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It's Going to be Okay

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:00

Now that final admission decisions across America have started to go out, I wanted to post this very important message to every single high school senior around the world right now who did not get good news from their top choice school:

It's going to be okay.

I promise.

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

Phase one: Do not let this process define you.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Last year, I was named the Director of Admission at Tulane University. So I guess what I am saying is: even Directors of Admission get rejected. No matter how you feel today, how you felt this week, and how you think you'll feel next year... you are all going to be okay.

Trust me.

Waitlist... Now what?

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 14:30
Well it is official; our decisions for the Class of 2022 will go out this week. If you have not heard from us yet, you will before April 1st. For those of you who were placed on the waitlist, here's a blog to answer all of the questions you may have.

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

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

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

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

What has happened in previous years? Some years, we admit a group of students off the waitlist, some years it is zero. As you might know, Tulane had larger classes in the last two years and as such there was no movement from the waitlist. This year we admitted a substantially smaller group of students so as to not over-enroll the class. I am hopeful that this will mean more movement from the waitlist this year, but time will tell. We'll let you know as soon as we can!

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

What can I do to strengthen my case? For the most part, the ball is in our court. It will come down to numbers with waitlist admits; this is why we need to wait a few weeks to see how many students have replied that they will indeed enroll. There is no need to send in additional documentation at this point. Also be sure to reply to every one of those emails we send out asking if you would like to remain on the list. If we don't hear from you, we will assume you are not interested. My personal tip? Only request to stay on the waitlist if you are pretty sure you'll enroll here if you are offered a spot.

Should I come down for a visit to campus? Only if it makes sense for your family to do so. It will not have any bearing on your admission decision. There is no need to meet with your rep on campus or come down for an interview. A simple email letting them know you'll be visiting will do.

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

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

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

13 Tips for Parents in the Process

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 09:00

Before I begin this blog, I have a shameless plug! I'll be taking all this information on a roadshow this month. If you live in Baton Rouge or Atlanta, you can hear me present my entire catalog of tips for applying to selective schools. I'll be in Baton Rouge on March 14th and Atlanta on March 26th.

Now on to today's blog which is dedicated to all the moms and dads out there. Let me start off by saying one of the best parts about my current role as Director of Admission is that I am exactly halfway between the age of the students I recruit and their parents. I can easily recall what my application process was like and the challenges that went along with it, and I am also close enough in age to the parents out there to understand all the questions and concerns that stem from the parental side. That said, I present this blog to you with one major caveat: I am not a parent myself. As such, I cannot possibly understand what it's like to guide a kid through this (sometimes tumultuous) process of applying to college and, on a larger scale, becoming an adult. What I can say is I have interacted with approximately one million parents over the last 13 years in this profession. And from that, I have developed a pretty comprehensive list of ways that you as a parent can be a great partner to your kid during the college search process.

This blog is motivated by one of the icons of my profession, Deb Shaver Dean of Admission at Smith and a mother, who I recently heard speak on this very topic. Some of my tips borrow directly from Deb's talk because she is such a legend. 
Alright, here we go.... thirteen tips for all the moms and dads out there!

You do not want to be more memorable than your student. This one says it all. At the end of the day, it is your son or daughter enrolling in college, not you. We want to know what they will be like when they get to our campus. We want to know how they'll react to setbacks, how they'll interact with adults, and how they'll carry themselves into adulthood. If you end up taking over the admission process (and that includes interactions with your school counselor) it becomes difficult for us to judge the student on their own merits. I'm pretty upfront on this blog, so I'll be honest- occasionally some parents go so far that an admission officer might stop and think "man, if this is what mom is like in the admission process, what will she be like if her son actually enrolls here?" That's the kind of thought you don't want your child's admission counselor to ever have. 
Let your student do the legwork. This is their first foray into life outside of your roof. Let them call admission offices with questions, interact with tour guides, etc. Yes, we know you'll have to pick up the slack sometimes and we fully expect the complexities of financial aid to fall on parents, but let them give this one a shot. It's likely going to be one of the first major life tasks that they take on. They might make some mistakes along the way. That's OK. All the guidance and support you’ve provided your child up until this point has prepared them to take the reins. They’re ready to take charge of their college search because you’ve done everything you can to prepare them. Allow them to navigate process and be an individual be and memorable applicant on their own.
It's OK to contact us, just don't fake being your son or daughter. I was walking by the main admission desk last week and happened to pick up the phone that was ringing. A (very obvious) mom-voice on the other line said "Hi, I am calling to check on my application status." Now, I know what the voice of a 50 year old lady sounds like. I responded with, "Sure... what is your daughter's full name?" "Actually, it's for my son" she replied. I have to think the parent would eventually realize that I knew she was not a teenage boy, but I digress. The same goes for emails. It's OK to email us from your account with questions, but don't sign it with your kid's name. The tone of a parent email is drastically different from a student email. So is your handwriting, so that thank you note I got from 17 year old Ralph written in old-school cursive was not convincing. We love hearing from parents in this process, and it's okay to contact us. But, don't try to pretend to be your kid. 
Avoid using the word "we": When chatting with admission representatives, "we" are not taking AP Calculus. "We" are not applying to six schools. Tulane doesn't offer formal interviews with admission staff here, so we meet with students and parents together. Again, allow them to take the reins in this process and be an individual and memorable applicant on their own. 

Everyone's kid is the best. Usually this one starts with "I know you hear this all the time, but..." Yes, yes I do. All the time. This goes back to my caveat that I am not a parent myself so I cannot understand the love that you feel for your kid. I get that. But, I have never sat with the admission committee and said, "You know, I was on the fence about this kid but then his mom called and told me how kind he is and how great/sweet/thoughtful of a kid he is." I know there is such a strong parental desire to do what's best for your student and I know you want to advocate for them for admission or for scholarships. But again, I've never in all my years had a parent tell me their kid is average. Resist the urge to share with admission officers how wonderful you think your own kid is. Their application, recommendations, and academics will speak for themselves.
Recognize this process has changed from when you applied to college. When I applied to Tulane, the admission rate was triple what it is now. I probably wouldn't be admitted if I applied to Tulane today. The process of applying to college was a lot different in the 80s and 90s. There was less of a mania, the concept of "enrollment management" hadn't really entered the vernacular yet, and students weren't applying to 15 schools. Literally everything has changed, so the "back in my day" approach won't work. Set your expectations accordingly.

Expand your college horizons: There are over 5,000 universities and colleges in America. I have blogged many times about how there are no bad schools out there, only bad fits. Just because the school is not a top 50 in USNews rankings, or maybe you've not even heard of the school before, does not mean your son or daughter won't have transformative and incredible experience there. I've blogged about the concept of everything being okay in the end before and I think it's worth a read. We're so lucky to be in a country with so many amazing options from community colleges to Ivy Leagues to big public schools. Along those lines...

More selective doesn't mean better. It just means more selective. This one's a great Deb Shaver quote. Rates of admission are not related to how "good" of a school it is or the experience your son or daughter will have there. Avoid looking at admit rates as a gauge of the school's strength.

Don't add to their stress. Chances are good that your son or daughter isn't dying to talk with you about the college application process. Trust that they are doing what needs to get done. Pick one night a week that can be designated as college night. Maybe Sunday dinners are the right time to have a college check up. This will help decrease their anxiety in the process. If they're looking for other ways to de-stress throughout the process, I've got them covered.

Be kind to your school counselors. Your student's school counselor will be their best advocate. Be great partners with them (also going back to tip #1) and foster a relationship that is professional but friendly. Many school counselors have a lot on their plate, especially those at large public schools.

Talk to your kids about sexual assault: Sexual assault is a major problem on college campuses across America. Any school that tells you that there campus does not have sexual assault issues is not being truthful with you. Colleges should be prepared to tell you about their resources and you should prepare your student to be knowledgeable about them. Talk to your sons and daughters about Title IX and what to do in the case that they need to report a concern. Talk to your sons about the concept of consent and how to be an ally. Tell them that, at Tulane for example, 74% of sexual perpetrators are friends, acquaintances, or romantic partners of the victim. Make sure they are fully cognizant of the concept of consent. And definitely communicate how the use of alcohol can result in someone not being able to give proper consent.

Plan the college visits: I have talked a lot about how mom and dad should take a back seat in the college process, but here's one spot where your kid will truly appreciate you taking the reins: planning the college tours and visits. Southwest Airlines flies direct to NOLA from 24 different cities and is usually pretty affordable. We've got some great hotel discounts, too. Plan a great trip for you and your kid to visit campus. Pick a few great restaurants, find a few fun things to do, and if the budget is there, make a little vacation out of it. I've got you covered for your two day trip to NOLA. If money is tight, plan a great day visiting colleges near your hometown with a few fun activities mixed in.

The sticker on the car is not your grade as a parent. Aside from tip #1, I think this last one, another wise nugget of wisdom from Deb, is the most important one you'll get. Someone whose kid is going to Harvard is no better of a parent than the one whose kid is going to Santa Monica City College.  Everyone finds their own path to college. This is your kid's first chance to fly. You've done a great job getting them this far and don't think that "how good of a school" they go to is any indication of your skills as a parent. If you are still concerned about this, Amazon is having a great Prime deal for Harvard stickers, only $8.99.

There you have it! I hope this helps some of parents out there get a sense of how you can best partner with your son or daughter in this process.

Meet the Admission Interns - 2018

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 03/08/2018 - 16:48

Every time you call the Office of Admission it's routed directly to my cell phone! Just kidding. As it turns out, the biggest MVPs of the office are our incredible team of 22 student interns. They are a pretty epic group and they run the show; from answering your e-mails and calls to greeting you right as you step foot on campus, this team really does it all. They are really accessible to you to answer any questions you may have. 

Let's take some time to get to know the team that really runs the Office of Admission at Tulane.

Name - Ben GerberHometown - Brookline, MA
Grade - Junior
Majors/Minors - Finance Major, Mathematics Minor
Favorite thing about Tulane - One of my favorite parts about Tulane is how involved everyone is on and off campus. Students love to take advantage of every minute of the day and I can truly say being bored at Tulane is close to impossible.  From exploring the city of New Orleans, joining organizations on campus, and doing community service within the local communities, Tulane students are getting the full undergraduate experience.  I truly believe there is no better city to experience your undergraduate college years. 
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - One of my favorite places in New Orleans is the Fly. It is a large field alongside the Mississippi River and walking distance from campus.  Tulane students love to go there after classes on Friday afternoons to kick back, kick around a soccer ball, and watch the sunset over the river.  
Involvement on campus - I have been in a Greek fraternity since my freshmen year, and joined a business fraternity, too. I am also very active in the Greenbull Investment Club, have played club and intramural soccer, and love giving tours. 
Tulane email -

Name - Tyler Margaretten
Hometown - Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Finance and Entrepreneurial Management
Favorite thing about Tulane - The size of the university and the people just make for one large extended family. It's a warm climate with even warmer people.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - When you come to New Orleans, make sure to eat a lot and listen to live music. The best place to do both is in the French Quarter. Try rabbit or crawfish or gator for the first time and find out what you've been missing out on.
Involvement on campus - At Tulane I'm on the Executive Boards for both the Undergraduate Student Government and Crawfest (Tulane's very own music festival!), work in the Admissions office and as a tour guide, and am in AKPsi professional business fraternity, the Model UN team, and Tower and Crescent.
Tulane email -

Name - Angel Carter 
Hometown - Atlanta, GA
Grade - Junior 
Majors/Minors - Double Majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology and Anthropology/Pre-Med 
Favorite thing about Tulane - The city and community service! With Tulane being located in uptown New Orleans, its perfect for getting around and going different places with your friends and family. Community Service plays an important part in how Tulanians help out and being in New Orleans connects you with organizations and other people that share the same passion that you do. Since, the city of New Orleans always has something going on, its awesome to be a part of it all and share different experiences among friends. 
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go have brunch at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, get a beignet (or three) from Cafe Du Monde, go see one of the many museums/art galleries in the French Quarter, and go on a cemetery or ghost tour...and not necessarily in that order! Oops, was that more than one?
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors Exec, Tulane University Marching Band, After-School Newcomb Tutoring (ANT), Band Tutor, Resident Advisor (RA), the Honors Program, Tower and Crescent, and I conduct research in one of the Cell and Molecular Biology labs on campus! 

Name - Justin Baris
Hometown - St. Louis, MO
Grade - 5th Year
Majors/Minors - Masters of Biomedical Engineering, BSE Biomedical Engineering
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is how they make you a well-rounded person. Although the emphasis is getting a great education, you are put in the position to experience everything a “traditional college student” may experience and way more. You have the opportunity to get a world-class education while still developing your people skills.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go to a festival! With more than one-per-day there truly is something for everyone. Be sure to check out Poboy Fest in the Fall, Jazz Fest in the Spring, and White Linen Night in the Summer.
Involvement on campus - In addition to being a Green Wave Ambassador (Tour Guide) and Undergrad Admissions Intern, I am a teacher’s assistant, tutor for calculus and statistics, play intramural sports, and do research in Tulane’s Center for Anatomical and Movement Sciences. As an undergrad, I also helped start a community service organization and was involved in Greek Life.
Tulane email -

Name - Emily MacLaren
Hometown - New Orleans, LA
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Public Health and International Development
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is having the opportunity to connect and work with amazing staff members through organizations and leadership positions over the past three years. From the counselors in the admission office to staff in alumni office, I am so grateful to have worked with members of the Tulane family that are so passionate about this university and city.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Explore the Bywater! My suggestion is to grab a New York style pizza from Pizza Delicious and head over to Crescent Park to watch the sunset with a view of the New Orleans skyline. You also cannot go wrong with brunch at Elizabeth's.
Involvement on campus - Greek Life, Greenie Camp Orientation Coordinator, One Wave Bystander, Tidal Wave (Homecoming) Volunteers Co-Chair, Green Wave Ambassador tour guide, Semester Abroad in Amsterdam, Tower and Crescent
Tulane email -

Name - Paige PearsonHometown - Santa Cruz, CAGrade - JuniorMajors/Minors - Public Health and International Development, Minor: SpanishFavorite thing about Tulane - My favorite things about Tulane are its size and commitment to giving back through service. There is always someone new to meet, but I’m constantly seeing my friends around campus. I also love that Tulane’s culture and curriculum encourage students to participate in community service. Almost every student gets to know and gives back to the New Orleans community during their time at Tulane through service learning, student-led clubs and organizations, Outreach Tulane (one of our annual service days), and independent volunteer projects.One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - When I have visitors, I love to take them to Dat Dog, Preservation Hall, and a festival or event like Blues and Barbecue or the St. Patrick’s Day parade if one is happening during their stay! New Orleans is such a captivating city, and I think these events are an incredible way to get a taste of that.Involvement on campus - I’m involved with Swim for Success (teaching lower-income kids how to swim), Green Wave Ambassadors, the Asian American Student Union, and the Peace Corps Prep Program. I also studied abroad in Botswana this past semester.Tulane email -

Name - Lucas (Lu) ClarkHometown - Columbia, SCGrade - JuniorMajors/Minors - Legal Studies and Entrepreneurial ManagementFavorite thing about Tulane - I love being in an environment where everyone is so involved. Almost everyone I have met here has three or four activities that they are really passionate about, which is such an awesome culture to be a part of.One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Ride down the St. Charles Street Car and look at all of the beautiful houses!Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Orientation Team Leader, Young Life, Religious Life, and TUSTEP service-dog trainingTulane email -

Name - Mark Schaupp
Hometown - Los Angeles, CA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - B. Architecture and International Development
Favorite thing about Tulane - Oh wow, how do I pick??? Personally, I think that our campus and student population are the perfect size. I love being able to walk across Tulane and randomly run into a bunch of friends on the way to class, but also feel a part of a larger community where I meet new people in the class room, on the soccer field, and even in airports on the way home!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - You must visit City Park, specifically the sculpture garden! The park is beautiful and the garden is free to visit!
Involvement on campus - On campus, I work as an Admissions Intern as well as a Community Engagement Advocate (for the Center for Public Service). I am also involved with the Bridge, a Christian organization here, and I serve as a part of our Undergraduate Student Government as a Justice on the Judicial Council. In my free time, I play on three different intramural soccer teams.
Tulane email -

Name - Pritika Sharma
Hometown - New Delhi, India
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality Studies
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is definitely the community and the support people provide to each other. Being an international student, I was worried about not fitting in with the community here. Not only has the Tulane community accepted me for who I am, but has also been there for me whenever I needed them. I absolutely admire that and see Tulane as my second home (maybe even first, sorry mom & dad!).
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - If you visit New Orleans during the holiday season, I highly recommend going to the Roosevelt Hotel and see their main lobby. They decorate it every season and it is literally the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. It has a festive and warm spirit. It is one of my NOLA traditions!
Involvement on campus - Honors Program, Resident Advisor, Newcomb Tulane Honor Board, Green Wave Ambassadors, Global Ambassadors, Alpha Lambda Delta and Tower and Crescent.
Tulane email -

Name - Jordan Margolin Hometown  - East Brunswick, NJ Grade - Senior Majors/Minors - Finance & International Development, Master of Accounting Favorite thing about Tulane - The ability to meet people from across the country while studying in a city filled with incredible food, music, and history. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Check out the Fly! It’s a beautiful grassy area right on the Mississippi River that students love to hang out at. Involvement on campus - Greek Life, Intramural Sports 
Tulane email -

Name - Eric Bianco
Hometown - Pittsburgh, PA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Marketing and Management 
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is how many opportunities the school gives you to experience and connect with New Orleans. My freshman year I was able to walk in a Mardi Gras parade and go on a float through the Latin American Department and Jazbaa Dance Club.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Take a walk through Audubon Park and explore the surrounding neighborhoods. This is perfect for a nice afternoon filled with wonderful scenery and some beautiful New Orleans homes. 
Involvement on campus - On campus I'm a Trip Leader with Tulane Outdoor Adventures, a Consultant with Saint Charles Solutions, the Marketing Director for the Crawfest Street Team, and an Alumni Ambassador. I am also an intern with the Admissions Office and a tour guide!
Tulane email -

Name - Will DicksonHometown - Memphis, TN
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Classics with a minor in Chemistry
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is the emphasis it puts on interdisciplinary studies. Tulane offers many pre-professional programs that are centered around integrating the undergraduate and graduate experience, which prepares students well for whatever they wish to achieve after graduation. What makes this even better is the amazing city that Tulane is surrounded by - where else in the country can you apply early to medical or law school one day, and then see Elton John at Jazz Fest the next?
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Spend an evening at the Fly Park on the Mississippi River, and then end the day at New Orlean's many live music venues. Maison, Tipitina's, and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop are some of my favorites!
Involvement on campus - In addition to working in the Admissions Office as an Intern and Tour Guide, I am on Tulane's Honor Board, a member of the Classics Honors Society Eta Sigma Phi, and am a member of Tulane's Creative Pre-Medical Scholars Program. I was also one of the 2016 Orientation Team Leaders!
Tulane email -

Name - Alex KornfeldHometown - Basking Ridge, NJ
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Political Science and Philosophy with Minors in Economics and Business
Favorite thing about Tulane - The incredible balance that Tulane offers. When I was looking at colleges in high school, I hoped for a few things. First, I always wanted a school that had both a campus and an actual, exciting city. Tulane's beautiful campus allows for me to see friends while walking to class, experience football tailgates, and fosters a homey feel. Additionally, New Orleans always has something going on. Whether it is a Po Boy Festival or Mardi Gras, the city is never boring. Second, I wanted a medium-sized school. At Tulane, my largest classes are usually around 30 students so I get to know my professors extremely well and the classes are not dauntingly large. At the same time, I constantly meet new and interesting people, making Tulane even more fresh and exciting. Finally, I wanted a school that balanced academic life with student life. My ideal college has academics as the priority, but also happy students. At Tulane, we are the 39th best national university according to US News and at the same time, we have the 4th happiest student body according to the Princeton Review. It does not get much better than that.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Visit the World War II Museum
Involvement on campus - Intern and Tour Guide for Admission, I tutor for 2nd graders, and I am involved in Greek Life (Phi Gamma Delta)
Tulane email -

Name - Shelby StrattanHometown - Omaha, NE
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Finance with Computer Science Specialization
Favorite thing about Tulane - Endless opportunities to immerse yourself into New Orleans' unique and diverse culture. Tulane always promotes ways to get involved in the community through classes or outside service work in efforts to really understand the amazing city we live in.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go to ANY live outdoor music show - Jazz Fest, Blues and BBQ, Voodoo Fest
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors Exec, Admission Intern, Greenie Camp Orientation Leader, Greek life, Green Bull Investment Club, and a semester abroad in Vienna
Tulane email -

Name - Mallory Mejías Hometown - Alexandria, LA Grade - SeniorMajors/Minors - Psychology and Spanish Favorite thing about Tulane - It’s incredibly hard to choose, but I love the people here! I am constantly impressed by the passion and drive of those around me. Being surrounded by such successful people pushes me to be the best version of myself. Tulane students are all unique in their own way, but they are passionate about something, and I find that refreshing and inspiring. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - You have to take a stroll down Magazine Street and enjoy the cute shops and the massive variety of restaurants! That’s what my mom and I do almost every time she visits New Orleans. Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Admissions Intern, Greek Life, College Writing Buddies, ESL tutoring, Residence Hall Association, Semester abroad in MadridTulane email -

Name - Caroline Campbell
Hometown - Baton Rouge, LA and London, England
Grade - Senior 
Majors/Minors - Public Health and International Development. Minor: Psychology 
Favorite thing about Tulane - The year-round events on campus! Some great examples: Crawfest, Homecoming movie screening, the petting zoo during finals, hamster ball games at Fridays at the Quad (FAQ).
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Walk down Royal street in the Quarter to hear a plethora of funky street musicians! 
Involvement on campus - Green Envy A Cappella, Green Wave Ambassadors, TEDxTU
Tulane email -

Name - Roch Leavitt
Hometown - Daphne, AL
Grade - Senior 
Majors/Minors - Economics with a Minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship and Management
Favorite thing about Tulane - I've always thought Tulane was the perfect sized school. I am always meeting new people, but still see plenty of familiar faces around campus! Also, Tulane has given me the chance to meet people from all over the country. Last year I lived with six guys, and we were all from different states!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - If it is your first time visiting New Orleans, be sure to hangout in Jackson Square! There will be plenty of live music and street performers, and you can't beat Cafe du Monde for a quick snack. 
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Greek Life, Orientation Leader, Tulane Best Buddies, Special Olympics. 
Tulane email -  

Name - Tori Quiroz-Haden
Hometown - Olney, MD
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Majoring in History and International Development, minoring in Spanish.
Favorite thing about Tulane - It's the perfect size! Tulane is big enough to offer any major I could think of, while small enough that I always pass a friend on the way to class.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Beignets at Cafe Du Monde! I promise you can't eat just one.
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Greek Life, English as A Second Language class instructor, and Community Service Fellowship.
Tulane email -

Name - Kendall Knuth
Hometown - Inverness, IL 
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Public Health with a Minor in Economics; 4+1 MPH in Epidemiology
Favorite thing about Tulane - From peers to professors, Tulane is a supportive community of people who want to see you succeed and will push you appropriately. Everyone is so passionate, engaged, and connected, both in and out of the classroom, and from adding a minor to applying for leadership opportunities to interning abroad, I've had the best support system.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Explore City Park! It's a bit further from campus, but it is absolutely beautiful and NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art!) has great exhibits.
Involvement on campus - Tulane Cheerleading, Greek life and Panhellenic Council, Economics research, Admissions Intern, Summer abroad in Switzerland
Tulane email - 

Name - Lea DavisHometown - Portland, ORGrade - SophomoreMajors/Minors - Business Management and International DevelopmentFavorite thing about Tulane - Tulane and New Orleans have an energy you can’t find anywhere else. Students and faculty are so passionate about what they’re involved in and it makes for such a collaborative and motivating environment - everyone shares successes. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Walk everywhere. I’ve learned the most about this city just from walking around or going for a run in the areas surrounding campus. Everyone that lives here is so friendly and it’s great to be a part of the local community.Involvement on campus - I’m a senator for the Undergraduate Student Government, on the Executive Board for my sorority, and the Volunteers Manager for Crawfest, our music festival in the spring.Tulane email -

Name - Amanda Skellington
Hometown - Flemington, NJGrade - SeniorMajors/Minors - Mathematics and EconomicsFavorite thing about Tulane - All of the professors do really amazing things outside of school. My Italian professor is in a Mardi Gras Krewe!One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Listen to live music at the Blue Nile on Frenchman Street!Involvement on campus - Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, TUSTEP service-dog training, intern in the business school, calculus tutor in the Wilson CenterTulane email -

Name - Antonio Xavier MiltonHometown - Carencro, LA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Political Science
Favorite thing about Tulane - Variety of things to get involved with! Over 250 Student Organizations in every interest imaginable, and plenty opportunities for internships, service, and employment not only through Tulane but within the New Orleans community as well!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - I would have to say try to go see a show at Preservation Hall, it's a jazz staple and like a living monument to music. So definitely check it out if you have time!
Involvement on campus - Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Tulane New Student Orientation, Political Science Club, Black Student Union, and Tulane Students for Justice in Palestine
Tulane email - 


Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:19
Our students are doing some pretty epic stuff when it comes to fundraising for amazing causes. Today, I am turning the blog over to Tyler who'll introduce you to three worthwhile Wavestarter campaigns. 

*              *               * 
Hi guys! My name is Tyler Margaretten and I am a current senior majoring in Finance and Management an am originally from the Florida panhandle.  You may remember me from Jeff’s Twolane  and Meet The Interns blogs. Jeff has kindly let me take over the blog for the day to let you know about a way cool new Tulane platform.

Tulane has just launched Wavestarter, and the easiest way to describe that is Kickstarter/GoFundMe specifically tailored to Tulane. It’s for Tulane – by Tulane. Cool, right? Anyways, this allows both students and departments to seek funding from the Tulane community for a wide variety of new initiatives. I would love to tell you about just a few of those initiatives!

The plans for Tulane's very first recording studio 
1. Tulane’s first Recording Studio

This is exciting. However perfect Tulane is, we can always improve. One thing we’re lacking is an acoustically-isolated Recording Studio for our music students, student organizations, faculty researchers, and more. Students, however, are changing that. My friend Dani and I have been working for over a year to finalize plans, logistics, and funding for a new Recording Studio. We’ve raised over $400,000 from various departments and donors and we are turning to Wavestarter to close the gap. The best part? One donor pledged to match every donation to Wavestarter for this project dollar for dollar. Give $10 and you actually give $20. Give $250 and you actually give $500. Check us out at this New Wave article, Hullaballoo article and donate directly here via Wavestarter!

I've gotten the honor of working with two of our DACA students here at Tulane.
Here they are in awe of Times Square during their very first trip to NYC-
a trip totally sponsored by an incredible alumni donor.  
2. Fund for DACA Recipients and International Students

Tulane University is home to over 1,300 international students representing over 90 different countries. We're also home to some incredible DACA students who make an huge impact on our campus and community. These students face unique obstacles and barriers, one of which is financial difficulties which may arise for various reasons during their time at Tulane. For international and DACA students, issues like accidents, illness, death of a family member, natural disasters, visa issues, unexpected academic costs., etc. can have an impact their academic career and put their education at risk. Funds raised on this Wavestarter campaign are important to ensure that these students who have contributed so much to the TU community have the financial support they need during times of crisis or emergency to continue their studies. Visit their Wavestarter campaign here!

The amazing women of Jazbaa 
3. Jazbaa Bollywood Dance Competition

Jazbaa is one of our 200+ amazing student organizations. Founded in 2015, it is Louisiana’s first Bollywood fusion dance group. How amazing is that? My friend Dinika Singh is the Captain and Choreographer and is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Dance. Jazbaa is headed to their first competition in Birmingham, Alabama for Taste of India and is raising additional funds to get them there. Check them out on the news here  and donate directly here via Wavestarter!

There you have it. Go forth and donate to some of these amazing causes!

Ten Women Making Waves

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 17:15
Like so many in America, I have been inspired by the momentum and energy I feel in this country right now. CNN named 2018 the Year of Women and the stories behind the #MeToo movement are no longer being ignored. Since March is Women's History month AND it's the Year of Women, it seems like there is no better time than now to feature some incredible female Tulane graduates and the indelible impact they are making each and every day on the world. I know we have a long way to go until gender equality is achieved. However, we can all feel the growing sentiment that women in this county (and at places like Tulane) are the true changemakers our world needs now, and into the future.

This Saturday happens to be Tulane's annual Women Making Waves conference that focuses on women's leadership. The theme this year is “Building Success Through Resilience” and will examine the struggles women face and the ways in which women can support each other. The keynote speaker for this year will be Lisa Jackson, vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple and Tulane alumnae. Before working for Apple, Lisa headed the EPA during Obama's first term in office.

In this spirit of extraordinary women, today I'm going to introduce you to ten incredible women who also happen to be Tulane alumnae. From James Beard and Emmy nominees, to pop music songwriters and social justice advocates, these women are truly what is right in the world today.

I asked these remarkable Tulane alumnae two simple questions: What do you do? And did Tulane play a role in the person you are today? Here is what they had to say.

Julia Sullivan '05: Chef and Co-Owner of Henrietta Red

Tulane Class of 2005 had some pretty fantastic graduates (in my non-biased opinion as an '05-er myself) and now we can include a James Beard nominee in that group! Julia Sullivan is the chef and co-owner of Henrietta Red in Nashville, an oyster bar, seasonal restaurant and one of the nominees for the 2018 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant! Julia told me "I opened Henrietta Red on February 24th of last year and it’s been a challenging but rewarding journey. We have 100 seats and a staff of close to 50. I don’t think I would be in the restaurant business if it weren’t for the four years I spent in New Orleans attending Tulane. When I left Nashville for college, there was very little happening here. The convivial nature and food culture of New Orleans sucked me right in! I chose a double major in Finance and Management at the AB Freeman School of Business because I thought it was the most applicable degree for an aspiring entrepreneur. It was hugely helpful during the fundraising process and pre-opening stages of the business."

I'll brag on Julia for a second, too. In addition to being a James Beard nominee, Henrietta Red was also named one of Bon Appetite’s 50 Best New Restaurants in the Country, was reviewed in the New York Times, and Julia was featured in Vogue as one of America's rising female chefs. In an industry so heavily dominated by men, it is incredible seeing such a strong and successful female head chef and owner.

Katie on stage with Gryffin 
Katie Pearlman '15: Songwriter + Artist with Warner/Chappell Music

Katie sent me a CD of a few samples of her music when she applied to Tulane. All these years later, I still remember the moment I first listened to them. When she graduated from Tulane in 2015, we did a feature on her after she performed at a local venue during Jazz Fest, only a few weeks before her graduation. And two years later.... well let's just say, things are going pretty well. You know that song Kelly Clarkson performed on the Today Show this week? Yeah. Katie wrote it. You know that song that Gryffin released last month? Yeah. Katie sang it.

Katie is currently a staff writer at Warner/Chappell music, writing with and for artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Gallant, Rozzi, Gryffin, and many more. She recently wrote and featured on Gryffin's new single, Nobody Compares to You, and got to tour around the country with him, playing some of her favorite venues like Terminal 5 in NYC and The Wiltern in LA.

Katie told me that "living in New Orleans and attending Tulane definitely impacted my overall taste in music, as I became much more attracted to jazz and soul. I feel like my voice and sense of artistry really developed when I was living in NOLA, and being able to carry that emotion throughout my career is something that is truly remarkable and special in my opinion." Katie also co-wrote another song off of Kelly Clarkson's new album, called A Minute (Intro). Go give it a listen!

Claire on left (from NYT)

Claire Humphreys '13:  Co-founder of Wethos

You have probably read the article in the New York Times last year about women in tech speaking out about harassment in the workplace. It prominently featured Claire Humphreys and the platform she co-founded, Wethos. "A year ago, I left my advertising job hoping to create a world where nonprofits can easily find the resources they deserve, and freelancers can find a way to do good AND make money," Claire told me. "I, along with two other female co-founders, built Wethos, the first freelance resourcing platform built specifically for nonprofits and the social good community. I currently have a 10-person team working in NYC with thousands of nonprofits and freelancers teaming up on work they're passionate about, and am excited to continue growing the company and social good community personally and through Wethos!"

To date, Wethos has raised $1M in venture capital funding, was featured in Forbes, and later in the NYT helping to spark the conversation on sexual harassment in Silicon Valley as they turned down $500k from an investor while fundraising this past year.

Mara on her set (literally... the set she designed) 
Mara LePere-Schloop '05: Production Designer, The Alientist 

The #1 new drama on cable is the TNT series The Alienist and a Tulane alumna was behind the scenes (literally) of every episode. Meet Mara LePere-Schloop, the production designer for the show. Mara has been working in film for the past 13 years and was nominated for an Emmy for Art Direction for Season 1 of True Detective. She also won an Art Director’s Guild award for the same show. Mara rounds out her honors with a nomination for an ADG award for her work on Django Unchained (filmed in New Orleans). Mara told me: "My architectural education definitely was an integral part to bringing me where I am today. Being able to think critically about design and being challenged to stand up for my design perspective were both skills that came out of my time at Tulane."

You can check out Mara on IMBD here. And the photo above? The Alienist set that Mara designed. She and her team built the entire set on a back lot in Budapest, Hungary. Her set has been so critically acclaimed that Forbes just did a story on it this month.

Amani Jambhekar '10: Surgeon, Breast Oncology at Columbia University

Only 19% of surgeons in the USA are female. Enter: Amani Jambhekar. Amani triple (!!!) majored in Biology, Psychology, and English at Tulane. I asked her about her experiences on the road to becoming a surgeon: "It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but learning to multi-task as well as the research opportunities I had at Tulane helped set the stage for the rest of my career. I was able to continue research in medical school and in residency and when I had to do my own biostatistics, I was able to call upon what I had learned in college as part of my Psychology degree."

While at Tulane, Amani was the first president of Wall Residential College which "taught me to set my sights high and that women can do anything." As for Amani's future, "This year I will be starting my Breast Oncology fellowship at Columbia and finishing the final step of a journey that began 12 years ago. Thank you, Tulane!"

Anna (far left) with our new mayor 
Anna Nguyen '14: Campaign Manager 

2018 is definitely the Year of Women here in New Orleans as we will soon swear in our first female mayor in our 300-year history. How did LaToya Cantrell win this historic victory? Ask Anna Nguyen. She was her deputy field and data director during the campaign.

Anna is now in Portland, OR working as a campaign manager for Jo Ann Hardesty's campaign for City Council. Anna ended up in LaToya Cantrell's City Council Office after graduating from Tulane and served as Communications Director before transitioning over to the campaign in May. "Tulane helped me in several ways," Anna told me. "I made my connection to LaToya from a former Center for Public Service internship supervisor, who at the time, was her legislative director. My experience in Undergraduate Student Government shaped my love for campaigning and for understanding the process, which translated over to my desire to learn government processes. And finally, being a New Orleans native, I don't think I truly loved my city as much as I do now until I took music and history courses about New Orleans. It really broadened my perspective about the city's highs and lows, but overall, it really helped me to connect with natives from parts of town that I probably would've never thought to engage with or could understand."

Lauren Blair Aronson '11: Press Secretary, House Committee on Ways and Means

Let's keep it rolling with women making waves in the political sphere. I'll never forget meeting Lauren when she visited Tulane as a high school senior. Her mom had a lot of great questions (hi Nancy!) and I have a feeling she is super proud of her daughter today. For the last two years, Lauren has served as the press secretary for the House Committee on Ways and Means – the oldest Committee in Congress and the chief tax-writing Committee.

"Day to day, my job is to help the media and stakeholders understand how our policies help hardworking families across the country," Lauren told me. "Last year, the Ways and Means Committee led the first comprehensive re-write of the tax code in more than 30 years. I helped develop and execute the communication strategy and messaging around the legislation – which was signed into law in December 2017."

"There is no question my experiences at Tulane University have helped me develop a career in Washington, D.C. First and foremost, I had great professors who truly took an interest in my learning and growth. I became a stronger writer and a more critical thinker – and I developed a passion for politics. Beyond the classroom, Tulane gave me countless opportunities to thrive – from representing Tulane to prospective students as a tour guide and admission blogger, to improving students’ undergraduate experiences as the Undergraduate Student Government president. It’s Tulane’s unbeatable combination of experiences inside and outside the classroom that led me to where I am today."

And where is she today? Being named a Forbes' 30 Under 30.

Ghiya Ali '14: Financial Manager and Intervention Specialist 

Ghiya is an educator residing in the Greater Los Angeles area. As a Posse Foundation Alumna, Ghiya works with Positive Results Corporation—a nonprofit dedicated to educating the community in Domestic Violence Prevention—as the Financial Manager and Grant Administrator. She also facilitates workshops for community members and local youth. Aside from this work, Ghiya is a full-time Intervention Specialist with Wilder's Prep Academy Charter School targeting students who need support advancing to the next level academically.

Even more impressive is the organization she founded in LA: "I am the co-founder and co-facilitator of the Young Women of Color Collective in Los Angeles. Our mission is to connect, support, and influence Women of Color in the Los Angeles Area to pursue their dreams while maintaining their authenticity and integrity. Seeing a need in the youth I work with, I developed a leadership development program at Wilder's, to give youth the tools to be in tune with their emotions, their professional and academic goals, and ultimately their selves in a group setting. With a background in education, community organizing and public health, I hope to make a difference by empowering, educating, and uplifting my community."

Laura Garcia '15: Investigator, Orleans Public Defenders

Laura's another powerful female in a traditionally male-dominated profession. She a staff investigator at the Orleans Public Defenders office (OPD). "OPD exists to provide the citizens of New Orleans with the highest quality client-centered legal representation in Louisiana’s criminal and juvenile justice system," Laura told me. "Our vision is to create a community-oriented defender office built upon the zealous defense of the poor and indigent while acknowledging the strengths of clients, families and communities."

"I absolutely love the work I do and am so thankful for my four years at Tulane. Those four years gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with New Orleans, begin working in the community that I now serve, and embed my life into this city in a way that makes my current job that much more rewarding."

Amanda Tun '17: Environmental & Business Development Associate at the EPA

Tulane has plenty of alumna ties to the EPA, most notably Lisa Jackson, the former EPA head, who is speaking at Women Making Waves this weekend. Some recent grads, like Amanda Tun, also have found their calling at the EPA. Amanda graduated in May 2017 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and double minor in Public Health and Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship (SISE).  She is currently working at the EPA in Washington, D.C. as an Environmental and Business Development Associate: "I help track and provide coordination of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) scientific assessment and scientific support activities. Tulane gave me the opportunity to gain professional experiences through many internships (shout out to Grow Dat Youth Farm, The Well for Health Promotion, and Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research), form relationships with amazing people, stay resilient during tough times, and, most importantly, learn how to always have fun."

Carolyn Brown '07: Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian

If you've ever turned on the news and seen an on-air personality chatting about healthy eating, there's a chance you've met Carolyn. She's a Nutritionist with a private practice in NYC called Foodtrainers. "I work one-on-one with clients on wellness, weight, and health goals, and am a regular contributor to many news and media outlets including CBS, Fox, TODAY show, Dr OZ, Men’s Health, Shape, Women’s Health, and WebMD. I also consult with food brands on new product development and as a spokesperson, and with new restaurants on menu design and nutrition. Foodtrainers’ founder, Lauren Kaplan Slayton, is a fellow Tulane alumnae (class of 1995), so needless to say, Tulane has been unbelievably influential for getting me here. We always joke that our less-than-healthy years in New Orleans lead us both to an obsessively healthy occupation, and to each other!"

Sydney Morris '07: Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Educators for ExcellenceSydney was born and raised in New York, but developed her passion for education while a student at Tulane. Following Hurricane Katrina, she worked in the New Orleans public school system leading after-school dance programs for low-income students with the nonprofit New Orleans Outreach. After a stint with Teach for America, she went on to co-found Educators for Excellence (E4E) in 2010 to ensure that teachers have a leading voice in education policymaking in order to provide all students the opportunity to succeed and elevate the teaching profession. 
"Since its launch, E4E has grown into a national nonprofit with nearly 30,000 educator members in six chapters across the country," she told me. "E4E teachers have issued nationally significant policy papers; shaped new legislation, district policies, and union resolutions; and elevated their voices through thousands of media hits and advocacy actions on issues such as teacher evaluation, school funding, and school climate. For far too long, teachers have been treated as subjects of change rather than agents of change, and I'm so proud of the work that E4E teachers are doing across the country to flip that dynamic on its head!"

Sydney's incredible work has generated lots of interest over the last few years, landing her on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Education. She was also a finalist for the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership.

There you have it. This just barely scratches the surface of the incredible impact women from Tulane make. Stay tuned for part two of this blog coming soon! 

Here and Ready

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:56

The students I work with are remarkable. I am constantly impressed by their academics, talents, passions, activities, and service. And, while I always appreciate their accomplishments, I sometimes forget that these achievements are paired with another magnificent personal aspect: their age. Each year, around May, I am reminded of the beauty of youth. The world of education shifts its focus to graduations and young adults everywhere start their journeys. They are bright-eyed and determined. Their spirit and energy strengthen their dreams.

They are here and they are ready.

Unfortunately, I was recently reminded of this extraordinary time in a person’s life through a very different, unbelievably tragic event. As we have watched the development and aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, my co-director Leila (who helped me pen this blog) and I  have been awestruck by the response of the young people involved. The passion, focus, and vigor the students have used to take a stand is exceptional. Right now, in this moment, the nation is being held accountable by the youth.

They are, without a doubt, here and ready.

Watching the actions of these young adults from a college administrator's perspective has reinforced the value of education during one's formidable years. The basic fundamentals of a college education build upon freedom of speech. Education should celebrate exposure to new ideas and different perspective, it should develop passions and create innovators and change-makers.

Here at Tulane, we understand that diversity of thought, and the ability to express it, is one of the most powerful tools a young mind can have. We believe that students should never lose their voice or passion. We will not penalize students for standing up for what they believe in or for making opinions known through peaceful protests. We will continue to support the voice and speech of young adults as this is, ultimately, why we are here.

NOLA Lingo

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:00
I always tell prospective students that attending Tulane is the closest you can get to studying abroad while staying in the United States. There are five main reasons I always give to attest to that; New Orleans has its own culture, music, food, architecture and language. This blog is going to focus on that last one: our language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myths of the Gras

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:30
Happy Mardi Gras from team Tulane Admission! Happy Mardi Gras, world! Another carnival season is upon us and the city is bursting with excitement for the coming few days. I sometimes forget that the rest of the world doesn't have Mardi Gras like we do. In terms of importance for us, it's like Christmas, New Years and 4th of July all wrapped up into one. Not in town for the big day? Listen to our Spotify playlist with all the best tunes of carnival while you read this blog.

If you have never been to Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, there are a few myths that I think would be useful to dispel, because there are a lot of common misconceptions out there. This year, we've even made a great video so you can learn the truth about the Greatest Free Show on Earth!

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

Hail Bacchus! The Baccagator float parades through the Warehouse District.The Mardi Gras Tree on campus in full bloom post-Gras. It is a big tradition on campus to throw your beads in this tree in the Academic Quad after you have walked back from the parades. The Tulane Marching Band marches in many Mardi Gras parades every year.

Endymion! Here is the inside of the ball. (from Pinterest
TBH, the Friday before Mardi Gras is usually the longest work day of my life. Get me to those parades!

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

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 14:16
Courtesy of slate.comIt's Mardi Gras season which means the sights and sounds of New Orleans 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 honest 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 breaks 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. Maybe 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. 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 important 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. 
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. 

Juniors: Start Here

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:01
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. 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. 
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! 

5 Tips for a Great Campus Visit

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 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 may be a convenient time for you to check out schools, but it’s not always the best time to get a good feel for a campus. With few students on campus during the summer months, it’s tough to get that solid impression for what the school is like. The same goes for visiting during weather-appropriate times—if you’re considering a school in a cold weather climate, be sure to visit at that time of the year. Some people love the cold, others are warm weather folk (like me down here in New Orleans!). Oh, and always check when Mardi Gras is happening before visiting Tulane. Great time to visit NOLA, but, not the best time for a visit to campus (we're closed!).

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

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

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

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

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

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

So You're Using an Independent Counselor...

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 13:58

If you are junior right now, you might be thinking about looking into 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 process. That said, there are a few things remember for if you are thinking of working with an independent counselor.

Ensure that they are members of 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 Princples 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 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 probono. 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 a 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 proofread 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 student's 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.

Community Service Fellowship

Jeff's Blog Feed - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:34
Happy New Year, readers! Just over a week till our Regular Decision deadline, as well as our deadline for the Community Service Fellowship.

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

The deadline for this fellowship is fast approaching – January 15th! It is $10,000 - $20,000 dollars a year, so definitely don’t wait until the last minute to submit this application. We frequently get questions about how many hours are required, what types of projects we are looking for, etc. When we review these projects with the Center for Public Service, it’s really not just about hours or the names of the organizations that you worked with during your service. It’s about the passion you have demonstrated through service for a cause or multiple causes and the depth of your involvement. For some of you, this has meant starting your own non-profits. For others, this has meant raising awareness in your communities about health issues or human rights issues. In some cases, winners of the scholarship have worked in smaller, unique ways in their communities, but have had a large impact on the lives of those they worked with. In short, there is no formula for winning this scholarship. There is not a specific hour requirement or type of organization you should mention. We are looking for change-makers and social entrepreneurs, not just through the list of things you have done, but through the passion and depth of engagement you exhibit through writing about these activities. I’ve put together some “Do’s and Don’ts” for the application.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck to all!

I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 15:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO: Consider switching your application to ED II. This is for deferred EA applicants only (and for first time applicants.) You can get more info here. The deadline is January 5th.

DO: Be in touch. Contact your admission counselor and let him or her know you are interested in Tulane. You can reach out to your admission counselor here. You'll want to shoot them an email in the coming weeks (not necessarily today... let the dust settle and your emotions subside) letting them know that you have been deferred and that you remain strongly interested in Tulane.  Another important way to let us know you are still interested in attending Tulane is by filling out this form, which will also show up on your Green Wave Portal.  It will be nearly impossible to be admitted to Tulane if you do not, in some form, reach out to us. We'd like to only take those students we know want to enroll here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Scholars

Jeff's Blog Feed - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 09:00
Your potential fall campus!  We'll be releasing all our decisions for the Early Action round this week and we're so excited to offer admission to such a diverse, driven, and service-minded group of students! For a small number of students in this group, the offer of admission is for 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.
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 and the increase in popularity Tulane has seen over the past few years. Our admission office is very big on the holistic review process. That 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. That said, Tulane has become an increasingly popular university and that has made it more and more competitive to gain admission here. 
I suspect that our overall admit rate this year will be lower than last year's which was around 21%. 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. By the numbers, we also 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!)
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. One of our current Spring Scholars in Rome just blogged yesterday about her experience there. 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
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 17th or April 21st. 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. Bonus: come for Saturday, April 21st and you'll also be able to attend Crawfest!
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 2019. Currently, we have 75 Spring Scholars excited to start at Tulane in just a few weeks! 

Oh, and expect a visit from me in Paris or Rome in the fall. I'm not joking! 

Jeff's Things To Do Around NOLA Part 10: Freret Street

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:16
Gasa Gasa (
One of the first areas to see a true post-Katrina renaissance was Freret Street. Freret is one of only two streets that actually crosses through Tulane's campus (the other is Willow) and today it's one of the most bumpin' streets in all of New Orleans. From our campus, it's just around six blocks to Jefferson and Freret where you'll start to see some excellent food and drink establishments (and a few reliable chains, like the Starbucks at Freret and Jefferson which looks to be opening soon). One of the many things I love about Freret is it has some great dining options for any budget, including student budgets. If you're walking to Freret from campus, here are my top choices of must-see/do/eat places in order of walking distance.

Mint Vietnamese: Semi-well-known-fact about New Orleans: we have one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam. Which means we have some pretty epic Vietnamese food all over town. Mint happens to be one of my favorite spots to grab Pho or Vermicelli. Bonus: super affordable!

Liberty Cheesesteaks: One of the best restaurants in New Orleans! And just because one of my best friends and Tulane fraternity brothers is the man behind the magic does not make me biased when I say that. I even made a video about Liberty's founder, Mike, a few years back. Since that video in 2013, Liberty has moved to a much larger space just down the block from the old location. They still churn out the best cheesesteaks south of Philly.
Brand new! Good Bird. (
Good Bird: This rotisserie chicken spot was incubated in the much-talked about St. Roch Market in the Bywater and has now opened a second location in the spot that Liberty once occupied. Good Bird serves up some of the most delicious rotisserie chicken and sandwiches I've ever tried. I highly recommend the Eagle Street!

Gasa Gasa:  An all-encompassing venue that host some of the best and most eclectic music and art in the city. A truly local music performance center, Gasa Gasa's main goal is to: "highlight the local talent that surrounds us and create a room accessible to all forms of artistic expression."

Midway Pizza: One of the best aspects of Freret is that in some ways, the street serves as a tour of America's best foods. From cheesesteaks to hot dogs to exceptional pizza, Freret has it all, in an Americana kind of way. In my opinion, the deep dish Chicago-style pizza that's served up at Midway is just as good as the original stuff you'll find in Chitown. I recommend the all-you-can-eat Freret Street Lunch Special.

Mojo Coffee: Something I love about New Orleans and New Orleanians is the fierce penchant for all things local. You're much more likely to find a local coffee shop here rather than a Starbucks (even though one ironically is about to open on the distinctly-local Freret Street soon) Mojo is everything that is right when it comes to local coffee shops and mmmmmboy is their breakfast good.

Bloomin' Deals Thrift Shop: I have been heading over to Bloomin' Deals since I was but a wee freshman walking over from Monroe Hall to do some of the best thrift shopping in town. Mardi Gras costumes, costumes for themed Greek events, old school t-shirts; all are found aplenty at Bloomin' Deals.
Company Burger is lyfe 
The Company Burger: The best burgers in New Orleans. Hands down. Period. Done. End of story. Bye.

Wayfare: I think Wayfare is one of the most underrated restaurants in NOLA. Great ambiance, excellent food, and reasonable prices. My top choice is the Waldorf Chicken Salad. This is also a great spot to head with a larger group!

High Hat Cafe (
High Hat Cafe: Anyone looking for great local and classic NOLA food near campus, High Hat should be your first stop. They have excellent takes on classical Creole dishes like po-boys, catfish, and BBQ shrimp. They do it all in a classic, yet contemporary diner setting.

This just scratches the surface of what Freret Street has to offer! I didn't even mention Tulane staples like Dat Dog (which is now opening 40 new locations!). And it's not just the food and restaurants on Freret that are great. Freret is also home to a comic book store, bakery, a bike shop, a yoga studio, a sushi joint, pet shops, art galleries, and even the monthly Freret Market. It even has a new hotel! The whole district is walkable and a fun afternoon if you're on Tulane's campus. Be sure to check it out during the annual Freret Street Festival in April.

Six Tips for a Great Dean's Honor Scholarship

Jeff's Blog Feed - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:15
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!
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Leila Labens, today's guest blogger It’s 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!