Help Stop Tufts Syndrome

The website is no place for neurotic parents.  Just about every student who posts on the site has perfect grades, exceptional scores, grew up in an igloo with multi-generational Inuit relatives and has recently sold a patent to Intel.  These superhumans usually want to know their chances at top schools, but occasionally ask others for nurturing and support. 
Today I discovered a desperate College Confidential post from a senior, gender unknown, with the screen name of weisenheimer2u.  Weisenheimer has a 2340 SAT and a 3.9 unweighted GPA, and wanted to know if anyone could figure out why he or she was waitlisted at Bard.  There was an immediate response from randomname25, whose theory was that Weisenheimer was the victim of "Tufts Syndrome."
WAITLISTED with 2340 SAT, 3.9 GPA
I just got waitlisted today! I thought I was in for sure and Bard is my #1 school. Does anyone know WHY? I mean I know Bard is a great school but I thought I was qualified:

GPA UW: 3.9
GPA W: 5.2
SAT: 780 CR/800 M/760 W
SAT II: Math level 2 800/ French 760/ Chemistry 780/ Physics 800

Took the hardest course load at my HS: all honors freshman and sophomore year (no AP’s allowed until junior year); junior year APUSH (5), AP English Lang (5), AP Chemistry (5), AP Calc BC (5), AP Computer Science (5); senior year AP Econ, AP Euro, AP English Lit, AP Physics C, MV Calc/Linear Algebra, AP French.

ECs: Captain of the math team, co-captain of Science Olympiad, co-captain of the chess team, volunteer tutor, started own web design company.

Why on earth did they reject me? I know I must sound stuck-up but I really can’t figure out why, my stats are above their accepted averages, I’m a good student and I thought my ECs were good enough. What was missing?

randomname25: Tufts Syndrome?

What exactly is Tufts Syndrome?  According to Wikipedia (Yes, I’m aware that you’re not supposed to cite Wikipedia as a reference, but I’m not a college student), Tufts Syndrome is a synonym for "Yield Protection".  This occurs when a university turns down highly-qualified students who seem to be using that university as a safety school.  Top colleges such as Tufts reject or waitlist these students in order to keep their admissions yield high.  They want to admit students who are really going to attend. Thinking back to Case Study Night, this is why we rejected Makele and should have accepted Robert.

Now, as evidenced by Weisenheimer’s post, Tufts Syndrome has spread to Bard.  I have also heard that UC Davis and Pitzer have been waitlisting valedictorians and dolphin trainers, assuming they’re not really interested and will go to Stanford or Pomona instead.

The Neurotic Parent Institute predicts that Tufts Syndrome will reach epidemic proportions by 2009.  It will be impossible to find safeties because if you’re an outstanding candidate, colleges won’t want you because they think you won’t attend.  And paradoxically, if you’re a nice, normal kid who hasn’t written an operetta, they won’t want you because they think you actually will attend.  The trick will be to find a college that isn’t as sensitive as Tufts.  Is there a school out there that doesn’t have an ego, that won’t have hurt feelings if smart kids turn it down?  If so, in just one year, that college can become as selective as Tufts, or at least as Bard, because the Weisenheimers of the world are not getting in anywhere else. 

But until that day comes, there is something you can do rather than sitting still, watching Tufts Syndrome spread from one fine school to another.  I ask all of you to take a moment to help stop this dreaded pandemic.  There is no time to be wasted, and you can make a profound difference in a most simple way:  First, find a mediocre student. Then encourage this slacker to apply to Tufts…or Bard…or UC Davis.  Once these institutions are flooded with applications from low-decile kids, their admissions people will begin to appreciate receiving apps from qualified candidates and maybe, together, we can get Weisenheimer2u off that waitlist.


Help Stop Tufts Syndrome — 19 Comments

  1. My daughter got Tufted this past winter with her definite
    safety. So I’m glad that this
    actually has a name.

  2. My daughter got Tufted this past winter with her definite
    safety. So I’m glad that this
    actually has a name.

  3. Maybe your kids just weren’t good enough for the school. Tufts and Skidmore are both extremely prestigious. An applicant is more than scores and grades.

  4. i got waitlisted at Tufts, fandm, dickinson and at Skidmore and received no acceptances. I am in a bad situation right now as i dont know where i’l end up in september.
    Im a great student. I was second on the honour role last year and i’ve received numerous prizes. In school, we take the A level- a very difficult course- and i got three A as my predicted grades.
    Very sad. Am I suffering from the Tufts syndrome?

  5. I agree with both sides. Colleges do indeed use Yield Protection in order to protect their rankings. I myself feel like I was subject to “Tuft Syndrome. (Got Waitlisted from Fordham but got into Cornell, Georgetown and almost all my other schools)But I do recognize that schools like Bard, Tufts, and Skidmore are incredibly selective and turn down students with 2400s all the time. Also, consider the fact that things like an unimpressive personal statement or a bad rec. could have been a difference between getting in and or not. College admissions is incredibly subjective so no type of formula can necessarily guarantee or automatically rule out any applicant. It really does depend on the preferences of the person who happens to be reading your application. Hope this posting helped. :)

  6. You’re all nuts! My child got into Pomona, Penn, Brown, etc. and is headed to Tufts as a member of the class of 2015. Top-notch everything, sore losers. Honestly!

  7. I had to laugh. My daughter and two of her high school classmates just finished a wonderful freshmen year at Tufts. All three got into Stanford.

  8. I know total genius kids with perfect scores and ridiculously high GPAs who were admitted to Tufts – some of them are going to Tufts.

  9. 9/11 kids who applied to Tufts in my son’s 2011 class from a nationally-ranked, top-notch public high school did not get in. Of the two who are going, one was a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist, and the other was a Finalist. One of them was a Division one athlete and heavily recruited by the Ivies, Stanford, and Duke. Both are happy at Tufts. Both find it challenging.

  10. Daughter plans to start Tufts in the fall and study international relations. She picked Tufts over acceptances at Brown and Wesleyan.