Writing Fellows

The Writing Fellows Program actively recruits undergraduates from any major with experience writing academic papers in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or engineering. We look for students with a keen interest in writing and language combined with excellent interpersonal communication skills and a passion for working with fellow students.


  • $650 per semester to begin, with opportunities for additional compensation after the first semester

Required Orientation and Education for New Fellows

  • One-week intensive workshop series and orientation events before classes begin (typically starts the Monday before Tufts first-year orientation). Fall 2019 intensive workshop dates: Monday, August 26 -- Saturday, August 31, 2019 (move-in on Sunday, August 25).
  • Fall semester pedagogy seminar (Ex-College, 1 credit, graded Pass/Fail)

Time Commitment

  • Hours vary and are flexible -- most writing fellows work about 40 hours over the course of a semester
  • Regular all-fellows training meetings throughout semester
  • At least one full year is the minimum commitment -- many writing fellows take a semester or year off to study abroad, then resume the writing fellowship when they return


  • Any Tufts first-year, sophomore, or junior from any major may apply to be a writing fellow for the following academic year.
  • You must be available to attend the full orientation training during the summer and the fall training course. If you are going abroad in the fall, please apply in the spring of your junior year to be a writing fellow your senior year. We can arrange Skype interviews for eligible applicants who are not on campus.
  • You may not be a new writing fellow and do any of these things at the same time:
    • Go abroad in the fall semester 
    • Be a new FYA 
    • Be an orientation leader, executive orientation leader, or orientation coordinator 
    • Lead Perspectives/Explorations in the fall semester 
    • Lead Tufts Wilderness Orientation or other pre-orientation programs 
    • Take EPIIC 
    • Be an ACE Fellow

Once you complete your training as a writing fellow, you may do any of the above.

Before Applying

Take time to familiarize yourself with the program and what is involved before you apply.

About the program

Writing fellow education

Application instructions

Email any questions about the application process to the director of the program, Kristina Aikens. If you'd like a student's perspective on the program, feel free to contact one of the current writing fellows!

Application Components and Process

See below for instructions on how to compile and submit your application, and see the sidebar for a checklist of what to include in your application.

We review all applications carefully throughout February and invite qualified applicants for a first interview in February or March. Second interviews generally take place in March or early April. You will be notified of our final decision by the first day of registration for fall classes in April.

Application Instructions

The Writing Fellows Program is highly selective. Read this information carefully to be sure your application includes all the required information.

Your Application

Compile the following items in this order and save it as a single PDF file with your last name as the title

1. Résumé:

For help composing a résumé, please see the useful advice on the Career Center website. No cover letter is necessary. 

2. Explanation of Writing Sample Choice:

Write one paragraph explaining your choice of writing sample and what it demonstrates about your writing ability. 

3. Writing Sample:

Include 8-12 pages (double-spaced) of college-level academic writing. This can be one long paper or two shorter papers. (Please do not submit fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.) 

Choose the writing you feel best exemplifies your style and experience as an academic writer. If you are a little under or over the page limit, don’t worry. We would rather see one 7-page paper you love than an 8-page paper you weren’t happy with. We strongly prefer to see a sample of your college writing. However, you may submit a high school paper if you are a first-year student.

Papers from any  class are acceptable, as long as they fit the other criteria. If your paper uses outside sources, make sure the sources are cited correctly. Include in-text citations and a works-cited list, bibliography, or other appropriate list of sources. 

It is entirely acceptable to revise a paper you want to use as a writing sample – just explain your revisions in your explanation of your writing sample choice.

4. Extended Analogy Essay

Write an extended analogy of what you think a writing tutor is most like. For example, is a good writing tutor most like a coach, a wilderness guide, a Jedi master, something else? Why? Invent your own analogy.  

You should consider your analogy to be an additional writing sample, one that shows your ability to reason logically and that potentially reveals a different side of you as a writer. 

Feel free to be descriptive, and/or to choose an unusual comparison.  But we are primarily looking for what you consider to be the role of a Writing Fellow— your understanding of that role. 

Your essay can be as long you need in order to make your comparison. Most successful analogies are 1-2 pages long (double-spaced), but you don’t need to adhere to that. 

Compile the four elements above into one PDF file titled with your last name (i.e., Aikens.pdf or AikensWFapp.pdf).

B. Unofficial Transcript: To download a PDF of your unofficial transcript,

  • Log into SIS
  • Click “Requests”
  • Choose “View Unofficial Transcript” from the drop-down menu
  • On the next screen, click “View report” (Make sure pop-ups are enabled)

You will need to save the transcript onto your computer. Please use your last name and the word “transcript” in the file name.

After gathering your application materials, go the link on the sidebar to submit your application. Your letters of recommendation should be submitted separately.

C. Two Letters of Recommendation (submitted separately by your recommenders)

We strongly urge you to share the information about the format and content of the recommendation with your recommenders.  

1. Academic Recommendation:

One academic recommendation must be from a Tufts faculty, dean, or advisor, even if you are a first-year student. 

We encourage recommenders to email us informal, candid assessments of your strengths as a student. These do not need to be formal, lengthy letters of recommendation. Recommenders might comment on such topics as your classroom performance, teaching/tutoring potential, writing skills, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, maturity, or motivation. Please feel free to share this information with your recommenders.

Sometimes a professor nominates a student at their own discretion. We notify students of the nomination, which counts as the first recommendation; the nominator does not need to do more. Don’t worry if you were not nominated, as nominations carry no more weight for the application than a recommendation you request. 

2. Second Academic Recommendation or Character Recommendation:

The second recommendation may be an academic recommendation from a Tufts professor or high school teacher, or it may be a character recommendation from a coach, employer, supervisor, advisor, or counselor. This person should be able to assess your work ethic, motivation, maturity, and interpersonal skills. As with the first recommendation, this should be a brief, informal assessment (see above).

Have your recommenders email their letters directly to Kristina Aikens, director of the Writing Fellows program, at Kristina.Aikens@tufts.edu

Please note: graduate student lecturers or TAs are acceptable recommenders, but the only undergraduates who can provide a nomination or recommendation for the program are current writing fellows.

We strongly prefer electronic submission, but if necessary, a hard copy can be sent to Kristina Aikens, Academic Resource Center, 720 Dowling Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155.

Questions? Email Kristina Aikens.