Tulane University draws a unique crowd. The stereotype holds that over-privileged, well-dressed students flock to the 'dirty south' to perpetuate the mantra, 'work hard, play hard.' While it is true that the student body at Tulane is comprised of myriad students from the Northeast, with a persevering stereotype popularizing the nickname 'Jewlane' (T-Shirts were sold on the quad last year due to popular demand), Tulane University benefits from the geographic diversity that is the reality. Students from different regional backgrounds are drawn to the culturally rich party city, as over 75% of its students travel over 500 miles from home to attend. Even though students come to Tulane from all over the country, many do come from well-to-do families (around the country) eager to get a taste the crawfish, grits, and jambalaya and party it up during Mardi Gras, and just about any other possible opportunity. However, when students partake in such festivities, they do so in style. Girls at Tulane are known to showcase the latest fashion trends, hinting at the capital of their families. The stereotype maintains that the girls are more attractive than the boys, and this is confirmed on a daily basis. However, materialism aside, the culture of the city as well as the community service prospects unites students and it is seen that students are not just drawn to the party atmosphere of New Orleans. Although they will be sure to enjoy the lax drinking laws, and the Mardi Gras holiday break, students really do want to benefit from the culture of the city and get involved. The playing field is further leveled when scholarships doled out by Tulane Admissions each year are considered, as all freshmen applicants are considered for partial merit scholarships, ranging from $7,500 to $25,000 per year. The blend of students from different regional backgrounds proves to falsify the stereotype that Tulanians are all snobby white kids. Well... half of the stereotype. Tulane is undeniably white. However, regional diversity undermines the homogeneity of the student body, and students are overwhelmingly intelligent, friendly, involved, and hard-working. And they definitely know how to have a good time. As the prestige of Tulane University mounts each year, the school is becoming more selective. Sororities and fraternities are in fear that the selection pool will not be as beneficial to ensuring a ‘perfect pledge class’ as the intellect correlates positively with dorkiness, which is not a bad thing.
Don't let the location fool you, Tulane is an East-Coast prep school through and through, merely air-lifted to the deep-south. The vast majority of Tulane students come from over 500 miles away, with states like New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut being the most common. If you are from one of those areas and like the social climate, great! Expect more of it here. If you're like me, and stem from the beaches of California...expect a fair amount of culture shock. Expect designer purses on girls, and guys wearing button ups to a dive bar. Also, it needs to be noted, a not-so-proud nickname of Tulane is "Jewlane". Simply put, lots of Jews go here. That wasn't so much a problem for me, but it is certainly something to know before making the leap (can you believe they don't note this all in the tour?) But don't let this suddenly make you scamper off and run. Stereotypes always have counters and Tulane is no exception. There is a healthy nerd population with an active video-game club, and yearly Human Vs. Zombies game. There are the jocks that you will either live with or only see in the dining hall. There are goths, there are preps, and there are guys like me who are just dudes looking to get a degree and have a fun time. There's a niche for everyone.
Like any college or large group of people, Tulane has a range of sub-communities that all have their own sets of stereotypes and behaviors. In Tulane's case, one factor influences all of these groups: the city of Bacchanalia that is New Orleans. One would expect the city known for Mardi Gras to be a continuous non-stop party, and while these expectations are exaggerated by the stories one hears about decadent, intoxicating New Orleans, the image is real, and the school is populated by students who have journeyed down expecting celebration. In short, the stereotype of Tulane would be drinkers. In actuality, though, it would be more correct to refer to socializers. Parties may be seen as events solely focused on inebriation by those who are less inclined to throw them, but really they are about meeting new friends, chatting with old ones, and participating in a community. An incoming Tulanian should expect many opportunities to drink, but more importantly she should expect many opportunities to create new social ties, hear people's stories, and learn to handle herself in a friendly conversation. And isn't that what college is about?
Although Tulane students are often stereotyped as being wealthy, white and jappy, there are many more people who defy this stereotype rather than embody it. There is a definite contingent of girls from Long Island walking around in designer clothing, but this is not the majority. You don't need to be like this to make friends, but you will see them on campus. Most of the people I've met are down to earth, and don't get caught up in material things. The guys are pretty bro, but there are tons who are much more laid back. It is an expensive private school, but Tulane also gives a ton of merit and financial aid, so not everyone is rich. I've met a bunch of people who are actually paying their own tuition, which is pretty impressive when you consider how high it is. The student body is definitely very white, however, and I haven't been impressed with the diversity here. It's important to remember that people come to Tulane (and NOLA) for tons of different reasons, so there really is no typical student.
At first glance, Tulane University sounds like a diverse group of intellectuals. It boasts being one of the most geographically diverse schools, and since it sits in the heart of New Orleans, one cannot help but think it will be racially diverse as well. Once you arrive there, however, the new stereotype is that we are all a bunch of rich, spoiled, white kids from the Northeast. While this is not entirely true since Tulane does have international students and at least one kid from almost every state, the average student is wealthy and from the Northeast (and I'll let you decide for yourself if they're spoiled). While, yes, this can cause a few rifts and can make the school seem more undesirable as a whole because it is not the hub of diversity that you think it might be, it is easily surmountable by exploring the surrounding city and taking advantage of all the opportunities you can to get out and enjoy New Orleans.
Greek life is not very large on campus according to the percentage on our schools website. However, it definitely has a more prominent role socially. You do not need to be in Greek life to go out, have fun, and meet new people. By NO means must you join a sorority/fraternity to enjoy school. However, it is an advantage to join because you automatically meet +50 more people who become your new "brothers/sisters". As a somewhat shy person myself, it helped me branch out and feel more comfortable when going to bars and recognizing more students. I really do love being a part of something that makes me feel so closely knit to a group of people. I also have many friends who did not join Greek life and they know just as many people as I do and are invited to many of the events Greeks hold weekly. It really is a personal preference to join or not, and regardless of your choice you will still be happy at Tulane.
When many people think of Tulane they immediately think of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. This leads to the stereotype that all Tulane students do is drink, which in fact is not the case. While there is a great bar scene and fun frat parties, Tulane and the city of New Orleans provide an assortment of activities for students that don't like to drink (the music scene in New Orleans can be enjoyed sober, as well as the organization Tulane After Dark which provides late night on campus activities as an alternative to the bars). In addition, Tulane students are incredibly hard workers. The phrase "work hard play hard" is a very accurate description of the Tulane mentality--the students here are incredibly driven in every aspect of life, be it their studies or having a good time.
Tulane University students are thought of in different ways, depending on who you ask. There is a higher Jewish population than the national average, so there is a bit of a stereotype that everyone who goes here is Jewish and usually from the Northeast. But not everyone really is, and there are plenty of people from all over the country. Another stereotype is that everyone drinks a LOT, it is in New Orleans and I know from my friends at other schools that we do have more access to bars (which are more often to those 18+ instead of 21+) and there is clearly a drinking culture. That said, people often over estimate the amount of drinking that takes place, and it seems to me that there are usually a few people in any group of friends who don't drink at all.
Tulane is often thought of as a "party school." You only need to spend a little time in New Orleans to see why this is the case. Students at Tulane are quite diverse, however. Tulane students are known for being involved on campus, and the University's community service requirement gets students involved in New Orleans. Tulane is becoming a more and more competitive school to get into, and this has caused interest in the school by a whole different class of students. Tulane is defiantly a play hard school, but there are so many different things going on and defiantly a lot of smart students. The school is heavily northern, and my of the students come from areas around the country's large cities. The school is about a third Jewish.
Tulane is often considered a party school. This is partly due to the city it's in (New Orleans is home to Mardi Gras, after all), and up until Hurricane Katrina happened I think it was fairly accurate, but in the seven years since the hurricane the school has really dedicated itself to promoting community service. Today, the frat party scene is fading back and the school is attracting more and more students looking for a meaningful college experience; like New Orleans itself, Tulane is still a great place to party, but these days the students are a pretty mixed bag of social activists, fratastic bros, and highly motivated pre-professionals.