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Director of Admission
Updated: 6 min 4 sec ago

30 Reasons to Wish NOLA a Happy 300th Birthday

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:05

Happy 300th birthday, New Orleans! What an incredible time to be living in or visiting the city of New Orleans. Special shout out to the nearly 1,500 visitors who will descend on NOLA and Tulane next month as a part of the International Association for College Admission Counseling's annual conference. We're so excited to welcome y'all soon!

There's a lot to love about this town. In honor of her 300th birthday, the team here in the Office of Admission came up with 30 reasons to love New Orleans. From great dining to incredible architecture to our wacky vernacular, this list is perfect for those new to NOLA and want to learn why we've been such a special spot for 300 years.

Here goes nothin'!

Royal Street in all her glory. Some of the best architecture in the city can be spotted here. (source)
Royal Street: One of the crown jewel streets of NOLA, nothing beats an afternoon stroll on Royal. From musicians to street performers to some of the world’s best antique shops and galleries, Royal Street is old New Orleans at its best. It's frequently shut down to traffic too. It's a part of my Two Days in NOLA blog.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival  (source)
Jazz: In a city that, quite literally, is the birthplace of jazz music, the opportunities to immerse yourself in the jazz culture of New Orleans are endless. From the Hogan Jazz archives at Tulane to the clubs of Frenchman to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, jazz fills the air of this city from lake to river, Uptown to Downtown. (Now might be a good time to mention that we don’t use North, East, South or West here in New Orleans)

Sunset at the Fly in Audubon Park (source)
Audubon Park, Zoo and the Fly: Tulane’s “front yard” offers something for everyone. Audubon Park is home to one of America’s best zoos, as well as jogging trails, a golf course, a number of lagoons and The Fly, a very popular hangout spot along the Mississippi River. It’s one of the best spots to catch a classic New Orleans sunset.

The Marigny is all about color (source)The Bywater and Marigny Neighborhoods: New Orleans is a city of unique and distinctive neighborhoods and perhaps two of our most unique are the Bywater and Marigny. Colorful shotgun houses and tropical plants line the streets of these two quirky and offbeat neighborhoods. Be sure to grab a bike a get a little lost. You’re sure to stumble upon a great coffee shop or cocktail bar mixed in these two great parts of town.

Bayou St. John at Sunset (flickr)
Bayou St John: Home to the yearly Bayou Boogaloo fest, Bayou St. John is a tranquil oasis in the middle of Mid-City. I highly recommend grabbing a stand up paddle board or a kayak and cruising around the bayou for a relaxed summer afternoon that will make you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of NOLA. If you're hungry, head over to Parkway Bakery for a po'boy or for a healthier option, 1000 Figs.

The Lafitte Greenway as it stretches from downtown NOLA out towards Lake Ponchartrain (source)
Lafitte Greenway: Brand new to NOLA is this incredible 2.6 mile network of trails and parks that run from the French Quarter all the way to City Park. The Greenway is dotted with community gardens, playing fields, Fitlots, as well as some excellent places to stop and grab food. It’s the perfect way to see many of NOLA's coolest neighborhoods, all by foot or bike.

Crescent Park is so cool! We call this the rusty rainbow. It's a great way to access the park. (source)
Crescent Park: Another somewhat new addition to the city, Crescent Park gives visitors a chance to meander the 3 mile linear park that connects the French Quarter all the way to the Bywater, all along the bank of the Mississippi River. Grab a bike for a sunset ride and be sure to stop for dinner at Pizza Delicious.

City Park was founded in 1854 making it one of the oldest urban parks in the USA (source)
City Park: The sixth largest urban park in America is right here in NOLA. Nearly twice the size of Central Park, it will take you days to discover all that the 1,300 acres of City Park have to offer. Be sure to visit the Great Lawn, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden as post up underneath one of the park’s famous mature live oaks. City Park has the largest collection of them anywhere in the world.

The Train Garden is so cute (flickr)
Botanical Gardens: Nestled in the middle of City Park’s vast live oak forest is the Botanical Gardens, an intricate maze of succulent gardens, Zen and rose gardens and one of the best kept secrets in NOLA: the train garden. Coming with kids? Be sure to check out Storyville next door.

There is so much amazing Vietnamese food here in NOLA, like this incredible bun from Magasin (my personal favorite Vietnamese restaurant in town)
Vietnamese Culture: Did you know one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the USA is right here in NOLA? Vietnamese culture can be seen all over NOLA. From our incredible Vietnamese restaurants to the Tet festival which takes place each year in Ile de l’Est. You can read all about the Vietnamese cultural influence on NOLA, as well as check out a list of the best restaurants around town, here.

Very few things are more uniquely New Orleans than our famed Mardi Gras Indians (source)
Mardi Gras Indians: When slaves in Louisiana escaped captivity, many found refuge in the Native American populations in the south. Their cultures and traditions merged and soon Mardi Gras Indians were born. Many Mardi Gras Indians spend an entire year sewing their ornate and colorful suits. Be sure to check them out at Super Sunday to pay respect to the intricate suits they have painstakingly and proudly worked on all year.

A second line parade in the French Quarter (source)
Second Line Parades: In a city famed for parades, second line parades are the ones that everyone gets to be a part of. Second line parades trace their origins back to the parades that directly followed a funeral. The somber musical procession that would follow the funeral service would quickly break out into a second line parade filled with lively music and dancing. You can catch second line parades all over town from weddings, parties and, really, any celebration.

Here I am getting gored by a NOLA bull at my favorite festival of the year
Festivals: If there is one thing NOLA does right, it’s our festivals. Here in town, we have more festivals that we do days of the school year. Check out a few of the festival calendars or read my review of my top 10. My number one, San Fermin Nueva Orleans, happens to be coming up next month. For those coming to I-ACAC, you'll be arriving right as Essence Festival wraps up (it's one of the largest black arts and music festivals in the world) and right as San Fremin kicks off!

The food. All of the foods. (source)
The Food: Just last week, Trip Advisor ranked us the #5 best food city in the world and #1 in the US. The food in NOLA is really worth the visit alone. From jambalaya, crawfish, incredible seafood, Cajun and Creole cooking, NOLA truly is known around the world as one of the best places to forget about any diet you may be on. Check out my previous blog about my top 10 restaurants in town and Owen’s guest blog about the best places to grab a bite near Tulane’s campus.

Frenchman Street is alive with music every night of the week. Some of the best bands can be seen right on the sidewalk! (source)
Frenchman Street: You’ll hear people refer to Frenchman as the local’s answer to Bourbon Street. That’s partly true, but visitors and locals alike flock to the five blocks of Frenchman that provide some of the best live music venues in the city. Whether you’re looking for blues, reggae, jazz, funk, or rock, there is something for everyone on Frenchman. Here's a pretty good run-down of the best spots on Frenchman. I recommend DBA, Three Muses and Snug Harbor.

Not a normal cemetery. But normal for us! (source)
Cemeteries: We call them cities of the dead, and if you’ve ever visited a New Orleans cemetery, you know why. Beautiful and ornate tombs and mausoleums rise like monuments from the grass. You’ll need a guide to visit them these days, but don’t miss Lafayette Cemetery and St. Louis Cemetery #1, the oldest in the city.

The splendor of the cypress swamps of Jean Lafitte (source
Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve: For a quick escape around 30 minutes from the city (and a free option instead of a swamp tour) head to the Jean Lafitte nature preserve for a boardwalked hike through our gorgeous cypress swamps. Spot gators and other Louisiana wildlife while taking note of why Louisiana is referred to as the “sportsman’s paradise.”

The National WWII Museum. Prepare to spend a lot of time here, history buffs! (source)
Museums: Some might be surprised to know that the number one most popular attraction in New Orleans is actually a museum. And if you’ve ever visited the National World War II museum, you know why. Built in NOLA as we’re home to the Higgins Boat shipyard (which Eisenhower credited with winning the Battle of Normandy,) expect to spend at least a half day at this museum if you visit. Not far from the WWII Museum are the Contemporary Arts Center and galleries of Julia Street. In City Park, you'll find the always-special New Orleans Museum of Art .

Live Oaks and incredible mansions: two staples of the Garden District (source
The Garden District: Just a bit further downtown from Tulane is one of New Orleans’ most famous neighborhoods: the Garden District. Gorgeous homes flank massive live oaks in this very walkable part of town. I recommend Coliseium Street between 1st and 8th streets; best seen on foot. You'll see everything from the Benjamin Button house, celeb homes (like John Goodman, Sandra Bullock, Beyonce and Anne Rice) to the world-famous Commander's Palace restaurant.

$1.25 will get you (leisurely!) all around town. (source
Streetcars: The only moving national historic landmark, our network of streetcars will lazily clank and clatter you through some of New Orleans’ most iconic neighborhoods. Don’t expect a bullet train (or A/C) but do expect to feel the magic of a truly distinctive New Orleans experience. Here's a solid  list of great stops to get off at and explore.

The many varieties of NOLA snoballs (source
Sno Balls: A classic New Orleans summertime treat. Snowball stands can be found in every single neighborhood in NOLA. Everyone here’s got their favorite flavor. Mine happens to be coconut cream.

Big Freedia, the Queen of New Orleans bounce (source)
Bounce: Jazz isn’t the only musical art form invented in NOLA. Bounce music calls NOLA home and with iconic stars like Big Freedia as the Queen of Bounce herself, it’s not hard to see why this art form will quickly get you shaking your booty.

Shopping on Magazine Street really can't be beat, especially with how local everything is! (source
Magazine Street: The best shopping street in NOLA, hands down. Magazine Street is almost eight miles of restaurants and shopping, most of which is local. You can walk the entire thing in a long morning, popping into shops along the way. My favorite stretch is close to downtown between Louisiana down to Coliseum Square (stop in Vegas for great men's shopping and grab a doughnut at District!) You can read my previous blog about Uptown Magazine Street here.

Best way to get around town these days! (source
Blue Bikes: In the last few years, an expansive network of bike lanes and shared lanes have crisscrossed the city of New Orleans. Couple that with a very flat city and you’ve got a great opportunity to see this entire town via bike. Just beware the potholes which we are famous for here. Grab a blue bike at one of the 70 stations around town and cruise this city in the best mode of transportation for taking in all NOLA has to offer.

We're not normal here and we are OK with that. (source
The People: Sure sure I am biased here. But you’ll get what I am saying once you visit. People here ask you how your day is going and actually want to know the answer. People make eye contact on the streets and smile. Everyone is your baby or you momma or your honey. Wherever you’re from (even if this friendliness may be jarring for you) join right in with the conversation here in NOLA. Smile, ask people how they are (and how their momma and dem are doing). Oh, and if you are looking for something to talk about, just talk about NOLA. NOLA was number 1 on Travel and Leisure’s list of “people most proud of their city,” so if you’re looking for a conversation starter, go with that. Or with the Saints. Or food. Or… well, you get the idea. We have this famous saying here in town that "the longer you live in NOLA, the more unfit you become to live anywhere else."

Getting married under the Tree of Life (source
Live Oak Trees: I remember my first visit to NOLA many years ago and wondering if there had just been a parade the day before I arrived based on how many colorful beads I saw dangling from the live oak trees. Turns out, it’s like that year round. New Orleans is home to thousands of massive (and massively old) live oaks trees that seem to be immune to famine, flood, disease and a constant onslaught of plastic beads. If trees are your thing, be sure to check out the Tree of Life in Audubon The Singing Oak in City Park which is adorned with wind chimes.

Oak Alley. She's a beaut. (source
Plantations: Some of the most beautiful places in Louisiana also happen to be home to some of the greatest atrocities in our country’s history. Visit places like Oak Alley, Laura Plantation, and Whitney Plantation for their beauty, but stay for the incredibly moving exhibits on American slavery and its impact on those who lived it.

When you are in New Orleans, you know you're in New Orleans. (source
The Architecture: Tennessee Williams once said “In America, there is New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everything else is just Cleveland.” A large part of why NOLA is one of America’s most iconic and distinctive cities is because of our architecture. From Creole cottages to Garden District mansions to the wrought iron balconies that make the French Quarter magical, there is an endless feast for the architectural eye here in New Orleans. And it’s new and old, too. You’ll notice a tremendous amount of new construction going up in bustling neighborhoods like the Warehouse District and the Central Business District. But, we ain’t 300 years old for nothing: New Orleans has more buildings on the National Register of Historic Places than any city in the US.
Get used to it! (source
The Language: Get ready to start saying y’all, y’all. It’s just going to become a part of your vernacular. Along with lagniappe, neutral ground, y’at… tell you what, just read my previous blog post all about NOLA Lingo.

Just be prepared to see music. Everywhere. (source
The Music: It's everywhere and every kind. From incredible local acts to big name shows, NOLA has it all. Some of our favorite music venues in the city are Maple Leaf (Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesdays),  Le Bon Temps (Big Sam on Thursdays), and the iconic Tipitinas. If the big-name stuff is more your genre, here's who is coming to NOLA in the next six months alone: Beyonce/Jay Z, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Foster the People, Ed Sheerin, The Eagles, Imagine Dragons, J. Cole, Journey, Drake/Migos, Fall Out Boy, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Elton John.

Tulane + NOLA
The Universities: We saved the best for last. New Orleans is home to a broad range of incredible schools and colleges. From two of the country’s best HBCUs at Xavier and Dillard, to large public schools like the University of New Orleans, to Uptown mainstays Loyola and Tulane, the network of schools in town is impressive. This year, the Princeton Review named New Orleans the best college city in America. Tulane’s been a part of New Orleans for a large part of the city’s 300 history. Founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana, we’ve been through thick and thin with our hometown and we’ll continue to share an incredible bond for another 300 years to come.

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 21:18
Welcome to New Orleans! Owen Knight here, taking over Jeff's blog to talk about one of my favorite things: food. We are so excited to host the International ACAC Conference here at Tulane and Loyola. It is going to be an amazing few days, especially for those of you who have never visited our city before. 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. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite restaurants close to our Uptown campuses that we hope you get to try during your trip. Bon appetit!

Our Favorite Restaurants Close to Tulane and Loyola

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

Clancy’s: Located Uptown just on Annunciation Street, Clancy’s is tucked in a residential neighborhood but is home to amazing Creole cooking. Drawing influences from French cuisine, Clancy’s serves up delicious plates of everything from veal to tuna to lemon icebox pie. They also have an extensive drink menu.

The Camellia Grill: Right on the streetcar line where St. Charles meets Carrollton, The Camellia Grill is a classic. Opened in 1946, it is famous for its diner fare, friendly staff, and countertop dining experience.

St. James Cheese Company: Located on Prytania Street just a few minutes from campus, this cheese shop also serves up some of the best sandwiches and salads in town. Our office faces a constant debate over which sandwich reigns supreme. You also can’t go wrong with a cheese board. Prytania Street is also home to Creole Creamery, just a few steps away so you can get your dairy fix all in one fell swoop!

Dat Dog on Freret: It was hard to pick just one place on Freret to highlight. However, Dat Dog is just such a fun and unique place we had to talk about it first. Dat Dog is home to amazing hot dogs, sausages and fries and a renovated gas station. You can get anything from a fried fish dog to alligator sausage to the Guinness dog. Dat Dog is a huge hit with students and they have multiple locations around town.

Freret Street has seen huge growth in recent years. There are tons of great places to eat. Some of our other favorites include Liberty Cheesesteaks (owned by a Tulane Alum), The Company Burger, Good Bird, High Hat Café, and many more. Freret is also home to Cure, a classy bar with food that recently won a James Beard Award. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a jaunt down Freret!

Domilise’s: Almost 100 years old, Domilise’s serves up amazing po boys in a no-nonsense setting. Some could describe it as a hole in the wall, but you simply can’t deny the combination of a shrimp po boy and a cold beer.

Ba Chi Canteen: A lot of people don’t realize how strong a Vietnamese influence there is in New Orleans. Ba Chi on Maple is a favorite of students and staff alike. They offer a wide spread of Vietnamese dishes from vermicelli bowls to pho to bahn mi sandwiches. They also are known for their steamed bun “bacos” that are simply to die for. Come hungry!

Pizza Domenica: An offshoot of one of our favorite restaurants, Domenica, Pizza Domenica offers many of the same great dishes at their Uptown location. Their prosciutto pizza is a favorite, but the star of the show might just be the roasted cauliflower. Tulane’s Director of Admission Jeff Schiffman says that it will change your life.

Satsuma: I had to make sure I got a student opinion our list, so I asked Shelby Strattan (B '18) for her best restaurant choice! I happen to agree, Satsuma is exceptional. Shelby says; "If you're looking for some zesty, healthy flavors near campus, try out Satsuma Cafe! This breakfast and lunch place is located on Maple Street in an area populated with coffees shops and boutique stores. They offer options ranging from fresh pressed juices to the most savory homemade pancakes. They also offer constantly changing daily specials. Personally, my favorite order is the three egg scramble with the most delectable and fluffy biscuit known to New Orleans. Check out this student hot spot—you'll want to be here every morning for breakfast!" There is also a location down in the Bywater if you are up to explore the city.

The True Meaning of Friendship, Part III

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 23:39

Brian in his element If you happen to be an avid reader of this blog, you've likely read my previous posts about two of my best friends from Tulane, Brian and Jackson, who for me, embody the true meaning of friendship. You can read my original post here and then my follow up post about our incredible experience on the Ellen Show.

Brian was truly a larger-than-life kinda guy who impacted so many people in his time on Earth. I say "was" because, sadly, Brian passed away last month from complications from an injury. Ellen did a pretty incredible tribute to him on her show. I'm not really able to watch that Ellen clip without being overcome with emotion, but I have watched it a thousand times nonetheless.
This story about Brian might invoke sadness, but hopefully, what you'll be left with is hope, happiness, and the power of positivity. I'd like to share this story of Brian and his positive inspiration in the context of three incredible people whom he impacted during his life. Interestingly, the story of this three people are all interconnected by Tulane, New Orleans, and of course, Brian.

The first of the three people needs no introduction:

The Brees' with Brian's brother and sister-in-law, Matt and Caroline, at dinner last week. 
Drew Brees. The man who made this story possible. Drew truly is a legend, not only because of his accomplishments on the field. I think my favorite article ever written about Drew Brees is the Onion article titled "Drew Brees Casually Wonders Aloud If He Really Could Get Away With Murder In This Town." This is no over exaggeration, people really love Drew in New Orleans. Drew never had to do what he did for Brian and Jackson. But he did. And what he did ended up being life-changing for so many people. The three challenging years that Brian faced as a quadriplegic were filled with hope, happiness and positivity thanks to Drew.  Last week, when Brian's whole family was in town for the memorial service, it was no surprise in the least that Drew and his wife Brittany joined Brian's entire family for dinner. Drew Brees has a heart of gold and every thing you see and read about him being a kind, compassionate and incredible person... could not be truer. I think Jackson put it best:
"I don’t think he knows the magnitude of what he has done for me or for my best friend. I wouldn’t expect him to, as he has affected so many thousands of people in the same way. His impact on the city of New Orleans has been discussed in many forums, but it cannot be exaggerated. He has embraced his role as a symbol of hope, and he carries that burden every day with the grace and selflessness that have made him my city’s favorite son."
Courtney Garcia. Courtney has always known an inspiring story when she sees one. That's why a few years ago, when the original story that Jackson penned for the Washington Post was published, she knew this was something incredible. As the senior Associate Producer at the Ellen Degeneres show, she pitched the idea and this whole story completely took off. She's the reason this story has had such a positive impact on everyone who has watched it. But the biggest impact was the one Brian had on her. In her own words: 
"Sometimes it takes another person or spirit to help you find your place of courage, and Brian did that for me. For awhile, I had been wanting to strike out on a new path, but fearful of where it may lead; I felt I was one of those people following all the mundane motions of life but too concerned about the unknown to break free. Meeting Brian, sharing his story, and becoming his friend inspired me to take a risk, move, and explore the world in a way I’d only imagined because I knew - thanks to Brian - I would always be okay. We are as strong as our will, as brave as our outlook, and as successful as our ambitions. That’s what I learned from Brian, why I came to New Orleans, and what I will always carry with me as I go on my way."
And, get this, this fall, Courtney will start as a brand new faculty member here at Tulane teaching a class on (what else?) video production. 
Brian sailing with Dr. Campbell Carolyn Campbell. I'd met Carolyn once or twice during her time as a medical school student at Tulane, but it was a conversation I had with her at Brian's memorial service that really made me realize how much of a bond we Tulanians share. Quick backstory on Carolyn: Carolyn attended both Tulane undergrad and medical school. Upon finding out that she was matched in a residency program in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine in Salt Lake City, she connected with the only Tulane acquaintance she knew there: Brian. Brian's exact quote to her (via email) was "I promise you'll never want to leave this place once you see what Utah has to offer." And he was right. Brian and Carolyn immediately struck up an incredible friendship, skiing the mountains of Alta and Snowbird in the winters, and hiking the epic peaks of Utah in the summers. That's when a strange twist of Tulane fate came in. It was a year into Carolyn's residency program when Brian was tragically injured. Brian wound up on the spinal rehabilitation unit... where else... at the University of Utah, under Carolyn's care. She was there as he set the bar for what was possible for a quadriplegic as Brian returned to the slopes skiing (yes, skiing) and hit the lake sailing (yes, sailing) as a part of the University of Utah's TRAILs program. Brian quite literally defined what was possible for someone with his injury. With the strength and inspiration that Brian gave her, this fall Carolyn's heading to Seattle for a fellowship program at the best spinal cord injury rehabilitation program in the country.

I guess you really never know how much of a positive force one person can have until you see the people they've impacted first-hand.  Much of life is not how we respond when things are easy, but rather how we learn to respond when we are faced with life's biggest challenges. Brian's impact on Tulane, New Orleans, Utah and on so many people's lives will be felt forever.

While his life might have been cut short, I'm a firm believer in the old Mae West quote that says "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is all you need."

Brian, my friend, you did it so very right.

I had to share this last one. Here we all are at The Boot last week celebrating Brian's life.
That's Brian's amazing parents, front and center, toasting to an incredible life lived. 

Summertime and the Livin' is (Big) Easy

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 19:40
It's hard to believe it, but with Memorial Day in the rear-view mirror, it's unofficially summer! While it may be hot in the Big Easy, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, cool, and busy. Today, in honor of summer, I bring you:

9 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. Make sure to grab a beignet from Morning Call Coffee when you're done! Now that we've got Blue Bikes in NOLA, exploring the Park couldn't be easier.

Our amazing team of student interns on their annual tubing trip this weekBogue Chitto River Tubing: A staple activity of any Tulane summer. River tubing in Louisiana always promises to be an awesome day. Grab a group of your friends and head out to Louisiana River Adventures or Tiki Tubing. Both offer a relaxing float down the Bogue Chitto River. Don't forget the sunscreen though.

If you want to get really aggressive with your Bayou St. John kayaking,
you can go during Bayou Bugaloo, seen above! (
Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Bayou St. John: Nestled in the heart of Mid-City is Bayou St. John, one of last visual clues that New Orleans used to be swamp land. Bayou St. John is an awesome spot to spend a hot afternoon, exploring the bayou and it's many tucked away treasures.
Bayou Paddlesports rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards for cheap and even offers paddle board yoga classes. The best route is to paddle up the bayou around Demourelles Island and check out the neat Mid-City architecture just off the bayou. Top it off with a po'boy dinner at Parkway.

The view from Monkey Board is NOT BAD. (
Hotel Rooftop Hop: Summer in NOLA can get hot, but a breezy rooftop bar (or even pool!) is the perfect cure to the summertime heat. I recommend you check out Monkey Board in the new Troubadour Hotel, Alto atop the Ace Hotel, Hot Tin at the Pontchartrain Hotel, and the bar at the Catahoula Hotel. Rooftop pool, rinse, and repeat. Other great summer pools in NOLA include the Country Club and the Drifter Hotel.

Gorgeous views from Fontainbleau State Park ( State Park: 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.

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.

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.

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

Studio BE is massive! 

Wildflower fields in City Park

Guest Blog: All About Transfers

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 20:38

When I was making the decision to transfer, I remember being met with all the same feelings of uncertainty that I felt when making my college choice as a senior in high school. I was an indecisive 18 year old who had not totally found their passion or purpose quite yet—and as it turns out—that’s a totally normal feeling to have at that stage in life. When I decided to transfer from a university close to home to a university halfway across the country in New Orleans, Louisiana, everyone thought I must be crazy. I had already started school, gotten somewhat settled, even made great friendships at my other school, but something there did not feel right. I craved an environment that challenged me academically and personally, an environment where I felt like I could contribute to my community and also learn from the community, an environment that made me a better person. When I got to Tulane, all the professors, staff members, locals, and students made me feel at home right away.

As a transfer student, you already have a leg up when integrating into the Tulane community. You have a story that everyone wants to hear. I remember being shocked at how friendly, inclusive, and even inquisitive people were to me as a transfer student. People went above and beyond to invite me to eat with them, to join study groups in class, and even to connect me with organizations across campus. Even though I transferred, I was able to pursue a major and two minors (in three different colleges at the university), I had internships for which I received academic credit, I studied abroad for a semester, and I even took classes like “Fundamentals of Acting” just for fun. I was so involved across campus that by the end of my senior year in everything from Undergraduate Admissions, to the Center for Public Service, to Greek Life, that I often heard, “I always forget you were a transfer.” After all this, I graduated in four years and I was even able to complete a Masters degree through one of our 4+1 programs.

Me getting emotional at graduationThat being said, being a transfer student still has its adjustments, similar to what happens freshman year. It is not like transferring schools will magically make everything fall into place. For example, I didn’t have the ideal housing situation and some of my classes did not transfer, but I was determined to make the best out of the decision I had made. Luckily for me, Tulane and New Orleans make it really easy to see the good in all things. There is a reason we are consistently rated by the Princeton Review as #1 Best College City, #1 Most Engaged in Community Service, and #4 Happiest Students. I can tell you, as a former transfer student, these rankings were absolutely true in my experience. Truly, by the time I graduated, I knew that transferring was the best decision I had ever made.
What I love most about working with transfer students is that each and every one of them have different experiences and unique perspectives that add so much value to the Tulane community. That’s not to say that deciding to transfer can’t still seem exciting, scary, or even confusing all at the same time. I am here to tell you that I understand you and your feelings are valid, whatever they are. I am here to help in any way that I can and I really hope you decide to join the Tulane family.While you are making your decision, I encourage you to reach out to current transfer students to hear how their experiences compared to mine and why they love Tulane. Additionally, if a little music helps you in your decision making process, have a listen to this transfer playlist I made all around embracing change. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll judge me a little bit for my blatant song choices, but most of all I hope you enjoy!

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA: 2018

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 20:28
mmmmm Saba (photo from just like that, another Commencement is upon us! Thousands of Tulane friends and family members will descend on NOLA later this week to well-wish and celebrate the class of 2018. Oftentimes, the memorable graduation ceremony is enhanced by the graduation dinner celebration.

As such, what better time to present my Top Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA? We've got some brand new spots as well as some of New Orleans' most classic establishments.

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. So forget Zagat and Michelin, without further ado, the Office of Admission presents to you...

The Ten Best Restaurants in NOLA 2018 
Chef Nina Compton (photo: hospitality21.comBywater American Bistro: Just last week, 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 month. 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!

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

Bayona: This restaurant is an absolute institution in NOLA. With world famous chef Susan Spicer in the kitchen, it's one of the best in town. The atmosphere is formal, but comfortable, the service is outstanding, and they make you feel incredibly special. The food is excellent, innovative, and always delicious. If you're heading to the French Quarter for dinner, put this spot at the top of your list of restaurants.

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.

How cute is 1000 Figs? ( 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 with a big smile on your face. Their pita is also to die for. 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.

Magasin: This one comes from Neill, our Associate Director of Operations, "A lot of people don’t realize how strong a Vietnamese influence there is in New Orleans. Magasin is my favorite restaurant because all the plates are small enough and cheap enough that you can order a few different things, and anything you get is fresh and light. Vietnamese-style pork is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten, and Magasin does it the best, in my opinion. So of course I recommend ordering lots of grilled pork: Com (rice plate), the spring rolls, and a steamed pork bun. Then finish it off with a Café Sua Da Vietnamese iced coffee." Bonus: a second location is now open in the CBD!

Auction House Market.... she's a beaut!

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!

Peche: The second of Donald Link's restaurant in our top 10 list will not dissapoint. Peche won best the James Beard award for "Best New Restaurant" in the country when it opened. Peche is home to some of the best seafood in town. Try anything from the raw bar and then, after dinner, spend some time exploring the CBD and some of the art galleries on Julia Street. I also recommend getting affogado from Drip down the street when you are ready for dessert.

Domenica cauliflower in all her glory (

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.

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

Satsuma: I had to make sure I got a student opinion our list, so I asked Shelby Strattan (B '18) for her best restaurant choice! I happen to agree, Satsuma is exceptional. Shelby says; "If you're looking for some zesty, healthy flavors near campus, try out Satsuma Cafe! This breakfast and lunch place is located on Maple Street in an area populated with coffees shops and boutique stores. They offer options ranging from fresh pressed juices to the most savory homemade pancakes. They also offer constantly changing daily specials. Personally, my favorite order is the three egg scramble with the most delectable and fluffy biscuit known to New Orleans. Check out this student hot spot—you'll want to be here every morning for breakfast!" There is also a location down in the Bywater if you are up to explore the city.

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.

Class of 2022 Facts and Figures

Sat, 05/05/2018 - 17:00
May 1st is in the rearview mirror and what a year it has been at Tulane. In all my time working in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, I can honestly say I've never experienced a year like we've had. Both my boss, Satyajit Dattagupta, and I have a few thoughts to share on the class. He'll kick it off.

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The Class of 2022 is a tremendously talented and cosmopolitan group of students who come from homes all over the United States and the globe. In short, it is incredibly academically accomplished, truly diverse, and globally-oriented. It is one of the most extraordinary classes Tulane has ever welcomed to campus.

Overall, we were up 9% in applications over last year and received just shy of 39,000 applicants. This year was the most selective class in history. This is also the most academically strong class Tulane has enrolled. This promising group of 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 went up 7 points to a 1456 and the ACT rose from 31 to 32.
The Class of 2022 is also the most diverse group of students Tulane has ever enrolled. The incoming class has 22% students of color and 5% international students. This marks a change that Tulane University welcomes, as it is more representative of both our nation and the world. I am very confident the campus experience of students with such a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and life experiences will be extraordinarily positive. The breadth and depth of the Class of 2022 is reflected not only in their academic successes but in the various ways they see and understand the world. Learning, working, sharing, and living with people unlike yourself is one of the ways we grow as human beings. This enriches 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. Bringing more international students to Tulane provides a unique dimension to the classroom and campus experience that is incredibly important. The world is getting smaller, and we are more connected to the people of all nations than ever before. An informed global outlook is so crucial to personal and professional success for international and domestic students alike.

We're also excited to welcome our second class of Spring Scholars in January of 2018. Over 180 students will be a part of this group.

I look forward to welcoming the class of 2022 in just a few short months. Roll Wave!

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Here are a few things I think are worth noting as well:

Our yield rate improved 4% in one year. For those of you not in the enrollment management world, that number may not seem 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 big accomplishment. To jump 4% in one year is almost unprecedented. To put that into context, it took us roughly seven years to achieve a 4% increase in yield following Katrina. So what took us seven years, we were able to do in just this year alone. What this tells us, is more so than ever, a significant number of admitted students are taking us up on our offer of admission. 
Our admit rate was 17.5%. I am not the kind of Director of Admission that takes pride in how many applicants we deny. Further, "more selective" does not mean "better institution," it just means more selective. What our admit rate simply means is that we had our most selective year for admission ever. Only three years ago in 2015, we admitted 30% of our applicants. When a young Jeff Schiffman applied to Tulane back in 2001, we had a 71% admit rate. So while I am not necessarily "proud" of how low our admit rate is, it is a strong indicator of how competitive admission to Tulane has become.
The class is also very international! We will welcome just shy of 100 total international students who come from 31 different countries: China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Canada, Ecuador, Panama, Egypt, Colombia, Taiwan, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Spain, Thailand, Bolivia, Italy, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Austria. 
The class comes from all over the country! The top five states in order of representation are: New York, California, Louisiana, Illinois and Texas. Both the Empire State and the Golden State are sending us over 220 students each. Four students will join us from Hawaii and one from Wyoming.

There you have it. See you soon, 2022! 

Gap Year

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:00
Andrew on his Gap Year cookin' up a stormMay 1st is just two weeks away and our class of 2022 has started to take its final shape! Later on this summer, I'll be blogging all about the incoming freshman class. We're really excited about 2022.

24 members of the class of 2022 will be coming to NOLA fresh off a Gap Year. We've seen a growing number of students opting to take a Gap Year before they start at Tulane. We are very supportive of a Gap Year if that is something that interests you. All you need to do is read this info, send us an additional deposit, and then you're on your way. Members of the class of 2022 are coming back from gap years studying cuisine in Paris, learning Spanish in Honduras while researching in the Mayan Highlands, while some will have spent time interning to save money for college or participating in public service projects.

I reached out to four former Gap Year students to get their take on it. Let's meet some of our former gappers here. Take it away, guys!

Andrew Noorani, Class of 2021

The plan for my gap year was to gain experience working in restaurants and to travel a little. I knew taking a gap year would be good for me for two reasons in particular. I felt I needed to mature more before I could really do well in college and to be sure that a career in the restaurant industry was something I wanted to pursue.

My gap year began when I started working at New York City’s Gotham Bar and Grill. I was thrown in the deep end immediately, working 13 hour days, 6 days a week. It was certainly a wakeup call from the second semester attitude I had while in high school. I was learning so much and loving every second of work. Of course, there were hard days too, it can be lonely working in a large city while your high school friends are enjoying their first months of college. However, it was during those times in which I really matured. I saw how hard one must work in the real world and how necessary grit was.

Eventually, it was time for a little travelling. So I decided to go half way around the world to Australia and New Zealand. Travelling is such an important part of a gap year, because when else are you going to have enough time to go to the places you have always wanted?

When move in day came around, I knew I was ready. I had lived on my own for a year, worked harder than ever and seen the world. I was even able to save up a bit of money so I could enjoy the amazing food New Orleans has to offer. I have gone into my classes with the same work ethic that I needed while working in fast paced kitchens and this has really helped me. My gap year taught me how to get the most out of my time, a skill I never take for granted. Best of all, my experience over the gap year has given me an impressive resume, which has helped to secure a summer job and a part time internship during the school year. If I hadn’t taken a gap year, my first year wouldn’t have been nearly amazing as it has been!

Tamar Arenson, Class of 2020

My name is Tamar Arenson and I am a freshman, majoring in Political Science and International Relations. When I was a senior in high school, I applied to colleges just like the rest of my friends, but I knew my path would look a little different. I had decided to take a gap year. I had grown up in the Young Judaea community; attending their summer camps, year round programing and travel programs. Young Judaea also offers a gap year in Israel called Year Course. Since I was 10 years old, I knew that before I went to college, I too would go on Year Course.

During my year, I spent the first half working at an elementary school in an inner city as an english teacher. I developed incredible bonds with my students and was able to watch them grow and learn a new language. For the second half of my year, I took classes through my program which ranged from history to art and culture. We also traveled the entire country, exploring different landscapes, communities and religions. Finally, I traveled to Rwanda for 5 weeks where I lived and worked at youth village for orphans in Rwanda that was founded by a Year Course alumna.

Throughout all of these experiences I was also living in an apartment with roommates, ostensibly on my own for the first time. I had to learn to budget my spending, navigate new areas, make new friends and be far away from my parents. I came to college feeling so much more prepared than I would have right out of high school. I had already experienced a transition before, and was excited to do it again! Both my academics and social life soared because I felt so comfortable and excited by my new experience. My gap year not only opened my eyes culturally, through my travels and experiences, but also taught me how to live alone, be in a new place and make the most of every opportunity. I have tried to carry this same mentality through my freshman year of college and can honestly say the two best decisions I ever made in my life were going on Year Course and coming to Tulane.

Kira Farley, class of 2020

Taking a gap year was the best decision I could have made! Get ready for me to sound like I am writing in clichés and coming straight out of a Disney movie, because my experience was a dream. I cannot imagine how my life might have turned out differently had I not spent time outside of the academic world. I spent my gap year living in Paris, France on a CIEE program. My year was chocked full of taking cool classes to learn about the culture of my new home (art history taught INSIDE Le Louvre, anyone??), volunteering in a café where the majority of customers were immigrants (Learning how to make un café crème while simultaneously hearing about someone’s life story was pretty amazing!) and traveling to as many towns, cities and countries as I could! I was only 18 years-old and here I was, traveling to Italy, Spain, London and Germany in one month and the flights cost a total of 50 euros.

I enjoyed high school and was excited for college…who wouldn’t be when you’re going to Tulane! However, I wanted to step outside of the academic setting to learn about myself and the world around me. Did I have apprehensions about being a year behind? Of course, but Tulane made my transition as smooth as butter both academically and socially. I never once felt like an outsider or like I couldn’t handle whatever situation I found myself in. In fact, everyone that I meet tells me that they WISH they had taken a gap year. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my incredible host family, food, friends and experiences in France. I know that taking a gap year helped shape who I want to represent in my years at Tulane and my life beyond. If you find yourself wondering whether or not a gap year is for you, say YES!

Kelsey Williams, class of 2019

Taking a gap year was the best decision I have ever made, and I could not recommend the experience more highly to anyone finishing high school. It allowed me to grow into an independent young adult beyond my refined ability to study for AP exams and write personal statements. Don’t get me wrong – these skills were extremely valuable to me, and are the reason I am able to be studying on a scholarship at a Tulane. However I honestly believe I am a happier, more well-rounded person because I took some time off from school.

I first began thinking about taking a gap year in November of my senior year of high school but finished the college application process. When May rolled around, I accepted my spot at Tulane but requested a deferral of both my admission and scholarship until the following year. I left for 9 months of traveling in late August.

First I went to South Africa and Botswana, for a month each, and completed a course called EcoTraining, which certified me to be a Safari guide. In practice, this was a long, educational camping trip among the lions and elephants.  It was a wonderful way to start the year abroad, because it was a fairly structured environment with a small group of people that became close friends. It was also a completely foreign experience with many new challenges, but everyone spoke my language, so it was navigable. I had limited access to technology and connection to home, which helped me build my confidence. I also developed a new passion for the environment, which I will carry for the rest of my life.

In late October, I flew from Johannesburg to Arusha, Tanzania. For three months I lived with a host family, shadowed doctors in a community hospital, and volunteered at a local orphanage. This was the most challenging segment of my year. There were very few other westerners, so I frequently felt culturally and linguistically isolated. It took concerted effort to step outside my comfort zone and make connections with local people. However, these experiences allowed me to grow significantly as a person, helping me check my privilege and develop a broader worldview. Additionally, this experience solidified for me that I want to pursue medicine and public health. I returned to Arusha last summer on a State Department Critical Language Scholarship to learn Swahili, and I hope to continue working in East Africa throughout my career.

The final stop of my gap year was New Zealand, where I arrived in early February. I stayed the first few nights in hostels while I explored the city and found an apartment and job, and then settled into life in Wellington. I worked as a waitress and barista in a small restaurant downtown, and part-time as a caterer for a larger company. Through my jobs and housemates, I made great friends and thoroughly enjoyed spending three months as an independent adult in the city. By the beginning of May, I had saved enough money to quit my jobs, rent a car, and road trip the entirety of the country for 5 weeks. This was the happiest time of my life. Now, as I write this reflection amidst cramming for organic chemistry and physics finals, it keeps me grounded to have learned that fullness of my life depends on more than higher education and my grades.

Kira and crew 

Sarah on her Gap Year
Kelsey on her gap year
Tamar on her gap year.

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

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 12:30
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 this month, 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, 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 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.

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 Migos, Bassnectar, 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 49th year in 2018. 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 Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Beck, Jack White, David Byrne, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, and Bonnie Raitt, plus Dr. John and the soon-to-be-world-famous 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! (
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. Last year was our biggest yet—with two stages, 8 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 are Papadosio, Baha Men and Brasstracks 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, 04/04/2018 - 14:00
Alright, Class of 2018, spring break is in the rear-view mirror. 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 most 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 month 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.

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, just be sure to get the chocolate bark dessert. You'll wonder why you didn't come here every Sunday.

Here is what my friends look like when we go to the Great Lawn in City Park3) 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.

4) Hotel Pool Hop. Grab a small crew and pick a hotel pool and crash it for the afternoon. The Westin (on the 30th floor!), The Roosevelt, and the 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.

Bourbon Orleans Pool (photo from 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. 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.

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.

The end of the trail in Jean Lafitte looks out over this. Gorgeous! 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.

9) 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.

Crescent Park
10) Oak Alley Plantation- It's just majestic. You may have been at some point, but this is the most gorgeous plantation home in Louisiana, and will create some amazing Instragram-able moments. It is an hour or so away as you drive up beautiful River Road (which you should do with all the windows down). Take the full tour, stepping back in time, and remembering just how long this city has been around and how much history we truly have. Our history isn't all good either. The Laura Plantation down the street does a fine job contextualizing plantation life and the history of slavery in our state. Feeling adventurous? Check out these other road trips I recommend.

11) Power Lunch at a Big Four: You may have to save up a little cash for this one, but treat yourself to lunch at one of the the "Big Four:" Commander's Palace, Arnaud's, Antoine's, or Galatoirer's. Some have great lunch specials, jazz bands, and CP has 25 cent martinis! And if you reaaaally want a true NOLA experience, try Friday lunch at Galatroire's, Just make sure you are ready for a line!

12) 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.

13) 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.

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 new section of Crescent Park. It's a very neat, industrial-style park. 

Ace Rooftop = heaven on earth 

Explore! More of the trail in Jean LafitteBacchanal. Pretty much a perfect night. (photo courtesy of Oak Alley in all her glory.

NOLA from the Algiers Ferry (photo courtesy of

It's Going to be Okay

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 14:00

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 four 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. 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."


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."

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.

Last year, 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?

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 19:30
Well it is official; our decisions for the Class of 2022 will go out this week. If you have not heard from us yet, you will before April 1st. For those of you who were placed on the waitlist, here's a blog to answer all of the questions you may have.

What is the waitlist, anyway? Every year we have a group of students who are qualified to gain admission to Tulane and we feel are also interested in enrolling here. Due to an increase in the number of students who have already committed, we have decided to put a group of students on the waitlist.

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. It is more of a moving target, so there is never really a finalized number as to the total number of students on the list.

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 two 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. I am hopeful that this will mean more 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 with waitlist admits; 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. Also 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

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 14:00

Before I begin this blog, I have a shameless plug! I'll be taking all this information on a roadshow this month. If you live in Baton Rouge or Atlanta, you can hear me present my entire catalog of tips for applying to selective schools. I'll be in Baton Rouge on March 14th and Atlanta on March 26th.

Now on to today's blog which is dedicated to all the moms and dads out there. Let me start off by saying one of the best parts about my current 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, and I am also close enough in age to the parents out there 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 this (sometimes tumultuous) process of applying to college and, on a larger scale, becoming an adult. What I can say is I have interacted with approximately one million parents over the last 13 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 because she is such a legend. 
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 our 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. I'm pretty upfront on this blog, so I'll be honest- 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. Allow them to navigate process and be an individual be and memorable applicant on their own.
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 old-school 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. 

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 admit 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 sexual assault: Sexual assault is a major problem on college campuses across America. Any school that tells you that there 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 the case that 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.

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 you taking the reins: planning the college tours and visits. Southwest Airlines flies direct to NOLA from 24 different cities and is usually pretty affordable. We've got some great hotel discounts, too. Plan a great trip for you and your kid to visit campus. Pick a few great restaurants, find a few 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 Prime deal for Harvard stickers, only $8.99.

There you have it! 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.

Meet the Admission Interns - 2018

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 22:48

Every time you call the Office of Admission it's routed directly to my cell phone! Just kidding. As it turns out, the biggest MVPs of the office are our incredible team of 22 student interns. They are a pretty epic group and they run the show; from answering your e-mails and calls to greeting you right as you step foot on campus, this team really does it all. They are really accessible to you to answer any questions you may have. 

Let's take some time to get to know the team that really runs the Office of Admission at Tulane.

Name - Ben GerberHometown - Brookline, MA
Grade - Junior
Majors/Minors - Finance Major, Mathematics Minor
Favorite thing about Tulane - One of my favorite parts about Tulane is how involved everyone is on and off campus. Students love to take advantage of every minute of the day and I can truly say being bored at Tulane is close to impossible.  From exploring the city of New Orleans, joining organizations on campus, and doing community service within the local communities, Tulane students are getting the full undergraduate experience.  I truly believe there is no better city to experience your undergraduate college years. 
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - One of my favorite places in New Orleans is the Fly. It is a large field alongside the Mississippi River and walking distance from campus.  Tulane students love to go there after classes on Friday afternoons to kick back, kick around a soccer ball, and watch the sunset over the river.  
Involvement on campus - I have been in a Greek fraternity since my freshmen year, and joined a business fraternity, too. I am also very active in the Greenbull Investment Club, have played club and intramural soccer, and love giving tours. 
Tulane email -

Name - Tyler Margaretten
Hometown - Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Finance and Entrepreneurial Management
Favorite thing about Tulane - The size of the university and the people just make for one large extended family. It's a warm climate with even warmer people.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - When you come to New Orleans, make sure to eat a lot and listen to live music. The best place to do both is in the French Quarter. Try rabbit or crawfish or gator for the first time and find out what you've been missing out on.
Involvement on campus - At Tulane I'm on the Executive Boards for both the Undergraduate Student Government and Crawfest (Tulane's very own music festival!), work in the Admissions office and as a tour guide, and am in AKPsi professional business fraternity, the Model UN team, and Tower and Crescent.
Tulane email -

Name - Angel Carter 
Hometown - Atlanta, GA
Grade - Junior 
Majors/Minors - Double Majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology and Anthropology/Pre-Med 
Favorite thing about Tulane - The city and community service! With Tulane being located in uptown New Orleans, its perfect for getting around and going different places with your friends and family. Community Service plays an important part in how Tulanians help out and being in New Orleans connects you with organizations and other people that share the same passion that you do. Since, the city of New Orleans always has something going on, its awesome to be a part of it all and share different experiences among friends. 
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go have brunch at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, get a beignet (or three) from Cafe Du Monde, go see one of the many museums/art galleries in the French Quarter, and go on a cemetery or ghost tour...and not necessarily in that order! Oops, was that more than one?
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors Exec, Tulane University Marching Band, After-School Newcomb Tutoring (ANT), Band Tutor, Resident Advisor (RA), the Honors Program, Tower and Crescent, and I conduct research in one of the Cell and Molecular Biology labs on campus! 

Name - Justin Baris
Hometown - St. Louis, MO
Grade - 5th Year
Majors/Minors - Masters of Biomedical Engineering, BSE Biomedical Engineering
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is how they make you a well-rounded person. Although the emphasis is getting a great education, you are put in the position to experience everything a “traditional college student” may experience and way more. You have the opportunity to get a world-class education while still developing your people skills.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go to a festival! With more than one-per-day there truly is something for everyone. Be sure to check out Poboy Fest in the Fall, Jazz Fest in the Spring, and White Linen Night in the Summer.
Involvement on campus - In addition to being a Green Wave Ambassador (Tour Guide) and Undergrad Admissions Intern, I am a teacher’s assistant, tutor for calculus and statistics, play intramural sports, and do research in Tulane’s Center for Anatomical and Movement Sciences. As an undergrad, I also helped start a community service organization and was involved in Greek Life.
Tulane email -

Name - Emily MacLaren
Hometown - New Orleans, LA
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Public Health and International Development
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is having the opportunity to connect and work with amazing staff members through organizations and leadership positions over the past three years. From the counselors in the admission office to staff in alumni office, I am so grateful to have worked with members of the Tulane family that are so passionate about this university and city.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Explore the Bywater! My suggestion is to grab a New York style pizza from Pizza Delicious and head over to Crescent Park to watch the sunset with a view of the New Orleans skyline. You also cannot go wrong with brunch at Elizabeth's.
Involvement on campus - Greek Life, Greenie Camp Orientation Coordinator, One Wave Bystander, Tidal Wave (Homecoming) Volunteers Co-Chair, Green Wave Ambassador tour guide, Semester Abroad in Amsterdam, Tower and Crescent
Tulane email -

Name - Paige PearsonHometown - Santa Cruz, CAGrade - JuniorMajors/Minors - Public Health and International Development, Minor: SpanishFavorite thing about Tulane - My favorite things about Tulane are its size and commitment to giving back through service. There is always someone new to meet, but I’m constantly seeing my friends around campus. I also love that Tulane’s culture and curriculum encourage students to participate in community service. Almost every student gets to know and gives back to the New Orleans community during their time at Tulane through service learning, student-led clubs and organizations, Outreach Tulane (one of our annual service days), and independent volunteer projects.One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - When I have visitors, I love to take them to Dat Dog, Preservation Hall, and a festival or event like Blues and Barbecue or the St. Patrick’s Day parade if one is happening during their stay! New Orleans is such a captivating city, and I think these events are an incredible way to get a taste of that.Involvement on campus - I’m involved with Swim for Success (teaching lower-income kids how to swim), Green Wave Ambassadors, the Asian American Student Union, and the Peace Corps Prep Program. I also studied abroad in Botswana this past semester.Tulane email -

Name - Lucas (Lu) ClarkHometown - Columbia, SCGrade - JuniorMajors/Minors - Legal Studies and Entrepreneurial ManagementFavorite thing about Tulane - I love being in an environment where everyone is so involved. Almost everyone I have met here has three or four activities that they are really passionate about, which is such an awesome culture to be a part of.One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Ride down the St. Charles Street Car and look at all of the beautiful houses!Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Orientation Team Leader, Young Life, Religious Life, and TUSTEP service-dog trainingTulane email -

Name - Mark Schaupp
Hometown - Los Angeles, CA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - B. Architecture and International Development
Favorite thing about Tulane - Oh wow, how do I pick??? Personally, I think that our campus and student population are the perfect size. I love being able to walk across Tulane and randomly run into a bunch of friends on the way to class, but also feel a part of a larger community where I meet new people in the class room, on the soccer field, and even in airports on the way home!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - You must visit City Park, specifically the sculpture garden! The park is beautiful and the garden is free to visit!
Involvement on campus - On campus, I work as an Admissions Intern as well as a Community Engagement Advocate (for the Center for Public Service). I am also involved with the Bridge, a Christian organization here, and I serve as a part of our Undergraduate Student Government as a Justice on the Judicial Council. In my free time, I play on three different intramural soccer teams.
Tulane email -

Name - Pritika Sharma
Hometown - New Delhi, India
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality Studies
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is definitely the community and the support people provide to each other. Being an international student, I was worried about not fitting in with the community here. Not only has the Tulane community accepted me for who I am, but has also been there for me whenever I needed them. I absolutely admire that and see Tulane as my second home (maybe even first, sorry mom & dad!).
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - If you visit New Orleans during the holiday season, I highly recommend going to the Roosevelt Hotel and see their main lobby. They decorate it every season and it is literally the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. It has a festive and warm spirit. It is one of my NOLA traditions!
Involvement on campus - Honors Program, Resident Advisor, Newcomb Tulane Honor Board, Green Wave Ambassadors, Global Ambassadors, Alpha Lambda Delta and Tower and Crescent.
Tulane email -

Name - Jordan Margolin Hometown  - East Brunswick, NJ Grade - Senior Majors/Minors - Finance & International Development, Master of Accounting Favorite thing about Tulane - The ability to meet people from across the country while studying in a city filled with incredible food, music, and history. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Check out the Fly! It’s a beautiful grassy area right on the Mississippi River that students love to hang out at. Involvement on campus - Greek Life, Intramural Sports 
Tulane email -

Name - Eric Bianco
Hometown - Pittsburgh, PA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Marketing and Management 
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is how many opportunities the school gives you to experience and connect with New Orleans. My freshman year I was able to walk in a Mardi Gras parade and go on a float through the Latin American Department and Jazbaa Dance Club.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Take a walk through Audubon Park and explore the surrounding neighborhoods. This is perfect for a nice afternoon filled with wonderful scenery and some beautiful New Orleans homes. 
Involvement on campus - On campus I'm a Trip Leader with Tulane Outdoor Adventures, a Consultant with Saint Charles Solutions, the Marketing Director for the Crawfest Street Team, and an Alumni Ambassador. I am also an intern with the Admissions Office and a tour guide!
Tulane email -

Name - Will DicksonHometown - Memphis, TN
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Classics with a minor in Chemistry
Favorite thing about Tulane - My favorite thing about Tulane is the emphasis it puts on interdisciplinary studies. Tulane offers many pre-professional programs that are centered around integrating the undergraduate and graduate experience, which prepares students well for whatever they wish to achieve after graduation. What makes this even better is the amazing city that Tulane is surrounded by - where else in the country can you apply early to medical or law school one day, and then see Elton John at Jazz Fest the next?
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Spend an evening at the Fly Park on the Mississippi River, and then end the day at New Orlean's many live music venues. Maison, Tipitina's, and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop are some of my favorites!
Involvement on campus - In addition to working in the Admissions Office as an Intern and Tour Guide, I am on Tulane's Honor Board, a member of the Classics Honors Society Eta Sigma Phi, and am a member of Tulane's Creative Pre-Medical Scholars Program. I was also one of the 2016 Orientation Team Leaders!
Tulane email -

Name - Alex KornfeldHometown - Basking Ridge, NJ
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Political Science and Philosophy with Minors in Economics and Business
Favorite thing about Tulane - The incredible balance that Tulane offers. When I was looking at colleges in high school, I hoped for a few things. First, I always wanted a school that had both a campus and an actual, exciting city. Tulane's beautiful campus allows for me to see friends while walking to class, experience football tailgates, and fosters a homey feel. Additionally, New Orleans always has something going on. Whether it is a Po Boy Festival or Mardi Gras, the city is never boring. Second, I wanted a medium-sized school. At Tulane, my largest classes are usually around 30 students so I get to know my professors extremely well and the classes are not dauntingly large. At the same time, I constantly meet new and interesting people, making Tulane even more fresh and exciting. Finally, I wanted a school that balanced academic life with student life. My ideal college has academics as the priority, but also happy students. At Tulane, we are the 39th best national university according to US News and at the same time, we have the 4th happiest student body according to the Princeton Review. It does not get much better than that.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Visit the World War II Museum
Involvement on campus - Intern and Tour Guide for Admission, I tutor for 2nd graders, and I am involved in Greek Life (Phi Gamma Delta)
Tulane email -

Name - Shelby StrattanHometown - Omaha, NE
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Finance with Computer Science Specialization
Favorite thing about Tulane - Endless opportunities to immerse yourself into New Orleans' unique and diverse culture. Tulane always promotes ways to get involved in the community through classes or outside service work in efforts to really understand the amazing city we live in.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Go to ANY live outdoor music show - Jazz Fest, Blues and BBQ, Voodoo Fest
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors Exec, Admission Intern, Greenie Camp Orientation Leader, Greek life, Green Bull Investment Club, and a semester abroad in Vienna
Tulane email -

Name - Mallory Mejías Hometown - Alexandria, LA Grade - SeniorMajors/Minors - Psychology and Spanish Favorite thing about Tulane - It’s incredibly hard to choose, but I love the people here! I am constantly impressed by the passion and drive of those around me. Being surrounded by such successful people pushes me to be the best version of myself. Tulane students are all unique in their own way, but they are passionate about something, and I find that refreshing and inspiring. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - You have to take a stroll down Magazine Street and enjoy the cute shops and the massive variety of restaurants! That’s what my mom and I do almost every time she visits New Orleans. Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Admissions Intern, Greek Life, College Writing Buddies, ESL tutoring, Residence Hall Association, Semester abroad in MadridTulane email -

Name - Caroline Campbell
Hometown - Baton Rouge, LA and London, England
Grade - Senior 
Majors/Minors - Public Health and International Development. Minor: Psychology 
Favorite thing about Tulane - The year-round events on campus! Some great examples: Crawfest, Homecoming movie screening, the petting zoo during finals, hamster ball games at Fridays at the Quad (FAQ).
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Walk down Royal street in the Quarter to hear a plethora of funky street musicians! 
Involvement on campus - Green Envy A Cappella, Green Wave Ambassadors, TEDxTU
Tulane email -

Name - Roch Leavitt
Hometown - Daphne, AL
Grade - Senior 
Majors/Minors - Economics with a Minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship and Management
Favorite thing about Tulane - I've always thought Tulane was the perfect sized school. I am always meeting new people, but still see plenty of familiar faces around campus! Also, Tulane has given me the chance to meet people from all over the country. Last year I lived with six guys, and we were all from different states!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - If it is your first time visiting New Orleans, be sure to hangout in Jackson Square! There will be plenty of live music and street performers, and you can't beat Cafe du Monde for a quick snack. 
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Greek Life, Orientation Leader, Tulane Best Buddies, Special Olympics. 
Tulane email -  

Name - Tori Quiroz-Haden
Hometown - Olney, MD
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Majoring in History and International Development, minoring in Spanish.
Favorite thing about Tulane - It's the perfect size! Tulane is big enough to offer any major I could think of, while small enough that I always pass a friend on the way to class.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Beignets at Cafe Du Monde! I promise you can't eat just one.
Involvement on campus - Green Wave Ambassadors, Greek Life, English as A Second Language class instructor, and Community Service Fellowship.
Tulane email -

Name - Kendall Knuth
Hometown - Inverness, IL 
Grade - Senior
Majors/Minors - Public Health with a Minor in Economics; 4+1 MPH in Epidemiology
Favorite thing about Tulane - From peers to professors, Tulane is a supportive community of people who want to see you succeed and will push you appropriately. Everyone is so passionate, engaged, and connected, both in and out of the classroom, and from adding a minor to applying for leadership opportunities to interning abroad, I've had the best support system.
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Explore City Park! It's a bit further from campus, but it is absolutely beautiful and NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art!) has great exhibits.
Involvement on campus - Tulane Cheerleading, Greek life and Panhellenic Council, Economics research, Admissions Intern, Summer abroad in Switzerland
Tulane email - 

Name - Lea DavisHometown - Portland, ORGrade - SophomoreMajors/Minors - Business Management and International DevelopmentFavorite thing about Tulane - Tulane and New Orleans have an energy you can’t find anywhere else. Students and faculty are so passionate about what they’re involved in and it makes for such a collaborative and motivating environment - everyone shares successes. One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Walk everywhere. I’ve learned the most about this city just from walking around or going for a run in the areas surrounding campus. Everyone that lives here is so friendly and it’s great to be a part of the local community.Involvement on campus - I’m a senator for the Undergraduate Student Government, on the Executive Board for my sorority, and the Volunteers Manager for Crawfest, our music festival in the spring.Tulane email -

Name - Amanda Skellington
Hometown - Flemington, NJGrade - SeniorMajors/Minors - Mathematics and EconomicsFavorite thing about Tulane - All of the professors do really amazing things outside of school. My Italian professor is in a Mardi Gras Krewe!One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - Listen to live music at the Blue Nile on Frenchman Street!Involvement on campus - Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, TUSTEP service-dog training, intern in the business school, calculus tutor in the Wilson CenterTulane email -

Name - Antonio Xavier MiltonHometown - Carencro, LA
Grade - Sophomore
Majors/Minors - Political Science
Favorite thing about Tulane - Variety of things to get involved with! Over 250 Student Organizations in every interest imaginable, and plenty opportunities for internships, service, and employment not only through Tulane but within the New Orleans community as well!
One thing you have to do when you visit New Orleans - I would have to say try to go see a show at Preservation Hall, it's a jazz staple and like a living monument to music. So definitely check it out if you have time!
Involvement on campus - Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Tulane New Student Orientation, Political Science Club, Black Student Union, and Tulane Students for Justice in Palestine
Tulane email - 


Tue, 03/06/2018 - 17:19
Our students are doing some pretty epic stuff when it comes to fundraising for amazing causes. Today, I am turning the blog over to Tyler who'll introduce you to three worthwhile Wavestarter campaigns. 

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Hi guys! My name is Tyler Margaretten and I am a current senior majoring in Finance and Management an am originally from the Florida panhandle.  You may remember me from Jeff’s Twolane  and Meet The Interns blogs. Jeff has kindly let me take over the blog for the day to let you know about a way cool new Tulane platform.

Tulane has just launched Wavestarter, and the easiest way to describe that is Kickstarter/GoFundMe specifically tailored to Tulane. It’s for Tulane – by Tulane. Cool, right? Anyways, this allows both students and departments to seek funding from the Tulane community for a wide variety of new initiatives. I would love to tell you about just a few of those initiatives!

The plans for Tulane's very first recording studio 
1. Tulane’s first Recording Studio

This is exciting. However perfect Tulane is, we can always improve. One thing we’re lacking is an acoustically-isolated Recording Studio for our music students, student organizations, faculty researchers, and more. Students, however, are changing that. My friend Dani and I have been working for over a year to finalize plans, logistics, and funding for a new Recording Studio. We’ve raised over $400,000 from various departments and donors and we are turning to Wavestarter to close the gap. The best part? One donor pledged to match every donation to Wavestarter for this project dollar for dollar. Give $10 and you actually give $20. Give $250 and you actually give $500. Check us out at this New Wave article, Hullaballoo article and donate directly here via Wavestarter!

I've gotten the honor of working with two of our DACA students here at Tulane.
Here they are in awe of Times Square during their very first trip to NYC-
a trip totally sponsored by an incredible alumni donor.  
2. Fund for DACA Recipients and International Students

Tulane University is home to over 1,300 international students representing over 90 different countries. We're also home to some incredible DACA students who make an huge impact on our campus and community. These students face unique obstacles and barriers, one of which is financial difficulties which may arise for various reasons during their time at Tulane. For international and DACA students, issues like accidents, illness, death of a family member, natural disasters, visa issues, unexpected academic costs., etc. can have an impact their academic career and put their education at risk. Funds raised on this Wavestarter campaign are important to ensure that these students who have contributed so much to the TU community have the financial support they need during times of crisis or emergency to continue their studies. Visit their Wavestarter campaign here!

The amazing women of Jazbaa 
3. Jazbaa Bollywood Dance Competition

Jazbaa is one of our 200+ amazing student organizations. Founded in 2015, it is Louisiana’s first Bollywood fusion dance group. How amazing is that? My friend Dinika Singh is the Captain and Choreographer and is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Dance. Jazbaa is headed to their first competition in Birmingham, Alabama for Taste of India and is raising additional funds to get them there. Check them out on the news here  and donate directly here via Wavestarter!

There you have it. Go forth and donate to some of these amazing causes!