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5 Tips for Your First 5 Weeks of College

Jeff's Blog Feed - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:03
Hard to believe it, but move in day is just over a week away! All that hard work is about to pay off. And if you’re starting your freshman year here at Tulane, you’re arriving at the perfect time to be a college student here. You’re joining an amazing community. And we’re not just saying it – everyone’s saying it! Check out some of the most recent Princeton Review rankings:

#1: Best College City
#2: Most Engaged in Community Service
#4: Happiest Students
#4: Their students love these colleges
#5: Best Quality of Life
#8: Best Run Colleges
#10: Most active Student Government
#10: Most popular study abroad program

Good stuff right? That said, this blog is going to be a very candid one as I’ll be touching on some of those rankings that Tulane was on that I just happened to not list above. More on that later.

For me, move-in day is the best day of the year.  In the Office of Admission, we’ve established great relationships with both you and your family as you navigated the college admission process and selected Tulane. I love my role because I got to play some small part in that selection. So, with that said, I’d like to impart my closing advice to you as you officially begin your career here at Tulane.
Again, much of what I am sharing with you is candid and straightforward; I’ve been through the experience you’re about to have and seen thousands of students make this rite of passage as well. I’m also halfway in between the age of our students who are starting classes next week and your parents. So I write this blog with equal parts student and parent mindset.

Here goes nothin’:

You’re not going to meet your best friends in the first five weeks. In fact, you might not even meet them in the first five months. If you ask Tulane graduates this question, many will share the same advice. Most will tell you they didn’t fall into their “crew” into well into sophomore year. Tulane is big enough that you’ll still be meeting new friends well into your four years here. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your friends or roommate to be super tight as soon as you arrive in college. And don’t feel dismayed if you aren’t able to replicate your high school crew in college. You’ll get there eventually. Trust me.

Stop comparing yourself to others on social media. All at once, your friends from home are going to head to colleges around the world. And all at once, it will become a contest to see who can show how incredibly epic their first few weeks are. It can be so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of looking at everyone else’s experiences and comparing them to your own. The reality is that everyone has ups and downs in the first five weeks. There will be times of loneliness, homesickness and anxiety: even at school ranked #4 for happiest students. When you look at Instagram, you are comparing your worst moments to everyone else’s best moments. So, next time you experience the natural low points that everyone experiences when they arrive in college: put down the phone. Go for a run. Head to Riley. Meditate. Just don’t compare yourself to others. 

Find out what sexual consent really means. This is a big one. By now, you’re likely familiar with Tulane’s Climate Survey that was released this spring that showed a disturbing level of sexual violence being experienced in our community. The response on campus has been compassionate and driven to make a real change, both at Tulane and on college campuses across the country. For us to be successful, that commitment to change starts with you. You will really want to spend some time learning what it means to give sexual consent. Here’s a big one: if someone is drunk, or incapacitated in any way, they are not able to give sexual consent. That means if you engage someone in sexual activity when they are intoxicated, they are unable to provide consent and you can very realistically be charged with sexual misconduct. This is something that Tulane takes very very seriously. Read up on it and get to know your resources, and you’ll be in good shape.  At Tulane, we are committed to ending all sexual and gender-based harassment in our community.

Don’t mess up your Tulane career in the first five weeks. Here’s where I am going to touch on those other rankings that the Princeton Review handed us. This year we dropped to #3 from #1 on the list that no school wants to be on. You know the one: the ranking that shall not be mentioned by name. Being ranked so high on this list left many in the Tulane community shook (as you kids say.) That is not a list that Tulane wants to be on and as a campus, we want to create a community that is fun but also safe and also might land us lower on that list down the road. Tulane and NOLA will always be fun and will always be incredible places to have a great social experiences, rest assured. But here’s my tip: Take it easy in your first five weeks. This year, freshman orientation is a dry week and Tulane means it. If you are caught consuming alcohol during orientation, Tulane will prohibit you from joining a fraternity or sorority in the spring. Just don’t make a mistake as soon as you arrive here that will have negative implications for the rest of your career. I know college can be a big adjustment, especially here at Tulane where our average class of 2022’er will arrive from over 900 miles away. Pace yourself, don’t overdo it, and ease you way into your social life.

Call your Mom: Ugh I can’t believe I am sharing the same advice I rolled my eyes at my freshman year. But seriously. Your parents love you and are going to miss you like hell. They’re also likely going to be big financial supporters of you as you spend these four years here in NOLA. Text them photos, keep them posted with how your classes are going and if your so inclined, even tell them you love them from time to time.

There you have it, future first-years. I’m hoping you view this blog as genuine and honest advice that I am offering you with the true intention to make your first five weeks the best they can be. See you at orientation!

Ten Application Tips from the "Experts"

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 14:00
The entire Enrollment Management team is seaux excited to have you apply! Our application is live! Starting today, you can begin applying to Tulane for the Class of 2023. Remember, we accept both the Common Application as well as our own application and don't have a preference between the two. There's also never an application fee here at Tulane. 

In this light, the blog today features my top ten tips for making yourself the strongest applicant you can be! And remember... it all starts with a click:

Now on to making yourself the strongest applicant you can be!

Jeff's Ten Application Tips 

1) Do the optional statement: If the application asks "Why are you applying to [insert school here]?," take the time to write a thoughtful, insightful answer. Show you have done a little research, and really make your case as to why you think said school would be a good fit for you. If there isn't a question like this on the application, then send in a short paragraph as if this question was asked. Tulane does have an optional statement that asks why you are applying—fill it out! You can read all about this in detail on my blog entry here
2) Explain everything! If you had a real tough semester in your personal life in your sophomore year and your grades suffered, let us know. If AP Calc wasn't your thing, but you got two tutors and worked every night for two months studying but still got a C, let us know. The more insight you can give into your grades the better. The best spot to do this is in the "additional information" section. 
3) Pick an essay topic you love to write about, no matter what it is. We're more likely to love reading something you loved writing. We read thousands and thousands of these things, so make sure you get us going right off the bat. And remember, sometimes the best essays are the simplest ones. No need to dig for a tragedy, over embellish anything or try to change the world. Just be yourself. You can read all about my tips on the best college essays here
4) Less is More. I have a sneaking suspicion that Tulane will see over 40,000 applications this year. Schools like UCLA and NYU get six-digit application figures. We go through applications somewhat quickly, so sending in a lot of extra stuff won't benefit you. So, how can you best share your story without overselling yourself? Resist the urge to send in multiple essays, 4-page resumes and multiple additional letters of recommendation. I even boldly suggest that you shouldn't feel pressured to fill out every blank on the activities section. Some of the best applicants we see are concise, precise and get to the point. You can read more about what I mean by this here
5) Avoid application redundancy. Take a 30,000 foot view of your application. If your activities section is all about tennis and your counselor letter of recommendation talks about tennis and your short answer is about tennis, what do you think your essay should be about? Anything but tennis! Decide where each "piece" of your application should fall and where your stories, passions and strengths will be shared. This might mean connecting with your school counselor (and it's a good time to get to know them better!) We read 38,000 applications a year, and as soon as we see something in your file that is repeated throughout, there's a chance we'll skip over the repeated parts. 
6) Get Engaged with Tulane. I don't mean ask us to marry you. I mean take some time to purposefully research Tulane to find out if we are a good fit for you. We want to see applicants who are authentically and genuinely interested in Tulane. You can easily engage with us by attending a Tulane Comes to You event, a MET tour (with our friends from NYU, GWU, SMU, Northeastern and Miami!), or checking if we'll be at your high school or Community Based Organization this fall. The most important thing to keep in mind is be purposeful in your interactions with colleges. Got questions? Let us know, but only if you really can't find the information elsewhere. Don't overdo it; simply research your top schools and meet with admission reps during their travels to your hometown. Want to know the best (and worst) questions to ask your admission counselor? Read all about it here

Also, don't forget that our ED and EA applicants this year can qualify for an alumni interview. My advice here is that if you want to set up an interview, consider submitting your application before the deadline. Apply in early October, for example, and that gives us way more time to take care of the interview process. The process of getting the interview set up, completed, and into your application takes some time, so applying early will help ensure your interview is included as we review your file. Side note, you don't need your rec letters or transcripts submitted to set up the interview, so don't stress your school counselor out trying to get those in early. 

7) Visit a college or university nearby. This will give you a sense for what college campuses are like. I know it's hard to visit every school on your list, especially with a tight budget. Check out a school in your hometown or somewhere in driving distance to get a sense for what a college campus feels like. It will make you better prepared as you start filling out applications. You can read my top tips for visiting colleges here
8) Be professional. Get a college email address. Something professional. While the email I received a few years back from cupcakez or LaxStud6969 may sound cool to your friends, it looks silly to me. And I'm actually pretty cool, too. Just put your best foot forward. Speaking of connecting with admission reps, here are five emails you should never send us. Same goes for Facebook, Snapchat, Insta, Twitter—we don't generally check your social media platforms here at Tulane, but keep make sure your picture is something you'd be okay with your grandma seeing. What usually happens each year is we'll get screenshots of dumb things students put on Snapchat or Twitter. Just be smart, nice, and treat your peers with some compassion. Sometimes, it can get your admission decision rescinded.  This summer, I rescinded admission to multiple students because of their commentary in a social media space. 
9) We like jobs. So if you have one, tell us about it. Working 15 hours a week at your local Subway as a Sandwich Artist carries just a much weight as playing a varsity sport. Whatever takes up your time, we want to know about it. I have some additional resume tips that you can read about here
10) Begin to identify your passion. We don't care what you do, as long as you do it well and you love to do it. What makes you tick after the bell rings? Where do your strengths lie? What makes you... you? You're welcome to send us a nice, clean, one-page resume with the above listed. Keep this resume simple. Just give me a quick description of those three or four big things. Do not send me a six page resume listing out every time you donated blood. I won't read it, and few colleges will. We don't need a list of everything, just the most important things to you. I've got a blog that goes into more detail about the best ways to fill out the activities section here
Hope this helps guys! Feel free to email us if you ever have any questions. Happy applying! 

Look at all these students cheering for these application tips. 

Look how happy these Tulane students are that they listened to my application advice.

Twelve Cool Classes

Jeff's Blog Feed - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 09:14
Your subject matter in TIDE-1016 (source)Hard to believe it, but the first day of classes at Tulane is just five weeks away! I thought it might be neat to take a look at some of the coolest classes we're offering for freshmen this year. Some are new courses, some are golden oldies. These courses do not have any prerequisites at all and are are open to all Newcomb-Tulane College undergraduates. Thanks to my girl Dayna Gessler from academic advising for getting this great list together!

TIDE-1016-01 Tolkien as Translator
While many have enjoyed J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as an epic novel, few readers are aware of the fundamentally linguistic and anthropological nature of Tolkien’s writing. As Oxford Professor of Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien was intimately familiar with the Germanic languages, their history, and their epic literatures. In this course, we study the role of language in The Lord of the Rings, applying concepts and perspectives from linguistic anthropology to shed light on Tolkien’s methods and purpose as the ‘translator’ of Middle-earth. Students are introduced to Tolkien's invented languages (and their real-world inspirations) and two of his invented alphabets. An appreciation of the linguistic foundations of Middle-earth greatly increases one's understanding of Tolkien’s achievement, and provides insights into one linguist’s view of the intricate and interdependent relationships of language, culture, and society.

TIDE 1700 Cocktails, Cayenne & Creoles: The Myths & Realities of New Orleans Food & Drink
As the concept of local foodways becomes entrenched in the growing “foodie” culture of the United States, local food and local dishes become an ever more important marker of place. Whether justified or not, Creole and Cajun food and, of course, the ubiquitous Cocktail, are perceived by many as synonymous with New Orleans. In this course, we will explore the myths and realities of these three key concepts as they apply to food and drink in New Orleans.

ASTR-1000-01 Descriptive Astronomy
A one-semester survey of astronomy for the liberal arts student. The solar system, properties and evolution of stars and galaxies, and cosmology. Recent discoveries in astronomy are emphasized.

This could be you! Tulane has the largest collegiate glass blowing studio in the South
ARST-1170-01 Foundations of Art: Glass (Glass Blowing)
This course focuses on the history and theory of glass art, and also introduces basic techniques with attention given to issues of composition, perception, communication, and expression. Emphasis also will be placed on the relationships between glass art, other art mediums, and the history of art. See my previous blog about the time I sneaked back into the glass studio! As a first year student at Tulane, glassblowing was the first class on my schedule. I loved it and still have the scars to prove it. Literally.

HISU-2690-01 Intro Afro-American History
A survey of the history of people of African descent in the United States from the 17th century to the end of the Civil War. The course will explore the development of a distinct African-American experience within the context of colonial North America and the early United States. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the origins and nature of slavery not simply as a system of forced labor, but as a system of unique cultural relationships.

LING 1010 Elementary American Sign Language I
The purpose of this course is to enable students to acquire introductory knowledge of American Sign Language. A linguistic, communicative, and cultural approach will allow students to explore this visual-spatial language used by up to two million people in the United States. Instruction will focus on the development of receptive and expressive signing skills and on the acquisition of the fundamentals of applied grammar.

MUSC 2420 World Musics
An overview of the field of ethnomusicology and the types of issues and concerns that have guided the research of world music within that field. A number of selected musical case studies from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas that illuminate the differences and similarities between Western musics and their counterparts in other parts of the world. Particular interest will be given to the way in which cultural, social, and religious beliefs have informed stylistic, performance practice, and aesthetic development in other parts of the world as a means of reflecting about the same types of connections in Western music.

SOWK-2000-01 Intro to Social Policy & Practice
This course examines the processes that influence the development of social policy and social services. Included are legislative and political processes, models of policy analysis, service delivery and policy implementation. Effects of these on people are considered from global, political, economic and social policy perspectives. This course is developed around the general proposition that social workers utilize knowledge and skills to carry out roles and functions critical for practice. Such knowledge and skills include the application of social policy analysis, the legislative process, the role and impact of politics and political choice on the quality of life of people, and the effect of economic-social policy decision and judicial actions on social services. In addition, the course examines the variability of the common and uncommon attributes of service delivery systems.

THEA-3810-01 Fashion Design Fundamentals
This course explores the student's creativity and imaginative thinking by carrying out small fashion design projects and developing a personal style. No special skills are required and all class materials will be provided.

EBIO-1040-01 Global Environment Change
An introduction to the physical and biological processes that regulate the function of the Earth system. The composition, formation, and stabilization of the Earth's atmosphere and ecosystem will be examined, emphasizing biological processes and ecosystem ecology. With an understanding of the historical rates and mechanisms of natural global change, the means by which human activities alter Earth system function at local to global scales will be explored, along with the consequences of and solutions to human-induced global change.

COLQ 1020-12 Social Commentary in Popular Music from 1965-1985
Access to music and information through vehicles such as Spotify and Wikipedia has revolutionized how one goes about listening to and learning about music. In this class, we examine songs that deal with anti-war sentiment, drugs, the environment, teen angst, racism, gender issues, school shootings, and religion.
This course is taught primarily from a chronological perspective.  Four five-year time periods are covered: late 1960’s, early 70’s, late 1970’s, and early 1980’s.  After opening with Bob Dylan “going electric” in 1965, approximately two-thirds of the course is spent covering the first two periods.  The bracket of 1985 coincides with the end of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”tour.

ANTH 2340 Introduction to Archaeology
Introduction to basic principles of archaeological method and theory. Consideration of the history of archaeology, major paradigms in archaeological thought, basic techniques of fieldwork, basic techniques in analyzing archaeological finds, and intellectual frameworks for interpreting patterns in archaeological datasets. Consideration of selected case studies. Of interest to majors and prospective majors in anthropology, and potentially to majors in classical archaeology and related fields.

COMM 3150 Film Analysis
Introduction to film analysis designed to help students develop a visual literacy with regard to film and a critical understanding of how films produce meanings. Focus is on formal analysis of film including elements such as narrative, mise-en-scène, editing, camera movement, sound and on key critical and theoretical approaches such as neoformalism and psychoanalysis. Classical Hollywood cinema and avant-garde and independent film making traditions are studied in order to focus on the politics of form." A required film journal helps students develop analytical and critical skills.

The World Visits Tulane!

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

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

Enjoy these photos from the conference!

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

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

Ten Tips for an Epic College Essay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go forth and prosper, essay writers!

Ten Things to do as a Junior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, 2021!

30 Reasons to Wish NOLA a Happy 300th Birthday

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

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

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

Here goes nothin'!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane

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

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane and Loyola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The True Meaning of Friendship, Part III

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

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

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

The first of the three people needs no introduction:

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

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

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

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

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

Summertime and the Livin' is (Big) Easy

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

9 Awesome Things to do in NOLA this Summer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studio BE is massive! 

Wildflower fields in City Park

Guest Blog: All About Transfers

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

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

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

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

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA: 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Domenica cauliflower in all her glory (

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

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

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

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

Class of 2022 Facts and Figures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There you have it. See you soon, 2022!