Preparing for College

Beware the Tufts Syndrome

Right off the bat, we'll have to define the Tufts Syndrome. A Web search reveals this definition (from no less an authoritative source as the Urban Dictionary), which notes the Tufts Syndrome as being displayed by a "School that rejects top applicants because it realizes top applicants are unlikely to enroll." Wikipedia further explains the Syndrome as a function of admissions yield, which is the percentage of admitted applicants who actually enroll. "Yield protection is an alleged admissions practice where a university or academic institution rejects or wait-lists highly qualified students on the grounds that such students are bound to be accepted by more prestigious universities or programs." Incidentally, Tufts is located in Medford, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb.

Although Wikipedia uses the term "alleged," many high school seniors strongly believe that colleges beyond Tufts incorporate this philosophy as part of their regular admission practices. If you are a high-performing high school senior who has applied to a broad range of schools, according to the tried and true Reach, Ballpark, and Safety approach, you may wonder about the veracity of Tufts Syndrome once all of your admission results are in this spring. Your pondering may be due to the fact that you were either denied or waitlisted by a school where your overall academic and extracurricular profile is at least as strong as those listed of the school's admitted-applicants report.

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