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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

5 Tips for to Knock your Interview Out of the Park

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 14:56
I hope your year is off to a great start, everyone! I am turning today's blog over to my colleague Corinne Watson. They're going to give you all of their best tips for our brand new Alumni Interview Program. Before we start, my one tip is for anyone interested in participating in an interview: keep in mind that the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you can get your alumni interview set up. Because it is an optional part of the application, we want to make sure we have plenty of time to get it into your file before we start reviewing it. You don't need to have a complete file (with transcripts, letters of rec, etc.) to do your interview, just the application itself.

Okay, take it away, Corinne!

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

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

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

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

2. It shouldn't feel awkward. 

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

3. Do some research.

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

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

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

5. Come prepared with questions.

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

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

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

15 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 17:36
Group Ex with my man Joe at Reily I hope everyone's semester is off to a great start! Today, we're talking about one of my favorite topics: health and fitness. As you might know, I teach spin down the street from Tulane at Romney RIDE and love to stay active. As such, I've created these 15 tips for staying in shape while at Tulane. While the freshman 15 is a bit of fact mixed with a bit of lore, your college experience will be quite different from high school. You're likely not playing the sport you played every day in high school, you're not eating three parent-prepared meals, you're making your own schedule... you get it. It's a recipe for some big changes in your diet, activity level and life.

Never fear, after 15 years at Tulane and a few years of teaching Romney RIDE under my belt, here are my 15 tips for staying in shape in college.
Ready? Let's go!

1) Get creative in what you eat at Bruff. In many spots on campus, the healthier stuff may be clearly laid out for you. You’ll easily find it labeled at Bruff. Grab your Greek yogurt and mix it with granola and honey. Head to the salad and fruit bars and combine to make a citrus salad. Check out this blog - lots of great ideas in here for how to make Bruff both delicious and healthy.

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

3) Eat smaller meals throughout the day. The unlimited meal plan at Bruff is both a blessing and a curse. You'll have access to food 24/7 at Tulane. Instead of gorging on big meals whenever you feel like it, eat a healthy, small meal a few times a day. This whole "eat five or so smaller meals a day" craze caught on a while back, and there is some truth to it for a number of reasons.

Start a team! 4) Eat a ton of fresh fruits, veggies and salads. Anything that comes in a crinkly bag or plastic, eat that in moderation, if at all. The best rule of thumb is that the healthiest foods you can eat tend to only have one ingredient. Nearby, check out Poke Loa, Wayfare, Satsuma or St. James Cheese Company for some healthy off-campus options.

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

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

7) Get on a routine. Just like a class schedule, get a workout schedule. Map out your runs, gym sessions, Pilates, yoga, etc. Just like you schedule your academic classes, mark down your health and fitness classes in your calendar, too. Reily's group exercise schedule can be seen here. Romney’s schedule is available here. I highly recommend you stop by Tuesdays at 5:30 for the RIDE of your life. Seriously, though, pencil in your workouts and commit to them. Make life even easier on yourself by downloading a few apps for your phone – MyFitnessPal, Nike Training Club and Map my Run are my favorites.

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

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

10) Be aware of what food you keep in your room. NOLA's got some amazing places to eat at and we want you to experience it. It’s ok to have cheat meals when you are taken out to Commander's or your friends get together for a nice dinner at Jacques Imo’s. But when you’re home, don’t waste your cheat food on gross stuff in your dorm. Instead, replace it with filling but tasty foods. SmartFood popcorn, bananas, baby carrots, readymade smoothies, etc. Mom can help: see below.

Skatin' round Audubon11) Ask mom for a healthy care package. Moms want you to stay healthy. Have her hit the bulk food aisle at Trader Joe's to send some dried mango, some healthy nuts, some clementines. Stay away from the sugary candy in those care packages.

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

13) Start a team. Intramural sports are big at Tulane, and there are plenty of people who want to play them. All they need is a leader to get the team organized. Flag football, dodgeball, volleyball- we've got them all. Take that leadership role and gather some friends from your floor to make a team happen.

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

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

Last but not least, get your butt to the gym! And frequently. Campus Recreation and Romney both have a number of great classes. Grab a group of friends and head over to a yoga class, use your roommate as a weightlifting partner, or join up with me at RIDE. Read all about Reily in my Hidden Tulane post from a few weeks ago.

So there you have it, freshmen (or any college student in general). I hope this list helps. The last tip is the most important one. Enjoy Tulane and welcome back, or welcome for the first time!

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

The Optional Statement

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 18:17
One question I frequently get is, "I noticed that you have an optional essay titled, 'why are you applying to Tulane?' do you suggest I complete it?" The answer is always a resounding YES!

Ah, the "why are you applying" question, a.k.a.: the optional statement. You'll notice a growing number of colleges and universities are now including this as a part of their application. As students apply to more and more schools, it becomes more difficult for us as admission officers to gauge a student's level of interest in our school. The optional statement is a perfect time for you, the applicant, to express to me, the application reader, why you are selecting us as one of your potential schools. So is it worth it to take the time to fill out that question? Let's just go through a (very hypothetical) situation. My boss, Satya, tells me, "Jeff, we have one more spot left in the class of 2022. You can only pick one more student." I come back to my office and notice I have two applicants left to read. They are identical in terms of grades, scores, extracurricular activities, and both have glowing recommendations. One took the time to write an entertaining, engaging, and smart essay about why Tulane is the perfect fit for her, her passion for studying public health, and her love of BBQ Shrimp from Pascal's Manale. The other student? Well, she didn't write anything—at all. The decision for me? An easy one.

Now, we'd never get to a point where I can only select one final student from two. But, you get the idea. So... now that the question has been addressed, you might be thinking: "what makes a great optional statement?" Let's check out four great ways to write a killer optional statement for any school that you may be applying to.

1) Tell a specific story. The more specific you can be about the school you are applying to, the better. We can see right though the generic answers, so be specific. Tell me about your tour guide (if you've visited), what food you ate in New Orleans, what resonated with you when you attended the info session in your hometown. I remember vividly how one student last year told me about how her tour guide seemed so smart, but laid back and even mentioned how she loved the green sundress the guide was wearing: "she struck me as someone who had the perfect work/life balance." I liked that. I like hearing specific stories about your research on Tulane. The optional statement is an opportunity for you to show your interest in the school, so even if you aren't able to visit, be specific about why you are applying. We know New Orleans is a great college town and an amazing place to live. I want hear, why YOU want to live here, what attracts you to New Orleans culture, and how those facets factor into your decision to apply. Remember how your college counselor tells you to "show rather than tell" in your essay? Make sure to do that in your optional statement. I want to read a narrative about riding the streetcar or the conversation you had at that crowded college fair with the Tulane rep.

2) Holler at your hookups. Did your cousin go to Tulane and love it? Did your 9th grade history teacher tell you about his experiences as a masters student here? Do you love following that senior from last year on Snapchat and seeing all her cool shots of New Orleans? Tell us! And tell us who! Feel free to name drop people who turned you on to Tulane, especially if they are current students. Many of us recruit from the same region each year, so it's cool to see who is helping us in the recruitment effort. Our current students and alumni are your best sources of research on our school, so use them and tell us you did.

3) It's not a 'Why College?' statement. As in, if I can read it and replace "Tulane" with "USC" or "Vandy" or "Miami," then it will not come across as genuine. Avoid generic essays here at all costs. We know we are medium-sized and are well respected. Delve deeper; we read thousands of these and can easily tell when it's an essay that's going out to all the schools you applied to (see point two above for tips on doing this). Horror story: last year I got an optional statement that actually said [insert school] where "Tulane" should have been. Yikes. Also, we'd rather you not use this section to talk all about yourself and then simply tack on at the end, something like, "and I'd really like to continue doing x and y at Tulane." (see the final point for more details about this)

4) It should not be all about you. Sometimes, we'll get an optional statement that is all about the applicant. It will be a description of a great service project they did or a sport they love to play, and then the last line of the essay will be "and I want to keep doing this at Tulane." You've got the whole rest of the application to talk about yourself, so instead, use this section to speak more on the connection between you and the school. Why is is a great match? Why are you a great fit? It's okay to draw on some of your own experiences, but you should only mention them in context of the school.

Hope this helps when you're completing optional statements. Happy applying!

Welcome, 2021!

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 20:47
Tonight I head out for 5 days of Greenie Camp, a program with 70 incoming first year students where we'll explore all things Tulane, New Orleans and Louisiana! Stay tuned for lots of photos and videos on our Insta page.

Friday is the big day! We'll welcome just under 1890 first year students to the class of 2021. We're really looking forward to having this incredible class on campus soon; it's one of the strongest classes we've ever enrolled at Tulane, academically speaking. If you are a member of the class of 2021, don't forget to reference the New Student Orientation (NSO) Guidebook often. The NSO Guidebook is packed with helpful information that will allow you to embrace every aspect of your first year. It will be an especially helpful resource for you as you navigate your first semester.

Let's check out some of the numbers for the class of 2021:

35,622: Number of students who applied to Tulane this year
21%: Percent of students who were admitted to Tulane this year
1892: Estimated size of class
22%: Percent who are students of color
5%: Percent of the class who are international
779: Students who are the only person from their high school attending Tulane in the class of 2021.

You can read a bit more about our initiatives to support diversity through the Office of Admission in this Hullabaloo article. We're excited to welcome the most diverse class in Tulane's history this fall, but we also know we have a long way to go to create a campus that looks more like the world we live in. We're on the right track!

Top states (and any state with over 100 freshmen):
#1: 222 from Louisiana
#2: 218 from New York
#3: 174 from California
#4: 141 from Illinois
#5: 118 from New Jersey
#6: 113 from Texas
#7: 103 from Florida
#8: 101 from Massachusetts

96: Number of international students (based on citizenship)
Foreign Countries of citizenship: China, India, Panama, Ecuador, Turkey, Vietnam, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Korea, South Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican, Republic, Guatemala, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela plus The US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The Gold Star High School Awards go to...

Benjamin Franklin High School (LA): 17 first year students
New Trier Township High School (IL): 15
Jesuit High School (LA): 15
Highland Park High School (IL): 14
Adlai E Stevenson High School (IL): 10
Millburn High School (NJ): 10

7: Number of student with perfect 36 on the ACT
9: Number of students with perfect 1600 on the SAT
191: Number of students who never got less than an A their entire high school career

And there you have it! See you all at Move In Day!

50 Tips for Parents

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 18:00
Ruth Lackore and her son Jason Moms and Dads, hard to believe it but we are getting closer and closer to the final countdown. Freshman move in day is only two weeks away! Don't worry, I've got you covered. I solicited the help of people who know best how to be a great Tulane parent: Tulane parents! Here are their 50 tips for you directly from our amazing current parents.

  • Enjoy the incredible food in NOLA - Favorite eats for the moment (SO many!): brunch at Willa Jean; dinner at Shaya.  
  • Always carry a small umbrella in your bag - it can downpour suddenly  
  • Become a part of the Tulane community - it feels like a wonderful family of amazing parents, administrators, professors, and of course, students. Be on the lookout for ways to get involved. (Jennifer / Santa Monica CA / mom of Chloe '18 and Isabelle '21)
  • If you play an instrument, bring it with you even if you don't plan to be involved in formal music programs – there is music all over campus, students just jamming in small groups.
  • Purchase Kentwood Springs  water for your student in their dorm room! there is a tent on the guad during move in day and if you miss it, you can call them at 504-400-5965. This was the best investment ... They need a lot of water as it's hot and it's reasonable and worth it!
  • Even though the move in process seems overwhelming, Tulane has one of the best move in days known! Stay if you can for the special! (Heidi / Bethesda MD / mom of Joshua, '18)
  • There are no controls for the AC. My son was freezing and I needed to send him down winter pajamas, sweatpants,  sweatshirts so he could survive the frigid dorm air. 
  • My biggest worry...the hurricane threats.  Dropped my son off freshman year and left him with a hurricane headed straight for NOLA! Was a great icebreaker for meeting his floormates, but after 4 years of warnings I realized this is the "Tulane  Norm." Try not to worry! (Lauren / Wayne NJ / mom of Jason '17) 
  • When it rains it pours....bring waterproof shoes.
  • Eat and drink your way through NOLA, and visit the sights it is best city in the world
  • Summertime Storage is amazing, and would recommend using them (Linda / North Woodmere NY / mom of Michael '19)
  • Go to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every year with your student and make some family college memories and fall in love with New Orleans.  
  • But ONLY go to Jazz Fest on first weekend, because second weekend interferes too much with finals studying and the kids are too tired from the first weekend! Don't forget to purchase your after show tickets and reserve your dinners after 9 pm.
  • Feed and meet all of their friends and enjoy the diverse and fabulous music and the unique New Orleans hospitality and culture. 
  • Send your student a solid care package the days before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).  Be sure it has healthy provisions that they can enjoy as they move about during Mardi Gras or even send a tray of sandwiches, cheese/crackers, fruit and other essentials for their dorm fridge!
  • Rouse's Market delivers to campus! They will thank you when they are hungry and exhausted and all dining halls are closed and food is scarce...even in New Orleans! (Susan / Miami, FL / mom of Brian, '16) 
  • If possible, out of towners can send boxes to their hotel vs campus. They will gladly store them for you and then you don’t have to wait in line on campus to get them. Just took one step out of the process and made things easier for me in particular as it was just Jonah and me on move in day. (side note- a change this year is HRL is piloting delivering your boxes to your S/Ds room before they arrive! -Jeff)
  • Trust the process and go random for roommates; my son didn’t hook up with a roommate in advance and he got paired with a GREAT kid from San Francisco who he has loved living with. Says he fared a lot better than many other friends who tried to manage the process.
  • Invest in a backpack that is truly waterproof AND has a build in cover. (not sure right wording here). Basically it is tiny, in a zipped pocket, but when its pouring NOLA style he can pull it out and cover his backpack (books and laptop) as he never has an umbrella handy.
  • That kid in the Tulane video who said you MUST bring a Hawaiian shirt…well we laughed at this idea and then Jonah dug one up and shoved it in his bag and said “thank god” - he wore it to tons of stuff. Apparently a ‘must have.' (Arlene / Bedford MA / mom of Jonah '19)
  • If your schedule permits, fly in for move in on Wednesday. Get the Bed and Bath done in a less stressful manner as you will likely go back 2 or 3 times. Use the time to get the toiletries, groceries, etc on Thursday so that move in on Friday is more calm. 
  • On Saturday, enjoy Convocation and your kids and get out earlier on Sunday. Dragging it out doesn't help them at all. Cry at the airport!
  • Book your hotel and CAR early. Get a small SUV or mini van as that stuff from Bed and Bath is bulky! 
  • Book hotel for parent's weekend early as well, if your kid wants you to be there.
  • Listen to the webinars that are offered from the Office of Parent Programs. They are truly informative and help provide information on things like rushing spring semester, move out in spring, etc.
  • Make dinner's what everyone talks about whether you are a foodie or not. Try for Shaya as it just got the Beard Foundations "Best New Restaurant " in America (Lisa / Los Angeles / mom of Natalie, '19)
  • Tulane Trash for Treasures is a great way to find cheap dorm items on move in day! Go EARLY!
  • Attend Family Weekend (Friday night A’Cappella concert a must!)
  • Check out student syllabus before making flight arrangements for Thanksgiving. 
  • If visiting, expect extra students for dinner (they are so appreciative)
  • You do not need a car when visiting NOLA.
  • Play nice on the parent Facebook page ;)  Couldn’t resist….I’m 1 of the 4 admins. (Annalee, Baton Rouge, mom of Caroline, '18)
  • My son (his idea) wears his Tulane shirt every time he flies back to NOLA from a school break.  He has always been able to find someone to share a ride back to Tulane from the airport.
  • We moved our son with the basic necessities and kept it very simple to accommodate the small dorm room.  There was ample space and storage when we left.  By the time spring came around, his dorm room was cluttered with stuff.  Be aware not to over pack. 
  • Highly recommend all parents to participate in the Parents weekend during Fall semester. Despite the pouring rain, we had a blast and enjoyed all the activities. sessions, and it was a happy reunion with our son.
  • Prepare your child for wet, raincoat, umbrella, etc....they will use it frequently!  (Ruth / Nashville, TN / mom of Jason '19)
  • Don’t bother renting a car in New Orleans. You don’t need one. Between the streetcar, taxis, and good old fashioned walking, you can get wherever you need to go, easily and inexpensively. 
  • We shipped most of her stuff via FedEx Ground and bought any extra items we needed at the campus store, which sells pretty much what you’d find in any Target. Honestly, it never even occurred to me to rent one on any visit. So go green, save yourself some money and skip the car rental! (Robin /  NYC / Mom of Marlee '16)
  • My advice is coming from a parent of a kid who had a sheltered high school experience and who did not have the most successful first year. Not everyone goes and immediately fits in, has great time, and gets the college thing.  Prepare your kids for that before they go. Prepare them for potential loneliness the first few weeks to the first couple of months. Prepare them to possibly screw up as far as time management goes and explain how communication with you as parents, counselors, and professors is key to making things right. Explain that while drinking is prevalent, there are other kids out there who are into hanging out and not partying - keep looking.  
  • Finding the sweet spot of supporting while giving room to make mistakes is one of the hardest parenting maneuvers out there.  
  • Take the Tulane Parents page with a grain of salt - not every kid is having an amazing time every moment.  And that is ok.  It's life.  It's part of the learning process. Take a deep breath.  It all works out in the end.
  • Frenchman Street is great spot for live music day or night. 
  • The book, "One Dead in the Attic" helps one understand what Katrina really did and why she is forever part of NOLA now. 
  • Anything you don't bring on move in day can be sent - no reason to panic. And that the sale of used stuff on move in day is the best thing ever (Trash to Treasure)! (Kim / Huntington Beach CA)

Thank you you to all the amazing parents who contributed to this!
Heidi Dupler and son Josh
Jennifer Happillon and daughter Chloe
Mike, mom Linda behind camera The Campbell family in NOLA
Lisa Josefsberg with daughter Natalie 
Robin Bernstein and kids at freshman move in day The whole Fusfield clan at Jazz Fest 

Ten Application Tips from the "Experts"

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 12:30
Look at all these students cheering for these application tips. Our application is live! Starting today, you can begin applying to Tulane for the class of 2022. Remember, we accept both the Common Application as well as our own application and don't have a preference between the two. There's also never an application fee here at Tulane. Today's blog is my top ten tips for making yourself the strongest applicant you can be! First, check out my five reasons why you've got to apply to Tulane this fall in the video below. Oh and by the way, yesterday's Princeton Review rankings also had some great reasons to apply; here's a few of the rankings they gave us this year:

Best College City: #1
Most Engaged in Community Service: #1
Best-Run Colleges: #4
Happiest Students: #4
Best Quality of Life: #9
Most Active Student Government: #12

And now on to making yourself the strongest applicant you can be!

Jeff's Ten Application Tips 

1) Do the Optional Statement: If the application asks "Why are you applying to [insert school here]?," take the time to write a thoughtful, insightful answer. Show you have done a little research, and really make your case as to why you think said school would be a good fit for you. If there isn't a question like this on the application, then send in a short paragraph as if this question was asked. Tulane does have an optional statement that asks why you are applying- fill it out! You can read all about this in detail on my blog entry here
2) Explain everything! If you had a real tough semester in your personal life in your sophomore year and your grades suffered, let us know. If AP Calc wasn't your thing but you got two tutors and worked every night for two months studying but still got a C, let us know. The more insight you can give into your grades the better. The best spot to do this is in the "additional information" section. 
3) Pick an essay topic you love to write about, no matter what it is. We're more likely to love reading something you loved writing. We read thousands and thousands of these things, so make sure you get us going right off the bat. And remember, sometimes the best essays are the simplest ones. No need to dig for a tragedy, over embellish anything or try to change the world. Just be yourself. And I hate to tell you all this, but I must have read a thousand essays about summer camp, Harry Potter, grandmas and your service trip to Fiji last summer. Think outside the box! You can read all about my tips on the best college essays here
4) Make a ZeeMee page. There's been a shift in the world of college admission and Tulane is a part of that. We want to know your authentic story, beyond just your scores and your grades. We've partnered with ZeeMee this year so you guys can do just that: share your story. I bet you'll really love making your page- be sure to add it to the section on the Common App where we ask for it. You can see my ZeeMee page here
5) Avoid application redundancy. Take a 30,000 foot view of your application. If your activities section is all about tennis and your counselor letter of recommendation talks about tennis and your short answer is about tennis, what do you think your essay should be about? Anything but tennis! Decided where each "piece" of your application should fall and where your stories, passions and strengths will be shared. This might mean connecting with your school counselor (and it's a good time to get to know them better!) We read 38,000 applications a year, and as soon as we see something in your file that is there again and again, there's a chance we'll skip over the repeated parts. 
6) Be purposeful in your communication with colleges. Got questions? Let us know! Don't over do it, but research your top schools and meet with admission reps during their high school visits or regional receptions in your hometown. You can reach out to your Tulane admission counselor here. Want to know the best (and worst) questions to ask your admission counselor? Read all about it here. Also, don't forget that our ED and EA applicants this year can qualify for an alumni interview. My advice here is that if you want to set up an interview, consider submitting your application before the deadline. Apply in early October, for example, and that gives us way more time to take care of the interview process. The process of getting the interview set up, completed and into your application takes a while, so applying early will help ensure your interview is included as we review your file. Side note, you don't need your rec letters or transcripts submitted to set up the interview, so don't stress your school counselor out trying to get those in early. 

7) Visit a college or university nearby to get a sense for what college campuses are like. I know it's hard to visit every school on your list, especially with a tight budget. Check out a school in your hometown or somewhere in driving distance to get a sense for what a college campus feels like. It will make you better prepared as you start filling out applications. You can read my top tips for visiting colleges here
8) Be Professional. Get a college e-mail address. Something professional. While the e-mail I got a few years back from cupcakez or LaxStud6969 may sound cool to your friends, it looks silly to me. And I'm actually pretty cool too. Just put your best foot forward. Same goes for Facebook, Snapchat, Insta, Twitter- we don't generally check your social media platforms here at Tulane, but keep make sure your picture is something you'd be okay with your grandma seeing. What usually happens each year is we'll get screenshots of dumb things students put on SnapChat or Twitter. Just be smart, nice and treat your peers with some compassion. Sometimes, it can get your admission decision rescinded. Speaking of connecting with admission reps, here are five e-mails you should never send us. 
9) We like jobs. So if you have one, tell us about it. Working 15 hours a week at your local Subway as a Sandwich Artist carries just a much weight as playing a varsity sport. Whatever takes up your time, we want to know about it. I have some additional resume tips that you can read about here
10) Pick your passion. We don't care what you do, as long as you do it well and you love to do it. What makes you tick after the bell rings? Where do your strengths lie? What makes you... you? See tip #4, or send us a nice, clean, one-page resume with the above listed. Keep this resume simple. Just give me a quick description of those three or four big things. Do not send me a six page resume listing out every time you donated blood. I wont read it, and few colleges will. We don't need a list of everything, just the most important things to you. On the common app, there's no need to fill in every single blank on the activities section. Less is more. I've got a blog that goes into lots more detail about best ways to fill out the activities section here
Hope this helps guys! Feel free to e-mail us if you ever have any questions. Happy applying! 

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

8 Tips for the Activities Section

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 18:44
Hard to believe it, but it's just a few days until our application goes live on August 1st! Tulane offers students the opportunity to apply using our own application or using the Common Application. We've got no preference between the two, so it's totally up to you. We also believe in no barriers to apply; we're still one of the only schools in the top 50 with no application fee.

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

Now, let's delve into my...

8 Tips for the Activities Section

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

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

Don't wait until the end to tell me the stuff you are awesome at! No one gets admitted to college based on those first three.
Don't overdo the service trips and travel. We know there are some amazing service trips and programs all around the world. For a school ranked #1 for students most involved in community service, we absolutely value the time you've spent involved in service. But if we get a resume packed with trips to Fiji, it can come across as privileged. Again, I think there is value in these trips, but I also think there is value in a service project or job in your own backyard.

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

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

Don't overlook what you think might be mundane. There are things you might not consider as traditional extracurricular activities that we on the admission committee might find quite interesting. I had a kid collect coins from around the world by scouring various antique shops with his grandfather. You might not think your quirky hobbies are activity-list-worthy, but sometimes it's those things that make you stand out the most in this section.

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

There you have it! Now get to work on crafting that dynamite activities section. Happy applying!

WHAT NOT TO DO: What is ACAM? What did you do at Meals on Wheels? And why downplay that awesome job?
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Ah, good. No abbreviations. Specifics on the Meals on Wheels. And you didn't sell yourself short on how important being a busboy is! 

Summer Reading

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 21:14
One of the tips I give high school juniors and seniors is pretty straightforward: read good books. Books are great conversation starters and might even help you as you start to think about college, what schools you might fit in at, and what to write about for your application personal statement. Plus, one of my favorite questions to ask prospective students is "what was the last good book you read?" With our alumni interview program kicking off this fall, I am not saying that this will be a question you'll be asked, but I am also not, not saying it...

Since it's July, which means prime beach reading season, I surveyed my colleagues here in the Office of Admission to get a list of books you might particularly enjoy. Grab your Kindle or head over to your local bookstore and check out these picks for your summer reading list:

Me: Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris
"I've posted before that even Directors of Admission get anxiety and while I am no expert on the topic, I know there are certain things that we can do to de-stress and calm that incessant inner monologue. As you embark on what is sure to be a stress-inducing time in your life, you'll find Dan Harris' book to be tremendously helpful. Harris is famous for having an on-air anxiety attack on the set of Good Morning America. The book follows his journey from a skeptic (the way most of us feel about meditation) to believer. He calls meditation a superpower and after reading this book and practicing it myself, I fully and wholeheartedly agree."

Jill (Assistant Director for Transfer Recruitment): Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
"Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. This fictional novel follows a young woman named Cora through her escape from a cotton plantation in Georgia. Cora encounters different worlds and people at every stage of her journey and the language and detail by Whitehead keep you engrossed and invested the entire time. The story doesn’t seem to get easier for Cora, but at every turn, you are rooting for this heroine as she finds her way to freedom.
In other words, she’s a true badass."

Paul (Director of International Admission): Secret River by Kate Grenville
"This historical novel covers topics from colonization and race to immigration and the clash of civilizations through the lens of the settling of Australia. While offering insight to the early British development of Australia and the penal colony system, this novel also gives an alternative account of a period of history not largely understood by those of us who grew up in America."

Toni (Diversity Recruitment Coordinator): Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
"Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 classic, The Fire Next Time, Between the World and Me is written as a letter from author Ta-Nehisi Coates to his teenaged son. Coates covers topics such as the social, economic and historical context for the stigma and fear that surround the black community and young black men in particular in contemporary America. Coates frames his letter as he recounts his own story of growing up black and being influenced by his teachers and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Coates also references American slavery, which he parallels with his son's recent experiences with the deaths of young black men in America (Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Jorden Davis). Coates uses these poignant recent tragedies as a guiding light that has illuminated the dangers of being a young, black male in America. Overall, the book offers a powerful framework to understand contemporary race relations in America and helps lay bare the larger underlying issues of modern movements including police brutality and Black Lives Matter."

Between the World and Me is this summer's reading project for the class of 2021.

Becca (Admission Counselor for Arts and Architecture Students): Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
"My personal favorite time to read any kind of thriller or mystery novel is during the summer when the days are long and lazy. Each chapter of this novel switches off between characters all living in a small town where numerous women over hundreds of years have died in the central river’s “drowning pool”. Each person’s perspective reveals a new, and often contradictory clue that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. Hawkins is the author of The Girl on the Train, another amazing thriller."

Henry (Admission Counselor): Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles Blow"I highly recommend Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles Blow, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. Blow’s memoir details his upbringing in rural, north Louisiana. Blow dives deep into the poverty and turbulent family life he experienced as a child, the African-American experience in The South, and his struggles with his sexual identity. This book provides beautiful and poignant insights into a slice of life in our country that is often overlooked."

Rachel (Admission Counselor): Born a Crime by Trevor Noah"Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, grew up in South Africa as apartheid was ending and his autobiography delves into his upbringing during these tumultuous times. The book details his struggles with his racial identity and family dynamic through stories that are both informative and comical. Trevor has such a unique and difficult story to tell, but an incredibly important one to hear—it is sure to put things in perspective for you. Of course, this one has a special place in my heart since I studied abroad in South Africa when I was a student at Tulane!" 
Owen (Admission Counselor): A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson "This is Bill Bryson’s memoir of his travels on the Appalachian Trail with his friend. It weaves in history, personal stories, and anecdotes from the trek in his hilarious writing style. It is certainly more than just a travel book, but it has always inspired some wanderlust for me and reminds me of the beauty of a simple trip through nature. To top it all off, Bryson’s companion is the “gloriously out of shape” Stephen Katz, who is an endless supply of funny moments. They made this book into a movie starring Robert Redford a couple years ago. I’ve heard it wasn’t particularly good, but don’t let a bad adaption turn you off from a great read!"

Admission Pet Peeves

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 18:50
A few years back, USNews ran a story about Admission Representatives' pet peeves in the college application process. They were nice enough to quote me in it, I spoke a little bit about my annoyance when students write the wrong school to me, which happens more than you would think.

The article got me thinking that there are indeed a few things that tend to get on my nerves a bit during the process. Keep in mind that 99.9% of what happens in college admission is annoyance-free. And we also understand that this is a stressful time for you as well. So, I figured it may be helpful for you high school juniors and seniors (and your parents) out there to know of a few things that us folks on our side of the desk will consider to be pet peeves. Now, if you're guilty of any of these things in the past, don't fret, they are not make or break things at all. But, since you'll always want to put your best foot forward in this world of college admission, I figured it can only help you (and all my colleagues in the world of college admission!) if you avoid being the following people.

1) The Vague E-mail Question Asker: Admission representatives can get upwards of a thousand e-mails a week. It's a part of our job, and for us, we really enjoy it. I like communicating with students, helping them plan their visits to Tulane, and answering their questions. However, if there is one type of e-mail that can be a little bit frustrating for us, it is when prospective students e-mail us very open ended and vague questions. "Dear Mr. Schiffman- Can you tell me what it's like to be a student at Tulane?" [it's great!] and "Dear Jeff- What is Tulane looking for in an applicant?" [well rounded!] and "Dear Mr. Schiffman- What is New Orleans like?" [it's funky!] These are the type of questions that, while great questions, may be best asked in person or over the phone. When we have to sit down and type out what the campus is like, it's a bit broad for us to cover, and it takes us a long time. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call your schools to ask these very broad questions, or do some research online, or chat with our current students (which you can do online every day from 3-5 CST!). I would much rather answer questions that are specific and well-researched. Trust me on this one, it makes admission representatives lives a lot easier. For more on this, check out my 5 e-mails you should never send post as well as Questions to never ask your admission rep.

2) The Let-Mom-Take-Over-the-Meeting Student- We love meeting with students on campus. But there is nothing more disheartening when a student arrives in my office and speaks a few welcoming words before Mom or Dad takes over with their laundry lists of questions. Because we don't offer formal interviews with the admission staff here at Tulane, we totally welcome your mom or dad to come into our office during your chat with your admission rep. But if they are going to dominate the conversation and won't allow you a word in edgewise, then let them stay in the waiting room and come in towards the end of their discussion. I once had a student come into my office with her mom, made no eye contact with me the whole time, and on her mother's twelfth question, the daughter actually began texting on her phone. In my office. No thanks. Best overall advice I can give here is; parents, you do not want to be more memorable than your students in this process.

Side note, we're super excited to launch our new alumni interview program for our EA/ED applicants this fall!

3) The Best Kid in the World- This goes along with #3 above. Mom and Dad, I know you are going to have a tough time holding back these words, but I can tell you that every parent thinks their kid is really special. I can count on seventeen hands the number of times I had an overanxious mom or dad say this to me. Even if you start the my-kid-is-special sentence with "I know that all parents will say this to you, but..." it still seems unrealistic to us. Also, Mom and Dad, "we" are not taking AP Calculus. "We" are not taking the SATs in November. They are. Avoid this word. I know you are partners in this process, but let your kid be themselves. Let them show their specialness on their own.

4) The Leader On-er- This is the peeve I was quoted about in USNews. I had a student contact me all year long last year, and while they were an decent applicant, they had expressed a lot of interest and had really let me know that Tulane was their top choice. However, when they were added to our wait list, I got a full page e-mail from them indicating how badly they wanted to attend [insert school here that is not Tulane]. I was all set to bring the applicant to my VP  and say how I wanted to support the candidate, but this really took the wind out of my sails. So make sure you are being honest- don't lead admission officers on. Never cut and paste an e-mail from another school or make the fatal error of writing the wrong school. This happens much more often than you would suspect. If you are expressing interest in a school, have it be genuine engagement rather than forced or feigned interest.

5) The Twelve Page Resume-Sender- I have spoken on this topic before. It won't do you too much good to send us an extremely lengthy resume about every single bake sale you have ever worked. The best resumes we get are on one nice, clean, crisp page. They highlight the three or four major priorities and passions that you have. Sending 44 pages of photocopies of every award you have won (true story) is similar to this. Same with filling out every single blank on the activities section of the Common App. I am 33 years old... your resume shouldn't be longer than mine is! More tips on great resumes are on my previous blog here.

We know that you all are about to start working hard to get these applications out and we know that this might be a pretty stressful time for you and your family. I hope these little tips are able to help you a bit, and of course selfishly, following many of them will make your admission officer's life just a little bit easier.

For the full article from USNews, you can click here to see what other admission officers claim their pet peeves to be.


Fri, 06/30/2017 - 16:20
I'm loving seeing all the #TulaneSummer posts on Insta. Makes me jealous of the days of a good 'ol fashioned summer break. I checked in with a few of our students to see how they were spending their "lazy" days of summer. Tulane will afford you all kinds of different opportunities and ways to spend your summer. From on-campus jobs to internships around the country, using the resources and alumni connections you'll find here, Tulane students seem to find some pretty incredible ways to spend their summer breaks! Let's check a few of them out:

Noah doing festival stuff, with a tractor, of course 
Noah Steinauer - Senior, Economics Major 

Where he is: Music Fests Everywhere 

Beginning my sophomore year at Tulane, I have had the privilege of serving on the board of our own completely student-run music festival, Crawfest. Encouraged by fellow board members, I began interning for and then working in the administration team at BUKU Music + Arts Project. This summer, as I enter my senior year as a leader in the Crawfest team, I am happy to be continuing my work in the entertainment industry, contributing to the production of various music festivals. From coordinating lodging and travel for festivals such as Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL, to working within the detailed VIP camping operations of Firefly in Delaware, I have had some incredible opportunities to see first-hand the administration and production of the increasingly popular business of music events.

Team Tulane at Capital One 

Ian Athmann ’18, Lauryn Fulton ’18, Dan Iavarone ’18, William Wei ’19, Kristin Aria ‘18
Where they are: Capital One Commercial Bank in New York, NY; New Orleans, LA; Bethesda, MD

This summer, five Tulane students are part of Capital One’s Commercial Banking Program. Ian is in New Orleans with the Middle Market Underwriting team, Lauryn is in New York with Treasury Management, Dan is in New York with Credit Risk, Will is in New York with Capital Markets, and Kristin is in Bethesda with Human Resources. Capital One Commercial Bank is a full-fledged lender that lends across all verticals and is quickly expanding its products and services in the banking and technology industry. The Commercial Banking Program is a ten-week long program that provides an in-depth experience of life as an analyst within each intern’s specific group, and groups throughout the Commercial Banking footprint.

Jenny at DREAM's black tie gala 

Jenny Ly- Sophomore, Policitcal Science Major
Where she is: Intern at nonprofit in NYC 

This summer, I've traded in the Big Easy for the Big Apple. I am currently working at DREAM (formerly known as Harlem RBI) in East Harlem as a Major Gifts Intern. Some of my responsibilities include assisting the Development with various special events and projects throughout the summer, researching prospective donors in the tri-state area who may contribute to the annual campaign, as well as engaging and maintaining relationships with donors.

At DREAM, our mission is to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to learn, play, and grow through the power of baseball and softball. We are invested in ensuring our players' success on and off the field. In our after-school and summer programs, not only will DREAM youth learn how to play baseball and softball, they will also learn to practice physical literacy, achieve academic success, and embody social-emotional competencies, all of which are critical to their development. My first couple of weeks at DREAM have been exciting, to say the least. Before my official start, I assisted the Development team with one of our largest fundraising events of the year, Bids for Kids, a star-studded black tie gala. To wrap up the end of my first week, I, along with a couple of other interns, was given front-row tickets to the Yankees v. Orioles game, courtesy of a very generous donor. Although I know Yankees tickets won't be a reoccurring event of my internship, I am still excited and continue to look forward to the rest of my summer at DREAM.

Aileen at NVE, 90210 

Aileen Harrison- Sophomore, Marketing and Digital Media Productions Major
Where she is: event planning intern in Los Angeles 

This summer I am interning at NVE: The Experience Agency in Beverly Hills. This is a promotional event planning company that works with companies like Amazon, Pandora and Red Bull (just to name a few) to plan events that raise awareness for their new products. As an intern, I research, plan and coordinate all of the little details that go into an event and help get the job done. This includes calling potential venues, vendors, and thinking about what features truly make an event memorable. The company works inspired by the slogan: “The right moment will transform someone forever,” and I am consistently learning the hard work that goes in to making these events unforgettable experiences. I actually got my internship through Tulane! I met Brett Hyman, a Tulane alumni, at the networking event Tulane Takeover: Los Angeles. He is the president of NVE and he’s how I found out about it and applied! He was super helpful through the whole process and it's been great to see the amazing alumni connections that Tulane provides.

Katie at indeed in Austin 

Katie Carlton- Senior, Management MajorWhat she's up to: sales intern at Indeed in Austin 
I am spending this summer in Austin, TX interning for the sales team at Indeed is the number 1 job search site in the world and it helps job seekers get excellent jobs every day. is such a pertinent resource for students at Tulane because it's where so many of our students find their summer internships and post-grad jobs. Although we are interns, we are trained the same way any full-time Account Executive is, and we have our own book of clients to sell our products to. It's such a cool place to work because there are unlimited snacks, we help people get jobs, and when you close the deal you get to play your pump up song (Mine will definitely be  "What Dreams Are Made Of" from the Lizzie McGuire Movie)!

Caroline gets the award for most challenging summer job: Putting up with me all summer. 
Caroline Campbell, Senior Public Health Major 
What she's doing: Two great on-campus jobs 

This summer I have been getting to know NOLA outside of the general school term. During the weekdays, I work as an intern at Tulane’s very own Admissions Office giving tours and helping prospective students navigate the college admissions process. On the weekends, I split my time between lifeguarding at Reily, the student Rec center, and heading to my favorite spots around the city. Some of my favorite activities include watching the Mississippi River at the Fly, grabbing SnoBalls on Plum Street, and checking out all the new restaurants that popped up last semester!

Antonio and the rest of the OTLs 
Antonio Milton, Sophomore Poli Sci and Philosophy Major 

What he's up to: Orientation Team Leader

This summer I have worked underneath the Tulane Office of New Student and Leadership Programs at New Student Orientation as an Orientation Team Leader. In the past month and a half, my team and I have welcomed over 1500 incoming students to our campus as well as around 1300 parents and family members. I am so thankful for having this experience this past month and a half as I have received the opportunity to assist others in making their transition to college as smooth as possible. All I can say now is that I wish I could start all over again or at least have more sessions to staff. But I know that it isn’t over, my fellow OTLs and I have fall welcome and beyond to continue to assist the Class of 2021 in whatever needs they may have. This past month has been unforgettable, and I’m very excited for the start the new academic year!

Ten NOLA Instagrams to Follow

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 21:03
kewonhunter9One of the many great things about living in NOLA is that it's a photographer's heaven. Bright colors, incredible architecture and some of the most Insta-worthy food in the world. If you are an incoming freshman, prepare yourself for some incredible sights to be shared.

I thought it might be neat to check out ten amazing NOLA Instagrammers to follow. Check them out!

OnlyatTulane: OK obviously we are going to start with a plug for the Office of Admission account. It's run by our student social media interns and if you ask me, it's pretty dope. Throw a like over to the main Tulane 'gram too! Our main man President Fitts has his own account as well.

Kewonhunter9: Some of the most incredible aerial photographs and videos I've ever seen of this city. Prepare yourself for some mesmerizing drone vids.

DavidNOLA: Gorgeous shots all over town by one of NOLA's best photographers.

Firewolf.e: Jaye Chestnut shares some colorful and incredible photos of life around town.

NOLAfoodGals: The name says it all. Don't follow them if you are on a diet!

New Orleans Saints: No matter what NFL team you love now, a little bit of you will love the Saints when you get here. Unless you're from Atlanta.

Mixterdm: My buddy Mike Dalle who runs Good Wood NOLA (another great account to follow) posts some amazing shots of New Orleans' homes and architecture.

Lazyeye: If music and festivals are your thing (and it's NOLA, so...) this account is for you.

JoyTheBaker: Amazing food posts from this popular NOLA baker, complete with recipes and a whole lotta nom. Defend New Orleans is one of NOLA's best shops (and movements) for local gear and t-shirts.

Happy following!

Twelve Cool Classes

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:00
Your subject matter in TIDES 1175-01Today may technically be the first day of summer, but with New Student Orientation in full swing, we're already looking forward to the fall semester. Class registration has begun for the incoming class of 2021 and they've got some cool ones to choose from this fall. I thought it might be neat to take a look at some of the coolest classes we're offering for freshmen this year. Some are new courses, some are golden oldies. These courses do not have any prerequisites at all and are are open to all Newcomb-Tulane College undergraduates. Thanks to my girl Dayna Gessler from academic advising for getting this great list together!

Speaking of first day of class, here is a #TBT to me on Tulane day 1. Puka shells were HOT back then.
TIDE-1175-01 Game of Thrones
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Do you debate Jon Snows parentage in your spare time? Do you hum the show’s theme song without even realizing it? Do you want to get to know other Game of Thrones fans at Tulane? Then the Game of Thrones TIDES is for you. Topics covered include the role of violence and sexuality in the television series as well as the debate over George RR. Martin’s obligation to his fans to “write like the wind.” Students should be caught up on Seasons 1-5 of the television series before the course begins. Although it is not necessary to have read the novels in order to register for this course, students who are fans of Martin’s Songs of Fire and Ice Series (Game of Thrones and its sequels) are especially welcome.

TIDE 1025-01 Karate: Art & Philosophy
Originating in Okinawa, Japan, traditional karate offers its practitioners self-defense skills, while providing them with a balanced fitness system, which includes aerobics, strength, and flexibility training. The concentration required during training, together with the physical exercise, are an excellent way to stress relief and healthy fun. Students will have the opportunity to know people of the New Orleans karate community through guest lectures of high-level, instructors and through their own visits to local karate clubs. Totally inexperienced students as well as those who have karate expertise will benefit from and will enjoy this class.

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

CRDV-1090-01 Majors, Internships and Jobs
CRDV 1090 helps students to clarify their strengths, values and goals in order to maximize student potential. Students connect collegiate academic and extracurricular experiences to professional pursuits. Students create and refine professional documents, evaluate decision making processes and learn to utilize professional social media in order to network more effectively. Students are guided through the career development process through various assignments. (Side note, I've previously blogged about this awesome class!)

MCGS 2000 Introduction to Musical Cultures of the Gulf South
An introduction to the culture of the Gulf South region with an emphasis on New Orleans music, history, ritual, dance, and cultural geography. Explores the musical relationship of the Gulf South region to the Caribbean and African diaspora. Introduces critical tools for analysis of the relationship of music and place. Themes of the course include ethnic migrations, social diversity, vernacular architecture, and slavery. Field trips to second-line parades, Mississippi River access points, diverse neighborhoods and historical slave markets.

CELL 2220 Career in Cell & Molecular Biology
Get acquainted with a variety of careers available to professionals with a science degree: medical professionals, research, science writing, technology transfer, government policy. Learn not to meets professionals in the field, write a CV and cover letter in order to have it passed on to potential research and clinical opportunities.

COMM 2812 Media and Reproductive Rights
This course focuses on the relationships between reproductive politics, popular and social media, and movements for reproductive rights in the United States.

Cities of the Dead! (from
TIDE 1000-01 New Orleans Cities of the Dead: Cemetery Architecture & Its Cultural Legacy
Heather Knight.  Students will be introduced to the history and cultural folkways of New Orleans through the study of historic figures, cemetery architecture, monument construction and funerary symbolism reflected in stone and iron.  Why are above-ground tombs more prevalent in New Orleans?  What are the different tomb types and their architectural styles?  Why do families in Louisiana visit cemeteries on All Saints Day?  What symbolism does funerary art in stone and iron reveal?  This TIDE will provide five informative field sessions to local cemeteries and five class lectures.

SISE 4820 Taylor your Life
Learn how to tackle the “wicked” problem of what to do with your life by applying methods and mindsets of design thinking to career development. Students will learn how to ideate multiple life paths, clarify their interests, focus and target their search, prototype and test elements of careers that interest them, market and brand themselves to stand out from the crowd, and map their community to effectively network with other changemakers around the world. By invoking curiosity, ideating multiple possibilities, prototyping and testing different pathways, and remaining centered on human relationships and communities, students will engage in a series of interactive, dynamic activities and learn how to design a life that makes a positive difference in the world and is “TAYLORed” to their unique life and personality.

TIDE 1370-01 Adventure, Discipline, Obsession:  A Running Conversation
Like to have class outside? Want to get off campus and see the city? Like to learn in unconventional ways? And, oh yes, do you run?  Then run with us in the early evening or early morning while we discuss a variety of aspects of life in motion, from the mythical (or not) "runner's high" to running as a metaphor for life. (Why did Forrest Gump run? Why did he stop running?) Most run will go off campus, in locations such as Audubon Park, City Park, and the French Quarter, and end with refueling (i.e., a meal, procured from Whole Foods Grocery).

SISE 2010 Introduction to Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
The introductory class gives students an appreciation for the field of social entrepreneurship and introduces students to several helpful frameworks that will be used in subsequent classes. Students will examine key concepts and the historical context, understand current theories and debates about social change, and discuss case studies of social entrepreneurs. The class will address two overarching tenets of SISE: Social impact can best be created by moving away from the current divisive approach of separate sectors and towards blended models that connect and combine sectors in new ways Social mission and social impact are the primary focus - understanding what your mission is, and how you create the greatest social impact, is key.
This course has a service learning component that goes with it.

ARST-1170-01 Foundations of Art: Glass (Glass Blowing)
This course focuses on the history and theory of glass art, and also introduces basic techniques with attention given to issues of composition, perception, communication, and expression. Emphasis also will be placed on the relationships between glass art, other art mediums, and the history of art. See my previous blog about the time I sneaked back into the glass studio! Oh and by the way, just a few days after I got dropped off at Tulane, I took glassblowing!

Ten Things to do as a Junior

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 15:42
It's hard to believe it, high school classes of 2019, but you're halfway done! With summer kicking off, the second half of high school is just a few months away. You're probably new to this whole "college application" thing, so in the spirit of first time experiences, this blog is for you. Have a look at these helpful hints to get your college search off the ground in the best way possible.

Here are my ten tips for you future (college) class of 2023-ers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck, 2019!