EXCITING NEWS: Our Application Deadline has been extended to June 1st! Admission is rolling, don't miss out, apply for one of our Summer Pre-College Programs Today!
June 29 - August 7, 2020 | 6 Weeks
Welcome to Tufts College Experience - Virtual! All of Tufts University's world-class academic courses and programs began operating virtually in March 2020 and, as such, we are excited to welcome you to this new world of virtual learning. Thanks to the wonders of digital platforms, we are able to bring the exciting and rigorous academic experience of TCE safely to you in your home.
Get a taste of what it is like to study with Tufts University and try-out life as a college student! Enroll in 6 to 8 credits of real Tufts Undergraduate-level courses and gain experience with the excitement, freedom, and challenge of college-level academics. Participate in our hallmark College Prep 101 program each Friday and gain insights from Tufts' staff on how to prepare for the college experience, learn what it's like to be an undergraduate from real Tufts students, and attend virtual campus tours at some of the leading higher education institutions around Boston. This program is designed to mirror the Undergraduate experience, allowing highly motivated students to select their own course schedule and mix college-level study with fun virtual activities and the opportunity to build college and life skills. Balancing the rigorous academic courses, most taught by Tufts faculty, with expert-led workshops and virtual social activities, the Tufts College Experience can help students prepare for college both academically and socially.
Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
- Top-ranked University with an engaging Virtual Campus
- Earn college credit from a list of nearly 60 Undergraduate-level courses, most taught by Tufts faculty - now including SMFA at Tufts courses!
- Get help with Standardized Test Prep or College Essay Writing (limited space)
- Attend our hallmark College Prep 101 Workshop that
- Teaches students the skills they need to succeed in college (and life) and
- Explores some of our country’s leading Universities through Virtual Campus Tours (expected 2020 schools include: Tufts, Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College, Wentworth, Emerson, and Amherst with more schools to be named)
- Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world!
- Excellent academic experience
- Earn Tufts Credit*
- Official Tufts transcript upon request
- Enhanced understanding of studying and life at college
- Skills to navigate the Undergraduate experience
* Upon passing a course taken for credit
Courses and professors are great! They are kind, approachable, understanding, and helpful... I have had many new experiences and perspectives about living and my interests.
The program really provided me with a college experience that was totally different from high school. Having more free time and more work really improved my time management. Also I love the atmosphere in college so much that I’m sure this is the right place for me to shine.
I loved the diversity in the people at this program and this program introduced me to people from all over the world.
I love the classes I’ve been taking... I made lots of good friends here that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
I like the freedom and the fact that this felt a lot like college… Additionally, I was really fond of my classes and my professor. The classes were amazing and it was a new and better learning experience for me
It is a complete introduction to college life… You enjoy every bit of time, you are free and helped by everyone around you, nothing is competitive you seem to grow in a peaceful environment.
[This program] is the best thing a rising senior or junior could do with his/her summer.
A scintillating academic experience that I'm extremely lucky to have had.
“[Your] student will grow a lot in this program, and will become a more mature student and adult for their future studies.
Our program begins with a required orientation and welcome event beginning at 9am ET on Monday, June 29th via Zoom. During this required orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Students will receive an introduction to college-level academic work and will have the opportunity to confirm their course schedules. Staff will be on-hand to address any issues. The rest of the day will be filled with fun virtual activities as our students get to know each other and prepare to begin courses on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Monday-Thursday: Course Work
The Tufts College Experience is designed to reflect the typical experience a Tufts student might have during their Freshman year of college. Each day is structured into four blocks: Morning, Early Afternoon, Afternoon, and Evening. Within each block, students will have the option of taking a course (TCE students must take at least 4 credits) or having free-time, and can build-in workshops and other activities to their schedule throughout the day. Right now, even Tufts students are taking all of their courses virtually via Zoom and Canvas, so TCE continues to mirror the Tufts experience!
Course Work: The foundation of the program is the opportunity to take courses through Tufts University. Students have the opportunity to build their own course schedule* from our extensive list of lecture courses, with something for every student! Students may choose from nearly 60 courses offered in 25+ departments in a number of the schools of Tufts University. All students must take between 4 and 8 credits during the program (typically two lecture courses) and the courses must be taken for Tufts credit. One great benefit of the switch to virtual learning is that now School of the Museum of Fine Arts courses are open to TCE students!
In general, but not exclusively, courses will be held live via Zoom or Canvas in the meeting time listed on the course list and will generally be recorded and posted as asynchronous recordings to Canvas along with digital discussion boards so that all students can participate. Some courses will have required synchronous elements and these should be confirmed with the instructor on the first day of classes.
Here is a list of our Summer 2020 courses!
|Undergraduate Lectures||These are real Tufts University Undergraduate courses, with the majority taught by Tufts faculty. TCE students will be taking the course with Tufts Undergraduate and Graduate students, giving them real exposure to the college learning environment. These courses are offered for credit, each worth between 2 and 5 credits per course. Please note that only students entering Grade 11-12 are eligible to take these courses.|
|Pre-College Lectures||These are college-level courses that are designed specifically for high school students. As rigorous as undergraduate courses, the instructors of these courses are familiar with teaching to high school students and their pedagogical style may offer a bridge for students to a regular Undergraduate course. Pre-College lectures are offered for credit (typically 3 credits) and can be transferred into Tufts University as pre-matriculation credit (akin to the credit you get from AP courses). Students in Grade 10 are eligible to take these courses. See the full list here: Pre-College Lectures|
|Labs / Recitations||Some of the lecture courses - including many of the sciences and humanities - require either labs or recitations (or both). If your lecture course requires a lab or recitation, we will do our best to note it on our course schedule along with their days and times. Typically, these labs and recitations do not offer credit independently of the lecture with which they are associated.|
Choosing Courses: During the application process, students will be asked to select the 6 lecture courses that they are most interested in taking. Our student success advisors are here to help and can answer basic questions about courses, scheduling, and more. Ultimately, it is up to students to determine whether they believe they can succeed in a given course environment.
* When the student is admitted to the program, we will tentatively admit them to specific courses based on their preferences, schedule, and availability. Just like with real undergraduates, sometimes courses fill up, are cancelled or scheduling conflicts arise (too many exciting courses at one time). Similarly, after their first class, students often find that they would prefer to make a schedule change. Such changes are permitted through the end of the first week of classes. In all cases, if a change needs to be made to a student's schedule after admission, we will work with that student to find a new lecture course.
Students should consider these changes, including changes outside the 6 original preferences, as a part of their expectations when signing up for the program. Rest assured, while schedule changes occur frequently - for all sorts of reasons! - we have always found a way to offer an excellent academic experience for our students!
Once a student has set his / her schedule, attendance at each event on that schedule will be mandatory.
Rounding out Your Schedule: TCE students, just like Undergraduates, will have schedules that appear to have a lot of free time built in to them! While it is critical that students ensure they have enough time for homework, reading, projects, and other activities related to their courses, we also want to ensure they are getting the most out of their summer. To this end, students can supplement their course work with optional workshops, self-formed study groups, virtual social activities, and activities outside the program.
Fridays: College Prep 101
Our hallmark college prep offering, the six Friday sessions of College Prep 101 include interactive morning workshops via Zoom during which students will explore topics like career / major planning, time management, interview skills, resume building, and tips on writing an effective college essay. Each afternoon, students will attend virtual college tours and (tentatively) Q&A discussions with admissions staff at some of the many leading universities in the greater Boston area. Students will have the opportunity to submit questions to college admissions professionals in advance, if they won't be able to attend live. In addition to Tufts, schools may include area institutions such as: Amherst, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis, Brown, Emerson, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Simmons, and others. The virtual lunch break each day will provide students with the opportunity to interact informally with each other and members of the University College team. The program will be led by members of the senior leadership of University College.
All sessions will be run live with interactive participation with recordings subsequently posted on the course website.
At 3PM ET on Friday, August 7 we will gather together on Zoom to hold a closing ceremony for our time together. The student-elected speakers are typically the highlight of the event as we hear about your experiences attending the program. This year, we hope to include our student speeches (with the speaker's permission) in the Tufts COVID-19 Documentation Project so they can live on in Tufts Digital Archives! You will also hear speeches from the Director of Tufts Pre-College Programs and the leadership of University College at Tufts.
Sample Student Schedule (Weekly)
Please note: the below is a sample schedule based on information at this time, considering an individual student attending the program scheduling independent work / recorded sessions in particular time slots. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program and speaker list to be as meaningful as possible for our students and will look different for students choosing to attend live or independent work / recorded sessions differently. All times are in EASTERN TIME (please see "Attending from Outside the Eastern Time Zone" section below for concerns regarding those not in ET).Because this is a virtual program, meals will not be provided for students even if a meal is stated on the schedule - this is for demonstration only. Activities may occur during meal times.
Certain courses may require materials such as physical or virtual textbooks or course packets, which you will be able to find closer to the summer on your course syllabus or through the Tufts Bookstore website.
Besides this and the technology requirements listed under "Technical Needs & Support," " no other materials will be necessary for participation in this program. We will, however, be mailing you some fun Tufts Pre-College Programs materials and your Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. Besides this, no materials will be necessary for participation in this program.
Note: if you live internationally, we are not responsible if the materials we mail are delayed (which we will try to avoid) or held in customs.
Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual safety protocols.
Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.
Application Materials & Deadlines
Tufts College Experience students are registering for real Undergraduate-level courses, which can fill up quickly during the summer. We highly recommend applying to as early as possible to save a spot in your top choice courses.
|Application Opens||Deadline: All Materials||Deadline: Payment*||Deadline: Enrollment Forms|
|December 1||June 1||May 15||June 15|
*Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.
- Entering high school grades 10-12 *or* a Spring 2020 high school graduate
- Please note that students entering grade 10 are eligible only to take Pre-College Lecture courses through this program
- Course-level eligibility and pre-requisites may apply and are typically listed in the course description
Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs.
Non-Native English Speakers
If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.
Step 1: Complete an Online Application
The online application will ask you for the following information:
- Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
- Course preferences - 6 lecture course preferences in at least 2 different time blocks; optional indication of preference for College Prep Workshops
- Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf
- Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
- Warrants and signatures
If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.
Step 2: Email or Mail your High School Transcript
After submitting your online application, you must contact your high school and ask them to send a transcript to us. They can send us this information in two ways: by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Tufts Pre-College Programs, 108 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155.
Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation
As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.
Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.
Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.
Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 business days of Tufts receiving all required materials.
If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at email@example.com or 617-627-2926.
Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.
Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:
- Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 business days of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
- Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
- Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline
Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.
Tuition & Fees
Virtual Program Fee: $8,000
- Includes: tuition for between 4 and 8 credits worth of Tufts University courses, College Prep 101, opening/closing events, daily activities.
- Excludes: anything not explicitly stated above.
Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee
- A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
- This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
- The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than June 15
- This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program
If you have been admitted to the program, we will be updating the fees posted to your student account over the next several days. The Program Fee balance associated with your Residential or Commuter tuition will be removed and your new Virtual Program Fee balance will be added. Please do not be alarmed if you see any anomalies, they will be resolved.
If you have already paid program fees in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, the balance will be available to you as a refund. Please see the "Refund Policies" page for more details.
If you received a financial aid award, in excess of the new Virtual Program Fee, your award will be adjusted downward such that your total payments and waivers do not exceed the total new Virtual Program Fee and will not be available to you as a refund. This will allow us to make financial aid awards to more students.
Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds to Tufts’ campus. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.
Each of the programs offering financial aid in this way offers a very limited number of scholarships, typically covering 75—100% of the program fee based on demonstrated need.
- Fall: we will distribute any available aid in August
- Spring: we will distribute any available aid in December
- Summer: we will typically distribute two awards in February and will continue to issue awards once a month in March and April, until all available funds have been distributed
- International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc.
- This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement
- Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
- Upon admission into the program, you will be prompted to submit the Admission Agreement Form in your student portal. Indicate that you are interested in being considered for financial aid.
- After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
- We will review your financial aid application. Your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
- If you receive an award,
- You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
- You will have 10 days (including weekends and holidays) to accept the award by completing your Financial Aid Award Form and submitting your deposit
- Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
- Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
- If you do not receive an award, your application will be automatically considered in the next application cycle for the program term in which you are applying, unless funds are no longer available.
- Once all of our funds have been distributed, we will notify all remaining applicants.
Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.
We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:
- Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
- Canvas: provides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.
Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.
As we are learning from this period of quarantine, virtual interaction can approximate, but rarely replaces in-person interaction. With that said, technology offers us with tremendous opportunities to facilitate various kinds of social interaction that allow us to instantly connect students from around the world in the environments in which they thrive. We will be hosting a variety of virtual social experiences for students to interact with each other within their program and across programs! We firmly believe your ability to make new friends from around the world will not be hindered by the virtual environment!
Technical Needs & Support
Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:
- Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
- Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
- PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
- Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
- Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
- If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability.
- Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
- Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates:
- Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
- Software: programs capable of
We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software will include Zoom and Canvas.
Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable!
Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link.
First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.
If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.
Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of virtual social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students from all time zones can participate. Here is our tentative schedule to-date:
- Morning Meetups: start (or end) your day by catching-up with your classmates and classroom assistants about current events, last night's late night show, recent lectures or events over breakfast! Tentatively scheduled for M / W / F 8-8:45am ET
- Lunch & Learns: join your peers from around the world to discuss an interesting topic in a staff-led discussion every Tuesday 12-12:45pm ET. Can't attend live? No problem, we'll post recordings so you can view them later!
- Trivia Night: Thursday nights at 9PM ET are for trivia! Unwind with your classmates and some friendly competition. Students who cannot play live will be able to form teams and submit their answers (timed!) digitally in advance. We will be keeping a running scoreboard across teams throughout the summer!
- Wellness Courses: To get you moving and feeling your best, attend at-home guided meditation, yoga, or other workout classes, offered Saturdays at 9AM ET. These will be recorded so you can attend them later as well.
- Game Club: Create teams and play games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Chess, and more. Teams will make moves when on their own time and games will play out over the course of the program or summer.
And more! Look out for a social events calendar that may include a virtual talent show, dance party, cooking classes, photo challenges, scavenger hunts, 'quarenTHEME' spirit days, museum tours, and more!
Most programs will offer independent study time for students in a shared (and monitored) "Common Rooms" "Studio Spaces" or "Study Rooms" that will allow students to work in the company of their peers, sharing questions and chatting.
Many programs are also planning their own program-specific activities, often thematically relevant to the program content itself. Look out for these activities in the program description above and in the information provided after you enroll!
Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone
If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in this program. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in the program will be able to attend - whether in live or recorded sessions. We have done our best to note places where we feel there is an incremental benefit to live attendance and will be focusing our efforts on these parts of the schedule. All of the below is tentative and subject to change as we seek improved ways of our students needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students.
Students should always feel free to get in touch with program staff at any point to let us know how we can best accommodate the challenges of distance learning and we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate where possible.
Virtual Courses: We expect that the majority of courses will be held synchronously via Zoom in their stated time slot, but that they will generally be recorded and posted to Canvas for all to attend. Typically, courses involving discussion sections will have digital discussion boards in addition to verbal synchronous discussion. In general, we expect it to be your choice as to whether you attend at the synchronous time or complete the lectures and discussions asynchronously. These opportunities should be confirmed directly with the instructor on the first day of classes. Note that some courses may require synchronous time (e.g., language recitations) and that seminars and recitations often benefit from live participation.
- Note that courses listed as 'asynchronous' are recorded and on-demand for all students (not just those outside ET)
Online Courses: Courses that are listed as Online are typically (though not exclusively) asynchronous online courses, developed using best practice digital learning platforms like Canvas.
Exams: Some courses may require synchronous, proctored exams. You should check with your instructor on the first day of classes to determine whether this is the case.
College Prep 101 / Test Prep / Admissions Essay Writing: These workshops will be held synchronously via Zoom and recorded and posted for asynchronous viewing along with digital discussion boards. Students who cannot attend synchronously will be able to submit questions via a digital discussion board in advance of each session! Limited space available.
Orientation and Closing Ceremony: Will be held live via Zoom and recorded and posted to Canvas. We do strongly encourage all students to try to attend live. Students will be required to watch the orientation even if they do not attend live and will need to complete a short quiz about covered contents.
Social Activities: We will be offering virtual social activities at different times throughout the day or night (to the extent possible) so that students from across time zones will be able to participate! Some activities, like our virtual board games, will be played throughout the program - with moves made by players and teams when they can check in.