Embracing Your Voice


MEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS – Cold and nice. That’s how I would describe my fly-in to Tufts University in Massachusetts through the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience. I attended the event on Thursday and Friday, October 27-28.

Over the summer, before the looming presence of senior year, I looked into college-fly-in programs. College-fly-in programs are college visit events that often take place in the fall of senior year and are usually paid for by the college that offers the programs. Many schools throughout the United States offer these programs and typically only require an application for interested students. I applied for Tufts’ fly-in program early in October and luckily received my acceptance email less than a week later. I was to fly out with nine other accepted students from the Los Angeles area at the end of the month.

The phenomenon of turning leaves

Although it was my first time 1) traveling alone, 2) going to the east coast, and 3) visiting an out-of-state college, I was not nervous necessarily – I was, however, very anxious about the cold weather. When I got into contact with my Tufts University host, she was adamant about how I needed to not only pack extra layers of clothes but also a sleeping bag to last me through the cold of a night in Massachusetts. She commented that the weather had been a “chilly forty” (Californian translation: freezing) for most of the week.

At the airport, I met nine other Tufts prospies (as Tufts students call prospective students). They were a group of outgoing, down to earth, and smart individuals. I could easily say my experience at Voices would not have been as enjoyable without them.

The trip began with a flight. After five hours, we arrived at Logan Airport at 8 A.M. Boston time and instantly felt the “chilly” weather. Most of us realized that we may have under-packed. A Tufts Voices representative picked us up and we found ourselves at the university in less than half an hour. The first impression I had of the campus was how beautiful it was. As a Californian teen, I never truly get to see the leaves turning in the fall, but falling leaves were all around Tufts’ campus. The Bostonian architecture also brought me into the pages of a United States history textbook.

Lunch on day one

The first day gave prospies the opportunity to explore the campus and better understand the Tufts experience. A highlight of the day was the scavenger hunt that was essentially a competitive self-guided tour around campus. My group of Cali prospies and I braved the chilling rain in an attempt to win the hunt. Although we did not end up winning, we had a great time and became more familiar with the campus. After meeting our hosts in the evening, we also had a chance to watch a Super Show that included performances by Tufts’ renowned step teams, acapella teams, spoken word club, and even an Indian bhangra dance team.

The program was intended to end the next day, but Voices had a packed schedule planned for prospies. After breakfast, prospies said goodbye to their hosts and went on to attend mock classes or group sessions. Mock classes were short classes available only for Voices participants and held discussions on interesting topics such as the history of racism and the effects of migration on the economy. Group sessions were discussions hosted by Tufts admissions officers who sought to learn more about the Voices participants. The program concluded with one final admissions session.

As we boarded the shuttles to the airport, I realized that I was not ready to leave my new friends and Tufts behind. After attending Voices, I decided that I will be applying to Tufts and do hope that it will become an option for me. Having had the chance to experience Tufts as closely and as personally as I did, I learned that I could see myself attending the school.

Thus, I would highly recommend any current juniors to research fly-in programs as early as now. These experiences may be the deciding factor of whether or not you apply to a certain institution. This was certainly true for me.

California kids in their unnatural habitat
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