Tufts Is Asking Its Applicants ‘What Does #YOLO Mean to You?’

Below is our admissions essay.


Image Credit: Memphis Foodie via Flickr

Tufts University is asking potential members of the class of 2018 to provide short answer (200-250 words) to a choice of prompts, the last of which reads as follows:

E) 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?

Let’s have a crack at this, shall we? Below is my searingly honest application essay to Tufts University. #YOLOOO:

I first encountered the phrase “YOLO” while listening to Pandora. Drake’s song “The Motto” taught me that “You only live once. That’s the motto … YOLO. And we ’bout it every day. Every day. Every day … Every day, every day, f*** what anybody say.”  I’ll admit, it was catchy. Only later did I learn, through my work writing for well-regarded internet news sites, that #YOLO had evolved to be not just Drake’s motto, but the motto of many other Americans. It became a popular hashtag on Twitter, giving people courage to do scary things, like get the word “YOLO” tattooed on their necks. Eventually, it proliferated—T-shirts, license plates, boats, approximately 6,000 Buzzfeed lists, all inspired by this acronym. It seemed to shed any remnant of its original meaning. A co-worker began using it as a greeting. (As in, “Hey Liz.” Yolooo, Eric.”) Churches adopted the mantra, despite the fact that Jesus kinda lived twice? And now, I guess, it’s an admissions essay prompt, which is so mainstream that it would hurt Drake’s street cred if, you know, we didn’t already know that Drake was a star on the Canadian teen soap opera Degrassi. In conclusion, YOLO seems to mean pretty much whatever the eff you want. Go Jumbos!

We’ll update you all on my admissions status come April.