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5 Tips for Your First 5 Weeks of College

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:03
Hard to believe it, but move-in day is just under 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:

#3: Best College City
#1: Most Engaged in Community Service
#4: Happiest Students
#2: Their Students Love These Colleges
#6: Best Quality of Life
#9: Best Run Colleges
#15: Most Active Student Government
#10: Most Popular Study Abroad Program
#13: Impact Schools
#14: Most Politically Active Students

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” until 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 at 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 a school ranked #4 for the 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 at college: put down the phone. Go for a run. Head to Reily. 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 released last 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 #5 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 great social experiences, rest assured. But here’s my tip: Take it easy in your first five weeks. Freshman orientation is a dry week and Tulane means it. Don’t make a mistake as soon as you arrive here that will have negative implications for the rest of your career. I graduated from Tulane over ten years ago and I can still recall, by name, the kids who acted like total dumbasses during our orientation. I know college can be a big adjustment, especially here at Tulane where our average class of 2023’er will arrive from over 900 miles away. Pace yourself, don’t overdo it, and ease your way into your social life.

Call your Parents: 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 also likely helped you get here and will support you as you spend these four years here in NOLA. Text them photos, keep them posted with how your classes are going and if you're 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 Cool Classes

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 15:59
In just two weeks, the Fall 2019 semester officially begins! As it always does, summer flew by. Our students will soon be back to the books, back in class and reengaged in some pretty cool discussions. Speaking of cool discussions, I've worked with my colleague Myron Shaffer over in Academic Advising to gather our annual list of Ten Cool Classes being offered this year for Tulane students. Check them out!

Yes, this is a class. (source)
COLQ 4120 The Grand Canyon
This course will explore the Grand Canyon region with expert faculty in the Earth and Environmental Science, Anthropology, and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Departments. You have the opportunity to fulfill the writing intensive requirement. The course fulfills elective requirements for majors in Environmental Studies, Environmental Earth Science, Geology, and Anthropology. Oh, and the class ends with an 8 day trip to the Grand Canyon itself!

COMM 2720 Media and Reproductive Rights
This course focuses on the relationships between reproductive politics, popular and social media, and movements for reproductive rights and justice in the United States. Students will learn key concepts and theories related to reproductive rights and justice, as well as media studies and analysis. The course covers historical and contemporary portrayals of reproduction within popular and alternative media with a focus on their racial, sexual, class, and gendered dimensions. Students will also learn about various ways in which television, film, and new media technologies function within government and nonprofit advocacy around reproductive issues. In sum, this course maps the intersections between reproductive politics and media technologies, while helping students develop their analytical prowess, communication skills, and knowledge of media, culture, and social inequity in the United States.

Study this! (source
TIDE 1016-01 Tolkien as Translator: Language, Culture and Society in Middle Earth

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.

TYLR 3000 Taylor Your Life
Learn how to approach your future with the mindset and toolkit of a designer. TAYLOR Your Life is an innovative career development lab that teaches students how to ideate multiple life paths, clarify their interests, focus and target their search, protoype and test elements of careers that interest them, market and brand themselves to stand out from the crowd, and map their community to effectively join the network of movers and shakers in their field.

BMEN 3400 Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
This course will focus on fundamental materials science and biological principles that impact the engineering design of biomaterials and tissue-engineered products. Topics addressed will include structural hierarchies of materials and tissues, physical and chemical properties of surfaces, degradation of materials, and cell-surface, cell-cell, and cell-matrix interactions. The course will conclude with inflammatory, immunological, and pathological events associated with responses to such products. Laboratory exercises will be utilized to illustrate selected concepts, introduce assessment methods, and provide hands-on experiences with cells and materials. Fulfills departmental “domain” requirement.  An additional non-graded once a week lab section to accompany lectures. Pre-requistites: ENGP 3120 and BMEN 2600, or permission of instructor.

Why not study jazz in it's birthplace?
MCGS 2000 Introduction to Musical Cultures of the Gulf South
An introduction to the culture of the Gulf South region with an emphasis on New Orleans music, history, ritual, dance, and cultural geography. Explores the musical relationship of the Gulf South region to the Caribbean and African diaspora. Introduces critical tools for analysis of the relationship of music and place. Themes of the course include ethnic migrations, social diversity, vernacular architecture, and slavery. Field trips to second-line parades, Mississippi River access points, diverse neighborhoods and historical slave markets.

This is Ichthyology! (Source)
EBIO 4280 Ichthyology
Biology of fish-like vertebrates, including taxonomy, evolution, anatomy, physiology, and biogeography.  Class Hours:  Lectures supplemented by weekly labs, some day field trips, and one weekend field trip.

ANTH 3200 Magic Witchcraft and Religion
This course is an exploration into religion and the occult. We will examine a wide range of topics, such as hauntings, spirit possession, the role of evil in the moral imagination, and the construction of symbols as well as various practices associated healing, witchcraft (or sorcery) accusations, and the experience of suffering and death. Anthropological approaches challenge the categories of "religion" and "witchcraft", which stem from Western conceptions of reality, Christianity, and ethnocentric views of the "other".

Make this! Eventually. 
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! Oh and by the way, just a few days after I got dropped off at Tulane, I took glassblowing!

TIDE 1680-01 Hot Topics in Sports Law
This course will explore the authority of commissioners in the major professional sports leagues to discipline players, owners, coaches, and others for conduct deemed injurious to the interests of the league or the sport.  Students will explore the origin and evolution of the office of the commissioner, tracing the development of the position from Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to Bud Selig, Paul Tagliabue, and David Stern. Students will focus on and discuss actions taken by commissioners in specific cases involving gambling, performance enhancing and recreational drug use, brawling during games, mistreating game officials and opposing players, and other types of misconduct both on and off the playing field.   Students will be asked to think critically about the scope of the commissioner’s power to act in these situations and the propriety of the actions taken by the commissioner.  The course will also analyze the commissioner’s regulatory authority to take action “in the best interests of the game,” and will look at notable cases where this authority was challenged by players and owners.

Apps 101: When to Apply

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 15:04
Wow and just like that, August is upon us, which means the Common Application is officially live! Here’s my suggestion for you: if you plan on applying early to any schools, take a little time in August to put some work into your Common Application. Get going on that essay, input your extracurricular activities and start a few of the “Why College X?” statements. Does even the thought of doing this stress you out? I got ya covered. See my previous Apps 101 Blogs on the essay, the activities section and the Why Tulane statement. I recommend putting a little legwork in during the month of August for two reasons: 1) you know how crazy things are going to get once school starts at the end of this month; 2) if you put in some work now and then take a break from applications, you’ll be able to see your work with fresh eyes in a few weeks, and that’s really valuable when it comes to evaluating the strength of your application.

Today’s blog is focused on the big question about WHEN you should apply to colleges. Colleges have made things pretty complicated these days with the various methods and timetables for applying, so I am going to lay out for you the four ways you can apply to Tulane and the benefits of each. Let’s go!

Early Action: Tulane receives the majority of our applications under our non-binding, early action plan. EA is a great way to get an early application in to Tulane as well as the biggest benefit of all: an early admission decision. If you apply to Tulane EA, which has a deadline of November 15th, you’ll hear back from us before January 15th and potentially even before our winter recess. If admitted, this gives you your entire spring semester to visit campus, weigh your scholarship options and use your entire semester to make an educated and thoughtful decision as to if Tulane is the best fit for you. Applying EA also allows you to apply for our major scholarships: The Paul Tulane Award, the Dean’s Honor Scholarship and the Community Service Fellowship all require students apply EA in order to be considered. If you truly feel ready to apply by 11/15, I strongly recommend you take advantage of our early action method of applying.

Early Decision: First things first: if you are considering applying to a school ED, you should not be saying to yourself “I want to apply ED somewhere, 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.” Rather, 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. Our ED deadline is November 1st and is a binding contract and for us at Tulane, has our highest rate of admission. It’s the ultimate demonstration of your interest in a school and admission committees do take that into account when reviewing your application. Before making a decision to apply ED, you should have a very pragmatic and realistic conversation within your family about financial aid. We offer a comprehensive program for need-based aid for EA and ED, and your family should fill out the Net Price Calculator to see if Tulane is the right financial fit. It's important to keep in mind that ED students have a different pool of merit-based scholarship available to them and as this pool is smaller than other application rounds. One final great benefit of both EA and ED—the option to participate in our alumni interview program.

Early Decision II: In an effort to maintain fairness and ensure that our incoming class doesn’t get too ED heavy (a common complaint in the world of higher education these days) Tulane may offer an Early Decision II. Similar to ED I, ED II is a binding decision, and students admitted through the ED II timeline are committed to withdrawing all applications from other universities and enrolling at Tulane. If the Early Decision II timeline is made available, the Office of Undergraduate Admission will make the announcement in December, and students may apply directly into Early Decision II or switch their current application from Early Action or Regular Decision to Early Decision II.

Regular Decision: Applying RD gives students and your counselors the most amount of time to complete the application process as our deadline is not until January 15th. If you need additional time to apply to Tulane, this is the best method of applying. We offer both need and merit based aid to our RD applicants, but keep in mind you won’t be able to qualify for our three application-required merit scholarships. If you apply RD, we’ll get an admission decision to you by the end of March.

And there you have it! Four options, four different ways to apply. For more info, you can visit this site to see additional details about applying. The good news is that even if you are apply early, you still have at least three months to make this decision. Deep breath!

Ten Application Tips from the "Experts"

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 07:00
The entire Enrollment Management team is seaux excited to have you apply! Today is the day! August 1st marks the launch of application season! 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. With today's app launch, what better day to share with you all my ten tips for applying to college. 

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. Tulane will likely see over 40,000 applications this year. Schools like UCLA and NYU get 75,000+ applicants. 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 tens of thousands of applications a year, and as soon as we see something in your file that is identical 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. I posted a whole blog about this last month. 

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.  Last 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! Now I have one final question for you: What are you waiting for?

Apps 101: Demonstrated Interest

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:36
You don't have to make a jacket out of beads to demonstrate your interest. Or do you?Welcome back to part three of our Apps 101 blog series. So far, we’ve talked about what makes a great essay and how to stand out for the right reasons in the actives section. Today, we’re talking about a less tangible part of the application process: the concept of demonstrated interest. First off, this will be almost the last time I’ll use the words “demonstrated interest” in today’s blog. Instead, I refer to this as engagement with universities as you start to narrow down your list and fill out applications. As opposed to demonstrated interest, engagement is the thoughtful and authentic interactions that you have with universities as you navigate this process of deciding where you’ll spend the next two or for years of your life. And yes, I’ll transparently say that how you engage with us is something that we look at at Tulane; it is one part of our holistic review process. So… how do you engage with colleges and universities in a genuine and authentic way as opposed to the “box checking” that is usually affiliated with demonstrated interest? That’s what today’s blog is all about. Let’s explore what engagement IS and what it IS NOT.

What Engaging with Universities IS:

Writing a great Why Tulane? statement. First off, I am no longer calling this essay the “optional statement.” That is trickery and I won’t subscribe to it! True, it’s not mandatory that you complete it, but it’s absolutely the most important part of engagement that we look at. I’ve previously written an entire blog about the Why Tulane? statement, so take a look. Bottom line: this should be an easy, genuine and fun essay for you to write. If you are pulling teeth to get one of these things written for a school you’re applying to, I recommend you pull the plug on that entire application.

Attending a Tulane Comes to You or MET event. Universities and colleges put countless hours, human capital and funding into traveling the world to meet prospective students. This fall, Tulane will head to almost 60 cities to have our Tulane Comes to You events. You can register for them here. Later this summer, check out our Metropolitan University Tour’s (aka the MET) website to see where we’ll be heading with our colleagues from NYU, Northeastern, SMU, GWU and Miami. We purposefully visit regions of the country that are less frequently visited by college admission reps. Many universities travel in groups, so be sure to sign up for various school’s mailing lists to get info on where they’ll be and when.

Attending a visit at your school or CBO or attending a college fair. In additional to our large events, Tulane also visits over 1,400 high schools and community-based organizations (CBO) each year. This year, we’re even more committed to visiting schools we’ve not been to in the past as well as increasing the number of CBOs we visit. Check with your guidance office to see if we’re in your school or organization soon. Got an AP test during our visit? No worries, plenty of other opportunities to engage with us—class takes priority! Check out the list of NACAC fairs around the country. Tulane will be at plenty of them!

If possible, applying in our early rounds. Here is me being as transparent as I can be: Tulane typically admits a higher percentage of students that apply in the early rounds. We offer both Early Action and Early Decision. If Tulane is on your list and you are prepared with your application materials, you’ve got nothing to lose by submitting your application in November. We’re on the Common App, have no application fee, and if you apply Early, you’ll hear back from us before winter recess. This gives you the entire spring semester to make a college choice. I want to reiterate: I’m not telling you to apply early if you are not ready, but if you are, go for it.

Participating in an alumni interview. Aside from visiting campus, there are few better ways to get a sense on if you’ll be a good fit at a specific school than by talking to someone who actually went there. After you complete your EA or ED application, we’ll reach out to you to get an interview set up with a local alumni nearby (or via Skype) We’ve got interview prep here and great questions to ask your alumni interviewer here.

What Engaging with Universities is NOT:

Doing every single thing above as much as possible. Do not let this whole idea of “engagement” stress you out. Take a look at the colleges that are visiting your area in the fall and attend the ones that interest you. If you’re able to visit campuses and it makes financial sense to do so, do it. But don’t feel like you absolutely have to check off every single box above and do as much as you humanly can. That is inauthentic demonstrated interest. Doing what feels right, what comes naturally to you and what are the most authentic things for you— that is engagement. This whole thing is just one part of the many aspects of the admission process at Tulane. Don’t let this demonstrated interest thing add to the stress of an already stressful process.

Emailing us. I once got an email from a student that said, “My counselor says I need to demonstrate my interest in Tulane so I am doing it here.” We have a whole team of admission representatives who are here to help you with anything we can. But truly, only email us if you really want or need to. For example, if you live in a rural community and we’re not coming anywhere close to you this fall, shoot us an email and we would be happy to connect you with our great students and faculty from your academic area of interest. If you’re coming from a school that doesn’t have the resources to guide you through this process, email us and we’ll answer every question you’ve got. If you are an international student, we'd love to connect with you via email! But don’t email for the sake of emailing. And for everyone’s sake, avoid these emails.

Lining up after the Tulane Comes to You event. OK, this one is purely and completely selfish! Last fall after my event ended in Los Angeles, I spent just shy of two hours with a line of students who were waiting to say hello. Yes, it seems natural to want to be remembered and make a personal connection with your admission rep and we love getting to meet you. But in reality, we meet tens of thousands of students each fall and these types of interaction are impossible to remember. If you have questions for us, please do stay and ask away—that is what we are here for! At many of these events, we bring our current students us and this a perfect time to chat with them. Otherwise, head home from those evening events and study for your AP Chem Test. Or head home and make some notes for your Why Tulane statement. Or just head home and do something totally unrelated to the college process for a bit!

What Engaging with Universities is KIND OF:

Visiting us. I know this seems like a strange one to put on the KIND OF list, but hear me out. We would absolutely love to have you see campus and explore NOLA. But we also understand that it costs money. The admission committee will never look at your application and ding you for not visiting. We don’t sit around in committee and say “why didn’t they visit?” Candidly, we love seeing that our applicants have come in town for a campus tour or attended a Campus Preview Day. If you have the financial means to visit or if you live not far from New Orleans, yes, you should consider a visit. If you don’t have the means to get here, follow the steps at the beginning of this blog instead as a way to engage with us.

Here is the deal with engagement: we’re not doing this to trick you. We’re not doing this to trap you. We take note of your engagement with us because we genuinely want you to research the best college fit for you. When we started looking at demonstrated interest a few years ago it had some really interesting results. Our students were enrolling at a higher rate but they were also returning for their sophomore year at a higher rate— 94% as of last year! It even led to higher graduation rates and our highest student experience satisfaction rate we’ve ever seen. It’s why I always smile when we land in the top five list for happiest students. Simply put: we want you to be happy here. We want you to do some genuine and authentic research to find if this place could be a great fit and an even better home for the next four years.

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:54

Lauren Gaines, '20 - Communications MajorIntern - Smithsonian's National Museum of American HistoryWashington D.C.
This summer, I have the incredible opportunity to intern with the Office of Special Events at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. It is an extremely exciting and important time in the history of the National Museum of American History, which has just appointed its first woman Director, Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D. I am most excited about witnessing her leadership firsthand, and working within an office completely headed and staffed by women. I am grateful to Tulane for equipping me with the tools and skills to best serve the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Institute, and the families, students, scholars, and visitors that the Institute continues to engage, educate, and inspire.

Nicholas Patrick Bonin, '19 - Digital Media  Production & Communication Double MajorProduction Assistant - NCIS: New Orleans New Orleans, LA
After working as an intern on Season 5, I got hired as a full-time production assistant for Season 6! Prep for the new season just started on July 1st, so I've just started my time there and I'm pumped to be a member of this show's awesome crew and officially become a part of the Louisiana film industry!

Anna Battaglia, '22 International Relations and Finance Double MajorAltman Program Study Abroad Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand has been amazing so far! We have visited an elephant sanctuary, spent a weekend in a mountain village doing community service, taken a weekend trip to Chiang Rai to see the white temple, and gotten to know our home city of Chiang Mai. We have spent so much time bonding in our cohort and with our professors that it feels like we're the Altman family. After our next stop, Hua Hin, I'll be traveling with my friends to Vietnam and Japan. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime!

Sanjali De Silva, '21 -  Public Health & International Development Majors, Spanish MinorSummer Intern - Office of the President, Planned Parenthood Washington D.C.
This summer I am working with the Press Secretary and Communications Directors for Dr. Leana Wen, the President of Planned Parenthood. I am working with them to create briefing memos for her press appearance, gathering talking points and monitoring reproductive justice in the news. In addition, I am working on projects that bolster Planned Parenthood's recognition as a public health organization. In just my first three days at PPFA, I was on the hill twice, watched Busy Phillips testify to the House Judiciary Committee and have gotten to know Dr. Wen herself! At a time when there is a nationwide debate on abortion rights, it is important to be speaking up. The people I am meeting and the experiences I am having in D.C. can only be defined one way: defiance.

Cami Hallagan, '21 - Economics and Political Science Double MajorGlobal Solutions Intern - Harvard Business PublishingBrighton, MA
I was drawn to apply to my internship at Harvard Business Publishing through my work in my leadership class with Dr. Cowen. We studied many different styles of leadership and I thought that there was no better way to truly understand leadership than by working at a company that dedicates its mission to leadership development. My internship is incredibly fascinating because I'm not only exposed to the best content on leadership development in the world, but I also get to help companies around the globe find the right training style and teaching methods for their own leadership development and help design their months-long programs. By working for the global solutions team, I get to work with people all around the world, learning about their lives and cultures. For example, my meeting this morning composed of people from India, the Middle East, Sydney, Los Angeles, London, and the East Coast. I cannot wait to see what other opportunities will arise this summer.

Ra'Janae Morris, '22 - Neuroscience and Public Health Double MajorTeaching Fellow - Breakthrough Collaborative New Orleans, LA
I am a Teaching Fellow for BTNOLA! I teach 8th-grade science to students from all areas of New Orleans. Breakthrough teachers receive extensive training in curriculum design, classroom management, and adolescent development, as well as support and feedback from professional teachers. For students Breakthrough New Orleans is a tuition-free, multi-year college-preparatory program for middle and high school students. Breakthrough students commit to three full years, in grades 6-8, in our intensive Middle School Program. I love this position so much because of the students who enthusiastically chant our BT cheers, chat with me during lunch, and most importantly engage in the classroom. I hope this experience helps me pursue my mission to advocate for K-12 STEM Education and beyond for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Jared Imber, '21 - Cell and Molecular Biology and Spanish Double MajorTulane Honors Summer Research Program, CPS Internship Program New Orleans, LA
This summer, I am working in Dr. Wang’s lab on Tulane’s Uptown Campus. In the lab, we study the molecular mechanisms of cell death of Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells present in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, one of the leading causes of central vision loss among today’s elderly population. Specifically, I am attempting to determine the cell death mechanism present after treatment with Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein (a cell death inducer). Then, I will attempt to find inhibitors that rescue the cells from death. I am fortunate to receive funding from the Honors Summer Research Program, which allows me to continue conducting my research here this summer. I am also interning at Ochsner Medical Center’s main campus throughout the summer. I will be working in the Emergency Room, helping out in any way that I can while also gaining first-hand experience with the medical and New Orleans community. I am excited to participate through the Center for Public Service’s Internship Program, which allows me to complete my second-tier service during the summer through something meaningful.

Adolfo Garcia, '21 - Finance and Legal Studies in Business Double MajorSophomore Intern - AllianceBernstein Manhattan, New York
This summer I'm interning at a AllianceBernstein (AB), a leading investment management and research firm based out of New York City. I found out about this internship while giving a campus tour of Tulane! I'm rotating through private wealth management and sell side sales, two of the strategic business units (SBUs) of the firm, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm currently working on some super cool things, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say what I do, so I'll just allude to the fact that I'm getting MAJOR finance experience all while meeting great people in one of America's best cities (sans New Orleans).

Didi Ikeji, '21 - Public Health and Asian Studies Double MajorPatient Care Coordinator and Clinical Research Intern - Ochsner MedVantage ClinicNew Orleans, LA
This summer I am working at Ochsner in a geriatric clinic that was started in order to provide better service to the aging population of New Orleans. My schedule varies daily which makes it really exciting. Some days I go on home visits with doctors and other days I do research, sit in on meetings, and shadowing. I also help the clinic with finding grants and will hopefully put together an academic poster to present at conferences this fall. The clinic's current research focuses on lowering emergency department misuse by the elderly. My favorite part of working in the clinic is being able to apply the things I'm learning in class and seeing how research I'm doing at the population level can impact individuals. I love the masters students in the office that I can learn from and the head of the clinic Dr. Carstarphen. It is especially inspiring to work in a clinic headed by a female doctor of color and see diverse role models in medicine.

Alexa Topolski '22 - Psychology major with a double minor in Economics and French
Communications Intern at Lancel 
Paris, France

I’m currently working at Lancel, a French luxury leather goods company, in Paris. I work with the Communications department and with the Design Director conducting research on modern branding and possible collaborations with artists and groups. I’m also engaged in event planning and assisting with French to English translations for social media. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a fashion shoot and meet many different people in all aspects of the business.

I’ve enjoyed everything about my experience and have been inspired by the products and staff. It’s heartening to learn the tremendous amount of work and dedication that countless people put into creating each product from the design prototype workshop, where I work, to the tannery and final assembly stage. The immense effort, skill and creativity that goes into making a single bag, such as the Charlie, can take up to four weeks. Having the opportunity to be part of and contribute to this team has been an honor and a privilege. I look forward to using the skills I’ve learned in my future academic and professional pursuit

8 Tips for the Activities Section

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:00
Welcome back to our weekly blog post all about my best tips for the application process. Last week we talked all about the essay. Today's blog is going to address what makes a great (and not-so-great) extracurricular list. Here's the best advice I can give you: you don't need to be well rounded. Yes, I said it. As Director of Admission, it's not my job to only find well-rounded students. It's my job to build a well-rounded class of students. That means I need artists, musicians, soccer goalies, feminists, researchers, people passionate about community service, running backs and baristas. You don't have to be the Renaissance Man or Woman; you just have to have a few things that you love to do and are good at doing. We're looking for much more depth on your extracurriculars than we are breadth. In fact, we're kinda turned off when the resume is ten pages long (or every single box on the activities section is filled out) and we struggle to really get a sense of where your passions are and what you'll be involved in when you arrive on our campus in the fall. Take a look at my previous blog about what your overall resume and experiences in high school should generally look like.

Now, let's delve into my...

8 Tips for the Activities Section

Less is more. This applies directly to what I said above. You don't need to list every single time you walked around the park for a charity or the club you went to three times sophomore year. What we are looking for is the main points of passion. We don't need a laundry list. Nearly every student we admit to Tulane is in their school's National Honor Society, for example. It's just not needed to list each of these things out. We want the big picture stuff.

Avoid repetition of the same activity. From an admission perspective, we don't need to see soccer or trumpet written multiple times. While I know that club soccer outside of school is totally different from the varsity team at your school, my suggestion is to consolidate this into one activity on the list. Use the description to share all of the various ways you've been involved in soccer rather than spreading each one out, especially if you are also talking about this in your short answer.
Yes, we get it. You are a soccer player.
Put things in the proper order. The first activity should be your biggest, most passionate one that you committed the most time to. Then, "de-escalate" from there. Don't hide the most important ones at the bottom and remember that when we're flipping through tens of thousands of resumes and activities lists, you want to grab our attention from the start. You know how we want you want to hook us in with that first sentence of your essay? Same thing here.

Don't wait until the end to tell me the stuff you are awesome at! No one gets admitted to college based on those first three.
Don't overdo the service trips and travel. We know there are some amazing service trips and programs all around the world. For a school ranked #2 for students most involved in community service, we absolutely value the time you've spent involved in service. But if we get a resume packed with only trips to Fiji and Costa Rica, it can come across as privileged. Again, I think there is value in these trips, but I also think there is value in a service project or job in your own backyard.

Get a job and tell us about it. Speaking of the above, we love a job here at Tulane. In an era when fewer and fewer teenagers are holding summer jobs, we're now at the point were an old fashioned summer job is something that can truly make you stand out in this process. Last month at a smoothie shop in Los Angeles, I told my high school-aged smoothie maker how proud of her I was for spending her summer working part-time. She looked at me like I was crazy, but hey, maybe she'll apply to Tulane this fall. We think jobs teach time management, responsibility and great communication skills. It might even be at the top of your activities list if you've committed that much to it. When I was in high school I was a stock room boy at Pier One Imports. You want to talk about character building? Try working at Pier One over the holiday season.

Be specific. This is a tip that you'll get when you create an actual resume as you apply to jobs in the real world. Use data, numbers, and anything that I can cling on to and share with the admission committee when I go up to bat for you. It's much easier for me to say "this student increased membership in his school's Queer Student Alliance by 100 students" over "this student made the QSA more popular."

Don't overlook what you think might be mundane. There are things you might not consider as traditional extracurricular activities that we on the admission committee might find quite interesting. I had a kid collect coins from around the world by scouring various antique shops with his grandfather. You might not think your quirky hobbies are activity-list-worthy, but sometimes it's those things that make you stand out the most in this section. Read 15 books for pleasure this summer? I want to know about it. Have a penchant for yarn and knitting? That's kinda neat to me too.

Avoid abbreviations. This one's a quick one, but spell it out for us and assume that we know nothing about what goes on in high school clubs these days.

Let's see some examples of this:

WHAT NOT TO DO: What is ACAM? What did you do at Meals on Wheels? And why downplay that awesome job?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Ah, good. No abbreviations. Specifics on the Meals on Wheels. And you didn't sell yourself short on how important being a busboy is! 
There you have it! Now get to work on crafting that dynamite activities section. Happy applying!

Ten Tips for an Epic College Essay

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 11:00

Happy July, everyone! This month, as we lead up to August 1st when the Common Application goes live, I'll be breaking down the application into four parts. Each week, I'll provide the best advice I can as you tackle the application at the end of the summer. Don't stress about any of this now, but periodically take a look at the blog this month to get some of our best tips on the essay, the activities section, the Why Tulane? statement and lastly tips on when to apply. This week we kick it off with the essay.

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. In my 15 years here, I can count on two hands the amount of times the essay was the sole reason an applicant was admitted (or was not admitted) to Tulane. 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 17th 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 or would benefit from a pair of seasoned eyes on your college essay, we're here to help. We're in the second year of our 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 meditation and how your body responds to it. Loved it. (yes I'll admit I'm a predisposed meditation 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 as 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 its 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!

The Ten Best Restaurants in New Orleans: 2019

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:37
This is always my favorite blog of the year to write! It's good timing too. Later this summer, many of the restaurants below will participate in Coolinary New Orleans and offer some incredible discounts on their favorite meals.

Speaking of favorite meals, 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. This is a list of my (and our admission team's) personal favorites and allows for a wide range of budgets. So forget Zagat and Michelin, without further ado, the Office of Admission presents to you...

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA 2019 
Brand new and already amazing! source
Gianna: Gianna is brand new to my list this year and it's probably in part because I just got back from a two-week vacation in Italy. Gianna is absolutely the best Italian food in the city and my meal there last week cemented this restaurant's spot on my 2019 list. The new Warehouse District restaurant is from the Donald Link group (see also: Peche, Cochon, etc.) so you know it's going to be excellent. I loved the veal saltimbocca in particular. After eating my way through Italy, I can honestly say Gianna is the closest you'll get to actually being in the Bel Paese!

Blue Oak, yes please (source)
Blue Oak BBQ: New Orleans has an excellent collection of great BBQ joints, but in my humble opinion, Blue Oak is by far the best of the best. They have won Hogs for the Cause, our city-wide-BBQ-off, a number of times and their BBQ pork sandwiches are the best in the city. I love their vibe in Mid City- it's casual and family-friendly and has a great outdoor patio with long picnic tables that are very conducive to a large (and affordable) group dinner.

Domenica's cauliflower. Be still, my heart. (source)
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.

Longway Tavern: I was hesitant at first when I saw this place was just a block off Bourbon Street (which if you didn't know by now is all tourists and Tulane students are not tourists) but I gave Longway a shot and have been back three times since. The food and ambiance are pure perfection. It's got this casual and approachable vibe that reminds me of what a French Quarter tavern would have been like back in the day. Try the wagyu steak sandwich while lounging in their cute courtyard that will take you a world away from Bourbon Street.

Oh my Gautreau's (source)
Gautreau's: File this one under "Hidden Gems of New Orleans." You might pass by this adorable Uptown restaurant without even noticing it's there, but for those in-the-know, this French Bistro offers some of the best dining in the city. I was there after graduation last month and the food, service and ambiance were excellent. It's a great spot to get away from the crowds and celebrate in a refined Uptown setting. It's not as well-known as it's Garden District neighbor Commanders Palace, but equally as excellent.

Bywater American Bistro: Last year, 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 year. When it opened, 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!

NJBs Greg and Michael from Pizza Delicious (and both Tulane alumni!) (source)
Pizza 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.

Saba: Just a few blocks from Tulane, Alon Shaya 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.

Cochon's wood fired oysters give me life! (source)
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.

1000 Figs, if you're reading this, will you cater my rehearsal dinner? (source)
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 feeling like you've just eaten on the beaches of the Mediterranean. 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.

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!

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.

Summertime and the Livin's (Big) Easy - 12 Things to do this Summer in NOLA

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 14:40
Judging by the temperatures here in NOLA these days, it is definitely summertime in the Big Easy! While it may be hot in New Orleans, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, cool, and busy. I solicited the help of some of our current students and curated today's blog... in honor of summer, I bring you:

12 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. Now that we've got Blue Bikes in NOLA, exploring the Park couldn't be easier.

It's like you're walking IN the water! (source
NOMA Sculpture Garden: While you're at the Botanical Garden, be sure to head over to the brand new sculpture garden at next door. Meredith Galanti, a Tulane rising senior, was there this month: "Just this past month, NOMA opened their 6 acre expansion to the Sculpture Garden to include 20+ new sculptures, a 60-ft mosaic wall, and so much more. My favorite new installation was the canal link bridge that emerged in to one of the exhibit's pools, making us eye-level with the top of the water. My best friend Hannah and I decided to go here on her last day in New Orleans and we instantly felt like we were transported to a whole new place. Bonus tip: Go reward yourself afterwards with some Cafe Du Monde beignets right next door!"

Our amazing team of student interns on their annual tubing tripBogue 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 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 and the Tammany Trace: 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. When you're up here, take a bike ride on the Tammany Trace. I recommend starting in downtown Covington and embarking on a great strip of the 31-mile rails-to-trails pathway.

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.

COOLinary New Orleans. This suggestion comes to us from Adolfo Garcia, one of our student interns: "There’s no better time to try out some of NOLA’s most legendary restaurants than during the summer. August in New Orleans marks COOLinary Month, when participating restaurants (and there are usually 100+) create custom, prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner all month long. So you can eat at a historic, elegant French Quarter restaurants like Antoine’s, Garden District culinary landmarks like Commander’s Palace or a trendy, contemporary restaurant like Top Chef Nina Compton’s Compere Lapin for a steal. Coolinary is not to be missed if you enjoy fancy food without fancy prices."

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.
This place is amazing. (source)
Take in the New Orleans Museum Scene: At the temps go up, there are some great places to stay cool indoors. Many causal visitors to NOLA don't realize how many incredible museums we have here in town, including the #2 rated museum in the world, the National WWII Museum. Our brand new admission counselor, Angel Carter, agrees: "There are so many options or the many types of museums that are offered in New Orleans such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana Children's Museum, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, or for the foodie in all of us : The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. "

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

Studio BE is massive! 

Wildflower fields in City Park

Beach Books

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 15:53
One suggestion we give here in the Office of Admission for how to spend your summer and how to maximize your junior year is to read a few books. Reading a few books or listening to an audiobook can give you great content for potential essays or can serve as great conversation starters for college interviews. Don't be surprised if one of the questions that an interviewer asks you is "what's the last good book you read?" They are likely not going to ask you what's the last great thing you scrolled through on Insta or what was your high score on Fortnight. I am not trying to be a Dad here and tell you to put down your phone and read a book, but, well, actually maybe that is exactly what I am telling you. And, you're in luck! I polled our students and staff here in the Office of Admission and we came up with a great list of books you can dive into this summer. Enjoy!

We Cast a Shadow Recommend by Allie, our writer (so she would know!)
The debut novel of a local New Orleans author! It takes place in a futuristic dystopian unnamed city (that's really New Orleans but only referred to as The City) where people of color undergo controversial demelanization procedures. The book centers around a mixed race family and the lengths that a father is willing to go to get the procedure for his son, in spite of his son and wife not wanting the procedure for him. Here's a more concise review.

The Song of Achilles Recommended by yours truly.
Oh man, how do I even begin to describe this book? I am not particularity emotional when it comes to books, but this one sure did tug at my heartstrings. Madeline Miller, the book's author, is renown for being able to take the ancient Greek myths and re-tell their stories in a modernized narrative. Everyone knows about the Trojan War and the Greek Hero Achilles who is integral in this myth. But what is not as well known is the relationship that Achilles had with Patroclus. This book tells their love story set over the backdrop of the greatest battle ever fought. It's so awesome.

Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment Recommended by Antonio Milton, Tulane Senior.
Witness to Change is the memoir of Sybil Morial, the wife of the first African American Mayor of New Orleans. It tells the story her life and of how New Orleans has undergone profound changes over the course of a few decades. As an activist and educator, Morial provides her own personal experiences amongst a backdrop of New Orleans political history.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager Recommended by Morgan, Director of Admission Engagement.
This story follows Norris--a snarky French-Canadian black teenager--as he reluctantly moves to Texas. He chronicles it all in his journal, where he tackles the American high school tropes he encounters as a way of dealing with this major life change. It's a quick, funny read that also has great discussions on race and how it relates to the "typical" high school experience. It’s a lot like Mean Girls, if Mean Girls was narrated by a black male. This is what I love about this book—it’s a classic high school coming-of-age story from a perspective that isn’t portrayed nearly enough in YA fiction.

Sapiens Recommended by Lela Scully, Tulane Sophomore:
I read this book per the recommendation of a teacher I had in high school. In every chapter, Harari tracks the progress of humans and the origins of our history. It’s a fascinating, sweeping, detailed read that I highly recommend to anyone interested in history, philosophy, or even someone who wants to read something nonfiction this summer. A++

Vengeance Recommended by Rachel Rosenberg, Assistant Director of Admission.
Each year, Tulane selects one book as the Reading Project for the incoming freshman class - this year, the selection is Vengeance, written by Tulane professor Zachary Lazar.  The narrator visits Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and gets wrapped up in the story of a particular inmate, Kendrick King, who was arrested in New Orleans for murder.  The book touches on issues of mass incarceration and race as it tries to unravel King's journey.  It is always fascinating to read a story that takes place in your own city, and Lazar's novel will certainly spark meaningful conversations for the Class of 2023.

Can You Keep A Secret? Recommended by Angel Carter, Admission Counselor
This story follows a woman named Emma Corrigan. She's in a stable, but dull, relationship with the "perfect" man, and is currently attempting to climb the corporate ladder at Panther Cola, a multi-national soda company. While on a flight, she mistakenly blurts out all of her inner secrets to a complete stranger when it hits turbulence and she believes she is going to die.
Emma believes that she is in the clear when she leaves the plane, as she is confident that she will never see that stranger again. However, when he shows up at work, and turns out to be the company's founder, she is forced to come face-to-face with the man, her secrets, and the desire for her life to change. This novel is an entertaining read that will make you laugh, maybe tear up a bit, and contemplate your own secrets that you may have. (source)

Moonglow Recommended by Leila, Director of Strategic Recruitment:
Michael Chabon is a great author. I caught myself day dreaming and imagining the situations described for weeks after I read the book. It tells about love and life and appreciating what has come before. 

Washington Black recommend by me (sorry I have a lot I want to recommend!)
What an incredible epoch this book is. Washington Black begins as a story an eleven year old born into slavery on a plantation in Barbados. The story follows his life as it evolves over the emancipation of slaves in the West Indies. This flowing narrative takes Wash, as he's called, from Virginia to the Arctic North and Barbados to London. It's a remarkable story about a boy, his love for the natural world and the sometimes intangible concept of freedom. This book was on the New York Time's list of best books of 2018.

The Great Believers Recommended by Aldopho Garcica, Tulane Junior
In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about to pull off a coup, bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Yale and Fiona’s intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of 80’s and the chaos of the modern world, as both struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster. (source)

Guest Blog: All About Transfers

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 13:38


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!

GiveNOLA Day

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 05:00

Today is GiveNOLA Day! This is the sixth year of this city-wide event that raises money for hundreds of incredible non-profits across the region. Last year's event raised nearly $5.6 million from 49,000 donations across the nation and around the world. Head on over to their page to find a great non profit that matches your own personal passions and initiatives and make an impact on our great city and community. Today, I'm featuring four nonprofits if you are looking for a great place to donate!

Tulane University: Obviously donating to Tulane is a great place to start! Your donation can help create student scholarships, foster diversity initiatives and assist in helping Tulane realize it's purpose: to create, communicate and conserve knowledge. View their GiveNOLA page here. You can also donate to a number of specific organizations within Tulane, from the Cowen Institute to The Summer Lyric Theater, here.

Youth Run NOLA: YRNOLA is an organization I have been involved with for almost a decade. YRNOLA creates and empowers a community of healthy, young leaders through distance running. Through practices, races, and the program curriculum, youth and adult buddies develop habits around making positive, healthy choices and building healthy relationships, finding joy and fun in the world, believing in themselves and others, and enduring through challenge. Since its founding in 2010, YRNOLA has been a free opportunity for all young runners, most of whom are growing up in lower-income neighborhoods in St. Bernard, Orleans, and Jefferson Parishes. View their GiveNOLA page here.

BikeEasy NOLA: Bike Easy believes in the power of bicycling to help create a healthy, prosperous, resilient, and equitable future for all people of the region. I got to volunteer with them last week at French Quarter Festival as a bike valet, parking and securing everyone's bikes as they arrived and left the fest! It was so fun. Bike Easy envisions safe, convenient transportation options for everyone and the freedom to get around easily. They aim to share the joy of bicycling and make it an easy choice for everyone. They also know that streets safe for bicycling are safe for walking and vice versa. They imagine a future where people of all ages and abilities can bike, walk, and take transit safely, whoever they are and wherever they live. View their GiveNOLA page here.

Project Peaceful Warrior. I love this organization as meditation is something I speak about frequently in this blog. The mission of Project Peaceful Warriors is to provide trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness programming to schools - equipping students and educators with tools they can use to reduce stress and anxiety, combat burnout, and lead happier and healthier lives. PPW uses the tools of trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness to help young people reach their full potential. View their GiveNOLA page here.

Consider donating to one of the incredible organizations above or find one of your own from the almost 800 available. Happy Donating!

*descriptions of organizations pulled directly from their text on website. 

All About Residential Learning Communities (RLCs)

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 10:29

Hey there, Class of 2023, and welcome to Tulane! My name is Stephen Deaderick and I am an Assistant Director in Housing & Residence Life at Tulane University. Living on campus can be a daunting experience, but know that there are so many people there to support you in your transition.  Those of us here to support you are your Resident Advisor (RA), a student staff member who lives on the floor with you; and your Resident Director (RD), a professional staff member who lives in the residence halls, supervises the RAs, and helps build community in your residence hall. For first-year students, we also have eight Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) that you can apply to live in.

RLCs are immersive spaces in a residence hall where students live together to learn about and participate in activities centered around a theme. Students within each RLC live on a designated floor(s) with other RLC students who are interested in a deeper exploration of the community's focus. While each RLC is different, all of them involve increased interaction with Tulane staff and faculty, unique programming and off-campus experiences, and designated TIDES courses so that students are learning together both in and out of the classroom.
The eight RLCs being offered for the 2019-2020 academic year are: Changemaker, Get Engaged, Health Wave, Honors, Kaleidoscope, Squad, Spark, and Third Coast. With the exception of the Upperclass Honors RLC in Weatherhead Hall, all other RLCs are first-year students only. I would highly recommend checking out the RLC website to learn more about each RLC.

Although I work with all of our RLCs, I don't experience them first-hand, so I found a couple of students who were willing to share their perspective with you about their RLC experience.

This first blurb comes from Laurel Kessler, who lived in Spark during her first year and in Get Engaged during her second year.

Living in a Residential Learning Community changed my college experience.  Before my freshman year, I decided to apply for the Spark RLC because I wanted to meet other women focused on leadership at Tulane.  It was great to have the RLC as something my floor had in common.  We became close, especially when we all had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and visit some Newcomb and Tulane alumni.  These experiences led me to apply for the Get Engaged RLC for my sophomore year.  Get Engaged has strengthened my relationship with the Tulane Center for Public Service and the New Orleans community, as well as with other students!

This second blurb comes from Ann Kapustiak, who lived in Third Coast during her first year, has served as a TIDES Peer Mentor for one of the Third Coast TIDES courses, and will serve as an RA for the Third Coast floor next year.
As an incoming freshman moving across the country, I decided to apply to live in the Third Coast RLC to ensure that I would have a support system coming into college. I ended up with so much more. Living in Third Coast allowed me to bond with my floormates through unique off-campus experiences, gain a passion for particular coastal issues, and eventually obtain an impressive leadership and campus engagement position. Since moving out of Third Coast, I have continued to stay involved by serving as the TIDES Peer Mentor. In Dr. Kelley's TIDES: Indian Tribes of the Bayou course, I assist in organizing and running the course, participating in content engagement, and creating a positive student community, both inside and outside of class. Next year, I look forward to being even more involved by serving as the Resident Advisor for Third Coast as well. I encourage all incoming students to explore this unparalleled opportunity to invest in yourself and your community upon entrance to the Tulane family. It definitely has paid dividends for me!

Remember, your Housing Application and RLC Application are due by May 8th!
You can find the supplemental RLC application in your Housing Portal when you are filling out your Housing Application. You will be taken to a separate form where you will select which of the eight RLCs you would like to apply for and you will need to fill out some supplemental essay questions for each RLC to which you are applying. You can find the supplemental questions here. I highly recommend reading through the questions, answering them in a Word document, and then opening the RLC application. Our system sometimes times out or does not let you go back to a previous page, so it is best to have everything ready to go when you want to apply.

After RLC applications close on May 8th, I work closely with our campus partners who oversee each RLC to review applications and make decisions about who will live in each RLC. Due to the size of the RLCs, there may be some students who will not get into one. Therefore, we highly recommend applying to any of the eight you are interested in as that will increase your chances of being placed in one of the RLCs.

If you have any questions about RLCs, please don't hesitate to reach out to me ( or Housing & Residence Life ( 

Class of 2023 Facts and Figures

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:22

Hey y'all! May 1st has come and gone and we've had another wonderful year here in the Office of Undergraduate Admission. The Class of 2023 has taken their place as one of our brightest and most accomplished ever, and we can't wait to have them join the Tulane family soon! Jeff is on vacation for a couple weeks to celebrate his partner Drew's graduation from Tulane Med, so this is Owen speaking. We've also got the VP of Enrollment Management and Dean of Admission, Satyajit Dattagupta, here to introduce you to our new class.

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The Class of 2023 is another outstanding and diverse group of students who will be coming to New Orleans from all over the U.S. and the world. They are academically accomplished, globally-oriented, and represent a diverse mix of students. They are one of the most extraordinary classes Tulane has ever welcomed to campus.

Overall, we received over 41,000 applications this year, which marked a 6% increase over last year and a 57% increase over 2015. Simply put, this year was the most selective class in Tulane's history. This is also the most academically accomplished class Tulane has enrolled. This group of promising and 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 has increased by 50 points in 5 years, to a 1463 for this class.
The Class of 2023 is also the most diverse group of students Tulane has ever enrolled. Since I have arrived at Tulane, I have made it one of my priorities to make the Tulane community more representative of both the United States and of the world. 30% of the incoming class are students of color or international students, an 11% increase over last year and a 50% increase over the class of 2019. I am very confident that the campus experience of our students with such a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experiences will be extraordinarily positive. Learning, working, sharing, and living with people unlike oneself is one of the ways we grow as people. This enhances 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. We had the honor of hosting the International ACAC annual conference on our campus this past July, and we will be welcoming over 110 international students to our campus this fall.  Bringing more international students to Tulane provides another dimension to the classroom and campus experience that is incredibly important. The world is getting smaller, and the interconnected nature of people has never been more apparent. An informed global outlook is so crucial to personal and professional success for international and domestic students alike.

We're also very excited to welcome our third class of Spring Scholars in January of 2020. Over 160 students will be a part of this group.

I can't wait to welcome the Class of 2023 in August. Roll Wave!

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Me again! I've got a couple other things worth highlighting as well:

Our yield rate improved by over 5% this year. For those of you not in the enrollment management world, that number may not seem that impressive or 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 significant accomplishment. To jump 5% in one year is almost unheard of. To put that into context, it took us roughly four years to achieve a 4% increase in yield following Katrina. So what took us four years, we were able to do in just this year alone (after increasing by 4% last year). This tells us that more and more students have Tulane at or near the top of their list and want to join our community.
Our admit rate was 13.15%. This is a bittersweet statistic. Jeff (who was actually my counselor back in the day) likes to say that he is not the kind of Director that takes pride in denying students. That sentiment is shared across our office and we know that "more selective" does not mean "better" in the world of higher education. This number simply means that Tulane had its most selective year for admission. We were admitting over 30% of our students just 4 years ago, so this is a strong indication of how competitive admission to Tulane is becoming.

The class is very international! As Satya mentioned, we had a blast hosting the IntlACAC conference at Tulane this past summer. I think our hard work paid off, as we will welcome just over 110 total international students this fall. They hail from 29 different countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Monaco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, and The United Kingdom!The class comes from all over the country, too! The top five states in order of representation are: California, New York, Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey. We've got one student each coming from Iowa, Montana, West Virginia, and Wyoming!
That's all I've got. We can't wait to see you in New Orleans, 2023!