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Updated: 2 hours 35 min ago

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!

Guest Blog: Career Development Classes (CRDV)

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 21:31
“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” -Katherine Whitehorn
One of the best gifts that Tulane will give you as a student is an alumni network broader than you'll see at almost any other school in the country. We have alumni clubs in 50+ cities around the country and over 130,000 living alumni. Because students travel so far to attend Tulane, so many also travel far when they gradate. Whether you are in SF, LA, DC, Chi Town or NOLA, you are connected to a phenomenal Tulane alumni network.

Our network is just one piece of the greater employment puzzle here at Tulane. Through amazing opportunities like Career Wave and, we make sure that you, as a student, can hit the ground running with some epic career-prep opportunities. This week alone we have two big events coming up for Tulane students looking to practice their filmmaking skills and get advice about breaking into the entertainment industry from top entertainment executives.  Jack Sussman (CBS) Nina Rosenstein (HBO) Doug Ellin (Entourage) Mathew Rosengart (Greenberg Traurig), Rick Roskin (CAA), and Julie Yorn (LBI Entertainment) headline our TULANE TO HOLLYWOOD panel on Friday as well as Thursday's CAMPUS MOVIEFEST red carpet premier of over 120 students' 5 minute films that they've made in less than a week.

We're always up to something, so why not check out one of our best career prep areas: the CRDV Class at Tulane. I am going to have my girl Geneva Torrence, one of our Career Advisers and Educators, tell you all about CRDV.

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"The Best Class at Tulane…in My Opinion"

When you are a senior in high school the biggest decision to make is where to attend college.  Maybe that was a simple decision or maybe it took some soul searching. Ultimately you found Tulane to be the best fit.  So now you are here and you can finally breathe… well, not really.   See, something magically happens when you start college.   Everyone around you expects you to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life.  You stop counting after the one thousandth time you are asked, “so what are you going to major in?”   How are you supposed to decide what to study and what you want to do after Tulane? It’s hard enough to choose where you want to eat dinner, or what to watch on Netflix.  I know the struggle and we at the Career Center are here to help.  Did you know that you can get help deciding on your academic and career path, while earning an hour of college credit?  Well you can!

Tulane offers a unique course called CRDV 1090, taught by Career Educators, which helps students with the entire career development process.  Career development is an on-going process that begins with self-exploration.  This is the most important step and it is unfortunately the step that too many people skip over.   If you don’t fully understand yourself, how can you know what classes you want to take, the type of internship that would best suit you, or even a career path?   In CRDV students get the opportunity to explore their personality traits, interests, strengths, and values, and they learn how to connect that to a major and career.

CRDV helps students create and develop the tools necessary to be successful in the internship and job market.   Students create professional documents such as resumes and cover letters. CRDV also prepares students to market themselves when networking or interviewing.  Not only do students gain tools inside the classroom, but they have their own personal career advisor for the semester.  Each Career Educator is available for 1-on-1 meetings.

CRDV offers students the opportunity to put the skills gained in class into real live practice.  Students in CRDV participate in a Mock Interview Day. The Career Educators bring in 40+ professionals representing 20 different industries to conduct mock interviews with CRDV students. Included in that group are Executive Directors, COOs, CEOs, company Founders and Vice Presidents. After each student is interviewed, they receive feedback from their interviewer.  This event is considered by students to be extremely helpful in calming nerves and improving overall interviewing skills.
Mock Interviews 
If you would like help or just need that push to get started choosing a major, finding an internship and exploring career paths, CRDV is right for you. Contact your academic advisor or the Tulane Career Center for more information.
If you are still not convinced on how great CRDV is, look what past students have to say about the class:

“The main reason I initially enrolled in this course is because I wanted help deciding what to major in.  I surprised myself by figuring out my major just weeks into the semester.”
-Tulane Sophomore

“I originally took this class with the intent of it helping me find an internship for the summer as well as improve my resume.  This class, however, went even beyond my expectations in that I found an internship, made a great resume, and also learned many other useful skills that I would not have known otherwise.  When I first joined the class, there was a huge gap between where I was and where I intended to be.  I started without a resume, no experience in interviewing or job searching, but now that gap has been filled in such a short period of time.”
- Tulane Junior

“I am officially employed!  Thank you for all of your help throughout the process!  I couldn’t have done it without this class!”
- Tulane Senior

More mock Interviews as a part of CRDV 
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

The Fifteen Best Restaurants in New Orleans

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 20:13
With Destination Tulane in full swing (and juniors on spring break!), Tulane is seeing thousands of prospective students and their families on campus and in NOLA nearly every day. We get lots of questions like: how is your communications department, how easy is it to get into the classes you want, where should I live this fall, etc. But the most frequent question we get is, "where should we eat?!"

New Orleans is ranked time and time again as one of the best food cities in the world, so picking one spot is always tough. So forget Zagat and Michelin, without further ado, the Office of Admission presents to you...

The 15 Best Restaurants in New Orleans 
This. Will. Change. Your. Life.
Photo Cred; bonappetite.comDomenica: Everyone that knows me, knows that, hands down, this is my top pick for the best restaurant in New Orleans. Chef Alon Shaya has built quite the reputation for himself here in NOLA. Domenica, located in the historic and gorgeous Roosevelt Hotel, serves up some of the best Italian-meets-NOLA (shall we say Italianola?) food in town. Order the cauliflower appetizer and prepare to have your entire existence on earth altered. Then, top it off with their prosciutto pizza. Talk about nom.

Shaya: All I will say about Shaya, (yes, same chef as above) is that there is a reason that it has been named the "Best New Restaurant in America" by Esquire in 2016, and dozens of other publications. I ate there last week, I literally have no clue how food can possibly taste this good—it's modern Israeli food at it's finest. You will not be disappointed. James Beard distinctions abound at this spot, including a recent nomination for "Rising Star Chef" for one of our graduates Zachary Engel!

Bayona: This restaurant is an absolute institution in NOLA. With world-famous chef Susan Spicer in the kitchen, it's one of the best in town. The atmosphere is formal, but very comfortable, the service is outstanding and they make you feel very special. The food is excellent, always innovative, and always delicious.

Cochon: Two of Donald Link's three main NOLA restaurants are on our list, and for good reason. Arguably one of the best chefs in the South, (and adorned with many a James Beard award) Link brings a new approach to traditional Cajun and Southern food. Come for the wood-fired oysters appetizer and stay for the short ribs for your main course. Not in the mood for a full sit-down dinner? Head around the corner to Butcher, the sandwich shop offshoot of Cochon.
Wood-fired oysters at Cochon.
Photo Cred:
Atchafalaya: Our Assistant Director of Transfer Admission, Erin, recommended this one as her top restaurant. She says, "It has an awesome atmosphere, and I have never had a bad dish!"

Erin recommends:
Appetizer: Free-Form Crab Ravioli
Entrée: Any of their fish dishes

It's in an unassuming part of town and in a cute little house. There’s often a live jazz band, and you see ALL types of folks passing through: people dolled up for a big event, people dusty from a day of antiquing, big families, and more.

Cute lil' Cafe Atchafalaya
Photo Cred: La Petite Grocery: Owen, one of our Admission Counselors says this spot, "is my favorite because of the great ambiance (romantic, cozy yet open, a nod to its old existence as a grocery store). The menu is diverse (cheeseburger or lamb) yet everything is amazing from appetizer to dessert." LPG is on Magazine Street not far from Tulane. The head chef Justin Devillier, who you may know from Top Chef, is one of the best in the South.

Owen recommends:
Appetizer: Blue Crab Beignets
Entree: Turtle Bolognese
Dessert: Butterscotch Pudding

Magasin: This one comes from Neill, our Associate Director of Operations,"A lot of people don’t realize how strong a Vietnamese influence there is in New Orleans. Magasin is my favorite restaurant because all the plates are small enough and cheap enough that you can order a few different things, and anything you get is fresh and light. Vietnamese-style pork is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten, and Magasin does it the best, in my opinion. So of course I recommend ordering lots of grilled pork: Com (rice plate), the spring rolls, and a steamed pork bun. Then finish it off with a Café Sua Da Vietnamese iced coffee." Bonus: a second location is now open in the CBD!
All around deliciousness from Magasin
Photo cred:
Patois: Nestled in a cute uptown neighborhood not far from Tulane, Patois serves up some of the best French food in town. Perfect for a cozy or romantic dinner off the traditional tourist path.

Peche: The second of Donald Link's restaurant in our top 15 list. Peche won best the James Beard award for "Best New Restaurant" in the country in 2014Peche is home to some of the best seafood in town. Try anything from the raw bar and then spend some time exploring the CBD, New Orleans' hottest neighborhood right now. I also recommend getting affogado from Drip when you are ready for dessert.

Peche Seafood Grill
Photo Cred:
Luke: Luke is arguably the best of the John Besh spots in town. Rachael, one of our Admission Counselors covering the Long Island territory, recommends you get the Chappapeela Pork Schnitzel and Raw Oysters. She loves Luke because "it's great for people who want to eat downtown, but not necessarily in the Quarter. It’s walkable to tons of attractions, and the place is always packed. So many times, I've met friends for 50 cent oyster happy hour here and ended up staying through dinner and dessert! The brasserie-style restaurant is just the right amount of relaxed."

Great food and great views at Luke
Photo Cred: nola.eater.comRoot: Root is something totally different, and Lindsey, our Assistant Director of Admission, calls it her favorite restaurant in town. "Root is for adventurous eaters with global tastebuds. Start with the housemade charcuterie, like the juniper cured duck prosciutto and “face” bacon, move onto the cohiba smoked scallops (served in a cigar box!), and end with a satsuma olive oil cake topped with buttermilk ice cream.  Parents, the cocktail menu will have you singing New Orleans’ and Root’s praises in no time."
Scallops served in a smoking cigar box? Sounds like Root to me!
Photo Cred: Root
Compère Lapin: A delectable Caribbean and Creole inspired restaurant on the bottom floor of the ultra-hip Old No. 77 hotel in the Warehouse District. This restaurant is currently one of the most praised in the city. It was named "Best Restaurant of 2016" by The Times-Picayune and Chef Nina Compton is one of Food & Wine magazines “Best New Chefs” and is currently a finalist for a James Beard Award for "Best Chef". Rebecca, one of our Admission Counselors, says “I have absolutely loved everything I have eaten at Compère Lapin. It has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the city!”. If you’re looking for a high dining experience with a casual atmosphere and delicious food—this restaurant can’t be missed!

Nina Compton from Compere Lapin. You might recognize her from Top Chef! (photo: Old 77 Hotel)

Dante's Kitchen: We love this spot by the Riverbend. The entire menu is incredible, and each seating area has a bit of a different ambiance. I highly recommend their chicken under a brick, and they also bring delicious spoonbread to every table before the meal. They do a great brunch as well.

Pizza Delicious: There is no better pizza here in New Orleans than at Pizza Delicious. Founded by two Tulane graduates from New York who wanted to bring Big Apple style pizza to the Big Easy, this great spot is located in the Bywater, one of NOLA's coolest neighborhoods. I recommend getting your pizza to-go and climbing the rusty rainbow bridge over to Crescent Park to eat overlooking the city skyline and the Mississippi River.

Satsuma: I had to make sure I got a student opinion our list, so I asked Shelby Strattan (B '18) for her best restaurant choice! I happen to agree, Satsuma is exceptional. Shelby says; "If you're looking for some zesty, healthy flavors near campus, try out Satsuma Cafe! This breakfast and lunch place is located on Maple Street in an area populated with coffees shops and boutique stores. They offer options ranging from fresh pressed juices to the most savory homemade pancakes. They also offer constantly changing daily specials. Personally, my favorite order is the three egg scramble with the most delectable and fluffy biscuit known to New Orleans. Check out this student hot spot—you'll want to be here every morning for breakfast!" There is also a location down in the Bywater if you are up to explore the city.

There you have it, folks! Your definitive list. Can't pick just one? You just might have to enroll here at Tulane to spend the next four years trying all fifteen.

Satsuma on Maple

It's Going to be Okay

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 14:00

I wanted to wait a few days for the dust to settle before I posted this very important message to every single high school senior across America right now who did not get good news from their top choice school:

It's going to be okay.

I promise.

I know, what you must be thinking, "that's easy for you to say Jeff." But hear me out. Over the past week, I have gotten emails from students who have been denied or waitlisted from Tulane asking, "what did I do wrong?"And, "what is wrong with me?" The answer to both of those questions is: nothing. Tulane was very excited to send out thousands of letters of admission over the past few months, but we also had to send out three times as many letters to students who were not admitted. Around the world right now, there are students just like you who did not get into the school they really wanted. Students who got denied from their top choice school. Students who are thinking that this is it... it is never, ever going to be okay. I'm here to give you a two-phased approach to how you can re-ground yourself, get back on your feet, and seriously, be okay.

Phase one: Do not let this process define you.

What the college admission committee thinks about your application for admission is not what they think about you as a person. It's not a reflection of your character or potential. Admission Offices around the country have internal goals and requirements that they are looking for, and just because you don't meet them, doesn't mean you aren't going to be a great college student somewhere. In some senses, parts of the admission process are beyond your control. Tulane could have filled up five freshman classes with students who are academically qualified to attend, but we simply cannot admit all those students. You might be applying to a school that is looking for more female engineers and you happen to be a male liberal arts student. Maybe the school has a finite number of spaces in its film studies program and as much as they'd like, they can't take every amazing, aspiring screenwriter who applied. Maybe a school has a board of directors telling the admission office "we need higher ACT scores" and you happen to not be a great test taker. What I am saying is, as tempting as it might be to find faults in yourself, try not to. Instead, take a step back, regroup, and keep going.

As my colleague and good friend Jennifer Simpson from Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles wrote to her students, "When life takes a detour, it is only human to feel the wave of difficult emotions that unexpected outcomes often unearth. One of the greatest gifts this process can give you is the ability to come back to that center and that sense of self that this process forces you to look at in the first place. What do you know, deeply and sincerely, to be true and authentic about yourself, your gifts, and your potential? This is sign of an incredibly healthy young mind and strength of character that no college admissions decision can or should ever be able to take away." Amen Jennifer!

Phase two: Know that in all likelihood, you're going to go somewhere, and you're going to get a lot out of it.

Take a look at this interesting article in The Atlantic. According to the article, "there are more than 4 million 18-year-olds in the United States, 3.5 million of them will go to college. And just 100,000 to 150,000 of those (somewhere around 3 percent of the entire age group) will go to selective schools that admit fewer than half of their applicants. College-admissions mania is a crisis for the 3 percent." Three percent! That means 97% of college-bound students are heading to schools that are not considered "selective." The article continues:

"The college-admissions process, which millions of 18-year-olds consider the singular gateway of their young adulthood, is actually just one of thousands of gateways, the sum of which are far more important than any single one. While hundreds of thousands of 17- and 18-year-olds sit around worrying that a decision by a room of strangers is about to change their lives forever, the truer thing is that their lives have already been shaped decisively by the sum of their own past decisions—the habits developed, the friends made, and the challenges overcome. Where you go to college does matter, because it's often an accurate measure of the person you're becoming."


In the end, it's less about where you go, and more about the steps you've taken to get there and what you do once there. This has been said time and time again. Parents, this goes for you too, as was noted in this Huffington Post article. My favorite line from the article: "I am going to teach my children that they can be successful doing whatever they want if they follow their dreams and work hard. Going to the best college won't make that happen for them. Giving them the freedom to flourish in their own way in their own time will."

I want you to close your eyes for a moment. I know, it might be hard to read this with your eyes closed, but maybe metaphorically close them. Picture yourself nine months from now. You are packing your suitcase to head home from your first semester of college. It probably had its ups and downs, you've made some new friends, and learned a lot about yourself. But, for most of you, and for the most part, you'll be feeling okay. Maybe even a lot better than okay. You've likely gotten over what went down last year and are settling into you first year of college, and the rest of your life. And you know what? You're doing pretty darn good!

I want to tell you one last story. This is a story about a young Jeff Schiffman from Bethesda, MD. At 17 years old, he applied to the flagship university in North Carolina, his dream school. His sister was a junior there at the time and having the time of her life. It was THE school for Jeff. The only school that he could possibly attend. The only place he could be successful and happy. On December 15th 2000 (gosh I'm old) he got a letter in the mail. Said flagship North Carolina school did not want him nearly as badly as he wanted them.

That was it. Life was over. If I wasn't going there, I wasn't going anywhere, I told my dad. Life as I knew it... was over.

A few months later, the kind folks at Tulane University sent me a letter of admission in the mail. In my mind, it was no flagship NC School, but maybe, just maybe, I could be happy there. And just maybe, it would be okay.

This summer, I was named the Director of Admission at Tulane University. So I guess what I am saying is, no matter how you feel today, how you felt this week, and how you think you'll feel next year... you are all going to be okay.

Trust me.

PS: After you've had some time, check out this great piece by Frank Bruni about which schools the CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies attended. You might be surprised by the list.

Waitlist... Now what?

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 19:30
Well it is official; all of our decisions for the class of 2021 will go out this week. If you have not heard from us yet, you will before April 1st. For those of you who were placed on the waitlist, here's a blog to answer all of the questions you may have.

What is the waitlist, anyway? Every year we have a group of students who are qualified to gain admission to Tulane and we feel are also interested in enrolling here. Due to an increase in the number of students who have already committed, we have decided to put a group of students on the waitlist.

So, who is on the waitlist? While Tulane does not release the exact number of students who have been waitlisted, I will tell you that the group is not huge, but there are a sizable number of students who make up this group. The number will get smaller as we ask students if they would like to remain on the waitlist over the course of the coming month or two. It is more of a moving target, so there never really is a finalized number as to the total number of students on the list.

Is the waitlist ranked? No, it is not. All students on the list are in the same boat, none are necessarily stronger than others.

So, will you go to the waitlist this year? That all depends on one main factor- space availability in the freshman class. We have a finite number of spaces in the class, and thus cannot admit every single student who is both qualified and interested in Tulane. As we get closer to May 1st, we can compare our numbers to previous years and predict how large the class is going to end up. If we are seeing that our numbers are a bit lower than we would like, at that point we can admit a few students off the waitlist. If the numbers are up, it is less likely that we will be able to admit anyone from that list.

What has happened in previous years? Some years, we admit a group off the waitlist, some years it is zero. Last year, we were able to take only a handful. The year before, nearly 300 were offered spots in the class. The class of 2020 was overenrolled last year, so we had to be more conservative with who we admitted this year. That could mean more movement from the waitlist, but time will tell. We'll let you know as soon as we can!

If I am admitted from the waitlist, will there be financial aid available? Yes, there will be, for students who qualify based on your application. You can also apply for need based aid through the Office of Financial Aid.

What can I do to strengthen my case? For the most part, the ball is in our court. It will come down to numbers with waitlist admits; this is why we need to wait a few weeks to see how many students have replied that they will indeed enroll. If Tulane is your top choice, e-mail your admission representative and let them know. There is no need to send in additional documentation, but just let him or her know you remain highly interested. Also be sure to reply to every one of those e-mails we sent out asking if you would like to remain on the list. If we don't hear from you, we will assume you are not interested. My personal tip? Only request to stay on our waitlist if you are pretty sure you'll enroll here if you are offered a spot.

Should I come down for a visit to campus? Only if it makes sense for your family to do so. It will not have any bearing on your admission decision. There is no need to meet with your rep on campus or come down for an interview. A simple e-mail will do.

When will I know? We will give you a final update by June 1st at the very latest, but hope to do so sooner.

So... doesn't that mean I need to have a backup plan, in case I am not admitted from the waitlist? Yes.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Feel free to e-mail your admission counselor with any questions at all you may have. Best of luck!

Graduation Bucket List

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 19:28
Alright, class of 2017, spring break is just around the corner. That means it's time for the home stretch. For some of you, this means your days in NOLA are numbered. Many of you are sticking around to complete one of Tulane's graduate programs, and a large group will also join the local work force here in town. But for lots of you, it's time to start saying your goodbyes to what has most likely grown to be your favorite city in the world. So in consideration of this last month or two that you have here, I give you my list of ten bucket items to do before you split town. I tried to pick some feasible, affordable and realistic things to do. Go out and enjoy this town, one last time! Oh and see you in a few months and years when you come back to visit, which you will do. All the time.

1) Go see Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps on Thursday night. If you have not seen this band at some of the various festivals around town, then you will be blown away. It's a killer show, an incredible experience and will leave you sweatin' and dancin' for hours. If you want the quintessential NOLA music experience, this is it. Schedule here.

2) Sunday evening at Bacchanal in the Bywater. I just happen to have done this last week. Grab a group of friends and get a table sometime early-ish (around 7:00). They sell wine by the bottle, there is always a great little band and you can order food from the counter- be sure to get the chocolate bark dessert. You'll wonder why you don't come here every Sunday. It's a great, laid-back vibe to chill out and reminisce with your friends surrounded by a little tropical courtyard oasis.

Here is what my friends look like when we go to the Great Lawn in City Park3) Fly Day Afternoon- Head to the Riverbend Daq Shack and bring lots of blankets. I know this seems like a no-brainer to spend an evening at the fly, but stick around for the sunset with your crew. It will make you never want to leave as you watch the tug boats and barges mosey their way upriver, and mingle with the hipsters balancing on their slacks and the frat boys playing bags or the locals just taking in the perfect NOLA spring evening. Bonus- bring some boiled crawfish.

4) Hotel Pool Hop. Grab a small crew and pick a hotel pool and crash it for the afternoon. The Westin, (on the 30th floor!) The Roosevelt and the Bourbon Orleans all have great pools, but if you want my top recommendation, go hit up the new Ace Hotel in the CBD. This is rooftop pooling at it's finest. Also, take the streetcar there. Riding the streetcar is something you forget how awesome it is until you get back on it.

Bourbon Orleans Pool (photo from Hit up City Park for a day. This has got to be one of the most underrated parks in America. Do the sculpture garden at NOMA, then grab a picnic lunch and eat it on the Great Lawn. Also check out the mini golf course, City Putt. End your day by hiking the little trail in the Couturie Forest to the only hill in NOLA and come out overlooking the lake. Then, head out to catch the sunset over Bayou St. John with some po-boys to go from Parkway. A beautiful day in a perfect park. For other great outdoor spots in NOLA, check out this blog I wrote.

6) Hike the Jean Lafitte nature trail in the Barataria Preserve. This is around 30 minutes away from NOLA on the West Bank, and is a great little hike over boardwalks through the cypress swamp. You're guaranteed to see a bunch of gators and other wildlife and you'll end the hike on a raised platform overlooking the vast wetlands that surround our city. Easier than a swamp tour, and free, too. The perfect Louisiana hike.

The end of the trail in Jean Lafitte looks out over this. Gorgeous! 7) Walk Magazine from downtown to Uptown on a Saturday afternoon. It will take you a full morning but you'll be glad you did. So many great shops, restaurants and little things you probably never noticed before. Start down by Felicity and Mag, and walk all the way up to State Street. Stop in the places you've always seen but never been to. Buy some t-shirts that you can only buy here in NOLA. Storyville, Parish Ink, and Dirty Coast are great spots to do this, but also buy shirts from your favorite places. You'll look pretty fly wearing that Bulldog t-shirt in NYC this fall. I am not sure if Ms. Mae's sells shirts, but if so, buy me one.

8) Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf on Tuesday. I know, I know, it will be hard to tear yourself away from the Boot on Tuesday, but you will be so glad you did. This will be one of the most crowded, sweatiest, best experiences you'll have on a Tuesday in town. Jam out, lose yourself to the music and have a night that no college kid will get in any other town in America.

9) Ride the Algiers Ferry. This will give you the best view of town from the other side of the river. The ride is free and only takes a few minutes, and then you'll have time to meander the West Bank levee. The best time to go is at sunset. Then you can head back to the city and start a night out in the Quarter. Another option here is to check out the new Crescent Park, which opened last year. You can access it at the entrance at the end of the French Market. Some of the best views of the city can be seen from here- grab some Pizza Delicious with your friends and walk over to this fine park.

Crescent Park
10) Oak Alley Plantation- She's just majestic  You may have been at some point, but this is the most gorgeous plantation home in the state, and will create some amazing photographable moments. It is an hour or so away, a beautiful drive up River Road (which you should do with all your windows down). Take the full tour and step back in time and remember just how long this city has been around and how much history we truly have. Feeling adventurous? Check out these other road trips I recommend.

11) Power Lunch at a Big Four: You may have to save up a little cash for this one, but treat yourself to lunch at one of the the "Big Four," Commanders Palace, Arnaud's, Antoine's or Galatoirer's. Some have great lunch specials, jazz bands and CP's got 25 cent martinis!

12) Find a organization you can support, even after you leave NOLA. This suggestion came in from my friend Sam Klein. If there is an organization or group you got involved with here through public service, stay involved after you leave town. It will keep you connected to NOLA in a great way and you can check back in and volunteer on your future trips back to town.

Wander. Get lost. Explore. Visit a new neighborhood. Instagram. Take photos. Make the worlds best "last week in NOLA" album ever. Just take advantage of every last bit of quirkiness, beauty and mystery this city has. We sometimes get trapped in the Tulane bubble as many college kids in cities do, and for those fortunate enough to get to stay here after college, you'll begin to discover the countless things that we locals get to experience in a post-college world. Take some time to experience as much of this as you can in these last few months if you have the unfortunate task of moving outta town.

Best of luck, seniors. Go forth and explore. See you at graduation!

Me chillin' at the new section of Crescent Park. It's a very neat, very industrial-style park. 

Ace Rooftop = heaven on earth 

Explore! More of the trail in Jean LafitteBacchanal. Pretty much a perfect night. (photo courtesy of Oak Alley in all her glory.

NOLA from the Algiers Ferry (photo courtesy of


Mon, 03/13/2017 - 14:08
 If you've ever checked out my ZeeMee page or read my previous posts, you know I am active in an amazing organization here in NOLA called Youth Run NOLA. Youth Run NOLA is an organization that empowers young people in New Orleans to get motivated and active by training and participating in local running races around town. It's an awesome experience for these kids because they are able to get motivation and encouragement to train for a big race, and along the way learn commitment and perseverance which they apply to their life inside and outside the classroom. It also keeps them in great shape!

As you likely know by now, Tulane is the #1 school in America for students most involved in community service. It's no surprise then that Youth Run NOLA is headed up by my good friend and Tulane alumnae Denali Lander. She's featured in a great article in today's New Wave. Read it here! In the article, Denali states "Running relies on support and is accessible and affordable for everyone. I grew up believing that sports had the power to build communities. The goal here is to create a community of healthy young leaders through running." I'm telling you guys, for all parties involved, Youth Run NOLA has got to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling service organizations in the city.

So lastly is my shameless plug. This Saturday the big race is here! I spend most of the winter on a planning committee that puts on the 504K, an amazing race filled with Youth Runners, Tulane students, staff and alumni and all kinds of amazing people from our community. You can register for Saturday's race here. The race doubles as a big fundraiser for Youth Run NOLA. And bonus? It's an amazing route through Crescent Park (featured on my previous "best outdoor spots" blog) and the post-race entertainment is none other than NOLA icon Big Freedia. (side note, last year's post race entertainment was Tank and the Bangas who last week were named the (unanimous) winners in NPR's Tiny Desk contest!)

So, lace up, make an impact and see you on the race course on Saturday!

A Festivus for the Rest of Us! Or, The Impossible Task of Picking NOLA's Best Festival

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 13:30
Thanks to Gardner Realtors for this comprehensive 2017 festival list! Here in Louisiana, we like to say that we have more festivals than we do days of the school year. And we do! Mardi Gras technically kicks off festival season, but things really get going in March and continue into the summer. In honor of the end of Mardi Gras and the true beginning of festival season, I thought my annual run-down of the best fests in town would be a big help. And just in time too- the St. Patrick's' Day parade is tomorrow!

New Orleans is the self proclaimed Festival Capital of America. We do in fact have more festivals per capita here in NOLA than in any other region in America, and this time of the year, the problem we usually have is picking which festival to attend each weekend. For a comprehensive guide, has a really good one here. I mean, how many cities can you live in that actually require an iPhone application to keep track of all of the festivals?

Ahhhh French Quarter Fest! 
I hope you get to experience just a few of them. If you happen to be here in NOLA, you have probably attended many of these. If you are planning a visit to town or to see Tulane, see if you can coordinate your visit with one of these great events. I know I am leaving a ton off of this list, so buyer beware, this is just my own personal top ten!

10) Tennessee Williams Literary Festival- This one's a hoot. The climax of this festival, honoring the bond between New Orleans and famed author Tennessee Williams, is the Stella Yellin' competition. Participants take to the streets to shout their best and most vociferous STELLAAA, a la A Streetcar Named Desire. The winner usually is not only quite loud, but very theatrical as well. The festival celebrates art, music, literature, and food.
STELLLAAAA!!! (courtesy of Where Traveler)
9) Louisiana Seafood Festival- This one is pretty self-explanatory, but mmmm it sure is good! Whether it's oysters, crawfish, blue crabs, red fish, or really any kid of Gulf Coast seafood, you'll find it here. Celebrity guest chefs put on great demonstrations, and the food is killer. This fest is always part of the Vieux to Do, a weekend of festivals that includes the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival and the French Market Creole Tomato Festival. It's always an awesome weekend down in the Quarter when these three festivals all take to the stage(s).

8) Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival- Where else can you get a decadent deep-fried strawberry but at the Louisiana Strawberry Fest? This festival has become increasingly popular in recent years, and is located around an hour's drive outside of NOLA in a small, quaint town called Ponchatoula. They have some of the best strawberries in America and dedicate a whole festival to them. Don't miss the crowning of Miss Strawberry Festival!

7) French Quarter Festival- FQF this past spring was the biggest one yet! This festival has really taken off in the last few years, and now claims the top spot as the South's largest free music festival. Over 800 musicians take the stage over this four-day festival that spans virtually the whole French Quarter. The festival has a distinctly local flavor; from the food to the musicians, FQF really does show New Orleans in all of her glory. 65 of New Orleans' best restaurants set up shop at the fest for you to get a taste of all the different foods this city has been made famous for.
Voodoo Fest! 
6) Voodoo Fest- This is one of the most popular festivals of the year for Tulane students. I attended all four years that I was a student at Tulane, and got to see some amazing acts at this Halloween-weekend music festival. It all goes down in City Park, not far from Tulane's campus. Tulane even offers shuttle buses to get our students out to the fest. Last year's lineup included The Weekend, G-Easy, Tool, Cage the Elephant, Arcade Fire, The Chainsmokers, Band of Horses, among others. And coming up this month in the semi-same genre as Voodoo is Buku which features Deadmau5, Travis Scott, Grizmatik, and a number of other EDM heavy hitters.

5) Po-Boy Fest-  Also a Tulane student favorite, Po-Boy Fest is probably the only festival in America that celebrates the preservation of the sandwich. Of course, for anyone who has ever been to NOLA before, you know that we don't call them sandwiches. Or hoagies. Or subs. We call 'em poor (po) boys. Po-Boy Fest occurs on the entirety of Oak Street, just a few streetcar stops up from Tulane's campus.
Brad from Admission and his two kiddos noshing on some of the best po'boys at the fest! 
4) Jazz Fest- The mother of all New Orleans festivals. Officially named the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazz Fest enters its 48th year in 2017. The festival occurs over two weeks in the spring and is home to 12 stages and over 460,000 attendees this year. While music may be the centerpiece of this festival, food and art are close behind. You'll try some of the best food in the world here at Jazz Fest—whether your preference is alligator-on-a-stick or the famous Crawfish Monica, there is something for everyone. And don't be fooled by the name, Jazz Fest is way more than just jazz. This year's headliners include Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Kings of Leon, usher & The Roots, Meghan Trainor, Lorde, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes  plus Dr. John and the soon-to-be-world-famous Tulane University Jazz Orchestra! (I kid you not, Tulane's jazz band gets to annually play at Jazz Fest!). Best part? Tulane offers free shuttles and discounted tickets for our students.
Jazz Fest from above! (

3) The New Orleans Red Dress Run- This one takes a little bit of explaining, and is one of those festivals you kind of need to see to understand. The RDR also may admittedly be for you students to attend after attaining 21 years of age. Many cities have Hash House Harriers, running clubs that also enjoy imbibing as a part of their run. The Red Dress Run is one of the largest of these events in America. New Orleanians take to the streets and meander through the the French Quarter and the Marigny. The one caveat is that everyone must wear a red dress. That's really it. It's a great fundraiser for a number of local charities, and there really is no point to it at all, except to have fun. And it is fun. Really really fun.
That sure is a lot of people in red dresses!

2) Crawfest- Did you know that the largest student-run music festival in America is held right here at Tulane? Every April, Tulane students take to the LBC Quad to revel in a day's worth of free food and music. This year was our biggest yet—with two stages, 8 different bands and 20,000 pounds of Louisiana crawfish. It's all totally planned and executed by our students and is one of our best and most famous traditions on campus each year. This past year's headliner was The Wailers and previous years have seen The Funky Meters, Galactic, Lettuce, and Givers. And lest you vegetarians fret, do not worry. Last year for the first time, the Tulane Green Club and the Tulane Veggie Club co-sponsored a large-scale veggie boil at the fest!

Crawfest at Tulane!

And now for my number one festival in NOLA.......

1) New Orleans San Fermin- Okay, this one also takes some explaining. So every year, in the city of  Pamplona, Spain, revelers take to the streets to run and avoid being gored by bulls. Well, not wanting to be outdone, a number of years ago, New Orleans created their own version of this event: the San Fermin in Nueva Orleans! We take to the streets of the French Quarter early on a Saturday morning in July, wearing the traditional white and red seen in Spain. And then... the bulls arrive. Since we are weird here, our bulls are actually girls. With bats. On roller skates. Over 20 different teams of Roller Derby Girls from around the country, including the Big Easy Roller Girls, are actually the "bulls" that you are trying to avoid. This one is really a sight to see. I don't even really know how to describe it... it's just all kinds of fun.
Those bulls look pretty. Pretty scary. The opening ceremonies of San Fermin in Nueva OrleansHere's me running from the bulls last summer
Steer clear of the bulls! 
So there you have it, folks! My favorite festivals of the year.

New Orleans is the best town in America for celebrating that joie de vivre that is so pervasive here. I hope you'll be able to come in town to enjoy even a little part of that!