Tufts Applicants Asked to Contemplate 'YOLO'

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Popularized by the rapper Drake, the term YOLO (frequently accompanied by a hashtag) has become a fixture of pop culture. It has been the subject of a hit YouTube video by the band the Lonely Island featuring Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar. It is a phrase common among teenagers and young adults as they embark on a night of partying.

And now, it is the subject of an admissions essay at one of the top universities in the country.

Tufts University, as part of its supplemental application, has provided applicants seeking a spot in the class of 2018 with an option to submit a 200-300 word essay about what the term means to them.

The question in its entirety:

"The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase "Carpe diem." Jonathan Larson proclaimed "No day but today!" and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?"


Tufts has a reputation for atypical admissions essays. The Tufts student newspaper reported in 2010 that students had the option of creating a YouTube video instead of writing an essay. This year, if students do not select the question of YOLO, they can write about what makes them happy or how they "celebrate their nerdy side."

U.S News and World Report ranked Tufts at number 28 in its most recent college rankings. It has an admissions rate of 21 percent, making it one of the most selective schools in the country.

The essay prompt made its way around social media, going viral on Twitter. Tufts Admissions tweeted: "I wish # tufts was trending more than # yolo, but hey people are talking about us"