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Director of Admission
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How to Stay Admitted

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 11:24
If you have recently been admitted to a school under their Early Action or Early Decision plan... congrats! Now, prepare yourself for the most dad blog I've written: How to stay admitted to that college or university.

Let me start off by saying that colleges are never looking for reasons to rescind your admission. Literally the last thing we want to do is have to tell you that you are no longer a welcome part of the class of 2024. It wreaks havoc on you and throws our numbers and projections off. Plus, it just sucks to have to do. As such, today's blog is going to offer you the six most common reasons why colleges have to pull the plug on your admission, and how to avoid having that happen to you. Yes, my Dad Hat is on while I write this, but I am genuinely offering you this blog to help prevent any of these things from even happening in the first place. I know, I know, you're dragging your feet to even read this blog, but do it anyways.

I present you, six ways to have your admission rescinded:

6: You make major changes to your class schedule. The schedule you applied and were admitted with is the one we expect you to carry through with. Yes, we understand changes need to be made and if you have to make a change in your schedule for one reason or another, we can oftentimes accommodate it. Before you make a major schedule change, reach out to your admission rep to get their approval. We know each situation is unique and want to be as accommodating as possible. But, if we get a copy of your final transcript and the AP Calc and AP Physics classes you took in first semester have been replaced with free period and extended lunch, we're going to have questions for you.

5: You let loose, socially, in your second semester. There are a lot of fun things that happen in second semester. Sporting events, prom, senior trips, graduation, etc. I am not in any place to tell you to how to make good choices at these events, but... I'll just say to be careful. Some colleges can be pretty strict if you get suspended for showing up five White Claws deep to graduation. By now, you know the difference between a good decision and a bad one, but sometimes the bad decisions get made without you putting the thought into it that you should have, and we can understand that. Just be smart and know you'll have plenty of time to be social in college. Don't miss your opportunity to make it there in the first place.

4: You take a nosedive in grades. The grades we admitted you with are the grades we expect you to finish senior year with. I'll be the first to admit that I got a healthy case of senioritis when I was a senior. I also understand that at some point, especially after all of this college admission mania, you are going to feel burnt out. That said, if any rational person can look at your second semester senior year grades and say "these look remarkably different from your previous semesters," you might be in danger. I get a lot of emails from students saying "how bad can my grades dip? Asking for a friend," or "hypothetically, if someone gets X grade, what would the repercussions be?" etc. There is no magic number and every single case is different. But when all is said and done, we're looking for consistency into the end of the year. In the words of my buddy and college counselor Brennan Barnard, "enjoy the final weeks of high school, take a breather, lighten up—but don’t give up." Also, consider this: you want to be respectful of your teachers who spent countless hours writing you letters of recommendation that helped you gain admission in the first place. If you're skipping class or falling behind with these teachers that are putting a lot of work in to planning your curriculum, well, it's just not a good look.

3: You do some jackassery at our orientation. One of the more frequent reasons we'll rescind your admission is if you do #5 above, but on our campus before classes start. Keep in mind that you aren't technically an enrolled student until the first day of class. So if you are heading to a one-night summer orientation program at your college, or are coming for an admitted student fly-in, or are a Spring Scholar at Tulane and spending your fall abroad or elsewhere, keep in mind any majorly bad decisions you make during those events could be a big time cause for concern for colleges. I know it's temping to want to go wild with a group of your future classmates, but trust me, one decision on one night of orientation can have way bigger ramifications than if you just take things easy and ease into things, socially speaking. I've blogged about this before. It's also bad for your personal reputation; it is super easy to become "that guy" during your summer orientation.

2: We discover any dishonesty on your application. For the first time this year, Tulane allowed applicants to self-report scores on their application. We are trusting that you will quadruple check those scores before submitting them to us, as we will be making an admission decision based on the scores that you report. If there is any discrepancy between your self-reported scores and the actual official scores we'll request from the ACT or College Board, we'd likely rescind your admission. Same goes for any other form of academic dishonesty or discrepancies. Of all the part of your application that you check and re-check, the self-reported score should be the most important part.

1: You act like an @$$hole on social media. So you might think the most frequent reason we rescind admission here at Tulane would be getting a D in APUSH or getting caught drunk at Prom. Well, you'd be wrong. The thing that we have the most zero tolerance for is when you act like a real jerk to someone on social media. Any form of cyber-bullying, making fun of classmates or teachers on your Finsta or any kind of cruelty in the virtual world is a surefire way to have your admission rescinded. How you behave when you think no one else is watching tells a lot about your character, and if we get word that you've been cruel to someone else, expect to make alternative future plans. Those Harvard kids had to. We're never going to troll your social media or find things to get you in trouble for. 100% of the time, we'll get screenshots of hurtful things that have been said on social media sent to us. The good news is, this one is really easy to avoid: just be a nice person in life, and also online.

Here'e the deal—you're 18. You're going to make some mistakes along the way, and that is OK. My advice to you is that if any of the above happen to you, get ahead of the problem and be proactive with your school counselor for advice on what your next steps should be. College admission offices tend to be thoughtful and compassionate places and we also know each student's experience is a unique and different. 99% of the time, if any of the above happen to you, what we'll do first is reach out to your school counselor to get their take and see if they maintain their support for your admission. We'll also ask you for your take on it as well. Then we'll make a thoughtful decision moving forward.

So, now you know. Most of this stuff is easy: don't let your grades take a huge hit, ask yourself if a bad decision you are about to make is worth it, and then... just be nice. Trust me, you're going to do great.

Resolve to Go Green

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 15:17
Many of Tulane's buildings are Green, both in color and in LEED status, like Greenbaum House seen here. (source)It's New Year's Resolution season and I have one for you: Go Green! And I don't just mean root on the Green Wave football team as we head to a Bowl Game tomorrow. I mean in 2020, do your part to be less wasteful and make a positive environmental impact on your school, city, and world. This is actually a thing nowadays- every small step that you take can add up to a positive change and we can't assume doing nothing is okay anymore.

Before I provide some tips for how to go green in 2020, I want to make two quick suggestions for New Years Resolutions. First, consider your goals for 2020 as intentions, not resolutions. This is something I learned from Calm the other day. A resolution focuses on the past and a change that needs to be made. An intention, rather, focuses on becoming a better version of you in the future. Example: Resolution- "I want to lose ten pounds." Intention- "I aim to eat healthier meals." Instead of focusing on what needs to change from last year, instead decide what intention you can focus on to lead a happier, heather life. Second, consider making three intentions/resolutions. A small, a medium, and a hard. Write them down somewhere and hold yourself accountable.

Your "medium" resolution has been chosen for you and that is to go green. Now let's find out how:

Reuse solo cups: Most college kids just throw these away when they're done drinking all the, um, water, from them. Red solo cups can very easily be run through the dishwasher and be reused for your next next group study meeting. Don't throw them away, reuse them!

Ask for no silverware: College kids these days love Uber Eats, Waitr, Postmates. etc. Next time you order, make sure to ask for no silverware or napkins or plastic bag. You'll end up opening that bag with the fork, knife, spoon and little salt and pepper and end up throwing most of it away. Just have regular, reusable silverware in your residence hall room or house.

Use reusable bags: I will shun you if I see you using a plastic bag to carry that one small Tylenol bottle you just purchased. Have a reusable bag in your car or backpack (or... just use your backpack!)

Ozzi at Tulane! Get an Ozzi and a waterbottle and reuse them over and over: You can get these in the LBC or many other spots on campus. There really is no such thing as recycling anymore; instead get in the habit of reusing stuff as much as you can.

Unplug Stuff: What? You mean you went home for winter recess and left everything in your dorm plugged in? For shame! Get in the habit of switching off your power strip when you leave for a while. It's remarkable how much energy we waste by leaving everything constantly plugged in and charging.

Buy stuff here instead of shipping stuff from Amazon. I know, Amazon makes things so easy. But the energy and packaging consumed by ordering everything online is astounding. I am not saying you should abandon online shopping, but if you're just getting toothpaste and pens, walk to the bookstore or the Walgreen's on Broadway.

Go wild at Trash to Treasure: Donate! Buy! According to their website, Tulane Trash to Treasure redirects these otherwise-destined for the dumpster dorm supplies, stores them over the summer, and sells them back to students and community members during the August move-in period at heavily discounted prices. All proceeds then go to local New Orleans-area nonprofits combating some of our city’s most pressing environmental and social problems. Literally everyone wins.

Get Bike Easy to come here: Wouldn't it be so rad if those blue bikes made it all the way Uptown?

Look how much cool stuff you can get
at thrift stores here in NOLA. (source)Take advantage of our thrift stores: Buying used clothing and furniture helps your bank account and also the planet a lot. A few of the best ones are listed here. Before you order a million things for Mardi Gras costuming, head to the thrift stores first for some truly magical finds.

Use the Law School compost: If you really want to lean in to this resolution, start composting. Our Law School Compost Drop Off makes it easy and sets up every Monday at 9 AM. It takes up to 18 years for a corn cob to decompose in a landfill, but only a couple of months in a compost pile.

Eat chicken instead: Did you know Tulane was behind the major study that showed "if Americans changed their diets by swapping out just one item each day, they could greatly reduce their carbon footprint from food." Read about it here. Just swapping chicken in for beef a few times a week can make a global impact.

Clean your car's trunk: When your trunk is packed with junk (like my fiancee's is) it weighs down your car and consumes way more gas. This is another tip that will help the planet but also your wallet.

Always run a full dishwasher or load of clothes. I don't know why I am even mentioning this to any male student living in Sharp or Monroe, but I digress. Combine a load with your roommate if things are smaller.

Consume less with gifts: Come graduation season, consume fewer gifts. Instead of asking for material stuff, why not ask for a gift card to a great NOLA restaurant? Or a massage gift card for some post-finals relief? We already give and receive so much stuff, and replacing objects with experiences is a great way to be less wasteful and more thankful.

RideShare with other Tulane students: Every Tulane student probably already knows this, but sharing Ubers and Lyfts from the airport after winter break can save a ton of cash and a lot of gas. Everything you'd need to know is here.

There you have it! If going green wasn't already one of your resolutions or intentions in 2020, now it is. You can read more about sustainability at Tulane here.

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow morning for the other Go Green. Roll Wave!

I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 11:00

December 19th is almost upon us, so if you've applied to Tulane for our Early Action round, you'll be getting a decision from us in the next few days. For many of you, that decision may be: "The Admission Committee has chosen to defer final action on your application until our regular review period this spring." You're probably asking yourself: "What now?" So, here are my steps for helping you through this process.

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

Welcome back.

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

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

I think it is also worth mentioning that Tulane saw an 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. We've admitted almost 4,500 fewer students than at this point three years ago. This is not something that we are celebrating, it's simply the reality of how competitive Tulane has become.

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

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

DO: Consider switching your application to ED II. This is for deferred EA applicants only (and for first time applicants.) You can get more info here. The deadline is January 6th which gives you all winter break to decide with your family if ED II is right for you. Keep in mind that if you are relying on a merit scholarship to enroll at Tulane, ED II might not be the best option as the merit aid pool is limited in this round (but need-based aid remains the same for every admitted student.) One other point that I think is worth mentioning is that this year, the majority of ED II applicants will only be getting the following decisions: admit, admitted as a spring scholar, or denied admission. We felt it was not in our applicant's best interest to put an ED II student on our waitlist, thereby drawing out this process. If you are denied admission ED II, you can move along to other schools and put the focus on other regular decision applications.

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

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

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

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

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

DO: Send us some additional materials. You are welcome to send us a new resume, essay, your first semester grades, an art or music portfolio, a new SAT or ACT score, etc. While some of the smaller things may not make a big difference, an increase on your SATs, or a well-written essay about your Tulane visit can go a long way. Mid-year transcripts are recommended for deferred students. Again, keep in mind, unless it's a major change in extracurricular activities, it won't change too much (same goes for additional teacher recommendations). Anything you want added to your application, send it directly to or use your Green Wave Portal to self-report new testing.

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

DO: Understand how competitive this all is. Last year, Tulane admitted fewer than 14% of the students who applied to Tulane. Application to schools like Tulane are competitive, and we have far fewer spots in the class available than we have students who want to be a part in the class. So keep your head up and know that, in the end, whatever is meant to be will be. Defer is not a NO, it's more of a "not yet."

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

Rollin' on a River: 5 Great Spots to Enjoy the Mighty Mississippi

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 08:00

New Orleans is situated at the very base of one of the most important rivers on the planet: The Mississippi. The Port of New Orleans is one of the busiest in the world with over 90 million tonnes of cargo passing through it each year. Our location directly on the Mighty Mississippi plays a big role in the identity of our city, both in a historical sense and in our modern day infrastructure. And the best is yet to come, too. By 2020, the city is expected to have one of the largest continuous public riverfronts in the nation, measuring over 4.5 miles, according to Curbed.

Today’s blog features five great spots to take in the river in all her glory. It's also the fourth part of my series of New Orleans at 300 (well, technically 301.) You can check out my other 300th birthday posts about the film industry here, our best restaurants here and 30 amazing things about NOLA here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:36
If you do not recognize this man, you're doing it wrong! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Today we're talking about one of my favorite topics: health and fitness. As you might know, I teach spin down the street from Tulane at Romney RIDE and love to stay active. With the Holidays upon us and Mardi Gras on the not-too-far-off horizon,  I've created these 15 tips for staying in shape while at Tulane, especially during this heavy eating and drinking season. While the freshman 15 is a bit of fact mixed with a bit of lore, your college experience will be quite different from high school. You're likely not playing the sport you played every day in high school, you're not eating three parent-prepared meals, you're making your own schedule... you get it. It's a recipe for some big changes in your diet, activity level and life.

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

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

Eat smaller meals throughout the day. The unlimited meal plan at The Commons is both a blessing and a curse. You'll have access to amazing food 24/7 at Tulane. Instead of gorging on big meals whenever you feel like it, eat a healthy, small meal a few times a day. The Commons does a great job at labeling everything- actually pay attention to this. This whole "eat five or so smaller meals a day" craze caught on a while back, and there is some truth to it for a number of reasons. Best way to do this it to hit up one of our many food trucks. The Vietnamese one is my personal favorite.

Start a team! Eat a lot of fresh fruits, veggies and salads. Anything that comes in a crinkly bag or plastic, eat that in moderation. The best rule of thumb is that the healthiest foods you can eat tend to have fewer ingredients. Nearby, check out Poke Loa, City Greens, Satsuma or GoodBird for some healthy off-campus options. See a full list of healthy stuff off campus here.

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

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

Get on a routine. Just like a class schedule, get a workout schedule. Plan out your runs, gym sessions, dance classes, yoga, etc. Just like you schedule your academic classes, mark down your health and fitness classes in your calendar, too. Reily's group exercise schedule can be seen here. Download the Campus Rec app here. Romney’s schedule is available here. I highly recommend you stop by Thursdays at 5:30 for the RIDE of your life. Seriously, though, pencil in your workouts and commit to them each week. Make life even easier on yourself by downloading a few apps for your phone – MyFitnessPal, Nike Training Club and Map my Run are my favorites. We also have ClassPass here in New Orleans where you can access classes all over town. And if you have not been to see Joe for ABT, do you even go to Tulane?

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

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

Be aware of what food you keep in your room. NOLA's got some amazing places to eat at and we want you to experience it. You should definitely reap the benefits of living in one of the best food cities in the world. But when you’re back at your residence hall, don’t waste your cheat food on gross stuff in your dorm. Instead, replace it with filling but tasty foods. SmartFood popcorn, bananas, baby carrots, readymade smoothies, etc. Mom can help: see below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope this list helps. The last tip is the most important one. Enjoy Tulane and have a great Holiday season.

Sooo many group classes from Campus Rec!

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

Guest Blog: All About Transfers

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 09:00


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!

Admission Anxiety - And Ten Steps to Reduce It

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:00

Alright gang, EA and ED application deadlines have passed. It's all out of your control, and now, the waiting begins. Congrats to all of our Early Decision admits who found out last week! Speaking of which, for Tulane EA applicants who are admitted elsewhere ED, it's tremendously helpful for us at Tulane (and your peers applying to Tulane!) that you withdraw your application to Tulane as soon as you know you've been admitted elsewhere ED. It, quite literally, frees up a spot for another student to be admitted to Tulane. In the season of thankfulness, we'd be so thankful for your timely withdraw.

Speaking of being admitted to Tulane, Early Action letters will head out for most students in late December. Green Wave portals will be updated at 3:30 PM on December 19th. No need to keep checking the mailbox or portal until then. Hopefully, knowing exactly when you'll hear back will reduce anxiety and stress a little bit.

Speaking of anxiety... that's what today's blog is all about.

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

Then, it all changed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7) Take it a step further and take a little break from social media altogether. This one is tough, I know, especially in the world we live in. It's remarkable how much anxiety it can give you when you are consistently comparing your life to your classmates and experiencing FOMO. One small step I recommend is getting rid of the Facebook app on your phone and just checking it when you happen to be on your computer. Or pick one to commit to: Insta Story OR Snapchat, not both. As it turns out, you're not missing as much as you think you are. Case in point — the people who don't us social media at all are always cooler than me and never seem to have any anxiety about not being on it. I've blogged about this before. Social media is you comparing your worst moments to everyone else's best moments. Last month, I finally did it: I got rid of Facebook. And then, at Homecoming, I ran into a fraternity brother of mine and told him, in person, that I'd gotten engaged. Seeing his overjoyed reaction to this made me realize how much we've lost by posting these moments on Social Media rather than telling people face-to-face.

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

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

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

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

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

NOLA's Top Ten Hollywood South Cameos

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 14:56

From the Drake “In My Feelings” music video to the epic The Simpsons episode released last year, to the Green Book (which won best picture at the Oscar's last year!) New Orleans continues to get a lot of love from Hollywood, and we completely understand why! There are so many things to love about this city, and fortunately, popular musicians, movies, and TV series have been showing us off for years; so much so that our city has been nicknamed Hollywood South. A few years back, New Orleans was home to more major movie locations than any other location in the world.

Since it's a good time for a post to get your mind off of the application process, our admission team wanted to share a few of our favorite New Orleans cameos with you!

Sierra Cason-The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog not only introduced the first Black Disney princess, Tiana, but the fairy tale was based on Leah Chase. Chase was the queen of the kitchen at my favorite New Orleans restaurant, Dooky Chase! Unfortunately Chase passed away recently, but the legend was sent off with a celebration you could only find in New Orleans.

Owen Knight-22 Jump Street
My favorite NOLA production has to be 22 Jump Street! They filmed the movie during my senior year, so campus was buzzing for quite a while. Many students also had the chance to be extras- including me! It was so cool getting to see how a major Hollywood movie is made and I even got to fake party with Channing Tatum. I was bummed when that scene got turned into a montage, but the movie was still hilarious and it was a treat to see Tulane’s campus on the big screen.

Beyonce's Lemonade

From the Edna Karr Marching Band cameo in Algiers, to Destrehan Plantation, Beyonce’s visual album is full of Louisiana imagery.  She ends the album with "All Night", where you can see Beyonce, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy playing around in the Superdome, interspersed with scenes of Bourbon Street and various other recognizable spots in the city.  Beyonce and Jay-Z own a house in the Garden District, and her sister Solange lives here as well, so it’s no surprise that she used this beautiful place as the backdrop for this visual album.  You can check out all of the locations used in Lemonade here.

Jeff Schiffman-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Last year, I was on an international flight from China to Los Angeles and I was happy to see that one of my favorite movies of all time was available in-flight. By the time the two-hour-46-minute epic was over, I was literally sobbing in seat 44C, much to the shock of my Chinese seat mate. But how can you not shed a tear at this incredibly moving story of the human spirit, lasting love, and most importantly, New Orleans? NOLA plays a leading role in the decades-spanning narrative and we see iconic sites like the Bandstand in Audubon Park and the world-famous Clover Grill on Bourbon Street. If you ask me, nothing beats this movie when it comes to the all-time greatest NOLA-shot films. 

Leila Labens-Beasts of the Southern Wild
Beasts of the Southern Wild beautifully captured the sense of community, spirit, and resilience that is South Louisiana. While the film had a dystopian feel, some of the scenes (like the seafood boil) and the setting in the bayou felt all too familiar and comfortable. I left the theater with tear-stained cheeks and a stronger appreciation of how the people, the land, the food, and the culture of New Orleans are forever intertwined.

Julie Slusky-Scream Queens
New Orleans has been said to be a uniquely haunted, mystical place, especially around Halloween. I’m not really one for scary movies, but when I found out that Scream Queens, a campy comedy “horror” TV show, was being produced right on our steps with Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Nick Jonas, I knew I had to watch it. The hilarity and overall ridiculous situations the Chanels of Kappa Tau get into while escaping the Red Devil on the show was made only more enjoyable to watch since I recognized a backdrop or actor extra (including our own Admission Counselor, Owen Knight) at every turn. 

Jalin Carter-Ugly Delicious, Season 1: Episode 4 ("Shrimp and Crawfish")

This is a food show where they explore the meaning of authenticity and challenge what is and should be seen as fine dining. The host goes to Galatoire’s in the French Quarter, and also spends some time in Gretna exploring the Vietnamese influence on New Orleans cuisine and vice versa.

Lindsey Hoyt -Treme

I was a senior at Tulane in 2005, so my friends and I experienced Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath firsthand, and HBO’s Treme did a fantastic job portraying the storm from multiple perspectives to show what the storm meant to so many. Between its depictions of the city’s vibrant culture to the process in which that culture remained intact throughout the rebuilding of our community, the show always hit close to home while still managing to put a smile on my face. Watching Treme bring these characters' varied experiences to life made me even prouder to be a New Orleanian than I already was. All of that plus one of my favorite characters was a professor at Tulane!

Nora Colman-12 Years a Slave
One of my favorite movies that was filmed in New Orleans is 12 Years a Slave. In my sophomore year at Tulane, I read the book in a history course on the slave trade in Louisiana, and we actually got to go visit the filming locations throughout New Orleans and southern Louisiana before the movie was released. It was an amazing experience getting to read and analyze the book in an educational setting in the context of this city that was my new home, and then see it come to life on the big screen where I could recognize the locations, plantations, hotels, and streets. It helped remind me of the complicated, rich history of enslaved people in New Orleans and Louisiana and connect it to the city’s present day culture. 

Keith Stanford-Interview with the Vampire
I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise & Brad Pitt (though, I’m not too big a fan of either actor). I do, however, love Anne Rice and read most of the Vampire Chronicles and was excited to see the books come to life on the big screen. The city of New Orleans is as much a character in the books as the interesting vampires.  
Anne Rice seems to capture the city of New Orleans the way only a native can – with love and appreciation of the culture that runs deep. Her “hero,” the rambunctious Vampire Lestat, runs rampant in the city and sinks his teeth not only in his chosen victims, but the lovely French-themed homes and adorned streets of a central character of the novel – New Orleans. 

There you have it! Now get watchin'! 

What's the Deal with ED II?

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 07:00

By now, many of you seniors have probably gotten emails from us about our Early Decision II option.  Like Early Decision, ED II is binding, meaning that you are committing to attend Tulane in the fall if you are admitted through this plan. The application is due January 6th, and you will hear a decision from us by January 18th.  How's that for a quick turnaround?

ED II is a great option if you were planning to apply Regular Decision, but have decided that Tulane is now your #1 choice. Or, if you applied Early Action and your list of schools has changed throughout the process, you can switch your application to Early Decision II. You don’t have to let us know until January 6th, so you may wait until you receive a decision from us about your Early Action application, and then be in touch.

If you would to like switch your application from Early Action or Regular Decision to ED II, head to your Green Wave Portal and click the button on the right side. Since it is a binding agreement, you will receive an Agreement Form to be signed by you, your parents, and your guidance counselor. If you have not applied yet, you can simply start a new application and indicate you are applying ED II. You can read a bit more about the process here, and as always, be in touch if you have any questions!

Spring Scholars

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 09:00

Ciao Roma! Here I am last month with our Spring Scholars in Rome. Application review is in fill-throttle mode! We've seen another healthy increase in the number of students applying for admission to Tulane this year including a 29% increase in Early Decision applicants. Wowza! As we release ED and EA decisions over the next month (ED on 11/20!) a small number of students in this group will be admitted as Spring Scholars, our January admission program. If you were admitted as a Spring Scholar, congratulations! I thought I'd take a moment to share a few of my thoughts on this program. I visit both of our fall partnership programs every fall and I cannot say enough great stuff about both sites. More on that later. 
Here I am in Paris with our scholars! One 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 coupled with the increase in popularity Tulane has seen over the past few years. Our admission office is big on the holistic review process which means we spend a great deal of time creating a class of students based on everything you present to us in your application. Spring Scholars have excellent applications in nearly all regards. There are amazing alumni interviews, great "Why Tulane?" statements, and outstanding letters of recommendation in every application. When reading your application, we knew immediately that you want to come to Tulane and that you would be a great fit here. I suspect that our overall admit rate this year will be lower than last year's which was around 13%. That means that over 80% of the students who apply to Tulane this year will not be admitted for either the fall or spring. Last year for example, we saw our strongest Early Action pool in history, with a middle 50% range on the ACT between 31-34 and SAT between 1440-1540. These are by no means cutoffs, but it does give you a sense of just how competitive Tulane is this year. We can't take every academically qualified student who applies, but for a small group who we believe will be fantastic fits, we admit them as a part of our Spring Scholars program. 
With those facts in mind, I have some suggestions for next steps to take if you have been admitted as a Spring Scholar. First off, get excited, and then take some time to think about about. The Spring Scholars option is a final decision and is non-binding; you have until May 1st to decide. There will be no Spring Scholars switched to the fall semester at any point. Before you reach out with questions, take some time to read the FAQs for the program; there's some great info in there about housing (we guarantee it!) and Greek life (you can still go through the recruitment process!). I also highly recommend you connect with our Spring Scholars ambassadors to hear firsthand what their experiences have been like. We've also got the incredible Julie Slusky as our point person for all things related to Spring Scholars. She's here to help answer any questions you or your family may have. Just to reiterate, Mom, no spring scholars will be switched to the fall.
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 and coming soon... London. You'll have the option to spend your fall term with a cohort of Tulane students at an incredible university abroad: The John Cabot University in Rome or the American University of Paris (AUP). Schools like Northeastern, Cornell, Miami, Delaware, and the University of Southern California also have freshman at these campuses during the fall. I visited both sites in October and was tremendously impressed with everything I saw. Both sites have absolutely perfect locations, wonderful faculty and excellent student support. Each year, I do a full Tulane orientation session with both groups and also get some great feedback from our students there. Everyone seems super happy with their experiences in Paris and Rome. 

If you'd prefer to stay stateside, you can take classes as a non-degree seeking student at a school of your choice, participate in a gap semester program, take a semester to work, or maybe participate in service. It's really up to you. We're no longer partnering with Loyola New Orleans, so instead we strongly recommend our abroad options. We've listed all of your options here

Next, plan a visit to campus during our Spring Scholar Destination Tulane date. It all goes down March 12th. 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. 
Your potential fall campus!

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. You can join the Facebook group here. Currently, we have 175 Spring Scholars excited to start at Tulane in just a few weeks! The goal is to have around 100 for this next group. 

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

Rooftop study space at JCU in Rome. 

Snapped this shot while I Lime Scootered to AUP

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

14 Things Better Left Unsaid

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 15:12
Hey there! We're in the thick of reading season here at Tulane and spending all of our days (and sometimes nights!) inspecting your transcripts, poring over your "Why Tulane?" essays and reading all about the incredible things your teachers and counselors have to say about you.

Speaking of things to say, today we're talkin' about things not to say. I've been doing this whole admission thing for going on fifteen years now, and in that time, there are a few frequently used words and praises that I might suggest you (and your mom) steer clear of. I thought now, as we're in the thick of college application season, might be a great time to share with you all 14 words/phrases/sentences/ideas that are better left unsaid. Disclaimer—if you read this and think "oh no... I have said that! Are my chances ruined?" No! Not at all. This is one of my blogs that aims to calm down this admission frenzy. If any of the statements below apply to you, don't sweat it. Teaching moments, people! Now let's get down to it...

"I heard that...." Examples: "I heard that Tulane only admits kids who visit," or "I read that you have to party to enjoy Tulane" or "I heard that Jeff is trolling your Insta stories." You get the idea. I hate to even utter these words, but sometimes the stuff you read online or hear from friends is actually fake news. If you have questions or concerns, just reach out to your school counselor or the colleges you are applying to and go straight the source. We aim to always be honest and as candid as we can be with you.

"Which do colleges prefer?" When it comes to how you spend your time, we at Tulane prefer that you do what you want to. As Director of Admission at Tulane, I will be straight up with you: I don't want your experiences in high school to be a constant stream of things you think will look good on your college application. This whole concept of doing stuff to impress admission officers has reached a fever pitch this decade. So when you want to ask "Should I take this class or that class? Should I do this summer program or this one?" The answer? At Tulane, we genuinely don't have a preference. Do what you want, what will leave you fulfilled, and what makes you happy.

"Would you rather see the A in the regular class or the B in the AP class?" Heard it a million times. It's an impossible question to answer. We're looking to see if students have found an overall academic balance. Every student has a different personal academic balance that is a four year process.

"He/She/They/You only got in because they are [insert underrepresented minority]." You can also fill in [alumni] or [athlete] or really anything. Enrollment management is a complex thing, so you'll never know what goes on as a student is reviewed by our committee (or what they have included in their application). It helps to remember you are competing for YOUR spot in the class, not competing against other people for one spot in the class. It's just not a good look to ever say someone "only got in because..."

"I need to find my one and only perfect fit." I talk a lot about how I believe there aren't any bad schools, only bad fits. That said, there is likely more than one fit for you. Yes, you might have a top choice, but keep in mind that there are many great schools where you will totally and completely flourish. Don't put the pressure too much to find that one perfect place where you'll have that a-ha moment.

"Safety School" There are no longer safety schools. There are Likely Schools, yes. But calling a school your safety a) might give you bad juju and b) kind of belittles that school and others who might be applying to it as their reach school.

"I was rejected!" Always remember this: if you are not admitted to a college or university, the school is denying your application for admission, not rejecting you as a person. Never forget that.

"You admitted Diane and Jack from my school and they don't even want to go there and/or are not nearly as qualified as my son/daughter." Probably one of the biggest things admission officers really dislike hearing.

"I am applying ED, I just don't know where!" That is the same as saying “I want to get married tomorrow, I just don’t know to whom,” or “I want a tattoo, I just don’t know what I want it to be.” If you're going to apply ED, the school should really resonate with you and feel like your perfect match. Then, you can make the educated and thoughtful decision with your family and school counselor to apply early decision.

"We are taking the SAT this weekend." Mom/Dad/Guardian, I know applying to college is a team effort, but your son/daughter is applying. "They are," not "we are." Unless you're Aunt Becky.

"You only applied to LSU (insert any community college/state school here)? But why? You are so smart. You could have gotten in tons of places." You never know the needs or desires of who you are speaking to. Maybe that school is that student's dream school or maybe family finances require a less expensive university.

"I know my son should be calling, not me, but..." I am just going to stop you there.

"This will look good on my college resume!" I have literally written an entire blog dedicated to this very subject.

There you have it. Again, if any of the above applies to you, don't sweat it! I have heard all of these a thousand times before. Go forth with this new knowledge and prosper!

5 Tips to Knock your Interview Out of the Park

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 09:56
I am turning today's blog over to my colleague Corinne Watson. They're going to give you all of their best tips for our Alumni Interview Program. Before we start, my one tip is for anyone interested in participating in an interview: keep in mind that the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you can get your alumni interview set up. Because it is an optional part of the application, we want to make sure we have plenty of time to get it into your file before we start reviewing it.

Okay, take it away, Corinne!

*              *               *
Here's Corinne. They were our Homecoming Queen,
so they know a thing or two about
making a great impression! This year, we’re expanding our Alumni Interview Program to include more students than ever! This means you could get real face time with some of our absolutely incredible alums all over the world. What better way to learn about being a student at Tulane, than to meet with a Tulanian face to face?!

I personally think this is a fabulous way to learn about what life at Tulane really looks like. While this is all fine and dandy, an interview can be daunting. The power dynamic can be hard to look past at times, but that’s not what we’re about here in the Big Easy. We don’t want you to stress over this – applying to college is stressful enough. Instead, we want you to crush it! I’ve wracked my brain and come up with five tips to make sure you feel fantastic about your alumni interview.

1. You’re almost a YoPro (young professional), so act that way!

I know, I know, it’s really the worst advice, but you have to be yourself. Be your best self! And I don’t think you should try to be anything other than yourself. This interview should be more of a conversation—professional, yet casual. Bring your personality. If you’re funny, go for it! If you’re not, I wouldn’t recommend trying. Either way, you should be thoughtful and professional in your communication. We’re going back to basics: capitalize the first word in a sentence, use (appropriate) punctuation, and be respectful. No emojis. When the interview itself rolls around, it’s okay if you’re feeling nervous or shy. Just think about what you want to convey and make it happen! Lastly, as far as attire is concerned, be appropriate. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident! And smile: the alum wants this to go well, too!

2. It shouldn't feel awkward. 

This isn’t some scary, intimidating job interview—it’s a conversation. This is an outlet for your personality to shine through in an otherwise rigid and impersonal process. As such, you should be thoughtful, honest, and sincere. There is no script. There is no cookie cutter mold of what a Tulane student looks like that all applicants must fit into. You can weave your personality and experiences into the conversation in a way that provides a foundation for who you are. Give yourself credit where it’s due, but don’t go overboard! Humility goes a long way, especially when you can talk about not-so-hot experiences and how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned from them. Even though you should talk about yourself to some extent, it shouldn’t be just about you. Find balance between that and talking about all that you could accomplish at Tulane.

3. Do some research.

You should know the basics, but you should probably know a little more than that. I like the phrase “tangible plans” to relate your passions and how you plan to translate that into involvement at Tulane. We have a phenomenal website with loads of information AND contact information for our exceptional tour guides. These are real, live Tulane students involved in what you’re interested in. Hit them up! You can learn firsthand about what being a Tulane student is like. At the end of the day, this is how you can dig deep and make it the most meaningful experience possible. There’s a fine line though—it’s obvious when someone has done research because they are passionate about learning more as opposed to someone who has just gone through the motions because their counselor told them to.

4. Soak up all the alumni member has to share!

There are approximately 156,000 alumni members who bleed olive and blue (maybe they should go to a doctor). They have an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and they’re excited to share it with you. This is the time to broaden your horizons, and this is the whole point of college, you know. Maybe you think you want to be pre-med, but you’re not entirely sure what Chemical Engineering means or you’ve never even heard of Africana Studies. Now is the time to learn! The best way to expand your own experience is by learning from others’ lived experiences! I do want to say this: the alum interviewing you isn’t expected to be a Tulane Encyclopedia. Technical questions should go to your Admission Counselor, but your alumni interviewer can speak to their own experiences. These alums have the power to help you visualize yourself on campus and better understand what it’s like to be a part of the Tulane community.

5. Come prepared with questions.

First things first: avoid Google-able questions. Yes, we have a psychology program. Yes, you can study abroad on all seven continents. When you’re asked if you have any questions in any interview, you should be prepared. Here are some go-to questions if you need some inspiration. Realistically, they’re casually interspersed throughout the whole conversation to create the perfect ebb and flow with the alum’s questions. By asking genuine questions founded in something you’re interested in, you can truly personalize this experience. Through your own questions, plus the conversation as a whole, we want to know what’s important to you. As a function of that, we want to know that you understand how Tulane can support you in attaining and then surpassing your goals.

Throughout this fall, you’ll be going through a lot. Don’t lose yourself in the process! I want you to feel fantastic about your interview, so I hope these five tips helped. Never forget that you can reach out to me at with any questions, comments, or concerns at any point. I’m here for you!

Me, Corinne and our friend Dylan are really jazzed you're doing an interview! 

Top Five Outdoor Spots in NOLA!

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 09:00
If you have read my blog in the past, you know I am big into health and fitness. I even teach a spin class called RIDE at a studio down the street from Tulane. With fall temperatures finally approaching, I love to take many of my workouts outside. Whether it's a bike ride around town, a sunset jog through your favorite NOLA neighborhood or just an afternoon at the park, New Orleans offers a myriad of options for enjoying a life lived outdoors. In this blog, I’ll take you on a quick tour of my five favorite outdoor workout spots around (and slightly out of!) town. So grab that bike, those running shoes or just your picnic blanket and let’s go!

Crescent Park in all her glory! 1) The Crescent Park: If you haven’t checked out this park that stretches from the very tip of the French Quarter through the Marigny and all the way down through the Bywater, make this place the first stop on your list. To me, this park is very reminiscent of the High Line Park in New York City. The Crescent Park is 1.4 miles long and over 20 acres set up in a linear fashion along the Mississippi River. The park offers some of the best skyline views of the city and makes for a perfect jog down the main running path. Access to the park is easily on Piety Street in the Bywater or the staircase/elevator right past the French Market. Trust me on this one- you’ll love this spot from the second you cross over the massive bridge at its entrance.

2) Couturie Forest: For the perfect shaded run for any nature-lover, head over to the Couturie Forest in City Park. They bill it as “a natural escape in the heart of the city,” and I think that is spot on. I love running around the wooded trails and getting lost here. Sometimes I end up at a huge lake; other times you’ll find yourself atop Laborde Mountain- the highest point in the city of New Orleans at a whopping 43 feet above sea level. The forest is over 60 acres and one of my favorite spots in town for a run.
Hiking around Jean Lafitte with Drew last month 
3) Jean Lafitte Nature Trail: I love a cypress swamp, and you’ll feel like you are miles and miles away from any city when you check out this trail. Located just 30 minutes from town, it’s a great escape for a gorgeous hike through the bayou. I love this trial because you are guaranteed to experience some serious gator sightings. I think the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve is relatively unknown, especially being so close to town. But I don’t mind keeping it that way- the trail and preserve are peaceful and a total oasis. The boardwalk trial through the Barataira Preserve leads you to a stunning view of the bayou.

4) The Mississippi River Trail- A.k.a. the Levee Top Trail, this has been a common spot to see me when I am training for various triathlons. It starts right in Audubon Park and will take you all the way out through River Ridge, Kenner and all the way out past Destrehan for a nice 40 mile round trip ride. You can even connect and take it up through Baton Rouge. The MRT offers 3,000 miles of trails from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, and our little strip in town is a great spot for a long weekend ride. You’ll see tons of pro cyclists and triathletes out there every weekend. Be forewarned- a few spots are currently close for levee work, so plan accordingly.

Esplanade running trail 5) Esplanade Avenue: We all know the most popular spot for an outdoor run is St. Charles Avenue and the Audubon Park loop. For a change of pace, replace St. Charles with Esplanade (the streetcar drivers will thank you) and Audubon loop with the Big Lake Loop in City Park. Start your run anywhere in the Quarter or Warehouse District, head down the Moonwalk on the river and lower North Peters and hang a left on Esplanade. This shaded neutral ground will set the perfect scene for a run through the Quarter and Marigny, up through Mid-City and finally arriving at City Park. Feeling strong today? Take a few loops around the Big Lake in City Park before you make your way back down and home. It’s the same path you’ll see if you ran the Crescent City Classic. There is a reason- it’s one of the most beautiful running routes in the city.

There you have it, folks! Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors that NOLA has to offer!

The splendor of Jean LafittesThe end of the trail in Jean Lafitte. Worlds away from NOLA in only 30 minutes!
The Couturie Forest in City Park