It was a beautiful, hot day when I visited the Tufts campus, 5 miles from Boston. The campus is quite picturesque, and it reminded me of many small, liberal arts campuses with small brick classroom buildings lining either side of a large, green lawn. But with 5,000 students and close proximity to Boston (5 miles – you can see the Skyline of the city from a few vantage points on campus), Tufts offers students who are looking for a larger school and close proximity to city life the best of both worlds. Tufts describes itself as a relaxed, intellectual environment where students relish getting outside of their comfort zone and expanding their horizons academically.
There is a real emphasis on opportunities for research at the undergraduate level. Tufts is a Tier 1 research university (meaning they are very active in research), but with only 5,000 undergrads (and only 1,000 grad students on the main campus), there are lots of opportunities for undergrads to do research during the academic year and the summer. They have a program called Summer Scholars, where the school will pay you to undertake a research project that you design (either on your own, or in conjunction with a professor). Tufts also has great medical, dental, nutrition, and veterinary graduate schools (all in the Boston area), and this attracts many pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dental students who take advantage of the research opportunities at these Tufts facilities nearby.
Another differentiating factor of Tufts is the access to professors. The average class size is 20, and because of Tufts’ smaller size, professors who choose to teach here want to teach at the undergraduate level and get to know students personally. Another unique aspect of Tufts is the ExCollege, which allows professors, experts, and also peers to teach cross-disciplinary courses f credit. The courses they talked about sounded quite unique, and full of passions from a real expert in the field.
For a student who wants a smaller size university with close proximity to a great college city and opportunities to do research at the undergraduate level, Tufts should definitely be on your list!