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The World Visits Tulane!

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:38
Dean of Admission, Satyajit Dattagupta, welcoming our visitors to Tulane and New Orleans.
Wow what a week that was! Last week, Tulane welcomed nearly 1,500 visitors from around the world as a part of the International Association for College Admission's annual conference. Hosting this annual conference is kind of like hosting the World Cup or the Olympics: multiple universities and colleges put in bids to host the conference which we did a few years ago. After two years of planning and coordinating, the conference finally arrived at Tulane and NOLA last week. From all accounts, team Tulane put on a great show. The conference welcomed school counselors from international high schools around the world plus hundreds of university admission reps and community based organizations that serve international students around the world. It's a week of idea sharing, networking, and professional development. There's also a bit of social time built into the schedule as well (it is New Orleans, after all.)

The conference is a part of Tulane's larger commitment to creating a campus that is inclusive and represents the world we live in. It also comes at a crucial time for international students considering college in the USA. For the first time in decades, the number of international students enrolling in American colleges and universities has declined: from 2016 to 2017, the US saw a 4% decrease in international students. The conversations for international students has shifted from "how do I attend college in the USA" to "should I attend college in the USA?" We wanted this conference to be inclusive, supportive, and compassionate to all students. We wanted to show that Tulane, New Orleans, and America have always been great places for international students and will continue to be for years to come. Plus, there is no more perfect place to have an international conference than New Orleans as we've always been a cultural melting pot and a city of immigrants. Our office is led by Satyajit Dattagupta, who arrived in the USA as an international student himself. It's our hope that Tulane sent a powerful message that international students are welcome here, and that New Orleans is a progressive and funky lil town where there students will find an incredible new home for four years.

Enjoy these photos from the conference!

What better way to welcome our attendees to Tulane than the Cafe du Monde beignet truck?Other ways we welcome people to NOLA: in a second line! There are a lot of components to the conference including a 5K,
which brings me to my personal conference highlight (far left) when I got to sound the air horn at the starting line! My colleague Sierra welcoming our visitors to campus (it's July in NOLA... its humid... so we got Tulane fans!)Here are Becky and Colette. Becky was the mastermind behind the whole conference! 
Check out the size of this college fair! Admission reps from around the world attended the conference.
I might have to explain this one... When Tulane decided it would incorporate a Drag Queen Bingo into the conference, I don't think we anticipated the impact it would have for many of the attendees. We heard everything from "this has totally changed my impression of the South," to "I never get to experience stuff like this in the country where I am from" even "Thank you for having a queer space at this conference." For NOLA, Drag Queen Bingo is a regular Thursday night, but for I-ACAC, it was so much more!

Paul and Nora! Without these two, there would have been no conference whatsoever. 
Speaking of people who made this conference possible, meet our incredible team of Student Admission Fellows (and Jakob Cohen)! They spent their entire summer prepping for this conference and it wouldn't have been such a success without them. Thanks y'all!  
We had to end the conference with a BANG, so we showed the world exactly where Mardi Gras was made... Mardi Gras World! 
The conference ended in a way only NOLA could end it: with incredible music! 
We hope everyone enjoyed Tulane + NOLA, see you next time! 

Ten Tips for an Epic College Essay

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 16:22
I'll start this blog by mentioning a quote that my colleague Lindsey likes to use about the college essay: "it can heal the sick but it can't raise the dead." By this, we mean that while your essay is an important part of your application, it's very rarely going to be the make-or-break factor in your admission decision. As a school that practices holistic review, the essay is just one factor among many as we review your application. So... take some time this summer to hammer out a solid essay, but don't let this thing become a massive time-suck that increases your anxiety every time you sit down to write it.

That said, I also wanted to put in a plug for the Tulane Office of Undergraduate Admission which offers several access and inclusion programs to increase college admission and success for diverse and underrepresented populations. These programs include our college preparation workshop on August 4th as well as PreviewTU, our fall multicultural fly-in, which also has a built in application workshop. The application for our fly-in has just opened.

If you can't attend either of these, here's one last offer. If you are the first in your family to attend college and would benefit from a pair of seasoned eyes on your college essay, we're here to help. We're launching a new essay assistance project. Between now and August 15th, if you send us a copy of your college essay, a member from the Office of Admission team will review it and offer you candid feedback before you formally submit it to colleges in the application process. Simply follow this link to submit  your essay to us and shortly thereafter you'll get some helpful feedback from us.

Now, on to some tips for crafting a killer college essay:

Pick a topic that you enjoy writing about. Seems like a very obvious tip, right? Here is the easiest way I can frame this one for you: If you are writing your essay and it's coming together pretty naturally, you're kinda vibing with it as you write it and it makes you happy as you're wrapping it up... that is probably how we are going to feel as we are reading it. If writing this feels off, if expanding on your selected topic feels forced or it leaves you not-so-happy with the outcome.... well, that is how we are going to feel when we read it.

Sometimes, the simplest topics are the best ones. You don't have to dig for tragedy. You don't have to have some life-changing experience or express your impassioned worldviews. Some of the best essays I've read have been on the most simple of topics. What is it like to eat dinner with your family on Sunday night? What was your first concert like? Most memorable road trip? We love these simple yet personal topics.

Tell a good story. Most people prefer reading a good story over anything else. So... tell a great story in your essay. Worry less about providing as many details about yourself as possible and more about captivating the reader's attention inside of a great narrative. I read a great essay this year where an applicant walked me thorough the steps of mediation and how your body responds to it. Loved it. (yes I'll admit I'm a predisposed mediation fan)

Be aware of the light-switch essay. They usually read something like this: "I went to do this service project in my community thinking I was going to change the kids lives ... and they ended up changing mine!!" Nothing is particularity wrong, per se, but the light switch essay (where things start one way and then totally change in a different way) can sometimes trap you and come across and inauthentic.

It doesn't have to all work out at 17. We want your essay to come full circle, but we don't expect you to have life figured out by the time senior year kicks off. Life will always have it's ups and downs and that is totally okay. We don't want you necessarily ending your essay leaving us with concerns for your well-being, but ending with an optimistic tone while still knowing the best is yet to come is great too.

Don't brag... too much. We've got a great list of your extracurricular activities and some glowing letters of recommendation on your behalf. So, no need to self-promote too much in the essay. Some of my favorite essays have been humble, authentic, and honest.  We don't need a list of your accomplishments here; we'd rather read a story behind a time when maybe getting to one of those accomplishments wasn't as easy for you.

Avoid application redundancy. If you've chose to use the "expand on one extracurricular activity" section to talk about tennis, and your tennis coach has written us a great letter of recommendation, and your counselor mentions how much of a star you are on the tennis team... what do you think your essay should be about? Anything but tennis! We want to see consistency and fluidity in your application, but your essay should introduce us to a new side of you and a different dimension not seen in another part of the application.

Use your authentic voice. We know what the voice of a 17 year old sounds like. It sounds a lot different from the voice of a 45 year old. Write in your own voice and avoid using grandiloquent words like adumbrate or laconic (see what I did there?) If you're ever wondering what your authentic voice sounds like, take a few days to free-form write in a journal about your day and what's on your mind. That is your voice. Bring it into your essay.

Have a theme, somewhere in there. A great format of your essay: Part one; hint at whatever theme or message your essay will conclude. Part two: tell a great story that illustrates that theme. Part three: circle back to the theme in a clear and powerful way that ties the story into it. Done. See? Simple as that.

Don't write about camp. That's all. Just don't.

Go forth and prosper, essay writers!

Ten Things to do as a Junior

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 06/26/2018 - 10:42
It's hard to believe it, high school classes of 2021, but you're getting close to college! With summer kicking off, the second half of high school is just a few months away. You're probably new to this whole "college application" thing, so in the spirit of first time experiences, this blog is for you. Have a look at these helpful hints to get your college search off the ground in the best way possible.

Here are my ten tips for you future (college) class of 2025-ers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, 2021!

30 Reasons to Wish NOLA a Happy 300th Birthday

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:05

Happy 300th birthday, New Orleans! What an incredible time to be living in or visiting the city of New Orleans. Special shout out to the nearly 1,500 visitors who will descend on NOLA and Tulane next month as a part of the International Association for College Admission Counseling's annual conference. We're so excited to welcome y'all soon!

There's a lot to love about this town. In honor of her 300th birthday, the team here in the Office of Admission came up with 30 reasons to love New Orleans. From great dining to incredible architecture to our wacky vernacular, this list is perfect for those new to NOLA and want to learn why we've been such a special spot for 300 years.

Here goes nothin'!

Royal Street in all her glory. Some of the best architecture in the city can be spotted here. (source)
Royal Street: One of the crown jewel streets of NOLA, nothing beats an afternoon stroll on Royal. From musicians to street performers to some of the world’s best antique shops and galleries, Royal Street is old New Orleans at its best. It's frequently shut down to traffic too. It's a part of my Two Days in NOLA blog.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival  (source)
Jazz: In a city that, quite literally, is the birthplace of jazz music, the opportunities to immerse yourself in the jazz culture of New Orleans are endless. From the Hogan Jazz archives at Tulane to the clubs of Frenchman to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, jazz fills the air of this city from lake to river, Uptown to Downtown. (Now might be a good time to mention that we don’t use North, East, South or West here in New Orleans)

Sunset at the Fly in Audubon Park (source)
Audubon Park, Zoo and the Fly: Tulane’s “front yard” offers something for everyone. Audubon Park is home to one of America’s best zoos, as well as jogging trails, a golf course, a number of lagoons and The Fly, a very popular hangout spot along the Mississippi River. It’s one of the best spots to catch a classic New Orleans sunset.

The Marigny is all about color (source)The Bywater and Marigny Neighborhoods: New Orleans is a city of unique and distinctive neighborhoods and perhaps two of our most unique are the Bywater and Marigny. Colorful shotgun houses and tropical plants line the streets of these two quirky and offbeat neighborhoods. Be sure to grab a bike a get a little lost. You’re sure to stumble upon a great coffee shop or cocktail bar mixed in these two great parts of town.

Bayou St. John at Sunset (flickr)
Bayou St John: Home to the yearly Bayou Boogaloo fest, Bayou St. John is a tranquil oasis in the middle of Mid-City. I highly recommend grabbing a stand up paddle board or a kayak and cruising around the bayou for a relaxed summer afternoon that will make you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of NOLA. If you're hungry, head over to Parkway Bakery for a po'boy or for a healthier option, 1000 Figs.

The Lafitte Greenway as it stretches from downtown NOLA out towards Lake Ponchartrain (source)
Lafitte Greenway: Brand new to NOLA is this incredible 2.6 mile network of trails and parks that run from the French Quarter all the way to City Park. The Greenway is dotted with community gardens, playing fields, Fitlots, as well as some excellent places to stop and grab food. It’s the perfect way to see many of NOLA's coolest neighborhoods, all by foot or bike.

Crescent Park is so cool! We call this the rusty rainbow. It's a great way to access the park. (source)
Crescent Park: Another somewhat new addition to the city, Crescent Park gives visitors a chance to meander the 3 mile linear park that connects the French Quarter all the way to the Bywater, all along the bank of the Mississippi River. Grab a bike for a sunset ride and be sure to stop for dinner at Pizza Delicious.

City Park was founded in 1854 making it one of the oldest urban parks in the USA (source)
City Park: The sixth largest urban park in America is right here in NOLA. Nearly twice the size of Central Park, it will take you days to discover all that the 1,300 acres of City Park have to offer. Be sure to visit the Great Lawn, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden as post up underneath one of the park’s famous mature live oaks. City Park has the largest collection of them anywhere in the world.

The Train Garden is so cute (flickr)
Botanical Gardens: Nestled in the middle of City Park’s vast live oak forest is the Botanical Gardens, an intricate maze of succulent gardens, Zen and rose gardens and one of the best kept secrets in NOLA: the train garden. Coming with kids? Be sure to check out Storyville next door.

There is so much amazing Vietnamese food here in NOLA, like this incredible bun from Magasin (my personal favorite Vietnamese restaurant in town)
Vietnamese Culture: Did you know one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the USA is right here in NOLA? Vietnamese culture can be seen all over NOLA. From our incredible Vietnamese restaurants to the Tet festival which takes place each year in Ile de l’Est. You can read all about the Vietnamese cultural influence on NOLA, as well as check out a list of the best restaurants around town, here.

Very few things are more uniquely New Orleans than our famed Mardi Gras Indians (source)
Mardi Gras Indians: When slaves in Louisiana escaped captivity, many found refuge in the Native American populations in the south. Their cultures and traditions merged and soon Mardi Gras Indians were born. Many Mardi Gras Indians spend an entire year sewing their ornate and colorful suits. Be sure to check them out at Super Sunday to pay respect to the intricate suits they have painstakingly and proudly worked on all year.

A second line parade in the French Quarter (source)
Second Line Parades: In a city famed for parades, second line parades are the ones that everyone gets to be a part of. Second line parades trace their origins back to the parades that directly followed a funeral. The somber musical procession that would follow the funeral service would quickly break out into a second line parade filled with lively music and dancing. You can catch second line parades all over town from weddings, parties and, really, any celebration.

Here I am getting gored by a NOLA bull at my favorite festival of the year
Festivals: If there is one thing NOLA does right, it’s our festivals. Here in town, we have more festivals that we do days of the school year. Check out a few of the festival calendars or read my review of my top 10. My number one, San Fermin Nueva Orleans, happens to be coming up next month. For those coming to I-ACAC, you'll be arriving right as Essence Festival wraps up (it's one of the largest black arts and music festivals in the world) and right as San Fremin kicks off!

The food. All of the foods. (source)
The Food: Just last week, Trip Advisor ranked us the #5 best food city in the world and #1 in the US. The food in NOLA is really worth the visit alone. From jambalaya, crawfish, incredible seafood, Cajun and Creole cooking, NOLA truly is known around the world as one of the best places to forget about any diet you may be on. Check out my previous blog about my top 10 restaurants in town and Owen’s guest blog about the best places to grab a bite near Tulane’s campus.

Frenchman Street is alive with music every night of the week. Some of the best bands can be seen right on the sidewalk! (source)
Frenchman Street: You’ll hear people refer to Frenchman as the local’s answer to Bourbon Street. That’s partly true, but visitors and locals alike flock to the five blocks of Frenchman that provide some of the best live music venues in the city. Whether you’re looking for blues, reggae, jazz, funk, or rock, there is something for everyone on Frenchman. Here's a pretty good run-down of the best spots on Frenchman. I recommend DBA, Three Muses and Snug Harbor.

Not a normal cemetery. But normal for us! (source)
Cemeteries: We call them cities of the dead, and if you’ve ever visited a New Orleans cemetery, you know why. Beautiful and ornate tombs and mausoleums rise like monuments from the grass. You’ll need a guide to visit them these days, but don’t miss Lafayette Cemetery and St. Louis Cemetery #1, the oldest in the city.

The splendor of the cypress swamps of Jean Lafitte (source
Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve: For a quick escape around 30 minutes from the city (and a free option instead of a swamp tour) head to the Jean Lafitte nature preserve for a boardwalked hike through our gorgeous cypress swamps. Spot gators and other Louisiana wildlife while taking note of why Louisiana is referred to as the “sportsman’s paradise.”

The National WWII Museum. Prepare to spend a lot of time here, history buffs! (source)
Museums: Some might be surprised to know that the number one most popular attraction in New Orleans is actually a museum. And if you’ve ever visited the National World War II museum, you know why. Built in NOLA as we’re home to the Higgins Boat shipyard (which Eisenhower credited with winning the Battle of Normandy,) expect to spend at least a half day at this museum if you visit. Not far from the WWII Museum are the Contemporary Arts Center and galleries of Julia Street. In City Park, you'll find the always-special New Orleans Museum of Art .

Live Oaks and incredible mansions: two staples of the Garden District (source
The Garden District: Just a bit further downtown from Tulane is one of New Orleans’ most famous neighborhoods: the Garden District. Gorgeous homes flank massive live oaks in this very walkable part of town. I recommend Coliseium Street between 1st and 8th streets; best seen on foot. You'll see everything from the Benjamin Button house, celeb homes (like John Goodman, Sandra Bullock, Beyonce and Anne Rice) to the world-famous Commander's Palace restaurant.

$1.25 will get you (leisurely!) all around town. (source
Streetcars: The only moving national historic landmark, our network of streetcars will lazily clank and clatter you through some of New Orleans’ most iconic neighborhoods. Don’t expect a bullet train (or A/C) but do expect to feel the magic of a truly distinctive New Orleans experience. Here's a solid  list of great stops to get off at and explore.

The many varieties of NOLA snoballs (source
Sno Balls: A classic New Orleans summertime treat. Snowball stands can be found in every single neighborhood in NOLA. Everyone here’s got their favorite flavor. Mine happens to be coconut cream.

Big Freedia, the Queen of New Orleans bounce (source)
Bounce: Jazz isn’t the only musical art form invented in NOLA. Bounce music calls NOLA home and with iconic stars like Big Freedia as the Queen of Bounce herself, it’s not hard to see why this art form will quickly get you shaking your booty.

Shopping on Magazine Street really can't be beat, especially with how local everything is! (source
Magazine Street: The best shopping street in NOLA, hands down. Magazine Street is almost eight miles of restaurants and shopping, most of which is local. You can walk the entire thing in a long morning, popping into shops along the way. My favorite stretch is close to downtown between Louisiana down to Coliseum Square (stop in Vegas for great men's shopping and grab a doughnut at District!) You can read my previous blog about Uptown Magazine Street here.

Best way to get around town these days! (source
Blue Bikes: In the last few years, an expansive network of bike lanes and shared lanes have crisscrossed the city of New Orleans. Couple that with a very flat city and you’ve got a great opportunity to see this entire town via bike. Just beware the potholes which we are famous for here. Grab a blue bike at one of the 70 stations around town and cruise this city in the best mode of transportation for taking in all NOLA has to offer.

We're not normal here and we are OK with that. (source
The People: Sure sure I am biased here. But you’ll get what I am saying once you visit. People here ask you how your day is going and actually want to know the answer. People make eye contact on the streets and smile. Everyone is your baby or you momma or your honey. Wherever you’re from (even if this friendliness may be jarring for you) join right in with the conversation here in NOLA. Smile, ask people how they are (and how their momma and dem are doing). Oh, and if you are looking for something to talk about, just talk about NOLA. NOLA was number 1 on Travel and Leisure’s list of “people most proud of their city,” so if you’re looking for a conversation starter, go with that. Or with the Saints. Or food. Or… well, you get the idea. We have this famous saying here in town that "the longer you live in NOLA, the more unfit you become to live anywhere else."

Getting married under the Tree of Life (source
Live Oak Trees: I remember my first visit to NOLA many years ago and wondering if there had just been a parade the day before I arrived based on how many colorful beads I saw dangling from the live oak trees. Turns out, it’s like that year round. New Orleans is home to thousands of massive (and massively old) live oaks trees that seem to be immune to famine, flood, disease and a constant onslaught of plastic beads. If trees are your thing, be sure to check out the Tree of Life in Audubon The Singing Oak in City Park which is adorned with wind chimes.

Oak Alley. She's a beaut. (source
Plantations: Some of the most beautiful places in Louisiana also happen to be home to some of the greatest atrocities in our country’s history. Visit places like Oak Alley, Laura Plantation, and Whitney Plantation for their beauty, but stay for the incredibly moving exhibits on American slavery and its impact on those who lived it.

When you are in New Orleans, you know you're in New Orleans. (source
The Architecture: Tennessee Williams once said “In America, there is New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everything else is just Cleveland.” A large part of why NOLA is one of America’s most iconic and distinctive cities is because of our architecture. From Creole cottages to Garden District mansions to the wrought iron balconies that make the French Quarter magical, there is an endless feast for the architectural eye here in New Orleans. And it’s new and old, too. You’ll notice a tremendous amount of new construction going up in bustling neighborhoods like the Warehouse District and the Central Business District. But, we ain’t 300 years old for nothing: New Orleans has more buildings on the National Register of Historic Places than any city in the US.
Get used to it! (source
The Language: Get ready to start saying y’all, y’all. It’s just going to become a part of your vernacular. Along with lagniappe, neutral ground, y’at… tell you what, just read my previous blog post all about NOLA Lingo.

Just be prepared to see music. Everywhere. (source
The Music: It's everywhere and every kind. From incredible local acts to big name shows, NOLA has it all. Some of our favorite music venues in the city are Maple Leaf (Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesdays),  Le Bon Temps (Big Sam on Thursdays), and the iconic Tipitinas. If the big-name stuff is more your genre, here's who is coming to NOLA in the next six months alone: Beyonce/Jay Z, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Foster the People, Ed Sheerin, The Eagles, Imagine Dragons, J. Cole, Journey, Drake/Migos, Fall Out Boy, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Elton John.

Tulane + NOLA
The Universities: We saved the best for last. New Orleans is home to a broad range of incredible schools and colleges. From two of the country’s best HBCUs at Xavier and Dillard, to large public schools like the University of New Orleans, to Uptown mainstays Loyola and Tulane, the network of schools in town is impressive. This year, the Princeton Review named New Orleans the best college city in America. Tulane’s been a part of New Orleans for a large part of the city’s 300 history. Founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana, we’ve been through thick and thin with our hometown and we’ll continue to share an incredible bond for another 300 years to come.

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:18
Welcome to New Orleans! Owen Knight here, taking over Jeff's blog to talk about one of my favorite things: food. We are so excited to host the International ACAC Conference here at Tulane and Loyola. It is going to be an amazing few days, especially for those of you who have never visited our city before. New Orleans is ranked time and time again as one of the best food cities in the world, so picking one spot is always tough. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite restaurants close to our Uptown campuses that we hope you get to try during your trip. Bon appetit!

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane and Loyola

Saba: Just a few blocks from Tulane, Alon Shaya has just opened his brand-new restaurant and it does not disappoint. Similar to his previous restaurants, Saba offers incredible modern Israeli food which would make sense as Saba means grandfather in Hebrew. The pita and lamb hummus will probably change your life forever.

Clancy’s: Located Uptown just on Annunciation Street, Clancy’s is tucked in a residential neighborhood but is home to amazing Creole cooking. Drawing influences from French cuisine, Clancy’s serves up delicious plates of everything from veal to tuna to lemon icebox pie. They also have an extensive drink menu.

The Camellia Grill: Right on the streetcar line where St. Charles meets Carrollton, The Camellia Grill is a classic. Opened in 1946, it is famous for its diner fare, friendly staff, and countertop dining experience.

St. James Cheese Company: Located on Prytania Street just a few minutes from campus, this cheese shop also serves up some of the best sandwiches and salads in town. Our office faces a constant debate over which sandwich reigns supreme. You also can’t go wrong with a cheese board. Prytania Street is also home to Creole Creamery, just a few steps away so you can get your dairy fix all in one fell swoop!

Dat Dog on Freret: It was hard to pick just one place on Freret to highlight. However, Dat Dog is just such a fun and unique place we had to talk about it first. Dat Dog is home to amazing hot dogs, sausages and fries and a renovated gas station. You can get anything from a fried fish dog to alligator sausage to the Guinness dog. Dat Dog is a huge hit with students and they have multiple locations around town.

Freret Street has seen huge growth in recent years. There are tons of great places to eat. Some of our other favorites include Liberty Cheesesteaks (owned by a Tulane Alum), The Company Burger, Good Bird, High Hat Café, and many more. Freret is also home to Cure, a classy bar with food that recently won a James Beard Award. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a jaunt down Freret!

Domilise’s: Almost 100 years old, Domilise’s serves up amazing po boys in a no-nonsense setting. Some could describe it as a hole in the wall, but you simply can’t deny the combination of a shrimp po boy and a cold beer.

Ba Chi Canteen: A lot of people don’t realize how strong a Vietnamese influence there is in New Orleans. Ba Chi on Maple is a favorite of students and staff alike. They offer a wide spread of Vietnamese dishes from vermicelli bowls to pho to bahn mi sandwiches. They also are known for their steamed bun “bacos” that are simply to die for. Come hungry!

Pizza Domenica: An offshoot of one of our favorite restaurants, Domenica, Pizza Domenica offers many of the same great dishes at their Uptown location. Their prosciutto pizza is a favorite, but the star of the show might just be the roasted cauliflower. Tulane’s Director of Admission Jeff Schiffman says that it will change your life.

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

The True Meaning of Friendship, Part III

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 18:39

Brian in his element If you happen to be an avid reader of this blog, you've likely read my previous posts about two of my best friends from Tulane, Brian and Jackson, who for me, embody the true meaning of friendship. You can read my original post here and then my follow up post about our incredible experience on the Ellen Show.

Brian was truly a larger-than-life kinda guy who impacted so many people in his time on Earth. I say "was" because, sadly, Brian passed away last month from complications from an injury. Ellen did a pretty incredible tribute to him on her show. I'm not really able to watch that Ellen clip without being overcome with emotion, but I have watched it a thousand times nonetheless.
This story about Brian might invoke sadness, but hopefully, what you'll be left with is hope, happiness, and the power of positivity. I'd like to share this story of Brian and his positive inspiration in the context of three incredible people whom he impacted during his life. Interestingly, the story of this three people are all interconnected by Tulane, New Orleans, and of course, Brian.

The first of the three people needs no introduction:

The Brees' with Brian's brother and sister-in-law, Matt and Caroline, at dinner last week. 
Drew Brees. The man who made this story possible. Drew truly is a legend, not only because of his accomplishments on the field. I think my favorite article ever written about Drew Brees is the Onion article titled "Drew Brees Casually Wonders Aloud If He Really Could Get Away With Murder In This Town." This is no over exaggeration, people really love Drew in New Orleans. Drew never had to do what he did for Brian and Jackson. But he did. And what he did ended up being life-changing for so many people. The three challenging years that Brian faced as a quadriplegic were filled with hope, happiness and positivity thanks to Drew.  Last week, when Brian's whole family was in town for the memorial service, it was no surprise in the least that Drew and his wife Brittany joined Brian's entire family for dinner. Drew Brees has a heart of gold and every thing you see and read about him being a kind, compassionate and incredible person... could not be truer. I think Jackson put it best:
"I don’t think he knows the magnitude of what he has done for me or for my best friend. I wouldn’t expect him to, as he has affected so many thousands of people in the same way. His impact on the city of New Orleans has been discussed in many forums, but it cannot be exaggerated. He has embraced his role as a symbol of hope, and he carries that burden every day with the grace and selflessness that have made him my city’s favorite son."
Courtney Garcia. Courtney has always known an inspiring story when she sees one. That's why a few years ago, when the original story that Jackson penned for the Washington Post was published, she knew this was something incredible. As the senior Associate Producer at the Ellen Degeneres show, she pitched the idea and this whole story completely took off. She's the reason this story has had such a positive impact on everyone who has watched it. But the biggest impact was the one Brian had on her. In her own words: 
"Sometimes it takes another person or spirit to help you find your place of courage, and Brian did that for me. For awhile, I had been wanting to strike out on a new path, but fearful of where it may lead; I felt I was one of those people following all the mundane motions of life but too concerned about the unknown to break free. Meeting Brian, sharing his story, and becoming his friend inspired me to take a risk, move, and explore the world in a way I’d only imagined because I knew - thanks to Brian - I would always be okay. We are as strong as our will, as brave as our outlook, and as successful as our ambitions. That’s what I learned from Brian, why I came to New Orleans, and what I will always carry with me as I go on my way."
And, get this, this fall, Courtney will start as a brand new faculty member here at Tulane teaching a class on (what else?) video production. 
Brian sailing with Dr. Campbell Carolyn Campbell. I'd met Carolyn once or twice during her time as a medical school student at Tulane, but it was a conversation I had with her at Brian's memorial service that really made me realize how much of a bond we Tulanians share. Quick backstory on Carolyn: Carolyn attended both Tulane undergrad and medical school. Upon finding out that she was matched in a residency program in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine in Salt Lake City, she connected with the only Tulane acquaintance she knew there: Brian. Brian's exact quote to her (via email) was "I promise you'll never want to leave this place once you see what Utah has to offer." And he was right. Brian and Carolyn immediately struck up an incredible friendship, skiing the mountains of Alta and Snowbird in the winters, and hiking the epic peaks of Utah in the summers. That's when a strange twist of Tulane fate came in. It was a year into Carolyn's residency program when Brian was tragically injured. Brian wound up on the spinal rehabilitation unit... where else... at the University of Utah, under Carolyn's care. She was there as he set the bar for what was possible for a quadriplegic as Brian returned to the slopes skiing (yes, skiing) and hit the lake sailing (yes, sailing) as a part of the University of Utah's TRAILs program. Brian quite literally defined what was possible for someone with his injury. With the strength and inspiration that Brian gave her, this fall Carolyn's heading to Seattle for a fellowship program at the best spinal cord injury rehabilitation program in the country.

I guess you really never know how much of a positive force one person can have until you see the people they've impacted first-hand.  Much of life is not how we respond when things are easy, but rather how we learn to respond when we are faced with life's biggest challenges. Brian's impact on Tulane, New Orleans, Utah and on so many people's lives will be felt forever.

While his life might have been cut short, I'm a firm believer in the old Mae West quote that says "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is all you need."

Brian, my friend, you did it so very right.

I had to share this last one. Here we all are at The Boot last week celebrating Brian's life.
That's Brian's amazing parents, front and center, toasting to an incredible life lived. 

Summertime and the Livin' is (Big) Easy

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 14:40
It's hard to believe it, but with Memorial Day in the rear-view mirror, it's unofficially summer! While it may be hot in the Big Easy, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, cool, and busy. Today, in honor of summer, I bring you:

9 Awesome Things to do in NOLA this Summer!

Succulents! Cacti! Here I am just takin' it all in.
New Orleans Botanical Garden: I spent last weekend here biking around City Park, a quintessential NOLA summer activity. If you want to do the same (you should), be sure to first, check out the wildflower fields, which are pretty incredible and Insta-worthy (does this make me basic), and then head over to the Botanical Gardens. They have everything from amazing fountains, Japanese Zen gardens, a train village, and an amazing cactus and succulent greenhouse (check me out above). I think this place is super neat and one of the best kept secrets in NOLA. Make sure to grab a beignet from Morning Call Coffee when you're done! Now that we've got Blue Bikes in NOLA, exploring the Park couldn't be easier.

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

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

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

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

New Orleans Boulder Lounge: I love this spot, and it's perfect for when it gets too hot to do anything outside. The gym offers climbing walls of various levels of difficulty complete with shoe rentals and optional instructor assistance. I also think its awesome how compassionate NOBL is; they offer LGBT climbs, transgender evening climbs, gender neutral restrooms, youth advocacy programs and operate under a very eco-friendly mantra. They've got student discounts too!

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

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

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

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

Studio BE is massive! 

Wildflower fields in City Park

Guest Blog: All About Transfers

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 05/23/2018 - 15:38

When I was making the decision to transfer, I remember being met with all the same feelings of uncertainty that I felt when making my college choice as a senior in high school. I was an indecisive 18 year old who had not totally found their passion or purpose quite yet—and as it turns out—that’s a totally normal feeling to have at that stage in life. When I decided to transfer from a university close to home to a university halfway across the country in New Orleans, Louisiana, everyone thought I must be crazy. I had already started school, gotten somewhat settled, even made great friendships at my other school, but something there did not feel right. I craved an environment that challenged me academically and personally, an environment where I felt like I could contribute to my community and also learn from the community, an environment that made me a better person. When I got to Tulane, all the professors, staff members, locals, and students made me feel at home right away.

As a transfer student, you already have a leg up when integrating into the Tulane community. You have a story that everyone wants to hear. I remember being shocked at how friendly, inclusive, and even inquisitive people were to me as a transfer student. People went above and beyond to invite me to eat with them, to join study groups in class, and even to connect me with organizations across campus. Even though I transferred, I was able to pursue a major and two minors (in three different colleges at the university), I had internships for which I received academic credit, I studied abroad for a semester, and I even took classes like “Fundamentals of Acting” just for fun. I was so involved across campus that by the end of my senior year in everything from Undergraduate Admissions, to the Center for Public Service, to Greek Life, that I often heard, “I always forget you were a transfer.” After all this, I graduated in four years and I was even able to complete a Masters degree through one of our 4+1 programs.

Me getting emotional at graduationThat being said, being a transfer student still has its adjustments, similar to what happens freshman year. It is not like transferring schools will magically make everything fall into place. For example, I didn’t have the ideal housing situation and some of my classes did not transfer, but I was determined to make the best out of the decision I had made. Luckily for me, Tulane and New Orleans make it really easy to see the good in all things. There is a reason we are consistently rated by the Princeton Review as #1 Best College City, #1 Most Engaged in Community Service, and #4 Happiest Students. I can tell you, as a former transfer student, these rankings were absolutely true in my experience. Truly, by the time I graduated, I knew that transferring was the best decision I had ever made.
What I love most about working with transfer students is that each and every one of them have different experiences and unique perspectives that add so much value to the Tulane community. That’s not to say that deciding to transfer can’t still seem exciting, scary, or even confusing all at the same time. I am here to tell you that I understand you and your feelings are valid, whatever they are. I am here to help in any way that I can and I really hope you decide to join the Tulane family.While you are making your decision, I encourage you to reach out to current transfer students to hear how their experiences compared to mine and why they love Tulane. Additionally, if a little music helps you in your decision making process, have a listen to this transfer playlist I made all around embracing change. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll judge me a little bit for my blatant song choices, but most of all I hope you enjoy!

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA: 2018

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 05/15/2018 - 15:28
mmmmm Saba (photo from just like that, another Commencement is upon us! Thousands of Tulane friends and family members will descend on NOLA later this week to well-wish and celebrate the class of 2018. Oftentimes, the memorable graduation ceremony is enhanced by the graduation dinner celebration.

As such, what better time to present my Top Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA? We've got some brand new spots as well as some of New Orleans' most classic establishments.

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

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA 2018 
Chef Nina Compton (photo: hospitality21.comBywater American Bistro: Just last week, Chef Nina Compton was adorned with the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South and- boy, oh boy- is it well deserved. Chef Nina opened her brand new spot, Bywater American Bistro, last month. I went on a Thursday and it was so good that, I kid you not, I made another reservation for two days later. Quite frankly, they were the two best meals I have had in NOLA in many years. If you can, grab a spot at the bar and watch your entire meal be prepared in the fully open kitchen. My personal favorite is the fried gulf oysters, the blue crab dip and, for your entree, the duck. Prepare to be amazed!

Saba: Just a few blocks from Tulane, Alon Shaya has just opened his brand new restaurant and it does not disappoint. Similar to his previous restaurants, Saba offers incredible modern Israeli food which would make sense as Saba means grandfather in Hebrew. The pita and lamb hummus will probably change your life forever.

Bayona: This restaurant is an absolute institution in NOLA. With world famous chef Susan Spicer in the kitchen, it's one of the best in town. The atmosphere is formal, but comfortable, the service is outstanding, and they make you feel incredibly special. The food is excellent, innovative, and always delicious. If you're heading to the French Quarter for dinner, put this spot at the top of your list of restaurants.

Cochon: Donald Link is associated with a number of amazing restaurants in New Orleans and two of those are on our list, and for good reason. Arguably one of the best chefs in the South, (and awarded many a' James Beard awards) Chef Link brings a new approach to traditional Cajun and Southern food. Come for the wood-fired oysters appetizer and stay for the short ribs for your main course. Not in the mood for a full sit-down dinner? Head around the corner to Butcher, the sandwich shop offshoot of Cochon.

How cute is 1000 Figs? ( 1000 Figs: Tucked into a tiny room in Mid-City, 1000 Figs has quickly become one of the best spots in New Orleans for healthy, delicious food. You can’t go wrong with the menu – from their incredible falafel platter and burrata plate with fresh herbs to their innovative salads and veggie options, you’ll walk out of the restaurant with a big smile on your face. Their pita is also to die for. The menu stays fresh with seasonal herbs and vegetables from local Louisiana gardens. It’s a great way to support local business and local farmers! Thanks to Nora for adding this incredible place to the list.

Magasin: This one comes from Neill, our Associate Director of Operations, "A lot of people don’t realize how strong a Vietnamese influence there is in New Orleans. Magasin is my favorite restaurant because all the plates are small enough and cheap enough that you can order a few different things, and anything you get is fresh and light. Vietnamese-style pork is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten, and Magasin does it the best, in my opinion. So of course I recommend ordering lots of grilled pork: Com (rice plate), the spring rolls, and a steamed pork bun. Then finish it off with a Café Sua Da Vietnamese iced coffee." Bonus: a second location is now open in the CBD!

Auction House Market.... she's a beaut!

Auction House Market
: If your family can’t seem to decide on a restaurant, Auction House Market is the place for you. Essentially a high-end food court, the market is located conveniently in the Warehouse District and has over 10 different local vendors and is great for a meal any time of day.  My colleague Rachel says her favorites so far are Alpha, a Mediterranean vendor and Aloha Lei, which has great sushi. My personal favorite is the redfish po'boy from Elysian Seafood. The Market has everything from to seafood to empanadas, so there is really something for everyone, and it’s great for groups because everyone can get what they want. The space is also gorgeous!

Peche: The second of Donald Link's restaurant in our top 10 list will not dissapoint. Peche won best the James Beard award for "Best New Restaurant" in the country when it opened. Peche is home to some of the best seafood in town. Try anything from the raw bar and then, after dinner, spend some time exploring the CBD and some of the art galleries on Julia Street. I also recommend getting affogado from Drip down the street when you are ready for dessert.

Domenica cauliflower in all her glory (

Domenica: Everyone who knows me knows that, hands down, this is my top pick for the best restaurant in New Orleans. Domenica, located in the historic and gorgeous Roosevelt Hotel, serves up some of the best Italian-meets-NOLA (shall we say Italianola?) food in town. Order the cauliflower appetizer and prepare to have your entire existence on earth altered. After, complete the meal with their prosciutto pizza.

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

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

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

Class of 2022 Facts and Figures

Jeff's Blog Feed - Sat, 05/05/2018 - 12:00
May 1st is in the rearview mirror and what a year it has been at Tulane. In all my time working in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, I can honestly say I've never experience a year like we've had. Both my boss, Satyajit Dattagupta, and I have a few thoughts to share on the class. He'll kick it off.

*     *     *

The Class of 2022 is a tremendously talented and cosmopolitan group of students who come from homes all over the United States and the globe. In short, it is incredibly academically accomplished, truly diverse, and globally-oriented. It is one of the most extraordinary classes Tulane has ever welcomed to campus.

Overall, we were up 9% in applications over last year and received just shy of 39,000 applicants. This year was the most selective class in history. This is also the most academically strong class Tulane has enrolled. This promising group of well-rounded students will accomplish great things in the coming years, both during their time at Tulane and their lives beyond our campus. The converted SAT score went up 7 points to a 1456 and the ACT rose from 31 to 32.
The Class of 2022 is also the most diverse group of students Tulane has ever enrolled. The incoming class has 22% students of color and 5% international students. This marks a change that Tulane University welcomes, as it is more representative of both our nation and the world. I am very confident the campus experience of students with such a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experiences will be extraordinarily positive. The breadth and depth of the Class of 2022 is reflected not only in their academic successes but in the various ways they see and understand the world. Learning, working, sharing, and living with people unlike yourself is one of the ways we grow as human beings. This enriches our understanding of our differences and our strengths, builds strong bonds, and greatly benefits our community.

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

We're also excited to welcome our second class of Spring Scholars in January of 2018. Over 180 students will be a part of this group.

I look forward to welcoming the class of 2022 in just a few short months. Roll Wave!

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Here are a few things I think are worth noting as well:

Our yield rate improved 4% in one year. For those of you not in the enrollment management world, that number may not seem significant. The yield rate is the percent of students who are admitted that end up enrolling. In general, a half-percentage point increase in yield, within a single year, is a big accomplishment. To jump 4% in one year is almost unprecedented. To put that into context, it took us roughly seven years to achieve a 4% increase in yield following Katrina. So what took us seven years, we were able to do in just this year alone. What this tells us, is more so than ever, a significant number of admitted students are taking us up on our offer of admission. 
Our admit rate was 17.5%. I am not the kind of Director of Admission that takes pride in how many applicants we deny. Further, "more selective" does not mean "better institution," it just means more selective. What our admit rate simply means is that we had our most selective year for admission ever. Only three years ago in 2015, we admitted 30% of our applicants. When a young Jeff Schiffman applied to Tulane back in 2001, we had a 71% admit rate. So while I am not necessarily "proud" of how low our admit rate is, it is a strong indicator of how competitive admission to Tulane has become.
The class is also very international! We will welcome just shy of 100 total international students who come from 31 different countries: China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Canada, Ecuador, Panama, Egypt, Colombia, Taiwan, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Spain, Thailand, Bolivia, Italy, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Austria. 
The class comes from all over the country! The top five states in order of representation are: New York, California, Louisiana, Illinois and Texas. Both the Empire State and the Golden State are sending us over 220 students each. Four students will join us from Hawaii and one from Wyoming.

There you have it. See you soon, 2022! 

Gap Year

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 14:00
Andrew on his Gap Year cookin' up a stormMay 1st is just two weeks away and our class of 2022 has started to take its final shape! Later on this summer, I'll be blogging all about the incoming freshman class. We're really excited about 2022.

24 members of the class of 2022 will be coming to NOLA fresh off a Gap Year. We've seen a growing number of students opting to take a Gap Year before they start at Tulane. We are very supportive of a Gap Year if that is something that interests you. All you need to do is read this info, send us an additional deposit, and then you're on your way. Members of the class of 2022 are coming back from gap years studying cuisine in Paris, learning Spanish in Honduras while researching in the Mayan Highlands, while some will have spent time interning to save money for college or participating in public service projects.

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

Andrew Noorani, Class of 2021

The plan for my gap year was to gain experience working in restaurants and to travel a little. I knew taking a gap year would be good for me for two reasons in particular. I felt I needed to mature more before I could really do well in college and to be sure that a career in the restaurant industry was something I wanted to pursue.

My gap year began when I started working at New York City’s Gotham Bar and Grill. I was thrown in the deep end immediately, working 13 hour days, 6 days a week. It was certainly a wakeup call from the second semester attitude I had while in high school. I was learning so much and loving every second of work. Of course, there were hard days too, it can be lonely working in a large city while your high school friends are enjoying their first months of college. However, it was during those times in which I really matured. I saw how hard one must work in the real world and how necessary grit was.

Eventually, it was time for a little travelling. So I decided to go half way around the world to Australia and New Zealand. Travelling is such an important part of a gap year, because when else are you going to have enough time to go to the places you have always wanted?

When move in day came around, I knew I was ready. I had lived on my own for a year, worked harder than ever and seen the world. I was even able to save up a bit of money so I could enjoy the amazing food New Orleans has to offer. I have gone into my classes with the same work ethic that I needed while working in fast paced kitchens and this has really helped me. My gap year taught me how to get the most out of my time, a skill I never take for granted. Best of all, my experience over the gap year has given me an impressive resume, which has helped to secure a summer job and a part time internship during the school year. If I hadn’t taken a gap year, my first year wouldn’t have been nearly amazing as it has been!

Tamar Arenson, Class of 2020

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

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

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

Kira Farley, class of 2020

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

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

Kelsey Williams, class of 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Kira and crew 

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

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

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 04/10/2018 - 07:30
Ahhhh French Quarter Fest! Here in Louisiana, we like to say that we have more festivals than 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 French Quarter Fest this weekend and Crawfest this month, I thought my annual run-down of the best fests in town would be a big help.

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 year, the problem we usually have is picking which festival to attend each weekend. If you're looking 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?

No matter who you are, I hope you get to experience some of the many festivals in New Orleans. If you happen to live here in NOLA, you have probably attended many of these. If you are planning a visit to town or a trip to Tulane, it's always a great idea 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. Tennessee Williams fest celebrates the happy combination of art, music, literature, and food that New Orleans is renowned for.
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. Ponchatoula grows some of the best strawberries in America and dedicate a whole festival to them during the peak of strawberry season. Don't miss the crowning of Miss Strawberry Festival either!

FQF Banners just went up! (photo from DavidNOLA)
7) French Quarter Festival- Over 750,000 locals and out-of-towners visit the French Quarter to celebrate everything NOLA during this mega-fest. Every year FQF gets bigger and now claims the top spot as the country's largest free music festival. Over 800 musicians take the stage over this four-day festival that spans virtually the entire French Quarter. While 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. The festival has a distinctly local flavor; from the food to the musicians, FQF really does show New Orleans in all of her glory.

6) Voodoo Fest- Now in its 20th year, 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 Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and the Killers, among others. Last month in the semi-same genre as Voodoo is Buku which features Migos, Bassnectar, Sza, and a number of other EDM heavy hitters.

The best. 
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 humble 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. Last year over 30 vendors offered up their own unique interpretations on the New Orleans classic.

4) Jazz Fest- The mother of all New Orleans festivals. Officially named the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazz Fest enters its 49th year in 2018. The festival occurs over two weeks in the spring and is home to 12 stages and over 460,000 attendees per 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 Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Beck, Jack White, David Byrne, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, and Bonnie Raitt, 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 olders students to attend after turning 21 years old. 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 in the streets with your friends. And it is fun. Really really fun.

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. Last 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 year's headliner are Papadosio, Baha Men and Brasstracks and previous years have seen Moon Taxi, The Funky Meters, Galactic, Lettuce, and Givers. And lest you vegetarians fret, there are plenty of food options if you don't indulge in eating mudbugs. Every year the Green Club and Veggie Club co-sponsor a large-scale veggie boil during Crawfest. Crawfest is big and has been featured everywhere from the Huffington Post to LiveforLive.

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

1) New Orleans San Fermin- Okay, this one also takes some explaining. 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 the 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 women. 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!

Graduation Bucket List

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 09:00
Alright, Class of 2018, spring break is in the rear-view mirror. That means you're in the home stretch. Many of you will be sticking around for a little while longer to complete one of Tulane's graduate or master's programs. A large group will also join the local work force here in town or get involved with volunteer and service organizations. But for most of you, your days in NOLA are numbered, and it's time to start saying your goodbyes to what has most likely become your favorite city in the world.

So in consideration of the last couple month you have here, I give you my list of bucket items to check off before you split town. I tried to pick some feasible, affordable, and realistic things to do—so go out and enjoy this town—one last time! Oh, and be sure to say hi to me in the coming years when you decide you miss NOLA too much and you must make a visit. Which you will want to do, all the time.

1) Go see Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps on Thursday night. If you have yet to see this band at some of the various festivals around town, then you will surely be blown away. It's a killer show and incredible experience that will leave you sweatin' and dancin' for hours. If you want the quintessential NOLA music experience, Soul Rebels at Bon Temps 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 their amazing menu, just be sure to get the chocolate bark dessert. You'll wonder why you didn't come here every Sunday.

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 before and be sure to 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. Be sure to mingle for the last time with the hipsters balancing on their slacks, the frat boys playing cornhole, the drumcircles, and the locals just taking in the perfect NOLA spring evening. Bonus—bring some boiled crawfish for a true Louisiana experience.

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 Ace Hotel in the CBD. This is rooftop pooling at it's finest. Also, take the streetcar there. It's easy to forget how awesome the streetcar is if you haven't ridden it for awhile. Once you have had your fill of sun, go to Wednesdays at the Square, a free weekly concert series in Lafayette Square. Great food, free music, and a great all around vibe.

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 one of the only hills 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 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 have 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, and best experiences you've ever had on a Tuesday. Jam out, lose yourself to the music, and have a night that no other college student in America can have.

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 is to check out the Crescent Park. You can access it at the entrance near the end of the French Market. Some of the best views of the city can be had from here. Be sure to grab some Pizza Delicious with your friends before you walk over to this fine park.

Crescent Park
10) Oak Alley Plantation- It's just majestic. You may have been at some point, but this is the most gorgeous plantation home in Louisiana, and will create some amazing Instragram-able moments. It is an hour or so away as you drive up beautiful River Road (which you should do with all the windows down). Take the full tour, stepping back in time, and remembering just how long this city has been around and how much history we truly have. Our history isn't all good either. The Laura Plantation down the street does a fine job contextualizing plantation life and the history of slavery in our state. 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:" Commander's Palace, Arnaud's, Antoine's, or Galatoirer's. Some have great lunch specials, jazz bands, and CP has 25 cent martinis! And if you reaaaally want a true NOLA experience, try Friday lunch at Galatroire's, Just make sure you are ready for a line!

12) Find an 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 with it 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.

13) Write a few thank you notes. If you really connected with a faculty or staff member on campus, let them know how much you appreciated the time they gave you over the last few years. If you interacted every day with someone who works at Bruff, leave them a note to let them know how much you loved getting to know them. A note of gratitude can go a long way. Let someone who impacted your life at Tulane know how much they mean to you.

Wander. Get lost. Explore. Visit a new neighborhood. 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 to offer. 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, 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