Jeff Schiffman tackles new role as Head of Tulane Admissions


Tulane alumnus Jeff Schiffman was hired as the school’s Director of Admissions in July 2016.

Josh Axelrod, Contributing Reporter

Jeff Schiffman stands at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday in the middle of a room in Romney Pilates. Leading his spin class, he dances as he shouts directions, bursting with enthusiasm. This is the same energy Schiffman tries to apply to his job as Tulane University’s new director of Admissions.

The Tulane alumnus is involved with increasing diversity, creating the school’s social media presence and writing a popular admissions blog. Schiffman has held multiple positions in admissions ever since he graduated in 2005 and was promoted to director in July of 2016.

Schiffman maintains three goals for his tenure as director: reflectiveness, compassion and authenticity.

“I want Tulane to be more reflective of the way America looks,” Schiffman said.

Before this can happen, Schiffman thinks there needs to be an increase in the range of socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities and races at the university. As director of International Admissions, he has already been an integral part of this effort, having witnessed the international population at Tulane triple in the last three years.

Empathizing with the worries and anxieties of applying to college, Schiffman hopes to ease the applicant’s process and foster a passion for Tulane. Owen Knight, a current admission counselor and Tulane alumnus, remembers his first introduction to Schiffman.

“I met him when I was a junior in high school and I could tell immediately how much he loves this place,” Knight said. “The way he presents — it’s infectious how much he loves Tulane.”

Recently hitting 1.3 million views, Schiffman’s blog is a large part of how he attempts to maintain authenticity. Schiffman updates the website weekly with articles detailing the admission process, Tulane tips and tricks, or general New Orleans fun from his first-person perspective. He also tries to maintain an active social media presence, portraying his “organic Tulane brand.”

Ethyn Samuels, a fifth year masters of accounting student, views Schiffman as a genuine and impassioned person. The director of Admissions visited Samuels’ high school when he was considering colleges, and left an imprint on him.

“I had never met somebody so passionate about Tulane, or really about anything,” Samuels said. “It never seemed sarcastic or false, he truly loves what he does.”

Involved in Greek Life, student tours, student government and club sports when he was at Tulane, Schiffman is a large proponent for student activities. He advises freshmen to do everything they can to be active and engaged with the opportunities on campus.

“I think that as an 18-year-old freshman at Tulane you essentially have a blank slate,” Schiffman said. “You have a totally new version of yourself that you can create. Start casting a wide net, rebrand yourself into who you think you want to be and then over the course of four years become that person through the course of your involvement.”

Excited about his promotion and eager to step into the new role, Schiffman feels his entire professional career has been geared towards Tulane admissions.

“I’m drawn to it because I like being a positive impact on people’s lives, I like knowing that through my actions, even if they’re very small, I can bring compassion and happiness to other people’s lives,” Schiffman said. “When I teach a spin class I look out there and I can tell people are smiling. I know people are picking up on that energy and they’re really enjoying themselves.”

Schiffman wants to leave students with a final piece of advice, informing the attitude he keeps about his job.

“If you can do things, however small they might be, that can improve people’s lives around you, then do it,” Schiffman said. “That’s why this job is so fun, that’s why admission is so fun. It’s the fact that I can convince you to come to Tulane and then you’re happy here.”

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