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Jeff's Things To Do Around NOLA Part 10: Freret Street

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 23:16
Gasa Gasa (
One of the first areas to see a true post-Katrina renaissance was Freret Street. Freret is one of only two streets that actually crosses through Tulane's campus (the other is Willow) and today it's one of the most bumpin' streets in all of New Orleans. From our campus, it's just around six blocks to Jefferson and Freret where you'll start to see some excellent food and drink establishments (and a few reliable chains, like the Starbucks at Freret and Jefferson which looks to be opening soon). One of the many things I love about Freret is it has some great dining options for any budget, including student budgets. If you're walking to Freret from campus, here are my top choices of must-see/do/eat places in order of walking distance.

Mint Vietnamese: Semi-well-known-fact about New Orleans: we have one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam. Which means we have some pretty epic Vietnamese food all over town. Mint happens to be one of my favorite spots to grab Pho or Vermicelli. Bonus: super affordable!

Liberty Cheesesteaks: One of the best restaurants in New Orleans! And just because one of my best friends and Tulane fraternity brothers is the man behind the magic does not make me biased when I say that. I even made a video about Liberty's founder, Mike, a few years back. Since that video in 2013, Liberty has moved to a much larger space just down the block from the old location. They still churn out the best cheesesteaks south of Philly.
Brand new! Good Bird. (
Good Bird: This rotisserie chicken spot was incubated in the much-talked about St. Roch Market in the Bywater and has now opened a second location in the spot that Liberty once occupied. Good Bird serves up some of the most delicious rotisserie chicken and sandwiches I've ever tried. I highly recommend the Eagle Street!

Gasa Gasa:  An all-encompassing venue that host some of the best and most eclectic music and art in the city. A truly local music performance center, Gasa Gasa's main goal is to: "highlight the local talent that surrounds us and create a room accessible to all forms of artistic expression."

Midway Pizza: One of the best aspects of Freret is that in some ways, the street serves as a tour of America's best foods. From cheesesteaks to hot dogs to exceptional pizza, Freret has it all, in an Americana kind of way. In my opinion, the deep dish Chicago-style pizza that's served up at Midway is just as good as the original stuff you'll find in Chitown. I recommend the all-you-can-eat Freret Street Lunch Special.

Mojo Coffee: Something I love about New Orleans and New Orleanians is the fierce penchant for all things local. You're much more likely to find a local coffee shop here rather than a Starbucks (even though one ironically is about to open on the distinctly-local Freret Street soon) Mojo is everything that is right when it comes to local coffee shops and mmmmmboy is their breakfast good.

Bloomin' Deals Thrift Shop: I have been heading over to Bloomin' Deals since I was but a wee freshman walking over from Monroe Hall to do some of the best thrift shopping in town. Mardi Gras costumes, costumes for themed Greek events, old school t-shirts; all are found aplenty at Bloomin' Deals.
Company Burger is lyfe 
The Company Burger: The best burgers in New Orleans. Hands down. Period. Done. End of story. Bye.

Wayfare: I think Wayfare is one of the most underrated restaurants in NOLA. Great ambiance, excellent food, and reasonable prices. My top choice is the Waldorf Chicken Salad. This is also a great spot to head with a larger group!

High Hat Cafe (
High Hat Cafe: Anyone looking for great local and classic NOLA food near campus, High Hat should be your first stop. They have excellent takes on classical Creole dishes like po-boys, catfish, and BBQ shrimp. They do it all in a classic, yet contemporary diner setting.

This just scratches the surface of what Freret Street has to offer! I didn't even mention Tulane staples like Dat Dog (which is now opening 40 new locations!). And it's not just the food and restaurants on Freret that are great. Freret is also home to a comic book store, bakery, a bike shop, a yoga studio, a sushi joint, pet shops, art galleries, and even the monthly Freret Market. It even has a new hotel! The whole district is walkable and a fun afternoon if you're on Tulane's campus. Be sure to check it out during the annual Freret Street Festival in April.

Six Tips for a Great Dean's Honor Scholarship

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 15:15
President Fitts displays his DHS project For this blog, I went straight to the best source on all things DHS. Leila Labens, our Director of Strategic Recruitment, is taking over today to give you her best tips for a great DHS project. And she would know- she leads the committee that selects the finalists before they head to the Deans of each school. Let's do this!
*                   *                   *
Leila Labens, today's guest blogger It’s early December which means it’s almost one of my favorite part of the admission cycle – seeing the wonderful, brilliant, creative, expressive DHS projects come through the door (mostly figuratively, but sometimes literally). I’ve participated in the committee that gives the first review on all of the projects for a number of years and I wanted to share some tips on putting together a strong project.

Don’t get too caught up on “the box.” The actual box does not need to be part of the project. It can be but doesn’t have to be. So, if you can’t move past an idea that is strictly square in shape or message, I encourage you to “think outside of the box.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). 
Don’t completely ignore “the box.” I know- I just told you don’t get hung up on it BUT you should also have some reference to a square or box or something somewhere in your submission. Think figuratively (the box that defines you). Think big (the square façade of a building). Think tiny (pixels that make up a larger picture). Think logically (the mathematical area of the box as part of a larger equation that proves why you should get the scholarship). Think historically (an American history rap that mentions famous boxes throughout time- square stages where famous addresses were delivered, chests/boxes of tea in Boston Harbor, voting booth check boxes…) Think literally (hundreds of post-its that turn into an incredible flip storybook).
Express yourself. Take this as an opportunity to tell us about yourself. Maybe incorporate an artistic passion, or a skill for computer programming. You could use this as a chance to show off your ability to write an incredible screen play or as a vehicle to show your drive for service and your community. Help us know more about your without making the project completely about yourself. Think of this as a “humble brag,” a way to introduce yourself beyond just pictures documenting your accomplishments. 
Include some semblance of something academic. After all, this is the Dean’s Honor Scholarship- meaning some very bright members of the Tulane faculty and community (ahem, Deans) will be selecting the final recipients. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, humorous, or have fun while working on your project. Just remember to show off some of your impressive brain power in the process.
Put some time into it. After seeing hundreds of projects, it can become obvious which ones were thrown together in a hurry to meet our deadline. Have a plan in mind and give yourself enough time to submit a well thought out and seamlessly produced project.
Be proud of it. If you aren’t excited about your submission and didn’t enjoy working on it, the multiple reviewers may not be thrilled by it either. Do something that you would be excited to show your classmates, family, and friends.
One last technical point: if you opt to put something together online, make sure you are using a platform or host site that can be accessed by different computers across different networks.
We always get plenty of video submissions, so here are some of the best of those:
Gabreilla Runnels 
Evan Doomes from Louisiana 

Rebekah Oviatt from Washington 
Now get to boxin!

Admission Anxiety - And Twelve Steps to Reduce It

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 17:00

Alright gang, EA and ED application deadlines have passed. It's all out of your control, and now, the waiting begins. We've changed things up a bit this year, in previous years we've released our EA and ED decisions on a more rolling (and sometimes random) basis. This year, we're completely shifting to a single release date for both EA and ED. ED letters will leave the Office of Admission on November 27th. EA letters will head out on December 17th. Green Wave portals will be updated a few days after letters are mailed out. No need to keep checking the mailbox or portal until then. Hopefully, knowing exactly when you'll hear back will reduce anxiety a little bit. Speaking of anxiety...

I’ll be the first to admit it; for intermittent portions of last year, I had some serious anxiety. That's what today's blog is all about. Whether it was professional or personal, I oftentimes let my brain run wild, creating various scenarios and possibilities. For you high school students, I suspect that this feeling is not totally foreign, especially around this time of the year as you await your incoming admission decisions. The exams, the late nights, the application deadlines, the drama in school, etc. It is college application season and anxiety is, unfortunately, all too common in this process. For me, I couldn’t shake the anxiety. As soon as my alarm would sound in the morning, my brain would start racing with to-do lists, emails to send, and things not done from the day before. To be honest, it was nearly debilitating.

Then, at the end of last year, it all changed.

I know it seems somewhat dramatic to say, but there was one main thing I can credit my anxiety-reduction to: meditation. I was a naysayer forever — I thought meditation was silly, too hippy-dippy, not for me. I was also certain that I didn't have the attention span for it. And then, I tried it. And... it worked. I am not saying it wiped out my anxiety, but there is no doubt it's had a profound impact on my life.

It has worked so much for me that I want to share some of my tips for reducing anxiety in your hyperactive high school lives.  It’s my hope that by doing a few of the things below, you can start to see some positive changes and maybe manage this crazy stressful and anxiety-inducing time of the year.

1) Meditate. All I'm saying is to try it. Give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. Even just ten minutes a day. Remember, they call meditation a “practice” for a reason: you’re not going to master it the first time you try it. Or even the first ten times. But keep at it for a few weeks. I promise you, you’ll see remarkable results, just like going to the gym. I use Calm when I meditate and I can't recommend it enough. Try the 7 Days of Calm, it's a free trial. I know others love Headspace. Marines, pro athletes, CEOs, and millions of Americans have introduced meditation into their daily life. This stuff is the real deal.

2) Treat your brain like it’s your roommate. Here is something I learned from the concept of mindfulness and specifically from this great book I read called The Untethered Soul. Basically, your brain is like your roommate. It’s always going to be nagging you, talking to you, reminding you of things, giving you it's opinion in an endless narrative. The most important thing to remember is this: you can choose what you listen to. Just because your brain is always talking to you, doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Imagine if all the negative or anxious thoughts that you have came from an actual person saying those things to you; they'd kinda be a real annoying jerk who you'd never listen to in real life. After all, if you could control your brain’s thoughts, you’d only think positive things, right? As soon as you starting thinking “I’ll never get into this school,"  "I am going to bomb the ACT," just remember — you don’t have to listen to negativity. Just like that annoying roommate, you don't have to listen to it.

3) Download the Moment app on your phone. Moment tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone and WOW is this an eye opener. The data from studies linking phone addition to anxiety and depression is eye-popping. On Sunday, I downloaded the Moment app and nearly threw up when I saw how many hours I spent on my phone in one day. So, on Monday morning when I was leaving for work and going for my standard phone check before I got into my car, I thought no Jeff don't check it, you don't need to and I drove to work. Shortly thereafter, I realized I'd actually forgotten my phone at home altogether. I spent the day worrying that my grandma was texting me "I love you" on her final death bed (she wasn't; she's not even sick) or that my boyfriend had some massive emergency (he didn't; I emailed him just to be sure). I got home Monday night to find I'd missed exactly zero important calls, texts or Insta stories. A whole day away from my phone! I'm going to stick with this Moment app to really see how I can cut down on my phone use. Give it a shot with me.

4) Try a little mindfulness. Take a few moments to listen to a podcast about mindfulness. When I did, it was the first time in my life I’ve ever been exposed to the concept, and to be honest, there is something to it. If you’d told me a year ago I would have typed that sentence, I would have laughed at you. My sister got me turned on to Tara Brach — look her up in the Podcast store and give her a listen. If you'd rather read, check out the book Dan Harris from ABC News wrote after his on-air anxiety attack called Ten Percent Happier. We've even got a Mindfulness Collaborative here at Tulane.

5) Don’t look at your phone before you go to sleep or right when wake up. See tip #3. When you are on your phone right before you go to bed, the stimulation from the phone keeps you awake and also keeps your mind racing. Instead, read a book. Meditate. Do something besides sit in bed and stare at your phone. If you have to look at your phone before bed, adjust the Night Shift on your phone before you do so. This takes out the colors that make it hard on your eyes in the evening. Right as you wake up, don't grab your phone and check Snapchat or email. Just let yourself wake up. Also, drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. I don't know why, it just helps somehow.

6) Add the Momentum add in for your laptop. It gives you gorgeous shots and inspirational messages to greet you every day.

7) Don’t post your college application decisions on Facebook. If you get into a school, that is great! No need to blast it all over social media, even though I know you are super pumped. Because as you get in, many of your classmates will not. Keep your results off social media and you'll be inadvertently helping those around you. Once you select a school to enroll at, by all means post about it. But in the crazy ED/EA season, it goes a long way to show some humility.

8) Take it a step further and take a little break from social media altogether. This one is tough, I know, especially in the world we live in. It's remarkable how much anxiety it can give you when you are consistently comparing your life to your classmates and experiencing FOMO. One small step I recommend is getting rid of the Facebook app on your phone and just checking it when you happen to be on your computer. Or pick one to commit to: Insta Story OR Snapchat, not both. See tip #3 again — as it turns out, you're not missing as much as you think you are. Case in point — the people who don't us social media at all are always cooler than me and never seem to have any anxiety about not being on it.

9) Learn to respond, not react. This is one that is going to take some time and won't happen overnight. But by practicing some mindfulness and maybe a little meditation, you'll get there. Simply put, reacting is the knee-jerk reaction to a situation. Responding is taking a breath, collecting your thoughts, mulling it over, and then replying. Next time someone emails you something obnoxious, instead of immediately reacting with an equally obnoxious email, sit on it, even sleep on it, and write a well-thought-out response. You'll be glad you did. Great example: if you get deferred from a school, don't react. Respond. You'd be shocked how many students send me expletive-laden emails when they are not admitted to Tulane. That is called a reaction.

10) Be patient with others. I was on the airplane last week with a mom and her baby. The baby would NOT stop crying. Everyone was glaring at the mom with a "shut that kid up" look on their face. Now, think of it this way — who is the only person on that plane who wants that baby to stop crying more than you? Right. The mom. So be patient. I bet that baby will stop crying a whole lot sooner if the other people on the flight gave the mom a few compassionate looks of patience. Patience with others (your school counselor for example) can lead to a remarkable amount of anxiety reduction of your own.

11) Let Thanksgiving be a college-free zone. Everyone is going to ask where you applied, where you got in, where you want to go. Set some ground rules with the fam.  Mom and Dad, you might have to lead this charge. Let this be a time with your family to decompress, truly enjoy each other's company, and leave all that college-talk for some other time. There's not much that can be changed now, so getting into stressful conversations over the turkey won't help anyone. Go play some football instead. Speaking of which...

12) Exercise. But like, REALLY, exercise. One of the absolute best ways to reduce your anxiety is to get a really good workout in. Not just a casual jog, but something where you really push yourself. Take a boot-camp class, maybe even a spin class, but do something that pushes you harder than usual. If you're a freshman at Tulane, your first spin class is on me! Or Joe for ABT.

If you had told me last year I'd be writing a blog encouraging you to meditate, I'd think you had lost your mind! But here I am doing exactly that. Like I've said before, everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. You'll get in somewhere, you'll go somewhere. You'll do fine in school and the drama with your friends will come and go. This goes back to deciding what you listen to in your brain. It's not always going to be perfect, but you can be assured, eventually things have a way of working themselves out. I am not saying all will be completely stress-free all the time, but over the course of the next few months, if you try a few of the tips above, you might just experience reduced anxiety in life, even at a time when you'd expect it to be higher than ever.

Good luck out there! And have a happy, delicious and hopefully college-talk-free Thanksgiving.

What's the Deal with ED II?

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:31
By now, many of you seniors have probably gotten emails from us about our Early Decision II option.  Like Early Decision, ED II is binding, meaning that you are committing to attend Tulane in the fall if you are admitted through this plan. The application is due January 5th, and you will hear a decision from us by January 19th.  How's that for a quick turnaround?

ED II is a great option if you were planning to apply Regular Decision, but have decided that Tulane is now your #1 choice. Or, if you applied Early Action and your list of schools has changed throughout the process, you can switch your application to Early Decision II. You don’t have to let us know until January 6th, so you may wait until you receive a decision from us about your Early Action application, and then be in touch. Between you and me, it's a great option if things didn't go as planned for you in EA, either at Tulane or elsewhere.

If you would to like switch your application from Early Action or Regular Decision to ED II, fill out this form by January 5th. Since it is a binding agreement, you will receive an Agreement Form to be signed by you, your parents, and your guidance counselor. If you have not applied yet, you can simply start a new application and indicate you are applying ED II. You can read a bit more about the process here, and as always, be in touch if you have any questions!

Coming Home

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 17:36
Homecoming was this past weekend and it was epic! Sure, we didn't win the game, but the energy on campus was amazing. We had thousands of alumni, parents and friends on campus for a perfect week of carnivals, concerts, tailgates and football games. You can check out a recap in photos here

Homecoming is made all the more special for the Office of Admission as it usually falls right around the very end of our fall travel season. Our team of admission counselors spent the last two months travelling around the world to recruit the class of 2022. We hit up high schools far and wide as we start to shape next year's freshman class. I thought you might want to get a little bit of info on our travels, by the numbers...

949: High Schools Visited8570: Number of students who attended a Tulane high school visit474: Total days spent on the road by admission staff members153: Number of individual flights taken by admission staff members 27: Countries Visited (Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong,  India, Jordan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam)17: Community Based Organizations visited. This year, we hit up places like College Track, Next Generation Scholars, and Overtown Youth Center. Out top priority right now is to have the class of 2022 be the most diverse yet, and visiting CBOs is a great way to connect with some fantastic students. CBOs provide great programming and mentorship to these students and we're excited to partner with so many of them.  
I'll leave you with some of my favorite shots of both Homecoming in NOLA and a few photos of our admission travels 'round the world. Enjoy!

Our marching band in action! 
Speaking of bands, TUMBAA put on an awesome show at halftime!
They're our alumni band, featuring one of our admission counselors, Neill! 
I love this action shot of the moment that Jessica and Patrick
found out they were named our 2017 Homecoming King and Queen! Here I am at the tailgate with some of the admission team, Jalin and Henry 
And now, some of our best shots from our travels! Here is Julie remembering Tulane at the Alamo. 
Here I am at the Punahou School in Hawaii!

Morgan with a squad of prospective students in Oakland
Our Director of International Admission, Paul, always looking dapper, this time in Beirut 
I got to meet up with some great Tulane families in Los Angeles at one of our big Tulane fundraising events out there.
Here I am with the Sheltons; their son Trejon is a first year student at Tulane.
The whole Tulane squad attended the NACAC conference in Boston this fall.
Scenes from Next Generation Scholars, one of the CBOs we visited this fall.  Nora meeting prospective students in Myanmar 

Nora in Panama with Caroline, one of our Admission Interns.
Yes, we even bring our current Tulane students to travel with us to meet you all! 

Toni with a crew of prospective students in Lafayette, LA.
And finally, here I am somewhere between high school visits in Switzerland.
I think I basically drove through a Ricola commercial. 

Two Days in NOLA

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 18:00
One of the most frequent questions I get from prospective students and their families, in addition to where should we eat in New Orleans, is: "We've never been to NOLA before... what should we do?"

New Orleans is a fabulous town in so many regards, so it never surprises me when we end up on the list for Travel + Leisure's World's Best Cities and land in the top ten. It would take well more than four years to experience everything that New Orleans has to offer. I've been here for 15 and still discover new and incredible things to check out every day. (By the way, want to see all my favorite spots in town? Follow my NOLA here, and there rest of the admission office here!)

But... what if you only have two days in town? At the risk of providing you with some of the more typical tourist options, I am going to offer you a nice itinerary for the first-time visitor to Tulane and New Orleans. Consider yourself a non-typical tourist, but someone who still wants to see the most important stuff.

So, let's get going with Two Days in NOLA for the First Timer!

Day One:


Arrive in NOLA in the early afternoon and check into your hotel. We've got a number of hotels that we recommend that offer great discounts. If you've never been to New Orleans before, I would recommend staying somewhere close to downtown. New Orleans is a very walkable city and staying downtown will give you access to all we've got to offer. I'd recommend staying in the Central Business District (CBD) or the Warehouse District over staying in the French Quarter. The Quarter is amazing and definitely a place to check out during your time in NOLA, but can get verrrrry busy and difficult to navigate, especially on the weekends. The CBD and the Warehouse District are just a few blocks from the Quarter and provide some of the best hotels in town. My top three picks would be the Ace, the Renaissance Arts Hotel or the Pontchartrain Hotel.


You're heading to the French Quarter to spend the afternoon around Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. Jackson Square is the center of everything in New Orleans. Do a full lap around the square, peek in St. Louis Cathedral (which dates back to 1718) and check out the local artists, performers and tarot card readers that post up around the square. Then, dig in to some beignets at Cafe du Monde, because no NOLA trip is complete without them. Mosey down to the French Market (which closes at 6 pm) for a bit to grab some tchotchkes. Before it gets too late, stroll back up Royal Street (one of NOLA's 15 must see streets) to jam out to the street performers and check out the amazing stores like Cohen Antiques and MS Rau Antiques. If you must, head over a few blocks to Bourbon Street to say you saw it. And then run away from there very quickly because you are not a tourist and only tourists hang on Bourbon.


Go eat. I have a whole blog dedicated to this. I could save you some time and just say go to Domenica.
Royal Street in all her glory. Photo: Four Seasons of Food blog
Day Two:


Time for your campus tour! I recommend the 9 am tour before it gets too hot in the afternoon. Sign up here.


Now it's time to really act like a local and head over to Magazine Street. Magazine is 6 miles long and has some of the best shopping, dining and drinking in town. It's also the place you're most likely to see Tulane students hanging out during their nights and weekends. Once your campus tour is wrapped up, head back to the Office of Admission, and then right out front to St. Charles Avenue to pick up the downtown streetcar. It's $1.25 and a great way to see the city. It's also the nation's only national historic landmark that is mobile. Hop off the streetcar at Washington Street. This will put you in the heart of the Garden District, another must-see. Stroll around to see Commanders Palace and the beautiful homes that surround it, particularly on Coliseum, 2nd, 3rd and 4th streets. In just this area alone, you can find the home where Benjamin Button was filmed, Ann Rice's house, Sandra Bullock's house, Beyonce and Jay Z's house, and Archie Manning's house.

Once you've had your fill of the Garden District, keep walking away from St. Charles until you hit Magazine Street and make a right. The area of Magazine Street between Washington and Louisiana is where it's AT for lunch. Want to really get a taste of Tulane? Head straight to the Rum House for lunch. Or Ignatius. Or Basin Seafood. Or Dat Dog. Or Slim Goodies. I could go on and on.
One of the incredible houses you'll see in the Garden District. This one belongs to Sandra Bullock. Photo:

You've had some time to nap off your full day of eating and walking, and maybe you head to the gym, or even take one of my spin classes. Now, it's time to see what this music scene is all about in NOLA. After dinner, grab an Uber and head down to Frenchmen Street, considered by many to be the local's version of Bourbon Street. On Frenchmen, you'll find four blocks of some of the best live music in the world, from jazz to blues to gospel to reggae to rock n roll, Frenchmen has it all. My top choices would be the Spotted Cat, DBA, and Three Muses (which also has great food!). Spend a few hours bopping into any music venue you'd like. Most are free or relatively inexpensive.

Day Three:


Time to check out one of the best museums in the world, The National WWII Museum. There is a reason it's ranked the top attraction in NOLA and one of the top ten museums in the world. First order of business will be seeing Beyond All Boundaries, a movie which will set the stage for the rest of your visit. Know why we have the WWII Museum here in NOLA? The hundreds of Higgins boats, the ones that landed on the beaches of Normandy and that Eisenhower credited as being a major factor in winning the war, were conceived of and built right here in town.

Once you've wrapped up your visit, stick around for just long enough to grab lunch in the Warehouse District, right where the museum is. I recommend Butcher, Peche or Cochon—all on my list for the top restaurants in town.

The National WWII Museum. Trust me- it's incredible! Photo:

Now it's time to head home. Wipe away those tears; you'll be back for four years to experience all of this and much, much more as a nearly-local by way of being a Tulanian!  

Before I sign off, I also had a few of my colleagues and current students provide their takes on what to do with only two days (the length of a typical college and city visit) in this fine town of ours. So, enjoy Two Days in NOLA for:

The Typical Tulanian
The History Buff
The Frugal Foodie
The Outdoorsy Family
The Health Nut
The Literature Lover
The Sports Addict 
The Art Lover 

This could all be yours someday! 

St. Louis CathedralA little Tulane flair in the French Quarter

Shelter from the Storm

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 16:00
A few weeks ago we published a blog letting students in Puerto Rico know that Tulane and New Orleans would stand with them as they began their journey toward recovery. Today, we’re making good on our offer of help by offering a tuition-free guest semester program for students from universities and colleges in Puerto Rico. Tulane will open our doors to students whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Maria for the spring 2018 semester provided that they pay their home institution’s spring tuition. After Katrina, universities and colleges around the world took in our students with open arms; it’s now our turn to pay it forward and assist students in need. This program is also open to students in other areas affected by recent storms in the USVI and St. Maarten/St. Martin.

For any student interested in spending their spring semester here at Tulane and in New Orleans, here is what you need to know and what steps you’ll need to take:

Complete a brief application. The application can be completed here. We understand that getting copies of your grades and transcripts may be difficult at this time, but please attempt to get any form of transcripts or records of grades, unofficial or not, to add to your application. We’ll accept screenshots or photographs of documents. The application deadline is November 1st and we’ll get back to you by November 15th. You will have between then and January 10th to make the decision as to whether you will enroll here. Not all students who apply will be admitted as a limited number of spaces are available.

Pay your spring tuition to your college or institution in Puerto Rico. Tulane wants to partner with your institution during their recovery process. If you are admitted to Tulane's spring guest student program, we ask that you pay your spring bill at your current school. If your current institution is not able to accept payment or not reopening, please indicate that in the “more information” section of the application.

If you attend a school other than UPR, please have your Dean or Provost reach out to us to ensure they approve of your guest student status. They should reach out to Satyajit Dattagupta, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Undergraduate Admission, to state their consent to our Spring Guest Student Program. Students from UPR have already been approved for this program.

Enrolling at Tulane: Students from Puerto Rico would be considered full-time, non-degree-seeking guest students in the Newcomb-Tulane Undergraduate College. We’ll have dedicated advisors and student support here for you to ensure your semester at Tulane is a successful one. Guest students will be required to return to their home institutions in Puerto Rico after the spring semester and are not considered transfer students at Tulane.

Housing: Tulane will make attempts to secure housing for any student who enrolls at Tulane for the spring semester. Please indicate on your application if you will be needing housing. We’ll work to partner you up with host families here in New Orleans and we also recommend you research off-campus housing options as well.

Tuition and Fees: Tulane will charge you absolutely nothing to enroll here.

Should you have any questions about the Spring Guest Student Program, please reach out to us at:
Jeff Schiffman, Director of Admission
Colette Raphel, University Registrar
Becky Ancira, Associate VP of Enrollment

If you are a resident of New Orleans and interesting in housing a guest student for the semester, please let me know.

It is our hope to be able to provide a temporary home to a group of students who have dealt with the challenges of Hurricane Maria and her aftermath. The city of New Orleans and Tulane hope to welcome you this spring to help you get your education back on track. New Orleans may not be your home, but we'll do our best to make your temporary shelter from the storm.

Hace unas semanas publicamos un blog para dejarle saber a los estudiantes en Puerto Rico que podían contar con el apoyo de Tulane y la ciudad de New Orleans en el camino a la recuperación luego del huracán. Hoy cumplimos nuestra promesa, ofreciéndole a estudiantes de universidades en Puerto Rico un programa para venir a Tulane como un estudiante invitado para el semestre de primavera 2018. Le abriremos las puertas a estudiantes que fueron afectados por el huracán Maria proveyendo que paguen la matricula a su universidad, es decir, no tendrán que pagar nuestra matrícula. Luego del paso de Katrina muchas universidades y otras instituciones recibieron a nuestros estudiantes con los brazos abiertos; ahora nos toca a nosotros pagar la deuda ayudando a estudiantes que necesiten de nuestra institución. Este programa también está disponible para estudiantes de las Islas Vírgenes de los Estados Unidos y St.Marteen/ St. Martin.
Aquí podrán encontrar las instrucciones y requisitos para los estudiantes que estén interesados en venir a Tulane y New Orleans para su semestre de primavera: 
Completar la aplicaciónPuede encontrar la aplicación aquí. Entendemos que les será muy difícil obtener transcripciones de crédito o cualquier otro documento relacionado a su institución. Pero puede someter documentos pasados, o cualquier documento sea oficial o no. Aceptáramos fotografías o imágenes capturas de pantalla. Le fecha límite para aplicar sería el 1 de noviembre, 2017 y recibirá una respuesta para el 15 de noviembre, 2017. Luego tendrá hasta el 10 de enero, 2018 para decidir si se matriculará en Tulane por ese semestre. 
Pagar la matrícula en la universidad que está matriculado en Puerto Rico. Tulane está comprometido a asegurase de que las instituciones en las que los estudiantes están matriculados tengan los fundos suficientes para seguir funcionando una vez vuelvan a abrir. Si le aceptamos al programa de estudiantes invitados en el semestre de primavera vamos a requerir prueba de que pagaron la matrícula en sus institución. 
Si está matriculado en una universidad que no sea la UPR, tendrá que pedirle al decano o rector de su institución que se comunique con nosotros, para asegurarnos de que aprueben su estatus como estudiante invitado. El decano o rector tendrá que comunicarse con Satyajit Dattagupta, el Vice Presidente de Manejo de Matrícula y Decano de Admisiones Subgraduadas, afirmando que tiene el permiso de ser parte de nuestro programa. Los estudiantes del sistema UPR ya tienen el permiso. 
Matricularse en Tulane. Estudiantes que vengan de Puerto Rico serán considerados estudiantes invitados sin planes de graduación en el Newcombe Tulane Undergraduate College. Tendremos consejeros y recursos para asegurarnos que su semestre en Tulane sea exitoso. Los estudiantes invitados deberán regresar a su institución en Puerto Rico una vez completen el semestre en Tulane y no serán considerados como estudiantes transferidos. 
Alojamiento. Tulane intentará asegurarse de que los estudiantes que sean parte de este programa tengan acomodos de alojamiento. Por favor déjenos saber si necesitará alojamiento mientras esté en nuestra institución. Vamos a intentar conectarlos con familias en la ciudad, pero también le recomendamos que comiencen a buscar apartamentos alrededor del campus. 
Costo de la matrícula y otros cargos. No tendrá que pagar nada a Tulane. 
Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre el Programa de Primavera para Estudiantes Invitados favor de contactar a: 
Jeff Schiffman, Director de Admisiones Colette Raphel, Registradora Becky Ancira, Vice Presidente Asociada de Matrícula 
Es nuestro mayor deseo ofrecerles un hogar temporero a un grupo de estudiantes que han sido afectados con los daños del huracán María y sus efectos. La ciudad de New Orleans y Tulane esperan que su tiempo en nuestra institución le ayude a continuar sus estudios. Sabemos que su hogar está en Puerto Rico, pero New Orleans será resguardo mientras sus universidades se ponen en pie.

Top Five Outdoor Spots in NOLA!

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:00
If you have read my blog in the past, you know I am big into health and fitness. I even teach a spin class called RIDE at a studio down the street from Tulane. With fall temperatures finally approaching, I love to take many of my workouts outside. Whether it's a bike ride around town, a sunset jog through your favorite NOLA neighborhood or just an afternoon at the park, New Orleans offers a myriad of options for enjoying a life lived outdoors. In this blog, I’ll take you on a quick tour of my five favorite outdoor workout spots around (and slightly out of!) town. So grab that bike, those running shoes or just your picnic blanket and let’s go!

Crescent Park in all her glory! 1) The Crescent Park: If you haven’t checked out this park that stretches from the very tip of the French Quarter through the Marigny and all the way down through the Bywater, make this place the first stop on your list. To me, this park is very reminiscent of the High Line Park in New York City. The Crescent Park is 1.4 miles long and over 20 acres set up in a linear fashion along the Mississippi River. The park offers some of the best skyline views of the city and makes for a perfect jog down the main running path. Access to the park is easily on Piety Street in the Bywater or the staircase/elevator right past the French Market. Trust me on this one- you’ll love this spot from the second you cross over the massive bridge at its entrance.

2) Couturie Forest: For the perfect shaded run for any nature-lover, head over to the Couturie Forest in City Park. They bill it as “a natural escape in the heart of the city,” and I think that is spot on. I love running around the wooded trails and getting lost here. Sometimes I end up at a huge lake; other times you’ll find yourself atop Laborde Mountain- the highest point in the city of New Orleans at a whopping 43 feet above sea level. The forest is over 60 acres and one of my favorite spots in town for a run.
Hiking around Jean Lafitte with Drew last month 
3) Jean Lafitte Nature Trail: I love a cypress swamp, and you’ll feel like you are miles and miles away from any city when you check out this trail. Located just 30 minutes from town, it’s a great escape for a gorgeous hike through the bayou. I love this trial because you are guaranteed to experience some serious gator sightings. I think the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve is relatively unknown, especially being so close to town. But I don’t mind keeping it that way- the trail and preserve are peaceful and a total oasis. The boardwalk trial through the Barataira Preserve leads you to a stunning view of the bayou.

4) The Mississippi River Trail- A.k.a. the Levee Top Trail, this has been a common spot to see me when I am training for various triathlons. It starts right in Audubon Park and will take you all the way out through River Ridge, Kenner and all the way out past Destrehan for a nice 40 mile round trip ride. You can even connect and take it up through Baton Rouge. The MRT offers 3,000 miles of trails from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, and our little strip in town is a great spot for a long weekend ride. You’ll see tons of pro cyclists and triathletes out there every weekend. Be forewarned- a few spots are currently close for levee work, so plan accordingly.

Esplanade running trail 5) Esplanade Avenue: We all know the most popular spot for an outdoor run is St. Charles Avenue and the Audubon Park loop. For a change of pace, replace St. Charles with Esplanade (the streetcar drivers will thank you) and Audubon loop with the Big Lake Loop in City Park. Start your run anywhere in the Quarter or Warehouse District, head down the Moonwalk on the river and lower North Peters and hang a left on Esplanade. This shaded neutral ground will set the perfect scene for a run through the Quarter and Marigny, up through Mid-City and finally arriving at City Park. Feeling strong today? Take a few loops around the Big Lake in City Park before you make your way back down and home. It’s the same path you’ll see if you ran the Crescent City Classic. There is a reason- it’s one of the most beautiful running routes in the city.

There you have it, folks! Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors that NOLA has to offer!

The splendor of Jean LafittesThe end of the trail in Jean Lafitte. Worlds away from NOLA in only 30 minutes!
The Couturie Forest in City Park

Campus Visit Events this Weekend

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:20

Tulane has been monitoring Tropical Storm Nate as it enters the Gulf of Mexico.  After meeting with our Division of Emergency Preparedness, we have made updates to our campus events this weekend:

Campus Preview Day on Sunday, October 8th has been rescheduled to October 22nd. With NOAA models projecting a potential New Orleans-area landfall right as CPD was slated to begin, we made the decision to reschedule the program. The safety of our students, visitors, staff, and faculty  is our main focus and we would like to host you on campus when inclement weather is not a concern. This Sunday's CPD visitors have been automatically re-registered for Sunday, October 22nd. If you cannot attend on the 22nd, we encourage you to reschedule your visit to one of the following Campus Preview dates:
Sunday, October 29th (*new date just added!)
Saturday, November 11th

Preview TU Multicultural Fly-In has been rescheduled for October 21st-23rd. We will reach out to students planning on attending Preview TU to reschedule your flights for the new weekend and your registration has automatically transferred over to the new date. Please direct specific questions to Toni Riley or post them on the Preview TU Facebook group.

Architecture Preview Day has been rescheduled for October 22nd. All registrations will be transferred over to this new date. If you are unable to attend the new date for this event, please contact Rebecca Greaves.

Saturday 10/7 9:00 AM Campus tour is on as scheduled. We advise anyone visiting campus on Saturday to stay tuned to local weather reports and flight information to ensure a successful visit to campus.

With nearly 2,000 people slated to visit campus this weekend, we are tremendously disappointed to have to cancel and reschedule our events but did so out of an abundance of caution. We want to ensure that every family has multiple options to return to campus for a future visit during a time with more cooperative weather. Please keep in mind we are happy to host you for a daily tour, as well.

As Tropical Storm Nate is a named storm, hotels and airlines should be able to allow for changes. If you need any assistance in re-booking your visit to Tulane and New Orleans, please reach out to your admission representative or call us directly at 800-873-WAVE.

The Road to Recovery

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 21:40

A bicyclist rides down a damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/GETTY IMAGESWhat an unfathomable hurricane season it has been for many people around the United States and Caribbean. We've watched communities decimated by Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria and we know many people in these communities now face a long road to recovery. To our students in affected communities; we are here to support and help you in all ways that we can. We know for many of you, these hurricanes have sidelined your college application process and that the Common App or the ACTs may be the last thing on your mind as your community begins the process of recovery. For any student needing an extension on your Tulane application, please reach out directly to your admission representative and we will work with you in your individual application process.

For those of us watching from afar, the best thing many can do now is to donate. The Center for Public Service here at Tulane (CPS) has put together a comprehensive list of organizations that you can look into in order to aid individuals and organizations as they recover. CPS is also organizing supply drives, alternate break trips, and fundraising efforts. If you are a current Tulane student and interested in volunteering, sign up using this Orgsync form.

Here in New Orleans, the best way I know how to help on the road to recovery is by biking down it, so to speak, so on Sunday we're hosting a charity spin class. Your $40 pass (you can sign up here) goes completely to ConPRmetidos. ConPRmetidos is an organization dedicated to personal, social, and economic development in Puerto Rico. 100% of the proceeds will go to financing need assessments, long term structural repairs, and restoring power for the communities that have the most need at the moment. We did a similar spin class this month to raise funds for EMERGE Houston. You can still donate to that amazing cause here.

ConPRmetidos is an organization that Jorge Nunez Mendez recommended to us. Jorge is one of our admission staff members and is from Puerto Rico. He's got this message for the people of his country:

Hemos estado siguiendo las incidencias del huracán María con mucha angustia. Para mi es mucho más personal porque soy nacido y criado en nuestra isla y mi corazón no había experimentado jamás esta sensación de impotencia. No hay palabras suficientes para describir el amor que sentimos los puertorriqueños por nuestra tierra, y mucho menos para plasmar los sentimientos y pensamientos de toda la comunidad boricua ante los efectos de este fenómeno natural.

Yo sé que ahora mismo sus prioridades son sus comunidades y sus familias. Pero quiero que sepan que estamos con ustedes. Tulane y la ciudad de New Orleans conocen muy bien los efectos que puede tener un huracán en las comunidades que afecta y estamos aquí para lo que nos necesiten. Si hay algo que nos distingue a los puertorriqueños es como nos unimos después de un evento como este. ¡Yo voy a ustedes!

Con Puerto Rico en el alma,
Jorge Núñez Méndez

To anyone on the road to recovery: From all of us here in New Orleans, a city that knows all too well the devastating effects of Mother Nature; we are here for you as you begin your journey back to normalcy. Countless individuals, communities, and schools opened up their hearts and homes to us after Katrina and we'll do all we can to repay that favor in your time of need. We understand your recovery may last long after the headlines fade, but we'll be here to help you along the way. If anything positive can come out of tragedies like this, it's that communities are rebuilt stronger. People emerge tougher and with more pride. They emerge with a greater sense of community.

We know your journey to normalcy may seem lengthy. Perhaps even impossible. The photo at top shows how damaged the physical roads in Puerto Rico are right now. Take it from us; one day, those roads will be paved again, just as they are here in New Orleans. We are here with you on your road to recovery. Your roads may be broken, but soon you will recover. Soon, you'll be stronger than ever.

Five E-mails You Should Never Send

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:00
It's back- application season! I've been in Europe recruiting the class of 2022 and spreading the Tulane love around the world. I've been meeting some really great students, and I look forward to reading your applications. And sorry for such a delay since my last post- travel season is keeping me busy (more on that later!)

Speaking of things I look forward to reading, I read a lot of e-mails. A lot lot. Like, thousands a week. Which is great! I love hearing from you students with your questions, your interest in Tulane and your follow up e-mails. However, there are five kinds of e-mails I do not particularly enjoy getting. I thought it would be a great service to you, the applicant, and to me, the admission officers (and admission staff nationwide) to give you all a few tips on e-mails that you should not send, or at least be very wary on sending. So here is a list of 5 e-mails to not send to your admission officer. Hope this helps you all as you enter the application process. Selfishly, I know it will help me!

1) Take the time to communicate effectively with your admission counselor. I know it seems like a no brainier, but "i" is a lot different from "I". When e-mailing with your admission counselor, take the time to write thoughtful, error-free messages. I suggest sitting down at a computer to do these. Don't treat these like text messages. Also, here's a tip: always start your e-mail with an admission staff member with "Dear Mr. or Ms. so-n-so." Then, see how they reply. I'll reply with "Sincerely, Jeff" and that's your hint that it's cool to address me as Jeff. Always take the lead from the admission rep for how formally they want to be addressed. I like to keep it casual, others may be more formal.

2) This hasn't been as much of a problem in recent years, but please do create a professional e-mail address to communicate with colleges. Where this comes more into play is your social media presence. Be careful with your Tweets, Snaps and Instas. I honestly don't check them (we don't have the time to!) but if at some point, maybe I want to quickly refresh my memory as to what you look like (was she that student I met a few months ago in LA?) and if I search you and you come up in bikini with a Bud Light, well that doesn't look so good to admission staff. Remember, all it takes someone else pressing two buttons and a screenshot is sent to me of you doing something dumb. This happens every single year. It's pretty simple- be a good person on social media (and in life, too.) Just be smart, compassionate and good to each other. Think that this would never happen to you? I bet those Harvard students from last year thought the same thing.

3) I really do love replying to your e-mails. I mean it. But it gets hard when we get very vague or broad questions that become difficult to type out responses to. For questions that are not really easy to find out by reading our website, there's nothing wrong with picking up the phone and giving us a call to chat. Or logging on line and chatting live with our students, which we have every day! You can attend a regional reception, attend a high school visit if we are at your school, or visit campus. You should definitely have these kinds of questions, but since we do get such a high volume of e-mails, don't feel the need to e-mail an admission rep just for the sake of e-mailing us. We don't count the number of times you e-mail us; don't feel like you should feel pressured to reach out with a question unless you genuinely have one.

4) Oh man. Okay, great questions. Really! But again, see above on this one. For the most part, you can get the answer to every single one of these questions on our website. We want you to ask us questions, but we also expect that you do your own research as well. There is so much information out there on Tulane, and on school sites in general- use it! When you list out 24 questions on an e-mail to me, it just is not the best use of our time.

5) I get an e-mail like this every single week, without fail. Don't cut and paste! We can tell! Especially when just the name and school are different. Take the time to send individual e-mails to each school, even if they say the same thing. We want to know you have taken the time to contact us personally with your questions, especially if you are expressing your interest in our school.

All of the e-mails above are recreations of e-mails we get every week. So don't worry, all of the above are fabricated e-mails I made. But they represent real e-mail situations that happen all the time. I want to make sure you put your best foot forward when you apply, and I also want to make the very hectic and very busy lives of college admission staff members a little bit easier. I'm never one to only look on the negative side and tell you what not to do, so here are my tips for great questions to ask!

Hope this helps. E-mail me if you have any questions about it! (Seriously!)

5 Tips for to Knock your Interview Out of the Park

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:56
I hope your year is off to a great start, everyone! I am turning today's blog over to my colleague Corinne Watson. They're going to give you all of their best tips for our brand new Alumni Interview Program. Before we start, my one tip is for anyone interested in participating in an interview: keep in mind that the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you can get your alumni interview set up. Because it is an optional part of the application, we want to make sure we have plenty of time to get it into your file before we start reviewing it. You don't need to have a complete file (with transcripts, letters of rec, etc.) to do your interview, just the application itself.

Okay, take it away, Corinne!

*              *               *
Here's Corinne. They were our Homecoming Queen,
so they know a thing or two about
making a great impression! This year, we’re expanding our Alumni Interview Program to include more students than ever! This means you could get real face time with some of our absolutely incredible alums all over the world. What better way to learn about being a student at Tulane, than to meet with a Tulanian face to face?!

I personally think this is a fabulous way to learn about what life at Tulane really looks like. While this is all fine and dandy, an interview can be daunting. The power dynamic can be hard to look past at times, but that’s not what we’re about here in the Big Easy. We don’t want you to stress over this – applying to college is stressful enough. Instead, we want you to crush it! I’ve wracked my brain and come up with five tips to make sure you feel fantastic about your alumni interview.

1. You’re almost a YoPro (young professional), so act that way!

I know, I know, it’s really the worst advice, but you have to be yourself. Be your best self! And I don’t think you should try to be anything other than yourself. This interview should be more of a conversation—professional, yet casual. Bring your personality. If you’re funny, go for it! If you’re not, I wouldn’t recommend trying. Either way, you should be thoughtful and professional in your communication. We’re going back to basics: capitalize the first word in a sentence, use (appropriate) punctuation, and be respectful. No emojis. When the interview itself rolls around, it’s okay if you’re feeling nervous or shy. Just think about what you want to convey and make it happen! Lastly, as far as attire is concerned, be appropriate. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident! And smile: the alum wants this to go well, too!

2. It shouldn't feel awkward. 

This isn’t some scary, intimidating job interview—it’s a conversation. This is an outlet for your personality to shine through in an otherwise rigid and impersonal process. As such, you should be thoughtful, honest, and sincere. There is no script. There is no cookie cutter mold of what a Tulane student looks like that all applicants must fit into. You can weave your personality and experiences into the conversation in a way that provides a foundation for who you are. Give yourself credit where it’s due, but don’t go overboard! Humility goes a long way, especially when you can talk about not-so-hot experiences and how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned from them. Even though you should talk about yourself to some extent, it shouldn’t be just about you. Find balance between that and talking about all that you could accomplish at Tulane.

3. Do some research.

You should know the basics, but you should probably know a little more than that. I like the phrase “tangible plans” to relate your passions and how you plan to translate that into involvement at Tulane. We have a phenomenal website with loads of information AND contact information for our exceptional tour guides. These are real, live Tulane students involved in what you’re interested in. Hit them up! You can learn firsthand about what being a Tulane student is like. At the end of the day, this is how you can dig deep and make it the most meaningful experience possible. There’s a fine line though—it’s obvious when someone has done research because they are passionate about learning more as opposed to someone who has just gone through the motions because their counselor told them to.

4. Soak up all the alumni member has to share!

There are approximately 156,000 alumni members who bleed olive and blue (maybe they should go to a doctor). They have an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and they’re excited to share it with you. This is the time to broaden your horizons, and this is the whole point of college, you know. Maybe you think you want to be pre-med, but you’re not entirely sure what Chemical Engineering means or you’ve never even heard of Africana Studies. Now is the time to learn! The best way to expand your own experience is by learning from others’ lived experiences! I do want to say this: the alum interviewing you isn’t expected to be a Tulane Encyclopedia. Technical questions should go to your Admission Counselor, but your alumni interviewer can speak to their own experiences. These alums have the power to help you visualize yourself on campus and better understand what it’s like to be a part of the Tulane community.

5. Come prepared with questions.

First things first: avoid Google-able questions. Yes, we have a psychology program. Yes, you can study abroad on all seven continents. When you’re asked if you have any questions in any interview, you should be prepared. Here are some go-to questions if you need some inspiration. Realistically, they’re casually interspersed throughout the whole conversation to create the perfect ebb and flow with the alum’s questions. By asking genuine questions founded in something you’re interested in, you can truly personalize this experience. Through your own questions, plus the conversation as a whole, we want to know what’s important to you. As a function of that, we want to know that you understand how Tulane can support you in attaining and then surpassing your goals.

Throughout this fall, you’ll be going through a lot. Don’t lose yourself in the process! I want you to feel fantastic about your interview, so I hope these five tips helped. Never forget that you can reach out to me at with any questions, comments, or concerns at any point. I’m here for you!

Me, Corinne and our friend Dylan are really jazzed you're doing an interview! 

15 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 17:36
Group Ex with my man Joe at Reily I hope everyone's semester is off to a great start! Today, we're talking about one of my favorite topics: health and fitness. As you might know, I teach spin down the street from Tulane at Romney RIDE and love to stay active. As such, I've created these 15 tips for staying in shape while at Tulane. While the freshman 15 is a bit of fact mixed with a bit of lore, your college experience will be quite different from high school. You're likely not playing the sport you played every day in high school, you're not eating three parent-prepared meals, you're making your own schedule... you get it. It's a recipe for some big changes in your diet, activity level and life.

Never fear, after 15 years at Tulane and a few years of teaching Romney RIDE under my belt, here are my 15 tips for staying in shape in college.
Ready? Let's go!

1) Get creative in what you eat at Bruff. In many spots on campus, the healthier stuff may be clearly laid out for you. You’ll easily find it labeled at Bruff. Grab your Greek yogurt and mix it with granola and honey. Head to the salad and fruit bars and combine to make a citrus salad. Check out this blog - lots of great ideas in here for how to make Bruff both delicious and healthy.

2) Take the stairs! You'll want to make sure you are staying active as much as you can throughout the day. Do you live on the 5th floor of Sharp Hall? Get in the habit of taking those stairs each day. Need to get to class in Gibson Hall but live down Broadway? Don’t get in that car. Take the extra five minutes and walk there. Every little bit helps, trust me!

3) Eat smaller meals throughout the day. The unlimited meal plan at Bruff is both a blessing and a curse. You'll have access to food 24/7 at Tulane. Instead of gorging on big meals whenever you feel like it, eat a healthy, small meal a few times a day. This whole "eat five or so smaller meals a day" craze caught on a while back, and there is some truth to it for a number of reasons.

Start a team! 4) Eat a ton of fresh fruits, veggies and salads. Anything that comes in a crinkly bag or plastic, eat that in moderation, if at all. The best rule of thumb is that the healthiest foods you can eat tend to only have one ingredient. Nearby, check out Poke Loa, Wayfare, Satsuma or St. James Cheese Company for some healthy off-campus options.

5) Drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. I sound like your dad, but hey- these are two rules to live by. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Grab a Tulane Nalgene (I can even hook you up with one if you come by my office) and keep it on you all day. You should be consistently drinking water throughout the day. It helps to cleanse you, suppresses your cravings for soda, and keeps your body in the healthy state it needs to be in. And let me just keep it short here with sleep: it will be your best friend in college. I'm not talking about naps; I am talking about legit going to bed at a normal hour and getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night as frequently as you can. This will be one of your biggest challenges in college.

6) Skip the soda. Even the diet kind. Drink La Croix or soda water. Cutting soda out of your life will change everything, trust me on this one. Bruff has fizzy water on tap and you can add lemon or lime. Or head to Rouses and buy a case of La Croix. Soda is just bad. Trust me.

7) Get on a routine. Just like a class schedule, get a workout schedule. Map out your runs, gym sessions, Pilates, yoga, etc. Just like you schedule your academic classes, mark down your health and fitness classes in your calendar, too. Reily's group exercise schedule can be seen here. Romney’s schedule is available here. I highly recommend you stop by Tuesdays at 5:30 for the RIDE of your life. Seriously, though, pencil in your workouts and commit to them. Make life even easier on yourself by downloading a few apps for your phone – MyFitnessPal, Nike Training Club and Map my Run are my favorites.

8) Nap time? Gym time. When you are tired at 4 pm it is so tempting to hit the sack for a few hours. You'll wake up feeling groggy and will have trouble sleeping that night. Instead, when you're tired, as hard as it is, strap on those running shoes and run Audubon Park. Grab your roommate for a game of racquetball at the gym. Throw a Frisbee in the quad, or use the sand volleyball court out front of Sharp. Aerobic activity will quickly squash your fatigue, make you feel energized and will allow you to sleep at a normal time later. No one ever said, “man, I really regret that workout."

9) Avoid the drunken munchies at all costs. Step away from the Boot Pizza! I had many a slice in my day and never felt good about it the next morning. If you can wait, get back to your room and have some healthier snacks- almonds, fruit, worst case even pretzels. Anything but that fat and grease. I know, I know, it's Boot Pizza and it's incredible. Just don't overdo it.

10) Be aware of what food you keep in your room. NOLA's got some amazing places to eat at and we want you to experience it. It’s ok to have cheat meals when you are taken out to Commander's or your friends get together for a nice dinner at Jacques Imo’s. But when you’re home, don’t waste your cheat food on gross stuff in your dorm. Instead, replace it with filling but tasty foods. SmartFood popcorn, bananas, baby carrots, readymade smoothies, etc. Mom can help: see below.

Skatin' round Audubon11) Ask mom for a healthy care package. Moms want you to stay healthy. Have her hit the bulk food aisle at Trader Joe's to send some dried mango, some healthy nuts, some clementines. Stay away from the sugary candy in those care packages.

12) Take advantage of NOLA’s outside space. Run the neutral ground! Jog the park! Head to the Fly and play Frisbee, football, slack, anything. Just get out and do it. I have previously written about great spots to get this done. Check them out!

13) Start a team. Intramural sports are big at Tulane, and there are plenty of people who want to play them. All they need is a leader to get the team organized. Flag football, dodgeball, volleyball- we've got them all. Take that leadership role and gather some friends from your floor to make a team happen.

I admit, I look crazy in this photo.
But still... come take my class!14) Check your booze intake. In my heavily researched, double-blind tested, sine/cosine formula, beer makes up for 65.78% of the weight you'll gain in college. Beer and all kinds of sugary daiquiris, fruity drinks and sweetened cocktails. I am not going to tell you what to drink or how much, I am just telling you to recognize the effect it has on you. If you abide by all 14 of the rules except for this one, you’ll negate everything else. Booze has calories, fats, sugars and all kinds of stuff that will stay in yer gut. Everything in moderation.

15) Love your body and don't obsess over it. Your weight may go up in college... It may go down. But love it no matter what. College is a place where you can improve your body but also your mind, heart and soul. So keep you passion about having the best body you feel you can, but don’t get caught up in that. There's more to having a perfect body than the actual figure itself.

Last but not least, get your butt to the gym! And frequently. Campus Recreation and Romney both have a number of great classes. Grab a group of friends and head over to a yoga class, use your roommate as a weightlifting partner, or join up with me at RIDE. Read all about Reily in my Hidden Tulane post from a few weeks ago.

So there you have it, freshmen (or any college student in general). I hope this list helps. The last tip is the most important one. Enjoy Tulane and welcome back, or welcome for the first time!

Get active! 
How could you not want to get outside when you're on such a pretty campus?

The Optional Statement

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 18:17
One question I frequently get is, "I noticed that you have an optional essay titled, 'why are you applying to Tulane?' do you suggest I complete it?" The answer is always a resounding YES!

Ah, the "why are you applying" question, a.k.a.: the optional statement. You'll notice a growing number of colleges and universities are now including this as a part of their application. As students apply to more and more schools, it becomes more difficult for us as admission officers to gauge a student's level of interest in our school. The optional statement is a perfect time for you, the applicant, to express to me, the application reader, why you are selecting us as one of your potential schools. So is it worth it to take the time to fill out that question? Let's just go through a (very hypothetical) situation. My boss, Satya, tells me, "Jeff, we have one more spot left in the class of 2022. You can only pick one more student." I come back to my office and notice I have two applicants left to read. They are identical in terms of grades, scores, extracurricular activities, and both have glowing recommendations. One took the time to write an entertaining, engaging, and smart essay about why Tulane is the perfect fit for her, her passion for studying public health, and her love of BBQ Shrimp from Pascal's Manale. The other student? Well, she didn't write anything—at all. The decision for me? An easy one.

Now, we'd never get to a point where I can only select one final student from two. But, you get the idea. So... now that the question has been addressed, you might be thinking: "what makes a great optional statement?" Let's check out four great ways to write a killer optional statement for any school that you may be applying to.

1) Tell a specific story. The more specific you can be about the school you are applying to, the better. We can see right though the generic answers, so be specific. Tell me about your tour guide (if you've visited), what food you ate in New Orleans, what resonated with you when you attended the info session in your hometown. I remember vividly how one student last year told me about how her tour guide seemed so smart, but laid back and even mentioned how she loved the green sundress the guide was wearing: "she struck me as someone who had the perfect work/life balance." I liked that. I like hearing specific stories about your research on Tulane. The optional statement is an opportunity for you to show your interest in the school, so even if you aren't able to visit, be specific about why you are applying. We know New Orleans is a great college town and an amazing place to live. I want hear, why YOU want to live here, what attracts you to New Orleans culture, and how those facets factor into your decision to apply. Remember how your college counselor tells you to "show rather than tell" in your essay? Make sure to do that in your optional statement. I want to read a narrative about riding the streetcar or the conversation you had at that crowded college fair with the Tulane rep.

2) Holler at your hookups. Did your cousin go to Tulane and love it? Did your 9th grade history teacher tell you about his experiences as a masters student here? Do you love following that senior from last year on Snapchat and seeing all her cool shots of New Orleans? Tell us! And tell us who! Feel free to name drop people who turned you on to Tulane, especially if they are current students. Many of us recruit from the same region each year, so it's cool to see who is helping us in the recruitment effort. Our current students and alumni are your best sources of research on our school, so use them and tell us you did.

3) It's not a 'Why College?' statement. As in, if I can read it and replace "Tulane" with "USC" or "Vandy" or "Miami," then it will not come across as genuine. Avoid generic essays here at all costs. We know we are medium-sized and are well respected. Delve deeper; we read thousands of these and can easily tell when it's an essay that's going out to all the schools you applied to (see point two above for tips on doing this). Horror story: last year I got an optional statement that actually said [insert school] where "Tulane" should have been. Yikes. Also, we'd rather you not use this section to talk all about yourself and then simply tack on at the end, something like, "and I'd really like to continue doing x and y at Tulane." (see the final point for more details about this)

4) It should not be all about you. Sometimes, we'll get an optional statement that is all about the applicant. It will be a description of a great service project they did or a sport they love to play, and then the last line of the essay will be "and I want to keep doing this at Tulane." You've got the whole rest of the application to talk about yourself, so instead, use this section to speak more on the connection between you and the school. Why is is a great match? Why are you a great fit? It's okay to draw on some of your own experiences, but you should only mention them in context of the school.

Hope this helps when you're completing optional statements. Happy applying!