I really like the party culture at this school. The weather is pretty good when it isn't raining, and the classes are usually fine, but that's all to be expected. I presume it's mostly students reading this and you get plenty of that nonsense from the tour (I'm bitter. I lost out on being a tour guide due to my inability to walk backwards in sandals). There are two major party streets at Tulane. Broadway, and Maple. Broadway is the frat-row if you will, and as a Freshman you will likely spend much time there because hey, free booze! About four blocks down Broadway one will reach Maple. Maple holds about seven bars, four of which you will ever step foot in. These bars all are very college with loud, bad music, and cheap yet poorly made drinks. If you crave the college experience, it's hard to beat finding yourself in a trashy dive- bar at 2 AM singing along to Journey with your best friends. There's also the Boot...I'll let you figure that one out. The reason the party scene is so nice is that it's close, yet isolated. I constantly hear complaints from friends at other schools that on Friday Nights it can be impossible to study with all the music and partying going on around them. That doesn't happen at Tulane. Because the bars and parties are always so close, there's no need or want to have parties in the dorms. Sure, as a freshmen you will still have the occasional ****-show in the dorms, but rarely enough that it still stays fun. When you really need to study however, there are plenty of quiet safe havens where there will be no temptation to break focus. See, what I did there? I just justified the party scene in New Orleans. --- On the complaint scale there are a few. First, no one cares about anything here. A couple years ago a highly controversial speaker came to visit. He was a former leader of Isreal, and as a result a small Palestinian group took up protest outside the speaking hall. Here's the thing, it's not that people were surprised that they were protesting him, we were surprised that there were protesters at all. Coming from Berkley California, this change in opinion absolutely shocked me. If protest rallies, and Occupy movements sound fun to you, this probably isn't your school. Next, the sports are pretty bad. I write for the sports section of the Tulane newspaper, "The Hullabaloo" and it can be a bummer writing about our seventh football loss in a row. The football team is bad, and even worse, they play in the Super dome downtown. Sometimes under a thousand people show up to "fill" a 80,000 seat building. Even worse is when good schools come to crush us, their away fans show up in droves to party in New Orleans and out-fan us by 3 to 1 or worse. To be fair, the men's baseball team is competitive, and some of our women's programs like tennis, golf, and running are very competitive. Even as a bad D1 program, we are still D1. Lastly, the food situation is pretty bad. There's a dining hall called Bruff that you will come to know quite well. There's also a food court which has the basics - Panda, Quiznos, Bagels, ECT... That's a lot better but as a freshmen you will only be given 250 bucks for that food which runs out quick. I'll put it this way, as a Junior I changed my food package to have 750 food-court bucks...I'm out.
Tulane University is the only college in the country that I know of that has integrated a service-learning requirement into the curriculum. This two-tier requirement means that students must complete a total of 40 community service hours, revealing the willingness of students to give back to the school and community. I completed this requirement at Sophie B. Wright, a nearby charter school. The program was arranged through the Latin American Studies department. I was paired with a seventh grade student as a reading buddy. I found this experience to be very valuable. As the University is consistently ranked amongst the nation’s top universities, incoming students should not expect to party away their four years in New Orleans, although some are tempted. Students will, consequently learn to maintain a balance between the academic rigors and cultural and social events. With each progressive year, the freshman class at Tulane continues to raise the academic bar and the high caliber staff exceeds expectations. Tulane University is classified as a ‘medium size university,’ with a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,803 students. This means that students can anticipate seeing many familiar faces while walking on campus, but also expect to meet new students throughout the duration of their time at Tulane. Introductory lecture courses on average are large, ranging from one to two hundred. Even in this larger lecture setting, however, courses have been taught by dedicated professors willing to make time for students. The majority of my courses during the first two years consisted of twenty students or less. My freshman year Spanish class, for example, had just twelve. As a student in the honors program, I have benefitted from the fact that classes become even more intimate. This ensured individual attention that facilitates the strong academic ethos of Tulane. I have never had a teacher than did not know my name after one or two weeks of class. Contacting professors is incredibly easy, as professors commonly make their cell phone numbers available. As a freshman I was shocked to find that the library closes at 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. I felt that this was not conducive to studying, but students prove to be highly motivated and resourceful, ignoring that going out every night of the week is an option. I oftentimes find myself wondering how students at Tulane do it, but they manage to get work done, and do it exceptionally well. Majoring in English and International Development, the liberal arts curriculum of Tulane University allows for so much flexibility that I have been able to also minor in art studio. Even though I was an exploratory freshman, the roundabout path of arriving at my major illustrates that education at Tulane is geared to learning for its own sake. I have multiple favorite teachers from Tulane. In my beginning drawing course I met one of the most dedicated teachers imaginable. Aaron Collier opens his art courses to students of all skill levels and is committed to the teaching the art of ‘learning to see.’ Students are willing to collaborate and the atmosphere is one of sharing.
I'm a psychology major (School of Science and Engineering), an English minor (liberal arts) and a dance minor so I have a lot of experience with many of the different class structures. I think that science classes are probably some of the hardest to be motivated in because they tend to be on the extremely high end in terms of the amount of students in the class. Biology is taught in a HUGE lecture hall and it was hard to even be motivated to go some days because I felt like no one would notice if I wasn't there. As you move into the higher levels of all classes though, class size shrinks, and as you take more classes with the same specialized professors they learn your names and you begin to really feel like a part of the department. I think dance classes are usually my favorite classes, especially the lower level classes, because they offer such an eclectic mix of people trying dance for the first time. Everyone gets a chance to get to know each other, and the professor. English classes also offer that opportunity, and class participation is more frequent in liberal arts classes in general. One of the reasons I applied to Tulane was because I really dislike hyper-competetive environments. I like environments that foster the idea that we should all be helping each other achieve more, not ones that seem to encourage you to let your fellow students fail because it will make you closer to the top. I think Tulane has a less competitive environment than many schools of similar academic caliber, and most of the students I know really are here to enjoy learning. Even outside of the classroom my friends share things they learned in their classes, and we are each pretty happy with our major choices even if we don't know what we want to do with our lives yet. I think the amount students study is another important thing to think about, and here students do study quite a bit but not so much that it interferes with having a social life. The library is closed early on Friday and Saturday nights and students are out, even when it might be a little irresponsible to be. During finals students really get to work though, and show that we're a school that works hard so we can play hard.
Professors at Tulane tend to be helpful, personable, and engaging, but there are plenty of duds out there as well. As at any school its important to check on sites like RateMyProf.com before you commit to a class. Classes and students are very different depending on what school you are in. The stereotypical party/slacker types are usually associated with the Business school, while the hard-working students who never stop studying are usually in the School of Architecture, or the School of Public Health. My school, The School of Liberal Arts, is somewhere in the middle. As an English and History major a lot of the class discussions are usually monopolized by 3 or 4 intelligent students, while the rest sit there blankly. The best classes I've taken are the Creative Writing workshops and the English Capstone with Professor Molly Rothenberg, where students all participate and are engaged with what they are doing. Students at Tulane tend not to be competitive. This is definitely not a dog eat dog academic environment. The academic requirements are not too hard to complete in four years, but a lot of students take four and a half or five years to finish at Tulane, which goes along with the laissez-faire, laid-back mindset of the university in general. Tulane is often commended for their public service requirement, but in reality this is treated as somewhat of a joke. Unless you do a lot of research on your class beforehand, there's a good chance your "community service" will not feel very much like service at all. For example, a lot of my friends had to make a "radio show" or conduct interviews for their service requirement, instead of more typical community service activities like working at a school or building houses. There's a lot of students who finish without many job prospects, but Tulane gives you all the tools to get jobs and internships while in college and afterwards. The best way to insure you will get a job after graduation is to work while your in school, which is not hard to do. Teach for America also has a great relationship with Tulane, and many students go on to the program after graduation.
The classes at Tulane are my favorite classes I've ever taken. I have only had one or two classes with more than 20 students in them. Most of the classes are small and intimate, and the professors are top notch. I know all of my professors, and they all know me (I call many of them by first name). When I see them on campus, I usually stop to talk for a few minutes, there is just a really good connection between students and faculty at Tulane. There are lots of different types of classes, and of course, what you take depends on your major. I am double majoring in English and Anthropology, so I get to take a wide variety of subjects and class types. I've had lecture classes, workshops, discussion classes - there are many ways to teach and learn at Tulane. There is a list of core requirements that all students are required to take, and that can sometimes be difficult when all you want to do is take fun art classes. But you have to understand that it is important to have a good basis in knowledge before you can specialize in anything else. I have always been graded fairly in all of my classes, and most professors are very understanding of certain situations and really take the time to consider individual students. Which makes it a very good idea to get to know the professors and to go to class and participate. If they know you, chances are your grade will be better. Just talking to a professor, voicing your concerns, can boost your grade. If you are on the cusp, you just might get bumped up a grade for active participation. The course load is hard, there is a lot of work involved, but there is time to do it. Time management is key, and understanding your priorities and your schedule can help a lot. Just try to stay on top of things and the work isn't too bad. It's one of the top schools for a reason - the best professors, the best students, the hardest classes, and the best grades. It's got to happen somehow, right? So just do the work, no big deal.
I have lots of friends who went to state schools and tell me that it's no more difficult than high school classes. I have to disagree where Tulane is concerned. To pass, students must study, and attending class will only help, plus professors often give extra credit at random for attendance. At Tulane, student work for a top-notch education in a degree that will prepare them for their chosen field of work. Smaller classes have much more class participation and the professors really do try to become involved with their students. I am one of the few students who is neither in the business school nor pre-med, which basically covers about 80% of the students. It is a joke that almost every freshman starts out as wanting to be pre-med. I spend most of my time in Dixon Hall, the music building. The music teachers are all brilliant in their field, and are all more than willing to help their students get work done in their classes or help them with an out of class project. The administrators in the music building are also extremely helpful, if you get to know them. Most of the professors do everything they can do help support the music students by going to student performances or activities. There is a program called "Take a Professor to Lunch," where the school pays for students to sit down with their professors and get to know them outside of class, making it much easier to get letters of recommendation when it comes time to apply for scholarships or graduate school. Most of the professors are open to their students and usually offer a smile or a wave in passing. If students are willing to make an effort to get to know their professors, then the professors are willing to get to know their students. However, if you want your professor to like you, then turn your cellphone off during class because they really hate it when phones ring during their lectures or students continually text message, instead of paying attention.
I am a Film Studies and English major at Tulane. Most liberal arts classes are fairly small, and most professors certainly know your name and care about your performance. I have also been in large lectures of up to 200 people. Most professors make themselves available outside of class. I, myself, am not particularly close with any professors for whatever reason, but one of my roommates has become close enough with one of her professors to have eaten dinner at his house with him and his wife. Some professors make it quite blatant that they have other priorities and teaching is just a way to pay the bills. In the liberal arts, students are supportive, rather than competitive. If there is a large assignment, I often find myself meeting up with classmates in the library to complete them and have someone to take breaks with. I am currently in a Screenwriting class and we're doing a BYOB, scene-reading session at someone's house next Saturday before our final scripts are due. Most of my classmates are fairly intelligent, but of course, there are some that make you question how you're getting the same degree as them. I think some of the academic requirements should be done away with, but I understand that the purpose is "well-roundedness." I am currently in Geology to fulfill my science with a lab requirement and it's dreadful. An interesting requirement that Tulane has is the service learning component. You are required to take one class with a 20-hour service learning component and one with a 40-hour service learning component by the time you graduate. A lot of students feel that where they are placed within the community is largely ineffectual. I currently serve as an assistant tennis coach for under-privileged children attending Lafayette Charter School. The service learning really forces you to step outside of your comfort zone at times, but I think it's great to give back to the city.
It depends on the class. Some professors make a point to know everyone; others don't care. I feel like it's the same at all colleges. My favorite class is probably all of my art history classes. They are so entertaining. The fact that so much meaning could be hidden in a painting amazes. The professor is hilarious. He's from England. He's very open about sex, which makes the study of art much more interesting. My least favorite class is Organic Chemistry. Everyone hates it. Students study a lot, but students also go out a lot. I really feel like it is the perfect balance. It's such a unique environment that it is hard to explain. I can study from 6 pm until 10 pm, then go out around 11 pm, and this would be completely normal. Everyone does what they need to do, then they enjoy life. It's a rigorous school; we are responsible when it comes to studies. Yes. I remember when I first came to Tulane. It was so different from high school in the fact that none of the people here are idiots. Everyone is well educated and has different backgrounds. A lot of intellectual conversations. The competition depends on one's major. As a pre med student, I have to say there is a lot of competition being that everything depends on the curve in many of my classes. The most unique class I took was Music and Culture on New Orleans. Tulane requires freshmen to take a TIDES course. These usually involve the student in learning more about the city of New Orleans. I am Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major. I get emails everyday about seminars and programs that I might be interested in. No, I don't spend time with professors outside of class. Tulane is definitely geared toward getting a job. Most people here want to make money and be successful.
My professors do know my name, because my classes are mostly smaller english classes, with anywhere from four to thirty students. This is the norm for humanities classes, although science, business, and other large lecture classes are certainly more impersonal. My favorite class has probably been a series of classes on Ancient Greek democracy, although there are definitely more conventional "favorite class" offerings like Brazillian Dance or Guns and Gangs. My least favorite was Microeconomics; the teacher tried his best to make it interesting but it was not enough. Although students do certainly drink and socialize a lot, they also study a great deal. I am writing this from the library, and there are no empty seats within my field of vision. Class participation varies based on the size and subject of the class. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, my most recent being a tragic, unconventional reading of the Twilight series that saw the books as a critique of traditional gender norms and notions of relationships. Students are competitive if the class is graded on a curve (this means you, medical students). The most unique class I have taken was a service learning offering that required me to go into New Orleans criminal court in order to observe cases. It was haunting and difficult at times, but an incredible experience. Some majors are more aimed at immediate employment than others, although that really is a feature of academia in general than a Tulane particularity. I have spent some time with teachers outside of class, and learned just as much during those times, while we ate dinner or went running.
The professors are largely pretty good, with some being better or worse than the average. Some take the time to get to know your name, but others just can't be bothered. However, if you are willing to ask for help, I have never heard of a professor rejecting that request. They will not come to you and ask, but they are there for assistance if you need it. If you want to establish a relationship with your professors, it is crucial that you attend office hours and let them know that you're interested in the subject. Many are intellectuals, and can talk about their respective subjects for hours without getting bored. There are students that have plenty of intellectual conversations outside of class, but I wouldn't say this is the majority. A lot of students are in the b-school, which doesn't exactly lend itself to analytical thinking. Science and engineering students work really hard, but probably not any harder than students at another school of Tulane's caliber. Liberal arts majors tend to enjoy their studies, while other students are more focused on their career paths. Overall, this is definitely a work hard, play hard school, and it's really important to maintain a balance. If you blow off work and party 5 nights a week, you will fail out of school, no matter what your major is. But if you never go out because you're studying all the time, you will be absolutely miserable, and not taking advantage of this opportunity. Academics are really important to most students, but they still recognize the need for fun.