Happy December!

I hope everyone had a restful Thanksgiving break. Our students had the whole week off, and I know they are excited to power through the end of the semester and get some time off for the holidays. Us counselors are busy reading through Early Action applications. Our goal is to release decisions before we leave for Winter Recess, and we will update you with the exact date and time once we know it.

I’ll fully admit I am behind schedule on this blog post. We have been reading furiously, and I was dragging on Sunday after getting my booster shot. However, I know I am not the only procrastinator out there and many students are likely finishing up their Dean’s Honor Scholarship, Paul Tulane Award, and Community Service Fellowship applications. I wanted to provide a couple tips for each as we approach the December 5th deadline.

For the Dean’s Honor Scholarship, try not to get too hung up on “the box”. While it can be wise to use the box as a launchpad into your project, you do not have to take it completely literally and ensure that your project is a square. People use the box as a metaphor for ballot boxes, televisions, post-it’s, canvases, and more. I’d encourage you to go on YouTube and poke around and see the diversity of great projects.

That leads me to my second tip for the DHS- be yourself and use what makes you YOU to your benefit! Are you a gifted artist? Do you love creating TikTok content? Lean into your personality and find a way to use your skills to make your project stand out! I can’t tell you how many times Leila and I have read DHS commentaries about “thinking outside the box”. You need to put your own spin on it!

Finally, don’t forget that this is a full tuition academic scholarship. We want to see something that shows some semblance of academic thinking. You are certainly encouraged to put your personality into it, but ultimately the Deans of our undergraduate schools will be choosing the final winners!

For the Paul Tulane Award, take some time to look over the prompts and think about which ones pique your interest. We have no preference as to which ones you respond to. Once you decide which essays you’d like to write, try to push yourself to find an idea that won’t be used by too many other students.

A few years ago, one prompt asked students to talk about a modern piece of technology that will be in the Smithsonian 100 years from now. You can only imagine how many essays about the iPhone we got. It became painful! While your first idea may be a good one, make sure it is something original, or that you have a way to make the idea your own!

By the way, both the DHS and PTA mention the average academic profiles and scores for past winners. Please note that test-optional applicants are still considered for these awards and won them last year!

Finally, for the Community Service Fellowship, you should really think about if you should apply for it. This fellowship is not a competition of who has completed the most service in high school. Strong applicants are typically students from whom service is their THING! Have you started your own organization? Are you spending every weekend on a project? Have you sought leadership positions in your community? If so, you may want to apply!

These students have a great opportunity to join a cohort and work closely with the Center for Public Service throughout their time at Tulane. They become the leaders of their class when it comes to service organizations. It is a huge honor and these students are respected figures on our campus.

So, there you have it! Just a few quick tips as we approach the finish line for these scholarship applications. Good luck!