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Tulane vs. Vanderbilt

Roxanne95Roxanne95 8 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
Hey guys, just posted this same scenario on the Vanderbilt thread and, quite obviously, got a lot of pro-Vandy arguments, so I'm trying to get some opinions from the other side.
At Tulane I'm an Honors admit, Paul Tulane Award recipient and am part of the Altman Program, so I'd be pursuing a dual degree: a BS in Business and a BA in IR, with majors in finance or management and economics, respectively. Just got off the waitlist at Vanderbilt and would do their HOD major with either a double in Econ or a minor in Managerial Studies and perhaps a second minor in Spanish. Both offer great financial aid, study abroad, internships, class sizes, etc. I intend to go to grad school so perhaps the undergraduate prestige isn't as much of a factor, but I've heard amazing things about the Vandy professors and heard a general hit-and-miss review of Tulane's. I guess the real question is, while trying to avoid coming off as pretentious, should I go for the "big fish in a small pond" approach or one of many bright minds? Are the opportunities equitable or greater at Vanderbilt than Tulane? Money is equitable. (I hope my post isn't taken as offensive!)
edited May 2013 in Tulane University
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Replies to: Tulane vs. Vanderbilt

  • fallenchemistfallenchemist 37 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    Tough decision Roxanne. But just to be clear, are you saying that Vandy gave you the equivalent of full tuition, without any loans? Just checking.

    You are correct that for going to grad school either undergrad school will serve you equally well. Students from both Vandy and Tulane get into the top grad schools all the time. Frankly though, while you certainly cannot go wrong at either school, I would think being in the Altman Program at Tulane is a key factor. You will be one of 15 in your class, receive incredible individual attention and opportunities, and be very connected for job opportunities down the road.

    I read some of the comments on the Vandy board, and just a couple of corrections and clarifications. First, it is true that one individual in the business school who is no longer there (that is how it got discovered) was inflating some data. However, that was strictly for the MBA program, it had nothing to do with undergraduate, and while it is nothing anyone is happy about, I fail to see how it has anything to do with your decision here. It was one person, and does not reflect the character or integrity of Tulane as a whole.

    Next, the person that said the top schools don't have undergrad business degrees is just wrong. And telling you to just "go to Vanderbilt" is kind of worthless. They obviously have no clue as to the particulars involved, in your case the Altman Program especially. While Vandy HOD can give you some overlap with what the AP will provide, it really won't be the same at all. Which isn't a knock on Vandy, they have designed programs in some areas that Tulane doesn't replicate, but this is one where Tulane is ahead of the curve.

    Finally, forget all the rankings crap. Putting numbers to programs like that is impossible to do accurately. It is less than worthless, it is harmful. At both schools you will have great profs (and both schools do in fact have mostly great profs and some less so. Not all Vandy professors are outstanding, I assure you), use the same books, and get the education you need to move on to the next step. But I will say that one of the areas Tulane is strongest in their business school is Finance. It was ranked 10th in the world by The Financial Times of London a few years back, which while again I emphasize rankings are worthless, it does show that Tulane is highly recognized.

    Tulane is heavily involved in service in other countries, as I am sure Vandy is as well. New Orleans is considered the hottest city for entrepreneurship right now, at least according to various business magazines. Vandy does have more of an internationally recognized name, but I would definitely argue with the characterization that Tulane "pales" in comparison. Experience by Tulane grads show that is just not true. Tulane also has a strong New York City network, and even has a local office there.

    I also think you might be overstating the "big fish/small pond" argument. It isn't that it is offensive, Vanderbilt is more selective than Tulane. But the degree to which that is true is not that great, and within the Altman Program you are dealing with students, like yourself, that have stats that are at levels that would be considered appropriate for virtually any university in the country. Also I see that Spanish is your language, and Tulane has one of the finest Latin American studies programs in the world and has strong ties to many Spanish speaking countries and so lots of opportunities.

    So I guess the bottom line is, assuming that Vandy really is offering you the equivalent of $42,000 a year without loans AND promising to increase that no matter how much tuition rises, you should attend whichever school meets your needs best. If you are concerned about rankings and the nameplate, then Vandy is the safer choice. If you can put that aside, then I would look very carefully at the two programs, Altman at Tulane or HOD at Vandy, and decide which gets you more excited. Taking that into account along with various non-academic factors like New Orleans vs. Nashville, highly preppy (Vandy) vs. less so (Tulane), mid-south climate vs. deep south climate, etc. you hopefully will have a gut feeling for which appeals to you more. That is the one you should choose.
    edited May 2013
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  • kreativekatkreativekat 5 replies0 discussions
    Roxanne, I have three children, one who graduated from Vandy last May, and two others, one a current sophomore at Tulane and one who will be an incoming freshman at Tulane in the fall. All three were admitted to both schools. My oldest wanted to be closer to home, the other two just liked the "feel" of Tulane better. Both schools offer an outstanding education. If a business education is what you are really looking for, Tulane offers a more true version of that. The HOD major combined with a Managerial Studies minor is Vandy's answer for those looking for a business background because they believe a liberal arts education is the only way to go for undergrads. Obviously, as Vandy's most popular major, more students are looking for a business education than a liberal arts degree if they don't have plans to go on to med school, law school or teaching. Tulane can provide both the opportunity for a liberal arts education and a true business education. So either way, you are covered and both are fabulous places.

    Vanderbilt and Tulane have a very different feel though. That is how I would make my decision because that is what will determine how happy you are going to be over the next four years. Rankings are not going to play into your opportunity to go to grad school. Your GPA and your test scores are going to be more important. If you have specific questions, you can pm me and I would be happy to help.
    edited May 2013
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  • KellystrakyKellystraky 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    I have two kids in college - a rising Sophomore at Tulane who is in the Altman program (she was in the inaugural cohort) and a rising senior at Vanderbilt who is in the Peabody College majoring in Education with a second major in History and a minor in Art History. Both daughters are getting terrific educations and will have great choices for grad school. We live in California and they both turned down a really strong CA university (Berkeley) to attend schools that had strong academic programs, geographically diverse student bodies, and a great balance between academics and a social life. I do feel that Tulane's business school has a stronger bschool curriculum and the Altman program is awesome (my daughter is leaving Saturday to spend 5 weeks in Costa Rica with her 14 Altman Cohorts). However, I strongly believe a student should go to the school where they feel they"fit" best. I too am happy to speak with you if you pm me.
    edited May 2013
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  • VitracVitrac 4 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    I am impressed with the responses on this thread. I then went to Roxanne's thread on Vanderbilt's forum to compare. Interesting.
    edited May 2013
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  • cyclonehomecyclonehome 3 replies0 discussions
    I was thinking the same thing Vitrac.
    edited May 2013
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  • Roxanne95Roxanne95 8 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
    I thought you might like to know that, after much deliberation, I decided on Tulane after all. The guaranteed aid (merit instead of financial), specialized Altman Program, and atmosphere tipped me over, but it was definitely a difficult choice. Thanks for all of your options and advice! Roll Wave!
    edited May 2013
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  • VitracVitrac 4 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    Roxanne-Welcome to our family!
    edited May 2013
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  • kreativekatkreativekat 5 replies0 discussions
    Roxanne- I know you will be happy with your decision. Tulane is really a fabulous place and the opportunity to participate in the Altman program and spend four years in a city as unique as New Orleans is something no one should pass up! Congratulations!
    edited May 2013
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist 37 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    Wonderful! Wishing you nothing but success at Tulane.
    edited May 2013
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  • Okla2012Okla2012 2 replies0 discussions
    Congrats....!! you will love Tulane (they have crawfish Fest, Mardi gras, etc). I just came back from NOLA over the weekend to pick-up my Son. And, I ate too much Cajun boudin and beignets). Enjoy your summer and may the Force be with you back in Aug to start your college at Tulane.
    edited May 2013
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  • mofthreemofthree 1 replies0 discussions
    Best Wishes for success and happiness Roxanne. My D is so excited to be part of the class of 2017 as well. Roll Wave!
    edited May 2013
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  • NJDad68NJDad68 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    Congratulations and welcome to the Green Wave family. The next four years will be challenging, but filled with many opportunities to utilize your obvious gifts to make an immediate impact in a city that really needs you. Wishing you all the best!
    edited May 2013
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  • Roxanne95Roxanne95 8 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
    Thanks for all of the support! Now I'm going to be super biased and point out that my nearly identical message received no responses on the VU thread... :P

    Also, can someone explain "roll wave"? Like, is "roll" the verb, and are we rolling waves or is the "roll wave" a noun...?
    edited May 2013
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  • fallenchemistfallenchemist 37 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    The Tulane Football Song, called The Olive and the Blue: Tulane University - Songs and Cheers

    And not to mean anything negative, but I can tell you that if you had picked Vandy you would have had multiple messages on here congratulating you on that and wishing you good fortune. I know because there are examples like that. We all want our kids to succeed and by extension we like to see everyone find the best path.
    edited May 2013
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  • Roxanne95Roxanne95 8 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
    Oh, that makes a lot more sense, thanks.

    I don't doubt that because I've seen that too. Even the incoming freshman I've talked to said they'd like if I chose Tulane but would be happy for me regardless.
    edited May 2013
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