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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! (bayoubugaloo.com)
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. (NOLAeater.com)
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 (tripadvisor.com)Fontainbleau 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.

NOBL (http://www.arcgno.org)
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

JILLDEROSASASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR TRANSFER RECRUITMENT

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 (sdeaderick@tulane.edu) or Housing & Residence Life (housing@tulane.edu). 

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.


*     *     *

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!


*   *   *
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!

NOLA Lingo

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 11:00
I always tell prospective students that attending Tulane is the closest you can get to studying abroad while staying in the United States. There are five main reasons I always give to attest to that; New Orleans has its own culture, music, food, architecture and language. This blog is going to focus on that last one: our language.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 07:30
Ahhhh French Quarter Fest! Here in Louisiana, we like to say that we have more festivals than days of the school year. And we do! Mardi Gras technically kicks off festival season, but things really get going in March and continue into the summer. In honor of French Quarter Fest this weekend and Crawfest last weekend, I thought my annual run-down of the best fests in town would be a big help.

New Orleans is the self proclaimed Festival Capital of America. We do in fact have more festivals per capita here in NOLA than in any other region in America, and this time of year, the problem we usually have is picking which festival to attend each weekend. If you're looking for a comprehensive guide, NOLA.com has a really good one here. I mean, how many cities can you live in that actually require an iPhone application to keep track of all of the festivals?

No matter who you are, I hope you get to experience some of the many festivals in New Orleans. If you happen to live here in NOLA, you have probably attended many of these. If you are planning a visit to town or a trip to Tulane, it's always a great idea if you can coordinate your visit with one of these great events. I know I am leaving a ton off of this list, so buyer beware, this is just my own personal top ten!

10) Tennessee Williams Literary Festival- This one's a hoot. The climax of this festival, honoring the bond between New Orleans and famed author Tennessee Williams, is the Stella Yellin' competition. Participants take to the streets to shout their best and most vociferous STELLAAA, a la A Streetcar Named Desire. The winner usually is not only quite loud, but very theatrical as well. Tennessee Williams fest celebrates the happy combination of art, music, literature, and food that New Orleans is renowned for.
STELLLAAAA!!! (courtesy of Where Traveler)
9) Louisiana Seafood Festival- This one is pretty self-explanatory, but mmmm it sure is good! Whether it's oysters, crawfish, blue crabs, red fish, or really any kid of Gulf Coast seafood, you'll find it here. Celebrity guest chefs put on great demonstrations, and the food is killer. This fest is always part of the Vieux to Do, a weekend of festivals that includes the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival and the French Market Creole Tomato Festival. It's always an awesome weekend down in the Quarter when these three festivals all take to the stage(s).

Strawberries. Everywhere. (from LouisianaTravel.com)8) Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival- Where else can you get a decadent deep-fried strawberry but at the Louisiana Strawberry Fest? This festival has become increasingly popular in recent years, and is located around an hour's drive outside of NOLA in a small, quaint town called Ponchatoula. Ponchatoula grows some of the best strawberries in America and dedicate a whole festival to them during the peak of strawberry season. Don't miss the crowning of Miss Strawberry Festival either!

FQF Banners just went up! (photo from DavidNOLA)
7) French Quarter Festival- Over 750,000 locals and out-of-towners visit the French Quarter to celebrate everything NOLA during this mega-fest. Every year FQF gets bigger and now claims the top spot as the country's largest free music festival. Over 800 musicians take the stage over this four-day festival that spans virtually the entire French Quarter. While 65 of New Orleans' best restaurants set up shop at the fest for you to get a taste of all the different foods this city has been made famous for. The festival has a distinctly local flavor; from the food to the musicians, FQF really does show New Orleans in all of her glory.

Voodoo! 
6) Voodoo Fest- Now in its 20th year, this is one of the most popular festivals of the year for Tulane students. I attended all four years that I was a student at Tulane, and got to see some amazing acts at this Halloween-weekend music festival. It all goes down in City Park, not far from Tulane's campus. Tulane even offers shuttle buses to get our students out to the fest. Last year's lineup included Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and the Killers, among others. Last month in the semi-same genre as Voodoo is Buku which features Lana Del Rey, A$ap Rocky, Sza, and a number of other EDM heavy hitters.

The best. 
5) Po-Boy Fest- Also a Tulane student favorite, Po-Boy Fest is probably the only festival in America that celebrates the preservation of the humble sandwich. Of course, for anyone who has ever been to NOLA before, you know that we don't call them sandwiches. Or hoagies. Or subs. We call 'em poor (po) boys. Po-Boy Fest occurs on the entirety of Oak Street, just a few streetcar stops up from Tulane's campus. Last year over 30 vendors offered up their own unique interpretations on the New Orleans classic.


4) Jazz Fest- The mother of all New Orleans festivals. Officially named the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazz Fest enters its 50th year in 2019. The festival occurs over two weeks in the spring and is home to 12 stages and over 460,000 attendees per year. While music may be the centerpiece of this festival, food and art are close behind. You'll try some of the best food in the world here at Jazz Fest—whether your preference is alligator-on-a-stick or the famous Crawfish Monica, there is something for everyone. And don't be fooled by the name, Jazz Fest is way more than just jazz. This year's headliners include Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffett, Chris Stapleton, Bob Seger, Santana, Van Morrison, Al Green, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Revivalists, Leon Bridges, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Gary Clark Jr., The Head and The Heart, The Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, the Indigo Girls and.... the Tulane University Jazz Orchestra! (I kid you not, Tulane's jazz band gets to annually play at Jazz Fest!). Best part? Tulane offers free shuttles and discounted tickets for our students.

Jazz Fest from above! (http://www.rockthebodyelectric.com)
3) The New Orleans Red Dress Run- This one takes a little bit of explaining, and is one of those festivals you kind of need to see to understand. The RDR also may admittedly be for olders students to attend after turning 21 years old. Many cities have Hash House Harriers, running clubs that also enjoy imbibing as a part of their run. The Red Dress Run is one of the largest of these events in America. New Orleanians take to the streets and meander through the the French Quarter and the Marigny. The one caveat is that everyone must wear a red dress. That's really it. It's a great fundraiser for a number of local charities, and there really is no point to it at all, except to have fun in the streets with your friends. And it is fun. Really really fun.

2) Crawfest- Did you know that the largest student-run music festival in America is held right here at Tulane? Every April, Tulane students take to the LBC Quad to revel in a day's worth of free food and music. This year was our biggest yet—with two stages, 7 different bands, and 20,000 pounds of Louisiana crawfish. It's all totally planned and executed by our students and is one of our best and most famous traditions on campus each year. This year's headliner were Ra Ra Riot, The Stone Foxes and Welles and previous years have seen Moon Taxi, The Funky Meters, Galactic, Lettuce, and Givers. And lest you vegetarians fret, there are plenty of food options if you don't indulge in eating mudbugs. Every year the Green Club and Veggie Club co-sponsor a large-scale veggie boil during Crawfest. Crawfest is big and has been featured everywhere from the Huffington Post to LiveforLive.



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

1) New Orleans San Fermin- Okay, this one also takes some explaining. Every year, in the city of  Pamplona, Spain, revelers take to the streets to run and avoid being gored by bulls. Well, not wanting to be outdone, a number of years ago New Orleans created their own version of the event: the San Fermin in Nueva Orleans! We take to the streets of the French Quarter early on a Saturday morning in July, wearing the traditional white and red seen in Spain. And then... the bulls arrive. Since we are weird here, our bulls are actually women. With bats. On roller skates. Over 20 different teams of Roller Derby Girls from around the country, including the Big Easy Roller Girls, are actually the "bulls" that you are trying to avoid. This one is really a sight to see. I don't even really know how to describe it... it's just all kinds of fun.

Those bulls look pretty. Pretty scary. The opening ceremonies of San Fermin in Nueva OrleansHere's me running from the bulls last summer
Steer clear of the bulls! 
So there you have it, folks! My favorite festivals of the year.

New Orleans is the best town in America for celebrating that joie de vivre that is so pervasive here. I hope you'll be able to come in town to enjoy even a little part of that!

Graduation Bucket List

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 09:00
Alright, Class of 2019, believe it or not, it's already April. That means you're in the home stretch. Many of you will be sticking around for a little while longer to complete one of Tulane's graduate or master's programs. A large group will also join the local work force here in town or get involved with volunteer and service organizations. But for many of you, your days in NOLA are numbered, and it's time to start saying your goodbyes to what has most likely become your favorite city in the world.

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

1) Go see Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps on Thursday night. If you have yet to see this band at some of the various festivals around town, then you will surely be blown away. It's a killer show and incredible experience that will leave you sweatin' and dancin' for hours. If you want the quintessential NOLA music experience, Soul Rebels at Bon Temps is it. Schedule here.

Bacchanal (source
2) Sunday evening at Bacchanal in the Bywater. I just happen to have done this last week. Grab a group of friends and get a table sometime early-ish (around 7:00). They sell wine by the bottle, there is always a great little band, and you can order food from their amazing menu. You'll wonder why you didn't come here every Sunday.

3) Fly Day Afternoon- Head to the Riverbend Daq Shack before and be sure to bring lots of blankets. I know this seems like a no-brainer to spend an evening at The Fly, but stick around for the sunset with your crew. It will make you never want to leave as you watch the tug boats and barges mosey their way upriver. Be sure to mingle for the last time with the hipsters balancing on their slacks, the frat boys playing cornhole, the drumcircles, and the locals just taking in the perfect NOLA spring evening. Bonus—bring some boiled crawfish for a true Louisiana experience.

Bourbon Orleans Pool (photo from hotels.com)4) Hotel Pool Hop. Grab a small crew and pick a hotel pool and crash it for the afternoon. The Roosevelt, The Drifter and Bourbon Orleans all have great pools, but if you want my top recommendation, go hit up the Ace Hotel in the CBD. This is rooftop pooling at it's finest. Also, take the streetcar there. It's easy to forget how awesome the streetcar is if you haven't ridden it for awhile. Once you have had your fill of sun, go to Wednesdays at the Square, a free weekly concert series in Lafayette Square. Great food, free music, and a great all around vibe. This list is a great one for all hotel pools (caveat- some you might have to sneak into!)

5) Hit up City Park for a day. This has got to be one of the most underrated parks in America. Do the sculpture garden at NOMA, then grab a picnic lunch and eat it on the Great Lawn. Also check out the mini golf course, City Putt and the highly underrated succulent garden inside of the Botanical Gardens. End your day by hiking the little trail in the Couturie Forest to one of the only hills in NOLA and come out overlooking the lake. Then, head out to catch the sunset over Bayou St. John with some po-boys to-go from Parkway. A beautiful day in a perfect park. For other great outdoor spots in NOLA, check out this blog I wrote.

The end of the trail in Jean Lafitte looks out over this. Gorgeous! 6) Hike the Jean Lafitte nature trail in the Barataria Preserve. This is around 30 minutes away from NOLA on the West Bank, and is a great little hike over boardwalks through the cypress swamp. You're guaranteed to see a bunch of gators and other wildlife and you'll end the hike on a raised platform overlooking the vast wetlands that surround our city. Easier than a swamp tour and free too.

7) Walk Magazine from downtown to Uptown on a Saturday afternoon. It will take you a full morning but you'll be glad you did. So many great shops, restaurants, and little things you probably never noticed before. Start down by Felicity and Mag, and walk all the way up to State Street. Stop in the places you've always seen but have never been to. Buy some t-shirts that you can only buy here in NOLA. Storyville, Parish Ink, and Dirty Coast are great spots to do this, but also buy shirts from your favorite places. You'll look pretty fly wearing that Bulldog t-shirt in NYC this fall. I am not sure if Ms. Mae's sells shirts, but if so, buy me one.

8) Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf on Tuesday. I know, I know, it will be hard to tear yourself away from the Boot on Tuesday, but you will be so glad you did. This will be one of the most crowded, sweatiest, and best experiences you've ever had on a Tuesday. Jam out, lose yourself to the music, and have a night that no other college student in America can have.

Crescent Park9) Ride the Algiers Ferry. This will give you the best view of town from the other side of the river. The ride is free and only takes a few minutes, and then you'll have time to meander the West Bank levee. The best time to go is at sunset. Then you can head back to the city and start a night out in the Quarter. Another option is to check out the Crescent Park. You can access it at the entrance near the end of the French Market. Some of the best views of the city can be had from here. Be sure to grab some Pizza Delicious with your friends before you walk over to this fine park. From there, you can Blue Bike over to Studio Be (see next!)

Studio Be (source
10) See Some Art - Three of my top picks: Studio Be, Ogden and NOMA. You've probably seen Brandan "B-Mike" Odums' art all over town. It's inspiring, thought-provoking and absolutely stunning. Head down to his gallery in the Bywater to see an incredible collection of his work. On the opposite side of the city, the New Orleans Museum of Art has such an incredible collection of world famous artists from Monet to Degas. They always have great travelling exhibits as well. Lastly, On Thursdays from 6-8 PM the Ogden Museum of Southern Art has free live music for locals- a great time to check out the galleries and hear some local tunes.

11) Find an organization you can support, even after you leave NOLA. This suggestion came in from my friend Sam Klein. If there is an organization or group you got involved with here through public service, stay involved with it after you leave town. It will keep you connected to NOLA in a great way and you can check back in and volunteer on your future trips back to town. Give to them on Give NOLA Day and stay plugged in so that you can volunteer your time either remotely or when you're back in town for a visit.

12) Write a few thank you notes. If you really connected with a faculty or staff member on campus, let them know how much you appreciated the time they gave you over the last few years. If you interacted every day with someone who works at Bruff, leave them a note to let them know how much you loved getting to know them. A note of gratitude can go a long way. Let someone who impacted your life at Tulane know how much they mean to you. Take it a step further by asking your favorite professor or mentor out to lunch before Graduation. They love that kind of stuff!


Wander. Get lost. Explore. Visit a new neighborhood. Take photos. Make the worlds best "last week in NOLA" album ever. Just take advantage of every last bit of quirkiness, beauty, and mystery this city has to offer. We sometimes get trapped in the Tulane bubble as many college kids in cities do, and for those fortunate enough to get to stay here after college, you'll begin to discover the countless things that we locals get to experience in a post-college world. Take some time to experience as much of this as you can in these last few months if you have the unfortunate task of moving outta town.

Best of luck, seniors. Go forth and explore. See you at graduation!


Me chillin' at the Crescent Park. It's a very neat, industrial-style park. 


Ace Rooftop = heaven on earth 

Explore! More of the trail in Jean LafitteNOLA from the Algiers Ferry (photo courtesy of myNewOrleans.com)

It's Going to be Okay

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 09:00

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

It's going to be okay.

I promise.

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

Phase one: Do not let this process define you.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes!

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

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

Even Directors of Admission Get Rejected

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

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

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

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

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

Trust me.

Waitlist... Now what?

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:00
Well it is official; our decisions for the Class of 2023 will go out on March 28th. For those of you who are placed on the waitlist, here's a blog to answer all of the questions you may have.

What is the waitlist, anyway? Every year, colleges and universities have a group of students who are qualified to gain admission yet these institutions are unsure yet if they have space available in their class to enroll these students. Colleges monitor the number of students who accept their offer of admission and will pull from their waitlist in order to create the size and desired makeup of their incoming class. Its a necessary part of the enrollment management process at many schools yet we also understand the frustration and anticipation it can cause for our applicants.

So, who is on the waitlist? While Tulane does not release the exact number of students who have been waitlisted, I will tell you that the group is not huge, but there are a sizable number of students who make up this group. The number will get smaller as we ask students if they would like to remain on the waitlist over the course of the coming month or two. I will candidly say that in response to the feeback we've heard about large waitlists, our waitlist this year his half the size of what it was last year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 Tips for Parents in the Process

Thu, 03/21/2019 - 09:00
Today's blog is dedicated to all the moms and dads out there. Let me start off by saying one of the best parts about my role as Director of Admission is that I am exactly halfway between the age of the students I recruit and their parents. I can easily recall what my application process was like and the challenges that went along with it. I am also close enough in age to the parents to understand all the questions and concerns that stem from the parental side. That said, I present this blog to you with one major caveat: I am not a parent myself. As such, I cannot possibly understand what it's like to guide a kid through the process of applying to college. What I can say is I have interacted with many parents over the last 14 years in this profession. And from that, I have developed a pretty comprehensive list of ways that you, as a parent, can be a great partner to your kid during the college search process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There you have it! Again, I am no parent myself; this blog is purely from an admission perspective. I hope this helps some of parents out there get a sense of how you can best partner with your son or daughter in this process.

Queer in Admission

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 15:26
There is a lot of pride here in the Office of Admission at Tulane. Today, I wanted to introduce you to some of the students and staff on our team who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Meet six people who are Queer in Admission! You can get to know all about the queer community at Tulane and in New Orleans by joining our on-line chat this week. The chat is completely anonymous and is a great opportunity for everyone—gay, straight, questioning, unsure, etc.—to connect with our team and learn all about experiences we've had. Let's meet some of our team, a few of whom will be chatting next week!

Shahamat at HRCShahamat Uddin, Roswell, Georgia; Majoring in Political Economy and Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East. I am currently doing an exchange semester in Washington, D.C. interning at the Human Rights Campaign. Last semester, I studied abroad in Morocco where I was able to hone on in my queer activism, working with an LGBTQ community that is criminalized by their national government. At Tulane, I have found acceptance for my identities through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Academic Equity, and Center for Public Service. I am affirmed by the communities I am in such as Tulane Emergency Medical Services, Rhyme Verses Rhythm Slam Poetry Team, and the Muslim Students Association.
Favorite Queer spot in NOLA? Oz.
Any advice for a prospective LGBTQ student considering Tulane? Wherever you go to college, dive deeply. As LGBTQ people, we often have to live dual lives, but the truth is, you don’t have to be the same queer person you were back home. Use college to meet people in the community. Being a part of the LGBTQ community means that you already have a network of the some most accomplished people in their fields. Homophobia, transphobia, and overall LGBTQ discrimination does not exist in a vacuum at Tulane, or any college across the world, but Tulane will be there for you when it happens. The same applies for my fellow queer people of color. Our intersecting identities makes it really rough, but you are never in it alone. College is a time to learn about ourselves and Tulane taught me how to deal with adversity. We can either let it destroy us or we can use it to build our character and come away stronger; the power rests within us.

Danny on campus at Tilton Hall 
Daniel Shevlin, Bradenton, FL; Majoring in Musical Theater and Political Economy. My experience as a gay man in New Orleans and Tulane has been shaped by the theater community. I have found such a supportive and engaged community of LGBTQ+ persons, as well as allies, working with numerous theater companies in the area. I have been able to grow my personal network to include people outside of Tulane’s collegiate community. I am so grateful for the friendships I have maintained from the theatre and LGBTQ+ communities in New Orleans, and I know many of these will last far beyond my years as a student.
Favorite Queer spot in NOLA? The AllWays Lounge. Best drag shows!
Favorite Queer event/experience in NOLA or at Tulane? Southern Decadance! It is one of a kind!
Any advice for a prospective LGBTQ student considering Tulane? The best part about the LGBTQ+ community at Tulane is that it provided a safe and encouraging environment to discover more about myself while transitioning to college, but at the same time it didn’t limit me to being defined only by my sexuality.

Jorge at Mardi Gras Jorge Nunez, Admission Counselor, Cidra, Puerto Rico: Hey guys! I am Jorge Nunez and I am an admission counselor at Tulane University. I am also a current student working towards my Masters of Liberal Arts. As soon as I moved to New Orleans, I knew this was the perfect place for me. The city embraces diversity and you can truly be yourself. Tulane is no different. As a staff member and a current graduate student, I have always felt welcomed, and I love that I can share that with other queer students that are looking for a community that will welcome them.
Favorite Queer spot in NOLA? Phillips Bar.
Favorite Queer event/experience in NOLA or at Tulane? I love Red Dress Run! This event is not necessarily a queer event, but it is a good example of how the city really embraces queer culture. The purpose of the event is fundraising and a lot of people actually take part of the race, but everyone else just uses it as an excuse to wear a red dress and hang out in the French Quarter.
Any advice for a prospective LGBTQ student considering Tulane? Do some research about the different queer-oriented programs on campus, learn about the O (Office of Multicultural Affairs), events and other support groups on campus. Reach out to current students and ask them about their experience on campus, and of course feel free to contact me as well.

Corinne (on right) and their partner! 
Corinne Waston, Admission Counselor; Philly PA: I’m a queer non-binary admission counselor from outside Philadelphia. Coming to Tulane as a student opened up a world that I didn’t even know existed in high school. Going from being a lone queer to having a loving, substantive community truly changed who I was and how I thought. Now that I’m a staff member, I enjoy helping all young people navigate the hellacious process of applying to college/growing up… but I especially love working with queer youth. I’ve been there—trying to figure out who I was—and I know it can be an uncomfortable and trying time (read: it ain’t cute). Tulane and New Orleans can help you grow into the adult you want to become!
Favorite Queer spot in NOLA? The Orange Couch coffee shop.
Favorite Queer event/experience in NOLA or at Tulane? So many to choose from! Seeing Laverne Cox speak through TUCP; making friends through OGSD clubs; meeting my partner through an OMA-sponsored mentor program; queer movie nights. There is a home for every kind of person of any identity, both on campus and in the city!

Neill (middle back row) and his LGBT Kickball team! Yes, that is me in the front row. 
Neill Aguiluz, Associate Director of Admission Operations; Baton Rouge, LA: When I was a student at Tulane, I didn't spend much time in specifically queer spaces, and it's really because I always felt comfortable and welcome on campus and all over New Orleans. I get asked a lot by students about gay or queer neighborhoods, but it's hard for me to answer with any one place because it feels like queer culture is spread throughout the fabric of the city itself. What's so nice is that I've always felt that New Orleans and Tulane are places where you can be completely yourself, no matter what that means for you.
Favorite Queer event/experience in NOLA or at Tulane? Stonewall Kickball! It's my first time joining an expressly queer organization, and I've really loved getting to meet similar people who still come from different backgrounds and walks of life.


Thanks for meeting us, hope to chat tomorrow! I'll be joining the chat as well to talk about my experiences with all things queer at Tulane and in NOLA.

One last photo... Here is my partner Drew and I about ten minutes after I asked him to marry me last month!
Luckily he said yes. 

Some Thoughts on Social Media

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 10:50
Sigh. (sourceAnother Mardi Gras has come and gone, and as always, it was another great year. In following with the Catholic tradition on Ash Wednesday, many folks around the world will give up something (meat, for example) during the Lenten holiday leading up to Easter. This year, I'll be giving up Mardi Gras. JK, I'll be giving up social media.

Also JK.

If I can't give it up for good, I can at least give y'all seven things to consider in navigating this complex world of social media that we are living in. I've been thinking about social media a lot recently, particularly its impact on the minds and morales of high school students. I am glad I went to high school in an era pre-Instagram, so take my thoughts here with a grain of salt. It's my hope that following a few of these ideas may lead to a happier, more fulfilled college experience.

Don't stress too much about those class of 2023 Facebook groups. I can tell you this first hand: students painstakingly select their 20 Facts and, naturally, you'll select ones that make you come across as the way you want everyone to view you. So, don't be dismayed if you read other students facts and it doesn't line up with who you are or who you want to be. No one is listing a fact that says, "I come from a middle class family so I won't have a ton of extra money to eat out in NOLA," or, "I am worried about how often I'll be expected to go out at night," or, "I am nervous that people won't accept who I am in college." We only post the stuff that makes us look fun, cool, easy breezy and normal. No one is like this all the time IRL. There are a lot of people who look at these groups and grow concerned with who they'll be going to college with. Don't stress too much about the way you present yourself or how you perceive everyone else in the class. On the same subject, you'll meet your crew in college, just not over GroupMe, not over social media and not even in person in your first week at college. For most people, it takes at least until sophomore year to really find your core group of close, life-long friends.

Don't post all of your admission decisions on social media. I've blogged about this one before. With the Ivy Leagues releasing at the end of the month, many of you might be admitted to additional schools soon. And when you are, rejoice! Celebrate! Scream and yell with your family. But don't take to social media and say "got in to X school! and Y school, too!" Because for every kid who gets into selective schools like Tulane, there are ten times as many who are not going to get the same good news. Be cool, be compassionate, be respectful of those around you and those in your community who got the small envelope.

Don't worry too much about finding a roommate on social media. If I could give any stressed-out roommate finder one piece of advice, it would be this: GO RANDOM. Trust  me. Go random. Why? If you go random, it takes 100% of the pressure off both immediately and when you actually move in.  Short term, you won't have to stress right now to find the perfect roommate (based on their... Netflix shows?) If you find a roommate who you think and expect will be your best friend, you are potentially setting yourself up for some big challenges down the road. You want your roommate to be someone you get along with but not your best friend. Your roommate should be  respite- someone outside of your close social circle. The pressure to make things perfect is totally gone when you go random and trust me, roommate situations are never perfect.

Don't forget that first semester of college is the world's biggest "my life is amazing" social media competition. If there is one thing that meditation has taught me, specifically the meditation app Calm, it's that social media is you comparing your worst moments to everyone else's best moments. Once you arrive at college, the race is on. Who can share the best stories, who can snap the most epic football games and who can show off just sitting around and soaking up each other's awesomeness? Here's the reality: college is going to have its ups and downs. Even at a school ranked #4 for happiest students, our students here have good days and bad days. But on social media, we never share the bad, only the good. So next time you are feeling the inevitable blues that you'll get in your first year, stop reaching for the phone because all you'll see there is everyone else's manicured, curated, best-of-the-best moments. Instead, go for a run. Go to the gym. Hang with your (randomly assigned) roommate. Meditate. Just put down the feed; you'll be glad you did.

Don't plug your phone in next to your bed. There are hundreds of studies out there about the negative effects of sleeping with your phone next to your bed and I am not just talking about the ones that say you could accidentally light your pillow on fire. I am referring to the idea that filling your brain with other people's cat memes and avocado-toast-on-portrait-mode posts right before bed is not healthy. You will not sleep well right after reading news about politics in America. And trust me, you don't want this to be the first thing you read in the morning either. Instead, get a (gasp) clock radio. In the words of our gradation speaker two years ago; "nothing good comes from Tweeting at 3 am." Amen. You'll be surprised how much making this one small change can have an immensely positive impact on your daily life. Give it a shot.

Stop worrying about your followers. Who cares how many people follow you? Who cares who these random people are? Post stuff you enjoy that your friends enjoy. Stop worrying about the perfect angle or which filter looks different from the other. One big tip I have is this: take fewer photos. When you take eleventy photos of the same thing, then you are going to go back in and examine the minute differences between each one (thereby wasting even more time) before picking the one you think is perfect and then deleting it because you might have possibly picked the wrong one. (Jeff Schiffman is most guilty of this more than anyone else.) Instead, just take one photo. There are numerous studies out there that say the fewer photos you take, the more you actually will remember.

Think before you post. Take a guess as to the most frequent reason I rescind admission to students. Drinking at prom, you guess? Cheating on a final exam? You'd be wrong on both fronts. The most frequent reason I rescind admission to students is dumb stuff you do on social media. Listen: we are not trolling you. We are never looking for reasons to get you in trouble. Almost 100% of the time, someone else screenshots something offensive you have said on social media and sends it to me. I (think I'm) one of those cool mom-admission counselors and I can see the best in anyone in this stressful college application process. But being a jerk on social media to your peers in your community? This is one thing we have little patience for. How you behave on social media is important to us. I know people make mistakes in the past (we literally all have) and I know everything can be a teaching moment. But stuff like this? It gives us here in the office of admission major pause and it reflects poorly not only on you, but on your entire high school and community. Think before you post.

Admittedly, I could stand to take my own advice with a few of these tips, but I'm working on it. Whether or not you ever decide to take a social media hiatus, these are some steps you can take that will improve your social media use as you prepare to head off to college.