OPINION | Tulane Admissions should restrategize to promote academic, income diversity

William Bai, Contributing Writer

Admissions ought to rethink its approach to increasing diversity and incentivizing prospective students (Ashley Chen)

Over the past few years, Tulane’s Office of Undergraduate Admission has made it a top priority to increase diversity, allocating efforts in avenues such as admissions and individual school visits. However, there is still a great deal that must be accomplished. 

Increasing diversity in interest and majors is essential to developing an array of perspectives and intellectual prowess on Tulane’s campus. While the university prides itself with strengths like the A.B. Freeman School of Business, other departments appear to struggle with recruiting elite students. It makes little sense for a teenager from Silicon Valley, for instance, to attend Tulane while pursuing an interest in computer science when local institutions, specifically the University of California system, offer nationally renowned curricula for half the tuition. How can Tulane compete for equally astute applicants while having naturally sparse incentives? 

Firstly, Tulane could offer major-specific scholarships to accepted applicants, an initiative that would attract accomplished students from a variety of disciplines and, thus, broaden the scope of the talent pool in each incoming graduating class. Although the university already offers scholarships specifically to music and architecture students, these should be expanded out to underrepresented areas of study on campus. To honestly pride itself on interdisciplinary approaches, Tulane must strengthen programs of study across the board. 

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions should also refine its pitch strategy for prospective students of differing backgrounds. The vibrant images on Tulane admissions brochures of New Orleans and Tulanian culture clearly demonstrate a heavy appeal to the Tulane “experience.” These selling points draw the attention of more affluent students and families, many of whom are financially capable of paying private education tuition rates and more likely to heavily value student life and recreation. Thus, it is not unlikely that these strategies create a class bias, one that captivates wealthy students while intimidating low-income and even middle class students lacking the financial capabilities to afford said Tulane “experience.” 

How can the university appeal both to wealthy students and those with limited financial resources? During the fall semester, Tulane admissions could hire students and alumni from traditionally underrepresented regions in incoming classes. Together, with admission counselors, these students and alumni would attend college fairs and admissions events in their local cities. During these events, the chosen representatives could share experiences about Tulane, such as living away from home, and address key issues of concern for prospective students. 

Oftentimes high schoolers apply to colleges based mostly on the limited knowledge of schools from previous upperclassmen, and thus certain high school seniors may incorrectly perceive Tulane as a poor fit or financially out of reach before even applying. 

Student interns in the admissions office would seek to clarify these misconceptions, elaborating on topics ranging from Tulane’s generous financial aid and scholarships, to the practical benefits of a private education far from home. They would aim to create a sense of camaraderie and community with prospective students, who are far more likely to trust someone from their community that can provide an honest account of the student experience and who shares a similar background and upbringing. 

By transforming Tulane’s image through marketing tailored specifically to the priorities of various students, such as financial aid, prestige or student life, Tulane Admissions could more effectively attract a diverse community, all while crafting an incoming class with greater perspective and varied interests.

Ultimately, diversity is a defining element of Tulane’s educational approach. Broadening its extent, especially in the selection of the freshman class, is paramount to creating a more inclusive, well-rounded student body that bolsters the institution’s reputation.