Start Planning for College

Visit Virtually and Locally (Once it’s Safe Again)

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, admission offices around the country and world are working hard to replicate the campus visit experience online. Campus visits are crucial to the college search process; it’s your opportunity to envision your life at college and get a feel for the kinds of schools and campuses that are the right fit for you (i.e. big public universities or small liberal arts private schools in college towns, urban campuses, etc.). While you may not be able to visit campuses right now, virtual visits are the next best thing. At Tulane’s VirTUal Visiting webpage, we’ve built out a ton of resources and events to not only enable you to learn about Tulane from home, but imagine what your life would be like as a Tulane student. Through VirTUal Visiting, you can attend an information session with Associate Director Owen Knight, tour our beautiful 110-acre campus with Tulane tour guides, sign up for virtual Q&A sessions on different topics related to Tulane academics and student life, among other activities and resources. The webpage is continuously updated as we adapt our plans to the global health environment, so check back frequently to see which events are most relevant to you and your interests.

Once it is safe to visit campuses again, start by checking out schools near you. Not everyone has the resources to fly or drive to every school they’re interested in and that’s more than okay. By visiting schools near you, you can hone in on the types of schools that you’d like to apply to and get a sense of which kinds of schools are the right fit for you.

Think About the Essay

The essay is one of the most distinguishing factors of a student’s application, a medium in which allows you to convey who you are in your own words. With the free time you’re presented with at home and over the summer, we encourage you to start thinking about your essay.

To get started, think about the first thing that comes to mind as your college essay topic. Then, put that aside, dig a little bit deeper, and see if you can come up with something a little more personal to who you are. Odds are, the first thing that popped into your mind is the same thing that popped into the minds of thousands of other college applicants across the country. Another way to think of it is: if your best friend or sibling could write the same essay, pick something else to write about. Just like the activities section of the application, the essay should speak to who you are, not who you think would impress an admission counselor.

In your spare time, try out some writing exercises like composing an introductory paragraph. You can even review this year’s Common App essay prompts and begin drafting responses to those prompts. You should not feel the need to write the entirety of an essay, but much like studying for a test, the sooner you start drafting your essay, the less stress you’ll feel towards writing it when college applications open on August 1 for the Class of 2025.

At Tulane, we have an additional essay prompt that asks you to explain why you are interested in Tulane. While you’re thinking about your personal essay, we also encourage you to think about your “Why Tulane” statement. Students who complete the “Why Tulane” demonstrate to Admission Counselors that you’re seriously considering attending Tulane if admitted. Although optional, this essay is taken into consideration when making an admission decision. To get started on “Why Tulane,” research academic programs, clubs and organizations, New Orleans, and if you know current students, talk to them to gain another perspective. If you don’t know any current students, feel free to reach out to our tour guides here.

Relax and Take Deep Breaths

The college application process can come with stress and uncertainty. Before you dive in, take a deep breath. There are thousands of schools out there, and whichever one you end up going to will be the right one for you. To mitigate the stress, stay informed. Sign up for email lists and events for schools that you’re interested in; connect with your Admission Counselor; check out the tour guide webpage and see if there are any students studying a major you might want to study. Taking advantage of the resources that admission offices provided for prospective students will at the very least help ease you into this process.

At the end of the day, all you can do is your best and be yourself. Once your applications have been submitted, it’s out of your hands. Rather than stress about the impending admission decision, feel confident and proud in the work you put in to create a stellar application, and more importantly, the work you’ve done throughout your life in school and in your community.