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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the Tulane Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

The four most important admissions factors at Tulane are all academic. Across your application, you'll want to highlight your intellectual vitality and academic ability. Since your essays and personal character are next in importance, you should balance your academics with a more genuine personal side. 

College admissions always seems to be a mysterious business. But tools like the Tulane Common Data Set help demystify the process.

In this post, we show you how to read the Tulane Common Data Set and use its information in your application strategy.

Let’s jump right in.

How Tulane Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

We’ll start by looking at the factors Tulane admissions officers use to evaluate applications.

As is fairly common at large institutions, Tulane admissions officers prioritize four factors: course rigor, class rank, GPA, and test scores. All of these factors speak to your academic achievement and ability.

Next in importance are your essays, recommendations, and personal character. These criteria complement your academic ability by showing admissions officers that you can write well, can contribute to the classroom environment, and are a great member of your community.

One unique feature is that Tulane ranks extracurriculars in the “considered” category. Typically, institutions prioritize extracurriculars as an important or very important evaluative factor. If your extracurriculars are lacking but you’re an exceptional student, Tulane might be a good place to look.

Very important Important Considered Not considered
Rigor Essay Interview Geographical residence
Class rank Recommendations Extracurriculars State residency
GPA Character/personal qualities Talent/ability Religious affiliation
Test scores   First generation  
    Alumni/ae relation  
    Racial/ethnic status  
    Volunteer work  
    Work experience  
    Level of applicant interest  

Does Tulane track demonstrated interest?

Yes, Tulane tracks demonstrated interest. It’s in the “considered” category, so the level of interest you show matters, but isn’t the most important factor. Still, being able to show genuine excitement and engagement can definitely help you out. You can do this through visiting the campus, attending virtual admissions sessions, or connecting with admissions at a college fair or high school visit.

Does Tulane care about standardized test scores?

Yes. Standardized test scores are one of the most important factors Tulane admissions officers look at. Of the enrolled first-year students who submitted scores, 15% sent in an SAT score, and 41% submitted an ACT score. This ratio deviates from most institutions, where the percentage of SAT scores is typically higher than that of ACT scores.

Does Tulane care about essays?

Yes, Tulane admissions officers care about your essays. But your grades come first. That means that having solid grades and essays can set your application up for success, but having an exceptional essay won’t necessarily make up for poor grades. No matter your statistics, you should spend a lot of time and thought working on your essays.

What GPA do I need to get into Tulane?

The majority of enrolled first-year students at Tulane had above a 3.50 high school GPA. A full 95.1% of them were in the top half of their high school graduating classes, with 80.2% being in the top quarter and 54.17% in the top tenth.

With all this class rank data, we can tell that Tulane students have strong academic credentials.

But if you take a deeper look at the chart below, you’ll see that there is some representation across the GPA spectrum. So although most Tulane students have high GPAs, a lower unweighted GPA isn’t necessarily an automatic trip to the reject bin.

GPA % of Enrolled Students
4.0 10.15
3.75-3.99 29.95
3.50-3.74 33.27
3.25-3.49 16.63
3.00-3.24 7.18
2.50-2.99 2.38
2.00-2.49 0.44
1.00-1.99 0
Below 1.0 0

Tulane Acceptance Rate

Tulane received 45,525 applications and admitted 4,385 students. That makes for a 9.6% acceptance rate. Despite the wider GPA distribution, Tulane’s acceptance rate ranks alongside schools like Rice and Cornell.

Tulane Decision Acceptance Rate

Tulane allows students to apply through Early Decision plans. While these agreements are binding, applying ED to Tulane might give your application a statistical advantage.

Of the 3,853 students who applied Early Decision, 1,209 of them were admitted—an ED acceptance rate of 31.4%. That’s a whopping 21.8 percentage points higher. It’s safe to say that, though it is still competitive at ED, Tulane prioritizes their Early Decision applicants.

What’s the right application option for you?

If Tulane is your top choice, then you might consider applying Early Decision. And with that much of an increase in acceptance rates, applying ED might be a smart choice.

But it’s also worth remembering that ED rates tend to be higher in part because the applicants in question are good fits for Tulane to begin with—that’s why they’re applying ED in the first place.

So if Tulane is your top choice and you have the academic and application credentials to match, then applying Early Decision might be the best ED strategy for you.

Most popular majors at Tulane

When you’re looking at colleges, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the academic offerings. Honing in on your major of interest can help you assess whether or not a school is the best academic fit for you. By identifying the most popular majors, you can learn about what programs the school is most highly recognized for.

Let’s take a look at Tulane.

From the Tulane Common Data Set, we can infer the most popular majors by looking at where Tulane awards the most degrees. The higher the percentage of degrees conferred, the more popular the major or discipline.

As you can see in the chart below, the three most popular majors at Tulane are those in business and marketing, the social sciences, an the biological or life sciences. These alone account for almost 52% of degrees awarded.

If you’re interested in communication or journalism, Tulane may be a good place to look because that major doesn’t appear very frequently in the top ten most popular majors at schools.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Business/marketing 24.86
Social sciences 18.34
Biological/life sciences 8.77
Health professions and related programs 7.18
Psychology 6.41
Communication/journalism 6.17
Computer and information sciences 3.19
Visual and performing arts 2.98
Engineering 2.91
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics 2.67

As with any institution, the more popular majors also tend to be the more competitive ones. So if your preferred major is on this list, you’ll know that the Tulane program is a good one. But it also means more students will be applying to Tulane with your preferred major in mind.

But you can also use the statistics to your advantage. Let’s say you’re interested in engineering. You could look at Duke, where engineering is the most popular major, but you’ll probably have a harder time getting in. Instead, opting to apply to a place like Tulane, where engineering is still in the top ten but accounts for less than 3% of degrees conferred, may give you a better chance.

What should you do with all this information?

If you want to get into Tulane, it’s important that you have a solid application strategy. And to have a solid strategy, you’ll need to factor in all of this Tulane Common Data Set data.

Ask yourself questions about how an admissions officer might view your application. Will they view your grades and test scores favorably? Will your essays stand out? How many other people might be applying to your major?

When you have an answer in mind, you can counteract any weak spots by focusing even more on your strengths—that's the beauty of a cohesive application narrative strategy.



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