Rapper Drake popularized the saying in "The Motto" saying "you only live once thats the motto," and spawned a popular Twitter hashtag for the phrase.
The pop-culture topic may seem light, but Tufts is notoriously selective, accepting less than 19 percent of applicants. The essay question puts the Drake lyric in some philosophical context:
"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?"
Another essay prompt invites applicants to submit a YouTube video in which they "tell the truth" about themselves.
"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people," Virginia Woolf. Respond to Woolf’s quote in the medium of your choice: prose, video (one minute), blog, digital portfolio, slam poetry... For media other than writing, please share a link (video can be submitted via YouTube but we recommend using a privacy setting) that is easily accessible.
For those less attuned to YOLO and video truth-telling, other prompts include "What makes you happy?" and "Celebrate your nerdy side."