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Tufts' 'YOLO' Essay Question Asks College Applicants To Explain Phrase's Personal Significance

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DRAKE
In this Sept. 2, 2012 file photo, Drake performs at the "Made In America" music festival in Philadelphia. Although The Strokes released "You Only Live Once," Drake popularized the phrase in 2012. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) | AP

YOLO [YO-low]: An acronym meaning "You only live once." Meant to elicit a carefree attitude, willing to take chances.

Also, the subject of an essay question to get into one of the best universities in the country.

Tufts University in Medford, Mass., is asking applicants to answer three essay questions. The first two deal with why prospective students are applying to Tufts and how their background defines them. Then they give applicants a choice of six essay prompts, one of which involves "YOLO":

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?

(Yes, they include the hashtag.)

"This question was submitted by a member of our incoming first-year class and was one of six essay choices designed to give students a chance to tell us about themselves," Tufts spokesman Alexander Reid told The Huffington Post. "The spirit of the question is quite serious, as it asks students to consider a concept that people –- from Roman philosopher of antiquity Horace to contemporary Grammy Award-winning Canadian rapper Drake -– have been thinking about for thousands of years."

Lee Coffin, dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts, admits he has an affinity for pop music. Coffin is encouraging applicants to have some fun when they introduce themselves to Tufts.

"Oh yes, we did. Quakers, Virginia Woolf, nerds, an ancient Roman, Drake, a principle of physics and the Red Sox (at least by inference) all wiggled their way into one of our essay questions," Coffin wrote in a blog about the admissions essay. "YOLO."

Colleges seem to like to ask weird prompts in application essays, like the University of Chicago's 2002 question, "How do you feel about Wednesday?" or "You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit Page 217," as the University of Pennsylvania has asked for 20 years. Tufts asked applicants in 2009 "Are we alone?"

Which brings us to the evolution of YOLO, courtesy of The Black Sheep Online:

The Evolution Of #YOLO
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(h/t The Hairpin)