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Updated: 6 min 3 sec ago

50 Tips for Parents

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 18:00
Ruth Lackore and her son Jason Moms and Dads, hard to believe it but we are getting closer and closer to the final countdown. Freshman move in day is only two weeks away! Don't worry, I've got you covered. I solicited the help of people who know best how to be a great Tulane parent: Tulane parents! Here are their 50 tips for you directly from our amazing current parents.

  • Enjoy the incredible food in NOLA - Favorite eats for the moment (SO many!): brunch at Willa Jean; dinner at Shaya.  
  • Always carry a small umbrella in your bag - it can downpour suddenly  
  • Become a part of the Tulane community - it feels like a wonderful family of amazing parents, administrators, professors, and of course, students. Be on the lookout for ways to get involved. (Jennifer / Santa Monica CA / mom of Chloe '18 and Isabelle '21)
  • If you play an instrument, bring it with you even if you don't plan to be involved in formal music programs – there is music all over campus, students just jamming in small groups.
  • Purchase Kentwood Springs  water for your student in their dorm room! there is a tent on the guad during move in day and if you miss it, you can call them at 504-400-5965. This was the best investment ... They need a lot of water as it's hot and it's reasonable and worth it!
  • Even though the move in process seems overwhelming, Tulane has one of the best move in days known! Stay if you can for the special! (Heidi / Bethesda MD / mom of Joshua, '18)
  • There are no controls for the AC. My son was freezing and I needed to send him down winter pajamas, sweatpants,  sweatshirts so he could survive the frigid dorm air. 
  • My biggest worry...the hurricane threats.  Dropped my son off freshman year and left him with a hurricane headed straight for NOLA! Was a great icebreaker for meeting his floormates, but after 4 years of warnings I realized this is the "Tulane  Norm." Try not to worry! (Lauren / Wayne NJ / mom of Jason '17) 
  • When it rains it pours....bring waterproof shoes.
  • Eat and drink your way through NOLA, and visit the sights it is best city in the world
  • Summertime Storage is amazing, and would recommend using them (Linda / North Woodmere NY / mom of Michael '19)
  • Go to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every year with your student and make some family college memories and fall in love with New Orleans.  
  • But ONLY go to Jazz Fest on first weekend, because second weekend interferes too much with finals studying and the kids are too tired from the first weekend! Don't forget to purchase your after show tickets and reserve your dinners after 9 pm.
  • Feed and meet all of their friends and enjoy the diverse and fabulous music and the unique New Orleans hospitality and culture. 
  • Send your student a solid care package the days before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).  Be sure it has healthy provisions that they can enjoy as they move about during Mardi Gras or even send a tray of sandwiches, cheese/crackers, fruit and other essentials for their dorm fridge!
  • Rouse's Market delivers to campus! They will thank you when they are hungry and exhausted and all dining halls are closed and food is scarce...even in New Orleans! (Susan / Miami, FL / mom of Brian, '16) 
  • If possible, out of towners can send boxes to their hotel vs campus. They will gladly store them for you and then you don’t have to wait in line on campus to get them. Just took one step out of the process and made things easier for me in particular as it was just Jonah and me on move in day. (side note- a change this year is HRL is piloting delivering your boxes to your S/Ds room before they arrive! -Jeff)
  • Trust the process and go random for roommates; my son didn’t hook up with a roommate in advance and he got paired with a GREAT kid from San Francisco who he has loved living with. Says he fared a lot better than many other friends who tried to manage the process.
  • Invest in a backpack that is truly waterproof AND has a build in cover. (not sure right wording here). Basically it is tiny, in a zipped pocket, but when its pouring NOLA style he can pull it out and cover his backpack (books and laptop) as he never has an umbrella handy.
  • That kid in the Tulane video who said you MUST bring a Hawaiian shirt…well we laughed at this idea and then Jonah dug one up and shoved it in his bag and said “thank god” - he wore it to tons of stuff. Apparently a ‘must have.' (Arlene / Bedford MA / mom of Jonah '19)
  • If your schedule permits, fly in for move in on Wednesday. Get the Bed and Bath done in a less stressful manner as you will likely go back 2 or 3 times. Use the time to get the toiletries, groceries, etc on Thursday so that move in on Friday is more calm. 
  • On Saturday, enjoy Convocation and your kids and get out earlier on Sunday. Dragging it out doesn't help them at all. Cry at the airport!
  • Book your hotel and CAR early. Get a small SUV or mini van as that stuff from Bed and Bath is bulky! 
  • Book hotel for parent's weekend early as well, if your kid wants you to be there.
  • Listen to the webinars that are offered from the Office of Parent Programs. They are truly informative and help provide information on things like rushing spring semester, move out in spring, etc.
  • Make dinner's what everyone talks about whether you are a foodie or not. Try for Shaya as it just got the Beard Foundations "Best New Restaurant " in America (Lisa / Los Angeles / mom of Natalie, '19)
  • Tulane Trash for Treasures is a great way to find cheap dorm items on move in day! Go EARLY!
  • Attend Family Weekend (Friday night A’Cappella concert a must!)
  • Check out student syllabus before making flight arrangements for Thanksgiving. 
  • If visiting, expect extra students for dinner (they are so appreciative)
  • You do not need a car when visiting NOLA.
  • Play nice on the parent Facebook page ;)  Couldn’t resist….I’m 1 of the 4 admins. (Annalee, Baton Rouge, mom of Caroline, '18)
  • My son (his idea) wears his Tulane shirt every time he flies back to NOLA from a school break.  He has always been able to find someone to share a ride back to Tulane from the airport.
  • We moved our son with the basic necessities and kept it very simple to accommodate the small dorm room.  There was ample space and storage when we left.  By the time spring came around, his dorm room was cluttered with stuff.  Be aware not to over pack. 
  • Highly recommend all parents to participate in the Parents weekend during Fall semester. Despite the pouring rain, we had a blast and enjoyed all the activities. sessions, and it was a happy reunion with our son.
  • Prepare your child for wet, raincoat, umbrella, etc....they will use it frequently!  (Ruth / Nashville, TN / mom of Jason '19)
  • Don’t bother renting a car in New Orleans. You don’t need one. Between the streetcar, taxis, and good old fashioned walking, you can get wherever you need to go, easily and inexpensively. 
  • We shipped most of her stuff via FedEx Ground and bought any extra items we needed at the campus store, which sells pretty much what you’d find in any Target. Honestly, it never even occurred to me to rent one on any visit. So go green, save yourself some money and skip the car rental! (Robin /  NYC / Mom of Marlee '16)
  • My advice is coming from a parent of a kid who had a sheltered high school experience and who did not have the most successful first year. Not everyone goes and immediately fits in, has great time, and gets the college thing.  Prepare your kids for that before they go. Prepare them for potential loneliness the first few weeks to the first couple of months. Prepare them to possibly screw up as far as time management goes and explain how communication with you as parents, counselors, and professors is key to making things right. Explain that while drinking is prevalent, there are other kids out there who are into hanging out and not partying - keep looking.  
  • Finding the sweet spot of supporting while giving room to make mistakes is one of the hardest parenting maneuvers out there.  
  • Take the Tulane Parents page with a grain of salt - not every kid is having an amazing time every moment.  And that is ok.  It's life.  It's part of the learning process. Take a deep breath.  It all works out in the end.
  • Frenchman Street is great spot for live music day or night. 
  • The book, "One Dead in the Attic" helps one understand what Katrina really did and why she is forever part of NOLA now. 
  • Anything you don't bring on move in day can be sent - no reason to panic. And that the sale of used stuff on move in day is the best thing ever (Trash to Treasure)! (Kim / Huntington Beach CA)

Thank you you to all the amazing parents who contributed to this!
Heidi Dupler and son Josh
Jennifer Happillon and daughter Chloe
Mike, mom Linda behind camera The Campbell family in NOLA
Lisa Josefsberg with daughter Natalie 
Robin Bernstein and kids at freshman move in day The whole Fusfield clan at Jazz Fest 

Ten Application Tips from the "Experts"

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 12:30
Look at all these students cheering for these application tips. Our application is live! Starting today, you can begin applying to Tulane for the class of 2022. Remember, we accept both the Common Application as well as our own application and don't have a preference between the two. There's also never an application fee here at Tulane. Today's blog is my top ten tips for making yourself the strongest applicant you can be! First, check out my five reasons why you've got to apply to Tulane this fall in the video below. Oh and by the way, yesterday's Princeton Review rankings also had some great reasons to apply; here's a few of the rankings they gave us this year:

Best College City: #1
Most Engaged in Community Service: #1
Best-Run Colleges: #4
Happiest Students: #4
Best Quality of Life: #9
Most Active Student Government: #12

And now on to making yourself the strongest applicant you can be!

Jeff's Ten Application Tips 

1) Do the Optional Statement: If the application asks "Why are you applying to [insert school here]?," take the time to write a thoughtful, insightful answer. Show you have done a little research, and really make your case as to why you think said school would be a good fit for you. If there isn't a question like this on the application, then send in a short paragraph as if this question was asked. Tulane does have an optional statement that asks why you are applying- fill it out! You can read all about this in detail on my blog entry here
2) Explain everything! If you had a real tough semester in your personal life in your sophomore year and your grades suffered, let us know. If AP Calc wasn't your thing but you got two tutors and worked every night for two months studying but still got a C, let us know. The more insight you can give into your grades the better. The best spot to do this is in the "additional information" section. 
3) Pick an essay topic you love to write about, no matter what it is. We're more likely to love reading something you loved writing. We read thousands and thousands of these things, so make sure you get us going right off the bat. And remember, sometimes the best essays are the simplest ones. No need to dig for a tragedy, over embellish anything or try to change the world. Just be yourself. And I hate to tell you all this, but I must have read a thousand essays about summer camp, Harry Potter, grandmas and your service trip to Fiji last summer. Think outside the box! You can read all about my tips on the best college essays here
4) Make a ZeeMee page. There's been a shift in the world of college admission and Tulane is a part of that. We want to know your authentic story, beyond just your scores and your grades. We've partnered with ZeeMee this year so you guys can do just that: share your story. I bet you'll really love making your page- be sure to add it to the section on the Common App where we ask for it. You can see my ZeeMee page here
5) Avoid application redundancy. Take a 30,000 foot view of your application. If your activities section is all about tennis and your counselor letter of recommendation talks about tennis and your short answer is about tennis, what do you think your essay should be about? Anything but tennis! Decided where each "piece" of your application should fall and where your stories, passions and strengths will be shared. This might mean connecting with your school counselor (and it's a good time to get to know them better!) We read 38,000 applications a year, and as soon as we see something in your file that is there again and again, there's a chance we'll skip over the repeated parts. 
6) Be purposeful in your communication with colleges. Got questions? Let us know! Don't over do it, but research your top schools and meet with admission reps during their high school visits or regional receptions in your hometown. You can reach out to your Tulane admission counselor here. Want to know the best (and worst) questions to ask your admission counselor? Read all about it here. Also, don't forget that our ED and EA applicants this year can qualify for an alumni interview. My advice here is that if you want to set up an interview, consider submitting your application before the deadline. Apply in early October, for example, and that gives us way more time to take care of the interview process. The process of getting the interview set up, completed and into your application takes a while, so applying early will help ensure your interview is included as we review your file. Side note, you don't need your rec letters or transcripts submitted to set up the interview, so don't stress your school counselor out trying to get those in early. 

7) Visit a college or university nearby to get a sense for what college campuses are like. I know it's hard to visit every school on your list, especially with a tight budget. Check out a school in your hometown or somewhere in driving distance to get a sense for what a college campus feels like. It will make you better prepared as you start filling out applications. You can read my top tips for visiting colleges here
8) Be Professional. Get a college e-mail address. Something professional. While the e-mail I got a few years back from cupcakez or LaxStud6969 may sound cool to your friends, it looks silly to me. And I'm actually pretty cool too. Just put your best foot forward. Same goes for Facebook, Snapchat, Insta, Twitter- we don't generally check your social media platforms here at Tulane, but keep make sure your picture is something you'd be okay with your grandma seeing. What usually happens each year is we'll get screenshots of dumb things students put on SnapChat or Twitter. Just be smart, nice and treat your peers with some compassion. Sometimes, it can get your admission decision rescinded. Speaking of connecting with admission reps, here are five e-mails you should never send us. 
9) We like jobs. So if you have one, tell us about it. Working 15 hours a week at your local Subway as a Sandwich Artist carries just a much weight as playing a varsity sport. Whatever takes up your time, we want to know about it. I have some additional resume tips that you can read about here
10) Pick your passion. We don't care what you do, as long as you do it well and you love to do it. What makes you tick after the bell rings? Where do your strengths lie? What makes you... you? See tip #4, or send us a nice, clean, one-page resume with the above listed. Keep this resume simple. Just give me a quick description of those three or four big things. Do not send me a six page resume listing out every time you donated blood. I wont read it, and few colleges will. We don't need a list of everything, just the most important things to you. On the common app, there's no need to fill in every single blank on the activities section. Less is more. I've got a blog that goes into lots more detail about best ways to fill out the activities section here
Hope this helps guys! Feel free to e-mail us if you ever have any questions. Happy applying! 

Look how happy these Tulane students are that they listened to my application advice.

8 Tips for the Activities Section

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:44
Hard to believe it, but it's just a few days until our application goes live on August 1st! Tulane offers students the opportunity to apply using our own application or using the Common Application. We've got no preference between the two, so it's totally up to you. We also believe in no barriers to apply; we're still one of the only schools in the top 50 with no application fee.

One part of the application that we take a good long look at is your activities section. Today's blog is going to address what makes a great (and not-so-great) extracurricular list. Here's the best advice I can give you: you don't need to be well rounded. Yes, I said it. As Director of Admission, it's not my job to only find well-rounded students. It's my job to build a well-rounded class of students. That means I need artists, musicians, soccer goalies, feminists, researchers, people passionate about community service, runningbacks and baristas. You don't have to be the Renaissance Man or Woman; you just have to have a few things that you love to do and are good at doing. We're looking for much more depth on your extracurriculars than we are breadth. In fact, we're kinda turned off when the resume is ten pages long (or every single box on the activities section is filled out) and we struggle to really get a sense of where your passions are and what you'll be involved in when you arrive on our campus in the fall. Take a look at my previous blog about what your overall resume and experiences in high school should generally look like.

Now, let's delve into my...

8 Tips for the Activities Section

Less is more. This applies directly to what I said above. You don't need to list every single time you walked around the park for a charity or the club you went to three times sophomore year. What we are looking for is the main points of passion. We don't need a laundry list. Nearly every student we admit to Tulane is in their school's National Honor Society, for example. It's just not needed to list each of these things out. We want the big picture stuff.

Avoid repetition of the same activity. From an admission perspective, we don't need to see soccer or trumpet written multiple times. While I know that club soccer outside of school is totally different from the varsity team at your school, my suggestion is to consolidate this into one activity on the list. Use the description to share all of the various ways you've been involved in soccer rather than spreading each one out, especially if you are also talking about this in your short answer.
Yes, we get it. You are a soccer player.
Put things in the proper order. The first activity should be your biggest, most passionate one that you committed the most time to. Then, "de-escalate" from there. Don't hide the most important ones at the bottom and remember that when we're flipping through tens of thousands of resumes and activities lists, you want to grab our attention from the start. You know how we want you want to hook us in with that first sentence of your essay? Same thing here.

Don't wait until the end to tell me the stuff you are awesome at! No one gets admitted to college based on those first three.
Don't overdo the service trips and travel. We know there are some amazing service trips and programs all around the world. For a school ranked #1 for students most involved in community service, we absolutely value the time you've spent involved in service. But if we get a resume packed with trips to Fiji, it can come across as privileged. Again, I think there is value in these trips, but I also think there is value in a service project or job in your own backyard.

Get a job and tell us about it. Speaking of the above, we love a job here at Tulane. In an era when fewer and fewer teenagers are holding summer jobs, we're now at the point were an old fashioned summer job is something that can truly make you stand out in this process. Last month at a smoothie shop in West Hollywood, I told my high school-aged smoothie maker how proud of her I was for spending her summer working part-time. She looked at me like I was crazy, but hey, maybe she'll apply to Tulane this fall. We think jobs teach time management, responsibility and great communication skills. It might even be at the top of your activities list if you've committed that much to it.

Be specific. This is a tip that you'll get when you create an actual resume as you apply to jobs in the real world. Use data, numbers, and anything that I can cling on to and share with the admission committee when I go up to bat for you. It's much easier for me to say "this student increased membership in his school's Queer Student Alliance by 100 students" over "this student made the QSA more popular."

Don't overlook what you think might be mundane. There are things you might not consider as traditional extracurricular activities that we on the admission committee might find quite interesting. I had a kid collect coins from around the world by scouring various antique shops with his grandfather. You might not think your quirky hobbies are activity-list-worthy, but sometimes it's those things that make you stand out the most in this section.

Avoid abbreviations. This one's a quick one, but spell it out for us and assume that we know nothing about what goes on in high school clubs these days.

There you have it! Now get to work on crafting that dynamite activities section. Happy applying!

WHAT NOT TO DO: What is ACAM? What did you do at Meals on Wheels? And why downplay that awesome job?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Ah, good. No abbreviations. Specifics on the Meals on Wheels. And you didn't sell yourself short on how important being a busboy is! 

Summer Reading

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 21:14
One of the tips I give high school juniors and seniors is pretty straightforward: read good books. Books are great conversation starters and might even help you as you start to think about college, what schools you might fit in at, and what to write about for your application personal statement. Plus, one of my favorite questions to ask prospective students is "what was the last good book you read?" With our alumni interview program kicking off this fall, I am not saying that this will be a question you'll be asked, but I am also not, not saying it...

Since it's July, which means prime beach reading season, I surveyed my colleagues here in the Office of Admission to get a list of books you might particularly enjoy. Grab your Kindle or head over to your local bookstore and check out these picks for your summer reading list:

Me: Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris
"I've posted before that even Directors of Admission get anxiety and while I am no expert on the topic, I know there are certain things that we can do to de-stress and calm that incessant inner monologue. As you embark on what is sure to be a stress-inducing time in your life, you'll find Dan Harris' book to be tremendously helpful. Harris is famous for having an on-air anxiety attack on the set of Good Morning America. The book follows his journey from a skeptic (the way most of us feel about meditation) to believer. He calls meditation a superpower and after reading this book and practicing it myself, I fully and wholeheartedly agree."

Jill (Assistant Director for Transfer Recruitment): Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
"Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. This fictional novel follows a young woman named Cora through her escape from a cotton plantation in Georgia. Cora encounters different worlds and people at every stage of her journey and the language and detail by Whitehead keep you engrossed and invested the entire time. The story doesn’t seem to get easier for Cora, but at every turn, you are rooting for this heroine as she finds her way to freedom.
In other words, she’s a true badass."

Paul (Director of International Admission): Secret River by Kate Grenville
"This historical novel covers topics from colonization and race to immigration and the clash of civilizations through the lens of the settling of Australia. While offering insight to the early British development of Australia and the penal colony system, this novel also gives an alternative account of a period of history not largely understood by those of us who grew up in America."

Toni (Diversity Recruitment Coordinator): Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
"Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 classic, The Fire Next Time, Between the World and Me is written as a letter from author Ta-Nehisi Coates to his teenaged son. Coates covers topics such as the social, economic and historical context for the stigma and fear that surround the black community and young black men in particular in contemporary America. Coates frames his letter as he recounts his own story of growing up black and being influenced by his teachers and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Coates also references American slavery, which he parallels with his son's recent experiences with the deaths of young black men in America (Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Jorden Davis). Coates uses these poignant recent tragedies as a guiding light that has illuminated the dangers of being a young, black male in America. Overall, the book offers a powerful framework to understand contemporary race relations in America and helps lay bare the larger underlying issues of modern movements including police brutality and Black Lives Matter."

Between the World and Me is this summer's reading project for the class of 2021.

Becca (Admission Counselor for Arts and Architecture Students): Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
"My personal favorite time to read any kind of thriller or mystery novel is during the summer when the days are long and lazy. Each chapter of this novel switches off between characters all living in a small town where numerous women over hundreds of years have died in the central river’s “drowning pool”. Each person’s perspective reveals a new, and often contradictory clue that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. Hawkins is the author of The Girl on the Train, another amazing thriller."

Henry (Admission Counselor): Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles Blow"I highly recommend Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles Blow, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Blow’s memoir details his upbringing in rural, north Louisiana. Blow dives deep into the poverty and turbulent family life he experienced as a child, the African-American experience in The South, and his struggles with his sexual identity. This book provides beautiful and poignant insights into a slice of life in our country that is often overlooked."

Rachel (Admission Counselor): Born a Crime by Trevor Noah"Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, grew up in South Africa as apartheid was ending and his autobiography delves into his upbringing during these tumultuous times. The book details his struggles with his racial identity and family dynamic through stories that are both informative and comical. Trevor has such a unique and difficult story to tell, but an incredibly important one to hear—it is sure to put things in perspective for you. Of course, this one has a special place in my heart since I studied abroad in South Africa when I was a student at Tulane!" 
Owen (Admission Counselor): A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson "This is Bill Bryson’s memoir of his travels on the Appalachian Trail with his friend. It weaves in history, personal stories, and anecdotes from the trek in his hilarious writing style. It is certainly more than just a travel book, but it has always inspired some wanderlust for me and reminds me of the beauty of a simple trip through nature. To top it all off, Bryson’s companion is the “gloriously out of shape” Stephen Katz, who is an endless supply of funny moments. They made this book into a movie starring Robert Redford a couple years ago. I’ve heard it wasn’t particularly good, but don’t let a bad adaption turn you off from a great read!"

Admission Pet Peeves

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 18:50
A few years back, USNews ran a story about Admission Representatives' pet peeves in the college application process. They were nice enough to quote me in it, I spoke a little bit about my annoyance when students write the wrong school to me, which happens more than you would think.

The article got me thinking that there are indeed a few things that tend to get on my nerves a bit during the process. Keep in mind that 99.9% of what happens in college admission is annoyance-free. And we also understand that this is a stressful time for you as well. So, I figured it may be helpful for you high school juniors and seniors (and your parents) out there to know of a few things that us folks on our side of the desk will consider to be pet peeves. Now, if you're guilty of any of these things in the past, don't fret, they are not make or break things at all. But, since you'll always want to put your best foot forward in this world of college admission, I figured it can only help you (and all my colleagues in the world of college admission!) if you avoid being the following people.

1) The Vague E-mail Question Asker: Admission representatives can get upwards of a thousand e-mails a week. It's a part of our job, and for us, we really enjoy it. I like communicating with students, helping them plan their visits to Tulane, and answering their questions. However, if there is one type of e-mail that can be a little bit frustrating for us, it is when prospective students e-mail us very open ended and vague questions. "Dear Mr. Schiffman- Can you tell me what it's like to be a student at Tulane?" [it's great!] and "Dear Jeff- What is Tulane looking for in an applicant?" [well rounded!] and "Dear Mr. Schiffman- What is New Orleans like?" [it's funky!] These are the type of questions that, while great questions, may be best asked in person or over the phone. When we have to sit down and type out what the campus is like, it's a bit broad for us to cover, and it takes us a long time. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call your schools to ask these very broad questions, or do some research online, or chat with our current students (which you can do online every day from 3-5 CST!). I would much rather answer questions that are specific and well-researched. Trust me on this one, it makes admission representatives lives a lot easier. For more on this, check out my 5 e-mails you should never send post as well as Questions to never ask your admission rep.

2) The Let-Mom-Take-Over-the-Meeting Student- We love meeting with students on campus. But there is nothing more disheartening when a student arrives in my office and speaks a few welcoming words before Mom or Dad takes over with their laundry lists of questions. Because we don't offer formal interviews with the admission staff here at Tulane, we totally welcome your mom or dad to come into our office during your chat with your admission rep. But if they are going to dominate the conversation and won't allow you a word in edgewise, then let them stay in the waiting room and come in towards the end of their discussion. I once had a student come into my office with her mom, made no eye contact with me the whole time, and on her mother's twelfth question, the daughter actually began texting on her phone. In my office. No thanks. Best overall advice I can give here is; parents, you do not want to be more memorable than your students in this process.

Side note, we're super excited to launch our new alumni interview program for our EA/ED applicants this fall!

3) The Best Kid in the World- This goes along with #3 above. Mom and Dad, I know you are going to have a tough time holding back these words, but I can tell you that every parent thinks their kid is really special. I can count on seventeen hands the number of times I had an overanxious mom or dad say this to me. Even if you start the my-kid-is-special sentence with "I know that all parents will say this to you, but..." it still seems unrealistic to us. Also, Mom and Dad, "we" are not taking AP Calculus. "We" are not taking the SATs in November. They are. Avoid this word. I know you are partners in this process, but let your kid be themselves. Let them show their specialness on their own.

4) The Leader On-er- This is the peeve I was quoted about in USNews. I had a student contact me all year long last year, and while they were an decent applicant, they had expressed a lot of interest and had really let me know that Tulane was their top choice. However, when they were added to our wait list, I got a full page e-mail from them indicating how badly they wanted to attend [insert school here that is not Tulane]. I was all set to bring the applicant to my VP  and say how I wanted to support the candidate, but this really took the wind out of my sails. So make sure you are being honest- don't lead admission officers on. Never cut and paste an e-mail from another school or make the fatal error of writing the wrong school. This happens much more often than you would suspect. If you are expressing interest in a school, have it be genuine engagement rather than forced or feigned interest.

5) The Twelve Page Resume-Sender- I have spoken on this topic before. It won't do you too much good to send us an extremely lengthy resume about every single bake sale you have ever worked. The best resumes we get are on one nice, clean, crisp page. They highlight the three or four major priorities and passions that you have. Sending 44 pages of photocopies of every award you have won (true story) is similar to this. Same with filling out every single blank on the activities section of the Common App. I am 33 years old... your resume shouldn't be longer than mine is! More tips on great resumes are on my previous blog here.

We know that you all are about to start working hard to get these applications out and we know that this might be a pretty stressful time for you and your family. I hope these little tips are able to help you a bit, and of course selfishly, following many of them will make your admission officer's life just a little bit easier.

For the full article from USNews, you can click here to see what other admission officers claim their pet peeves to be.


Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:20
I'm loving seeing all the #TulaneSummer posts on Insta. Makes me jealous of the days of a good 'ol fashioned summer break. I checked in with a few of our students to see how they were spending their "lazy" days of summer. Tulane will afford you all kinds of different opportunities and ways to spend your summer. From on-campus jobs to internships around the country, using the resources and alumni connections you'll find here, Tulane students seem to find some pretty incredible ways to spend their summer breaks! Let's check a few of them out:

Noah doing festival stuff, with a tractor, of course 
Noah Steinauer - Senior, Economics Major 

Where he is: Music Fests Everywhere 

Beginning my sophomore year at Tulane, I have had the privilege of serving on the board of our own completely student-run music festival, Crawfest. Encouraged by fellow board members, I began interning for and then working in the administration team at BUKU Music + Arts Project. This summer, as I enter my senior year as a leader in the Crawfest team, I am happy to be continuing my work in the entertainment industry, contributing to the production of various music festivals. From coordinating lodging and travel for festivals such as Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL, to working within the detailed VIP camping operations of Firefly in Delaware, I have had some incredible opportunities to see first-hand the administration and production of the increasingly popular business of music events.

Team Tulane at Capital One 

Ian Athmann ’18, Lauryn Fulton ’18, Dan Iavarone ’18, William Wei ’19, Kristin Aria ‘18
Where they are: Capital One Commercial Bank in New York, NY; New Orleans, LA; Bethesda, MD

This summer, five Tulane students are part of Capital One’s Commercial Banking Program. Ian is in New Orleans with the Middle Market Underwriting team, Lauryn is in New York with Treasury Management, Dan is in New York with Credit Risk, Will is in New York with Capital Markets, and Kristin is in Bethesda with Human Resources. Capital One Commercial Bank is a full-fledged lender that lends across all verticals and is quickly expanding its products and services in the banking and technology industry. The Commercial Banking Program is a ten-week long program that provides an in-depth experience of life as an analyst within each intern’s specific group, and groups throughout the Commercial Banking footprint.

Jenny at DREAM's black tie gala 

Jenny Ly- Sophomore, Policitcal Science Major
Where she is: Intern at nonprofit in NYC 

This summer, I've traded in the Big Easy for the Big Apple. I am currently working at DREAM (formerly known as Harlem RBI) in East Harlem as a Major Gifts Intern. Some of my responsibilities include assisting the Development with various special events and projects throughout the summer, researching prospective donors in the tri-state area who may contribute to the annual campaign, as well as engaging and maintaining relationships with donors.

At DREAM, our mission is to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to learn, play, and grow through the power of baseball and softball. We are invested in ensuring our players' success on and off the field. In our after-school and summer programs, not only will DREAM youth learn how to play baseball and softball, they will also learn to practice physical literacy, achieve academic success, and embody social-emotional competencies, all of which are critical to their development. My first couple of weeks at DREAM have been exciting, to say the least. Before my official start, I assisted the Development team with one of our largest fundraising events of the year, Bids for Kids, a star-studded black tie gala. To wrap up the end of my first week, I, along with a couple of other interns, was given front-row tickets to the Yankees v. Orioles game, courtesy of a very generous donor. Although I know Yankees tickets won't be a reoccurring event of my internship, I am still excited and continue to look forward to the rest of my summer at DREAM.

Aileen at NVE, 90210 

Aileen Harrison- Sophomore, Marketing and Digital Media Productions Major
Where she is: event planning intern in Los Angeles 

This summer I am interning at NVE: The Experience Agency in Beverly Hills. This is a promotional event planning company that works with companies like Amazon, Pandora and Red Bull (just to name a few) to plan events that raise awareness for their new products. As an intern, I research, plan and coordinate all of the little details that go into an event and help get the job done. This includes calling potential venues, vendors, and thinking about what features truly make an event memorable. The company works inspired by the slogan: “The right moment will transform someone forever,” and I am consistently learning the hard work that goes in to making these events unforgettable experiences. I actually got my internship through Tulane! I met Brett Hyman, a Tulane alumni, at the networking event Tulane Takeover: Los Angeles. He is the president of NVE and he’s how I found out about it and applied! He was super helpful through the whole process and it's been great to see the amazing alumni connections that Tulane provides.

Katie at indeed in Austin 

Katie Carlton- Senior, Management MajorWhat she's up to: sales intern at Indeed in Austin 
I am spending this summer in Austin, TX interning for the sales team at Indeed is the number 1 job search site in the world and it helps job seekers get excellent jobs every day. is such a pertinent resource for students at Tulane because it's where so many of our students find their summer internships and post-grad jobs. Although we are interns, we are trained the same way any full-time Account Executive is, and we have our own book of clients to sell our products to. It's such a cool place to work because there are unlimited snacks, we help people get jobs, and when you close the deal you get to play your pump up song (Mine will definitely be  "What Dreams Are Made Of" from the Lizzie McGuire Movie)!

Caroline gets the award for most challenging summer job: Putting up with me all summer. 
Caroline Campbell, Senior Public Health Major 
What she's doing: Two great on-campus jobs 

This summer I have been getting to know NOLA outside of the general school term. During the weekdays, I work as an intern at Tulane’s very own Admissions Office giving tours and helping prospective students navigate the college admissions process. On the weekends, I split my time between lifeguarding at Reily, the student Rec center, and heading to my favorite spots around the city. Some of my favorite activities include watching the Mississippi River at the Fly, grabbing SnoBalls on Plum Street, and checking out all the new restaurants that popped up last semester!

Antonio and the rest of the OTLs 
Antonio Milton, Sophomore Poli Sci and Philosophy Major 

What he's up to: Orientation Team Leader

This summer I have worked underneath the Tulane Office of New Student and Leadership Programs at New Student Orientation as an Orientation Team Leader. In the past month and a half, my team and I have welcomed over 1500 incoming students to our campus as well as around 1300 parents and family members. I am so thankful for having this experience this past month and a half as I have received the opportunity to assist others in making their transition to college as smooth as possible. All I can say now is that I wish I could start all over again or at least have more sessions to staff. But I know that it isn’t over, my fellow OTLs and I have fall welcome and beyond to continue to assist the Class of 2021 in whatever needs they may have. This past month has been unforgettable, and I’m very excited for the start the new academic year!

Ten NOLA Instagrams to Follow

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 21:03
kewonhunter9One of the many great things about living in NOLA is that it's a photographer's heaven. Bright colors, incredible architecture and some of the most Insta-worthy food in the world. If you are an incoming freshman, prepare yourself for some incredible sights to be shared.

I thought it might be neat to check out ten amazing NOLA Instagrammers to follow. Check them out!

OnlyatTulane: OK obviously we are going to start with a plug for the Office of Admission account. It's run by our student social media interns and if you ask me, it's pretty dope. Throw a like over to the main Tulane 'gram too! Our main man President Fitts has his own account as well.

Kewonhunter9: Some of the most incredible aerial photographs and videos I've ever seen of this city. Prepare yourself for some mesmerizing drone vids.

DavidNOLA: Gorgeous shots all over town by one of NOLA's best photographers.

Firewolf.e: Jaye Chestnut shares some colorful and incredible photos of life around town.

NOLAfoodGals: The name says it all. Don't follow them if you are on a diet!

New Orleans Saints: No matter what NFL team you love now, a little bit of you will love the Saints when you get here. Unless you're from Atlanta.

Mixterdm: My buddy Mike Dalle who runs Good Wood NOLA (another great account to follow) posts some amazing shots of New Orleans' homes and architecture.

Lazyeye: If music and festivals are your thing (and it's NOLA, so...) this account is for you.

JoyTheBaker: Amazing food posts from this popular NOLA baker, complete with recipes and a whole lotta nom. Defend New Orleans is one of NOLA's best shops (and movements) for local gear and t-shirts.

Happy following!

Twelve Cool Classes

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:00
Your subject matter in TIDES 1175-01Today may technically be the first day of summer, but with New Student Orientation in full swing, we're already looking forward to the fall semester. Class registration has begun for the incoming class of 2021 and they've got some cool ones to choose from this fall. I thought it might be neat to take a look at some of the coolest classes we're offering for freshmen this year. Some are new courses, some are golden oldies. These courses do not have any prerequisites at all and are are open to all Newcomb-Tulane College undergraduates. Thanks to my girl Dayna Gessler from academic advising for getting this great list together!

Speaking of first day of class, here is a #TBT to me on Tulane day 1. Puka shells were HOT back then.
TIDE-1175-01 Game of Thrones
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Do you debate Jon Snows parentage in your spare time? Do you hum the show’s theme song without even realizing it? Do you want to get to know other Game of Thrones fans at Tulane? Then the Game of Thrones TIDES is for you. Topics covered include the role of violence and sexuality in the television series as well as the debate over George RR. Martin’s obligation to his fans to “write like the wind.” Students should be caught up on Seasons 1-5 of the television series before the course begins. Although it is not necessary to have read the novels in order to register for this course, students who are fans of Martin’s Songs of Fire and Ice Series (Game of Thrones and its sequels) are especially welcome.

TIDE 1025-01 Karate: Art & Philosophy
Originating in Okinawa, Japan, traditional karate offers its practitioners self-defense skills, while providing them with a balanced fitness system, which includes aerobics, strength, and flexibility training. The concentration required during training, together with the physical exercise, are an excellent way to stress relief and healthy fun. Students will have the opportunity to know people of the New Orleans karate community through guest lectures of high-level, instructors and through their own visits to local karate clubs. Totally inexperienced students as well as those who have karate expertise will benefit from and will enjoy this class.

ANTH 3200 Magic, Witchcraft and Religion
This course is an exploration into religion and the occult. We will examine a wide range of topics, such as hauntings, spirit possession, the role of evil in the moral imagination, and the construction of symbols as well as various practices associated healing, witchcraft (or sorcery) accusations, and the experience of suffering and death. Anthropological approaches challenge the categories of "religion" and "witchcraft", which stem from Western conceptions of reality, Christianity, and ethnocentric views of the "other".

CRDV-1090-01 Majors, Internships and Jobs
CRDV 1090 helps students to clarify their strengths, values and goals in order to maximize student potential. Students connect collegiate academic and extracurricular experiences to professional pursuits. Students create and refine professional documents, evaluate decision making processes and learn to utilize professional social media in order to network more effectively. Students are guided through the career development process through various assignments. (Side note, I've previously blogged about this awesome class!)

MCGS 2000 Introduction to Musical Cultures of the Gulf South
An introduction to the culture of the Gulf South region with an emphasis on New Orleans music, history, ritual, dance, and cultural geography. Explores the musical relationship of the Gulf South region to the Caribbean and African diaspora. Introduces critical tools for analysis of the relationship of music and place. Themes of the course include ethnic migrations, social diversity, vernacular architecture, and slavery. Field trips to second-line parades, Mississippi River access points, diverse neighborhoods and historical slave markets.

CELL 2220 Career in Cell & Molecular Biology
Get acquainted with a variety of careers available to professionals with a science degree: medical professionals, research, science writing, technology transfer, government policy. Learn not to meets professionals in the field, write a CV and cover letter in order to have it passed on to potential research and clinical opportunities.

COMM 2812 Media and Reproductive Rights
This course focuses on the relationships between reproductive politics, popular and social media, and movements for reproductive rights in the United States.

Cities of the Dead! (from
TIDE 1000-01 New Orleans Cities of the Dead: Cemetery Architecture & Its Cultural Legacy
Heather Knight.  Students will be introduced to the history and cultural folkways of New Orleans through the study of historic figures, cemetery architecture, monument construction and funerary symbolism reflected in stone and iron.  Why are above-ground tombs more prevalent in New Orleans?  What are the different tomb types and their architectural styles?  Why do families in Louisiana visit cemeteries on All Saints Day?  What symbolism does funerary art in stone and iron reveal?  This TIDE will provide five informative field sessions to local cemeteries and five class lectures.

SISE 4820 Taylor your Life
Learn how to tackle the “wicked” problem of what to do with your life by applying methods and mindsets of design thinking to career development. Students will learn how to ideate multiple life paths, clarify their interests, focus and target their search, prototype and test elements of careers that interest them, market and brand themselves to stand out from the crowd, and map their community to effectively network with other changemakers around the world. By invoking curiosity, ideating multiple possibilities, prototyping and testing different pathways, and remaining centered on human relationships and communities, students will engage in a series of interactive, dynamic activities and learn how to design a life that makes a positive difference in the world and is “TAYLORed” to their unique life and personality.

TIDE 1370-01 Adventure, Discipline, Obsession:  A Running Conversation
Like to have class outside? Want to get off campus and see the city? Like to learn in unconventional ways? And, oh yes, do you run?  Then run with us in the early evening or early morning while we discuss a variety of aspects of life in motion, from the mythical (or not) "runner's high" to running as a metaphor for life. (Why did Forrest Gump run? Why did he stop running?) Most run will go off campus, in locations such as Audubon Park, City Park, and the French Quarter, and end with refueling (i.e., a meal, procured from Whole Foods Grocery).

SISE 2010 Introduction to Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
The introductory class gives students an appreciation for the field of social entrepreneurship and introduces students to several helpful frameworks that will be used in subsequent classes. Students will examine key concepts and the historical context, understand current theories and debates about social change, and discuss case studies of social entrepreneurs. The class will address two overarching tenets of SISE: Social impact can best be created by moving away from the current divisive approach of separate sectors and towards blended models that connect and combine sectors in new ways Social mission and social impact are the primary focus - understanding what your mission is, and how you create the greatest social impact, is key.
This course has a service learning component that goes with it.

ARST-1170-01 Foundations of Art: Glass (Glass Blowing)
This course focuses on the history and theory of glass art, and also introduces basic techniques with attention given to issues of composition, perception, communication, and expression. Emphasis also will be placed on the relationships between glass art, other art mediums, and the history of art. See my previous blog about the time I sneaked back into the glass studio! Oh and by the way, just a few days after I got dropped off at Tulane, I took glassblowing!

Ten Things to do as a Junior

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 15:42
It's hard to believe it, high school classes of 2019, but you're halfway done! With summer kicking off, the second half of high school is just a few months away. You're probably new to this whole "college application" thing, so in the spirit of first time experiences, this blog is for you. Have a look at these helpful hints to get your college search off the ground in the best way possible.

Here are my ten tips for you future (college) class of 2023-ers!

Tour a college in your hometown! 
1) Your coursework and grades matter the most in this process. Stellar ACT and SAT scores can give you a nice boost, but at the end of the day, the grades you earn in your high school classes are king. We look for a balance in your schoolwork: taking the most challenging courses that you can that still allow you to maintain a strong GPA. And yes, your freshman and sophomore year grades matter. Big time. Take challenging courses but don't overdo it, leaving you with a sub-par GPA. Again, it is all about finding that balance. Easier said than done, I know. We love to see that Spanish or French or Mandarin or whatever class continue into senior year. Office aide? Not so much.

2) Think about taking both the ACT and the SAT. Tulane will look at both and have a conversion chart that shows us that XXXX on the SAT is worth roughly XX on the ACT. But we only look at the higher of the two. Some students do better at one test over the other. Taking both may end up helping you out. The ACT was the more popular of the two for the first time last year.

3) Build your brand at your high school. First step, get to know your guidance/college counselor. Even if you are at a big public school, get to know them. They know what they are doing and can be your best advocate in this process. For all of you at smaller, independent schools, these people are experts too, and we know it. Next, really get to know your teachers. Invest your time in the classroom. Wow them. Make yourself missed when you leave. Become indispensable to your school.

4) Be open to a wide range of schools. Big, small, public, private, local, international, research universities and small liberal arts colleges. Explore them all, this is your time to do so. Keep an open mind! Just because you haven't heard of it or if it's not a "bumper sticker" college, don't rule it out. Seriously. There are over 3,000 colleges and universities out there; take the time to give some of them a shot. Found a few that strike your fancy? Here are some great questions to ask your admission rep to get to know the school better.

5) Use your summers wisely. We think that the programs to foreign countries or exotic service trips are great. But we also think working at Subway as a sandwich artist all summer is great. So is coaching a local youth sports team. Summers might mean taking a class at a community college. Don't worry if you can't take an amazing trip or do service work in Costa Rica. Trust me when I say some of the best summers are spent in some of the most humble ways. We love that.

6) Read books. Read the news online. Watch documentaries. Read more books. Listen to podcasts. Know current events. Know what is going on in the world. Be a conversationalist.

7) Participate in a few extra-curricular things you love. We don't like the seven page resume laundry lists here at Tulane. We like the one page of passion—the two or three most important things to you. Find your passion and stick with it. You can read all my resume tips here.

8) Stay out of trouble. I was in high school once, too. Be smart, guys. Academic dishonesty, drinking at Homecoming, etc., we are going to hear about it if it happens. Just be smart and make good decisions. I don't know when I turned into my dad, but just please don't make bad choices that will wreck your future. This mostly applies to how you act on Snapchat and other social media channels. Trust me, it matters. Just ask these people.

9) Start visiting colleges soon! Take spring break or a few days off to do so. Summer is fine, but not it's not the best time to see a college when most of the student body is away from campus. Take a road trip to a school close by to you to get a feel for college campuses. Even better, come visit Tulane! Shoot us an email and we'll enlighten you to all kinds of great hotels with Tulane discounts, great places to eat, great festivals to check out, and oh, yeah maybe take a tour of Tulane, too. You can read all my tips for a great campus visit here. Also, visit a college near your hometown, even if you don't think you'll apply there. Just start to get a feel for what college tours (and college in general) is like. I've got tips for visiting colleges here.

10) Meditate. Trust me on this one. It's a superpower that will pay you back in dividends over the next two (somewhat stressful) years. I help you get started here.

Good luck, 2019!

Dear Freshman Me

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 18:33
And there you have it, Class of 2017. Just like that, your college career has come to an end. Commencement 2017 was an epic day for us here at Tulane. Commencement was filled with amazing music, fantastic speeches, and the very memorable Helen Mirren. You can catch a wrap up video here.

Commencement is always the best time to reflect back on your Tulane experience. Four years goes by in a flash. For us in admission, we love to see our "kids" who we recruited years ago, walk across that Superdome stage. Now, the cycle's started all over again as we are about to kick off New Student Orientation for our incoming freshman next week.

That got me thinking. With one class leaving and another class arriving in a few short months, perhaps there were some parting words of wisdom that the Class of 2017 can leave for the Class of 2021. Better yet, if you had the chance, what would you say to your freshman self if you had four years of college wisdom to bestow? What letter would you write to your freshman you if you could? I asked eight students just that. Here's what they had to say.

As you'll see in their letters, Tulane isn't perfect—no college is. And no college experience is without it's ups and downs. That's what college is for. And when it's over, you can look back and reflect taking what you learned to start something. That's what commencement really means: the beginning.

Dear Freshman Nate,

Experience everything, but remember that the world is not designed to just be an experience. This means that you should be adventurous, stay out late across town, take in a new culture and talk with different people about foreign things. But when you go out exploring, remember that society doesn't exist solely for you to develop as a person. You should help develop it. My experiences have shaped me, I have loved my time in New Orleans and at Tulane, they have given me so much. It makes me proud to be able to say that I have given back as well, that's the best advice I can give.



Dear Freshman Me,

WAKE. UP. You live in an incredible place, it's time to make it your own! You can hear what your parents say while still doing what's authentic to you. Try new things—especially dope upper-level classes about specific topics—that is the name of the game in college. It's easy to get swept away at the activities expo, which makes balancing school, clubs/orgs, work, and a social life the ultimate feat. Messing up is gonna happen, but finding your people and taking care of yourself can get you through. You can determine who you are, what you care about, how you can be better AND how Tulane fits into all of of this! Ultimately, you have to live all your mistakes. Only you can figure it out. I believe in you. Don't stop doin' you!


Dearest Yung A. Silb.,

We made it this far, and it's only going to get better from here. As you progress through college, keep on keeping on with what made us so successful.

  • Always remember to find time to relax. It's easy to get caught up in school, work, and extra currics, but you live in New Orleans. Take advantage of the city's homier offerings. Streetcar downtown just for beignets, take a blanket to the fly, enjoy 70 degree weather year-round. School will always be there, and it will always be challenging, find time to chill.
  • Clean as you go. This mantra first met me in the kitchen, but it can be applied to all aspects of life. Everyday has its own little struggles, if you address them daily, life goes on much more smoothly than if you wait for your problems to pile up. Keep your room, kitchen, and life tidy. 
  • Have fun wherever you go. Be a tourist, make friends with strangers, and never be "too cool" for anything. 
  • No matter what, do not wear Mardi Gras beads outside of Carnival season. 


Dear Ches,

Welcome to Tulane! You have a long five years ahead of you, but they will be over before you have enough time to enjoy your 100th beignet. You’ve chosen to study architecture, which from my perspective was the best decision you’ve ever made next to attending Tulane, so stick to it! The hours will be long but be patient with yourself, your professors, and your peers, and know that all of the hard work will absolutely pay off. Take risks, stay caffeinated, and stay focused on a few priorities and projects instead of trying to get involved with everything all at once—you’ve got time to grow, explore, and discover yourself and your strengths. Over these next five years, be sure to fully explore New Orleans and remind yourself that it’s okay to take a full Saturday off to see a show with your friends and relax outside! Running is a great way to explore the urban fabric of New Orleans, while also getting a break and providing some inspiration. Another great way to explore the city is by eating at as many restaurants as possible—be sure to keep a running tab of all the places you have visited, and try your best to never eat at the same place more than once!

Best of luck - you’re going to love it!!

Dear Freshman Me,

I so vividly remember move-in day freshman year. The nervous energy as everyone looked each other up and down, wondering if they were staring into the eyes of a future friend, as we all tried to embrace our first encounter with the beast that is NOLA in August. As I decorated my dorm with pictures of my friends and family from home I couldn’t help but question whether I would ever be able to make as strong connections in just a short four years. College is going to be everything you think it will be and nothing all at the same time. It’s great to have a dream of what these four years might look like but just know that it’s not all going to turn out how you planned…and that’s okay because if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Tulane will challenge you and certainly change you (for the better I can confidently say now). Savor every moment you have as an undergrad and please believe people when they say these four years will fly by.

- Maddie

Dear Freshman Me,

     You don't know me, but I know you. You're a newbie. You've just left the comforts of home and can't wait to start your New Orleans adventure. From exploring the French Quarter to kayaking through City Park, there is simply so much for you to do. There are however, some tips/rules that you should know before you decide to hop on the streetcar.

1) Don't be afraid to travel by yourself. Be cautious, but don't let the need to travel in a group prevent you from having your own adventures.
2) Be open to (almost) anything. You will only regret the things that you did not do.
3) Enjoy yourself. You have four years at Tulane, so make the most of them!
4) Do not let one bad grade or experience get in your way.

When it is all said and done, you won't remember the grade you got on an exam. Instead, you'll remember the friendships you made, the adventures you took, and the joy that came with being a part of the Green Wave. Also, the diploma is pretty great! So, freshman me, take my advice for once in your life. Have fun, dance, and don't forget to call your parents!



Dear Freshman Me:

I want you to know that you don't have everything figured out, and that is ok. Stay open minded and say yes to every opportunity you can. Say yes to joining a sorority even if you swore you never would, and then become its president. Say yes to adding two new majors because of inspiring professors and late night conversations with floor mates. Say yes to Halloween on Frenchman Street, afternoons at the fly and anytime someone offers you food. Say yes to extracurricular projects with peers, and then file patents, start companies and pitch on local and international stages. Keep your heart and mind open, practice empathy, never be afraid to ask for help and remember to breathe.
So, no, the next four years will not go as planned, they are going to be so much more than you could have ever imagined.


Dear Freshman Kelsey-

As you anxiously but excitedly get ready to attend Tulane University, everyone fed into your excitement telling you to get ready for the best four years of my life. And the first year went just like that. You fell in love with the city of New Orleans, biking around to find second lines on Sundays or biking at midnight to get beignets at Café du Monde. You met some of your best friends that you graduated with just a few days ago and you even decided to stay that summer after your freshman year to work at Upward Bound, where you found your love for education and working with youth. However, no one prepared you for some moments to come. The anxiety that would hit, the broken heart, the sudden passing of your father, the tears that would stay with you until graduation. It wasn’t until you asked for help from your Posse mentor (which you are very lucky to have) that you learned it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to feel sad sometimes when everyone around you is smiling. It’s okay to see a therapist AND a mentor (yes both) once a week. It’s okay to email that professor asking for help. It’s okay to take a deep breath and stop. It’s okay to tell your friends you need help. It’s okay to take care of YOU.

Before attending college, you didn’t even know what mental health was. There was no stopping you. Coming to college you felt things you didn’t know you could. But after your father passed, you remembered something he always used to tell you when we went to the beach (grew up in LA)…. When a big wave comes, take a deep breath, dive all the way under and grab the sand. It will pass right over. So that’s what you did. Sometimes the waves were huge. Sometimes they were small. But you learned to take a deep breath and let the feelings pass. Tulane’s Green Wave came with more than you had planned for—laughter, fun, love, tears, books, food and more—but you'll come out on the other side still breathing. Still smiling. Still biking. Still working at Upward Bound. Staying in New Orleans. Living with your best friend. So get ready to pack your bags. But don’t forget to grab the sand. And something Dad never told you, but I would have told my freshman self, open your eyes while you’re down there. You’ll never know what you’ll discover. On the campus you choose. The city it resides in. Or within yourself.


Amazing stuff, Class of 2017. Here's to the beginning!

Summertime and the Livin' is (Big) Easy

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 19:40
It's hard to believe it, but Commencement is this Saturday! I hope you're excited to see what we have in store for #Tulane17. A Tulane graduation is always different from our peers and the celebrations this Saturday are shaping up to be another amazing event.

After Commencement, we head straight into summer here in NOLA. While it may be hot in the Big Easy, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, cool, and busy. Today, in honor of summer, I bring you:

8 Awesome Things to do in NOLA this Summer!

Succulents! Cacti! Here I am just takin' it all in.
New Orleans Botanical Garden: I spent last weekend here biking around City Park, a quintessential NOLA summer activity. If you want to do the same (you should), be sure to first, check out the wildflower fields, which are pretty incredible and Insta-worthy (does this make me basic), and then head over to the Botanical Gardens. They have everything from amazing fountains, Japanese Zen gardens, a train village, and an amazing cactus and succulent greenhouse (check me out above). I think this place is super neat and one of the best kept secrets in NOLA. Make sure to grab a beignet from Morning Call Coffee when you're done!

Our amazing team of student interns on their annual tubing trip this weekBogue Chitto River Tubing: A staple activity of any Tulane summer. River tubing in Louisiana always promises to be an awesome day. Grab a group of your friends and head out to Louisiana River Adventures or Tiki Tubing. Both offer a relaxing float down the Bogue Chitto River. Don't forget the sunscreen though.

If you want to get really aggressive with your Bayou St. John kayaking,
you can go during Bayou Bugaloo, seen above! (
Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Bayou St. John: Nestled in the heart of Mid-City is Bayou St. John, one of last visual clues that New Orleans used to be swamp land. Bayou St. John is an awesome spot to spend a hot afternoon, exploring the bayou and it's many tucked away treasures.
Bayou Paddlesports rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards for cheap and even offers paddle board yoga classes. The best route is to paddle up the bayou around Demourelles Island and check out the neat Mid-City architecture just off the bayou. Top it off with a po'boy dinner at Parkway.

The view from Monkey Board is NOT BAD. (
Hotel Rooftop Hop: Summer in NOLA can get hot, but a breezy rooftop bar (or even pool!) is the perfect cure to the summertime heat. I recommend you check out Monkey Board in the new Troubadour Hotel, Alto atop the Ace Hotel, Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel, and the bar at the Catahoula Hotel. Rooftop pool, rinse, and repeat.

Gorgeous views from Fontainbleau State Park ( State Park: For a lakefront respite just a short drive from New Orleans, check out Fontainbleau State Park, just on the other side of the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway. There are areas to lounge out on the beach and grill among some gorgeous live oak trees. If you're lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of a gator as you navigate the boardwalks through the sawgrass in the marsh.

Free Fridays at Tips: Every Friday night, during the summer, you can catch an amazing free show at Tipitina's, one of NOLA's most iconic music venues. The lineup is released as the summer goes on, but each Friday promises to offer an excellent lineup of jazz, hip hop, brass and rock bands.

Studio BE (studioBE)
StudioBE: This is probably my favorite art gallery in the city right now. You might have seen New Orleans artist Brandon Odums' (or Bmike) art previously when Exhibit BE opened up on the Westbank. These days, he's moved his incredible and thought-provoking art to a 30,000 square foot studio in the Bywater called StudioBE. The space is incredible—you will not be disappointed as his art offers an introspective commentary on current social justice issues.

Enjoy a Fest: Red Dress, Running of the Bulls, White Linen Night, Essence Fest, Satchmo, Greek Fest... need I go on? While summer isn't technically "festival season" in NOLA, there is no shortage of festivals in town to keep you eating, dancing, and drinking all summer.

There you have it! Have fun and stay cool out there.

Studio BE is massive! 

Wildflower fields in City Park

Gap Year

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 21:03
May 1st has come and gone and our class of 2021 has started to take its final shape! Later on this summer, I'll be blogging all about the incoming freshman class. We're really excited about 2021.

14 members of the class of 2021 will be coming to NOLA fresh off a Gap Year. We've seen a growing number of students opting to take a Gap Year before they start at Tulane. We are very supportive of a Gap Year if that is something that interests you. All you need to do is read this info, send us an additional deposit, and then you're on your way. Members of the class of 2020 are coming back from gap years studying cuisine in Paris, learning Spanish in Honduras while researching in the Mayan Highlands, and some will have spent time interning to save money for college.

I reached out to four former Gap Year students to get their take on it. Let's meet some of our former gappers here. Take it away, guys!

Sarah Cook, Class of 2018

For my Gap Year, I took two 3 month long trips with an organization called Rustic Pathways which focuses on community service in other countries.  With Rustic Pathways I visited Thailand, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Tanzania, Morocco, and Ghana.  I was with a small group of other students taking Gap Years and every month some people would leave and some would join our group so the number of friends I was traveling with fluctuated.   In Thailand I took a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course and am now a certified WFR, which means that I am equipped to help in any emergency situation.  Using our newly learned skills, we opened up health clinics in small villages without access to health care and we gave them physicals as well as tested their blood type and sugar levels.  We also dedicated a lot of time in Southeast Asia to animal care.  We took a crash course in first aid care for cats and dogs, watched a dog undergo surgery to remove a tumor, vaccinated various domestic animals, worked at a night safari in the nursery with baby tigers, and learned how to be a mahout (elephant caretaker) at an elephant conservation camp.  I learned so many new skills in Southeast Asia, while exploring some incredible countries with vibrant cultures.

In Africa, we participated in a lot of construction projects, and in Ghana we taught middle schoolers how to use computers.  Their national exams require them to have basic computer knowledge and they need to show proficiency in Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  However, when we arrived with the laptops, none of the students had ever seen a computer. It was so incredible to be a part of their enthusiasm and happiness at being able to work a computer, and made me realize how many of the electronics at my house I take advantage of. Other than our service projects, we were also able to explore as tourists.  I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, scuba dived off the coast of Zanzibar, went on a safari in the Serengeti, and rode camels in the Sahara Desert.  Overall, I had an extraordinary time on my Gap Year, and highly recommend that everyone consider taking a Gap Year.  The places I visited were beautiful, the service I did was very meaningful, the people I met were AMAZING, and after spending the past 12 years in a classroom learning traditional subjects it was fantastic to make the world my classroom.

People often ask if it was hard for me to jump back into a traditional classroom setting after taking a year off.  In terms of academics, I took an online precalculus course over the summer before I came to Tulane to refresh my memory (as I hadn’t taken precalculus in 2 years), but otherwise my academic transition was no different from my friends who did not take a gap years.  In fact, I feel like I am no longer burnt out from my 12 years of previous schooling, and being refreshed has definitely improved my transition process.  After seeing countries where many people don’t have the opportunity to graduate high school, let alone attend college, I am so much more grateful of all of the I am so much more appreciative that I have the chance to go to college.  I am so much more confident now than I was when I graduated high school, and I’ve found that I make the most out of everyday at Tulane.

Tamar Arenson, Class of 2020

My name is Tamar Arenson and I am a freshman, majoring in Political Science and International Relations. When I was a senior in high school, I applied to colleges just like the rest of my friends, but I knew my path would look a little different. I had decided to take a gap year. I had grown up in the Young Judaea community; attending their summer camps, year round programing and travel programs. Young Judaea also offers a gap year in Israel called Year Course. Since I was 10 years old, I knew that before I went to college, I too would go on Year Course.

During my year, I spent the first half working at an elementary school in an inner city as an english teacher. I developed incredible bonds with my students and was able to watch them grow and learn a new language. For the second half of my year, I took classes through my program which ranged from history to art and culture. We also traveled the entire country, exploring different landscapes, communities and religions. Finally, I traveled to Rwanda for 5 weeks where I lived and worked at youth village for orphans in Rwanda that was founded by a Year Course alumna.

Throughout all of these experiences I was also living in an apartment with roommates, ostensibly on my own for the first time. I had to learn to budget my spending, navigate new areas, make new friends and be far away from my parents. I came to college feeling so much more prepared than I would have right out of high school. I had already experienced a transition before, and was excited to do it again! Both my academics and social life soared because I felt so comfortable and excited by my new experience. My gap year not only opened my eyes culturally, through my travels and experiences, but also taught me how to live alone, be in a new place and make the most of every opportunity. I have tried to carry this same mentality through my freshman year of college and can honestly say the two best decisions I ever made in my life were going on Year Course and coming to Tulane.

Kira Farley, class of 2020

Taking a gap year was the best decision I could have made! Get ready for me to sound like I am writing in clichés and coming straight out of a Disney movie, because my experience was a dream. I cannot imagine how my life might have turned out differently had I not spent time outside of the academic world. I spent my gap year living in Paris, France on a CIEE program. My year was chocked full of taking cool classes to learn about the culture of my new home (art history taught INSIDE Le Louvre, anyone??), volunteering in a café where the majority of customers were immigrants (Learning how to make un café crème while simultaneously hearing about someone’s life story was pretty amazing!) and traveling to as many towns, cities and countries as I could! I was only 18 years-old and here I was, traveling to Italy, Spain, London and Germany in one month and the flights cost a total of 50 euros.

I enjoyed high school and was excited for college…who wouldn’t be when you’re going to Tulane! However, I wanted to step outside of the academic setting to learn about myself and the world around me. Did I have apprehensions about being a year behind? Of course, but Tulane made my transition as smooth as butter both academically and socially. I never once felt like an outsider or like I couldn’t handle whatever situation I found myself in. In fact, everyone that I meet tells me that they WISH they had taken a gap year. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my incredible host family, food, friends and experiences in France. I know that taking a gap year helped shape who I want to represent in my years at Tulane and my life beyond. If you find yourself wondering whether or not a gap year is for you, say YES!

Kelsey Williams, class of 2019

Taking a gap year was the best decision I have ever made, and I could not recommend the experience more highly to anyone finishing high school. It allowed me to grow into an independent young adult beyond my refined ability to study for AP exams and write personal statements. Don’t get me wrong – these skills were extremely valuable to me, and are the reason I am able to be studying on a scholarship at a Tulane. However I honestly believe I am a happier, more well-rounded person because I took some time off from school.

I first began thinking about taking a gap year in November of my senior year of high school but finished the college application process. When May rolled around, I accepted my spot at Tulane but requested a deferral of both my admission and scholarship until the following year. I left for 9 months of traveling in late August.

First I went to South Africa and Botswana, for a month each, and completed a course called EcoTraining, which certified me to be a Safari guide. In practice, this was a long, educational camping trip among the lions and elephants.  It was a wonderful way to start the year abroad, because it was a fairly structured environment with a small group of people that became close friends. It was also a completely foreign experience with many new challenges, but everyone spoke my language, so it was navigable. I had limited access to technology and connection to home, which helped me build my confidence. I also developed a new passion for the environment, which I will carry for the rest of my life.

In late October, I flew from Johannesburg to Arusha, Tanzania. For three months I lived with a host family, shadowed doctors in a community hospital, and volunteered at a local orphanage. This was the most challenging segment of my year. There were very few other westerners, so I frequently felt culturally and linguistically isolated. It took concerted effort to step outside my comfort zone and make connections with local people. However, these experiences allowed me to grow significantly as a person, helping me check my privilege and develop a broader worldview. Additionally, this experience solidified for me that I want to pursue medicine and public health. I returned to Arusha last summer on a State Department Critical Language Scholarship to learn Swahili, and I hope to continue working in East Africa throughout my career.

The final stop of my gap year was New Zealand, where I arrived in early February. I stayed the first few nights in hostels while I explored the city and found an apartment and job, and then settled into life in Wellington. I worked as a waitress and barista in a small restaurant downtown, and part-time as a caterer for a larger company. Through my jobs and housemates, I made great friends and thoroughly enjoyed spending three months as an independent adult in the city. By the beginning of May, I had saved enough money to quit my jobs, rent a car, and road trip the entirety of the country for 5 weeks. This was the happiest time of my life. Now, as I write this reflection amidst cramming for organic chemistry and physics finals, it keeps me grounded to have learned that fullness of my life depends on more than higher education and my grades.

Kira and crew 

Sarah on her Gap Year
Kelsey on he gap year
Tamar on her gap year.

Class of 2021

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 16:01
May 1st has come and gone, which means we finally have a good sense of how the class of 2021 will shape up here at Tulane. Things will shift a bit this summer and we'll have a final picture of the class before move-in day when I'll post a full profile of our incoming freshmen. For now, my boss, Satyajit Dattagupta, VP of Enrollment Management, is taking the over the blog today to give you a quick synopsis of the class of 2021.

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The Class of 2021 is a tremendously talented and cosmopolitan group of students who come from homes all over the United States and the globe. In short, it is incredibly academically accomplished, truly diverse, and globally-oriented. It is one of the most extraordinary classes Tulane has ever welcomed to campus.

Tulane had more than 35,000 applications this year, but we were only able to accept 21% of applicants, making this the most selective class in history.

This is also the most academically strong class Tulane has enrolled. This promising group of well-rounded students will accomplish great things in the coming years, both during their time at Tulane and their lives beyond our campus. Our average SAT scores went up 14 points as well.

The Class of 2021 is also the most diverse group of students Tulane has ever enrolled. The incoming class has 22% students of color and 5% international students. This marks a change that Tulane University welcomes, as it is more representative of both our nation and the world. I am very confident the campus experience of students with such a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experiences will be extraordinarily positive. The breadth and depth of the Class of 2021 is reflected not only in their academic successes but in the various ways they see and understand the world. Learning, working, sharing, and living with people unlike yourself is one of the ways we grow as human beings. This enriches our understanding of our differences and our strengths, builds strong bonds, and greatly benefits our community.

This class is also the most global in Tulane’s history. Bringing more international students to Tulane provides a unique dimension to the classroom and campus experience that is incredibly important. The world is getting smaller, and we are more connected to the people of all nations than ever before. An informed global outlook is so crucial to personal and professional success for international and domestic students alike.

We're also excited to welcome our first class of Spring Scholars in January of 2018. 77 students will be a part of this group. We had so many qualified students apply for admission this year, but sadly we could only offer a limited number of spots. Because of this, we will not be admitting students from the waitlist.

I look forward to welcoming the class of 2021 in just a few short months. Roll Wave!