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Becoming a Double Jumbo

Tufts is a feeder to many of its grad schools

Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2008 15:08

For every undergraduate who cannot wait to graduate from the Hill, there are there are many who cannot seem to get enough of Tufts and opt not to leave. These students look to the University's eight graduate schools to continue their education and earn a second Tufts degree, becoming what are known as Double Jumbos.

Brenda Carr, Program Assistant of Admissions at the Tufts Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, says that many of the approximately 1,350 graduate students in the School of Arts, Science, and Engineering are Double Jumbos. Last May, 62 graduate degrees were awarded to students who were also Tufts undergraduates.

Carr says that continuity exists in certain departments and programs in particular, such as in engineering, child development, and education.

Given that International Relations is one of the most popular undergraduate majors, several students continue their studies at Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

"Tufts is our top feeder school, usually," said Julia Phelan, Admissions Coordinator of the Fletcher School. She added that most students take time off between their undergraduate studies and Fletcher to work in the field and gain experience.

"More students apply from Tufts because they are familiar with the University and the Fletcher school, and that is reflected in the incoming class," Director of Admissions Laurie Hurley said.

Carol Baffi-Dugan, who advises students interested in health professions, says that many Tufts undergraduates go on to take interest in Tufts School of Medicine.

According to Dugan, 61 percent of Tufts applicants to the Med School were accepted in 2002 while 30 matriculated, a figure comprising 18 percent of the class. Additionally, in 2003, 66 percent of Tufts applicants to the Med School received an interview, while only 14 percent of non-Tufts applicants were granted an interview. Nationally, only 53 percent of applicants to medical school were accepted in 2002, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

At the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, 85 percent of Tufts applicants were accepted, making up three percent of the class. Seventy-one percent of applicants were accepted to the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, comprising eight percent of that class.

For a liberal arts school, Tufts also sends a substantial number of students to its Veterinary School and remains in the Veterinary School's top ten feeder schools, says Director of Admissions Rebecca Russo.

The school, however, still receives more applications from large universities that have pre-vet and agriculture programs. "From [places like] UMass and Cornell we get more applicants than a place like Tufts," Russo said.

Not all Tufts graduate schools attract high numbers of Tufts undergrads. Out of the 51 incoming students to the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences last fall, none were Jumbos. Three had applied, but only one was accepted and that student chose to enroll elsewhere.

At the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Elizabeth Cochary is "surprised" by the low number of Tufts undergraduate applicants, but said that the school does garner interest through its popular undergraduate nutrition class.

Still, the Nutrition School accepted three Tufts undergraduates last year, and only one enrolled (the average class size at the Nutrition School is 65 students).

In an effort to cultivate a stronger relationship with Tufts undergraduates, the Dental School held its first annual open house on Feb. 7. The goal of the event was to "increase awareness of dentistry, for students interested in health professions and to strengthen the connection between undergraduate schools and the dental school," said Katherine Wasilenko, Assistant Director of Tufts Dental admissions.

Tufts undergraduates are encouraged to apply to Tufts graduate schools, and incentives are typically offered. The Graduate School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering gives admissions breaks to Tufts undergraduates: according to Carr, application fees are waived for Tufts undergraduates, and many of the departments do not require GREs.

In addition to these admissions incentives, there are many special early decision programs and fellowships available to Tufts undergrads. One such program is TuftsPlus, to which engineers may apply after completing their junior year. The program guarantees a tuition scholarship of at least 50 percent, waives the $60 application fee and GRE requirement, and requires two letters of recommendation instead of three.

At the Dental School, Tufts candidates for admissions are given special attention. "We're aware of them as applicants and very much want them to come to us," Wasilenko said. "If they are qualified, we try to get them in as soon as possible. We try to expedite the interview process for qualified applicants."

The Tufts graduate schools are undoubtedly familiar with the rigor of the Tufts undergraduate course offerings, another significant advantage for Tufts undergraduate applicants. "Tufts candidates are always very strong because the undergraduate program is so strong," Hurley said of Tufts applicants to the Fletcher School.

At the Graduate School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, former Tufts undergraduates have already been in contact with much of the faculty, as many professors teach at both levels. "A strong faculty recommendation from another person on this campus can be very helpful," Carr said.

However, simply being a Tufts undergraduate does not guarantee admission to one of its graduate schools. "Every applicant competes in the applicant pool," Phelan said.

Coordinator of Admissions and Recruitment for the Nutrition School Kristina Bonnana does not see any special advantage to being a Tufts student. "[You must] have the credentials that they're looking for," she said.

Next Tuesday, the Daily looks at the reasons why some students decide to become 'Double Jumbos' and others leave the Hill behind as grad students.

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