Our family travels to New Orleans frequently. It's fair to say that pretty much any trip to New Orleans includes a stop at Tulane. I can honestly say I've never been to visit without being on campus....partly because both my husband and daughter are graduates and I love college campuses but also because when we visit New Orleans it is hard not to find yourself on the beautiful uptown campus! I've been visiting Tulane since 1982 and each time I do, I find another reason to love the school and the city.
This visit was primarily to see my aforementioned daughter, who, like many, found herself as a freshman at Tulane and has never left the city. New Orleans has a way of sticking with you. Literally. The humidity makes everything sticky, but also the music, culture, food, and architecture, remain a part of you no matter how far you stray. After even just a short stay, you soon learn to understand what it means to "miss New Orleans".
The day I was on campus this time was a prospective student day and tours were hard to come by so I took the opportunity to wander campus on my own. Did I mention that I love college campuses!!?? Campus looked beautiful with cammelias, daffodils, jasmine (and the Mardi Gras Tree) all in bloom. It was the cusp of spring break so there was a palpable energy on campus - a mix of students studying for last minute exams and those already in the spring break frame of mind (I did stop by The Boot for some crawfish). I share that because if your student attends Tulane, there is no doubt that she will also go to The Boot. At least once. But, I digress. On campus, I noticed a number of nervous prospective students (mostly architecture students!) touring and a number of professors in name tags...a conference perhaps? Campus is always busy with tours, visitors, conference so it wasn't surprising to see this nice mix of people. There is also a great deal of construction - some new buildings and some banners declaring "Only the Audacious" (and you can read more about that here). After returning home and doing some research, I learned that last December, "The campaign for an even bolder Tulane" was announced. It is the University's $1.3 billion dollar fundraising campaign which you can read about in the link above. In the past few years, Tulane's rankings (if you pay heed to those) has increased. Admissions has become increasingly selective, applications topped more than 35,000 this year and SAT scores have increased 48 points over the last three years. It would be an understatement to declare that the nation has finally recognized Tulane for what it is - a top tier school, in a wonderful city, with a unique student body that both studies hard and plays hard.
Tulane has always been a unique place. Located in one of America's oldest and singularly unique cities, it is decidedly Southern; however its student body is not. Diverse, smart, and fun loving, you can find students who seek an education at Tulane who hail from over 75 countries and 47 states. They are some of the smartest students (both because they have chosen to attend at Tulane but also due to their academic achievements) and perhaps some of the most audacious in the nation.
Located Uptown, across from Audubon Park, the campus is a vertical city campus covering approximately 100 acres. Tulane students are a mix of the fashion conscious and the comfort conscious. Southern buildings are known for extreme air conditioning so you can find students in shorts and t-shirts but also Ugg Boots and sweatshirts. On bikes and skateboards, taking an afternoon run or enjoying a PJ's coffee, students and faculty alike do a great job of using the entire campus for work and play. On a nice day, you can find students studying outside, having a class under a beautiful old oak tree, playing volleyball, biking down Freret, slowly walking to class or like I did sunbathing on the lawn. On a not so nice day, be sure to bring an umbrella and galoshes, because New Orleans is below sea level and it floods. Only a few inches of rain can result in feet of water. Everywhere. Luckily for me, it was a picture perfect day (see photos below). In New Orleans, you quickly learn there is no reason to hurry - the heat and the humidity are reminders that sauntering is the speed to maintain and I enjoyed my stroll through campus stopping to smell the flowers (literally) and to photograph buildings new and old. There were some students recruiting for some community service projects and soliciting donations of used goods. Not unusual for Tulane. The first private research institution to institute a community service requirement, Tulanians devote upwards of 750,000 hours of community service. This requirement attracts a particular type of student - one who is interested in learning both in and outside the classroom, has a strong interest in community service and commits to making the city a better place. Students are smart, interested and interesting.
Tulane's academic requirements are rigorous, but students will find it easy to take classes across majors. It's not uncommon for students to double and sometimes triple major. The school offers 75 different majors and is well known for its outstanding School of Architecture and The A.B. Freeman School of Business. In addition to traditional majors, students also take classes in a core curriculum, have an opportunity to study abroad as well as use New Orleans as their classroom.
Campus life offers many opportunities for involvement from community service groups and local organizations with which students can affiliate to the city itself which is often used as a classroom. Tulane is a D-1 school with 17 sports. The newly completed Yulman Stadium draws students and locals to Tulane football games and while the school is not known for its football culture, there is definitely a place for the sports fan! As you might imagine, music has a place on campus, with a robust arts program both in visual arts and music. The Tulane Marching Band participates not only in sporting events but also marches in Mardi Gras parades! Students live on campus freshman and sophomore years while many upperclassmen live off campus. There is a small but active greek system with some members living in houses and some houses used just for meeting space. Freshman have a choice of living in a learning community, honors housing, gender inclusive housing, traditional freshman dorm style living as well as Josephine Louise which is all female housing. Currently, there is one dining hall Bruff Commons and food options in the LBC (student union) but current construction underway will amend these options with additional dining choices. Regardless, of where you live or eat you can always count on red beans and rice on Mondays!
I love encouraging students to apply to Tulane. While I am not sure every student needs to be audacious, I do recommend those who apply be ready to face the challenges of a school located in a city that never sleeps. There is always something to do in New Orleans, whether it's grab a bite at a great restaurant, listen to music on Frenchman Street or a local venue, attend a festival or get caught in a spontaneous parade! Tulane students get days off for Mardi Gras and in my experience, students at Tulane both study hard and play hard. Being able to manage all the distractions is a must for any potential student.
The campus never disappoints. New Orleans is always a fun experience. I hope you have a chance to experience it! Roll Wave!!
For more information, please visit the Tulane University website!
Creator and founder of The Accepted Life and college admissions counselors shares her thoughts, musings, and insights into the college admissions process.