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Director of Admission
Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

Here and Ready

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 18:56

The students I work with are remarkable. I am constantly impressed by their academics, talents, passions, activities, and service. And, while I always appreciate their accomplishments, I sometimes forget that these achievements are paired with another magnificent personal aspect: their age. Each year, around May, I am reminded of the beauty of youth. The world of education shifts its focus to graduations and young adults everywhere start their journeys. They are bright-eyed and determined. Their spirit and energy strengthen their dreams.

They are here and they are ready.

Unfortunately, I was recently reminded of this extraordinary time in a person’s life through a very different, unbelievably tragic event. As we have watched the development and aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, my co-director Leila (who helped me pen this blog) and I  have been awestruck by the response of the young people involved. The passion, focus, and vigor the students have used to take a stand is exceptional. Right now, in this moment, the nation is being held accountable by the youth.

They are, without a doubt, here and ready.

Watching the actions of these young adults from a college administrator's perspective has reinforced the value of education during one's formidable years. The basic fundamentals of a college education build upon freedom of speech. Education should celebrate exposure to new ideas and different perspective, it should develop passions and create innovators and change-makers.

Here at Tulane, we understand that diversity of thought, and the ability to express it, is one of the most powerful tools a young mind can have. We believe that students should never lose their voice or passion. We will not penalize students for standing up for what they believe in or for making opinions known through peaceful protests. We will continue to support the voice and speech of young adults as this is, ultimately, why we are here.

NOLA Lingo

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:00
I always tell prospective students that attending Tulane is the closest you can get to studying abroad while staying in the United States. There are five main reasons I always give to attest to that; New Orleans has its own culture, music, food, architecture and language. This blog is going to focus on that last one: our language.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myths of the Gras

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 15:30
Happy Mardi Gras from team Tulane Admission! Happy Mardi Gras, world! Another carnival season is upon us and the city is bursting with excitement for the coming few days. I sometimes forget that the rest of the world doesn't have Mardi Gras like we do. In terms of importance for us, it's like Christmas, New Years and 4th of July all wrapped up into one. Not in town for the big day? Listen to our Spotify playlist with all the best tunes of carnival while you read this blog.

If you have never been to Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, there are a few myths that I think would be useful to dispel, because there are a lot of common misconceptions out there. This year, we've even made a great video so you can learn the truth about the Greatest Free Show on Earth!



1) Mardi Gras takes place on Bourbon Street: FALSE. Mardi Gras takes place everywhere. I sometimes laugh to myself when people ask me if I "went to Mardi Gras." We also have a little joke when you ask "can you give me directions to the Mardi Gras?" Mardi Gras is everywhere. It is a state of mind, a place here, there and everywhere. In the most literal terms, Mardi Gras can be located along the parade route. There are over 80 different parades, or krewes, as we call them, during Mardi Gras. The main parade route runs from Napoleon Avenue (just a mile from Tulane) and goes all the way down St. Charles Avenue into the Central Business District, down Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter and then to the final stop wherever the krewe's ball may be. Some parades take different routes (Mid City for Endymion, Treme for Zulu, not to mention all the parades in the suburbs). One parade, Thoth, even takes its route all the way Uptown to Children's Hospital so the young patients can experience Mardi Gras even though they are hospitalized.My Fat Tuesday homemade glitter shoes. Don't be jealous.
Also doubles as Saints shoes.
2) Mardi Gras is raunchy: again, FALSE. Admittedly, there are certainly parts of the Gras that get wild. But that is not the case for a lot of it. In fact, the culmination of many of the Mardi Gras parades is their famous balls. Nearly every parade will have a ball at the end of the parade route. Men dress in tuxedos, ladies in formal gowns and the party will start a few hours before the parade literally rolls into the ball. Balls are held all over town, many at the convention center and some at the Super Dome. You've never seen a party like this before either- some are attended by over 10,000 people and are headlined by big-name acts like Carrie Underwood and Maroon Five, both of whom have played at balls recently. Mardi Gras is about costumes, parades, balls, floats, food, music and culture. It is so much more than just a party. 
3) Mardi Gras costumes are rare: FALSE. Just ask any Tulane kid what they wore during Mardi Gras. Wild haircuts, fun jerseys, colorful leggings and outlandish costumes are commonplace among our student population. Mardi Gras day (Tuesday) sees the Quarter filled to the brim with costumes galore. People spend all year working on their costumes for the day. Every year at noon on Fat Tuesday are the Bourbon Street Awards, which name the best costumes of the day. Three years ago the winner of the best group costume... um... well you may recognize him. That's right, the Bulls and Matadors won best overall group costume! This year my same group will return with Mardi Gras Olympic bobsledders... stay tuned! 
4) Mardi Gras is not for families: this is the most common misconception of all, and certainly the most FALSE.  Mardi Gras is, above anything else, a family holiday. The streets of Uptown are lined with children of all ages, and it is a huge part of coming of age in the city of New Orleans. You'll see kids on floats, on ladders, catching beads, and running through the streets donned in all green, gold and purple. Mardi Gras is more of a family holiday than people outside of New Orleans realize. 
Mardi Gras is my most favorite time of the year. The food, the parades, the music, the people and the culture that make this city so unique really come out to shine in this month-long celebration  It's always a favorite of our students, too. If you have never been, add it to your lifetime bucket list. Every American should see the REAL New Orleans Mardi Gras at least once!

Hail Bacchus! The Baccagator float parades through the Warehouse District.The Mardi Gras Tree on campus in full bloom post-Gras. It is a big tradition on campus to throw your beads in this tree in the Academic Quad after you have walked back from the parades. The Tulane Marching Band marches in many Mardi Gras parades every year.

Endymion! Here is the inside of the ball. (from Pinterest
TBH, the Friday before Mardi Gras is usually the longest work day of my life. Get me to those parades!

This Will Look Great on my Application... Right?

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 20:16
Courtesy of slate.comIt's Mardi Gras season which means the sights and sounds of New Orleans alive everywhere you look. One of the most popular bands in NOLA and a staple of Mardi Gras is Rebirth Brass Band. Rebirth has a popular and ubiquitous song called Do Whatcha Wanna. Before you dive into this post, go listen to this song because my blog entry today is all about doing whatcha wanna. 
Last year, my friend and colleague Ashley Brookshire from the Office of Admission at Georgia Tech posted a great blog called "But... What Do Colleges Prefer?" I loved this blog because it transparently told high school students that the reality is, when it comes to how you spend your time, we prefer that you do what you want to. As Director of Admission at Tulane, I will be honest up with you: I don't want your experiences in high school to be a constant stream of things you think will look good on your college application. This whole concept of doing stuff to impress admission officers has reached a fever pitch this decade. And the culprit: colleges who have helped create an admission frenzy among high school students.

Now, I want Tulane to be the school that finally pumps the breaks on all this. 
Colleges expect you to engage in activities outside the classroom, and that hopefully, you enjoy doing those activities. But what we don't want is you feeling like you need to be doing specific things to impress us. I know that it's really easy as a high school student to dwell on the past and worry about the future. What we want here is for you to experience high school as it comes. Take advantage of the experiences and opportunities for growth that happen when you are 16 and stop constantly worrying what colleges think of you.
Let me break it down further. Here are ten things I want you to remember as you experience, I mean really experience, your time in high school.

We don't expect you to cure cancer or impress the CFO of Morgan Stanley. I see a lot of great applicants who have done some pretty incredible research or amazing internships. That is great! If you have your sights set on medical school one day and research experience is something that you think will help you decide on that career path, then, by all means, do it. But don't feel like your application will be lacking if it doesn't have impressive research or internship experiences. Also... you're teenagers! No one can expect you to be mapping the human genome or starting your own business. If you actually end up cleaning beakers or taking people's Starbucks orders during these experiences, that's fine too. In fact, that's actually what I would expect a high school intern or research assistant to be doing. I've read applications where students have said they learned how to administer anesthesia or perform heart surgery. Maybe they actually have, but if I were about to go under the knife, I would rather not see a high school student with a scalpel next to my hospital bed. 
We don't expect that you've traveled the world and solved the planet's problems. Travel can expand your mind and completely change your outlook. Doing community service for those around the world is a spectacular way to give back while enjoying your time abroad. Keep in mind though, some of the most meaningful service projects are right in your own back yard. We live in a country of great wealth inequality and if serving your community is your passion, consider the amazing opportunities you might have to help those in need—right in your own hometown. Our hope is not that you are helping your community because you think it will impress Tulane. Rather, the goal is that you authentically have a passion for service and are doing good things for good people. 
It's okay if you are doing something just because. If you love to read, cook, surf, mediate, DJ, or something else—let us know! Yes, we do expect that you have done something more substantial than just reading a few books, but don't completely sideline your passions. Just because you think a college might value certain experiences over others, it's not worth it to stop doing the things you're passionate about. An applicant who reads 20 books for pleasure during their senior year, will add way more to a college classroom than someone who takes a class at a local college just because they think it will impress me. Why? Because you are doing something you love and have a passion for. Caveat: if "doing whatcha wanna" is watching Netflix or online shopping—that might not be something worth sharing in the application process. 
We believe in the humble job. A student who works at Chipotle or Starbucks or Pier One or Sprinkles Cupcakes or Jamba Juice knows about time management, communication skills, problem solving, and humility. Again, I don't want you to get a job because it looks good for colleges, but frankly, the skillset you'll develop at a job will prepare you nicely for college. You'll make some money, learn some great skills and as an added bonus, stand out in the application process. If I am being one-hundred percent honest: having a job IS something that impresses the admission team at Tulane. 
We don't expect a laundry list of extracurricular activities. Here is what we want: a somewhat brief list of the things you love to do, the things you do well, and the things you might continue when you arrive on our campus in the fall. My job is not to find well-rounded students. My job is to build a well-rounded class of students. Don't feel like you need to load up on every club or organization your school has. We don't need or want that.  
We're impressed with things that you think won't impress us. And honestly, we've seen it all. I get the sense that our applicants are doing some of these big-name extracurricular activities to stand out. For better or worse, everyone is doing many of the same things. They are great activities, don't get me wrong. But because we see so many great applicants with great resumes, as it turns out, some activities are not as important as they may seem. If you are doing these things because you love to, that is great. And that is WHY you should be doing them. Worry less about if you think we'll be impressed and just enjoy and learn from the experience. 
Consider a summer program on a college campus. Just remember, many schools aren't going to give you a leg up simply because you attended their summer program. Doing a summer program is a great way to get a feel for life in college: living in the residence halls, getting a sampling of academics, learning the pros and cons of living away from your parents. These are all valuable insights that will help you adjust to college once you get there. But, don't just say "oh I should go to Duke's summer program so I have better shot at getting into Duke." It doesn't work that way. Instead, research programs that you actually believe will allow you to learn, grow, and enrich your summer. Shameless plug: we have awesome programs at Tulane for STEM, research, women's leadership, and architecture. Check them out
We expect that you'll do some research and engage with us. So, there is one thing we DO think looks good in the application process: students who have taken the time to research what Tulane is all about and authentically engage with us. Again, think less "what are the boxes that Tulane wants me to check?" And more, "what are the steps I can take to genuinely find out if Tulane will be a great fit for me?" Come meet us if we visit your high school or take the time to chat with our current students or simply join our mailing list. Don't feel like you have to email me five times and demonstrate your interest in nine different ways. What we really want is for you to find out if Tulane is somewhere you'll be happy and if so, let us know in your application. Speaking of happy... 
We want you to be happy. The college admission process should not define you. We want you to take a step back and realize that at the end of the day, your personal contentment and self-confidence are the most important parts of growing up. High school is always going to have its ups and downs. The more you can be in the moment and eliminate the constant ruminating about the past or anxiety for the future, the happier you'll be. I know it's easier said than done, but take a moment to BE in the moment and not worry about what we think of you. 
We want you to be good people. I've always loved the "Check This Box if You're a Good Person" article written by Rebecca Sabky from Dartmouth. We get these beautifully packaged applications chock-full of inspiring extracurricular activities, but at the end of the day, it's nearly impossible to tell what type of person you are based on a college application. I love reading recommendation letters about students who treat the cafeteria people with kindness and respect. Or the compassion some students show to kids outside of their friend group. These are the important things you do when you think no one, and no college, is looking. 
At the end of the day, do whatcha wanna. Do what makes you happy, what improves your life and the lives of those around you. Try not to worry so much about what you think a group of strangers in a school far away will think. What you'll end up finding is that you'll be leading a much more fulfilled life, one that allows you to live in the moment, have joy, and one that allows you time... to do whatcha wanna. 

Juniors: Start Here

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 22:01
For most high school juniors across the country and around the world, January signifies two things: the beginning of the second semester and the unofficial start of "The Process." Don't let that stress you out too much, though. Now's a good time to just reserve a little bit of mental space for getting acclimated with this crazy process of college admission. I've posted in the past about ten tips for juniors and so today, your goal is to spend a little bit of time thinking about what matters most to you and how you envision your experience looking once you arrive at college. Does that sound a little too theoretical? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are five big-picture questions to start asking yourself.

Which schools am I already interested in? You probably have a few schools that are somewhere on your radar, even if it's way out on the edge. Maybe these are places your older friends attend, or a school your favorite teacher went to, or just somewhere you've kinda daydreamed about. Now is a good time to find out more about these schools. Start receiving information from these schools by finding their mailing list pages and signing up. Schools put a lot of time and thought into how they brand themselves and by joining some mailing lists, you can start to get a sense of what type of student best fits in at each school. I humbly suggest you join our mailing list here. Once you're on it, it gives us the green light to share Tulane's story with you. Plus, it lets the Office of Admission know that we're potentially on your radar. It also takes around four seconds. 
What size school is right for me? For some students, the idea of being at a giant school with 35,000 undergrads seems ideal. For others, a campus that is smaller than their own high school is a better fit. Getting a sense of how big of a campus you are looking for will allow you to develop a list of schools that are in that range. Looking for a school that will give you the best of the big and small? I think I know a great spot that falls right around 8,000 undergrads. 
Where do I want to go to school? Big city? Small town? Rural? A few miles from home or a few hundred miles from home? A school's location is going to play a pretty big role in the four years you spend there. Some students picture that quintessential college town: Ann Arbor, Davis or Chapel Hill. Some want small-town liberal arts school vibes. And others crave that big city vibe: New York City, Boston, Miami, or New Orleans. Where do you see yourself continuing your formative years? 
What type of school is the best fit for me? The way to parse this out is to do some research on liberal arts colleges versus research universities. Keep in mind, plenty of research goes down at liberal arts colleges and that the liberal arts are an imperative part of any major research university, so those names can kind of be a bit of a misnomer. That said, the vibe you'll get at a small liberal arts college is quite different from that of a large-scale research university. The main difference between the two is that liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller and more undergraduate-focused while universities tend to have the gamut of graduate and professional schools: law, medicine, etc. Kahn Academy has a great video detailing the differences between the two. Some other things to consider: are you thinking about one of the service academies or a music conservatory? Don't narrow it down too much at this point, but keep the type of school in your mind. Some students might be best served at a local community college for two years before transferring to a four-year institution. Some may know that a big state school is right where they belong. 
How much can my family afford? Take this one lightly, for now. For starters, never rule out a school because of its sticker price. With schools like Tulane, you're often going to see total cost of attendance numbers starting with 7s. Don't let that scare you off. Take some time to explore each school's Net Price Calculator to get a better sense of what your family might actually be paying. For example, if you come from a low-income family and are admitted to an Ivy League school, the vast majority of them are going to cover all of your financial need in order for you to enroll. This is also a good time to consider the benefits of public schools versus private schools versus community colleges. 
And here are some things that I'd recommend you NOT consider at this point in the process.  Put down the US News rankings and worry not about brand name reputation. There are roughly 2,600 universities and colleges around the USA. The best advice I can give you? None of them are bad schools, some of them just might be bad fits for you. Cast a wide net at this point in the process.  Also, don't stress too much about majors at this point. The reality is that around 70% of college students change their major at least once. And, get this, every school in America is going to claim that they have "one of the best programs" for X major (as in... Tulane has one of the best Psychology programs in the country! One of the 2,000 best!) Now, if you are certain that aerospace engineering or music therapy is in your future, by all means research schools based on those hyper-specific majors. But for the other 99% of you, don't put a tremendous amount of emphasis on your academic programming quite yet. 
And there you have it—a few questions to ask yourself at this point in the process. There are a billion search engines that can help you answer these questions and narrow down your list. I like the Princeton Review's but that is just one among many. Now might also be a good time to make an appointment with your school counselor who likely has a wealth of information about this process. 
As you head into second semester and into the summer, I'll post a few more updates for how you can take this process one step at a time. You're going to be great! 

5 Tips for a Great Campus Visit

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:30

Seeing a college or university's campus firsthand can be the best way to find out if that school is a good fit for you. Take a look at the list of schools that you are seriously considering and decide on a few to visit. If it’s not financially feasible to check out some of these schools, visit one near your hometown—even if it’s not on your list. It will at least give you a feel for what to expect and what this whole world of “college” really can be like.

For the schools that are high on your list that you do plan to visit, here are a few tips for maximizing the trip so that it is the most successful that it can be. 



1)      Visit at the right time of the year. Summer may be a convenient time for you to check out schools, but it’s not always the best time to get a good feel for a campus. With few students on campus during the summer months, it’s tough to get that solid impression for what the school is like. The same goes for visiting during weather-appropriate times—if you’re considering a school in a cold weather climate, be sure to visit at that time of the year. Some people love the cold, others are warm weather folk (like me down here in New Orleans!). Oh, and always check when Mardi Gras is happening before visiting Tulane. Great time to visit NOLA, but, not the best time for a visit to campus (we're closed!).

2)      Pull the randoms aside. Your tour guide is going to give you some great facts and personal anecdotes, but go past that. When you're done with the tour, sit outside and see if you can chat with students. Ask them about their experiences, see how much love they have for their school. If the students who you talk to think it’s weird or are uncomfortable with you asking them questions, then maybe that is telling about the school. Tour guides are great but check with some other students to get the inside scoop. 

3)      Eat in the dining hall. There is no better spot on campus to get a true feel for the pulse of the campus than the freshman dining hall. Eavesdrop on conversations; see what students are passionate about and what the chatter is (I know, it sounds awkward, but do it!). Plus you’ll get to see how good the food is on campus, which is always an important factor!


4)      Do your research before you get there. We are excited to have prospective students tour campus every single day. But what we like even more is when we can tell those students have done some legwork before arriving on campus. If you get to campus and you are asking your admission officer questions like “how large is this school?” and “do you have a psychology major?” it becomes quickly obvious to us that you may not have put too much thought into the school. We’d much rather hear “I read that psychology is your most popular major. Do you find it to be more of a clinical-based major, or maybe more neuroscience?” Here are some great questions you should be asking during your visit. 

5)      Do some stuff on your own, but also do the formal visit. Going on a campus tour is a great way to share your excitement about the school with the team in the Office of Admission. So while you may just want to chill with your cousin who’s a sophomore at the school, take the time to register and attend a formal campus tour. See if the school offers interviews (we don't at Tulane, but many schools do.) Make the most of your visit, but also be sure to connect with the Office of Admission at some point. 

Have a great trip! If you're planning a Tulane and NOLA visit, here are some tips from us. And if you can't make it down, you can meet our tour guides to get your questions answered here


Doesn't this make you want to come visit us in New Orleans? C'mon down!

So You're Using an Independent Counselor...

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 19:58


If you are junior right now, you might be thinking about looking into hiring an independent college counselor to assist and guide you through the college application process. And by you, I mean your parents.

Here at Tulane, we very much value the role that independent counselors can play as you generate your college list and navigate the somewhat complex application process. Independent counselors and consultants can provide valuable guidance and support as well as a wealth of knowledge of the application and financial aid process. That said, there are a few things remember for if you are thinking of working with an independent counselor.


Ensure that they are members of National Association for College Admission Counseling or a regional affiliate. Whenever you hire someone to do a service for you (like a contractor or dentist) you always want to make sure they are accredited and certified. Same goes with hiring an independent counselor. Being a part of NACAC means they'll abide by the Statement of Princples of Good Practices. I do not recommend working with a counselor who is not a NACAC member.

Ensure that they are affiliated with IECA or HECA. These are two incredible organizations comprised of all higher education consultation and independent education counselors. They share great ideas, best practices and are a great professional networking group.

Tell your school counselor you are working with an independent counselor. It will do you no good to have to competing forces. If you opt for an independent counselor, let your school counselor know. Remember, your school counselor is the person writing your recommendation letters and advocating for you in the application process. It's vital that you develop a meaningful and honest relationship with them, first and foremost.

Think you can't afford one? Think again! While many independent counselors might come with a hefty price tag, keep in mind that many of them do work for low-income students probono. Head over to those IECA and HECA pages and run a search of a counselor near you. If you know you can't afford one, you've got nothing to lose by reaching out to a few to see if they have the ability to take on a probono clients.

Consider any after-school support programs or CBOs. Working with an independent counselor isn't all that different from spending time at a Community Based Organization. I'm fully aware that in some cases, working with an independent counselor can give an already advantaged student an even greater advantage in this process. If you are the first in your family to go to college or are coming from a disadvantaged background, research local programs you can connect with to get support. NACAC has a great list.

Make sure your application remains authentically you. If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember this tip. We expect your application to sound like a high school student has written it. We want to hear your authentic voice. The voice of a 17 year old guy sounds a lot different than the voice of a 45 year old woman. Independent counselors can help formulate your college list, provide knowledge about best practices in applying and proofread your essays, but if your voice starts to fade from your application, well... we can tell.

Remember, you sign your application stating everything in there is accurate and honest. Over the last month, I have been made aware of an independent consultant group out of California that fills out student's applications for them. When we noticed some inconsistencies with an applicant, a call to the student's school ended up exposing that the independent counselor had put false information into the student's application. This resulted in the student being denied admission, something I really hated to have to do. Do not work with consultants like these. You can avoid consultants like this by following steps 1 and 2 above.

We at Tulane have great deal of respect for the work that independent counselors do. If you are considering going this route, following my tips above will ensure that you are working with the best in the business.

Community Service Fellowship

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 17:34
Happy New Year, readers! Just over a week till our Regular Decision deadline, as well as our deadline for the Community Service Fellowship.



At the start of every New Year, we each set goals to make positive change in our lives. I actually blogged at my other place of employment about how to create three great resolutions for yourself: one small, one medium and one large. Here at Tulane, we are constantly setting goals to make positive change in the lives of others and the community around us. The new year gives us an opportunity to evaluate what we have done and what we still need to accomplish. A few years ago, through the Cowen Service Challenge, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Tulane community donated over 750,000 hours of service as a tribute to our former President Scott Cowen. Needless to say, we think community service is pretty amazing. That is why we offer you the opportunity to apply for the Community Service Fellowship. You can read more about current CS Fellows here on their very cool website.

The deadline for this fellowship is fast approaching – January 15th! It is $10,000 - $20,000 dollars a year, so definitely don’t wait until the last minute to submit this application. We frequently get questions about how many hours are required, what types of projects we are looking for, etc. When we review these projects with the Center for Public Service, it’s really not just about hours or the names of the organizations that you worked with during your service. It’s about the passion you have demonstrated through service for a cause or multiple causes and the depth of your involvement. For some of you, this has meant starting your own non-profits. For others, this has meant raising awareness in your communities about health issues or human rights issues. In some cases, winners of the scholarship have worked in smaller, unique ways in their communities, but have had a large impact on the lives of those they worked with. In short, there is no formula for winning this scholarship. There is not a specific hour requirement or type of organization you should mention. We are looking for change-makers and social entrepreneurs, not just through the list of things you have done, but through the passion and depth of engagement you exhibit through writing about these activities. I’ve put together some “Do’s and Don’ts” for the application.


Do put time into writing your essays. For the third prompt, let us know why you chose to dedicate yourself to that specific type of service. Why does that type of work resonate with you? Keep it short but make it informative and passionate.

Don’t hold back. For the fourth prompt, we really want you to put yourself into this piece. This is a great way for us to find out more about the way you think, what you are interested in, etc. When you tell us about the organization you would work with in NOLA, let us know why you have chosen it, how you would spend your time, and who the intended audience of your service is. Really think about this one. We want to see how you’ll engage with the campus and community while you are here as a Community Service Fellow. Be creative and be intentional about what you write.

Do tell us what you did specifically with your volunteer work. Don’t just list an organization and expect us to know.

Do scan or send in any newspaper articles, news clips or photos that show you or talk about you doing service, but don't go overboard. We don't need photocopies of each award you've gotten, but a nice visual addition to your resume can't hurt.

Don’t email in the recommendation letter on your own. We do not accept recommendation letters directly from students. You need to have the individual writing this recommendation email or mail the letter in.

Do understand that this scholarship is not just about receiving merit aid. It’s about joining a community of outstanding individuals dedicated to creating change in the world around them.

Do remember that even if you aren’t selected for this very competitive award, you will still be able to be heavily involved with community service and civic engagement at Tulane and in New Orleans.

Good luck to all!



I've Been Deferred. Now What?

Tue, 12/19/2017 - 21:00

December 20th is upon us, so if you've applied to Tulane for our Early Action or Early Decision round, chances are you've gotten a decision from us by now or will in the next few days. For many of you, that decision may have been, "The Admission Committee has chosen to defer final action on your application until our regular review periods this spring." You're probably asking yourself. "What now?" So here we go, here are my steps for helping you through this process.

Step one: read this post that I wrote last year. Don't proceed any further until you've read that post.

Welcome back. Step two: what does that mean? In essence, being deferred means that we need a bit more time before making a final decision on whether or not to admit you. There are two major factors that will come into play from here on out; one is in your control and the other is not. Your application will come back to the admission committee in the spring and will go through the same review it went through in Early Action, this time however you will be up against the Regular Decision pool of applicants.

The first factor, the one outside of your control, is the way the rest of the applicant pool shapes up. We will do a full re-review of your application with the regular decision pool. Depending on the competitiveness of that regular decision pool, we will make a new decision on your application before April 1st. If the regular pool is much larger and stronger than we expect, then it will be more of a challenge for deferred students to be admitted. However, if it is closer to what we saw with Early Action, we will be able to offer admission to a number of deferred students. We won't know more about this until after the January 15th Regular Decision deadline.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Tulane saw a pretty substantial increase in applications this year. Bottom line, we could fill up multiple freshman classes with students who are academically qualified to attend Tulane. We could fill up multiple freshman classes just with students who would be great fits here and genuinely want to be at Tulane. The problem is we can't admit all of them, even if we wanted to.

That brings me to the second factor that comes into play now that you have been deferred, and this is the one that is within your power. This has to do with what you can do from here on out now. There are a number of things that you can do to strengthen your application to Tulane, and a few things you shouldn't do. Here are my Dos and Don'ts for deferred students:

DO: Consider switching your application to ED II. This is for deferred EA applicants only (and for first time applicants.) You can get more info here. The deadline is January 5th.

DO: Be in touch. Contact your admission counselor and let him or her know you are interested in Tulane. You can reach out to your admission counselor here. You'll want to shoot them an email in the coming weeks (not necessarily today... let the dust settle and your emotions subside) letting them know that you have been deferred and that you remain strongly interested in Tulane.  Another important way to let us know you are still interested in attending Tulane is by filling out this form, which will also show up on your Green Wave Portal.  It will be nearly impossible to be admitted to Tulane if you do not, in some form, reach out to us. We'd like to only take those students we know want to enroll here.

DON'T: Over-contact your admission counselor. One email to your counselor over the course of the spring semester will help, especially if you have some bigger news for us (you retook the SATs, a major (major) advancement in your extracurricular activity, etc) but do not send us a weekly email update. It will not help your cause. Major profile in your local paper's community section? Send it in. Promoted to secretary of the National Honor Society? No need to send; we already have a nice list of your extracurricular activities you sent us when you applied. Also, be honest. If you'll enroll at Tulane if you are admitted, tell us, but only if that is the truth.

DO: Send us an essay about why you are interested in enrolling at Tulane, if you have not already done so. See the Why Tulane? prompt on the application for admission. Tell us why you would be a great fit here, and why Tulane is a great fit for you. Do some research. Many times, we defer students who are academically qualified to be admitted, but we are unsure of their interest level. So reach out and let us know.

DON'T: Feel pressured to come down and visit. We know money is tight these days, and New Orleans is a big trip for many of our applicants. If you feel the need to come down to express your interest in Tulane in person, you are definitely welcome to do so, however if this is not possible (for financial or any other reasons) do not fret. We understand not everyone can make it down to visit, especially if you are not admitted yet. If you are interested in coming down, let your counselor know.

DO: Be patient. Understand you may not hear from us before April 1st. We are working to get a decision to you as quickly as possible, but in some cases it may not be till late March. We're sifting through thousands of applicants and are giving each one the time they deserve.

DON'T: Compare yourself to others. Calling the admission office or emailing your counselor to inquire why "Diane and Jack who have lower scores and lower grades and fewer extracurricular activities were admitted but I was not" will never, ever help your cause to be admitted at Tulane. We don't compare students to each other directly when they apply, and are always looking to build a diverse and well-rounded class of students. You may not be aware of what is in other student's recommendations, essays, etc., or what we are specifically looking for. It will not do you any good to mention other students. If there is a very specific question about this, your high school counselor can direct those questions to us. We especially do not appreciate "Tommy and Gina used Tulane as a safety school and aren't even that interested in attending but I am!"

DO: Send us some additional materials. You are welcome to send us a new resume, essay, your first semester grades, an art or music portfolio, a new SAT or ACT score, etc. While some of the smaller things may not make a big difference, an increase on your SATs, or a well-written essay about your Tulane visit can go a long way. Mid-year reports are recommended for deferred students. Again, keep in mind, unless it's a major change in extracurricular activities, it won't change too much (same goes for additional teacher recommendations). The biggest changemaker will be new test scores.

DON'T: Be rude. We know this is a stressful time and we know that you may be very excited about Tulane and disappointed to not be admitted. But keep in mind that you still want to maintain your composure and maturity while communicating with the office of admission. Dramatic emails or calls will get you nowhere.

DO: Understand how competitive this all is. As of today, Tulane has admitted fewer than 25% of the students who have applied to Tulane. Application to schools like Tulane are competitive, and we have far fewer spots in the class available than we have students who want to be a part in the class. So keep your head up and know that, in the end, whatever is meant to be will be. Defer is not a NO, it's more of a "not yet."

Hope this helps you deferred students out there. Best of luck!

Spring Scholars

Mon, 12/18/2017 - 15:00
Your potential fall campus!  We'll be releasing all our decisions for the Early Action round this week and we're so excited to offer admission to such a diverse, driven, and service-minded group of students! For a small number of students in this group, the offer of admission is for our spring admission program: Spring Scholars.

If you were admitted as a Spring Scholar, congratulations! I thought I'd take a moment to share a few of my thoughts on this program.
The most common question I get from Spring Scholars is, "Why was I admitted for the spring?" The answer has to do with how we review applications and the increase in popularity Tulane has seen over the past few years. Our admission office is very big on the holistic review process. That means we spend a great deal of time creating a class of students based on everything you present to us in your application. Spring Scholars have excellent applications in nearly all regards. There are amazing alumni interviews, great "Why Tulane?" statements, and outstanding letters of recommendation in every application. When reading your application, we knew immediately that you want to come to Tulane and that you would be a great fit here. That said, Tulane has become an increasingly popular university and that has made it more and more competitive to gain admission here. 
I suspect that our overall admit rate this year will be lower than last year's which was around 21%. Unfortunately, that means that over 80% of the students who apply to Tulane this year will not be admitted for either the fall or spring. By the numbers, we also saw our strongest Early Action pool in history, with a middle 50% range on the ACT between 31-34 and SAT between 1440-1540. These are by no means cutoffs, but it does give you a sense of just how competitive Tulane is this year. We can't take every academically qualified student who applies, but for a small group who we believe will be fantastic fits, we admit them as a part of our Spring Scholars program. 
With those facts in mind, I have some suggestions for next steps to take if you have been admitted as a Spring Scholar. First, take some time to think about it. I know your preference would be to start class in the fall, but the Spring Scholars option is a final decision—it's non-binding and you have until May 1st to decide. There will be no Spring Scholars switched to the fall semester at any point. Before you reach out with questions, take some time to read the FAQs for the program; there's some great info in there about housing (we guarantee it!) and Greek life (you can still go through the recruitment process!)
Your other fall campus option! Next, consider your options for the fall. We're so excited about the fall abroad programming we offer Spring Scholars in both Rome and Paris. You'll have the option to spend your fall term with a cohort of Tulane students at one of two incredible universities abroad: The John Cabot University in Rome or the American University of Paris (AUP). Schools like Northeastern, Cornell, Miami, Delaware, and the University of Southern California also have freshman at these campuses during the fall. One of our current Spring Scholars in Rome just blogged yesterday about her experience there. If you'd prefer to stay stateside, you can take classes as a non-degree seeking student at a school of your choice, participate in a gap semester program, take a semester to work, or maybe participate in service. It's really up to you! We've listed all of your options here
Next, plan a visit to campus during one of our two dedicated Spring Scholar Destination Tulane dates. The dates you should plan on coming are either February 17th or April 21st. This event is tailor-made for Spring Scholars. You'll be able to meet other students admitted into the Spring Scholars program this year, hear from current Spring Scholars, and attend presentations from both John Cabot and AUP. Bonus: come for Saturday, April 21st and you'll also be able to attend Crawfest!
I've spent a lot of time blogging about the difference between reacting versus responding in this crazy world of college admissions. We try to take as much of the anxiety out of this process as we can, but there's no way to avoid the ups and downs that come each year. Nearly every student we admit as a Spring Scholar is so ecstatic to join this group. Sometimes I will get a call from a parent that is less than enthusiastic about their child being admitted as a Spring Scholar. I often tell these parents to take some time to consider the opportunity the program presents their student. If Tulane truly is where you see yourself, we'd love to have you join us in January 2019. Currently, we have 75 Spring Scholars excited to start at Tulane in just a few weeks! 

Oh, and expect a visit from me in Paris or Rome in the fall. I'm not joking! 

Jeff's Things To Do Around NOLA Part 10: Freret Street

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 23:16
Gasa Gasa (eater.com)
One of the first areas to see a true post-Katrina renaissance was Freret Street. Freret is one of only two streets that actually crosses through Tulane's campus (the other is Willow) and today it's one of the most bumpin' streets in all of New Orleans. From our campus, it's just around six blocks to Jefferson and Freret where you'll start to see some excellent food and drink establishments (and a few reliable chains, like the Starbucks at Freret and Jefferson which looks to be opening soon). One of the many things I love about Freret is it has some great dining options for any budget, including student budgets. If you're walking to Freret from campus, here are my top choices of must-see/do/eat places in order of walking distance.

Mint Vietnamese: Semi-well-known-fact about New Orleans: we have one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam. Which means we have some pretty epic Vietnamese food all over town. Mint happens to be one of my favorite spots to grab Pho or Vermicelli. Bonus: super affordable!

Liberty Cheesesteaks: One of the best restaurants in New Orleans! And just because one of my best friends and Tulane fraternity brothers is the man behind the magic does not make me biased when I say that. I even made a video about Liberty's founder, Mike, a few years back. Since that video in 2013, Liberty has moved to a much larger space just down the block from the old location. They still churn out the best cheesesteaks south of Philly.
Brand new! Good Bird. (eater.com)
Good Bird: This rotisserie chicken spot was incubated in the much-talked about St. Roch Market in the Bywater and has now opened a second location in the spot that Liberty once occupied. Good Bird serves up some of the most delicious rotisserie chicken and sandwiches I've ever tried. I highly recommend the Eagle Street!

Gasa Gasa:  An all-encompassing venue that host some of the best and most eclectic music and art in the city. A truly local music performance center, Gasa Gasa's main goal is to: "highlight the local talent that surrounds us and create a room accessible to all forms of artistic expression."

Midway Pizza: One of the best aspects of Freret is that in some ways, the street serves as a tour of America's best foods. From cheesesteaks to hot dogs to exceptional pizza, Freret has it all, in an Americana kind of way. In my opinion, the deep dish Chicago-style pizza that's served up at Midway is just as good as the original stuff you'll find in Chitown. I recommend the all-you-can-eat Freret Street Lunch Special.

Mojo Coffee: Something I love about New Orleans and New Orleanians is the fierce penchant for all things local. You're much more likely to find a local coffee shop here rather than a Starbucks (even though one ironically is about to open on the distinctly-local Freret Street soon) Mojo is everything that is right when it comes to local coffee shops and mmmmmboy is their breakfast good.

Bloomin' Deals Thrift Shop: I have been heading over to Bloomin' Deals since I was but a wee freshman walking over from Monroe Hall to do some of the best thrift shopping in town. Mardi Gras costumes, costumes for themed Greek events, old school t-shirts; all are found aplenty at Bloomin' Deals.
Company Burger is lyfe 
The Company Burger: The best burgers in New Orleans. Hands down. Period. Done. End of story. Bye.

Wayfare: I think Wayfare is one of the most underrated restaurants in NOLA. Great ambiance, excellent food, and reasonable prices. My top choice is the Waldorf Chicken Salad. This is also a great spot to head with a larger group!

High Hat Cafe (epicurious.com)
High Hat Cafe: Anyone looking for great local and classic NOLA food near campus, High Hat should be your first stop. They have excellent takes on classical Creole dishes like po-boys, catfish, and BBQ shrimp. They do it all in a classic, yet contemporary diner setting.

This just scratches the surface of what Freret Street has to offer! I didn't even mention Tulane staples like Dat Dog (which is now opening 40 new locations!). And it's not just the food and restaurants on Freret that are great. Freret is also home to a comic book store, bakery, a bike shop, a yoga studio, a sushi joint, pet shops, art galleries, and even the monthly Freret Market. It even has a new hotel! The whole district is walkable and a fun afternoon if you're on Tulane's campus. Be sure to check it out during the annual Freret Street Festival in April.


Six Tips for a Great Dean's Honor Scholarship

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 15:15
President Fitts displays his DHS project For this blog, I went straight to the best source on all things DHS. Leila Labens, our Director of Strategic Recruitment, is taking over today to give you her best tips for a great DHS project. And she would know- she leads the committee that selects the finalists before they head to the Deans of each school. Let's do this!
*                   *                   *
Leila Labens, today's guest blogger It’s early December which means it’s almost one of my favorite part of the admission cycle – seeing the wonderful, brilliant, creative, expressive DHS projects come through the door (mostly figuratively, but sometimes literally). I’ve participated in the committee that gives the first review on all of the projects for a number of years and I wanted to share some tips on putting together a strong project.

Don’t get too caught up on “the box.” The actual box does not need to be part of the project. It can be but doesn’t have to be. So, if you can’t move past an idea that is strictly square in shape or message, I encourage you to “think outside of the box.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). 
Don’t completely ignore “the box.” I know- I just told you don’t get hung up on it BUT you should also have some reference to a square or box or something somewhere in your submission. Think figuratively (the box that defines you). Think big (the square façade of a building). Think tiny (pixels that make up a larger picture). Think logically (the mathematical area of the box as part of a larger equation that proves why you should get the scholarship). Think historically (an American history rap that mentions famous boxes throughout time- square stages where famous addresses were delivered, chests/boxes of tea in Boston Harbor, voting booth check boxes…) Think literally (hundreds of post-its that turn into an incredible flip storybook).
Express yourself. Take this as an opportunity to tell us about yourself. Maybe incorporate an artistic passion, or a skill for computer programming. You could use this as a chance to show off your ability to write an incredible screen play or as a vehicle to show your drive for service and your community. Help us know more about your without making the project completely about yourself. Think of this as a “humble brag,” a way to introduce yourself beyond just pictures documenting your accomplishments. 
Include some semblance of something academic. After all, this is the Dean’s Honor Scholarship- meaning some very bright members of the Tulane faculty and community (ahem, Deans) will be selecting the final recipients. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, humorous, or have fun while working on your project. Just remember to show off some of your impressive brain power in the process.
Put some time into it. After seeing hundreds of projects, it can become obvious which ones were thrown together in a hurry to meet our deadline. Have a plan in mind and give yourself enough time to submit a well thought out and seamlessly produced project.
Be proud of it. If you aren’t excited about your submission and didn’t enjoy working on it, the multiple reviewers may not be thrilled by it either. Do something that you would be excited to show your classmates, family, and friends.
One last technical point: if you opt to put something together online, make sure you are using a platform or host site that can be accessed by different computers across different networks.
We always get plenty of video submissions, so here are some of the best of those:
Gabreilla Runnels 
Evan Doomes from Louisiana 


Rebekah Oviatt from Washington 
Now get to boxin!

Admission Anxiety - And Twelve Steps to Reduce It

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 17:00

Alright gang, EA and ED application deadlines have passed. It's all out of your control, and now, the waiting begins. We've changed things up a bit this year, in previous years we've released our EA and ED decisions on a more rolling (and sometimes random) basis. This year, we're completely shifting to a single release date for both EA and ED. ED letters will leave the Office of Admission on November 27th. EA letters will head out on December 17th. Green Wave portals will be updated a few days after letters are mailed out. No need to keep checking the mailbox or portal until then. Hopefully, knowing exactly when you'll hear back will reduce anxiety a little bit. Speaking of anxiety...

I’ll be the first to admit it; for intermittent portions of last year, I had some serious anxiety. That's what today's blog is all about. Whether it was professional or personal, I oftentimes let my brain run wild, creating various scenarios and possibilities. For you high school students, I suspect that this feeling is not totally foreign, especially around this time of the year as you await your incoming admission decisions. The exams, the late nights, the application deadlines, the drama in school, etc. It is college application season and anxiety is, unfortunately, all too common in this process. For me, I couldn’t shake the anxiety. As soon as my alarm would sound in the morning, my brain would start racing with to-do lists, emails to send, and things not done from the day before. To be honest, it was nearly debilitating.

Then, at the end of last year, it all changed.

I know it seems somewhat dramatic to say, but there was one main thing I can credit my anxiety-reduction to: meditation. I was a naysayer forever — I thought meditation was silly, too hippy-dippy, not for me. I was also certain that I didn't have the attention span for it. And then, I tried it. And... it worked. I am not saying it wiped out my anxiety, but there is no doubt it's had a profound impact on my life.

It has worked so much for me that I want to share some of my tips for reducing anxiety in your hyperactive high school lives.  It’s my hope that by doing a few of the things below, you can start to see some positive changes and maybe manage this crazy stressful and anxiety-inducing time of the year.

source; aanchalloshali.wordpress.com
1) Meditate. All I'm saying is to try it. Give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. Even just ten minutes a day. Remember, they call meditation a “practice” for a reason: you’re not going to master it the first time you try it. Or even the first ten times. But keep at it for a few weeks. I promise you, you’ll see remarkable results, just like going to the gym. I use Calm when I meditate and I can't recommend it enough. Try the 7 Days of Calm, it's a free trial. I know others love Headspace. Marines, pro athletes, CEOs, and millions of Americans have introduced meditation into their daily life. This stuff is the real deal.

2) Treat your brain like it’s your roommate. Here is something I learned from the concept of mindfulness and specifically from this great book I read called The Untethered Soul. Basically, your brain is like your roommate. It’s always going to be nagging you, talking to you, reminding you of things, giving you it's opinion in an endless narrative. The most important thing to remember is this: you can choose what you listen to. Just because your brain is always talking to you, doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Imagine if all the negative or anxious thoughts that you have came from an actual person saying those things to you; they'd kinda be a real annoying jerk who you'd never listen to in real life. After all, if you could control your brain’s thoughts, you’d only think positive things, right? As soon as you starting thinking “I’ll never get into this school,"  "I am going to bomb the ACT," just remember — you don’t have to listen to negativity. Just like that annoying roommate, you don't have to listen to it.

3) Download the Moment app on your phone. Moment tracks the amount of time you spend on your phone and WOW is this an eye opener. The data from studies linking phone addition to anxiety and depression is eye-popping. On Sunday, I downloaded the Moment app and nearly threw up when I saw how many hours I spent on my phone in one day. So, on Monday morning when I was leaving for work and going for my standard phone check before I got into my car, I thought no Jeff don't check it, you don't need to and I drove to work. Shortly thereafter, I realized I'd actually forgotten my phone at home altogether. I spent the day worrying that my grandma was texting me "I love you" on her final death bed (she wasn't; she's not even sick) or that my boyfriend had some massive emergency (he didn't; I emailed him just to be sure). I got home Monday night to find I'd missed exactly zero important calls, texts or Insta stories. A whole day away from my phone! I'm going to stick with this Moment app to really see how I can cut down on my phone use. Give it a shot with me.

4) Try a little mindfulness. Take a few moments to listen to a podcast about mindfulness. When I did, it was the first time in my life I’ve ever been exposed to the concept, and to be honest, there is something to it. If you’d told me a year ago I would have typed that sentence, I would have laughed at you. My sister got me turned on to Tara Brach — look her up in the Podcast store and give her a listen. If you'd rather read, check out the book Dan Harris from ABC News wrote after his on-air anxiety attack called Ten Percent Happier. We've even got a Mindfulness Collaborative here at Tulane.

5) Don’t look at your phone before you go to sleep or right when wake up. See tip #3. When you are on your phone right before you go to bed, the stimulation from the phone keeps you awake and also keeps your mind racing. Instead, read a book. Meditate. Do something besides sit in bed and stare at your phone. If you have to look at your phone before bed, adjust the Night Shift on your phone before you do so. This takes out the colors that make it hard on your eyes in the evening. Right as you wake up, don't grab your phone and check Snapchat or email. Just let yourself wake up. Also, drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. I don't know why, it just helps somehow.

6) Add the Momentum add in for your laptop. It gives you gorgeous shots and inspirational messages to greet you every day.

7) Don’t post your college application decisions on Facebook. If you get into a school, that is great! No need to blast it all over social media, even though I know you are super pumped. Because as you get in, many of your classmates will not. Keep your results off social media and you'll be inadvertently helping those around you. Once you select a school to enroll at, by all means post about it. But in the crazy ED/EA season, it goes a long way to show some humility.

8) Take it a step further and take a little break from social media altogether. This one is tough, I know, especially in the world we live in. It's remarkable how much anxiety it can give you when you are consistently comparing your life to your classmates and experiencing FOMO. One small step I recommend is getting rid of the Facebook app on your phone and just checking it when you happen to be on your computer. Or pick one to commit to: Insta Story OR Snapchat, not both. See tip #3 again — as it turns out, you're not missing as much as you think you are. Case in point — the people who don't us social media at all are always cooler than me and never seem to have any anxiety about not being on it.

9) Learn to respond, not react. This is one that is going to take some time and won't happen overnight. But by practicing some mindfulness and maybe a little meditation, you'll get there. Simply put, reacting is the knee-jerk reaction to a situation. Responding is taking a breath, collecting your thoughts, mulling it over, and then replying. Next time someone emails you something obnoxious, instead of immediately reacting with an equally obnoxious email, sit on it, even sleep on it, and write a well-thought-out response. You'll be glad you did. Great example: if you get deferred from a school, don't react. Respond. You'd be shocked how many students send me expletive-laden emails when they are not admitted to Tulane. That is called a reaction.

10) Be patient with others. I was on the airplane last week with a mom and her baby. The baby would NOT stop crying. Everyone was glaring at the mom with a "shut that kid up" look on their face. Now, think of it this way — who is the only person on that plane who wants that baby to stop crying more than you? Right. The mom. So be patient. I bet that baby will stop crying a whole lot sooner if the other people on the flight gave the mom a few compassionate looks of patience. Patience with others (your school counselor for example) can lead to a remarkable amount of anxiety reduction of your own.

11) Let Thanksgiving be a college-free zone. Everyone is going to ask where you applied, where you got in, where you want to go. Set some ground rules with the fam.  Mom and Dad, you might have to lead this charge. Let this be a time with your family to decompress, truly enjoy each other's company, and leave all that college-talk for some other time. There's not much that can be changed now, so getting into stressful conversations over the turkey won't help anyone. Go play some football instead. Speaking of which...

12) Exercise. But like, REALLY, exercise. One of the absolute best ways to reduce your anxiety is to get a really good workout in. Not just a casual jog, but something where you really push yourself. Take a boot-camp class, maybe even a spin class, but do something that pushes you harder than usual. If you're a freshman at Tulane, your first spin class is on me! Or Joe for ABT.

If you had told me last year I'd be writing a blog encouraging you to meditate, I'd think you had lost your mind! But here I am doing exactly that. Like I've said before, everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. You'll get in somewhere, you'll go somewhere. You'll do fine in school and the drama with your friends will come and go. This goes back to deciding what you listen to in your brain. It's not always going to be perfect, but you can be assured, eventually things have a way of working themselves out. I am not saying all will be completely stress-free all the time, but over the course of the next few months, if you try a few of the tips above, you might just experience reduced anxiety in life, even at a time when you'd expect it to be higher than ever.

Good luck out there! And have a happy, delicious and hopefully college-talk-free Thanksgiving.




What's the Deal with ED II?

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 20:31
By now, many of you seniors have probably gotten emails from us about our Early Decision II option.  Like Early Decision, ED II is binding, meaning that you are committing to attend Tulane in the fall if you are admitted through this plan. The application is due January 5th, and you will hear a decision from us by January 19th.  How's that for a quick turnaround?

ED II is a great option if you were planning to apply Regular Decision, but have decided that Tulane is now your #1 choice. Or, if you applied Early Action and your list of schools has changed throughout the process, you can switch your application to Early Decision II. You don’t have to let us know until January 6th, so you may wait until you receive a decision from us about your Early Action application, and then be in touch. Between you and me, it's a great option if things didn't go as planned for you in EA, either at Tulane or elsewhere.

If you would to like switch your application from Early Action or Regular Decision to ED II, fill out this form by January 5th. Since it is a binding agreement, you will receive an Agreement Form to be signed by you, your parents, and your guidance counselor. If you have not applied yet, you can simply start a new application and indicate you are applying ED II. You can read a bit more about the process here, and as always, be in touch if you have any questions!

Coming Home

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 17:36
Homecoming was this past weekend and it was epic! Sure, we didn't win the game, but the energy on campus was amazing. We had thousands of alumni, parents and friends on campus for a perfect week of carnivals, concerts, tailgates and football games. You can check out a recap in photos here

Homecoming is made all the more special for the Office of Admission as it usually falls right around the very end of our fall travel season. Our team of admission counselors spent the last two months travelling around the world to recruit the class of 2022. We hit up high schools far and wide as we start to shape next year's freshman class. I thought you might want to get a little bit of info on our travels, by the numbers...


949: High Schools Visited8570: Number of students who attended a Tulane high school visit474: Total days spent on the road by admission staff members153: Number of individual flights taken by admission staff members 27: Countries Visited (Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong,  India, Jordan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam)17: Community Based Organizations visited. This year, we hit up places like College Track, Next Generation Scholars, and Overtown Youth Center. Out top priority right now is to have the class of 2022 be the most diverse yet, and visiting CBOs is a great way to connect with some fantastic students. CBOs provide great programming and mentorship to these students and we're excited to partner with so many of them.  
I'll leave you with some of my favorite shots of both Homecoming in NOLA and a few photos of our admission travels 'round the world. Enjoy!

Our marching band in action! 
Speaking of bands, TUMBAA put on an awesome show at halftime!
They're our alumni band, featuring one of our admission counselors, Neill! 
I love this action shot of the moment that Jessica and Patrick
found out they were named our 2017 Homecoming King and Queen! Here I am at the tailgate with some of the admission team, Jalin and Henry 
And now, some of our best shots from our travels! Here is Julie remembering Tulane at the Alamo. 
Here I am at the Punahou School in Hawaii!


Morgan with a squad of prospective students in Oakland
Our Director of International Admission, Paul, always looking dapper, this time in Beirut 
I got to meet up with some great Tulane families in Los Angeles at one of our big Tulane fundraising events out there.
Here I am with the Sheltons; their son Trejon is a first year student at Tulane.
The whole Tulane squad attended the NACAC conference in Boston this fall.
Scenes from Next Generation Scholars, one of the CBOs we visited this fall.  Nora meeting prospective students in Myanmar 

Nora in Panama with Caroline, one of our Admission Interns.
Yes, we even bring our current Tulane students to travel with us to meet you all! 

Toni with a crew of prospective students in Lafayette, LA.
And finally, here I am somewhere between high school visits in Switzerland.
I think I basically drove through a Ricola commercial.