hi! i’m currently a high school senior heavily considering tulane. i love the location, size, and programs. the only concern i have really is the party culture. i know that tulane has a reputation for being a large party school, and i have found that parties are not at all my scene. is social life at tulane governed by partying or would i be able to find people who feel the same way i do? thank you!
Recent alum here. You shouldn’t worry. I found my niche at Tulane and I am on the very far, extreme side of the non-partying spectrum: I don’t drink and my total exposure to partying throughout college was five minutes at a fraternity party before I left because the loud music gave me a headache.
Despite this, I had many friends and could find social activities to do with others on weekends when I felt like it. These friends included students who were as “square” as I was, students who maybe drank/partied a couple times a month, students who partied once a week, and students whose life seemed to be a constant party. Everyone knew exactly how I felt about partying/drinking and no one cared nor made me feel uncomfortable about it.
The truth is more than a “party school,” I often considered Tulane a school located in a “party city,” i.e. if you want to party, you can most definitely find one in NOLA. I knew people who came to Tulane as a result of that (interestingly, most of them ended up finding a more sensible work/play balance over time because it’s impossible to keep up with your academics if you’re out partying every night), but there are a few advantages to this for non-partiers. First, because NOLA has so many places to find alcohol, most people party off-campus, often in bars and clubs, meaning that I never had to be exposed to it if I didn’t want to nor did I have any trouble going to bed because people in the dorm room next door were partying (exception: Greenbaum dorm happens to be located next to a bar. I’m honestly not sure if the sound-proofing there is enough to keep out the noise). Second, NOLA just has a LOT to do. So, while I usually spent weekend nights with my friends having movie/arts and crafts/board game nights or just chatting, if we wanted to be more adventurous, there was always something to do. My favorites include:
*10 PM trips to Cafe du Monde for beignets
*Frenchmen Street to listen to live music
*Food (My favorite thing to do in NOLA was try out different restaurants)! For dessert, I recommend ice cream from Creole Creamery
*Tulane hosts “Tulane After Dark” Wednesday through Sunday nights on-campus for the non-partying, where they put on different fun shows, movies, and performances that my friends and I often attended
In full disclosure, the first few weeks of college will likely be the hardest and might make you feel that, yes, partying is the only thing that seems to exist. This is not a Tulane-only phenomena–most freshmen arriving at any college campus like to take advantage of what is sometimes their first taste of total independence and go a bit crazy (it’s often made worse if they have never partied/drank before and don’t understand their limits or moderation). Of course, as freshmen learn their limits, receive their first bad grade on a test, or become more involved in extracurriculars, they settle down and learn how to prioritize and balance fun with everything else as the semester progresses.
My advice to any non-partier is to just seek out the like-minded; they’re there, although sometimes in hiding at first. And occasionally it does take a bit of extra work to find them (I found my group pretty easily and quickly, but I know a few others that took longer.) The best places to look? Classes, where you can form study groups. The honors program, if you’re part of it. Religious organizations, including Christian groups and Hillel, often host fun evening outings as well as free dinners where you can meet people. Don’t worry if you’re not religious–they don’t care and welcome anyone (in fact, most people who attend the Hillel dinners aren’t Jewish). Despite the fact that I’m neither Jewish nor religious, I would always get free dinner at Hillel on Fridays–it was delicious and gave me the opportunity to meet tons of new people.
To conclude what is already too long of a post, while there is definitely partying at Tulane, I don’t consider it to be way more outrageous than most universities around the US. The truth is I found the partying, alcohol, and drug use to be far more annoying at a top-10 university I’m very familiar with that doesn’t necessarily have the same reputation for partying. While the overall culture/reputation of your university may have some influence, the largest influencer by far will be you. Because most universities, including Tulane, are large enough to have many types of people, the friends you seek out and the niche you carve out for yourself will matter most of all in defining your college experience, regardless of where you end up.
Tulane has the advantage of being in a city where there is always something going on related to music, art, food and history. It’s not the kind of isolated place where you would be likely to hear “there’s nothing to do here but drink”.
@SheShip thank you SO much!!! I really, really appreciate it