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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, February 25, 2024

'Bo Days return for the Class of 2026

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Miller Hall is pictured on April 13.

For the first time in three years, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will welcome thousands of high school seniors to campus this month for a batch of rebranded Jumbo Days — known as ‘Bo Days — in hopes of offering members of the admitted class a glimpse into life at Tufts.  In-person events, divided across six days, will supplement a month-long supply of virtual programming for admitted students, a remnant of the pandemic.

During in-person ‘Bo Days, prospective students can expect tours, student and faculty panels and lunch catered by Tufts Dining, according to Paz Pitarque, senior assistant director of undergraduate admissions.

“For ‘Bo Days, we will offer a half-day full of meeting some current students whether that is tour guides, our Admission Fellows, and students representing DSDI centers,” Pitarque wrote in an email to the Daily.

Welcoming prospective students to campus requires more planning during the pandemic, Pitarque noted. Tufts has restricted the scope of ‘Bo Days, compared to pre-pandemic Jumbo Days.

A big difference will be the number of people we are able to welcome to campus,” Pitarque wrote. “We want to be mindful of the number of people we welcome on campus and for capacity reasons, we expect about 300 guests each ‘Bo Day. We will also be doing lunch and registration outdoors.

She also noted that, this year, prospective students won’t be allowed to stay in residence halls overnight, a hallmark experience of the admitted students’ days that represents yet another casualty of the pandemic.

In accordance with university health guidelines, campus visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination and wear disposable 3-ply or KN95 masks indoors.

Haitong Du, a tour guide, said prospective students are permitted inside buildings on campus, excluding residence halls. Du, a senior, added that tours on ‘Bo Days will focus more on the guides’ individual Tufts experiences rather than the school as a whole.

Pitarque said this year’s virtual Jumbo Month content will remain similar to last year’s, complete with mock classes and social events.

We have many current student volunteers signed up on our Tufts Admitted Student Network (TASN) platform and they are opening discussions with students, serving as resources when students ask questions like ‘What is the closest grocery store to campus?’, and connecting with admitted students who may be interested in certain student organizations,Pitarque wrote.

Pitarque added that virtual events are key to enabling all prospective students to learn about Tufts in an accessible manner, since coming to campus for ‘Bo Days may not be financially feasible for some.

We typically ask any student that may need some type of assistance coming to campus, to contact our office directly,” Pitarque wrote. “However, like last year, a lot of our efforts are focused on Jumbo Month where we aim to make Tufts as accessible as possible to all admitted students.

However, virtual admissions events cannot fully replicate the experience of physically visiting campus, according to Du and Aarav Gupta, an incoming first-year.

“Although I've never attended any previous in-person admitted student days as a tour guide, I could guess that prolonged in-person exchanges were much more comfortable and effective,” Du wrote. “Many admitted students make the final decision as they visit and ‘experience’ the campus in-person, so I very much look forward to … ‘Bo Days this year.

Gupta said he applied to Tufts through the Early Decision II program in January.

“I would’ve wanted to do more in-person tours, because I’m sure that helps you get a better feel for the school, but I only did one, which happened to be Tufts,” Gupta told the Daily.

Gupta explained that being able to meet other incoming first-years and prospective Tufts students in person and on campus is very important to him, even as a committed student.

“I’ve gotten to know people [through social media], but it’s not the same once you really meet them in person and get to know them that way,” Gupta said. “That’s why I kind of pushed to go for this [‘Bo] day.”

Gupta added that, after realizing that the opportunity to come to campus and connect with prospective first-years was not available the previous two years, he thinks it’s valuable to meet his peers in advance.

The most important thing for Pitarque and the admissions team as they designed ‘Bo Days was finding the balance between hosting exciting events for admitted students and maintaining a COVID-19-safe environment for the rest of the community on campus.

A lot of our planning has taken into consideration things like room capacities, vaccination requirements, striking the right balance of outdoor/indoor activities with our guests,” Pitarque wrote. “We are hopeful that though our events are smaller this year, students can get a better understanding of the Tufts community whether it is through ‘Bo Days or Jumbo Month — or both!