Gut Check

So, dear seniors, the end is nigh, as someone might say if this blog were part of your British Literature course.  (And it surely isn’t, but maybe I can add a “merrily” or “indeed” just to strike a pose as a British author…)

In a few days (sooner than later, I hope) your college search will end as the Candidate’s Reply Date comes and goes.  It feels like I just pressed the “send” button on March 31, sending thousands of decisions into cyberspace.  But here we are, almost a month later, and we’re smiling at one another in a coy dating dance as the hourglass empties. 

I hate to be a party pooper but it’s time to decide.  If this were a game of musical chairs, the music is about to stop and it’s time to grab a seat. 

April has been a busy month for all of us.  We talked, virtually and in person, as you mulled your enrollment choice. You read all the blogs and reread the viewbook. Facebook kept you “connected” and preoccupied for a few weeks as you checked out the other accepted students and asked yourself, “Do these kids seem cool?  Do I want to spend four years with this crowd?” You hopped in the car or on a plane and took a second look at your options. 

We planned an Open House (three of them, actually) and many hundreds of you (plus a parent or two, although most were clearly instructed to “keep quiet” as you took charge) visited campus one last time.  It was mostly sunny here in Medford and the quirkiness of Tufts was on full display as the Academic Quad sprang to life in a carnival-like atmosphere.  Panels and tours and overnight stays in the dorms were on the menu.

Some of you headed home with bulky shopping bags from the campus bookstore (always a good sign) while others were still scratching their heads as the program ended.  “It’s down to two!” one girl told me, relieved that she had already eliminated six other suitors. 

We’re staring at the finish line, tired and excited to see this marathon end.  To date, 890 students have joined our Class of ’14 and 385 seats are left to be claimed over the next week.   The final decision is imminent and that makes your stomach drop just a bit, doesn’t it?

For those of you still sitting on the fence as you compare and contrast Tufts and University X or College Z, here’s my last bit of advice: follow your gut.  Most of you know, deep down, where you want to go but you wrestle with an understandable need to document your decision with facts.  It’s what we do.  It’s geometry redux: you’re working on a proof.

But there’s the impasse: analytical reasoning overlooks your emotions.  You’re a smart kid with proven analytical skills, so I know it feels funny to let your heart guide you on this one.  Your head wants a piece of the action, too.  It says “make a list, weigh the evidence, assess some info!”  But here’s the thing: you already did that.  You identified a set of schools that fit your academic and personal parameters.  You did the analysis.  You weighed the merits.  And you applied to a particular group that matched your interests and aspirations.  If you’re like most of the students we accept each year, you have impressive options.  That’s the straightforward part.

Now it’s time to honor a more personal impulse: which one feels like home?  I can’t offer you any data that will answer that question for you.  Your tastes and reactions are unique.  It’d be like asking someone at Baskin Robbins, “What’s your best flavor?”  “Best” depends on the tongue.

Don’t over-think your decision.  Listen to what your gut is whispering in your ear.  It won’t lie to you.  (And I hope it’s whispering “Tufts!”)



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5 responses to “Gut Check

  1. TuftsIsAwesome

    Dear Dean Coffin,
    Thanks a lot for your insightful and informative blog entries. I really appreciate them.
    Just out of my curiosity, does the number 890 (enrolled students up to date) include those who were accepted last year but decided to take a gap year?
    If so, how many of them are there? And around how many Tufts admits take a gap year before entering the school each year?

    • Dean Coffin

      Yes, the number 890 includes the 28 students who are enrolling after a gap year. The number of “gappers” each year is +/- 25 or so; it’s pretty steady. And, since I blogged, the enrolled count is now 1,034!

  2. Boston buddy

    I was just wondering what the official enrolled students number was!

  3. Tuftsbound

    I just wanted to thank you, Dean Coffin, for all your hard work year round. What a whirlwind! See you in the fall.

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