TU recruitment campaign too focused on partying

Sarah Simon, Associate Views Editor

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This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

“Everywhere else is just Tuesday,” is a rallying call everywhere during Carnival season: on Instagram captions, news articles and strangely, on posters in every residence hall on campus, encouraging students to transfer to Tulane University. Why this push for transferring comes during Mardi Gras is obvious: this is the most common time of year for people to visit their friends. Everyone wants a piece of Mardi Gras. The transfer posters become confusing, however, when paired with the fact that Tulane has been trying to push for a more academically-minded group of incoming students. This campaign does nothing to distance Tulane from the “party school” image it has reluctantly carried for years.

Tulane has a few measures that seem to encourage academically focused students to apply: free applications on its website and on the Common Application as well as a wide range of merit scholarships that are available for students. These measures can be perceived as a way to ensure that students who are qualified to attend Tulane can, no matter their financial resources. Tulane does not do this to improve its rating on a list of top party schools.

Tulane’s admissions target came into the spotlight when 2016’s U.S. News and World Report university rankings were released. Tulane came in at number 41, a whole 13 spots better than the previous year. The school celebrated the victory of entering the top 50 and highlighted the fact that it is earning a reputation as more than just a great party school.

Yet Mardi Gras is marketed as a huge party. Because it is a huge party. In pursuing this campaign, Tulane is trying to sell its partying experience to potential transfer students during Mardi Gras. These mixed messages can be hard to reconcile, especially for decision-breaking parents.

Tulane is taking full advantage of the number of students visiting, but it relies heavily on party culture as a means of encouraging growth. Understandably, Tulane is in a unique position where it offers increasingly excellent academics in a city notorious for partying. Tulane must clarify its admissions goals in order to attract the students required to become the school it wants to be. To do this, Tulane must decide if it wants to prioritize the party culture in attracting new students, or drop the message entirely.

Sarah is a freshman in Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]