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Tufts 1+4 Information for Families

We appreciate your interest in the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program. This is a unique opportunity for your son or daughter to have an impact while learning and developing important skills. We view it as a transformational experience that will benefit both the students and the people and places they serve, and have ripple effects on the Bridge-Year Fellows when they begin their studies at Tufts following their year of service.

We also recognize that, for many parents and students, it may be difficult to weigh all of the varying factors and decide if the program is a good fit. We offer the following information in the hope of informing you and your child's conversations and reflections about participating in Tufts 1+4.

The Tufts 1+4 program has received outstanding positive feedback from participants, with an overwhelming majority of students and parents rating it as a remarkable, transformational experience. Here's what some parents of past Tufts 1+4 Fellows have had to say:

"The change in my daughter is incredible. I thought she was mature and independent before, but I am so impressed by the confidence and wisdom she acquired. Learning a new language, adapting to a different culture, and assimilating into a new family helped her grow so much as a person. She has a deeper commitment to doing good in the world. She is so equipped to begin her freshman year, and she has some close friends who will also be on campus. I'm incredibly proud of her, and grateful she had this opportunity."

"The experiences and lessons learned during this bridge year could not have been found with any other program."

"When our daughter returned, she seemed so much more mature. She was willing to go with the flow when making plans, and mostly, she was more open-minded. This has been a great change; she's willing to give people the benefit of the doubt that much more. Her relationship with her host family wasn't always easy, but she stuck through it and emerged with more understanding. 1+4 gave our daughter the gift of real empathy."

"(Our son returned) rested and relaxed, and ready to dive into college."

"My son has grown exponentially in mind, body, and spirit. His has a solid sence of self with a hightened awareness and appreciation  of his surroundings. His determination has blossomed giving him the confidence needed to thrive and excel. I know my son has had an experience of a lifetime that he will forever cherish and never forget. I couldn't be more pleased with this program or more proud of my son."

"I notice that (our daugher) is very very excited to be a part of Tufts University. I feel that she is ready to go to college and understands what an excellent education can give her. She has a more broad sense of the world around her. She is more understanding of differences. She is more understanding of herself. I am thrilled the the bridge year program has crossed her path. I think it has made a huge impact on her for her future."

"Our son returned with an expanded perspective on life. He sees a broader horizon, one that incorporates his service, education and his overall life journey. Additionally, he has cultivated a deeper sense of gratitude for the opportunities he has."

"What a gift to have a high quality gap year program integrated with the university that allows your child to mature and really provides a platform for college preparation."

"Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity! It's tough at first but getting through it takes your child to a state of confidence and appreciation and wisdom about the world. The cultural training Tufts provided was irreplaceable, and gave the students reflection skills and openness that will carry with them the rest of their lives."

"It's easy to worry when your child leaves home for the first time, especially when they leave home for Nicaragua! Yet, while there are challenges of living in a developing nation, the risks were fewer than we feared, and the opportunities for growth and development are tremendous. We learned to trust our child and let go of our worries. We also developed a strong sense of trust in the Tufts 1+4 team, the Amigos organization and host family to guide our child appropriately. This leap of trust brought our child to a new level of maturity, wisdom and compassion, qualities he may have taken years to cultivate without such a program."

"Don't think twice! You can give your child a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take time, to mature, to pause and reflect, and to expand their understanding of the world. College will still be there when they get back, but your child will be a much better version of themselves."

"After the craziness of high school and college applications, this year to explore the world at a slower pace and have time to thoughtfully consider short and long-term goals is a gift. This program enables students to gain a more global perspective and learn to live and travel with new people and in new cultures, speaking a different language."

Tips for Families Considering Tufts 1+4

  • It is essential to thoroughly read all the information on the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning website before making any decisions. Each Tufts 1+4 placement has distinctive features and requirements.
  • Whether it is you or your son/daughter who has initiated about a discussion about Tufts 1+4, we hope that you will discuss the program in the spirit of openness. While we are excited about the meaningful opportunities that our program provides, we recognize that it is not for everyone. Fellows will only succeed in the program if they are driven by a passion to serve, a willingness to experience the unknown, a desire to cross cultural boundaries, and an openness to delving deep into themselves and their place in the world.
  • When your son/daughter is considering the different placements, he/she should evaluate all relevant factors to ensure that the chosen opportunity will be positive for both him/herself and for the community. These include internship site (passions, career goals, academic interests, desire to experience a new field or build upon past service roles), location (urban or rural; foreign language background or goals), and more.

We wish you all the best as you discuss the program and the next steps for you and your prospective Tufts 1+4 applicant!

Additional Information

Our collaborating organizations also have specific pages addressed to parents. We suggest reading all of them regardless of which placement your student is interested in, since much of the information is universally relevant.

If you would like to speak to a Tufts 1+4 parent whose child participated in the prorgram, please contact Jessye Crowe-Rothstein, Tufts 1+4 Program Administrator, at

Elaine Harris and her host mother

How the Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year Changed My Child

Margaret Moore, whose daughter Elaine was among the initial group of Tufts 1+4 Fellows in 2015-2016, shares a parent's perspective on what the program has meant for her daughter—and for her.