in the process.

Here's a question I remember having about the Tufts application specifically- do you worry about the non traditional format turning potential applicants off? I personally loved it but I know people who looked at it and instantly thought "oh god, this is so long, I'm not sure I want to deal with it."

IntheSarlaccsbelly5 karma

We worry about this ALL THE TIME. Really, we do. You can only imagine how much pressure there is to build an applicant pool, and to remove the hurdles.

But in the end, we make MUUUUUUUUCH better decisions because of what we ask on that supplement. MUCH BETTER. I have colleagues that left Tufts to work at other schools, and to hear them talk about how the process works with just the common application, it sounds like trying to play baseball with a blindfold on.

thrasumachos5 karma

Did I get in?

IntheSarlaccsbelly21 karma


RodMagnum4 karma


[deleted]3 karma


ruthsun2 karma

Go procrastination :)

IntheSarlaccsbelly7 karma

My goal is to reward everyone who did the application like I did: last minute.

Nicklecage134 karma

What do you look for the most when you are reading a applicants essay?

IntheSarlaccsbelly22 karma

Honestly, ideas. Do you have them? I think a lot of applicants write about hard work, or compassion, or the value of appreciating differences, and that's great, but do you really think anyone is writing essays about how quickly they give up, or how mean they are, or that they only want to be around people that are exactly the same?

What I want to know can be boiled down to three broad categories: How do you think about yourself? How do you think about the world? How do you think about ideas?

So, don't tell me what you did, tell me WHY you did it. Don't tell me about how sculpting works, tell me about where your inspirations come from, and who you favorite sculptors are, and WHY they are your favorite.

I wrote a blog post about this, actually... is it proper reddiquette to link to it in one of these?

Nicklecage134 karma

it would be greatly appreciated if you would (:

throwaway7293 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly9 karma

It's more sad than bad. Nearly always, when a student needs to turn down an ED acceptance, it's not because they wanted to. We wanted the student, they wanted us, and at the last second things didn't work out. What's the point in being angry about that? Or punishing a student?

Maybe we're more generous than other schools, but I doubt it.

And, to your comment about Denny: did you ever have an opportunity to give him a hug? Seriously, he's like the best hugger. It's like embracing a full sized Latino teddy bear.

Panda_Muffins2 karma

I second this question. In addition, what happens when a student gets an ED acceptance? I heard rumors that some schools have a list of students accepted ED to other universities so that they don't admit them. I feel like that this would be quite a hassle though.

IntheSarlaccsbelly8 karma

I'm picturing an admissions officer with a long thin mustaches gently twirling it above candlelight while he works on this list with a raven-feather-quill pen.

To my knowledge, such a list, and the villians and rogues who would compose it, do not exist.

pntbttrkelly2 karma

Upvoting your username. Pandas AND muffins? Yes.

Panda_Muffins2 karma

Thanks! :D It's clearly the least racist of any type of muffin - always a plus. It'd also be the only time I wish a muffin could sneeze...

pntbttrkelly3 karma

I think you might appreciate my winter hat

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Swoon at all knit hats in animal shapes.

dinkinflicka171 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly5 karma

Boom, baby. Y'all will make me blush.

[deleted]3 karma


[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

My whole family loves your user name (and the Office)

Berty2003 karma

I love your shirt. More than anything.

IntheSarlaccsbelly10 karma

Even better, I have socks to match.

katie11943 karma

When you read an essay written by a student, all about that student, are you ever bothered by it seeming egotistical? I always feel weird writing so much about myself, like I am coming off as self-important.

IntheSarlaccsbelly5 karma

Sometimes, but not usually. And when we do feel that way, it is almost NEVER for the students who are uncomfortable writing about themselves.. You're probably ok (and if you want me to take a look at your essay and have me check, I can).

But, just in case you're still working on the essay - if you don't want to talk about yourself, then don't. There are lots of ways to let an admissions officer learn about you that don't shine the spotlight directly onto you (but still let you shine). Instead, you could talk about what you see, or issues you think are interesting, and why those ideas fascinate you.

I had an applicant last year from Thailand like that, who wrote this AMAZING essay about the potential link between corruption and Thai Buddhism. None of it was in the first person, but I learned SO MUCH about how this girl thought and what she valued.

katie11943 karma

Would you really read it? That would be amazing! Thank you so much! It's just nerve-wracking for me to talk about myself but to not sound like I think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Here's the essay:

"My family is funny. Rarely does a conversation occur in the Akin house in which a joke is not made. Even most of our serious arguments end in a sardonic joke. The language of love in my family ranges from ironic mockery to the ever-so-humble decree, “We are the funniest family.” I don’t mean to be overconfident – we’re no Cosby clan – but consistently we’re characterized as “The Funny Family” by friends and family alike. Sometimes our moniker slips into “The Sarcastic Weirdoes,” but as long as we’re getting laughs, none of us is bothered. Our jokes are so prevalent, they often disconcert my more literal cousin, who once famously said “Man, I forgot how sarcastic you guys are.” Nothing feels like home as much as a dinner punctuated by nearly more laughter than actual conversation. The levity of my family, more than anything, has shaped me into the person I am today. When we moved 480 miles from “home,” the only thing that remained constant was the laughter in my house. I never had time to be afraid of my new life because I was too busy laughing at something silly my dad said or something embarrassing my brother did. Once I grew up, failure never seemed quite so scary to me because I could always laugh it off. My embarrassments, insecurities, and personal problems have never been catastrophic because I knew I would have my loving family to support, love, and laugh at me."

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Drop the first three sentences and the last sentence. And... to your original question... you're 100% ok.

elliad3 karma

I have been accepted ed1 to Tufts, Go Jumbos! Any advice for college in general or Tufts in particular? And seeing an admin on Reddit just reaffirms my choice in Tufts.

IntheSarlaccsbelly9 karma


My big advice for college: don't pick courses like you would in high school. At least for first semester, ignore the requirements you are allowed to ignore, and take the most badass classes you can with the best goddamn professors the school has. Figure out what you want to study/do, then double back and work through the requirements once you've got purpose.

thepuma892 karma

How much does being an Eagle Scout help when applying for college.

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

How much does being debate captain? Or president of the community service club? or cross country captain?

Demonstrated leadership on a resume is great, but stuff like this only really comes alive if you can breathe meaning into it. How much do you care about the Eagle Scout honor? Why does it mean something to do you if it does? How did you get there?

seytonmanning2 karma

I got in!! Thanks for this AMA Dan!

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

What! Awesome. Congrats, brother/sister Jumbo.

ramdaman2 karma

I know this is supposed to be focused on Admissions, but you said we could ask you ANYTHING, so here is a question that I've been wondering:

I love Tufts. I applied ED because I knew that it was for me, and I wouldn't trade it for any university in the world. With that being said, it bothers me that it's such a great university but it is not super-duper high in rankings. Why isn't Tufts ranked higher?

IntheSarlaccsbelly6 karma

Because US News and World Report isn't fit to be my dishrag and if it were a person it would not be welcome at my Festivus Table or in my heart.

There actually is a real answer to this... The short version (and I can give the long one if you want), the way USNWR calculates rank ends up being a better reflection of aggregate graduate program strength than undergraduate.

ruthsun8 karma

Could I hear the long version? My mom is obsessed with US News ranking and I kinda hate (by that I mean TOTALLY DESPISE) that she uses those rankings to define the schools - tufts is a kickass school in every aspect I can think of and could never be anything but #1 in my eyes <3

imagin4ryenemy3 karma

Seconded, I'd really like to hear the long version of this.

IntheSarlaccsbelly6 karma

Brace yourselfs, internets. [Rant]

The reason USNWR isn't fit to be the paper I wrap my toilet paper in (if I wrapped my toilet paper in paper, which I don't, because that would be insane) is because of what they measure. A huge portion of the ranking - it varies each year - is "Peer Review." This is acquired by sending out questionnaires to college presidents, provosts, and other academic bigwigs and asking them to rate each of the schools on a list on some predetermined scale. This, on the surface, seems totally sensible: let folks in academia tell us who the best schools are.

The problem with this emphasis on peer review is that the way an academic institution builds its profile with other schools is through publishing in academic journals (and having a good PR department), but the VAST majority of publishing is the result of work done at the graduate level, not the undergraduate level. Tufts, compared to other schools on the USNWR list near us, has extremely small academic graduate programs, and the programs we are best known for (Fletcher and our Medical/Dental/Vet Schools) produce practitioners, not academics.

But, Tufts getting the shaft isn't the point. The point is that this list is used as a ranking of undergraduate programs - so the list that ranks undergrad programs is determined by the perceived strength of the graduate schools. So... if you're a university president, and you want to move your school up in the rankings, the best way to do that is to pull resources away from your undergrad students and into your PhDs.

And, I haven't even gotten my rant on about the idiocy of changing methodology ever year. If ur doin it rite, then why are you changing the formula every year? And if you're not doing it right (and that's why you keep changing the formula), then why is anyone listening? Of course, the real reason to change the methodology is that USNWR isn't in the business of accurately ranking anything, they are a withered vestigial appendage of a struggling print media that needs to sell magazines. If the ranking is the same every year, no one would buy it.


I actually think USNWR makes a lot of sense if you think of it as a lump-sum assessment of graduate schools - I look at that list then and things seem to be in the right places. But, for graduate school, the specific program you are in matters a great deal, so an aggregate list would be totally useless and wouldn't sell nearly as many magazines.

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

P.S. "withered vestigial appendage" may be my favorite thing I've ever typed.

enabledowner2 karma

What were your favorite ED1 essays for each category (Tufts 1, 2, 3, and commonapp) about?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

This year? Or ever?

jbnc112 karma

Hi Dan--does having a sibling as a current student have any bearing on a student's application consideration?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Not really. I assume you know the school pretty well if you've got a sibling there. That helps.

tennisfan05262 karma

How long on average do you spend reading each college admission essay and supplement questions? Also, after reading an applicant's application have you ever felt emotionally "moved"? Or felt pity for them? I have heard some students write very touching essays about overcoming an illness (such as cancer) or losing a close family member.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

I'm a particularly dispassionate guy when it comes to the sad stuff - only two movies have ever made me tear up: Grave of the Fireflies and Up. So, it's a mighty special occurance when an essay or an applicant gets the waterworks flowing. It happened just once last year, out of close to 1500 applications, when a guy wrote this insanely moving essay about - of all things - Dumbledore. But it wasn't just the sad story that got me, it was his grit in the face of it.

But, I'm at the far end of the scale with just one story like this. Most of my admissions peers have a few cases a year that illicit a reaction like this. Last year, in committee, my coworker Emily cried when we admitted one of the students she got connected to in that way.

13la2 karma

How many people are typically deferred in the Early Decision process at Tufts? How many usually end up being accepted? Is it true that schools always defer instead of deny legacies?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

I actually don't know the exact number for defers. I know it's small, the smallest group of decision we make, and a very thoughtful decision on our part.

There are schools that defer students as 'soft deny' - I personally think that's both inconsiderate and foolish. And we definitely deny legacy candidates ED if we don't think they have the potential to be compelling in regular.

13la1 karma

What can a deferred ed candidate like myself do to increase her chances? Would it be inappropriate to send graded schoolwork? or additional essays? Is there also a way to skype into admissions for an interview? There aren't any alumni in my area.

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Mostly, there isn't much you can do. That sucks to hear, I know, but it's true.

If you feel like you won't be able to sleep unless you do something, here's what I would suggest...

What is your favorite thing in the world to think about? Then tell us why in like 1 paragraph.

eniloracc2 karma

I love the Tufts admissions blog, so I've read the posts about committee. My understanding is that 1 or 2 people read your whole file and summarize it to everyone else. 2 questions: since the first person is your regional rep, who is the second person? Do the other people in committee also read your essays, or do they only get the summary version?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

The second person depends. It's usually random, or based on seniority. More experienced staff reading behind younger staff. Sometimes it's based on personality. Like... if you can't tell from my shirt in the verification picture, I may or may not have a room with a talking Yoda in it and my most recent App Store purchase might be the iOS version of Baldur's Gate. I'm a politics buff with a Google Reader subscription to XKCD and I <3 Charts. I'm a very specific kind of nerd.

So, if you write an essay about the magic of Javascript, and the first reader doesn't quite understand what you're talking about or isn't quite sure if you're cool, that file typically lands on my desk.

It goes the other way, too. You know the girls who paint their Jeeps before Field Hockey matches to say "SENIORS 2013"? That's not my jam, man. So if I'm reading a gal from Bethesda who has that vibe in her application and I'm not feeling it, I'll send it to Meredith (who is like the Anti-Dan, in teh best possible way) so she can weigh in and let me know if I missed things.

Offtheheazy2 karma

HEY you have my file right there. Can you let me in?!?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Thank god I found you. Right this way, sir.

[deleted]2 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

I'm going with coincidence.

My own experience: there are a few schools in my territory that I legit hate. I mean, I dislike the folks who work there, and when I visit I think people seem mean and sad. And, we still admit there because we get students who I really like applying even from the schools I hate. Actually, I think the admit rate at the school I'm thinking of now is probably higher than average. WEIRD.

rikarda162 karma

Hi Dan--

First of all, I'd like to thank you; I've been wishing there was an AMA specifically from Tufts Admissions for a while, so this is pretty much the highlight of my day.

Anyway... I'd like to ask that question every [academically imperfect] kid has in the back of their mind as they write college essays: Is that one C+ going to cause me automatic rejection? I've been told it's the "admissions kiss of death..." Can you confirm or debunk?


IntheSarlaccsbelly8 karma

Depends, really. There are high schools where, to be honest, a C+ makes it REALLY unlikely you'll get in to highly selective colleges. But, those tend to be schools where grade inflation is so high that 40% of the senior class has a >95 average (these places exist).

If, though, you're in Singapore, where getting an A or B on your Econ prelim constitutes a minor miracle and warrants a visit from the Vatican, the C doesn't hurt you very much, if at all.

authenticwoody2 karma

At the tufts info session I attended, I was told there was a top group of applicants that were kind of just accepted right away. What were the typical statistics of these applicants?

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

It's true there's a top group like that, but "top" isn't just about stats. There are students with perfect SAT scores and straight As that end up in the bottom group, depending on what's in their essays. And some students below profile (do you know what I mean by that?) who end up in the top group after I finish reading about how pissed they are about the way sex education is taught in their school (for example).

ramdaman1 karma

What is "below profile?"

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Below what would be typical for an admit, academically speaking. At a generally good suburban school, for instance, we're talking about SATs around 700 or better in each subject and a mostly A record.

Berty2002 karma

Hey Dan,

Do you have any recommendations for ways for students with emotional problems to present their issues? I struggled with clinical depression my sophomore year, and even though I'm recovered now and it doesn't have an impact on me anymore, it did account for a steep drop in my grades at the time. Do you have any suggestions?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

This one is, as Gollum would say, tricksy.

Some of what you're worried about wont be a big deal, since you've got all of 11 and half of 12 to demonstrate what you're capable of, so the steep drop in 10 isn't so bad. The best thing, I humbly submit, is to let your counselor say it in his/her recommendation. They could write exactly what you wrote (but with pronouns changed, obvi) and I think that would be enough.

Berty2001 karma

If I'm not positive my counselor wrote about it (I think she did, but...) would it be wise to include a section about it in the Additional Information section of the Common Application? Or would it be smarter just not to go into too much detail about it?

I feel like, obliged to write another essay about it, but I know it would get on admissions' nerves to have to read another 200 or 300 word essay, right? I mean it was an important and formative experience and I want to talk about it, but I didn't want to write my main essay on it, especially since I've heard from some people about negative stigmas attached to mental health concerns in college admissions these days (though they don't apply to me! so frustrating). I tried writing this other essay and relating it to my main Common App essay, which talks a lot about what it means to make sense of certain kinds of problems, but it feels too long.

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Do you feel that this slip in your sophomore year defines you? Not, like, did it define you when you were a sophomore, but does it define you now? if you could pick three things for someone to know about you that will unlock even greater understanding of you, would your depression in 10 be in that list? Ask your friends if they feel it defines you if you're not sure.

If the answer is yes, "this defines me," then go ahead and write about it: it will be important for me to hear and to understand. If it doesn't, then don't. These essays are precious spaces and you only have so much of it, use it to talk about what you must say, not what you think I must read.

You can always ask your counselor if she mentioned it. "This is on my mind, what do you think? did you talk about it already?" And so what if your counselor already wrote the letter? Ask her to send a quick little paragraph about it as addendum, if she didn't.

IAMaCAT_meow2 karma

What exactly happens after I pressed "SUBMIT" on common app?

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

Gnomes carry it through the Mines of Moria before hurling your stuff into Mt Doom.

The timeline is.... A) Academic Evaluation B) Full Evaluation (with the ritualized reading of recommendations, essays, extracurricular list, interview reports, everything else) C) Recommended action by the First Reader D) Second Evaluation by a different admissions officer E) Recommended Action by the second reader F) Committee G) Debate H) Decision.

essenceofjoy2 karma

As a Tufts alum I sometimes wonder how I managed to get in, given my cruddy SAT score and modest grades, but I did have a wealth of wisdom and life experience (and weird thought process) to make up for it. I think Tufts does a great job at creating the student body and I thank my alma mater for broadening my horizons and allowing me to meet people I otherwise never would have encountered back at home.

GAH! I miss Tufts so much it hurts! :(

IntheSarlaccsbelly6 karma

You'll need to take a jumbo sized aspirin for that pain, HO HO!

wallrus75002 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Most of the lies are pretty boring. Forged transcripts, faked extracurriculars, that sort of thing. We don't "check" for them, but sometimes they'll be something mentioned in one part of an app that seems to contradict another.

The truth is so much more interesting than fiction.

iwontbail2 karma

Can I just please express to you that the Admissions blog has been a major contributing factor to how much I love Tufts. You guys are all hysterical and seem totally friendly and helpful. If it wasn't for the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" post, I would have sent in a crappy video supplement in an attempt to "stand out" instead of the written one that turned out MUCH better. So thank you for that! You guys have been a friendly face throughout the entire gruelling process that has been college applications:)

Also, a question: Do you think ED is fair? My ONLY complaint about Tufts is that offers ED, which seems to give an advantage to kids whose families are very well off- especially since ED acceptance rates are higher than RD. Tufts is by far my top choice school, and I would have loved to apply early decision, but I couldn't because I didn't know how financial aid would turn out.

IntheSarlaccsbelly7 karma

Fair? I'm not sure it matters. My boss likes to say that admissions is about the conflict between what's ideal and what's practical, and he's right.

What would be ideal: each of you would get 3-5 applications to send, all of our applicant pools would be half as large, the admit rates would be twice as high, and we'd all have the same requirements and deadlines.

But, you want to send more applications out, we want to get more applicants, and for both of us, we play the percentages.

The truth: ED serves a very valuable goal for us and for you (the applicant broadly, not you specifically). And, to the extent that we can, we do our best to keep things fair - like having the exact same financial aid policies and awards for our ED students as for RD. We typically do ED need-blind, actually, for exactly the reason you suggest above - families that are well off financially seem to use ED more aggressively than those who need to wait to see what aid awards look like.

yoskis2 karma

Dan, I came over from CC, How much does grade progression effect admissions decisions at your school or elsewhere? Say a student I know had like a 3.17 freshman year but 3.86s soph and 4.0 junior year "make up" for a lower gpa?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Is less about the progression (though, that's the easy way to describe it), actually. More, it's that we assume you're most recent work is the work that best represents who you are NOW. So, senior year matters more than junior. Junior more than sophomore. And you can figure out the relationship between sophomore and freshman year.

So... You can't "make up" for freshman year, but freshman year does matter a great deal less than the rest of it.

juggl2 karma

So you know Daniel Grayson? Or is it you? haha

eniloracc2 karma

How did you get a job in admissions? It seems fun.

IntheSarlaccsbelly10 karma

OMG. It is the BEST. Just the best. Sometimes, when I'm at a party telling other people what I do, I start getting jealous of myself - it is the weirdest and most awesome feeling.

I graduated with no effing clue what I wanted to do. I interviewed with an HR office in Boston (and withdrew from candidacy after I got asked about my SAT scores by the Big Boss), I thought about law school, and eventually someone put me in touch with a dude in Iowa who was an admissions officer who made the job sound (justifiably) awesome. Tufts had an opening, I applied, Lee Coffin's first question in the interview was just to tell him about me, I answering by talking about Seinfeld, Libertarians, and being the least Jewish Hebrew speaker I know, and they hired me.

25stillalive2 karma

Hi Dan. I just turned 25 and am beginning to see the wealth of possibilities that a college education could provide for me. I I never took my SAT's, and but I did go to a junior college when I was in my early twenties and failed all of my classes and quit. numerous personal problems kept me from pursuing higher education. Would trying to transfer from a junior college be my best shot at getting into a four year university? Would I still be eligible to apply as a freshman at a four year university?

Any help would be great since my research into these questions hasn't turned up much.

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Go you!

I think restarting at a junior college or community college is a good first step, or otherwise taking classes at a school with a mostly open enrollment. You won't be able to transfer if you failed all your courses before - you won't have any credits to transfer Some colleges that are otherwise entirely 18-23 years old have 'resumed education' programs (mine does) and if you've got a record of success at a junior college, we can get really excited about you. You wouldn't enter as a freshman, but you would still graduate with a fulfilling experience.

There are other options, too. Powerful state schools often have a lot of love for students who come through local junior/community colleges when those students have done well. Try a Google search for "resumed education" - it could be a good early step

wallrus75002 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly5 karma

We have an insane number of predictive models to get this right. Models based on geography, on academics, on financial aid. And the basic idea is to get them all to point to the same number, and cross your fingers that so many models can't all be wrong.

We NEVER not accept enough. There is WAY more love for our applicants than we have room. Always. Always. It is incredibly difficult to say no to some of the students we must deny.

aryaneth2 karma

I think Tufts could be the most welcoming, heart-warming and sincere community on the face of the earth. The fact that you're holding an Reddit AMA session is incredible! Because I didn't have the chance to visit the colleges I'm applying to, there is always this bubble of 'mystery' surrounding universities that no amount of internet-based research can "unfog". But the Tufts admissions website is truly an exception.

My question is about a "college admissions fact" I've heard of. If an applicant is very strong and your admissions committee believes that particular applicant will get into 'bigger names' such as the ivies and bigger research universities, do you tend to not accept that applicant, assuming he/she will take up the offer of a 'bigger name' instead of Tufts' offer, even though he/she would be a great fit otherwise?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

You asked about my school specifically, so I'll answer about that specifically: no. We admit them. If we want a student, we admit. It's the only get to get them. So that's easy to answer.

But, I'll say, I hear the same rumors you do, and I do believe that it is relatively common practice to do what you're describing. I'm not sure how widespread it is, but I'm convinced it happens.

imnottupac2 karma

i just submitted mine. would you like to read an essay and give me an admission officers perspective?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Sure! Can you give me the question and a very short explanation of what you want someone to learn from it?

imnottupac1 karma

what intrigues you?

individualism intrigues me. If i wanted an admissions officer to take one thing away from this it is that individualism does not come from a resume or an application but is rather inherent if that makes any sense. It is a bit clearer in the essay.

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Send the essay, too! (sorry I didn't say that)

themattstein2 karma

Is it acceptable to be concise? If the word limit is 500 and you're satisfied with your answer at 300 words, should you expand or let it be?

I don't have a specific essay in mind, just wondering in general. Does a limit of 500 words kinda mean you expect around 450 words?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Here are my two, totally contradictory, answers.

Conciseness (concision?) is huge. And you should never ever look for ways to use more words just to use more words. Generally, if you're close to the word limit, over or under, you're in the clear.

If the task is, "tell us who you are," and you can do that in 300 words, I'm stunned. Honestly, if you can only squeeze 300 words out of your topic, whatever that is, you probably aren't saying enough to be worth writing even the 300 words. There are always exceptions, but make sure you're conveying something that has sufficient depth to be worth reading.

Armavir1 karma

Dan! I'm applying for Tufts masters in economics, any suggestions for me? I really like the program and hope you guys take me. Any libertarians on campus?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

I'm somewhat libertarian. And I am, as we speak, on the campus. Check!

lime_green_owl1 karma

I have a question: Where can I find the Tufts music supplement? Am I supposed to submit the music supplement through the common app or is there an additional separate supplement I need to complete? Many thanks!

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Every school will take a music supplement, and if you ask, most schools will tell you something like, "Oh! Of course! Send it and we'll look at it." Frankly, I think you're getting mislead when you hear that.

So let’s start with me. I have no formal background, really, in the arts, and other than thinking that what you’ve sent sounds really cool (and difficult to do), I’m not in a position to evaluate your technical proficiency or skill. Even if I was, though, it wouldn’t really matter. What I would be most interested in understanding is your perspective, intellect, influences, and interests. One way to tie these pieces into your music is to offer a description giving context to what you’ve sent and how it reflects you. Are you particularly fascinated by classical art? Is there a style you’re trying to emulate or develop? Why were you drawn to create or perform a particular piece in the first place? That sort of thing.

It's generally best to stick to one piece, I think. And for my school your best off sending in a link to something you've put online.

apple_jax01 karma

Browse reddit as I'm writing my transfer essay. What's the best essay you've ever read? Worst? Essay tips in general?

Also, what made you become an Admissions Officer? Is it fun?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

SO MUCH FUN. Fun like woah. My job, literally, is to find the most interesting, smart, dynamic people I can and to convince them to hang out near me for four years. And I get to do that in Baltimore, Bangkok, and Boise (among other places).

I graduated with no effing clue what I wanted to do. I interviewed with an HR office in Boston (and withdrew from candidacy after I got asked about my SAT scores by the Big Boss), I thought about law school, and eventually someone put me in touch with a dude in Iowa who was an admissions officer who made the job sound (justifiably) awesome. My alma mater had an opening, I applied, and ended up talking about about Seinfeld, Libertarians, and being the least Jewish Hebrew speaker I know during the interview, and they hired me.

The best essay last year, I think, was about the link between corruption and Buddhism in Thailand. The gal who wrote it was arguing that Buddhism's emphasis on serenity prevents the kind of anger that is needed to root out corruption. Totally fascinating and a brilliant insight, regardless of if she's correct.

Worst ever? A few years ago, we had an essay prompt "What is more interesting: gorillas or guerrillas?" It was a prompt I came up with, actually. It was abysmal. It was meant to be cheeky and playful, but you know how people are with applications: often too freaked out to play and be cheeky. I read like 50 essays that year that answered the question completely literally.

apple_jax02 karma

What about guerrilla gorillas?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

I would watch that cartoon.

JustaSimpleRJ1 karma

Are religious quotas real? Do universities still look at that aspect of the application?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

I do, but not with an eye towards a quota. Like, it's not that there's a particular number of 7th Day Adventists we're trying to find. But anything that informs how you think of the world is important.

aThousandArabs1 karma

Most admits have this question in mind: What does it take for an application to be rescinded? Does the rest of senior year really matter? Or can we kick back and graduate with, for example, a 3.4 GPA instead of the 3.9 GPA we had in our previous years?

IntheSarlaccsbelly21 karma

My lame answer to this question: if you even need to ask, then get your shit together.

What I love about Reddit: I can type that and no one will fire me.

sophiezhang1 karma

Hi Dan, Can you talk about your experience of applying to college in high school? Were you nervous or worried at that time?

IntheSarlaccsbelly6 karma

I am the rare Admissons officer who was completely apathetic about the admissions process in high school. I didn't visit school, I didn't start the Common App until Dec 30th. I was planning to apply to Carnegie Mellon but they had a supplemental required essay and I thought, "to hell with this." The irony.

I didn't even know Boston College was Jesuit until they wait listed me (and they have nuns in the lobby of the admissions office). Seriously, it would be hard to underestimate how little research I did, and I suspect was the least stressed out kid in my high school (excepting those who weren't applying to college).

unknownrockstar1 karma

I took the SAT last year and did pretty great, I admit. I took it again (needed to, for the NMSQT stuff) and scored slightly lower- like 30 points. It wasn't because I did worse, as I got almost exactly the same amount of questions right as the first time, but because of the way the SAT is stupidly curved. Will colleges acknowledge that my score only depreciated because of the curve? EDIT: typos

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

We won't even care. I've got to assume other schools work this way, too, but we have a computer just pull up your best scores automatically to show them to me. I don't even see the others unless I go looking for them.

tennisfan05261 karma

Every applicant is housed in a doctor chart looking manila folder?? Seems old school...

IntheSarlaccsbelly5 karma

Just the stuff that isn't sent via the interwebs. Recommendations, supplemental stuff, transcripts sometimes. Mostly, we keep everything stored on the latest technology: 5.25-inch floppy disks and whatever the plural word for abacus is.

acammb1 karma

My SAT is higher than my ACT so I want to send that in. But can the ACT be sent along with my SAT in lieu of subject tests?

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

If you've got the ACT, you're complete.

sarahacadia1 karma

I am in the midst of college applications and I find myself using my supplemental essays as almost an expansion of my common application essay-not the same topic, per se, but both tend to highlight the same personal qualities and way of life. Is this okay?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Yeah. But if you do that, you want to be sure you're giving us a new take on that quality. Like... more than one essay about how much you love history is great, for instance, but if both your essays are about the same bits of the french revolution, you're going to make an admissions officer yawn.

Nicklecage131 karma

Also, i didn't apply to Tufts this year because of personal family issues and grades that are not so fantastic but i was wondering what kind standards do you place for transfer applicants? are they any different from the criteria you place on high school students? Do you look at SAT, ACT, and AP scores? Do you look at the performance the student did in high school or their time in college?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

We look at all that, but it's totally different. I'm friends with this AMAZING Tufts grad who lives and works in Kenya now, and she got in as a transfer after a high school transcript that had Ds on it. But, you know, she kicked ass in college, so it totally changed the way her academics look.

Her Twitter handle, if you're interested: @eugenialeee

UnnecessarySuperhero1 karma

Serious question: when I was working on the Tufts application, I ended up scrapping a very carefully refined (the word "airbrushed" comes to mind) piece of the application that was what i think well-organized but completely shallow, in favor for something a bit grittier, unrefined, but looking back, more indicative of who I was.

So my question is this: how much do admissions counselors take risk into play when grading an essay (or in Tufts' case, a video)? If something is obviously a better answer for the question "who are you," even if it shows something a little controversial, does that play as a net positive, or does the admissions counselor take into consideration the possibility of a possible future smear on the university?

That question was a little verbose. So in lay terms: How well is risk taken when the university still needs to cover its own ass?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Someone else got to the answer! Woo! I'll add this, in response to that first paragraph above: thank god.

aminaweena1 karma

I created a blog for my application and had like little posts to answer the "Tell us about yourself" question. How creative/funny does Tufts like applicants to be?

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

How creative/funny are you?

aminaweena1 karma

haha I would say pretty creative. As for funny, I have a weird sense of humor as in nerdy jokes and singing gifs.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Gifs can sing? Blasphemy! Where?

aminaweena2 karma

It's on my blog!!!

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Well played, friend.

HedgehogLover121 karma

Hey I was just curious as to what the acceptance rate is for ED II?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

The ED2 pool is usually small enough that the admit rate can very significantly from year to year. I'm not sure what it was last year, or the year before, but last year's ED2 pool wasn't as strong academically as we were hoping, so I think it was low (relatively speaking).

kirat181 karma

Hello! I was accepted to Tufts under ED1 and--though this has been said already--I wanted to reaffirm how big of a role the Tufts admissions officers played in fostering my Tufts obsession (seriously, I think I might need an intervention). You all seem so friendly and so willing to help; you prove that Tufts truly does focus on community.

Question (for people who have already gotten into college): As an admission's officer, what insight do you have for incoming college freshman to make the most of their experience when they are embarking on such an unknown and scary journey?

PS: I am also worried about the weather (i am from the Bay Area in California; the pity looks I keep getting from people when I ask them about east coast winters are starting to scare me).

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

My big advice for college: don't pick courses like you would in high school. At least for first semester, ignore the requirements you are allowed to ignore, and take the most badass classes you can with the best goddamn professors the school has. Figure out what you want to study/do, then double back and work through the requirements once you've got purpose.

As for weather: invest in baselayers. Patagonia's stuff is awesome.

higgscat1 karma

How do you view medical issues? I was told not to mention the ones I have, but they seriously impacted my grades and I need moderate accommodations. I was told that although it's illegal to discriminate, schools don't like to have students with "issues". Mine condition is physical, but also curious about how mental health is viewed.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

If you've got compromised grades, I think you should consider ignoring the advice you got. Every single school you apply to will notice your grades, so the schools you are the most keen on, your reach schools, will need a good reason to ignore (or downplay) your grades in favor of other attributes you've got going on.

If you've got a good reason, something outside your control, that explains why those grades aren't an accurate reflection of your ability, I think it's foolish not to reveal. If you are still unsure, and since this is anonymous internet time here, if you'd like, and can be more specific, you can fill me in on more details and I'll let you know if my thoughts still hold given your particular situation.

Berty2001 karma

If we screw up time zones when submitting either the common app or the supplements, what is the degree of leniency on that? I know you'll be speaking only for Tufts, but still.

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

My attitude is, if it's January 3rd somewhere, you're ok. Some places are a little more strict, but I try to keep a firm: Not-A-Jerk policy.

pogochamp1131 karma

What would you say makes tufts better than Boston College?

IntheSarlaccsbelly13 karma

Our name is short, and therefore more Twitter-friendly.

PandaBurrito1 karma

My dad kept saying that I should go to a private school because colleges will like it better. Is this true?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

I'm not nearly douchey enough for this to be true.

mankiewqu1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Nope. More likely (though, perhaps I'll be incorrect) is that this very good high school has an environment so charged with stress that students can't get out of their own way to write good applications. This happens sometimes, especially in REALLY high powered suburban environments - students manicure their essays to the point where they say very little of real substance, and all the applicants sound the same. The supplement gives us tools and pieces other schools don't have, so our decisions look really different.

One year, I was reading applications from SHS - the initials are all you'll get - and the first five applications had the SAME EXACT spread of essays - one about growing up in the suburban bubble and appreciating diversity, one about community service/service trips and the value of compassion, and another about music. We denied all five and they had some powerful numbers.

ruthsun1 karma

What information (if any) do you give alumni interviewers about us? Or do they just get our names & academic interests?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

That's it. Other schools may do this really differently, but we want the whole thing to be informal and without preconceptions one way or the other.

pixelatedwaves1 karma

So I've heard a lot (especially from top schools such as Tufts) about how schools take into account an applicants life, background, family education, etc. In addition, they say that they put an applicants achievements in context on the basis of the opportunities that they have had at their school.

My question is perhaps a bit specific and niche, but I'll ask anyway: how do you contextualize a student who's had a very rough and obstacle-filled upbringing but managed to work his/her way into a top-tier high school, but achieves only a moderate amount in comparison to others at the school? (by the way, my question is purely extracurricular, not academic)

I guess on a scale, do you see this student closer to the "Wow, he/she overcame a lot" end of the spectrum, or do they come off as more "Hmm...he/she didn't use all the resources available like other students at their school".


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Ok, so I could write a novel about this, but it's the internet, so I'll be brief: More the "Wow" than the "Hmm...", but it really really depends on the whole situation. I mean, it's not like getting to a good high school erases all the challenges at home.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

90% of the service trip essays I read are carbon copies of each other with a few mad-libs style changed. I went to [Third World Country] to [Charity Service] where I met [Impoverished Community or Community Member] and he/she/it changed my life.

I don't doubt the value of the experience, but for whatever reason, these prove to be nearly impossible essays to pull off with honesty and a sense of distinctiveness.

troll4lfe1 karma

If I'm from the middle east, what race should I put on my application?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

The common app and the US government would like you to list Caucasian, else leave it blank.

sophiezhang1 karma

Hi Dan.......can you tell me what is the average sat subject tests grades of admitting students??? thanks!

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

I haven't looked at that is a while, but I'd guess its about the same as it is for SAT testing more generally.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

There's a shifting sands definition here. Some schools think of this only as 'formal contact' - like you visited, or sent an email, or did something else that's tangible and apart from the application. You can usually tell if a sschool thinks this way by seeing how they react to a question about Demonstrated Interest.

More sensible, I hold, is think of "Demonstrated Interest" as anything you can do that shows you are applying deliberately, instead of because all the Common App requires you to do is hit submit one more time and let a credit card get charged. Schools with heftier supplements tend to think more like this, since the supplements will drive away the "Stealth Applicants" - which is what those not-interested applicants get called at admissions conferences.

laurairie1 karma

I was admitted to a prestigious university 3 years ago and then did not matriculate. I would like to go now. Will I have to go through the whole process again and hence wait until fall of 2013?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

Almost Definitely.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

If you're asking if you can write an admissions essay about Runescape, you may be asking the wrong guy; I spent my middle school years as a volunteer programmer for a text-based multiplayer online game: http://discworld.starturtle.net/lpc/

Do you have it? You could post a paragraph and I can tell you if you're on the right track.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

I think it sounds interesting, actually. But, then again, I would.

katie11941 karma

If I am waiting for a certain honor to be potentially awarded to me, and the decision comes in after January 3rd, and I end up being awarded, how would I go about adding that to my application?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

So this certain honor with an uncertain awarding, what is it? Are congratulations in order?

Nearly every admissions office has a central email inbox, you could send it there.

katie11941 karma

It's National Merit Finalist, which isn't sent until around February. So I could just email and that would be "official" enough?

IntheSarlaccsbelly4 karma

Yep! But in the spirit of Internet honesty, and not to poop on NMF, this one isn't so important. It's essentially based off your PSAT scores, and we don't really care what your PSATs are.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

You could, but I'd answer that question without the SMFA in mind.

ruthsun1 karma

Are each of the committees set? Like in the ED Committee Live Blog post, that day's committee consisted of Lee, Kim, Ben B, Jen, Nick, Matt W, Meghan, and you - do those change, or is it always you with these other seven admissions officers?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

For ED, yes, they are set. In RD, when committee lasts two straight weeks, we switch it up every day to prevent Reality TV Drama (ever seen Survivor?)

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Everyone has an 'application management system' that does, more or less, what Naviance does for you, but from our perspective. (Do you have Naviance? I'm assuming you do).

So... like... I can peek back and see, what were the GPAs of the students who applied from Friends School of Baltimore (my high school) last year and what happened to them?

Not to brush the dirt of my shoulder, but I tend not to need that anymore. I've been reading the apps long enough that I know what a solid GPA looks like at the schools I'm responsible for, but for new folks, or someone new to a particular school, that's a good way to situate.

[deleted]1 karma


IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Depends, actually.

So... I read the applications for the suburbs of DC (and the rest of Maryland, too, but the suburbs of DC are what I want to talk about). These are students that live down the street from The NIH and the NCI and over 9000 other acronym based research organizations. The high schools in the area have made curricular arrangements so students can take internships and do research work in those labs during the year, often during the school day. Soooooo... while it's still really impressive, it's not weird to see a high schooler with some research experience, maybe even a third or fourth authorship on a minor paper.

But, that's not most people. And most of our applicants aren't going to have done something like that, nor would we expect or ask them to.

There's a lot, seriously a LOT, about highly selective admissions that is based around the context of your local school and local environment.

JustaSimpleRJ1 karma

Do liberal universities try to exclude people who come off as too conservative because they're afraid those students wont mesh with the rest?

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

Ctrl+F for the word 'Nonsense' - you'll find my (hopefully) relevant answer.

Achaemenes1 karma

Just a two questions, how do adcoms know if a certain high school has grade inflation? My second question is what would you think of a student if he achieved grades such as low 2.0s in one school and transferred then made grades that would rival his second school's valedictorian? Thanks!

IntheSarlaccsbelly1 karma

It's not like grade inflation is a secret. Lots of schools give grade distributions, and you can see the pattern even in the ones that don't. There are schools, for instance, where like 33% of the senior class has an GPA over 100 on a 100 point scale. So... you know... it's not hard to figure out that grades tend to run on the high side.

Is there a reason for the 2.0 grades before? Is there a reason for the big increase now? I'm assuming, without any extra explanation, that what happened was a wake-up call where this hypothetical student who is totally made up and not real figured out that he was buggering himself by not getting the grades he was capable of, and so he turned up the heat and started producing.

Achaemenes1 karma

I mean, how exactly do you know whether a school is full of exceptional students, as a result of a magnet program, or whether the students are all lazy and the teachers spoon-feed As to them. And the second question was about a student at a grade deflated magnet school moving to a grade inflated one. Apologies if my question was not clearly worded, the 2.0 thing was sort of a stretch though.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

We get a profile from the school that details lots of information like average AP scores (at schools that do AP), if there's a magnet program, what the magnet program does, avg SAT scores, the courses offered, and some information (often lots of information) on the grade distribution.

This is also one of the better arguments for why standardized testing is a useful point of balance to the High School Transcript.

boardinglyf0 karma

Dan, you are awesome, and you are the reason I'm applying to Tufts :) your responses here are perfect and hilarious!

Let's just say this....I got into one of the top three universities in the world during EA, but I'm almost 100% sure that I'd turn it down if you guys let me in RA! Here's to waiting!

One question: of the places you've visited, what are your top 3 countries?

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

This is like asking me who my favorite Pokemon is... why choose when I can catch them all?

Turkey, Morocco, and Hong Kong. And Mexico. And South Korea. And Singapore is special. I've got big love for Singapore. I think the Singaporean motto should be, "Proving that Democracy is Overrated Since 1965"

But really, any place that I can gorge myself on food is a good one.

UnnecessarySuperhero0 karma

Star Wars, Star Trek, or Battlestar Gallactica?

The fate of the universe hangs on your response.

IntheSarlaccsbelly2 karma

The cannon as a whole? Or can I pick the bits I like best?

Like... do I have to count Voyager?

L_ABoundanddown0 karma

Are racial quotas real?

Like in Legally Blonde, they say they NEED "diversity," is this true?

I once worked with an American Samoan fellow and he was accepted into University of Washington. I said to him one night, "Look, I don't mean to offend but you're not particularly smart when it comes to this. I mean, I know more about your major but not even I was accepted into UW. What gives?" His response, "probably because I am a minority and the most institutions feel guilty."

Fact or Fiction?

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Sort of, but not in the way you might think.

One of the quirks of the US university system is an emphasis on diversity in the community. You don’t find this anywhere else in the world, and the idea is that if you have peers who are different from one another, then you can learn as much from each other as you can from a professor, maybe more. This isn’t just about race, of course, but socioeconomics, sexual orientation, geography, culture, language, politics, whatever. Personally, I suspect this is the reason the US is the more desired destination for university learning.

Ok. So… if you’ve got an applicant pool of 10,000 students, and only 500 are of a particular race, and your institution believes that diverse racial representation is important to learning (and I, for one, feel this way), then that group is likely to have a statistical advantage. This would be true for farm kids, if your school doesn’t have many rural applicants. Or for conservatives, if you’ve got a liberal campus (like mine). Or students who want to study music, if you don’t have enough music majors.

Ideaslug1 karma

The difference between race and the other categories you list (political lean, rural-ness of your hometown) is that the college applications specifically ask for race. There are tons of things the applications do not ask for that could set apart a student. Instead, the applicants are left to put those details which set them apart in the essays, if any of the essays call for such info. The essays usually DO give you the chance to talk about what makes you you, but the advantage still goes to the minority who has that extra spot to talk about an additional unique characteristic.

If the minority, say black, person feels like being black is something that makes him who he is, then he may write about it, and then by all means should the university value that unique aspect. But as it is, simply selecting black in the drop-down list gives the person an advantage, even if it isn't something that defines him, and that's what's unfair.

IntheSarlaccsbelly3 karma

Actually, the federal government requires that we report those statistics, and so we ask. They do not ask us to report the students who come from rural zip codes, or what percentage of our class are registered Republicans.

And, not to seem like I'm dodging the point, race matters.

Panda_Muffins0 karma

I might as well get this out of the way now: Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?

Choose wisely.

IntheSarlaccsbelly13 karma

I'd rather read the essay a horse-sized duck would write about duck-sized horses.