Finger pressure is important. Why? Because I said so.
You made a very good point with distorting the notes if you do not use the tip of your finger. What if you have to hold down 2 sets of strings? Do you barre that fret? I am a female and my finger strength is just ok. Just curious. Thanks!
Welcome @sbeltz Stephanie! If your mandolin is set up well, you should be able to bridge the two string sets easily, depending on your finger size. I have fairly small (thin) fingers and can bridge (fret two string sets with one finger by flattening the end joint) fairly well. Hope this helps
Sometimes you don’t need to, and sometimes you do. But like Gunnar says, a mandolin that is setup correctly will allow you to do that with just a bit of practice