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First-Year Honors Scholars

Message from the Dean

Dean Lee Skinner

Tulane University is so fortunate to welcome the most academically talented students in the country year after year. I am thrilled to welcome you to Tulane as a First-Year Honors Scholar! First-Year Honors Scholars engage in a robust series of programs that challenge them to define the scholar and leader they want to be during their time at Tulane. Through first-year seminars, small-group learning, and informal gatherings, Honors Scholars explore the many opportunities our research institution offers with dynamic faculty members and peer mentors as their guides.

Honors Scholars are highly curious, seek challenges, and show a desire to engage in rigorous thought that leads to extraordinary insights and ideas. The first year is about discovery — as a thought leader, intellectual community member, and innovator on campus and, eventually, in the world.

To support these pursuits, Honors Scholars have programs available to help them explore their majors, research interests, career paths, and academic opportunities. Scholars engage with faculty, researchers, and past Honors Scholars that will serve as their mentors. At the end of their first year, students will be ready to embark on a self-designed academic and intellectual journey that takes advantage of the many opportunities Tulane's status as a research institution offers.

I look forward to seeing you soar as a member of our campus community and intellectual leader.

Dean Lee Skinner

Exploring as a Scholar

Opportunities are available for First-Year Honors Scholars to explore their majors, research interests, career paths, and academic opportunities on campus. Scholars will engage with faculty, researchers, and fellow student scholars as mentors. None of the programming options are required. Instead, we encourage our Honors Scholars to self-select into the honors opportunities that are most important to them. Opportunities for engagement are listed below.

Entry as an Honors Scholar is determined by admission; there is no application process. Students receive notification about their status as an Honors Scholar with their admission letter. Any questions about the Honors Scholar experience and its programs can be directed to Cristina Lawson, director, at honorsscholars@tulane.edu. Any questions about honors admission decisions can be directed to your admission counselor.

Honors Colloquium
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Scholar Societies
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Honors Scholars Programming
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Wall residence hall
Wall Residence Hall
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Beyond the First-Year

In their second year and beyond, programs for high-achieving students will help students find their intellectual paths. Using the knowledge and experience they gained in the first year, students will have a variety of opportunities from which to choose to develop their skills and foundations of knowledge, demonstrate their accomplishments, and discern the lives they want to lead during and after their career at Tulane.

The various paths from which students may choose include, but are not limited to:

College Scholars

College Scholars cohorts are small groups of 8-10 sophomores, led by a faculty principal, focused on big questions and important problems. These groups are designed to give intellectual leaders in their second year the chance to work collaboratively with one another and one our amazing faculty members. Cohort groups and their faculty principals will attend an overnight retreat in Fall to build an intellectual community. The themes for 2021-2022 are:

  • Living and Learning Leadership: Led by President Mike Fitts and Prof. Anna Mahoney, students will focus on learning skills associated with leadership through readings, workshops, case studies, and meeting with local and campus leaders. The goal is for students to identify and build on their own leadership qualities and initiate steps toward their own service in the community and/or on campus.
  • Leave Your Bias at the Lab Door: Led by Prof. Nicole Gasparini, students will explore the scientific enterprise, consider what it takes to succeed in STEM careers, and examine why some groups have been minoritized in STEM fields. This cohort will meet with STEM practitioners from different industries to learn about their journeys, and embark on their own journey as a scientist through field trips and other academic endeavors.
  • Imagined Communities: Led by Prof. Brittany Kennedy, this cohort explores the idea of “imagined communities,” famously defined by the scholar Benedict Anderson as spaces that are “distinguished not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style by which they are imagined”. This cohort will examine the communities students create among themselves, in the residence halls, at Tulane, and in New Orleans, a city whose spaces have been imagined and re-imagined during a history defined by shifting nationalities and identities.
  • Community Engaged Scholarship in New Orleans: Led by Prof. Leslie Scott, this cohort focuses on your path toward becoming an engaged citizen-leader. Students will examine ways of thinking about complexity, ways of being in relation to oneself and others, and ways of doing to achieve impact. And, they will apply this work to the study of the non-profit section and philanthropy in New Orleans.
Other Scholars Cohorts
  • Altman Program in International Studies & Business: This four-year undergraduate program integrates liberal arts and business, extensive language instruction, and study abroad experiences. Newly admitted students apply separately for the Altman Program and are selected prior to the first semester.
  • Newcomb Scholars: The Newcomb Institute selects 20 intellectually curious and motivated students to participate in an interdisciplinary learning experience focused on feminist leadership. Students apply and are selected in their second semester, and the program continues until graduation.
  • Tenenbaum Program: This School of Liberal Arts program brings together faculty and students in small, team-taught seminars and individual tutorial discussions, creating the ideal conditions for intellectual exchange. Students apply in the second semester of their first year. In the Fall semester of their sophomore year, twelve students take a specially-designed course taught by a pair of research faculty from different departments and meet weekly one-on-one with one of the professors in a tutorial. In the Spring semester, students work with a faculty mentor to extend their discoveries. The Tenenbaum Program seeks to prepare sophomores for original inquiry and research in the humanities.
  • TAP-TP Program: The School of Science & Engineering’s Tulane Accelerated Physician Training Program is a seven-year program for students who complete an abbreviated undergraduate curriculum, including a semester focused on public service, and then attend four years at Tulane Medical School. Students apply and are accepted prior to their first semester.
  • Creative Premedical Scholars: Students who major in the liberal arts and intend to pursue a career in medicine after graduation may apply in their fourth semester at Tulane. Successful applicants receive guaranteed admission to Tulane’s School of Medicine and are not required to take the MCAT, allowing them the freedom to invest in a course of study within the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Peer Mentors

Newcomb-Tulane College offers a variety of opportunities for academic student leadership, for peers to engage with and advise their fellow students, as well as to create and share intellectual values and community.

  • Colloquia: Sophomores, and some juniors, may choose to become peer mentors to new Honors Scholars. These students will work with a faculty member teaching a first-year Colloquium to design and implement their courses, helping to introduce new students to the life of the mind at Tulane. These students demonstrate leadership to first-year students and facilitate engagement with the academic community.
  • NTC Summer Experience: This summer bridge program provides early access to college life and intellectual engagement prior to some students’ first year. Peer mentors assist these students in making the transition to college life.
  • Supplemental Instruction Leaders: Student instructors who lead regularly-scheduled, out-of-class review sessions. SI Leaders lead collaborative reading discussions, teach practice problem sets, review class notes, and conduct test preparation sessions.
  • Writing Coaches and Tutors: Students who excelled in specific courses, trained to review class concepts, work practice problems, answer questions, and offer academic support.
  • Study Abroad Peer Advisors: Upon return from an experience abroad, some students may choose to advise their fellow students about their options and help prepare them for their abroad experiences.
  • First Generation Career Ambassadors (forthcoming): First generation college students who choose this program can help their fellow first generation students not only find internships and other opportunities to advance their careers, but to help them navigate the potential obstacles and pitfalls, and to build their confidence in interviewing and taking on professional opportunities.
  • Research Ambassadors (forthcoming): These students have significant experience conducting undergraduate research in a variety of disciplines. Research Ambassadors will mentor fellow students interested in participating in undergraduate research projects, as well as serving as student editors of the Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal.
  • Peer Success Leaders: Peer Success Leaders (PSLs) are undergraduate students whose role is to provide support and encouragement to their peers as they navigate the challenges associated with adjusting to college. PSLs will be trained to use the motivational interviewing approach in their meetings with students
Immersive Research Experiences

Many high-achieving students are interested in conducting their own primary research and/or working with faculty on a research project. NTC offers workshops and curriculum that boost students’ research skills, and maintain a platform to match students with faculty who have openings in their labs or on their projects. NTC’s office of Academic Enrichment also runs a monthly cycle of grant opportunities for undergraduates to use for data collection, travel, research equipment, and other expenses. Finally, this office and the Center for Academic Equity offer a variety of research opportunities during the summer.

For students interested in focusing on research, we recommend registering for COLQ 2010: Quest for Answers: Research Workshop (1.5 credits). The following sections will be offered during fall 2020:

COLQ 2010-01: Dr. James Huck

In this workshop-based seminar, students work closely with faculty and with each other to develop their own scholarly and research directions. Through readings, reflection, and hands-on activities, students explore the intersections between personal identity and scholarly work while also building their research skills and their oral and written communication skills. By interviewing faculty and recent Honors alumni, students learn how the research experience adds depth and value to life both within and beyond the academic setting. Students are also introduced to funding opportunities at Tulane and outside of Tulane in the form of nationally competitive scholarships.

COLQ 2010-02: Dr. John Howard

This hybrid seminar/workshop seeks to help students develop an understanding of the intellectual and moral landscapes of academic research. It also helps students develop an understanding of different research processes as they are carried out within and across scholarly disciplines, as well as broader ethical issues concerning the effects of academic scholarship and research on various academic, social, and political communities. Coursework involves readings on philosophical and moral issues in academic research as well as exercises and activities designed to help students identify areas of interest for future research and responsible innovation in their fields. Students are encouraged to work in engaged and collaborative ways, to discover mutually supporting connections across disciplinary boundaries, and to create shared projects and intellectual lifeways that are equitable, inclusive, and responsible.

COLQ 2010-03: Dr. Jordan Karubian & Dr. Renata Ribeiro

In the past year alone, they have watched fires burn out of control, weathered an unprecedented number of named storms in the Atlantic, sweated through the warmest year on record, and seen global society upended by a virus that jumped from wild animals to humans. To operate effectively in this rapidly changing world – and to make a positive impact – requires an interdisciplinary approach. Throughout this course, students will have an opportunity to examine an interest related to the nexus of human society and the environment, through the lens of an award-winning Tulane research and conservation program based in Ecuador. Students will develop a foundation of knowledge and build confidence in this arena, while exploring the relationship between a person and environmental research and change-making across a range of disciplines. They will explore this relationship of identity and work in their own lives, in the lives of alumni who have pursued research and creative work as undergraduates, and in the lives of faculty. Students will also examine ways to effectively communicate and present their research and potential research questions to various audiences (within and outside of the academic community); and demonstrate the importance of research for policy and practice. While the workshop can provide space to explore preliminary ideas for the honors thesis, it is also a space for open exploration related to the intersection of human society and the environment.

Residential Communities

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can elect to live in residence halls with other students who share similar academic values, study habits, and desire to dive deeper into their coursework at Tulane. These residential communities offer students the opportunity to extend classroom discussion and exploration of interdisciplinary ideas into social time outside of class. Several residence halls offer Faculty-in-Residence, who present regular programming and family interaction for interested students.

Sophomore Retreat

The Sophomore Retreat offers a day (and possibly overnight!) of reflection and goalsetting for new sophomores as they begin their second year at Tulane. Students who attend the sophomore retreat participate in guided activities to discern their core values, academic interests, and career goals. Students receive helpful information about campus resources, and learn about other sophomore events throughout the academic year.

Sophomore Declaration Celebration

Celebrate being halfway to graduation and your commitment to your academic endeavors with the Sophomore Declaration Celebration. Give gratitude to a faculty or staff member who made a difference in your first two years at Tulane. Receive your class pin, your first piece of commencement regalia, to be worn on your robe or stole when you walk across the stage.

Junior & Senior Year Opportunities
  • Get published, present your research: Publish your work in the Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal, or present a poster or session during Newcomb-Tulane College Academic Enrichment Week.
  • Study Abroad: Over half Tulane’s undergraduate students study abroad, usually during their junior year or in the summer. NTC’s Office of Study Abroad can assist high-achieving students who want to use their study abroad experience to gain particular skills, such as language fluency, research skills, or public service.
  • Junior Year Experience (forthcoming): For students who have returned from study abroad, are preparing to study abroad, or who are not able to study abroad, a comprehensive slate of programs will be designed to help third-year Tulane students make the most of a pivotal year of college. Programs will include undergraduate research opportunities, targeted career workshops, internships, career and post-graduation visioning, personal finance, and fun class-of activities.
  • Senior Year Experience (forthcoming): These programs will help seniors make meaning of their time at Tulane, through a senior retreat, senior-only excursions around New Orleans, Grad Week events, co-sponsored events with the Office of Alumni Relations, and gratitude activities.
  • Senior Project/Honors Thesis: Tulane students with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher and a minimum 3.5 GPA in their major can choose to write an Honors Thesis in any discipline in which they are majoring. NTC is convening a task force in Fall 2021 to review these guidelines and add opportunities outside the traditional thesis.
  • Honor Societies and Student Groups within Majors/Disciplines
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities: Juniors may choose to take a course to prepare them to undertake major primary research in their senior year. The NTC grants and fellowships, as well as summer research programs, are also great opportunities for juniors to collect data and hone their skills.
  • Career Workshops
  • Fellowships, Scholarships, and Looking toward Your Academic Future Workshops: NTC’s Office of Fellowships Advising offers workshops and one-on-one guidance for students interested in learning more about applying for prestigious awards and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall and Truman Scholarships.