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Two Days in NOLA

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:00
One of the most frequent questions I get from prospective students and their families, in addition to where should we eat in New Orleans, is: "We've never been to NOLA before... what should we do?"

New Orleans is a fabulous town in so many regards, so it never surprises me when we end up on the list for Travel + Leisure's World's Best Cities and land in the top ten. Last year, the New York Times said we were the #1 place in the world to visit. It would take well more than four years to experience everything that New Orleans has to offer. I've been here for 16 and still discover new and incredible things to check out every day. (By the way, want to see all my favorite spots in town? Follow my NOLA here, and there rest of the admission office here!)

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

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

Day One:


Arrive in NOLA in the early afternoon and check into your hotel. We've got a number of hotels that we recommend that offer great discounts. If you've never been to New Orleans before, I would recommend staying somewhere close to downtown. New Orleans is a very walkable city and staying downtown will give you access to all we've got to offer. I'd recommend staying in the Central Business District (CBD) or the Warehouse District over staying in the French Quarter. The Quarter is amazing and definitely a place to check out during your time in NOLA, but can get verrrrry busy and difficult to navigate, especially on the weekends. The CBD and the Warehouse District are just a few blocks from the Quarter and provide some of the best hotels in town. My top three picks would be the Ace, the Old 700 or the Pontchartrain Hotel for something a bit closer to campus. All three offer Tulane discounts and all are super local, boutique-y and give you that great, authentic NOLA vibe. Skip the big box hotels if you can when you're here... you're in NOLA!


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


Go eat. I have a whole blog dedicated to this. I could save you some time and just say go to Domenica.

Royal Street in all her glory. Photo: Four Seasons of Food blog
Day Two:


Time for your campus tour! I recommend the 9 am tour before it gets too hot in the afternoon. Sign up here. After the tour, be sure to spend a little time in Audubon Park, Tulane's front yard.


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

Once you've had your fill of the Garden District, keep walking away from St. Charles until you hit Magazine Street and make a right. The area of Magazine Street between Washington and Louisiana is where it's AT for lunch. Want to really get a taste of Tulane? Head straight to the Rum House for lunch. Or Basin Seafood. Or Red Dog Diner. Or Slim Goodies. I could go on and on. If you instead make a left on Mag., you'll soon find District Donuts, Stein's Deli and all kinds of other great dining options. The list is endless.

One of the incredible houses you'll see in the Garden District. This one belongs to Sandra Bullock. Photo:

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

Day Three:


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

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

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

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

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

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

This could all be yours someday! 

St. Louis CathedralA little Tulane flair in the French Quarter

This Will Look Great on my Application... Right?

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 13:16
Courtesy of slate.comIt's Mardi Gras season which means the sights and sounds of New Orleans are alive everywhere you look. One of the most popular bands in NOLA and a staple of Mardi Gras is Rebirth Brass Band. Rebirth has a popular and ubiquitous song called Do Whatcha Wanna. Before you dive into this post, go listen to this song because my blog entry today is all about doing whatcha wanna. 
Last year, my friend and colleague Ashley Brookshire from the Office of Admission at Georgia Tech posted a great blog called "But... What Do Colleges Prefer?" I loved this blog because it transparently told high school students that the reality is, when it comes to how you spend your time, we prefer that you do what you want to. As Director of Admission at Tulane, I will be straight up with you: I don't want your experiences in high school to be a constant stream of things you think will look good on your college application. This whole concept of doing stuff to impress admission officers has reached a fever pitch this decade. And the culprit: colleges who have helped create an admission frenzy among high school students.

Now, I want Tulane to be the school that finally pumps the brakes on all this. 
Colleges expect you to engage in activities outside the classroom, and that hopefully, you enjoy doing those activities. But what we don't want is you feeling like you need to be doing specific things to impress us. I know that it's really easy as a high school student to dwell on the past and worry about the future. What we want here is for you to experience high school as it comes. Take advantage of the experiences and opportunities for growth that happen when you are 16 and stop constantly worrying what colleges think of you.
Let me break it down further. Here are ten things I want you to remember as you experience, I mean really experience, your time in high school.

We don't expect you to cure cancer or impress the CFO of Morgan Stanley. I see a lot of great applicants who have done some pretty incredible research or amazing internships. That is great! If you have your sights set on medical school one day and research experience is something that you think will help you decide on that career path, then, by all means, do it. But don't feel like your application will be lacking if it doesn't have impressive research or internship experiences. Also... you're teenagers! No one can expect you to be mapping the human genome or starting your own business. If you actually end up cleaning beakers or taking people's Starbucks orders during these experiences, that's fine too. In fact, that's actually what I would expect a high school intern or research assistant to be doing. I've read applications where students have said they learned how to administer anesthesia or perform heart surgery. Maaaybe they actually have, but if I were about to go under the knife, I would rather not see a high school student with a scalpel next to my hospital bed. 
We don't expect that you've traveled the world and solved the planet's problems. Travel can expand your mind and completely change your outlook. Doing community service for those around the world is a spectacular way to give back while enjoying your time abroad. Keep in mind though, some of the most meaningful service projects are right in your own back yard. We live in a country of great wealth inequality and if serving your community is your passion, consider the amazing opportunities you might have to help those in need—right in your own hometown. Our hope is not that you are helping your community because you think it will impress Tulane. Rather, the goal is that you authentically have a passion for service and are doing good things for good people. 
It's okay if you are doing something just because. If you love to read, cook, surf, mediate, DJ, or something else—let us know! Yes, we do expect that you have done something more substantial than just reading a few books, but don't completely sideline your passions. Just because you think a college might value certain experiences over others, it's not worth it to stop doing the things you're passionate about. An applicant who reads 20 books for pleasure during their senior year, will add way more to a college classroom than someone who takes a class at a local college just because they think it will impress me. Why? Because you are doing something you love and have a passion for. Shoutout to the applicant this year who sent me his knitting portfolio. Caveat: if "doing whatcha wanna" is watching Netflix or online shopping—that might not be something worth sharing in the application process. 
We believe in the humble job. A student who works at Chipotle or Starbucks or Pier One or Sprinkles Cupcakes or Jamba Juice knows about time management, communication skills, problem solving, and humility. Again, I don't want you to get a job because it looks good for colleges, but frankly, the skillset you'll develop at a job will prepare you nicely for college. You'll make some money, learn some great skills and as an added bonus, stand out in the application process. If I am being one-hundred percent honest: having a job IS something that impresses the admission team at Tulane. 
We don't expect a laundry list of extracurricular activities. Here is what we want: a somewhat brief list of the things you love to do, the things you do well, and the things you might continue when you arrive on our campus in the fall. My job is not to find well-rounded students. My job is to build a well-rounded class of students. Don't feel like you need to load up on every club or organization your school has. We don't need or want that.  
We're impressed with things that you think won't impress us. And honestly, we've seen it all. I get the sense that our applicants are doing some of these big-name extracurricular activities to stand out. For better or worse, everyone is doing many of the same things. They are great activities, don't get me wrong. But because we see so many great applicants with great resumes, as it turns out, some activities are not as memorable as they may seem. If you are doing these things because you love to, that is great. And that is WHY you should be doing them. Worry less about if you think we'll be impressed and just enjoy and learn from the experience. If you were to ask me about the most memorable activities I have seen from students, I honestly can only truly remember one and that was an incredible applicant who had hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. So basically what I am saying is the only way to stand out these days is to hike 2,600 miles from Canada to Mexico. 
Consider a summer program on a college campus. Just remember, many schools aren't going to give you a leg up simply because you attended their summer program. Doing a summer program is a great way to get a feel for life in college: living in the residence halls, getting a sampling of academics, learning the pros and cons of living away from your parents. These are all valuable insights that will help you adjust to college once you get there. But, don't just say "oh I should go to Duke's summer program so I have better shot at getting into Duke." It doesn't work that way. Instead, research programs that you actually believe will allow you to learn, grow, and enrich your summer. Shameless plug: we have awesome programs at Tulane for STEM, research, women's leadership, and architecture. Check them out
We expect that you'll do some research and engage with us. So, there is one thing we DO think looks good in the application process: students who have taken the time to research what Tulane is all about and authentically engage with us. Again, think less "what are the boxes that Tulane wants me to check?" And more, "what are the steps I can take to genuinely find out if Tulane will be a great fit for me?" Come meet us if we visit your high school or take the time to chat with our current students or simply join our mailing list. Don't feel like you have to email me five times and demonstrate your interest in nine different ways. What we really want is for you to find out if Tulane is somewhere you'll be happy and if so, let us know in your application. Speaking of happy... 
We want you to be happy. The college admission process should not define you. We want you to take a step back and realize that at the end of the day, your personal contentment and self-confidence are the most important parts of growing up. High school is always going to have its ups and downs. The more you can be in the moment and eliminate the constant ruminating about the past or anxiety for the future, the happier you'll be. I know it's easier said than done, but take a moment to BE in the moment and not worry about what we think of you. 
We want you to be good people. I've always loved the "Check This Box if You're a Good Person" article written by Rebecca Sabky from Dartmouth. We get these beautifully packaged applications chock-full of inspiring extracurricular activities, but at the end of the day, it's nearly impossible to tell what type of person you are based on a college application. I love reading recommendation letters about students who treat the cafeteria people with kindness and respect. Or the compassion some students show to kids outside of their friend group. These are the important things you do when you think no one, and no college, is looking. 
At the end of the day, do whatcha wanna. Do what makes you happy, what improves your life and the lives of those around you. Try not to worry so much about what you think a group of strangers in a school far away will think. What you'll end up finding is that you'll be leading a much more fulfilled life, one that allows you to live in the moment, have joy, and one that allows you time... to do whatcha wanna. 

5 Tips for a Great Campus Visit

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 09:30

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. 

1)      Visit at the right time of the year. Summer vacation is a great time to visit college campuses. You can usually find some solid travel deals, including on hotels. The only thing to keep in mind when making a summer visit is the campus is likely to be quieter than it normally would be during the school year. There are definitely students on Tulane's campus during the summer, but it is not as active compared to the fall or spring when school is in session. If you really enjoyed your campus visit during the summer, consider making another visit when classes are in session, so you can see the campus when it is bursting with activity. Likewise, consider timing your visit 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 some students 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! Pro tip: when you are in the dining hall or another public space on campus, check out the stickers that students have on their laptops or water bottles. This is another clue for you to see if some of your interests and passions match up with the vibe on campus. 

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. 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!

So You're Using an Independent Counselor...

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 08:30

If you are a junior right now, you might be thinking of hiring an independent college counselor to assist and guide you through the college application process. And by you, I mean your parents.

Here at Tulane, we very much value the role that independent counselors can play as you generate your college list and navigate the somewhat complex application process. Independent counselors and consultants can provide valuable guidance and support as well as a wealth of knowledge of the application and financial aid processes. That said, there are a few things to remember if you are thinking of working with an independent counselor.

Ensure that they are members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling or a regional affiliate. Whenever you hire someone to do a service for you (like a contractor or dentist) you always want to make sure they are accredited and certified. Same goes with hiring an independent counselor. Being a part of NACAC means they'll abide by the Statement of Principles of Good Practices. I do not recommend working with a counselor who is not a NACAC member.

Ensure that they are affiliated with IECA or HECA. These are two incredible organizations comprised of all higher education consultation and independent education counselors. They share great ideas, best practices and are a great professional networking group.

Tell your school counselor you are working with an independent counselor. It will do you no good to have to two competing forces. If you opt for an independent counselor, let your school counselor know. Remember, your school counselor is the person writing your recommendation letters and advocating for you in the application process. It's vital that you develop a meaningful and honest relationship with them, first and foremost.

Think you can't afford one? Think again! While many independent counselors might come with a hefty price tag, keep in mind that many of them do work for low-income students pro-bono. Head over to those IECA and HECA pages and run a search of a counselor near you. If you know you can't afford one, you've got nothing to lose by reaching out to a few to see if they have the ability to take on probono clients.

Consider any after-school support programs or CBOs. Working with an independent counselor isn't all that different from spending time at a Community Based Organization. I'm fully aware that in some cases, working with an independent counselor can give an already advantaged student an even greater advantage in this process. If you are the first in your family to go to college or are coming from a disadvantaged background, research local programs you can connect with to get support. NACAC has a great list.

Make sure your application remains authentically you. If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember this tip. We expect your application to sound like a high school student has written it. We want to hear your authentic voice. The voice of a 17-year-old guy sounds a lot different than the voice of a 45-year-old woman. Independent counselors can help formulate your college list, provide knowledge about best practices in applying and proofreading your essays, but if your voice starts to fade from your application, well...we can tell.

Remember, you sign your application stating everything in there is accurate and honest. Over the last month, I have been made aware of an independent consultant group out of California that fills out students' applications for them. When we noticed some inconsistencies with an applicant, a call to the student's school ended up exposing that the independent counselor had put false information into the student's application. This resulted in the student being denied admission, something I really hated to have to do. Do not work with consultants like these. You can avoid consultants like this by following steps 1 and 2 above.

We at Tulane have great deal of respect for the work that independent counselors do. If you are considering going this route, following my tips above will ensure that you are working with the best in the business.

Juniors: Start Here

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 01/03/2019 - 09:00
For most high school juniors across the country and around the world, January signifies two things: the beginning of the second semester and the unofficial start of "The Process." Don't let that stress you out too much, though. Now's a good time to just reserve a little bit of mental space for getting acclimated with this crazy process of college admission. This spring, I'll be taking this blog on the road to cities across the country to share my candid tips for applying to college. If you live in NYC, LA, Miami, The Bay Area or Atlanta, you can RSVP to attend an event here.

I've posted in the past about ten tips for juniors and so today, your goal is to spend a little bit of time thinking about what matters most to you and how you envision your experience looking once you arrive at college. Does that sound a little too theoretical? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are five big-picture questions to start asking yourself.

Which schools am I already interested in? You probably have a few schools that are somewhere on your radar, even if it's way out on the edge. Maybe these are places your older friends attend, or a school your favorite teacher went to, or just somewhere you've kinda daydreamed about. Now is a good time to find out more about these schools. Start receiving information from these schools by finding their mailing list pages and signing up. Schools put a lot of time and thought into how they brand themselves and by joining some mailing lists, you can start to get a sense of what type of student best fits in at each school. I humbly suggest you join our mailing list here. Once you're on it, it gives us the green light to share Tulane's story with you. Plus, it lets the Office of Admission know that we're potentially on your radar. It also takes around four seconds. 
What size school is right for me? For some students, the idea of being at a giant school with 35,000 undergrads seems ideal. For others, a campus that is smaller than their own high school is a better fit. Getting a sense of how big of a campus you are looking for will allow you to develop a list of schools that are in that range. Looking for a school that will give you the best of the big and small? I think I know a great spot that falls right around 8,000 undergrads. 
Where do I want to go to school? Big city? Small town? Rural? A few miles from home or a few hundred miles from home? A school's location is going to play a pretty big role in the four years you spend there. Some students picture that quintessential college town: Ann Arbor, Davis or Chapel Hill. Some want small-town liberal arts school vibes. And others crave that big city vibe: New York City, Boston, Miami, or New Orleans. Where do you see yourself continuing your formative years? 
What type of school is the best fit for me? The way to parse this out is to do some research on liberal arts colleges versus research universities. Keep in mind, plenty of research goes down at liberal arts colleges and that the liberal arts are an imperative part of any major research university, so those names can kind of be a bit of a misnomer. That said, the vibe you'll get at a small liberal arts college is quite different from that of a large-scale research university. The main difference between the two is that liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller and more undergraduate-focused while universities tend to have the gamut of graduate and professional schools: law, medicine, etc. Kahn Academy has a great video detailing the differences between the two. Some other things to consider: are you thinking about one of the service academies or a music conservatory? Don't narrow it down too much at this point, but keep the type of school in your mind. Some students might be best served at a local community college for two years before transferring to a four-year institution. Some may know that a big state school is right where they belong. 
How much can my family afford? Take this one lightly, for now. For starters, never rule out a school because of its sticker price. With schools like Tulane, you're often going to see total cost of attendance numbers starting with 7s. Don't let that scare you off. Take some time to explore each school's Net Price Calculator to get a better sense of what your family might actually be paying. For example, if you come from a low-income family and are admitted to an Ivy League school, the vast majority of them are going to cover all of your financial need in order for you to enroll. This is also a good time to consider the benefits of public schools versus private schools versus community colleges. 
And here are some things that I'd recommend you NOT consider at this point in the process.  Put down the US News rankings and worry not about brand name reputation. There are roughly 2,600 universities and colleges around the USA. The best advice I can give you? None of them are bad schools, some of them just might be bad fits for you. Cast a wide net at this point in the process.  Also, don't stress too much about majors at this point. The reality is that around 70% of college students change their major at least once. And, get this, every school in America is going to claim that they have "one of the best programs" for X major (as in... Tulane has one of the best Psychology programs in the country! One of the 2,000 best!) Now, if you are certain that aerospace engineering or music therapy is in your future, by all means research schools based on those hyper-specific majors. But for the other 99% of you, don't put a tremendous amount of emphasis on your academic programming quite yet.

Don't worry about what you think will look great on your college application. I mean it. I even wrote a whole blog about this. 
And there you have it—a few questions to ask yourself at this point in the process. There are a billion search engines that can help you answer these questions and narrow down your list. I like the Princeton Review's but that is just one among many. Now might also be a good time to make an appointment with your school counselor who likely has a wealth of information about this process. 
As you head into second semester and into the summer, I'll post a few more updates for how you can take this process one step at a time. You're going to be great! 

I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 15:00

December 20th is almost upon us, so if you've applied to Tulane for our Early Action round, you'll be getting a decision from us in the next few days. For many of you, that decision may be: "The Admission Committee has chosen to defer final action on your application until our regular review period this spring." You're probably asking yourself: "What now?" So, 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 being deferred 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 within 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, but this time you will be up against other deferred applicants as well as the Regular Decision pool.

The first factor, the one outside of your control, is the way the rest of the applicant pool shapes up. If the regular pool is much larger and stronger than we expect, it will be more of a challenge for deferred students to be admitted. Adding to that complexity is how our yield looks for students admitted EA. If our deposits come in stronger than in the past, it will be more challenging for deferred students to be admitted. As you can see, some of this comes down to numbers. It's out of your control, so try not to let this part stress you out.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Tulane saw a 14% 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. With three years of larger first-year classes, we've admitted almost 2,400 fewer students than at this point two years ago. This is not something that we are cerebrating, it's simply the reality of how competitive Tulane has become.

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. 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 7th.

DO: Complete the continued interest form on your Green Wave Portal. This is the most important way to let us know you are still interested in attending Tulane.  It will be nearly impossible to be admitted to Tulane if you do not complete this form. We know your plans sometimes change, your list might shift going into the spring semester of senior year, etc. We'd like to only take those students we know want to enroll here. Don't feel pressured to, but you are also welcome to contact your admission counselor and let them know you are still interested in Tulane. Take winter break to think about it and formulate a plan going forward. Then, in the coming weeks let them know that you have been deferred and that you remain strongly interested in Tulane.

DON'T: Over-contact your admission counselor. One email to your counselor over the course of the spring semester can 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 check out campus, 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 until late March. We're sifting through thousands of applicants and are giving each one the time it deserves.

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 students' 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 transcripts 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. Anything you want added to your application, send it directly to

DON'T: Lose your cool. 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. Last year, Tulane admitted fewer than 18% of the students who 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!

Pardon our Progress: The Eight Most Anticipated NOLA Construction Projects…

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 15:51
If you have been to New Orleans recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of dust. From Uptown to Downtown, major construction projects dot this city and cranes are going up in the skyline with a fervor not seen here in decades. I was grabbing a drink a few days ago on the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel and looked out over an entire neighborhood exploding with construction projects, large and small. Today's blog will explore a few of the major projects here in NOLA that I am most excited to see. It's the final part in my five-part series of blogs all about NOLA during her 300th birthday!

Let's check out the eight most anticipated projects in New Orleans as she winds down her 300th year:

Summer 2019 can't come soon enough! The New Tulane Dining Hall: If you have been to campus lately, you’ve already seen our massive new dining hall being erected in the central part of campus. Although I’ll be semi-sad to see it go, Bruff Commons is finally getting its replacement in the form of an enormous 77,000 square foot dining hall that will also house the Newcomb College Institute as well as a number of multipurpose student meeting spaces. This thing looks pretty epic, tbh, and you can see renderings here. This new dining hall will completely revolutionize dining on Tulane's campus.

Hellooooo new airport! (sourceThe New Airport: If Bruff Commons was number one on the list of “things in NOLA that definitely need to be torn down,” then our airport is a close second. Slated to open mid next year, the new New Orleans airport will be a much needed addition to our bustling city’s growth. Last year, MSY recorded a record-breaking number of passengers (up 35% from 2010) and was one of the fastest growing airports in the USA. Sure, I am excited for a new airport and its consolidated security and 650,000 square feet of gleaming glass windows, but mostly I am just excited for the food that will be in the terminal. From local favorites like Cafe du Monde and Emeril's to the much-anticipated Shake Shack, the new MSY is sure to be a welcome addition to the eating and traveling public. You can read all about the new facility here.

Many are calling NOCHI a "game changer for job training and talent development in the hospitality sector, an economic engine for New Orleans that is also one of its cultural cornerstones." Here's a training bar/classroom. (source)NOCHI: In a city famed for its hospitality industry, it always surprised me that we never had much of  an educational or development plan for what is one of our biggest economies in town. Enter: the New Orleans Center for the Hospitality Industry. Thanks to a partnership with Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business and NOLA's most famous restaurateurs, the Brennan Family, NOCHI will offer a range of professional and educational development opportunities for a myriad of New Orleans residents. In their own words, "Mixing great minds and industry leaders together to empower a new generation of inspired chefs and culinary visionaries, NOCHI provides students real-world instruction and training by some of the industry’s best talents."

Krewe! Satsuma! Romney! (source
Krewe HQ: Magazine Street is also a hub for new construction projects. The one I am most excited about is a complex being built in the Lower Garden District that will soon house a few staples of the NOLA community including Krewe Eyewear and a brand new Satsuma. We're really proud of Krewe here in NOLA. They are a local sunglass brand that got their humble start as a vendor at Jazz Fest and still continues to play relentless homage to NOLA. Krewes have recently been seen sported by everyone from Meghan Markel to Beyonce. The new HQ will have space for distribution of a half million pairs of glasses. Also in the Krewe Complex, dubbed Framework, is lunchtime favorite Satsuma. One last thing going in this location is, in my totally unbiased opinion, the highlight: a downtown version of Romney Studios, the studio where I instruct!

Rendering of the new Children's Hospital (source)
Children’s Hospital: Just last month, Tulane announced its partnership with Children’s Hospital, just a few blocks away from our Uptown campus. The partnership means that Louisiana's only hospital focused entirely on the care of children will join forces with Tulane to increase access to high-quality pediatric health care and enhance pediatric educational and training opportunities for medical students and medical residents in Louisiana. The hospital is currently undergoing a $300 million expansion that includes a same-day surgery unit, a cardiac intensive care unit, a neonatal cardiac intensive care unit, a cancer center, a 400-car garage, and a newly-designed entrance and lobby.

"The soaring Bollinger Canopy of Peace, set to stand 150 feet tall, will unify the Museum's diverse campus and establish the Museum as a fixture on the New Orleans skyline." (source)
WWII Expansion: Situated in the middle of the Warehouse District, arguably the neighborhood with the most amount of construction, the WWII Museum is expanding... and fast. Ranked as the #1 most popular attraction in New Orleans and the #3 highest rated museum in the world, it’s no wonder that this incredible museum continues to expand. Drive by it these days and you’ll see a massive 234-room hotel being constructed as well as 34,000 square foot Hall of Democracy. Next up is the addition of this giant sail that you see above which will be the crown jewel of the museum complex, dubbed the Canopy of Peace.

Low Barrier Homeless Shelters: Here is one that I am particularly excited about. New Orleans, like many major American cities, has a substantial homeless population. Cities across the USA are consistently researching innovative solutions for their homeless populations. One of New Orleans' solutions has been to construct a low-barrier homeless shelter. According to the city, "unlike some other shelters, the new facility does not place restrictions on how long residents can stay or require them to be sober. The shelter is open to both men and women around the clock — a boon for homeless people who have long complained about the hours and gender restrictions at other local shelters." The shelter spans 12,000 square feet and has 100 beds, a living and community space, restrooms, showers, a kitchen, and office space for operators and service providers.

The new Four Seasons Hotel in all her glory. (source)
The Hotels are Coming: Four Seasons, another Ace, Virgin, Hard Rock... and those are just the major projects. The most anticipated hotel project of the moment is undeniably the Four Seasons Hotel which is sure to revolutionize the foot of Canal Street. The project is a nearly $500 million renovation of one of the most iconic buildings in New Orleans' skyline: the former World Trade Center. Shout out to any of my fellow Tulane alumni who remember going to fraternity semi-formals on the top floor at Club 360. Anyways, the new Four Seasons will have a rooftop pool and observation deck as well as a beautifully landscaped plaza at its base on Canal. It's going to be substantially dope.

There you have it! Hundreds of other projects didn't make this list (including the dozens of new residential building projects all over town) but you can stay tuned to Curbed NOLA to see updates on many of these projects. NOLA in on the rise and I think it's safe to say she's celebrating her 300th birthday in a big way.

Rollin' on a River

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 14:22

New Orleans is situated at the very base of one of the most important rivers on the planet: The Mississippi. The Port of New Orleans is one of the busiest in the world with over 90 million tonnes of cargo passing through it each year. Our location directly on the Mighty Mississippi plays a big role in the identity of our city, both in a historical sense and in our modern day infrastructure. Today’s blog features five great spots to take in the river in all her glory. It's also the fourth part of my series of New Orleans at 300. You can check out my other 300th birthday posts about the film industry here, our best restaurants here and 30 amazing things about NOLA here.

Now let's get rollin' on the river with 5 Great Spots to Enjoy the Mississippi...

Ahhhh the wonders of the Fly. 
The Fly: Easily one of the most popular destinations for college students in NOLA, the Fly is the area that encompasses the very tip of the extension of Audubon Park. Access to the Fly requires you to simply cross over the giant earthen levee just past the Audubon Zoo. There, on a busy weekend, you’ll find hundreds of people making the best of life on the Mississippi: grilling, crawfish boiling, spike-balling and just taking in one of the best river views in town. I took a great sunset run through the Fly last week and was reminded just how lucky we are to have this incredible body of water serve as the backdrop for our city.

The brand new Moonwalk as seen from Artillery Park. (source)
The Moonwalk: The recent renovation of the Moonwalk was the catalyst of this blog. Next time you’re in Jackson Square, walk the steps up to Artillery Park and down the back side to the brand new Moonwalk. Visitors to the French Quarter can now easily access sweeping views of the Mississippi River and the Greater New Orleans Bridge (aka the Crescent City Connection.) Stay tuned for future renovations of this part of the riverside, as a new extension is currently under construction that will connect the Moonwalk to Crescent Park. Speaking of Crescent Park...

Crescent Park. Isn't she lovely? (source)
Crescent Park: I’ve blogged many times before about this awesome park. I genuinely believe that Crescent Park has been the best and most utilized new addition to the city of New Orleans in the last five years. The park stretches for miles along the banks of the river, all the way from the base of the French Market down through the Marigny to the Bywater. Grab a bike, take a run, enjoy an evening stroll - do whatever you have to do to enjoy this truly perfect slice of riverside real estate. Added bonus if you grab some Pizza Delicious or check out Studio Be while you’re down here.

The Bywater Institute! It's the building next to the neon green and blue in center left of the photo. 
The Bywater Institute: Tulane has recently built a greater physical presence directly on the Mississippi River. Enter: the Bywater Institute. The Institute, which was just completed two years ago and sits quite literally on the banks of the river, was created to advance applied interdisciplinary research and community engagement initiatives around coastal resilience and the urban environment. Students and faculty alike use this facility for research and educational purposes to gain a better understanding of our city and region's relationship with the river where we make our home.

This is what came up when I Google Imaged "End of the World New Orleans." So, enjoy. 
The end of the World: I’ve never been here, only heard about this place. From what I can tell, it’s somewhat of a downtown version of the Fly with a distinctly more, um, Bywater feel to it. I have heard this is where they have mini Burning Man parties. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Six Tips for a Great Dean's Honor Scholarship

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 08:15
President Fitts displays his DHS project For this blog, I went straight to the best source on all things DHS. Leila Labens, our Director of Strategic Recruitment, is taking over today to give you her best tips for a great DHS project. And she would know- she leads the committee that selects the finalists before they head to the Deans of each school. Let's do this!
*                   *                   *
Leila Labens, today's guest blogger It’s almost early December which means it’s almost one of my favorite part of the admission cycle – seeing the wonderful, brilliant, creative, expressive DHS projects come through the door (mostly figuratively, but sometimes literally). I’ve participated in the committee that gives the first review on all of the projects for a number of years and I wanted to share some tips on putting together a strong project.

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

Rebekah Oviatt from Washington 
Now get to boxin!

15 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:36
Group Ex with my man Joe at Reily I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Today we're talking about one of my favorite topics: health and fitness. As you might know, I teach spin down the street from Tulane at Romney RIDE and love to stay active. With the Holidays upon us and Mardi Gras on the not-too-far-off horizon,  I've created these 15 tips for staying in shape while at Tulane, especially during this heavy eating and drinking season. While the freshman 15 is a bit of fact mixed with a bit of lore, your college experience will be quite different from high school. You're likely not playing the sport you played every day in high school, you're not eating three parent-prepared meals, you're making your own schedule... you get it. It's a recipe for some big changes in your diet, activity level and life.

So, after 15 years at Tulane and a few years of teaching Romney RIDE under my belt, here are my 15 tips for staying in shape in college.
Ready? Let's go!

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

Eat smaller meals throughout the day. The unlimited meal plan at Bruff is both a blessing and a curse. You'll have access to food 24/7 at Tulane. Instead of gorging on big meals whenever you feel like it, eat a healthy, small meal a few times a day. This whole "eat five or so smaller meals a day" craze caught on a while back, and there is some truth to it for a number of reasons. Best way to do this it to hit up one of our five food trucks. I had the Vietnamese one for the first time last week and it was a ten out of ten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start a team. This year Tulane was ranked #18 on the list for "most active intramural sports," and there are plenty of people who want to play them. All they need is a leader to get the team organized. Flag football, dodgeball, volleyball- we've got them all. Take that leadership role and gather some friends from your floor to make a team happen. Tulane offers so many great ways to stay in shape- check out this week's twilight yoga class on the LBC quad!

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

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

So there you have it. Now... get your butt to the gym! And frequently. Campus Recreation and Romney both have a number of great classes. Grab a group of friends and head over to a yoga class, use your roommate as a weightlifting partner, or join up with me at RIDE. Read all about Reily in my Hidden Tulane post from a few weeks ago.

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

There are literally always classes going on with TURec!

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

Admission Anxiety - And Ten Steps to Reduce It

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 11:00

Alright gang, EA and ED application deadlines have passed. It's all out of your control, and now, the waiting begins. ED decisions will be posted online on Monday, November 19th at 4pm. EA letters will head out for most students in mid December. Green Wave portals will be updated a few days after letters are mailed out. No need to keep checking the mailbox or portal until then. Hopefully, knowing exactly when you'll hear back will reduce anxiety a little bit. Speaking of anxiety...

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

Then, about a year ago, it all changed.

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

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

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

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

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

4) Take note of how much time you're spending on your phone. Moment tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone and WOW is this an eye opener. The data from studies linking phone addiction to anxiety and depression is eye-popping. When I downloaded the Moment app I nearly threw up when I saw how many hours I spent on my phone in one day. In the new iOS update, you can limit your screen time and put your phone in downtime mode at a specific time in the evening and limit your social media use. Do all these things.

5) Don’t look at your phone before you go to sleep or right when wake up. This is a continuation of the previous tip. When you are on your phone right before you go to bed, the stimulation from the phone keeps you awake and also keeps your mind racing. Instead, read a book. Meditate. Do something besides sit in bed and stare at your phone. If you have to look at your phone before bed, adjust the Night Shift on your phone before you do so. This takes out the colors that make it hard on your eyes in the evening. Right as you wake up, don't grab your phone and check Snapchat or Instagram. Just let yourself wake up. What good will it do to read aggravating political news before bed? Or wake up to look at someone else's filtered vacation photos? I made a big change recently and started charging my phone in the kitchen rather than the bedside table at night. I boldly suggest you try this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Scholars

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:00

Here is me with our Spring Scholars currently studying in Rome! Application review is in fill-throttle mode! We've seen another healthy increase in the number of students applying for admission to Tulane this year. As we release ED and ED decisions over the next month, a small number of students in this group will be admitted int our spring admission program: Spring Scholars.

If you were admitted as a Spring Scholar, congratulations! I thought I'd take a moment to share a few of my thoughts on this program. I got the chance to visit both of our fall partnership programs in October and I cannot say enough great stuff about both sites. More on that later. 
The most common question I get from Spring Scholars is, "Why was I admitted for the spring?" The answer has to do with how we review applications in a holistic manner coupled with the increase in popularity Tulane has seen over the past few years. Our admission office is very big on the holistic review process which means we spend a great deal of time creating a class of students based on everything you present to us in your application. Spring Scholars have excellent applications in nearly all regards. There are amazing alumni interviews, great "Why Tulane?" statements, and outstanding letters of recommendation in every application. When reading your application, we knew immediately that you want to come to Tulane and that you would be a great fit here. 
I suspect that our overall admit rate this year will be lower than last year's which was around 17%. Unfortunately, that means that over 80% of the students who apply to Tulane this year will not be admitted for either the fall or spring. Last year for example, we saw our strongest Early Action pool in history, with a middle 50% range on the ACT between 31-34 and SAT between 1440-1540. These are by no means cutoffs, but it does give you a sense of just how competitive Tulane is this year. We can't take every academically qualified student who applies, but for a small group who we believe will be fantastic fits, we admit them as a part of our Spring Scholars program. 
With those facts in mind, I have some suggestions for next steps to take if you have been admitted as a Spring Scholar. First, take some time to think about it. I know your preference would be to start class in the fall, but the Spring Scholars option is a final decision—it's non-binding and you have until May 1st to decide. There will be no Spring Scholars switched to the fall semester at any point. Before you reach out with questions, take some time to read the FAQs for the program; there's some great info in there about housing (we guarantee it!) and Greek life (you can still go through the recruitment process!) I also highly recommend you connect with our Spring Scholars ambassadors to hear first hand what their experiences have been like. We've also got the incredible Julie Slusky as our point person for all things related to Spring Scholars. She's here to help answer any questions you or your family may have. 
Your other fall campus option! Next, consider your options for the fall. We're so excited about the fall abroad programming we offer Spring Scholars in both Rome and Paris. You'll have the option to spend your fall term with a cohort of Tulane students at one of two incredible universities abroad: The John Cabot University in Rome or the American University of Paris (AUP). Schools like Northeastern, Cornell, Miami, Delaware, and the University of Southern California also have freshman at these campuses during the fall. I visited both sites in October and was tremendously impressed with everything I saw. Both sites have absolutely perfect locations, wonderful faculty and excellent student support. I did a full Tulane orientation session with both groups and also got some great feedback from our students there. Everyone seems super happy with their experiences in Paris and Rome. 

If you'd prefer to stay stateside, you can take classes as a non-degree seeking student at a school of your choice, participate in a gap semester program, take a semester to work, or maybe participate in service. It's really up to you! We've listed all of your options here

Your potential fall campus!

Next, plan a visit to campus during one of our two dedicated Spring Scholar Destination Tulane dates. The dates you should plan on coming are either February 25th or March 11th. This event is tailor-made for Spring Scholars. You'll be able to meet other students admitted into the Spring Scholars program this year, hear from current Spring Scholars, and attend presentations from both John Cabot and AUP. Both programs are on a Monday so you'll have the weekend before to explore NOLA if you choose. 
I've spent a lot of time blogging about the difference between reacting versus responding in this crazy world of college admissions. We try to take as much of the anxiety out of this process as we can, but there's no way to avoid the ups and downs that come each year. Nearly every student we admit as a Spring Scholar is so ecstatic to join this group. Sometimes I will get a call from a parent that is less than enthusiastic about their child being admitted as a Spring Scholar. I often tell these parents to take some time to consider the opportunity the program presents their student. If Tulane truly is where you see yourself, we'd love to have you join us in January 2020. You can join the Facebook group here. Currently, we have 189 Spring Scholars excited to start at Tulane in just a few weeks! The goal is to have around 100 for this next group. 

And if you end up selecting AUP or JCU, you'll get a visit from yours truly next fall! 

Rooftop study space at JCU in Rome. 

Snapped this shot while I Lime Scootered to AUP

This is Mary Merva, Dean of Academics at JCU. She is incredible! And takes amazing care of our Tulane Spring Scholars. 
Here is me touring JCU. I want to go here! 

Travel Season 2018

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 11/07/2018 - 17:03
We started our travel season by heading to the NACAC conference in Salt Lake City to meet with colleagues and share ideasNovember 1st has come and gone which means #TulaneTravel 2018 has come to an end. Our staff of admission reps spent the last two months quite literally travelling the world to meet the future members of the class of 2023. By the numbers alone:

1178: High Schools Visited10,372: Number of students who attended a Tulane high school visit40: Countries Visited 21: Community Based Organizations visited. We hit up places like College Track in Los Angeles, Seizing Every Opportunity in NYC and SF and Breakthrough in New York. 548: Total days spent on the road by admission staff members224: Number of individual flights taken by admission staff members 
We've met some great kids and are already knee-deep in reading some incredible Early Action and Early Decision applicants for the class of 2023. Good luck to each of you who has applied! 
Enjoy the travel photos, including yet another year of the Great Admission Sefie-off.

Brand new admission rep Tonia at one of her first school visits in Los Angeles 

Julie visiting her alma mater in Houston Joe got to visit Paul Tulane's grave in NJ! 

Jalin in So Cal
Dillon got an early start with this class of 6th graders! 
Owen with out friends from SMU, Miami, GWU, NYU and Northeastern on the MET Tour.