The CollegeFit Blog


Updated: Apr 18

Tomorrow (December 5th) is the runoff election for several local races, from Orleans Parish District Attorney to five different seats on the Orleans Parish School Board. CollegeFit encourages its readers to vote, if eligible. Additionally, CollegeFit is endorsing Antoinette Williams to represent District 5 on the Orleans Parish School Board, as she is uniquely qualified to be a voice for students.

As an educational nonprofit based in New Orleans, CollegeFit is a proud advocate for innovation in educational structures. From working with local organizations like Upward Bound tutoring or the Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services to connecting mentees with college students on several different campuses, CollegeFit believes there are many avenues to creating equity and opportunity for students. One of these avenues is local politics.

On November 4th, New Orleans Public Radio published an article, Orleans Parish School Board Largely Undecided, about a tight and ongoing race for five of the seven seats on the Orleans Parish School Board. 20 candidates were vying for the seven seats, making this race twice as crowded and competitive as the 2016 race.

School boards are essential public bodies that determine educational policy affecting students in their districts. Since New Orleans became the first city to implement an all-Charter school system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish school board has an unprecedented and uniquely influential role in the lives of local students.

If you are eligible to vote in one of the five districts heading into a runoff, CollegeFit strongly encourages you to head to the polls tomorrow. For more information on the candidates and districts, please read this article. For information on polling sites, voter eligibility, and voting safely during COVID-19, check out this article.

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By Kristen Jumes

Tours are one of the most exciting parts of the college application process! Visiting campuses, discovering some of the programs they offer, and talking to a few current students will only help you as you figure out what you want and don’t want from your college experience. Yet, with so much to see and so little time on a tour, it’s easy to walk away feeling like you didn’t get the most out of your visit. This was true for me on my first college tour to what became my new home for the next four years: Tulane University. While I’m more than satisfied with my choice, there are a few things I missed on my tour that I wanted to share. Hopefully these three tips will help you through the exciting yet overwhelming world of college tours!

Even if You Know it’s the One, Still Visit.​ It’s completely okay to know what you like or dislike, but college visits only give you more knowledge to figure all of that out. That dream school may be everything you imagined- or nothing like it at all. Go see for yourself! You’ll only fall more in love or realize it’s not all that you made it out to be and save yourself from four years of unmet expectations. Even if you’re unable to go in-person, schedule a virtual tour to get a feel for the institution.

Don’t be 100% Academics.​ A campus is more than a classroom. While it is important to select a school with programs that fit your interests and that you believe will challenge you to grow academically, pay attention to other factors on your visit. You spend much of your college life studying and growing intellectually, but your college experience is also about the town you’re in, people you’re around, clubs you’ll join, and memories you’re going to make. You don’t spend all your time in college in the classroom, so don’t spend all of your tour thinking about the academic prestige or great figures the university tries to sell you. These are important, but so is your work-life balance. Pay attention to the scenery, students interactions, and unique clubs and activities on-campus.

Talk to Students.​ One regret I had while touring was not asking enough questions. From tour guides to those students friendly enough to chat for a moment, asking questions only gives you greater insights into campus culture, academics, and student life. Don’t be afraid to ask students what they love and what they hate. Things they think their campus does well and things it does not. The more students you get to know, the more you’ll discover about the school.

I hope that you find these tips helpful as you schedule your college tours- especially with the added obstacle of the pandemic. This is an exciting time of exploration and preparing for the next step in your life!

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Tulane Freshman and CollegeFit Mentor Tara Ampolini shares her experiences starting college in a pandemic.

This year, I started my first year of college during a global pandemic. I think that my experiences and the challenges caused by COVID have been similar to the reality for everyone at school in person this semester. So, I thought I would share my experiences with other people who may be starting college soon.

Though most of my classes have been entirely in person, some of them have been in hybrid form; half online and half in person. For some teachers, this means going onto a Zoom class. For others, it means watching pre-recorded lectures and doing various activities. This has changed the way that I learn because it has made me more responsible about keeping on track with my work and making sure that I stay motivated. Though this is not a part of the typical college experience, it has been beneficial in teaching me study skills. I've learned how to use my time wisely and stay on track in classes, a skill I will definitely need in later semesters.

Another thing that has been different than standard semesters is the way I approach making friends. Since we didn't have freshman events, most of my friends come from living in the same hall as me. This has made our hall super close, and I have met a lot of great people. Because of COVID rules, it can be difficult to plan things to do since we can't be in bigger groups. This has prevented me from making friends with a lot of different people. Still, I think that this has allowed me to become much closer with a small group of friends, and I honestly believe that this is a great thing to have, especially when you are first starting out.

One other drawback of starting during a pandemic was that I missed out on some college events, like freshman orientation events. Going into college, I had certain expectations about these events. Though it is somewhat disappointing that I missed out on these, I think that having an atypical college experience has allowed me to have some great stories. For example, even though we didn't have a huge convocation with the entire class of 2024, I got to have the experience of having it with a small group with an impressive use of technology. This is something that I will remember forever and that I know my experience unique when compared with others.

Though this experience as a whole has been challenging in some ways, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to go to in-person classes and meet some great friends. Though I am missing some aspects of the "traditional college experience," starting college in a pandemic has given me some great experiences and stories that I can share with others. All in all, this shows that your college experience is really whatever you make it out to be, so as long as you go in with a good outlook, you will have a great time!

Tara with her friend during the beginning of the semester. All Tulane students must wear masks in public.

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