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Director of Admission
Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

It's Going to be Okay

5 hours 33 min ago

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!

Doublin' it Up!

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 15:00
One of the best gifts that Tulane will give you is the gift of flexibility. While there are some majors here that you might want to get going on right as you arrive, for the most part, Tulane is set up in a way that allows you to change seamlessly between schools and majors. I changed my major three times when I was a student here and still had no problem double majoring in four years. We let you do that here; in fact, we encourage it. Once you know what you want to study, whether that be when you apply to Tulane or not until the end of your sophomore year, you simply let your adviser know, and you're automatically enrolled in that school and major. The best part about this is it leads to over 70% of our students taking both a major and a minor and nearly a third of our students double majoring.

Double majoring is quite popular here at Tulane. I've seen everything from music and biomedical engineering double majors to finance and glass blowing double majors. It's truly up to you. Today, I am going to introduce you to three perfect examples of my students who've not only double majored, but selected two very different (but not totally unrelated) fields. Take it away, guys!

Mae and one of her dancers. Mae did all the choreography for this piece for her Dance Composition III class. 
Mae Lobrano, senior:  Double majoring in Neuroscience and Dance.
I jumped at the opportunity to be able to pursue dance in a university setting. I still can't believe that I am able to study two things that I truly love. I really enjoy my science classes. They challenge me on a different level. When I get to my dance classes, I get to release and use my creative side more. I feel like I am working a completely different part of my brain. I love being challenged on these two different levels. As a senior, I have made a home in both departments. I feel like I have two families of professors who truly care about me and my future.

Daniel in our performance of Sweeney Todd. He's probably also thinking about Poli Econ in this photo.  Daniel Shevlin, freshman, Double Majoring in Political Economy and Musical Theater.
I have always aimed to remain very balanced in my life, and I think my double major is a big help. Pursuing degrees in two opposite fields is very time consuming because there is actually zero overlap as far as courses go, but Tulane's flexible core curriculum makes it entirely possible. Every time people ask me what I am studying, I always get an encouraging response. They applaud me for pursuing my passions in college and it is a very gratifying feeling. By far, the most fulfilling aspect of double majoring in opposite fields is the mental balance I gain from taking courses in the social sciences as well as the arts. I am almost always happy in class, and if I become stressed while studying for one of my courses, I can easily switch gears to study something unrelated to ease my mind. I have found that the major advisors at Tulane support students pursuing opposite fields and work very hard to present as many options for internships. Sometimes I have even found the options are able to overlap two seemingly different majors. It is hectic at times, but I know all the work will pay off in the end.

Phoebe presenting her independent study while abroad in South Africa. Phoebe Coughlin, junior: Double major in Studio Art and Public Health
I absolutely love having two majors, in two very different subject areas, studio art and public health! It is super interesting to go from a public health class and learn about zoonotic infections to a silk screen printing class after! I know that I would get bored if all of my classes were just in one subject area. I am hoping to pursue my masters of public health in health education and communication through the combined degree program. While studying abroad through a field-based public health program last semester in Durban, South Africa, I learned a great deal about health communication, specifically about poster and billboard design to get health messages out to large groups of people. Through doing a health communication poster design project I was able to combine my love of art with my public health education. I have loved art my whole life but didn't know public health even existed until I came to Tulane. I would encourage everyone to take classes in all different subject areas, because who knows—you might discover a second major!

Myths of the Gras

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 17:33
We snapped this photo this morning of team Tulane geared up for Gras.
TBH, the Friday before Mardi Gras is usually the longest work day of my life. Get me to those parades! Happy Mardi Gras, world! Another carnival season is upon us and the city is bursting with excitement for the coming few days. I sometimes forget that the rest of the world doesn't have Mardi Gras like we do. In terms of importance for us, it's like Christmas, New Years and 4th of July all wrapped up into one. Not in town for the big day? Listen to our Spotify playlist with all the best tunes of carnival while you read this blog.

If you have never been to Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, there are a few myths that I think would be useful to dispel, because there are a lot of common misconceptions out there....

1) Mardi Gras takes place on Bourbon Street: FALSE. Mardi Gras takes place everywhere. I sometimes laugh to myself when people ask me if I "went to Mardi Gras." We also have a little joke when you ask "can you give me directions to the Mardi Gras?" Mardi Gras is everywhere. It is a state of mind, a place here, there and everywhere. In the most literal terms, Mardi Gras can be located along the parade route. There are over 80 different parades, or krewes, as we call them, during Mardi Gras. The main parade route runs from Napoleon Avenue (just a mile from Tulane) and goes all the way down St. Charles Avenue into the Central Business District, down Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter and then to the final stop wherever the krewe's ball may be. Some parades take different routes (Mid City for Endymion, Treme for Zulu, not to mention all the parades in the suburbs). One parade, Thoth, even takes its route all the way Uptown to Children's Hospital so the young patients can experience Mardi Gras even though they are hospitalized.My Fat Tuesday homemade glitter shoes. Don't be jealous.
Also doubles as Saints shoes.
2) Mardi Gras is raunchy: again, FALSE. Admittedly, there are certainly parts of the Gras that get wild. But that is not the case for a lot of it. In fact, the culmination of many of the Mardi Gras parades is their famous balls. Nearly every parade will have a ball at the end of the parade route. Men dress in tuxedos, ladies in formal gowns and the party will start a few hours before the parade literally rolls into the ball. Balls are held all over town, many at the convention center and some at the Super Dome. You've never seen a party like this before either- some are attended by over 10,000 people and are headlined by big-name acts like Carrie Underwood and Maroon Five, both of whom have played at balls recently. Mardi Gras is about costumes, parades, balls, floats, food, music and culture. It is so much more than just a party. 
3) Mardi Gras costumes are rare: FALSE. Just ask any Tulane kid what they wore during Mardi Gras. Wild haircuts, fun jerseys, colorful leggings and outlandish costumes are commonplace among our student population. Mardi Gras day (Tuesday) sees the Quarter filled to the brim with costumes galore. People spend all year working on their costumes for the day. Every year at noon on Fat Tuesday are the Bourbon Street Awards, which name the best costumes of the day. Two years ago the winner of the best group costume... um... well you may recognize him. That's right, the Bulls and Matadors won best overall group costume! This year my same group will return with Russian spies... stay tuned! 
4) Mardi Gras is not for families: this is the most common misconception of all, and certainly the most FALSE.  Mardi Gras is, above anything else, a family holiday. The streets of Uptown are lined with children of all ages, and it is a huge part of coming of age in the city of New Orleans. You'll see kids on floats, on ladders, catching beads, and running through the streets donned in all green, gold and purple. Mardi Gras is more of a family holiday than people outside of New Orleans realize. 
Mardi Gras is my most favorite time of the year. The food, the parades, the music, the people and the culture that make this city so unique really come out to shine in this month-long celebration  It's always a favorite of our students, too. If you have never been, add it to your lifetime bucket list. Every American should see the REAL New Orleans Mardi Gras at least once! Hail Bacchus! The Baccagator float parades through the Warehouse District.The Mardi Gras Tree on campus in full bloom post-Gras. It is a big tradition on campus to throw your beads in this tree in the Academic Quad after you have walked back from the parades. The Tulane Marching Band marches in many Mardi Gras parades every year.

Endymion! Here is the inside of the ball. (from PinterestHappy first Mardi Gras to our VP of Enrollment, Satyajit Dattagupta! I had to convince him of myth 4.
As it turns out, Mardi Gras is most popular with kids! Here is he with his wife and his son, Linden. 

All About Housing

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 19:50

With deposits starting to flow in, we thought it would be a good idea to update our master post with all the information you need about housing. Passing it on to our guest blogger Owen Knight (who I admitted 7 years ago!).

*                    *                    *One of the best things about going to Tulane is the strong sense of community you feel on campus. All of our freshmen and sophomores live on campus, so it ends up being a very bustling and social place. Unsurprisingly, we get tons of questions from incoming students about housing between December and August. There are a lot of changes this year! Read on for descriptions of each building and community, and insight into the timeline of the coming months for enrolling seniors.

There are eight housing options for freshmen. All of them are in the middle section of our campus with short walks to the LBC, Bruff and each other. The building names are Butler, Greenbaum, Josephine Louise (JL), Monroe, Paterson, Sharp, Wall and Warren.
You probably know a friend, classmate, neighbor or sibling that lived in one of these buildings who has told you all about it and you've formed opinions on some of the buildings. I'm going to stop you there, because the changes on campus have changed the housing landscape. Gone are the days of Paterson being the “wellness dorm” and other things you may have heard. A big catalyst of these changes is the introduction of the even more Residential Learning Communities (RLCs)
Residential Learning CommunitiesRLC's were first introduced for the 2016-2017 academic year. RLCs are designed to promote a group dynamic in a shared living environment among students that share interests. These interests can be academic, social, or even lifestyle oriented. They combine an enriching academic environment with a strong social network. These communities are attached to a TIDES course that supplements the program, and a faculty member will live in the residence hall to help lead programming. Plenty more info here
This past year, we had just 4 RLCs-  Changemaker, Get Engaged, Health Wave and Honors. This year, there will be a total of 8 RLCs with the addition of Kaleidoscope, Shapers and Creators, Spark, and Third Coast. Some RLCs will only house first year students, while others will have a combination of first years and upperclassmen. Approximately 400-450 students will live in a RLC.
Now, for a little bit about each one.
First year students only:
Health Wave, housed in Butler, is focused on self-care, wellness, and public health. Students will have access to initiatives including workshops, dinners with guest faculty speakers, access to exclusive fitness and wellness programs, mindfulness instruction, and nutritional support. Health Wave will be partnered with Campus Health and will be geared toward mindful choices. There will be 3 TIDES courses associated with Health Wave, which you can see on the RLC website.

Honors, housed in Wall, is an option for the students invited to the Honors Program when they were admitted. Only Honors students will be able to list Wall as a preferred building on their housing application. This RLC will provide opportunities for leadership, research, and faculty engagement. Faculty members will advise residents about scholarships, career preparation, and other post-grad opportunities. Dr. Carrie Wyland, a Psychology professor, lives in the building with her family and will host brunches and other events for the students in this community. There will be TIDES courses associated with Honors, which you can see on the RLC website.

Spark, housed in Josephine Louise (JL), is focused on women's leadership. Residents will work with the Newcomb College Institute to explore women's leadership through community service and social justice projects. There will be montlhy dinners with faculty, and options for alternative spring and winter break trips. More info, including the Spark-specific TIDES course, can be found on the RLC website.

Third Coast, housed in Butler, aims to bring students off campus and into the cultural landscape of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Students will engage in a variety of cultural and intellectual experiences, such as urban and coastal field trips. Third Coast will explore house academic and professional goals can connect with the needs and interests of the surrounding community and the university. More info, including Third Coast-specific TIDES courses, can be found on the RLC website.

First year and upperclassmen students:

Changemaker, housed in Paterson, is perfect for those passionate about creating positive social change. Changemaker partners with staff from the Taylor Center (who run our Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship minor). Students will work to align their academic interests, personal passions, and career aspirations to find their path to make a difference in New Orleans and the world. Changemakers will volunteer in the city, attend community events such as PitchNOLA presentations, and create an open atmosphere in the hall. More info, including Changemaker-specific TIDES coures, can be found here.

Get Engaged, housed in Greenbaum, is focused on civic engagement and giving back to the community through volunteerism, organizational involvement, and workshops. Programming will include lectures, community planning forums, and service projects. Residents will plan and execute an engagement project over the course of the year. If you plan on taking full advantage of New Orleans in all facets from festivals to service, this could be the RLC for you. More info, including the Get Engaged TIDES course, can be found online here.

Kaleidoscope, housed in Warren, will provide a safe space for people of color and/or LGBTQIA. Residents will attend events and programs geared toward helping them navigate Tulane and become catalysts for change across Tulane's campus. Kaleidoscope aims to foster a sense of well-being and respect for each other across many different identities. More info, including the Kaleidoscope-specific TIDES, can be found on the RLC website.

Shapers and Creators, housed in Warren, will provide a community for creative thinkers at Tulane. Residents will be united as visual thinkers and problem solvers who are engaged with creative learning. Programming will include sessions with artists, architects, engineers, and the Newcomb Art Museum. More info, including the TIDES options, can be found on the RLC website.

More details about each RLC can be found here: that we’re caught up on RLCs, here is the breakdown of the buildings:Butler: a traditional building with double rooms in a square layout. There is a communal bathroom and common room in the center of each floor. The building is coed, but each floor will be single sex. Butler houses about 250 students. This used to be the Honors option, but now it is just another traditional option like Monroe and Sharp. Butler will house Health Wave and Third Coast.

Greenbaum is our newest residence hall. Greenbaum offers suite-style living, with two double rooms attached to one bathroom. Freshmen and upperclassmen will live here. Greenbaum also has a test kitchen, where students can participate in cooking demos, watch chefs compete, and learn how to cook healthy meals. Greenbaum will house Get Engaged.

Josephine Louise: Tulane’s only single-sex building. "JL"offers double rooms with communal bathrooms. About 200 women live in JL. Since it is an older building, JL does not have uniformly sized rooms, which adds to the character of the building. Students often note the large closets and high ceilings as great perks of the building. Students also have a sink in their room. There is also a very large ballroom on the first floor. JL will house Spark.

Monroe: a traditional building like Butler and Sharp with double rooms and large communal bathrooms. It is 12 stories tall and is sometimes known as the "most popular" dorm on campus. This is because it houses the most students of any residence hall. Monroe is coed by wing and houses about 600 students.

Paterson: formerly the “Wellness Community," Paterson now houses the Changemaker RLC. Paterson houses both freshmen and sophomores, with the freshmen in a traditional layout with communal bathrooms and the sophomores in suites. Paterson houses about 120 students. As a smaller residence hall, Paterson typically has a very tight-knit community.

Sharp: another traditional building like Butler and Monroe. Sharp is coed by wing and houses about 450 students. Sharp is L shaped with about 90 students each on floors 1-4 and about 45 students on floors 5-7. Along with Monroe, Sharp is known as one of the more popular dorms, but that is mostly because it houses so many students. Between the two of them, Monroe and Sharp house over half of the freshmen class.

Wall: Houses the Honors RLC. Wall is the second newest residence hall and offers suite-style living. Honors students will have the opportunity to list Wall on their housing application. Wall has a cool mix of interior and exterior space, and houses about 250 students.

Warren has a mix of sophomores and freshmen and will house Kaleidoscope and Shapers and Creators. Warren is located right off of the LBC quad and is known for its extremely large rooms. Warren is also known for its very high ceilings.

Finally, here is the timeline for submitting housing preferences:3/1: Housing Application and RLC Application launchThis online system will allow students to apply for an RLC, select their top 5 housing choices, and create their roommate profile. Students who fill it out on March 2nd will be just as likely to get their top choice as students who fill it out on April 30th. There is no need to rush your decision to enroll! The Housing office will not begin reviewing applications until after May 1st.Roommate profiles will include info about cleanliness, sleep times, and if you smoke or not. You can also include a written bio and links to your social media accounts. Students can then search for each other by keyword, name, or other criteria and request a specific roommate if they want to. We definitely recommend waiting on searching for a roommate until a little later in the process. The matching system will also use this data when “randomly” making roommate matches. Students will also be able to edit their choices or roommate preferences through June, to allow students to meet in person at Orientation!
First week of May: Housing Application Due
You may go back and edit your application if you end up meeting a potential roommate at Destination Tulane or at a local reception.
Mid/Late May- RLC Placement

You will hear back about your RLC applications in late May! You cannot room with someone who is not in your RLC, so if you are applying for one, it is smart to wait to find a roommate.

6/30: Roommate selection closes

Again, this will give you ample time to meet people online, arrange meetups, meet at orientation, grab lunch, and do some research before you decide to live with someone.
7/15 Housing Assignments Posted
8/25 Move In Day!

Our current students will be ready to help move you into your room in August!
My final tip about your roommate search: don't rush! Waiting until Orientation to select a roommate is beneficial for two large reasons. First, it will allow you to actually meet someone in person before deciding to live together. Just because you both like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things does not necessarily mean you will be great roommates. Second, RLC assignments won't come out until May and it'd be a shame to have to split up because you got into different RLCs.

I know that was a ton of information, but I hope you found it beneficial as you begin to make your plans for next year. Move in day will be here before you know it!

NOLA Lingo

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 17:00
I always tell prospective students that attending Tulane is the closest you can get to studying abroad while staying in the United States. There are five main reasons I always give to attest to that; New Orleans has its own culture, music, food, architecture and language. This blog is going to focus on that last one: our language.

French spread in Louisiana. Parishes marked in yellow are 
those where 4–10% of the population speak 
French or Cajun French at home, orange 10–15%, red 
15–20%, brown 20–30%. (courtesy of Wikipedia)Throughout Southeast Louisiana, we speak all different kinds of languages. French, Spanish, Haitian French, Cajun French, Cajun English, and Louisiana Creole, to name a few. In fact, there are places near Lafayette, LA (around 3 hours from NOLA) where over 30% of the population speaks a dialect of French. See the map on the right.

Here in New Orleans, we have our own kind of language that, in all honesty, really only makes sense to us. We have a bunch of words that no one use in the country uses, that just become a natural part of your vocabulary when you live here. So for you new freshmen, or any prospective students, here is a quick rundown of a few words we use around town. Add them to your vocab, and you're that much closer to being a local!

Lagniappe: (pronounced lan-yapp) It means "a little something extra." Usually, it's just a free or added bonus or benefit. When Katrina closed Tulane for a semester, we had a free "make-up" semester over the summer, and it was aptly named Lagniappe Semester.

Here is a neutral ground on Carrollton AvenueNeutral Ground: Many streets in NOLA have a green space running down the middle (see: St. Charles Ave.) Most cities will call this area a median strip, but not us; we call it a "neutral ground." It got its name because of the Canal Street neutral ground where the American part of town (Garden District, Uptown, etc.) met up with the French or Spanish part of town. They'd meet on the "neutral ground" which was an area of trade/peace/neutrality. Also, we call sidewalks "banquettes" here too.

Making Groceries: In New Orleans, we don't "buy" groceries, we "make" groceries. That's just the way it is.

Y'at: This is basically a greeting that we use. So, "where y'at?" means "What's up/What are you up to/Where are you?" A "Yat" is also used to describe a true-blooded New Orleanian.

Y'all: This one will slowly creep its way into your daily usage, whether you like it or not! The Washington-DC native in me resisted for a a few years, but it's just such an easy, great word. It sounds much better than "you guys" or "you all." Get used to hearing us say it!

Parish: A.k.a."county." In Louisiana, we don't have counties, we have parishes. So we live in Orleans Parish. Side note, it's pronounced "New Orluns" or "New Or-le-ans" but NEVER "New Orleeens." When locals hear "New Orleeens," it's like nails on a chalkboard! However, it is pronounced "Orleeens Parish." Go figure.
Traditional shogun home ( Describes the style of houses here in NOLA that you will see all over town. They are the long, narrow houses you see in the Lower Garden District, Uptown, and other neighborhoods all over town. Shotguns are aptly named because you could fire a shotgun from the front door and the bullet would travel down the whole house and out the back door.

Krewe: A krewe is a Mardi Gras Parade. We have over 80 of them that roll during Mardi Gras season. Krewes (such as Endymion, Bacchus, Rex, Zulu, Muses, etc.) all have a membership of riders and their own specific floats, routes and traditions.

Throw: Anything thrown off a float by a member of a krewe.

Beaucoup: It means "a lot." We use it in our everyday vocabular. You French-takers will recognize this one. You may even have seen it in some of our admission publications.

Faubourg: Translated into "neighborhood." We have Faubourg Treme, Faubourg Marigny, etc. In French it literally means suburb.
This po boy sure is dressed! 
Dressed: You're going to get asked this on day one: "You want that po boy dressed?" It means: do you want lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickles on that. The answer is yes.

King Cake: MMmMMmmmmm boy. Basically an every day occurrence, this time of the year. King cake is a large, donut shaped pastry with colorful sugar on top and various fillings inside. Each cake has a small plastic baby inside of it, and if you get the baby in your piece, you buy the next king cake!
Who got dat baby? (photo from Taste of Home)
Laissez Le Bons Temps Roule: Let the good times roll! You'll hear this a lot this time of the year.

So now you know! Hope this helps you expand your NOLA-cabulary. Here is a list of even more terms you may come across in town.

All About TU Food... or my Ode to Panera

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 20:54

The Waffle Food Truck is my fave. Bet you never had a caesar salad waffle wrap? Cuz I have. I have this lunch schedule that pretty much alternates between Panera (in the LBC) and Subway (in the Dana Center, next door at Loyola) every other day. Both are on our meal plan and I am a creature of habit.

It occurred to me while planning for Destination Tulane, our admitted student days on campus, that I have never written a blog about all the dining options on campus. I have blogged about our main dining hall, Bruff Commons, and many of the dining options around campus and in New Orleans. Although I have eaten my weight in Panera on campus, I have never written down a full account of where all the deliciousness can be found. So now I am here to rectify my oversight. Here’s the (semi) authoritative guide to campus dining at Tulane.

Let’s start at square one: Bruff Commons. This is the dining hall on campus and the primary spot for campus eating. Check out my blog about Bruff Commons I wrote a few years back as an introduction to Bruff. Since that blog post, Bruff has undergone a major remodel and added many new food stations. There is now a pho bar, an additional healthy food/dietary restriction station, and sweet potato bar. If you don’t have time for a full meal at Bruff, you can always visit Bruff To Go to pick up a meal and take it wherever you’re headed.

Next stop on our tour of campus dining is the LBC food court. Last summer, the LBC got a major remodel as well and now boosts some ridiculous food options. Before I bite into the options, I should explain how the LBC food court works. Students on meal plans can use their Wavebucks to purchase meals, snacks, and drinks from the food court. If you’re not on a meal plan (oh the glory days), you can also use cash or a credit/debit card at the food court.

The LBC food court offers Mexican food including homemade tortillas at Al Fuego, all your soup, salad, and sandwich needs at Panera (have I mentioned there is a Panera), delicatessen style options at Pickles, Asian-fusion cuisine at Star Ginger, New Orleans specials like red beans and rice and po’boys at Zatarain’s Cafe, and healthy smoothies at Freshëns (don’t ask me about the umlaut on the e), among many other tasty dining options in the food court.

Hillel's salads! 
After the LBC food court, you can take a short walk (less than 3 minutes) off campus to Hillel. Besides being an incredible study space and hosting Tulane classes in their two classrooms, Hillel also has an out-of-this-world restaurant appropriately called Hillel’s Kitchen or HK NOLA for short. HK NOLA specializes in healthy cuisine that is sourced from local, organic farms in the South. Besides the fantastic ingredients, the best part of HK NOLA is you can use your Wavebucks there to purchase healthy meals and luscious coffee drinks served up from the barista station.

Bruff, the LBC food court, and Hillel’s Kitchen are the primary dining options at Tulane, but if you look a little deeper around campus, you’ll also find some hidden gems that few others know about.

Tucked away in the Richardson Memorial building, aka the Architecture building, is the Drawing Board Cafe. The Drawing Board is something that few people at Tulane know about, but really should because it’s one of the best dining spots on campus. The Drawing Board is open for breakfast and lunch and is a great option if you are trying to grab a bite on your way to class. The Drawing Board serves great breakfast sandwiches (topped with some of the best bacon I’ve ever had) and a daily lunch special that is always filling and delicious.

If you are looking for a gourmet salad, sandwich, or wrap then Le Gourmet is the place for you. This dining location has a make-your-own sandwich and wrap station as well as an awesome salad bar where you pay per pound. You can also shop around for organic fruit and other healthy snacks you can munch on during those all-night study sessions.

Giant pancake from City Diner (photo from Trip Advisor) 
Speaking of late night study sessions, The Original City Diner in the basement of the LBC is open from 5pm to 7am every Monday-Sunday. You can keep your brain active with giant pancakes, hand-scooped shakes, and other diner favorites from City Diner. The giant pancake comes in a pizza box. I am not exaggerating.

While not technically a dining location, McAlister Market (or Mac Mart as students call it), is an on-campus grocery store stocked with everything you’ll ever need to fill up your dorm room mini fridge.
Food Trucks on campus

Shout out to my #PreviewTU students visiting today! Here they are in front of the food trucks.For all you food truck lovers, Tulane also has two food trucks that you can find throughout campus during lunch and dinner time. There is Ironside Waffles which serves up crazy waffle tacos including a savory duck that you have to try and some of the crunchiest waffle fries in the game. There is also the Roulez food truck which is the first food truck in the entire country to accept student meal plans instead of cash or card. Both food trucks are awesome if you want to enjoy a nice lunch outside with friends while you bask in the 70 degree weather that is New Orleans in the winter.

Tulane farmers' market 
Tulane dining facilities also hosts twice monthly farmers’ markets on campus. You pick up some local, in-season veggies and fruit and know that you are doing an awesome thing supporting local farmers. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved.

PJ's; a staple of the NOLA coffee scene. Finally, if you’re a coffee fanatic like me, you’ll be happy to hear that we have three PJ’s Coffee shops (the New Orleans equivalent of Starbucks) on campus. There are two PJ’s on either side of campus and one location in the Howard Tilton Library so you can inject some caffeine into your study sessions. Each PJ’s also has sandwiches and other food options that you can take on the go. You can also head right next door to Loyola if you need a Starbucks fix. I did that this morning.

If you were getting worried that all these dining options are going to cut into your wallet, there is no need to fret. Every dining location on Tulane’s campus accepts either meal swipes or Wavebucks!

So there you have it! And I didn't even cover all of the options next door at Loyola, which are all included as part of your Tulane meal plan. FYI, that is where the Subway is.

Time to head over and get a "you pick two" from my jam, Panera.

Did I mention I love Panera.

"May we all live the life that we desire."

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 03:09

On Friday, January 27th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning more than 218 million people from entering the United States. 

Many of them had dreams of attending college in the United States. 

Some of them even had dreams of coming to Tulane. 

This is an e-mail from one of them, an admitted merit scholarship student now likely unable to join the Tulane class of 2021. Our Director of International Admission reached out to him after the ban. This is his response. 

With his permission, we have printed it here. 

Dear Paul,

I’m writing this email to personally thank you for the time you put into writing your email and considering talking to me among the countless students in the admission pool. I would also like to thank you for accepting me as a potential member of your community and offering me a generous scholarship. Tulane is definitely one of my top choices and given the chance to study there, I would be more than happy to join; however, with the new visa ban, I don’t remain optimistic.

I was fortunate enough to know that character is forged through hardship. Without endings there will be no new beginnings; without pain there will be no joy; and without despair there will be no hope. To be sure, this incident will not bring an end to me or my aspirations, but will set a new chapter in the story of my life, the story of a teenage Iranian boy dreaming of changing both his life and the life of his fellow man by getting an education abroad, the story of a dedicated student who stayed up until 3 am studying for his national college entrance exam and then lived alone in Cyprus for three months to take the SATs because they were not held in his country, and the story of a crazy man who went against the flow, who did not listen to his friends or relatives telling him what he should or shouldn’t do – not because he was arrogant or wanted to avoid others – but because he had a goal. He knew that the point of his existence was to help others and wanted to use his profession as a vehicle to achieve that goal. He wanted to spend the money he earned as a doctor to buy homes for the homeless and restore the dignity of prostitutes. He wanted to cure the people who weren’t fortunate enough to have the money to pay for their medical treatments. He wanted to adopt a child. But instead, he had to watch all his goals and dreams crumble because his presence was considered detrimental to the stability of the United States.

Yes Paul, this is the story of soldier wounded in the frontiers of life, but this soldier will not surrender – not because he’s fighting for himself – but because he’s fighting for the lives of those innocent men, women, and children which he has the capability of changing in a positive way. I will continue to fight although it’s difficult and because the challenge of the journey is the part of the real-life experience that will enrich both me and my character.

I would like to conclude this email with a quote from Josh Turner: "Life is a series of punches. It presents a lot of challenges. It presents a lot of hardship, but the people that are able to take those punches and able to move forward are the ones that really do have a lot of success and have a lot of joy in their life and have a lot of stories to tell, too."

May we all live the life that we desire.


[name redacted]

Top 5 Advantages of the Tulane Honors Program

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:21
Tulane's Honors Program is innovative and flexible. Today, I am turning the blog over to Charlotte Maheu Vail, PhD, the Associate Director of the Tulane Honors Program to tell you about the top 5 advantages of the Honors program! While you're at it, check out the brand new Honors Program video below.

*          *          *
How do you define an intellectual life? It’s a question we think about in the Honors Program all the time. We think about it in the work we do with students, faculty, and other colleagues at Tulane. It’s a question that you can answer now, next year, after your graduate, and one that you should continue to ask of yourself and others in your studies, in your work, and for the rest of your life. Through our program, we provide opportunities to help you answer that question in a variety of ways, and we expect that through the Tulane Honors experience, your answer will continuouslyevolve.

It is my pleasure to tell you about the top five advantages of the Tulane Honors Program (with some help from current Honors students as well!).

1. Residential Learning Communities. 
Students who want the most out of their Honors experience, live in Wall Residential Learning Community (first year) and Weatherhead Residential Learning Community (second year). Residential Learning Communities are distinguished from other residential halls at Tulane by having faculty members-in-residence that also live in the building and are responsible for fostering an intellectual community among the residents of the Residential Learning Community.

Wall has “Societies” students join such as “Running with Science,” “Gray Matter,” “US Politics,” and “World Cultures” just to name a few. Wall Societies build community among Honors students while creating the opportunity for informal interactions between faculty members and students with the support a resident advisors (RA). Weatherhead continues that intellectual community established in Wall with faculty-led “roundtables” and student-led panels. Jake, a junior in Political Economy and an RA in Weatherhead, says, “There is special academic programming that is different from programming in other residence halls because it is focused on academics and learning. Weatherhead combines the social aspect of other residence halls, with the intellectual aspects of a high-achieving academic environment, which is really rewarding.”

2. Multidisciplinary Courses.
The Honors Program offers a range of multidisciplinary courses exclusively for Honors students, called “colloquium." These course enable Honors students to explore many areas of interest through classroom discussions that carry on in Residential Learning Communities. Elizabeth, a first-year Honors student who lives in Wall, describes that connection: “I really like how I see the members of my colloquium, ‘Globalization and Urbanization Challenges’, and how we carry on our classroom conversations throughout the week in Wall.” Other seminars such as “How Should One Live?”, “The Future of Health Care: Hope or Hype?”, and “Aesthetics and Style” challenge students in new ways and enhance a scholarly community of students in a small classroom setting.

3. Research Opportunities. 
From the Honors Summer Research Program to the senior Honors Thesis, Honors students engage in scholarship with faculty. Parker, a junior in mathematics and computer science, explains what he learned while working on his project in the Honors Research Program: “One cool part about my work is that to alter an algorithm, one must have new mathematical insights. There is a beautiful balance between finding new ideas and applying them cleverly to optimize their utility.” Of course, Parker’s comment could be applied to any discipline.

As the culminating achievement of an Honors student’s undergraduate career, the Honors thesis involves substantial independent research under the direction of a professor. The thesis demonstrates the student’s capacity for quality research and provides concrete evidence of mastery of the material and insights in a field. Maeve, a senior in Creative Writing and Gender & Sexuality Studies, explains, “The thesis process is important because of its concentrated focus. Not only did I gain invaluable knowledge in my disciplines, but writing my thesis forced me to consider the intricacies of my academic pursuit. It compelled me to closely examine what interested me, what I wanted to learn from my inquiries, and what components are integral to my studies now and in the future.”

4. Faculty Mentoring.
Through all of these experiences—colloquium courses, Wall Societies, Weatherhead Roundtables, research opportunities, and advising for nationally competitive scholarships—we rely on the expertise and insights of faculty members who provide mentoring to Honors students at various points during their academic careers. Derek, a graduate of the Biomedical Engineering Program, describes his mentor as someone who “shared his research experiences, helped him search for graduate programs, and gave him advice on all aspects of life.” The Honors Program creates situations where students work with faculty both in and outside of the classroom, that benefit and help refine Honors student's career goals and aspirations

5. Nationally Competitive Scholarships.
The Honors Program provides many opportunities for intellectual engagement at Tulane University, but advising for nationally competitive scholarships is one of the main areas where we challenge students to strive for their full potential. One of the ways in which the Honors Program encourages intellectual autonomy and individual passion is through advising for nationally competitive scholarships, such as the Fulbright Program, Goldwater Program, Marshall Scholarship, Truman Scholarship, and the Rhodes Scholarship, to name a few. Honors students receive special advising from the Honors program about prestigious scholarships, professional preparation, and other post-graduate opportunities. We encourage students to explore these opportunities and consider new experiences (with funding) for graduate study, research, studying abroad, and language acquisition that help foster an intellectual life.

Learn more at our website and we hope to see you during a visit in the spring!

Charlotte Maheu Vail, PhD, Associate Director of the Tulane Honors Program

Where Are They Now?

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 22:37
Over the past few years, I have been running a blog series about some of our young alumni and what they are up to. I thought it might be neat to revisit some of these alumni to see where they are now. I grabbed one from each of my five previous posts. Let's re-meet them!

Ali on the campaign trail We met Ali Vitai in the Newsies blog back when she was the multimedia editor at MSNBC. Today, well, things have kind of taken off. In 2015, Ali was selected to cover a long-shot Republican presidential candidate by the name of Donald J. Trump. And we all know how that turned out. Ali covered the entirety of the Trump campaign, spending a year and a half on the road as an embedded reporter for NBC News. Throughout her time on the trail she reported for NBC's and MSNBC's digital platforms and frequently appeared on TV giving the latest updates from the ground. After Trump's historic victory, Ali has continued covering his transition into office. Here's a great interview with her about what it has been like covering Trump over the past year and a half.

Dan and Lewis Del Mar on Conan last week Daniel Miller was in The Industry blog, and things have blown up for him since we last talked. I caught up with Dan last week to see how his music career has developed. He told me, "About three years ago my best friend and I moved to New York and formed a new group called Lewis Del Mar. A year and a half ago we signed to Columbia Records via Startime International. This last year I traveled all over the U.S. and Europe, and performed over 100 concerts in 7 different countries. We were billed on ten major festivals including Lollapalooza in Chicago and Outsidelands in San Francisco. I performed on television twice: Conan and James Corden. We released our self-recorded/produced debut album this past October, and went on our first headline tour in which most of the dates sold out. I was interviewed for NPR regarding an in-depth look at one of the songs on the record and its relation to my family's Nicaraguan heritage. And our album went to No. 1 in Bulgaria lol." 
So yeah, you could say things are going pretty well. Dan even told me he'll have some shows here in NOLA soon. I'll be checking them out at Hangout Fest this summer and you should too!

Ashley out front of the new store (photo Tim Black)Ashley Porter was on our Fashionistas blog and, one brand new store in the French Quarter later, and her jewelry line has become a mainstay of many celebrities. Her store opened just a few months ago on Toulouse Street in the Quarter. "Since the story was covered the brand has really taken off." Ashley recently told me,  "We've had tons of celebrities become fans of the line, everyone from Taylor Swift, Gigi Hadid, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lawrence, Sean White...We also have been published in Southern Living, W Mag. Elle Japan. Aside from the new store, most recent and exciting is the debut of my first collection in Fine Jewelry. The collection is inspired by the Crescent City and our place in the universe. My goal in the next three years is to bring more jewelry infrastructure to the city by building a casting house and becoming vertically integrated." 
Joe and Brendan at the Chapter Spot HQ We first met Joe McMenemon and Brendan Finke in the start up blog. In case you forgot, they are the founders of ChapterSpot. Since we last talked, ChapterSpot has become much more than a start up. Joe and Brendan founded their company with the goal of making it easier for large membership organizations to manage and to scale their complex business processes. Now, ChapterSpot has grown to support some of the world's largest non-profit organizations. Joe and Brendan have been recognized as the top 100 most influential and active people in tech and entrepreneurship in Louisiana. With an eye on the future, ChapterSpot is building new technology in the quickly advancing fields of data science and artificial intelligence. The company is growing quickly and hiring many Tulane grads as they expand. They currently have over 8,000 organizations as clients! 
Brennan at his storeBrennan Foxman was just getting the idea of his restaurant going when we featured him on the Foodies blog a few years back. His restaurant, Wokworks, has been open for almost four years now, amassing a cult like following, several local awards, and a sizable new investment. Brennan says, "We are excited to grow our brand into several more stores in the coming year, hopefully adding to our family in Philadelphia before expanding to other cities. Who knows where we may end up! #bringwoktotulane"  Anyone in Philly should be sure to check out his shop on Chestnut Street!

Who would have known I could have launched the careers of these five (well, six) young Tulane alumni! I am sure they credit much of their success to this blog. ;-)

T Swift sportin' a Porter Lyons ring
Lewis Del Mar (photo: Billboard)
Another celebrity wearing a Porter Lyons necklace. A.k.a. my mom. 
Wokworks in Philly. (photo: Yelp)

Inside of Porter Lyons in the Quarter 

Community Service Fellowship

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 17:34
Happy New Year, readers! Just over a week till our Regular Decision deadline, as well as our deadline for the Community Service Fellowship.

At the start of every New Year, we each set goals to make positive change in our lives. I actually blogged at my other place of employment about how to create three great resolutions for yourself: one small, one medium and one large. Here at Tulane, we are constantly setting goals to make positive change in the lives of others and the community around us. The new year gives us an opportunity to evaluate what we have done and what we still need to accomplish. A few years ago, through the Cowen Service Challenge, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Tulane community donated over 750,000 hours of service as a tribute to our former President Scott Cowen. Needless to say, we think community service is pretty amazing. That is why we offer you the opportunity to apply for the Community Service Fellowship. You can read more about current CS Fellows here on their very cool website.

The deadline for this fellowship is fast approaching – January 15th! It is $20,000 dollars a year, so definitely don’t wait until the last minute to submit this application. We frequently get questions about how many hours are required, what types of projects we are looking for, etc. When we review these projects with the Center for Public Service, it’s really not just about hours or the names of the organizations that you worked with during your service. It’s about the passion you have demonstrated through service for a cause or multiple causes and the depth of your involvement. For some of you, this has meant starting your own non-profits. For others, this has meant raising awareness in your communities about health issues or human rights issues. In some cases, winners of the scholarship have worked in smaller, unique ways in their communities, but have had a large impact on the lives of those they worked with. In short, there is no formula for winning this scholarship. There is not a specific hour requirement or type of organization you should mention. We are looking for change-makers and social entrepreneurs, not just through the list of things you have done, but through the passion and depth of engagement you exhibit through writing about these activities. I’ve put together some “Do’s and Don’ts” for the application.

Do put time into writing your essays. For the third prompt, let us know why you chose to dedicate yourself to that specific type of service. Why does that type of work resonate with you? Keep it short but make it informative and passionate.

Don’t hold back. For the fourth prompt, we really want you to put yourself into this piece. This is a great way for us to find out more about the way you think, what you are interested in, etc. When you tell us about the organization you would work with in NOLA, let us know why you have chosen it, how you would spend your time, and who the intended audience of your service is. Really think about this one. We want to see how you’ll engage with the campus and community while you are here as a Community Service Fellow. Be creative and be intentional about what you write.

Do tell us what you did specifically with your volunteer work. Don’t just list an organization and expect us to know.

Do scan or send in any newspaper articles, news clips or photos that show you or talk about you doing service, but don't go overboard. We don't need photocopies of each award you've gotten, but a nice visual addition to your resume can't hurt. You might even want to try ZeeMee!

Don’t email in the recommendation letter on your own. We do not accept recommendation letters directly from students. You need to have the individual writing this recommendation email or mail the letter in.

Do understand that this scholarship is not just about receiving merit aid. It’s about joining a community of outstanding individuals dedicated to creating change in the world around them.

Do remember that even if you aren’t selected for this very competitive award, you will still be able to be heavily involved with community service and civic engagement at Tulane and in New Orleans.

Good luck to all!


Mon, 01/02/2017 - 20:47
Tulane has always been a popular school for siblings to attend. It also is evidently a great place for twins! I solicited the help of Tyler and Blane Margaretten, two Tulane juniors, to get some twinfo from some of Tulane's many sets of twins. Read all about what life is like at Tulane when you've got an identical twin to share it with!

Blane Margaretten:
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Class of 2018

Did you plan on going to college together?

My brother and I did not plan on attending college together! We made our decisions independent of one another, and us choosing the same school just shows how alike we really are.

What’s the funniest part about going to Tulane with your twin?

The funniest part about my twin and I on campus is that he was a Freshman RA and I got to serve as Orientation staff. We both individually have hordes of younger students who consistently mix us up. Our apologies to the class of 2019 and 2020!

Tyler Margaretten
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Finance / Management
Class of 2018

What’s the best part of having your twin at Tulane?

The best part is how easy it makes it meeting people! People come up to me on a daily basis thinking we’re friends (in reality I’ve never met them before!) and because of that I get to introduce myself and make more connections. It’s kind of like we’ve divided and conquered campus because we can meet twice as many people as a regular student. It’s awesome.

What’s the funniest thing to happen to you here?

It’s so hard to choose just a few. When I visited Tulane during a Top Scholars Weekend when I was a senior in high school, I met another incoming freshman from South Carolina. We became instant friends and are still super close today. Later that day in the bookstore, Blane came up to me and was like “Tyler…there is a blonde girl who keeps making eye contact with me and I have no idea why.” I turned around and sure enough there was my friend Carly! Quite possibly my first friend I ever had that didn’t know I’m a twin.

MiQuelle Phillips
New Orleans, LA
Public Health (currently working towards MPH)
Class of 2015

Miesha Phillips
New Orleans, LA
Sociology (currently applying for Law School)
Class of 2016 (yes, they graduated in different years)

Did you plan on going to Tulane together?

Yes, Miesha and I both attended Tulane Upward Bound from age 14, we also during our senior year of high school attended the Tulane Summer Transition Program and were able to receive academic scholarships through that program that allowed us to be able to attend Tulane together. We were truly blessed and excited to have such a wonderful opportunity. The mentorship and guidance we received, personally, professionally and academically through both programs was amazing!

What’s your favorite thing about Tulane?

We loved being so close to home but still getting a full college experience that allowed us to feel like we were away. Tulane provided us with the opportunity to go to school in our own neighborhood, and still experience what we would like to think all students need as a college experience. From living on campus, to participating in campus organizations, even being able to do service learning projects and working in our very own community. The school is stapled in our city and allowed us to give back to the same city that got us to where we are today. There couldn’t have been a better option for us! We were able to grow as young women and become campus leaders at Tulane and that has shaped our paths to this day.

Have you ever lived together at Tulane? How was that?

We never lived together in the same room at Tulane, however we both worked for Housing and Residence Life. Over the summers Miesha worked as a lead conferences coordinator and MiQuelle worked as the housing room’s assignments coordinator assistant. Both positions gave us the opportunity to become Resident Advisors. MiQuelle was an RA in Weatherhead Hall for 2 years, and then spent her senior year as the Senior Resident Advisor of Greenbaum House when the hall first opened. Miesha spent one year in Wall and a second in “coincidentally” the first room MiQuelle had as an RA in Weatherhead Hall. Working and living on campus was awesome, and being an RA at Tulane provided us with some of the professional tools we still use today like working in teams, organization, always being personable, remaining professional, and being able to lead in groups, among several other things.

Margaux Armfield
Knoxville, TN
Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
Class of 2020

Brenna Armfield
Knoxville, TN
Class of 2020

Did you plan on going to Tulane together?

Brenna and I did not plan on going to the same college. In fact, after I chose Tulane, Brenna had a difficult time deciding if she wanted to go here because, while she adored Tulane, she wanted to have her own identity in college apart from me. However, I'm glad she decided to come here, as we both have been able to have independence while maintaining a close friendship.

What is the best part about having your twin at Tulane?

The best part of having a twin at Tulane is all the random people who wave at you because they know your twin.

Sergio Medina
Avondale, LA
Finance w/ Energy Specialization, Management
Class of 2017

(side note here: Sergio’s twin goes to arch rival LSU! But I thought this perspective was cool too)

Did you plan on going to Tulane with your twin?

In high school, my twin and I started to branch off from one another in case we would be unable to attend the same university. This is a funny story but when we were thinking about where we would go to college I never thought I would attend Tulane University. My twin brother wanted to attend Tulane and I on the other hand did not know where I would go to college. My twin brother decided to attend LSU and It wasn't until senior year of high school where I received an athletic scholarship to Tulane University that I knew this was where I wanted to be. In the heart of uptown, 30 minutes away from home, the rich culture of New Orleans and the opportunity to receive an outstanding education from a prestigious university, it was a no brainer.

Do people know you’re a twin?

Believe it or not, but there are students at Tulane who have friends that attend LSU and think that I am my twin brother! They either meet my twin from their friends or think the same person attends two universities! It's funny because one guy was looking at me with a confused look and came up to me and said "Julius!?". No I am not him, I'm his twin Sergio! He goes to LSU.

Have you ever switched places?

We never switched places but in high school we convinced a teacher that we did switch places when we actually didn't.

Molly Lynch
Bayville, NY
Marketing and Management
Class of 2016

Did you plan on going to Tulane together?

We did not plan on going to college together! We both originally wanted to go to school in the same city but at different universities. Tulane was not originally on our radar, but we applied because some of our high school friends were also applying. It turned out to be the first school that I got into back in November of my senior year. Fast forward to January, it was very cold in New York and we wanted to go somewhere warm for a few days. We decided to visit New Orleans and check out Tulane while we were there. We both absolutely fell in love, and put a deposit down soon after.

What's the funniest or weirdest twin-related thing that ever happened to you here?

On a pretty regular occasion, people would mix my sister and I up. Casey and I were both involved in different activities at Tulane (aside from being in the same sorority), and hence knew different people on campus. There were many times when people did not realize that I was a twin, and that she also attended Tulane. So, my friends and colleagues would go up to Casey and start talking to her about USG or WTUL, and she had no idea who they were and what they were talking about. A few people even were offended and thought I was ignoring them, but it was really just Casey not knowing them! Someone else thought that I made multiple outfit changes during the day! Some funny stuff happens when you go to school together

Casey Lynch
Bayville, NY
Class of 2016

Did you study abroad without your twin? What was it like?

I studied abroad in Nice, France, and Molly did not study abroad. Being that we went to the same school all our lives, I think it was important to do something apart from each other. Ideally, it would have been super fun to both go to Europe and study in different cities, but we both had amazing semesters getting to know new people. We talked and FaceTimed everyday, so we were always up to date with each other’s lives. It was by far the longest span of time we have spent apart, so I think we were super excited to see each other over Thanksgiving break when she came to visit. Just like we have with all our decisions, our separate decisions about whether or not to study abroad were independent of what the other decided to do. Study abroad was definitely the best semester of college, and probably the best four months of my life.

Have you ever lived together at Tulane? How was that?

We happened to be placed on the same floor in Sharp Hall our freshmen year, but we didn’t live together until I came back from abroad. It was very convenient to live together — we shared groceries, and I like to cook, so I was able to prepare food for both of us. Having the ability to share closets was also useful. We also lived with three friends from our sorority. We brought our car down senior year, so it was helpful to live together to share the car. We had a terrible landlord so it was comforting to have Molly by my side to deal with our house’s problems and ultimately make the decision to move out of the house. Although we lived under the same roof, we often didn’t see each other till nighttime after classes and meetings were over, so we lived very independently of each other.

Courtney Pellegrini
Cary, NC
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, SISE
Class of 2018

Emily Pellegrini
Cary, NC
Neuroscience, Philosophy
Class of 2018

Did you plan on going to Tulane together?

Not really; we applied to about half of the same schools and figured "We don't have to go to the same place, but it would be cool if we did!" We both ended up loving Tulane, so it worked out that way! Looking back, I'm really glad that we both decided to go to the same school. It's been nice having my sister here, especially since we're so far away from home.

What's the funniest or weirdest twin-related thing that ever happened to you here?

One semester, Emily and I both had classes on the same day with the same girl; I had a class with her at the end of the day and Em had one with her at the beginning. After an entire semester of knowing her, she finally came up to me at the end of the year with a confused look on her face. She said, "I'm sorry, but I've been wondering this all year and I just have to ask. Why do you always change your outfit halfway through the day?"

Have you ever lived together at Tulane?  How was that?

Yes, we actually live in the same off-campus house together! (Not just us, though- we also live with two other girls. I don't think things would end very well if it were only the two of us). It's going really well so far, probably because we had the foresight to not share a bathroom. We can share a house together quite nicely, but I think that sharing a bathroom tends to bring out the worst in people.

Sabrina Tucci
New Hope, PA
Public Health, IDev, Psychology
Class of 2020

Marissa Tucci
New Hope, PA
Class of 2020

Did you plan on going to college together?

We definitely did not plan on going to college together. I had my heart set on Tulane for over a year before I applied, and I only ended up applying here. Marissa on the other hand applied to many schools and waited until the last minute to send her deposit here. I think the whole time she liked Tulane but didn't want to have to deal with hearing "Oh my god, I said hi to your sister again today! So embarrassing!" 5 times a day for another 4 years. That would have been nice.

What's the best part of having your twin at Tulane?

The best part about having my twin at Tulane with me is the fact we didn't have to completely split our wardrobe. Being the same size in everything, it made sense to share every article of clothing for our whole lives. Having to split that if we went to separate colleges would have been very stressful and probably would have ended in blood being shed.

Rosalia Costa
San Jose, CA
graduation year: 2020

Victoria Costa

What’s the best part about having your twin at Tulane?

The best part about having my twin at Tulane is that I get to experience such a fun time in my life alongside my best friend! She's not only my twin, but my best friend, so college is just a lot more fun because I have my best friend to share all these amazing experiences.

What’s the funniest twin-related thing that has happened to you so far?

The funniest twin-related thing that happened to us while at Tulane so far was when a random man outside Bruff asked us for a picture because he said he had never seen identical twins before! He looked so excited, so of course we said yes haha!

Allison Woolverton
Baton Rouge, LA
Political Economy, Spanish, SISE
Class of 2019

Did you ever live together at Tulane? How was that?

Yes! We lived together last year and still do. Freshman year, when our RA asked us to write and sign the "roommate contract" we burst out laughing. We'd shared a room forever, why would we have to write rules about it now? When we chose to room together freshman year (an easy decision) I had intended to separate for sophomore year - but it worked so well that we decided why not keep on living together? I mean, we share all of our clothes, jewelry, everything. It doesn't make sense to have to split all of that up. Plus, we share all the same friends, pretty much, and have very similar living habits. It's been nice to not have to deal with any roomie drama!

Have you ever swapped places? What was it like?

We've only swapped places once, actually! All our lives we wanted to switch classes on April Fool's Day, and senior year of high school we finally did it. Most of our classmates and teachers figured it out right away, but not all of them! In history class I had conversation with my teacher about something "Allison would say," before he had figured it out that I wasn't Madeleine. It was very hard to keep a straight face. Needless to say, we were the center of attention all day, haha. That was a good time.
Also, in like 8th grade, sometimes I would talk to Madeleine's boyfriend on the phone, or vice versa. We thought that was so funny.

Favorite thing about Tulane?

For me, Tulane is a perfect combination of being home and being far away. My family is from New Orleans, but we moved to Baton Rouge when I was 8 after Katrina. So New Orleans is a new city and an old city for me, and I love that. What's even better, though, is being at home in south Louisiana but going to school with people from all around the country. Even though I'm only an hour away from home, so many of the students here are from the East and West coasts that Tulane is culturally pretty different. And I've loved that also.

Madeleine Woolverton
Baton Rouge, LA
Sociology, SISE, SLAMM
Class of 2019

Funniest twin related thing:

Beginning of this year Allison and I were walking across campus together and we passed by twins Rosie and Victoria Costa and all four of us just stopped and did a double take. They were like "are you guys twins!?" and we were like "yeah are you guys twins?!" and we bonded right there over our twin-ness! Turns out the four of us have alot of other stuff in common too, and now we all became good friends. Our favorite thing to do is to share all of our twin stories!

Living together:

Allison and I lived together freshman year and again this year, and we love it! We share all of our clothes so it's great to also share both closets and drawers! We've shared a room all of our lives, so it defiantly made the transition to college a lot easier, and it's also really nice to feel like the whole room is mine. If course, it's also all hers, but I think sharing everything is was better than having a room divided in half!

Tomas Salter-Cid
West Windsor, New Jersey
Class of 2018
Neuroscience and Public Health

John Salter-Cid
West Windsor, NJ
Class of 2018
Public Health

The best thing about having your twin at Tulane?
John is much more into local music scene than I am, so he brings me with him to go see live bands around the city. Without him I wouldn't have been exposed to the vast amount of culture that New Orleans has to offer.

Did you want to go to college together?
Honestly, going to the same university as John wasn't really that big of a priority for me. However, when I was accepted to the University of Michigan I went to Ann Arbor to visit the campus. When we got out of the taxi at out hotel the temperature was -35 F with wind chill and I immediately enrolled at Tulane and came to sunny New Orleans with my brother.

I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 22:00
December 20th is upon us, so if you've applied to Tulane for our Early Action or Early Decision round, chances are you've gotten a decision from us by now or will in the next few days. For many of you, that decision may have been, "The Admission Committee has chosen to defer final action on your application until our regular review periods this spring." You're probably asking yourself. "What now?" So here we go, here are my steps for helping you through this process.

Step one: read this post that I wrote last year. Don't proceed any further until you've read that post.

Welcome back. Step two: what does that mean? In essence, being deferred means that we need a bit more time before making a final decision on whether or not to admit you. There are two major factors that will come into play from here on out; one is in your control and the other is not. Your application will come back to the admission committee in the spring and will go through the same review it went through in Early Action, this time however you will be up against the Regular Decision pool of applicants.

The first factor, the one outside of your control, is the way the rest of the applicant pool shapes up. We will do a full re-review of your application with the regular decision pool. Depending on the competitiveness of that regular decision pool, we will make a new decision on your application before April 1st. If the regular pool is much larger and stronger than we expect, then it will be more of a challenge for deferred students to be admitted. However, if it is closer to what we saw with Early Action, we will be able to offer admission to a number of deferred students. We won't know more about this till after the January 15th deadline.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Tulane saw a pretty substantial increase in applications this year. Bottom line, we could fill up multiple freshman classes with students who are academically qualified to attend Tulane. We could fill up multiple freshman classes just with students who would be great fits here and genuinely want to be at Tulane. The problem is we can't admit all of them, even if we wanted to.

That brings me to the second factor that comes into play now that you have been deferred, and this is the one that is within your power. This has to do with what you can do from here on out now. There are a number of things that you can do to strengthen your application to Tulane, and a few things you shouldn't do. Here are my Dos and Don'ts for deferred students:

DO: Consider switching your application to ED II. This is for deferred EA applicants only (and for first time applicants.) You can get more info here. The deadline is January 6th.

DO: Contact your admission counselor and let him or her know you are interested in Tulane. You can reach out to your admission counselor here. You'll want to shoot him or her an email in the coming weeks (not necessarily today... let the dust settle and your emotions subside) letting them know that you have been deferred and that you remain strongly interested in Tulane. Let your counselor know that you'll send your first semester grades and also feel free to let him or her know that Tulane is very high on your list. It will be nearly impossible to be admitted to Tulane if you do not, in some form, reach out to us. We'd like to only take those students we know want to enroll here.

DON'T: Over-contact your admission counselor. One email to your counselor over the course of the spring semester will help, especially if you have some bigger news for us (you retook the SATs, a major (major) advancement in your extracurricular activity, etc) but do not send us a weekly email update. It will not help your cause. Major profile in your local paper's community section? Send it in. Promoted to secretary of the National Honor Society? No need to send; we already have a nice list of your extracurricular activities you sent us when you applied. Also, be honest. If you'll enroll at Tulane if you are admitted, tell us, but only if that is the truth.

DO: Send us an essay about why you are interested in enrolling at Tulane, if you have not already done so. See the Why Tulane? prompt on the application for admission. Tell us why you would be a great fit here, and why Tulane is a great fit for you. Do some research. Many times, we defer students who are academically qualified to be admitted, but we are unsure of their interest level. So reach out and let us know.

DON'T: Feel pressured to come down and visit. We know money is tight these days, and New Orleans is a big trip for many of our applicants. If you feel the need to come down to express your interest in Tulane in person, you are definitely welcome to do so, however if this is not possible (for financial or any other reasons) do not fret. We understand not everyone can make it down to visit, especially if you are not admitted yet. If you are interested in coming down, let your counselor know.

DO: Be patient. Understand you may not hear from us before April 1st. We are working to get a decision to you as quickly as possible, but in some cases it may not be till late March. We're sifting through thousands of applicants and are giving each one the time they deserve.

DON'T: Compare yourself to others. Calling the admission office or emailing your counselor to inquire why "Diane and Jack who have lower scores and lower grades and fewer extracurricular activities were admitted but I was not" will never, ever help your cause to be admitted at Tulane. We don't compare students to each other directly when they apply, and are always looking to build a diverse and well-rounded class of students. You may not be aware of what is in other student's recommendations, essays, etc., or what we are specifically looking for. It will not do you any good to mention other students. If there is a very specific question about this, your high school counselor can direct those questions to us. We especially do not appreciate "Tommy and Gina used Tulane as a safety school and aren't even that interested in attending but I am!"

DO: Send us some additional materials. You are welcome to send us a new resume, essay, your first semester grades, an art or music portfolio, a new SAT or ACT score, etc. While some of the smaller things may not make a big difference, an increase on your SATs, or a well-written essay about your Tulane visit can go a long way. Mid-year reports are recommended for deferred students. Again, keep in mind, unless it's a major change in extracurricular activities, it won't change too much (same goes for additional teacher recommendations). The biggest changemaker will be new test scores.

DON'T: Be rude. We know this is a stressful time and we know that you may be very excited about Tulane and disappointed to not be admitted. But keep in mind that you still want to maintain your composure and maturity while communicating with the office of admission. Dramatic emails or calls will get you nowhere.

DO: Understand how competitive this all is. As of today, Tulane has admitted fewer than 25% of the students who have applied to Tulane. Application to schools like Tulane are competitive, and we have far fewer spots in the class available than we have students who want to be a part in the class. So keep your head up and know that, in the end, whatever is meant to be will be. Defer is not a NO, it's more of a "not yet."

Hope this helps you deferred students out there. Best of luck!

We Messed Up.

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 17:14
One thing we pride ourselves here in the Office of Admission is being a compassionate place. I've written frequently before about anxiety, love, and the fact that it's all going to be okay in the end.

Yesterday, we made a mistake that goes against all of those ideas of compassion. A mistake that has created such an immense sense of anxiety for a population of students who want to go to Tulane more than anything else in the world.

Around 1:00pm on December 14th, Tulane Technology Services sent an email to 130 Early Decision applicants. The email welcomed them to the Tulane family and gave them a Tulane email address. While we are currently working on figuring out why and how this happened, for those 130 students, that does not matter. We've created an anxiety so deep for this group that there really aren't words to describe it. I'll own up to it right now.

The reality is that we did not have final decisions for those 130 students yet. For a few hours, they had notification from Tulane that led them to believe they had been admitted before we sent an email to let them know we did not have a final decision and to disregard the tech services email. I am sure many celebrated and posted on social media about it, as any admitted student should.

What Tulane has done is inexcusable and I offer those students, their families, their high school counselors and their communities a heartfelt apology. Tulane can do better and we will.

Many people have told me that we should just admit that population as it's the right thing to do. In a perfect world, that would be true. But admitting an additional 130 students is much easier said than done and greatly throws off the size of the class. It simply can't be done. We sent final decisions to our Early Decisions applicants by midnight on December 15th.

Please know I am here to speak with each of you who was affected by this. You can email me any time at I can't say "I know what you're going through," because I do not. All I can offer is a an apology.

Life is so much about how you respond (not react) in situations like this. It is my hope that we learn from this. We have really messed this one up, and for that, I offer you my deepest apology.

5 Tips for a Great Campus Visit

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 15:30

Seeing a college or university's campus firsthand can be the best way to find out if that school is a good fit for you. Take a look at the list of schools that you are seriously considering and decide on a few to visit. If it’s not financially feasible to check out some of these schools, visit one near your hometown—even if it’s not on your list. It will at least give you a feel for what to expect and what this whole world of “college” really can be like.
For the schools that are high on your list that you do plan to visit, here are a few tips for maximizing the trip so that it is the most successful that it can be. 

Oh, and don't forget to tag your photos and IGs with #TulaneVisit and we'll holler back! 

1)      Visit at the right time of the year. Summer may be a convenient time for you to check out schools, but it’s not always the best time to get a good feel for a campus. With few students on campus during the summer months, it’s tough to get that solid impression for what the school is like. The same goes for visiting during weather-appropriate times—if you’re considering a school in a cold weather climate, be sure to visit at that time of the year. Some people love the cold, others are warm weather folk (like me down here in New Orleans!). Oh, and always check when Mardi Gras is happening before visiting Tulane. Great time to visit NOLA, but, not the best time for a visit to campus (we're closed!).

2)      Pull the randoms aside. Your tour guide is going to give you some great facts and personal anecdotes, but go past that. When you're done with the tour, sit outside and see if you can chat with students. Ask them about their experiences, see how much love they have for their school. If the students who you talk to think it’s weird or are uncomfortable with you asking them questions, then maybe that is telling about the school. Tour guides are great but check with some other students to get the inside scoop. 

3)      Eat in the dining hall. There is no better spot on campus to get a true feel for the pulse of the campus than the freshman dining hall. Eavesdrop on conversations; see what students are passionate about and what the chatter is (I know, it sounds awkward, but do it!). Plus you’ll get to see how good the food is on campus, which is always an important factor!

4)      Do your research before you get there. We are excited to have prospective students tour campus every single day. But what we like even more is when we can tell those students have done some legwork before arriving on campus. If you get to campus and you are asking your admission officer questions like “how large is this school?” and “do you have a psychology major?” it becomes quickly obvious to us that you may not have put too much thought into the school. We’d much rather hear “I read that psychology is your most popular major. Do you find it to be more of a clinical-based major, or maybe more neuroscience?” Here are some great questions you should be asking during your visit. 

5)      Do some stuff on your own, but also do the formal visit. Going on a campus tour is a great way to share your excitement about the school with the team in the Office of Admission. So while you may just want to chill with your cousin who’s a sophomore at the school, take the time to register and attend a formal campus tour. See if the school offers interviews (we don't at Tulane, but many schools do.) Make the most of your visit, but also be sure to connect with the Office of Admission at some point. 

Have a great trip! If you're planning a Tulane and NOLA visit, here are some tips from us. And if you can't make it down, you can meet our tour guides to get your questions answered here

Doesn't this make you want to come visit us in New Orleans? C'mon down!