Friday, August 31, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Go to Tulane University

#10 The Music.

You're probably already familiar with New Orleans jazz, second line brass bands, Cajun, and Zydeco. If so, you know that music in New Orleans is very much alive. Home to Ellis Marsalis and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the music of New Orleans offers rhythm, soul, and funk that sets it apart from other cities. Bands like Big Sam's Funky Nation and the Rebirth Brass Band offer modern takes on local styles of music that keep the New Orleans music scene thriving. Artists from other genres, such as alternative rock, hip hop, and dirty south rap, also lay claim to New Orleans and call it home. Have you heard of Better Than Ezra? Juvenile? Lil Wayne?

The vibrancy of the city's disposition toward music is impossible to miss. Tulane University's location in the heart of Uptown New Orleans gives students streamlined access to the best acts in town. Jazz Fest and VooDoo Fest take place in New Orleans every year, offering students a chance to celebrate music in a city that appreciates it most.

#9 The Weather.

In the summer, it's hot, humid, and unbearable. That's the way summers are supposed to be. Occasionally it rains hard, but that's what galoshes and rain boots are for. In the winter, it gets brisk: you can put on a sweater. The rest of the year, New Orleans offers perfect temperatures in the mid 80s. Flip-flops are the appropriate footwear for most events. Bikinis and sunglasses are required for afternoons after class at the levee behind the Audubon Zoo, right along the Mississippi River. This location is known lovingly to patrons as "the Fly," where students are found laying out on the grass, bathing in the sun, and doing their homework.

#8 The Social Scene.

Where do I start?

When I think about Tulane, my fondest memories are of singing (shouting) the words to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" at the top of my lungs with my fellow classmates at Bruno's (Old Bruno's, not New Bruno's) on Maple Street. I think about dancing atop pool tables at F&M's, snacking on cheese fries in the middle of the night. I think about the freakishly long line on Zimple Street for big slices of greasy, mediocre New York-style pizza that miraculously turn delicious at Boot O'Clock. Starting out Thursday nights at Grit's. I remember taking the yellow school buses to sorority theme parties, mixers, and formals. These references might not make any sense to you now, but they will.

And that was just freshman year.

By senior year, I recall venturing out to other neighborhoods. Discovering more about Frenchman Street, the Marigny, the French Quarter, Magazine Street, the Warehouse District. Wednesday nights at the Bulldog, seeing who could collect the most pint glasses. Doing the Cupid Shuffle at Red Eye. One Eyed Jacks for 80s Night. Waiting on the line for the powder room under the harsh fluorescent lighting at The Club Ms. Mae's. Dancing until dawn at Gold Mine. Finding myself at the Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge. Asking myself what exactly I was doing at the Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge. And why? [Also, according to Google, Zagat rated Snake and Jakes at 23/30. That's unprecedented].

Those of you who are worried about Greek life, you should know that only about 15% of the overall student body is Greek. That means 85% of the student body is not Greek. It doesn't matter which path you choose. Going Greek or not going Greek does not affect the quality of your social life at Tulane. Everyone socializes with everyone else. That's why the scene at Tulane is unrivaled.

[For the record, I did go Greek, and I loved it. But my other half, who is also a Tulane alumnus, was an independent. We both had fun at Tulane. Maybe I had more fun, but that's just me.]

#7 Mardi Gras.

Of course Mardi Gras is on this list. It's the carnival party that New Orleans is famed for. At Tulane, you get what is akin to the equivalent of two spring breaks. That's right. Two. One for Mardi Gras, and then one for Spring Break actual.

And keep in mind that Mardi Gras is a season, not just one day. There are literally weeks of parades, parties, and balls. Carnival krewes will toss beads and doubloons at you, and you'll love it. And there's King Cake with a little plastic baby Jesus baked into its sugary folds. You'll have to be careful not to choke.

It's hard to do Mardi Gras justice with mere words. You'll just have to experience it for yourself.

#6 The Food.

Yes, you'll still gain the Freshman 15 at Tulane University. But your fifteen pounds won't be wasted on cafeteria food and pizza. Your extra weight will be fed by the wealth of luxe restaurants situated within the New Orleans city limits. Local dishes such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, and crawfish etouffee stir the hearts and stomachs of New Orleans newbies and natives alike.

And hey, there's a world-class gym on campus. Don't worry. You can work it off second semester.

#5 The Campus.

Not too big and not too small, Tulane is just the right size with a total undergraduate enrollment of about 8,000 students. When you walk down McAlister Drive, the main street down campus, you'll bump into classmates, friends, acquaintances, and people who just look oddly familiar to you. You can choose to say hi, or instead don your oversized sunglasses and pretend you don't see them. Your choice. But the point is, there's a very warm atmosphere on campus that has nothing to do with the great weather. It's a spirit of community. An active student body. It's about the Hullabaloo, Tulane's student-run newspaper. It's about the arts. It's about USG, the undergraduate student government, who divvies funding to student organizations like TUCP (Tulane University Campus Programming), who puts on events like concerts featuring Ludacris or Cake. It's about Crawfest, an annual festival that takes place on campus where thousands of community members and students join together to feast on over 16,000 pounds of boiled crawfish while listening to live music. [NB: If you don't know what crawfish is, it's a tiny crustacean that is basically a miniature lobster. This is not a scientifically accurate description, but I hope it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Imagine over 16,000 pounds of tiny lobsters].

Tulane is full of professors, administrators, alumni, and, above all else, students who actually give a damn. And that's what makes it so great. Also, the campus is gorgeous. Imagine green, picturesque quads tucked away behind academic buildings within a historical residential landscape.

#4 Scholarships.

When I applied for scholarships back in 2003 (omfg, that's almost 10 years ago), I received a number of scholarship offers from other schools that had larger endowments. However, what other schools offered was still far less generous than what Tulane University offered. To attend Tulane, I accepted a four-year Distinguished Merit Honors Scholarship, equivalent to about half of my total tuition and boarding costs.

A merit scholarship is an award for tuition that is based entirely on merit. If you have done well in school and scored high on standardized tests, you will be a competitive candidate for a merit scholarship. Merit scholarships have nothing to do with your financial aid status. [Scholarships based on financial aid involve a separate process: filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to check your eligibility for grants, need-based scholarships, loans, and part-time student employment. There are a variety of ways to fund your education based on financial need, but you must fill out the FAFSA to discover what is available].

Tulane's merit scholarship program still thrives today. All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships when they apply for admission. Merit scholarships range from $7,500 to $27,000 per year, renewable upon good standing with the university. Louisiana residents may qualify for additional special merit scholarships that are part of Tulane's Focus Louisiana program, such as the John Hainkel Louisiana Scholars Award, the Valedictorian Scholarship, the Tulane Book Award, and the Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Award.

Tulane also offers prestigious full tuition scholarships: The Dean's Honor Scholarship and the Paul Tulane Award. These scholarships require completion of separate applications, but quite a number of them are available for the taking. Dean's Honor Scholarships are awarded to approximately 75 incoming students per year. The Paul Tulane Award is awarded to approximately 50 students per year.

Finally, Tulane also offers a Community Service Scholarship, which ranges from $5,000 to $15,000, renewable for up to four or five years, depending on your program.

If you are interested in these scholarships, you should check the Tulane website at for more information. Deadlines may be coming up soon.

#3 Academics.

Tulane University is a top-tier university with top-notch academics. Long regarded as an unofficial Southern Ivy, Tulane has an outstanding reputation, especially in the South. The incoming Fall 2012 freshman class had a median SAT score range of 1950-2150. Although Tulane's reputation is more prominent in the South compared to anywhere else in the country, the school continues to attract a demographically diverse student body. Approximately 85% of students come from states outside Louisiana.

Undergraduates can choose from a number of electives to fill their course schedules before deciding on a major. Although I graduated from Newcomb College in 2007 with a degree in Latin American Studies and English, I took classes outside of Newcomb, in the School of Architecture and the A.B. Freeman School of Business. I even devoted several semesters to glassblowing and sculpting in a world-renowned glass studio under the direction of Professors/Artists Gene Koss and Steven Durow.

Study abroad programs at Tulane also present excellent educational opportunities. If you are a recipient of a scholarship, your financial aid award will likely apply to the cost of studying abroad, unless you choose to study abroad in the summer. Worth considering is Tulane's Study Abroad in Cuba program, one of the most unique study abroad programs in the country.

#2 Hurricane Katrina.

The title of this subheading is a bit misleading. Just to be clear, getting knocked out by a hurricane bitch like Katrina is not a reason to go to Tulane University. However, joining Tulane's story of resilience and revival is.

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the levees broke. The flooding that followed caused extreme devastation throughout the city and shut down Tulane University for the Fall 2005 semester. In the spring of 2006, Tulane reopened its doors and welcomed back the returning 94% of the student body. The retention rate was surprising, but goes to show how devoted Tulane students are to the university. I was one of the 94% of students that returned to the school. It's hard to think about that fact without my heart skipping a beat.

Tulane's energy and focus were almost palpable in the efforts to restore the school and surrounding area. Everyone was committed to volunteer work and service upon return to the school post-Katrina. There were changes that had to be made; some controversial, some unavoidable. Tulane wasn't exactly the same, and perhaps never would be. But it could be something more, something better. It was an opportunity to be more than just a school.

Tulane University today is the single largest employer in New Orleans and has been instrumental to the city's recovery every step of the way.

#1 New Orleans.

I've already discussed the music, the weather, the food, and the social scene. You must be wondering: What else is there to warrant New Orleans its own little place on this list? Tulane University and New Orleans are inextricably linked. That's why New Orleans takes the top spot.

Tulane and New Orleans go hand in hand. If Tulane is the heart, New Orleans is the soul. I can't imagine having attended any other university anywhere else for my undergraduate education.

New Orleans is more than a place; it's a feeling. It's a standing invitation to explore. To get lost. To discover. To learn. To grow. Eventually, you will fall in love here. With the city. With the school.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Five Points to Consider Before Applying for an MBA

All aspiring MBAs must decide how many and which business schools to apply to; the key is to be aware of where you are in the application "window"-or where you are in life in general.

The vast majority of MBA students are in their mid-20s to early 30s. Only a small portion comes directly from college, and only a few attend full-time business school in their late-30s or 40s. But even within the prime eight-year window-from 24 to 32-applicants should consider five issues when deciding where to apply.

1. Age: Many applicants in their mid-20s decide to apply only to their first two choices, figuring that if they don't get in, they can reapply down the line when they have more experience. While this approach may work for some younger candidates, it's not recommended for applicants who are a bit older. Instead, older candidates should apply to a wider array of schools to ensure that they will at least have the option of attending business school next fall.

Of course, the best scenario involves an intelligent mix of "reach" and "safety" schools that will yield a choice of MBA programs for the applicant. Unfortunately, some candidates get on a misguided "Harvard or Stanford... or nothing!" kick that doesn't serve anyone's interests.

2. Career path: Some MBA aspirants hold positions where they can continue for many years, but others work in areas, such as consulting or investment banking, where policy or tradition encourages young employees to get further education.

In environments where one can continue to advance unfettered, a candidate might consider applying solely to his or her top choice programs. However, candidates coming from companies with two- to three-year analyst programs, which don't allow for much upward progression, should probably cast their nets wider and assemble a bigger portfolio of schools.

3. Career track satisfaction: Several MBA applicants, who feel locked in roles that are too technical or too narrowly defined, have told me they want to apply to just a couple of very highly ranked programs.

However, when people hope to transition to either an entirely new role or industry sooner rather than later, they should apply to a broad range of business schools. There are incredible programs throughout the top 20 in the b-school rankings (and even beyond) that can provide the classes, career programs, and alumni networks that aid this kind of transition.

4. First timer or reapplicant: A candidate who is going through his or her second round of business school applications should almost always apply to more schools. If the candidate is applying a couple of years down the line after dramatically improving her experience base, then she might add two or three new schools to the mix, but should still target her top programs from a few years before.

However, if the candidate is applying the very next year without significant changes in role, experience, or extracurriculars, he should pursue a different base of schools, with perhaps one or two holdovers from the previous year.

5. Family considerations: Taking two years to get an MBA is not just a business decision--it's also a life decision. Sometimes, the interests of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, or children are critical factors in making the decision of if, when, and where to apply. These considerations are much more complex and varied than the factors listed above, so it's difficult to work through them in-depth here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Health Courses for the Tech Savvy Student

You're always on the computer, but unlike other people, it's not to chat with friends or to update your profile picture: it's to create applications or to learn more about the equipment itself. You've thought about going into information technology as a career, but wonder if there is anything else that you can do. You particularly like the idea of helping people. Knowing that you were using your innate skills to help others would infuse your life with extra meaning. Sound like you? Then you may want to consider technology-based healthcare training.

Someone like you who lives and breathes computers could, for instance, consider taking the following healthcare training: medical computing, ultrasound technician and radiation therapist.

Medical computing

Medical computing is a broad term that could refer to a wide range of health courses:

- medical data processing: e.g., making billing software so simple that it affords a team at a medical clinic more time to apply their skills learned in healthcare training to patient care, rather than leaving them to muddle through long and inefficient administrative tasks.

- medical software engineering: imagine creating software that makes the diagnostic imaging process even just a little bit more accurate so that graduates of ultrasound health courses can report back to patients and doctors with that much more confidence

- biomedical computing: in this health and technology field, practitioners learn how to apply the problem-solving, pattern-recognizing abilities of computers to improving human health

These are just some of the many health and technology opportunities computers present.

Ultrasound and computers

Students who enroll in health courses to learn how to become ultrasound technicians are asked to have certain social skills, as well as a high level of manual dexterity. But they should also be comfortable with the intersection of health and technology. They should be prepared to master new equipment over the course of their careers, and should be determined to get the most out of their existing technology.

Radiation therapist

Healthcare training in this sector prepares students for such jobs as X-ray technician or radiation technologist, operating the machines that dispense potentially life-saving radiation therapies to oncology patients. People who take these kinds of health courses must be as interested in machinery as they are in people. Health and technology are here two shared passions!

Health and technology have become inextricably linked. A doctor would have trouble correctly diagnosing and treating patients without the help of the graduates of healthcare training who know the ins-and-out of the equipment. We are dependent on ultrasound machines, computer programs, etc.! People with technology skills are needed in all industries, but especially in health care.

One way to find out more about health and technology careers is to phone up schools in your area to ask about career options. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Health Sciences College for Career Changers

Are you already in the workforce, but looking for a change? Perhaps what you need is a new job, ideally with flexible working hours, a good hourly wage, and the possibility of advancement, both in terms of salary and status? A job where you can help others? For many mature students, a health sciences college becomes a launch pad to a rewarding second career.

In fact, it could even be argued that, for some of the professions that a health sciences program can lead to, such as X-ray technician or ultrasound technician, that maturity and life experience can be a major asset. After all, patients seeking diagnostic imaging tests can sometimes feel vulnerable, and worried about their health, their futures and, not to mention, their families. A steady, guiding hand - a good "test-side manner"- can be reassuring, even therapeutic, and a welcome presence in any clinic or emergency room.

X-ray tech as a second career choice

Graduates of health sciences college who go on to work as an X-ray technician (or radiologic technologist, as it is sometimes called) are equipped to perform certain diagnostic imaging tests on patients.

Graduates of this kind of program can expect to make anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000 a year (or an hourly wage of $14 to $32).

In health sciences college, aspiring X-ray technicians learn how to perform X-rays, but that is not all. The diagnostic imaging tests taught in health sciences program can include:

- CT scans: a test to detect, amongst other problems, tumors and hemorrhaging

- MRI scans: a test often used to image cancer in the body

- mammograms

Judging by the sensitive, stressful and intimate nature of some of these diagnostic imaging tests, it is not surprising that many schools of health science are eager to open their doors to mature students, who will have the people skills as well as the technical skills to shepherd understandably anxious patients through the diagnostic process.

Ultrasound technician

Many people associate the words "ultrasound" or "sonogram" with pregnancy. We've all seen ultrasound printouts of a family's first glimpse of their infant-to-be, with a charming outline of a foot, or of a silhouette that recalls Mommy or Daddy. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the mature students enrolled in ultrasound studies at health sciences college actually spawned an interest in the profession by using the services of an ultrasound technician themselves. But, as schools of health science quickly make clear, ultrasound technology has many uses, including:

- emergency uses: some graduates go on to perform ultrasounds on patients in emergency

- veterinary uses: some graduates of this program program may go on to practice their trade with animals rather than humans. Ultrasound is used, for example, to assess injuries in horses and cattle.

Health sciences college can be an attractive option for mature students with experience in another field.

Visit Mohawk College for more information on a health sciences program.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Law Enforcement As a Choice in Your Education

If you are interested in studying law enforcement, you want to make sure you look for the courses that are right for you. A number of choices are available for a future in the field. A Criminal Justice major covers a lot of areas. A solid law enforcement education will help ensure a successful career in the police force. If you are looking for an exciting career in this area, there are many different areas to research.

Because of your training from a law enforcement education you will have more options available to you.. With the proper training, you can pursue a career as a probation officer, police officer, crime scene investigation, crime technician, parole officer, forensic scientist, forensic psychologist, prison guard or a corrections officer. This is just an example of the options available.

All of these careers are exciting, provided you have the right education from the right institution. If you want to be successful in your field, you have to choose the option that is best suited for you. There are opportunities in fields like forensics, private investigator, correction facilities, criminal psychologist, lawyer, counter-terrorism, homeland security, internet crimes, public safety and so much more. Once you decide where you want to focus your efforts, you can narrow down your law enforcement studies.

You could actually get a certificate or a associates degree before going to a major university. Most community colleges, vocational schools, or trade schools offer a number of courses that apply to all of these areas..

Once you have a certification or an undergraduate degree from one of these schools or colleges, if interested you can go on for a masters degree from a university.

If you major in criminal justice many choices and opportunities are available. Crime continues to escalate so employment opportunities in law enforcement grow as well. With proper training, one can join government agencies or choose to work in the private sector. If you have the credentials from a well-known university qualifying for these positions is much easier.

Areas to consider pursuing include government agencies, the local police force, jails, private businesses, prisons, forensic laboratories, and even schools. There are many opportunities, making this one of the most popular fields of study in the last few years.

Those who are concerned with justice and public safety are well suited for legal studies. As are those who want to contribute to the betterment of society. You can make a difference in the lives of those around you by pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Accounting Courses in the Age of Personal Debt

The generation that is coming of age today has grown up in an era of easy credit. They may have watched parents place major purchases on their credit cards without having the cash in the bank to cover the cost. They may have been issued a credit card themselves as one of their first acts of adulthood. Some have said that this easy access to credit has led to an era of overspending, that the frugal ways of the past have been forgotten, that young people today do not know how to budget - a topic that is conspicuously absent from the curriculum in too many high schools. But what does this mean for students currently enrolled in accounting training?

It means that client education may be a factor of your practice after receiving your business accounting diploma. That you may need to explain the basics of financial planning to your clients, and that you should start preparing to do so while still in accounting training.

One of the best ways to practice explaining Financial Planning 101 to others of your generation is to take advantage of the student base at the school where you are taking accounting courses. You can host a talk on budgeting, or invite students to free one-on-one consultations, where you explain such basics as "always save a percentage of each pay cheque" and "don't spend more than you make."

Some business accounting diploma programs also encourage their students to do financial planning work in the community. If your school doesn't have such a program, consider setting one up. The more experience you have gently encouraging people to make wise decisions with their money, the better you will do as an accountant, whether serving individuals or organizations (groups, too, can struggle with such concepts as "managing cashflow.")

Another advantage of mastering this skill while still enrolled in accounting courses is that public outreach can actually help you get your name out there, and help you find clients or employment later. Your fellow students may one day seek out your professional services, and future employers may be impressed by the initiative you showed in your accounting training, and your commitment to sound financial principles.

After accounting training, you will be helping organizations and individuals track their spending, manage their spending and stay in the black. Some of your clients or employers may be under the impression that this task is difficult, but it may be your task to remind them that it is really quite simple.

Accounting courses must prepare students to navigate a reality where individual clients may be shouldering an unconscionable amount of consumer debt, or where organizations may be convinced that they need to borrow money to make money. But this is a proposition with some silver linings. The more the student prepares, the more they may stand to gain on the job market.