Is Tufts Ivy League? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More

Across the United States and the rest of the world, the Ivy League represents prestige, tradition, and power. Dominating US higher education in the Northeast, the Ivies are considered to be among the most sought-after universities in terms of acceptance selectivity and graduate success. 

Formed in the 1950s, the Ivy League started when the NCAA Division I athletic conference was formed. At the time, the elitism of the group was a result of their athletic success. 

The group carries a certain reputation due to its highly successful academic programs. The group’s name recognition leads to impressive employment rates in law firms, medical facilities, and large corporations. As a result of the selective admissions process, Ivy League schools are able to accept only the best and the brightest students.

Many top students come to Tufts for the rigorous academics, community support, and passionate community. Whether in research or community service, the university is renowned among its peers and employers.

With over 90 undergraduate and 160 graduate programs, Tufts provides a successful future for a wide range of students. The impressive list of graduates include Nobel Laureates, National Academy members, and heads of state. 

As Tufts alumni become more successful, more top students consider it for their education. The university has educated many CEOs and founders of major companies such as eBay, JPMorgan Chase, DuPont, and Time Inc.

Today, we’ll talk about Tufts University, its history, acceptance rate, and whether it is indeed an Ivy League school.

Is Tufts an Ivy League School?

Tufts University
Jellymuffin40, Tufts Memorial Steps, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tufts is not a member of the Ivy League, but it does provide a top-notch education on par with the top schools in the country. Many schools boast about being Ivy-equivalent, but Tufts has the academic programs and reputation to back it up. 

Generations ago, the Ivies were a clearly defined group. This elite collection of universities are all part of the Ivy League athletic conference.  As the number of college-bound students skyrocketed, so has the number of top-tier schools. There is a growing demand for an excellent education that benefits the top students. 

While the Ivy League members have not changed, there are many universities that are comparable in quality. 

Tufts is part of the Division III NESCAC athletic conference. The university may not have the same recognition as the top Ivies globally; however, it is still one of the top 30 colleges in the nation, according to several ranking publications.

Tufts is recognized by Bloomberg as a member of the Little Ivies. This is an unofficial group of small, academically competitive colleges in the Northeastern United States. 

From Middlebury to Wesleyan, this group provides high-quality education and a wide array of resources to students. The Little Ivies are selected based on standards of academic excellence, historic social prestige, and selective admissions similar to that of the Ivy League universities.

Why Is Tufts Often Confused As an Ivy League School?

Tufts is similar to an Ivy in terms of reputation, academics, and the rich culture on campus. Despite not being an official member of the Ivy League, the university is often confused as one. Tufts university is as competitive as most other elite universities in the US. 

Each year, admission rates have been decreasing as more and more competitive applicants choose to apply. The Princeton Review rated the selectivity as 98 out of 99, on par with Ivy League admission statistics. With impressive test scores and secondary school records, most undergraduates are at the top of their class. 

As with many other prestigious universities, Tufts has received an increasing number of applications and a resulting decrease in acceptance rates. Over the past two decades, the number of applicants has doubled.

Along with stellar programs, Ivy League schools are renowned for their high-level research. Tufts has similarly groundbreaking research, focusing on innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration as the foundations of discovery. 

According to the Carnegie classifications, Tufts University is ranked among R1: Doctoral Universities with very high research activity. In 2018, the university spent over $210 million on research pursuits. 

With research expenditures of around $240 million, Tufts is comparable to Ivy League universities like Brown and Dartmouth.

Tufts University: Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and More

Tufts University
Jellymuffin40, Eaton Hall, Tufts, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tufts University is on par with many of the Ivy League schools in significant publications. In the US News Ranking of Best National Universities for 2021, Tufts places as #30. Peer schools, according to US News, include Columbia, UPenn, Dartmouth, and Brown. 

Based on peer review and the latest statistics, Tufts is considered to be on par with many Ivy League universities. Essential ranking factors include academic reputation, graduation rates, faculty resources, and selectivity. 

Using the Niche rankings, Tufts earns an overall grade of A+ due to the excellent academics, value, and diversity. The ranking system is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics from the US Department of Education and millions of reviews. 

In those same Niche rankings, Tufts is ranked as the #27 top private university in America and #30 best value. In addition, many Tufts programs fall in the top ten nationwide, including public health, international relations, and art.

Tufts University is one of the most selective colleges in the United States. For the Class of 2025, Tufts admitted 11% of over 30,000 applicants. 

To keep the close-knit community feel, the university offers just over 1,300 seats in each class. As more and more students apply, this acceptance rate will continue to decrease. 

The admissions team deemed 40% of the application pool as potentially qualified for admission, but spots are only available for the most impressive students. Furthermore, the acceptance rate varies significantly among the different colleges. 

Some master’s programs, such as medicine, have acceptance rates below 10%

How to Get Into Tufts University

To succeed at Tufts, applicants need to show their ability to handle rigorous academics. This means taking the most challenging courses available and mainly earning As. The majority of students apply with a weighted high school GPA of 3.9 or 4. 

In addition, it is essential to do well on standardized tests. 

In 2021, the average Tufts undergraduate came in with an SAT score of 1450 compared to the national average of 1010. For the ACT, Tufts students scored 33, well exceeding the average of 21. 

Competitive rigor of secondary school records, GPA, class rank, standardized tests, essays, recommendations, and personal characteristics is necessary for the admissions process. 

In addition, Tufts considers geographical residence, work experience, and level of demonstrated interest when admitting undergraduates. 

While solid grades and test scores are required, the admissions team looks for more than that when choosing an incoming class.

Tufts admits students who are well-rounded in all areas of their lives: academic, social, and extracurricular. Specific essay questions are used to judge whether students think outside the box and in unexpected ways. 

The admissions team looks for intellectual curiosity, passion for public service, an international education, and demonstrated interest in the university.  

Submitting letters of recommendation is another way to add perspective to an application. Choosing a teacher who wants to write about you – even if you may personally like another instructor more – will likely result in a more glowing recommendation letter.

Extracurricular activities allow the admissions team to evaluate overall academic fit and how students may contribute to the community as a whole. 

Along with meaningful involvement, Tufts looks for significant contributions and leadership. Most successful applicants are heavily engaged in a few activities that explore their futures and contribute to the community.

Recap: Tufts Is Not an Ivy League University. However, It Is One of the Best Universities in the Nation

Tufts University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Many other schools with excellent reputations do not officially have the Ivy League label. 

MIT, Stanford, and Georgetown consistently top nationwide rankings without being an Ivy. 

Similarly, Tufts is an excellent university with selective admissions and rigorous course loads. The school is known for its success as a moderately sized university that excels in research and a personalized education.

Along with top-tier academics, Tufts is distinctive for its public service across all disciplines and study abroad programs.

The university aims to create personal relationships between students and faculty, encouraging individual learning inside the classroom and research settings. 

Tufts provides the resources of a successful research university while creating a close-knit campus community. Across all Tufts campuses, the university houses a growing number of innovative teaching and research programs.

Applications to Tufts have increased over 35% from the previous year, thanks to the school’s growing reputation as a “Little Ivy” on par with the actual Ivy League. 

Additionally, more and more undergraduates are excited by Tufts’ opportunities, causing interest to rise each year. As a result, the selectivity of the university is on par with the most prestigious universities nationwide.

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