Tulane University was unbeknownst to me during the never-ending process of college applications. Quite frankly, I had no idea what I was looking for. But like many of my peers I found it in New Orleans without expecting to. My first impression of the school was derived from the seemingly endless flow of mail being sent to me. What I perceived as desperateness on the part of the administration was actually the strategic way to increase the applicant pool, thus making the university more competitive each year. I did not have to write an essay to apply and the application would be free. I applied without even considering the school or taking my application seriously. Ironically, I was touring the University of Miami when my interest in Tulane was sparked. The elder sibling of a girl taking the Miami tour with me was a freshman at Tulane University. Her enthusiasm for Tulane drowned out the words of the tour guide. I realized that I had to visit. As I wandered around Tulane’s campus just a month later, I fell victim to the familiar embarrassment of being a prospective student with my parents by my side. I couldn’t help but notice that that when students gazed my way and noticed the bright green “Roll Wave” folder I was holding, instead of giving me a vapid stare they smiled. People seemed happy and it was as simple as that. I was leaving the LBC (equivalent to a student union on other campuses), when I thought I heard my name. I wasn’t sure, so I kept walking. But the shout persisted and got clearer. It was the girl from the Miami tour. She recognized me and when I turned around she gave me a hug and took a break from her studies to provide a squeal to the group tour I had just taken. She showed me her favorite study spots, and a room in every freshman dorm. Although she didn’t have to do much talking to sell me on the picture-perfect campus, she did anyway. Her pride for Tulane was undeniable. She told me everything and anything she could think of, and she introduced me to numerous friends that she ran into on campus. The students professed their “love for prospective students” as well as their pride in Tulane and I was overwhelmed by how friendly everyone seemed. Making a decision had never been so easy. When I moved in my freshman year I was pleased to find that I had no reason to be skeptical of the enthusiasm of the students I had met the previous May. The happy students do not just have an odd fetish for prospective students, they genuinely want people to know what it is like to go to Tulane and live in New Orleans. The picture-perfect day I experienced upon visiting was not such an oddity either, and the weather is often sighted as one of the best things about going to Tulane. But, let me note that when it rains, it pours. Everyone has rain boots and an investment in a pair of new Hunters will not be in vain. When people ask me where I go to school I am proud to say Tulane University in New Orleans. This regularly facilitates rich conversation about the opportunities available in such a unique city, the incredible access to music, food, and culture. It is somewhere most people like to come visit or somewhere that many people hold fond memories of. Tulane students are spoiled by the free give-aways that are often doled out on campus. Forget pizza and cookies, the administration provides generous tastes of Jambalaya, crawfish, potatoes and Snowballs, consistent with New Orleans culture. Jazz music often pervades the well-kept central quad.
When I tell people I go to Tulane University, the first question all of them ask is, "How is New Orleans since Katrina?" Well, it's not perfect, but the city and the school are trying very hard to return from the destruction of the storm. Uptown, around the campus, and downtown, around the French Quarter and more tourist populated areas, are doing well. The return of the streetcar really helped students be able to branch out and explore the city because most students don't have cars. East New Orleans and the Ninth Ward are basically still ghost towns, but the people that live around those areas are still trying to rebuild their homes, if they returned to New Orleans at all. It is one of the draws to the Tulane, as well as the other universities in New Orleans, that students have many opportunities to help with the volunteer and rebuilding efforts that take place in New Orleans quite often through organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and the campus volunteer organization, CACTUS. The administration is not very efficient, no matter what they tell prospective students, and incoming freshmen and their parents. There is little to no interdepartmental communication, making it often difficult for students with more than one major to get in touch with all of their advisors. The administration gives students the run-around, making getting things done in an easy, timely manner really difficult. I often hear students complain about the administration's lack of interest in their opinions; they don't pay attention to what students want, and it sometimes seems that once they have a student's tuition money, they don't care at all about what happens to them. There's a decent amount of school pride, but the student body doesn't exude it where sports are concerned, except baseball, because our team is good. It is also time-consuming to get to football games because they are held a bus ride away at the Super Dome, making students less motivated to go than if they were held in an on-campus arena. However, students and alumni are proud to say they attended Tulane University. Some frequent student complaints that I've heard have to do with housing. All students are supposed to be guaranteed housing, but they are required to live on campus their freshman an sophomore years. I heard a lot of complaining from Junior and Senior students whose scholarships paid for their housing only if they lived on campus because there was no room for them in either of the junior and senior dorms because rising sophomores had taken their rooms because there were so many of them. In addition, renting a place off of campus is expensive and often above a student's budget. The incoming 2008 freshman class is one of the biggest classes in the school's history, so it would appear that housing is just going to become a continual problem.
Tulane seems to offer a place for every type of student. Whether or not you're in Greek life or interested in other activities, its possible for everyone to find their "group." New Orleans itself is hands down one of the bigger positives of going to Tulane. Not only are there numerous opportunities to get involved, but New Orleans also offers a great social scene suited to college life. Students can hear live music, eat amazing food, or just go out with their friends any day of the week; it is really incomparable to any other city in the country. One of the downsides to New Orleans is transportation, while the street car seems fun and accessible in theory, it really isn't an efficient way to get around the city. Not everyone has a car, but they are really useful for jobs,volunteering, internships, etc.By sophomore year you will pretty much recognize every person on campus- so if you're looking for a school where it is easy to remain anonymous Tulane isn't for you. Although it is on the smaller side, it is big enough where you won't have to say hello to every person you pass on the way to class. I personally find the size just right because while I do know a good amount of people, I could always branch out and make more friends. Tulane has a well respected reputation, but you will have to explain many times that we do not spend all of our time in the French Quarter. There is such a thing as the "Tulane Bubble" but it mostly applies to underclassmen who take advantage of the campus' vicinity to bars and other entertainment close by. When on campus students are normally studying in the Business School, Library, or PJs Coffee. Tulane offers a lot of perks for their student body, strangely enough it is not out of the ordinary to see a bouncy castle on one of the quads every Friday night. "Fridays on the Quad" were a great series of concerts and free foods offered during the fall semester right on campus and was a great way to start off the weekend, showing that the administration is committed to keeping the student body happy. One of the negatives to Tulane is the lack of school pride- besides homecoming venturing downtown to the Superdome for a football game is nearly unheard of. Hopefully with the new coach and possible on campus stadium, this will change in the coming years. Another issue students have is the difficulty of studying abroad. While a good portion of students are able to and do go abroad, Tulane's program has its limits and often people will have to settle for their second choice location.
Tulane is a fantastic school. I absolutely love going to school here - even when I can't stand it. I say this because Tulane is a very challenging school, and sometimes I just don't like school. It also gets very hot here. Oh, and it rains a lot, too. I mean, a lot. If it rains, it pours. For hours. But if it floods enough, classes are cancelled for the day! One of the hardest things to get used to when I started Tulane was that all of my friends at other schools talked about how easy everything was and how they were making really good grades without even trying. At Tulane, it's hard work. The classes are intense, the workload is large, and it's difficult (but doable) to get A's. So when your friends try to compare themselves to you through grades, you have to stop them and say, "I go to Tulane, there is no comparison." Which is kind of cool, when it comes down to it. Tulane is just better. There are tons of things to do on campus - there is a very active social life created by all the organizations at the school. New Orleans offers lots of great entertainment, as well, from live music to great food to fantastic festivals and events. If I weren't so busy doing schoolwork all the time, I could do something new in the city everyday and never run out of things to do. The only thing that is frustrating is that there is not a lot of student enthusiasm for the events on campus - there are lots of awesome programs everyday and hardly anyone ever goes to the programs. Low turnout tends to make events a little less cool. When I tell people I go to Tulane, they are almost always really impressed. Because, if you know your schools, you know that Tulane is a very good school with a lot of great professors and a very prestigious history, as well as a remarkable present life. And you can always talk about New Orleans (people love asking whether or not there is a city "down there" anymore) to keep the conversation going. There are going to be issues on any campus, and the case is no different from Tulane. Sometimes the wireless internet doesn't work. Sometimes the financial aid system has a glitch and I can't sign up for my classes when I'm supposed to. But most of the services on campus are willing to help out, and are understanding of their own shortcomings. And if there is a real problem at Tulane, the students' voices are actually heard.
I think the best thing about Tulane is the opportunity to live in New Orleans, and every student should take advantage of that. New Orleans gets a national reputation as a party city, and there is no denying that part of it, but it's a city with so many great other opportunities too. Tulane Uptown Campus is situated right across from Audubon Park and right on St. Charles Ave. It's an incredibly beautiful and historical part of town. My favorite thing to do freshman year was walk or bike through the park with a friend to get groceries (there is a Whole Foods on the other side) and then stop and have a picnic by one of the many ponds on the way back. Tulane's campus is beautiful, but spending the $1.25 to take a streetcar ride down town, see the antique shops, street artists, and to of course grab some beignets (donut type things) and coffee is probably my favorite thing about this school. In terms of some of the more practical things, the campus is great, very beautiful and everything is easy to get to. One of the major complaints from students is the food, we have a nice area near the bookstore with some good options and two coffee shops, but the cafeteria tends to be pretty bad. But, even with some of the usual complaints, the administration isn't always on top of everything, trying to do unique projects requires lots of paper works, I find that students are usually glad about the choice to come here. My friends and I often talk about how glad we are that we have this great experience while many of our friends at home are talking about going to parties in dorm rooms for Halloween and we went to Frenchman St., which was packed with costumed people for almost a mile. And, when I tell my family or family friends I go to Tulane, they are always interested and proud, citing what a good school it is and in such an interesting town. I think Tulane is a great place, it's wonderful in terms of size because every time I walk to class I see at least a few people I know which is always nice. But I also see a lot of people I don't know, and its fun to have the opportunity to always meet new people.
The best thing about Tulane is the people and the city. The students here are so fun, yet so intelligent. Everyone is really down to earth and ready to have a good time. Obviously, the city caters to our constant need for a good night out. Plenty of bars in walking distance. You won't find this kind of social/ night life anywhere else. If I could change one thing about Tulane, it would be the fact that the administration doesn't recognize Greek life as student organizations. They don't give Greek life the attention or recognition it deserves. Especially since 30% of the campus is Greek. Tulane is the perfect size. Not too small, yet not too large. It's nice too see familiar faces around. We have several coffee shops on campus which provide great study areas. Our new student center is amazing. It has plenty of great comfortable furniture to hang out or study in. Besides the Greek life issue, Tulane's administration does a great job listening to the students. We wanted a fall break; they gave it to us. They have great emergency plans, and we get biweekly emails from the president himself. I would say the biggest controversy on campus lately is a website called JuicyCampus. The students are fighting for the administration to ban it. The website is basically a portal for gossiping and bullying. It is absolutely horrible what people write about others. It needs to be taken off of the internet. Unfortunately, this radical of an action probably won't happen until someone commits suicide, because of the horrible things people are writing about them. Honestly, the website needs to go. There is a ridiculous amount of school pride here. Everyone here loves it. Ask anyone on campus, and they will tell you about the night life, the classes, and the great atmosphere Tulane has to offer. I would NEVER want to be anywhere else. WE HAVE MARDI GRAS!!
I know that Tulane is the perfect school for me, and I couldn't have picked a better place for undergrad. You get a great education but you have the opportunity to participate in a ton of extracurriculars, as well as get part-time jobs or internships through the university. Oh yeah, and your studies definitely don't interfere with your social life. People tend to look down on Tulane, especially my peers who went to schools in the Northeast. If you want the experience of living and working and one of the greatest cities in the world, New Orleans, Tulane is the perfect choice. One of the major problems with Tulane is also the subject of recent controversy. Clearly New Orleans has a lot of crime, especially post-Katrina, and the area around the university is not the safest. Tulane sends out emails to their students when crimes occur, and these emails are sent as frequently as a couple of times a week. Tulane has a shuttle service known as Safe Ride which picks up students between 8 pm and 6 am if they feel they are in danger, or if they don't want to walk home alone. The service has gotten a lot better in recent months following a major controversy after students were robbed at gunpoint while waiting for Safe Ride. However, Safe Ride's not ideal, nor are most of the other means of public transportation around the university. You may think it's great that you go to school right by the St. Charles Streetcar, but it's the most impractical way to get somewhere fast. It's fine for sightseeing, but if you are going to work or even a concert, you don't want to wait 45 minutes for the rickety, slow trolley to pick you up. The cabs are also terrible in this city. They arrive late, don't come, and pick you up drunk. They best way to stay safe and get around in New Orleans is to get a car, or find someone who has a car to chauffeur you around.
My favorite thing about this school is definitely New Orleans, which has a ton of amazing things for college students to enjoy. Everyone knows about the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but most people don't realize that Maple Street is about one block away from campus, and is filled with bars, restaurants and shops. There are always promotions and events, and it is absolutely impossible to be bored on any given night. Uptown is an awesome place to be, and it's impossible not to fall in love with NOLA culture. There's also a thriving Greek scene, and those parties are always a lot of fun. The campus is beautiful, and the perfect size. It is big enough that you will never meet anyone in your class, but it is small enough that you will always see the people you want to see. One of the best things about Tulane is the weather, which starts out very humid but then hovers around 70 for much of the year. The professors are a mixed bag, with many being very good and others being pretty awful. However, if you use ratemyprofessor and the course evaluations that are posted online, you can avoid some of the bad ones. Students always complain about registration, but I've never actually heard of it impeding anyone's ability to graduate. Our football coach recently resigned (it's common knowledge that he was fired), and students are split on the topic of what we should do next. Some say that this is our chance to finally become a football powerhouse, while others say we should remain focused on academics. There is a lot of school pride but not usually in the context of athletics, although our baseball team is very good. Almost every student I know does community service, mostly of their own volition. We do have service learning courses, which vary between incredible and useless. It's simply luck of the draw.
Tulane University has exceeded all my expectations about the college experience. It is one of the most welcoming, spirited and exciting environments a college student could wish for, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. Going off to college can be a scary or anxious time in a young person’s life, but Tulane’s student population and faculty make it feel like a home away from home. The feeling you get just stepping onto Tulane’s campus is one of warmth and happiness, and it is clear that everyone feels that way. There are always events happening on the quad or in the student center that aim to unify the students as well as the faculty, and are very successful in doing so. The professors are awesome and really take the time to help their students both in and out of class. New Orleans is such an amazing place to live; the rich culture of the city provides an opportunity to absorb knowledge supplementary to our studies and participate in new, fun activities. Community service is a very important part of Tulane’s philosophy and instills in its student a sense of responsibility and desire to help others. The city plays a huge role in the diversity of the student population and is one of Tulane’s defining qualities. I could go on and on about how much I love Tulane University, but there is really no way to put into words how incredibly rewarding attending Tulane is. The best way I can put it is that I feel so fortunate to be at a school where I am truly happy to wake up for class every day, and have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.
The best thing is probably the other people. Everyone seems eager to meet new faces, and every student also becomes possessed with a pervasive happiness. The things I would change are probably specific to my own experience, but if I had to generalize I would say that the administration seems to go for shiny technologies that are of questionable worth. Also, I have not personally had any problems with the science department, but I have heard from many sources that those teachers tend to delegate far too much to inexperienced teaching assistants. Most people react favorably when I tell them Tulane, or at least they seem aware that it is located in New Orleans, and then they respond positively to the city. There is certainly an uptown Tulane bubble, but downtown is always only a direct streetcar ride away. School pride has increased recently as the basketball team has become the success of our sports program. Controversy arose a couple years ago as to the status of workers in the cafeteria and in other buildings, and took the form of protest-minded students siding with the workers against Sodexo, the company which employs all of the workers. The most frequent student complaints are probably against the quality of food in the dining hall, but as a senior who has had to cook for himself, those students are perhaps in for a surprise when their meals become self-cooked.