A Day in the Life at Tufts University

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Yaniv is a Boston tutor and current senior at Tufts University majoring in Economics and Community Health. He specializes in ACT prep tutoring, SAT prep tutoring, Algebra tutoring, Arithmetic tutoring, and more. Check out his review of his school:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Yaniv: Tufts University is located 15 minutes from downtown Boston, but even without a car, it is easy to get into the city. It is a short 15-minute walk to the Davis Square T stop (Boston’s subway system), and then the Red Line takes you right into the center of the city, passing through Harvard and MIT on the way. Tufts also offers a shuttle bus to and from Davis Square, which runs frequently and late into the night.

The campus itself is isolated from the surrounding cities, Medford and Somerville. Tufts is on a large hill, and while some buildings are located off the hill, a majority of all classes and events happen “on the hill,” which leads to a strong community feeling. The surrounding areas are suburban and safe.

I have a bike, and some of my friends have cars, but it is easy to function at Tufts without any form of transportation other than a good pair of shoes.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Yaniv: In general, the teachers at Tufts University are superb. Everyone has office hours. Most classes are small enough that you and the teacher have some rapport. Larger classes and lectures almost always have recitations—small teaching assistant-led group discussions. It may be tough to get in contact with a teacher the night before a big test if you send an email full of questions. But, in general, I feel that the professors, advisers and teaching assistants are very available and happy to meet, given ample notice. 

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Yaniv: I met most of my closest friends here because we all lived on the same floor in the same dorm freshman year, and I find that most other students are the same in that people tend to make friends with those around them. A lot of that is because most of the dorms are great living spaces, which lead to a great community feeling. In the past few years, they have been renovating all of the older dorms into beautiful new spaces. All of the dorms are on the hill, so they are all in great locations.

The food is superb. I actually work at one of the two main dining halls, so I may be biased, but Tufts University is consistently on the lists of the universities with the best food options. They have a lot of healthy food, as well as plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians, and gluten free diners, but they also frequently have delicious pizza and chicken tenders.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Yaniv: Tufts University has a very strong International Relations program, but really, all of their offerings are great. I am on the pre-medical track, but I am an economics and community health double major, and both majors are fantastic, in my opinion. I am actually only doing economics because community health has some funny rules, but I still enjoy both programs. 

I have friends in biology, chemistry, child development, computer science, engineering, philosophy, political science… the list goes on and on, and I do not know anyone who has serious complaints with his or her department.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Yaniv: I came from a school with a graduating class of 48 to a school where our freshman class was upwards of 1,400 people. It was a monumental shift, and it was frankly very overwhelming in the beginning. It definitely takes time to adapt and meet new people (you do not want to force new friendships), but by the end of the first semester, I had a great group of friends, and since then I have not looked back.

Greek life is not very significant at Tufts University; there are only nine fraternities and three sororities, soon to be four. I do know several people who are involved in Greek life, and they all really do enjoy it. It is a great place to meet new people, and by participating in Greek life, you end up participating in events that can really benefit you in the future.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Yaniv: Tufts University really makes an effort to set up their students coming out of college. Once you graduate, you are eligible for help from the Career Center for the rest of your life, and they also have several events every year, such as the career fair—all kinds of companies come and advertise, meet students, and answer questions. They do recruit right out of the fairs, too. 

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Yaniv: I have a lot of trouble studying in my room, but I do not find it tough to find a place to study on campus. Tisch Library, the undergraduate library, is a fantastic place to work—there are group study rooms, conversation areas, quiet areas, silent areas, and more. Ginn Library, the library for the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, is a great place if you want silence. The cafeterias get busy during meal times, but in-between, they are great places to work. The campus center is always full of students doing work.

During finals, it can sometimes be hard to find a good, silent place if you sleep in and try the library too late. But in general, there are a plethora of study options.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Yaniv: Tufts University is located close to Boston, but I think that most students tend to stay in the campus vicinity for the most part. I love the city, and I go in as often as possible, but sometimes it is a trek. However, even if you do not like going into Boston, Harvard Square is just two T stops away, and Davis Square is a great little area with a movie theater, bowling, great restaurants, and plenty of bars for the 21+ crowd. I am never bored here.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Yaniv: Tufts University has approximately 5,000 undergraduate students. My classes have ranged in size from 430+ students for Introduction to Biology freshman year, all the way down to 12 or so for upper-level economics and a philosophy class I took. One of my friends is in a class with two other students and the teacher. I have had classes I wish were smaller, but for the most part, I have been very content with the way things are.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Yaniv: Game Theory is the class at Tufts that I have enjoyed the most. It is an economics class that I took, but all of the lessons were applicable to real life—and interesting. Now, whenever I am playing a game, I usually think a little bit about game theory and try and incorporate my new knowledge to propel me to victory. It is really everywhere, though, not just in board games, but in sports, business deals, and even how to act in social situations. One segment of our final exam was about the courting process for a boy and a girl; first at a party, and then later in the relationship when they were trying to figure out if it was the right time to meet the parents. Our teacher was hilarious!

Check out Yaniv’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.