• The Southern Sense: August


    *Westside Provisions District (WSPD)

    One of my favorite things about being an admission counselor is finding special “corners” where I can feel at home in the cities I visit in my region. Case in point: during my first two-week trip to Philadelphia, I had lattes at three different local coffee shops and visited two hole-in-the-wall bookstores before I made it downtown to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Now when I make my regular visits to Philly, instead of answering email in my hotel room, I work at my favorite local coffee house and sandwich shop, The Outbound Station, in Conshohocken. The welcoming family that owns and operates this former train depot knows me by name, brews excellent coffee, and makes the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve had outside the Southeast (and that’s saying something).

    I found Outbound by word of mouth, not a guide book, and those types of experiences make me feel even more connected to the varied communities I’m getting to know in my region. That’s the kind of interaction I hope to promote here in my hometown of Atlanta. Don’t get me wrong. Tourist attractions can be key parts of a city visit, and I recommend great tourist sites in Atlanta on this blog every month. For example, a wonderful day downtown could include The Coca-Cola Museum, a place to learn some fun Atlanta history and taste Coca-Cola products from across the globe (make sure you try The Beverly!), and The Georgia Aquarium, a destination in its own right and one of the largest aquariums in the world.

    The next day, however, you might step off the beaten path and explore two of Atlanta’s new cultural hot spots: Krog Street Market and Westside Provisions District. I’ve spent time in both this summer and am a huge fan!

    Krog Street Market, located on the east side of Midtown Atlanta, is housed inside a renovated 100-year-old factory warehouse right around the corner from the eastside trail of the BeltLine (wonderful itself; don’t get me started – subject for another month!). Accessibility, creative investors, and culinary craftsmen have made this “the place” to spend your weekend. There’s almost no end to the diversity of food, with restaurants and food stalls available throughout the market. My personal favorite is Superica, where awe-inspiring interior design meets fabulous, family-style Mex-Tex cuisine (yep, Mex-Tex; they like it different). Sit on the breezy outdoor patio where you can people-watch and listen to music. The perfect follow-up to Superica is either ice cream from Jeni’s or a pastry from The Little Tart (slogan: “Break hearts, not tarts!”). After you’ve checked out the retail stalls you can hop on the BeltLine for a quick walk to Inman Park or Piedmont Park.

    Westside Provisions District (WSPD), located on the west side of Midtown Atlanta, is a collection of converted industrial buildings offering an abundance of eclectic retail and casual-to-fine dining. Amidst its offerings is Atlanta’s culinary gem, Bacchanalia, widely considered to be the best restaurant in the city and a destination point in the Southeast. With beautiful, panoramic views of the city skyline and a plethora of outdoor seating between shops and restaurants, WSPD is the perfect place for an evening out. It’s also ideal for a Sunday morning during the summer, when it plays host to one of Atlanta’s most popular farmers markets, the Westside Farmers Market.

    If you’re in Atlanta visiting Emory University this August, we hope you plan time in your trip to get to know our city. In addition to our location suggestions above, we also recommend the events below to make your visit even more memorable!

    Lost Trompos (Spinning Tops) Interactive Exhibit at The High Museum* in Midtown Atlanta. Now-November, 2015.

    Amidst current exhibitions of the 100th anniversary of the Coca-Cola bottle, African Art, and the work of internationally acclaimed artist, Alex Katz (just to name a few), you can find a new exhibit from contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. This is their second installment in a long-term project devoted to making art tangible and helping people engage with it physically. In this installment, visitors can spin around in life-size versions of the spinning top! Free entertainment and performances are offered on the piazza every first and third Friday.

    *Quick tip—Check with your bank about free museum weekends! Almost all banks designate a certain weekend each month during which their clients can gain free admission to Atlanta arts venues by showing their debit or credit card with the bank name.

    “Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival” in Harmony Park, Decatur. Saturday, August 15.

    This is the 15th annual celebration of great food and great music in south Decatur. Whether you consider yourself a BBQ aficionado or just love the stuff, this event is for you since it is catered by Fox Brothers, Williamson Bros., and Sweet Auburn (the Atlanta BBQ trifecta!). Enjoy live music throughout the day while tasting the best BBQ Atlanta has to offer. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate.

    “Festival Peachtree Latino” at Piedmont Park. Sunday, August 23.

    Enjoying its 15th anniversary in Atlanta, this festival is widely regarded as the largest multicultural event in the Southeast. Spend the afternoon at the park walking through artist exhibitions, enjoying international cuisine, and listening to live music from both internationally renowned musicians and local Atlanta musicians.

    “Grant Park Summer Shade Festival” at Grant Park. Saturday, August 29-Sunday, August 30.

    Similar to many of our summer festivals mentioned so far, this is a great way to enjoy one of Atlanta’s unique neighborhoods while listening to live music, eating local fare, and exploring artist markets.

    ‘Til next month!

    Farish Jerman 11C*
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

     * Emory uses these abbreviations to designate graduation year. For example, Farish graduated from Emory College of Emory University in 2011.

  • Sneak Preview: 2015-16 Emory University Supplemental Essay Topics

    0111403-12KH-F229-_RAW_Sadly summer is coming to a close and that means back to school. It also means for those of you entering your senior year of high school that your college search transitions to the application stage. August 1 has become the start of college application season, when the Common Application launches. As you probably know, Emory University applicants must apply through the Common Application.

    As you begin to think about completing your application, we wanted to provide you a sneak preview of the 2015-16 Emory University Supplemental Essay topics. While your essays aren’t due until November for Early Decision applicants and Emory University Scholars Program applicants, or January for Early Decision II and Regular Decision applicants, we want you to have ample time to mull over the over and consider your responses. This year, applicants can choose one of the following two topics:

    Essay Option 1
    Last August, Susan Grant, chief nurse executive for Emory Healthcare, said this of Emory’s choice to treat patients with Ebola: “We can either let our actions be guided by misunderstandings, fear and self-interest, or we can lead by knowledge, science and compassion. We can fear, or we can care.” Consider her idea of doing what is in the public interest despite potential cost.  Please discuss an example in your life or the life of another that’s come to your attention.

    Essay Option 2
    In the spirit of Emory’s tradition of courageous inquiry, what question do you want to help answer, and why?

    Applicants will need to compose a response in 500 words (or less). Remember along with submitting a supplemental essay for Emory, you are also required to submit a response to one of the Common Application essay questions.

    We see your essay as an opportunity to showcase your character, help us get to know you better, and evaluate your potential fit with Emory. We encourage you to respond thoughtfully, as the Admission Committee truly reads every essay submitted.

    And while there are many resources out there for advice on composing the “perfect” college admission essay, here’s our advice:

    • Don’t think of your college essays as an assignment for English class but rather a personal statement.
    • Application evaluators want to learn about YOU, and hear (read) your personal voice.
    • Be creative. Be original. And most importantly, present your true self.
    • Do not over-think the prompts.
    • Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Proofread. Proofread. And proofread again.

    We look forward to getting to know you better through your essays. Enjoy the process. Make sure to visit the Apply section of our website for more info, and check back for future blog posts with helpful updates and advice throughout the coming months.

  • My Time as a Pre-College Participant

    1-Veena Chittamuri group shot for textEvery summer, Emory hosts the Pre-College Program, an academic program for high school students. It gives college-bound rising juniors and rising seniors an exciting glimpse of academic and residential life at a top-ranked national university.

    This week, we asked Veena Chittamura, a participant from Sessaion A, a few questions about her experience so far!

    1. How did you hear about Pre-College?
    While researching colleges that offer biology majors, I stumbled upon Emory. As I continued my search and began to explore Emory University, I discovered that they offered a pre-college program with a course in Neuroscience. By this point, Emory was already one of my top choices and even earned the title of “my dream school.” When I learned that I could spend two weeks at Emory and learn about Neuroscience, I knew it would be the highlight of my summer.

    2. What made you decide to participate?
    Emory has been my dream school for almost a year now. It is the perfect combination of a liberal arts and research university, making it the best of both worlds. I realized that it is important to not only like a college on paper but get a feel of the ambience and experience it in real life. For that reason, I decided that participating in this program would allow me to live at Emory and understand the academic philosophy and the college life to decide for sure if this is the right fit for me.

    3. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself by participating in Pre-College?
    I learned that I am independent and capable. It taught me that having freedom means learning to manage my time between school work and socializing. Sometimes you skip that trip to the S.A.A.C (Student Activity and Academic Center – where there’s a big pool!) to get that paper done, and sometimes you end up having a little bit of extra time so you begin your homework for next week. It all comes down to organizing yourself efficiently and making sure you don’t overstress about things that are in your control.

    4. How was your time on Emory’s campus?
    I really enjoyed the freedom and change that Emory offered. Though the trip began a little slow, revealing more leisure time than anticipated, the next week and a half went by quickly. I became friends with one of the most hilarious, intelligent, and outgoing people I have ever come across, and was able to form close relationships with these people in such a short amount of time. These two weeks are ones that I will never forget.

    5. What was one highlight of your time in Pre-College?
    The highlight of my time in Pre-College was the second night, when my friends and I hung out in my room, just talking and getting to know each other. You could really see everyone opening up and becoming comfortable, and the relationships that formed that night are stronger than ones that take years to form. Being aware of the fact that we only have two weeks together really brought our group closer. Everyone just wants to have a good time and get to know people so everyone was extremely kind and welcoming.

    6. What course(s) did you do in Pre-College?
    Case Studies in Neuroscience

    7. What was one of the highlights from your time in Atlanta?
    The Civil Rights Center was one of the most rewarding trips I have ever taken. Growing up in India, I was distanced from the prejudice and discrimination that took place in this country. I learned about the struggles of African Americans in textbooks, but nothing comes as close to experiencing it in real life. The museum had a simulation of a sit in where you experience the struggles and slurs that they faced at the time. In that moment, I knew that nothing I had ever read about came close to what they faced in reality. It opened my eyes to the extreme caliber of the events occurring today all over the country and the implications the past had on it.

    2-Veena Chittamuri headshot for signature areaVeena Chittamuri
    Redmond, WA

    Rising high school senior


  • Being an RA for Pre-College!

    Every summer, Emory hosts the Pre-College Program, an academic program for high school students. It gives college-bound rising juniors and rising seniors an exciting glimpse of academic and residential life at a top-ranked national university.

    This week, we asked Elyssa Hausman, an RA for the program, a few questions about her experience so far!

    1. How did you hear about being a Pre-College Resident Advisor (RA)?
      Because I am an RA during the academic year, I heard about being a Pre-College RA through some of my best friends who were also involved in Residence Life during the year.
    2. What made you decide to apply?
      I think what was most influential in my applying to be a Pre-College RA was hearing the first hand experiences that my friends had through the program as RAs and wanting to have a similar experience for myself. I love what I do with Residence Life and Housing during the academic year and I really wanted an opportunity to continue to do what I love.Elyssa Hausman Pre-College pic
    3. What are you most looking forward to as an RA?
      I am most looking forward to seeing the growth in the residents not just as students and scholars but as friends and family. One of the most important things in life is building relationships that last beyond a specific moment in time and I am excited to see the connections that are built in the two weeks that these students are with us.
    4. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself so far by being an RA?
      In my time as an RA, I have learned that it is the simplest and smallest of gestures that mean the most in the end.
    5. What’s Emory like during the summer?
      During the summer, Emory is a completely different environment, while still providing the same experience! Instead of students, there are lots of small children that fill the halls; instead of professors, there are camp counselors and chaperones; but at the end of the day, the conversations, the laughter and the memories are all the same! Emory is a one of a kind of place that I could never replace!
    6. What’s Atlanta like in the summer? 
      I think the thing that has been most fun that I’ve done so far this summer was a staff bonding trip to Sky Zone! It was the first time I had ever been, and it was great to just be a kid with a bunch of friends who have to always have their professional hats on in this job!
    7. As a college student, what is one thing you’d wish you known starting your senior year of high school?
      I wish I would have known that everything would work out in the end – I think that as a society we place so much pressure on ourselves and each other that we lose sight of the milestones in front of us, and I wish someone would have told me to just let go and trust that things would be okay and I’d be at the institution I was meant to be at!

    Elyssa Hausman & DooleyElyssa Hausman, 16C*
    Boca Raton, FL

    What’s up with the skeleton? 



    * Emory University uses these abbreviations to indicate graduation year. In this case, Elyssa will graduate from Emory College of Emory University with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology.


  • The Southern Sense: July

    Atlanta on the 4thSummer in the South is an undulating mix of delicious food in your belly, great music in the parks, and lightning bug shows in the backyard. The pace of life seems to slow down, perhaps due to the hot temperatures, and communities never miss a chance to get together for a festival, pool party, or backyard cookout. There is truly an endless supply of entertainment. Feel free to check out some of our previous posts about Emory’s nearby neighbors, Virginia Highland and Decatur, our top restaurant picks for the best Southern victuals, and great places to visit in Georgia beyond Atlanta,   

    If you’re visiting Emory University this month, we encourage you to take some time to get to know our home city. Below are a few events happening here in July.

    “July 4th Pied Piper Parade” in Decatur. Saturday, July 4.

    There are lots of different ways to spend your 4th of July in Atlanta, and yes, almost all include fireworks and BBQ. If you’re not feeling largescale downtown gatherings, then I recommend settling down in the great neighborhood of Decatur for the afternoon and evening. Amidst fireworks and live music, you can get great food at any of the local Decatur restaurants surrounding the parade route.

    “Movies in Central Park 2015” at Atlantic Station. Every Thursday through August 13.

    I’ve been watching great films (current and classic) outdoors around Atlanta as far back as I can remember. The venue and movie genres might change each summer, but the love our community has for mass picnics and movie screenings in our to-die-for summer evening weather has not changed and probably never will. During the month of July, you can catch Independence Day, Casablanca, 101 Dalmatians and Airplane! on the Atlantic Station lawn. Local restaurants around the lawn are offering in-house discounts and picnic-style to-go orders on Thursday evenings to make your experience even better.

    “The Atlanta Street Food Festival” in Piedmont Park. Saturday, July 11.

    We take our food in the South very seriously and firmly believe it should be available to all and as accessible as possible. Thus, we are all about the food truck movement. Join tons of Atlanta natives in celebrating what’s great to eat down here in one of our favorite local venues, Piedmont Park. Tickets are just $12 and all proceeds go to The Giving Kitchen Charity. Be prepared to stay longer once you’ve tasted the food and heard the live music. Bring a blanket to sit on, just in case.

    “Atlanta Ice Cream Festival” in Piedmont Park. Saturday, July 25.

    Yes, only in the South would you find an entire festival dedicated to just ice cream and its “healthy” consumption. While learning about health and fitness from professionals, enjoy activities throughout the day, including ice cream competitions, live entertainment and of course, more ice cream.

    ‘Til next month!

    Farish Jerman 11C*
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

     * Emory uses these abbreviations to designate graduation year. For example, Farish graduated from Emory College of Emory University in 2011.

  • The Southern Sense: June

    1 GA on my mindI was doing an evening program for Emory University in Connecticut last week and found myself answering questions about that mysterious part of the Southeastern region known as the “Deep South” and Georgia’s own culture as a state located right in the center of that region. If people have never visited the Southeast, they may expect a homogenous culture with a few stereotypes thrown in for good measure (cue the trash-strewn trailer parks and desolate farms often seen in movies) surrounding the progressive and multi-cultured city of Atlanta. One of my happiest responsibilities these days is telling people how much more there is to the state of Georgia, which encompasses gorgeous mountain towns, historic cities, and breathtaking island beaches, all within just a few hours of Atlanta. We like to think that all of this and more is what inspired so many to sing about Georgia being on their minds.

    2 MountainsOne of our best small towns in the mountain region is Ellijay, which was featured in the most recent Garden & Gun as one the top “ten sweet and soulful Southern hideaways” and lies only an hour and twenty minutes north of Atlanta. Replete with unique boutique-style retail, charming B&B’s, and locally-owned restaurants emphasizing farm-to-table meals, Ellijay won’t take long to give you a sense of contentment and ease. The Garden & Gun article talks at length about all of the outdoor activities available in the area, from hiking to kayaking and tubing, but don’t leave without checking out the Whistle Tree Pottery Shop, where you can watch artists throw the pottery that will eventually appear on the shelves for customers to paint. Also, grab a meal at the Martyn House, which offers great coffee and free concerts. And if you are looking for another great mountain town with a larger variety of restaurant and retail options, Blue Ridge is just 20 minutes north of Ellijay and has its own outdoor recreation and beautiful views.

    3 SavannahSavannah, just three and a half hours from Atlanta, has just as much to offer as Atlanta in the way of Southern hospitality and far more in the way of historic architecture. In fact, Savannah’s entire downtown area is considered a National Historic Landmark, one of the largest landmarks in the country. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Bonaventure Cemetery, renowned for its beautiful statues and monuments. It may look familiar if you’ve seen or read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in Savannah and used one of the cemetery’s iconic monuments as a front cover. Your visit should also include Forsyth Park in the historic district, interspersed with massive Spanish moss-clad oaks, and Leopold’s Ice Cream, the city’s favorite ice cream parlor (Founded by the three Leopold brothers who immigrated from Greece, the shop is now owned and run by a son, Stratton Leopold. Stratton is perhaps better known today for producing many Hollywood blockbusters, including Mission Impossible 3 and The General’s Daughter).

    If you think Florida has the best and only beaches in the Southeast, then you haven’t visited Georgia’s Golden Isles, just four and a half hours from Atlanta. Made up of a cluster of four barrier islands off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, the Golden Isles are among Georgia’s best-kept secrets. For a more “developed” island experience with retail and restaurants and a scenic lighthouse (of course), there is Saint Simon’s Island. You can find some of the best steak around at Bennie’s Red Barn, and be sure to head down to the Pier Village to catch the sunset and watch the local fishermen pull in everything from crabs to sharks and sting-rays. For a nature preserve and historic island experience, there is no place better than Jekyll Island, my personal favorite. You can take tours and even stay in the historic Jekyll Island Club, originally built in 1886 by a group of U.S. millionaires who valued the island’s privacy and used the club as a winter retreat. Stringent nature preservation acts have maintained the scenic beauty of the island and its wildlife. Make sure to visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and take its Turtle Egg Tours through the Jekyll dunes. Meals can be had at several restaurants across the island, but my top recommendations are Latitudes 31, which offers panoramic views of the famous Marshes of Glynn, and the Courtyard at Crane, which is part of the historic district and housed in one of the original millionaire’s cottages.

    If you are in the state of Georgia, we hope you get to know some of our great neighboring towns and cities. We have no doubt you’ll come to love them as much as we do. If you’re in Atlanta visiting Emory University this month, then we hope you’ll have a little bit of time to get to know our home city. Below are a few events happening in June to make your visit even more memorable!

    “Summerfest” in Virginia-Highland. Saturday, June 6 – Sunday, June 7.

    5 SummerfestThis is hands down my favorite festival of the summer! There is something for everyone throughout this weekend extravaganza—artist markets, live music, and food and drink aplenty. The main music stage is in John Howell Park. But I’ll let you in on a resident secret – the live music actually starts on Friday, June 6th at 8PM (till 11PM) with the Acoustic Street Party Concert, located at the Virginia-Highland Island (main street intersection next to Murphy’s), featuring some local groups as well as widely known musicians. Restaurants located around the Island, including Murphy’s, La Tavola, and Taco Mac, extend their outdoor seating up to the stage so you can enjoy the music while you eat. Parking is always a bit of a challenge (getting familiar with those free neighborhood streets, like Orme Circle and Amsterdam, is a good move). But if you’re up for biking to the festival, Summerfest is partnering with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition on Saturday and Sunday to offer free, secure bike valet parking at the Virginia-Highland Church. You can also use MARTA to get the festival.

    “The Belmont Stakes” at Belmont Park, New York. Saturday, June 6.6 Belmont

    Ok, so technically not taking place in Atlanta but I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to take a break from whatever you are doing on Saturday evening to watch the final leg of the U.S. Triple Crown because you might get to see history being made! For those that did not see the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, we have a new Triple Crown contender this year in American Pharoah, who is the current favorite for the Belmont (If you haven’t already heard the story, the misspelling of pharaoh is purposeful since the name and exact spelling were a result of the owner’s social media contest to name his Derby contender). As mentioned in our Derby Day entry, thirteen horses have fallen short of a Triple Crown victory in this very race since the last Triple Crown winner in 1978. Some say they just don’t make horses, especially racers, like they used to, but others attribute the dry spell to bad luck and coincidence. The only way to pick a side is to watch the race and see what happens this year. The race is tentatively slated to start at 6:30PM on Saturday, June 6th and you don’t want to miss it!

    “The Fox Theatre Block Party” at the Fox Theatre. Sunday, June 7.7 Fox Theatre

    This event is being hosted by the Fox as a “Thank You!” to the entire city of Atlanta for supporting the arts and making sure the Fox stays open for future generations. For those that have never been, a visit to the Fox Theater is a must! The Fox Theatre has been an intrinsic part of Atlanta’s culture and the city’s work to promote the arts since its construction in 1928. It has served many purposes over the last almost 90 years, but this famous building in Midtown has always been lauded for its architecture, character, and hospitality for artists in a variety of industries from all around the world. This theatre is regularly recognized for its excellence in the arts by the likes of Billboard, Pollstar, and Rolling Stone magazines and is consistently ranked as one the top three theatres in North America. It plays host to more than 250 shows and a half a million visitors each year! If you can’t make it to the Block Party but still want to see the Fox, you can go on one of the many tours offered through its ballrooms and performance center.

    “Tunes from the Tombs” at Oakland Cemetery. Saturday, June 13. 8 Oakland Cemetary
    Oakland Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Atlanta (founded in 1850) and one of the few areas of the city to survive Atlanta’s burning during the Civil War. It also stands as one of the most honest depictions of Atlanta’s fraught history throughout segregation, war, and progressive rebuilding, all of which can be traced in aspects like the blatant separation of the burial grounds in the older areas of the cemetery, the variety and evolution of tombstones and grave markings, and the multi-generational Atlanta families and prominent city leaders whose grave sites include exquisite statues and fine words in honor of their legacies to the city. It is a hauntingly beautiful place (no pun intended) near the heart of downtown Atlanta. During this particular event, the cemetery will be hosting an all-day music festival, featuring performances throughout its six acres of monuments and gardens. There will be a variety of food trucks and drink vendors throughout the grounds, as well as complimentary tours of the cemetery and fortune-telling.

    “Light in the Garden” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Available through October.9 Botanical Garden

    Those who have read some of my previous blog entries know that I love events at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Whether your thumbs are green or not-at-all-agriculturally inclined, a visit to this gorgeous venue, located at the edge of Piedmont Park in the heart of midtown Atlanta, will always be memorable and fun. This 30-acre plant sanctuary includes rose gardens, an orchid center, an edible garden and bar, the famous Storza woods with its canopy walkway, and much more. There is always an art exhibit or two in the gardens throughout the year as well. Right now the garden is playing host to Bruce Munro’s largest light exhibition in the entire Southeast region. It is best viewed at night but day-time visitors can still enjoy a nice stroll through the gardens, which offer some of the best views of the Midtown skyline and surrounding park area.

    ‘Til next month!

    Farish Jerman 11C*
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

     * Emory uses these abbreviations to designate graduation year. For example, Farish graduated from Emory College of Emory University in 2011.

    Picture credit:


  • The Southern Sense: May

    image010I think it should be clear by this point that Southerners love any excuse to get together, eat good food, and tell stories. While I realize ours is not the only region that does this, I like to think that Southerners do it with a widely recognized and appreciated gusto and style. Otherwise, why else would they call it “Southern” hospitality? With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that we love the month of May for its lovely weather, plethora of festivals, and Derby Day! If you are not familiar with celebrating the Kentucky Derby, then let me assure you that it is not just for horse racing fans and aficionados. It is for anyone that enjoys an excuse to dress up, pull out old family recipes, and share in a regional community event.

    image025Derby parties of all kinds are a staple in Southern cities during the days surrounding the Kentucky Derby. I remember my parents, relatives, and neighbors throwing Derby parties when I was growing up that would start in advance of the race itself and last well into the evening. The men wore Seersucker suits and bowties while women wore sundresses and huge hats. This has long been the traditional Derby celebration attire, and to this day it is still the required attire at the race itself, as well as at many local Atlanta restaurants that host Derby parties. Ironically, the “main event” of these parties, the race itself, only lasts a few minutes each year, thus inspiring its moniker, “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” leaving the rest of the evening to conversation, conviviality, and of course, eating the aforementioned great food. I think these community gatherings are part of why this event has become widely valued in the region, even by those who care nothing about horses or racing the other 364 days of the year. There is a sense of tradition and consistency to the way this event is recognized and celebrated, and it is another occasion to bring together friends and family.

    image016Lest you think Derby Day celebrators and participants take this whole thing a little too seriously, wait until you see the names people give their horses racing in the Derby! Just to give you a flavor for this year’s contenders, we have Dortmund, Frosted, Materiality, Danzig Moon and many more. Audacious hats are still a strict tradition but these days, a lot of women make their own Derby hats, whether for a party or a hat contest. Men defy the fabric color wheel with suits and socks in colors that should just never been seen together. Mint leaves that were harder to find than a good pair of jeans are muddled with skilled hands (for those that don’t get this reference, mint leaves are used in the famously traditional Derby drink, the Mint Julep, and become a prized commodity in the days leading up to the race). Pimiento cheese and deviled egg recipes are compared with critical culinary eyes, and tales of past Derby parties and races are recounted with zest and nostalgia.

    image014But all of this comes to a stop at 6:24PM on Derby Day. Yes, that is when the race starts. Not 6:15 and not 6:30, but quite literally 6:24PM. Don’t ask me why. And for the next few minutes, all Derby goers and watchers hold their breath with the hope that this year’s race will be the beginning of history in the making. As some of you may know, the Kentucky Derby is the first of three races that make up the Triple Crown. Winning all three races is considered the greatest accomplishment in the equestrian sport. Let’s hope we have a tough Derby winner this year because there has not been a Triple Crown victory since 1978, although 13 horses since then have won the first two races, only to fall short in the third. Perhaps 2015 is the year for a new Triple Crown! So wherever you end up this weekend and whatever you are doing, just remember that the 141st running of the historic, annual Kentucky Derby horse race will be this Saturday evening, May 2, at 6:24PM. 

    If you find yourself in Atlanta or another Southern city during the upcoming Kentucky Derby weekend, I recommend finding yourself a happenin’ Derby party to attend. If you’re at home, you can plan your own Derby party with expert guidance from the Kentucky Derby coordinators, themselves. If you’re visiting Atlanta during another part of May, fear not, because there are plenty of great events taking place throughout this entire month. I’ve highlighted a few below that I hope will make your visit to Atlanta and Emory University even more memorable!

    image029“Grant Park BBQ” in Historic Grant Park. Friday, May 8-Saturday, May 9.

    Grant Park is another of Atlanta’s great neighborhoods (similar to Virginia-Highland from last month’s entry) steeped in history and tradition. Atlanta residents who call this neighborhood home are some of the city’s most active members in conservation and sustainability efforts. Don’t miss a chance to experience a variety of homemade BBQ from Atlanta’s proud citizens in the much anticipated BBQ competition. There will be two stages hosting live musicians throughout the entire event, an Artist Market with over 60 vendors, and plenty of activities for all.

    image030 “Sweet Auburn Springfest” in the Sweet Auburn District. Friday, May 8-Sunday, May 10.

    Informally known in the city as the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., this single avenue is home to much history and activity, including this festival, which is one of the largest outdoor festivals in the Southeast. The entertainment includes local and well-known musical and dance acts as well as a walking tour through the district, which includes many historic sites, like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Plenty of food and drink are available at the renowned international food court as well.

    image027 “Atlanta BeltLine Jamboree” in Washington Park. Saturday, May 16 from 2-8PM.

    If you are not already familiar with the Atlanta BeltLine Project, then I am excited to introduce you to Atlanta’s most recent internationally-watched initiative! Inspired by the master’s thesis of the Georgia Tech student and native Atlantan, Ryan Gravel, this project is revolutionizing the economic development, transit, and housing of the communities it is connecting in its circuit around the Metro Atlanta area. In just the span of a few years, the BeltLine has become a household name, a regular destination for locals and tourists alike, and beloved part of our community landscape. So with that in mind, I encourage you to check out this inaugural event taking place on the Westside Trail Corridor. There will be entertainment of all sorts, live music, food and drinks. No better way to spend a nice May day!

    image034 “Atlanta Jazz Festival” in Piedmont Park. Friday, May 22-Sunday, May 24.

    Widely recognized as one of the best annual events in Atlanta and an absolute favorite for residents, this is a can’t-miss festival if you are visiting Atlanta over the Memorial Day weekend. Starting at 7PM on Friday and running well into the night on Sunday, there will be multiple stages around the park hosting famous Jazz legends as well as new, up-and-coming musicians. Similar to many other Piedmont Park based festivals, there will be a traditional Artist Market if you are looking for some new collectibles. There will also be a variety of food and drink offered throughout the park. A tip from me to you: parking can get hairy around Piedmont Park during this busy weekend so Uber is a great option for getting to and from the festival. You can also use MARTA (Atlanta’s public transportation system) since both the Midtown station and the Arts Center station are about equal walking distance to the park.

    image033 “Decatur Arts Festival” in downtown Decatur. Saturday, May 23-Sunday, May 24.

    Hopefully our March entry on Decatur has you intrigued and excited about what this great area of Atlanta has to offer, so there is no better time to visit and see for yourself than during this beloved annual festival! Music, art, food and drink make for a great introduction or (revisit) to this unique neighborhood.

    ‘Til next month!

    Farish Jerman 11C*
    Senior Admission Counselor
    Emory University
    Office of Undergraduate Admission

     *Emory uses these abbreviations to designate graduation year. For example, Farish graduated from Emory College of Emory University in 2011.

  • Making the Big Decision

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.47.04 PMAs the May 1 admission response deadline approaches, some of you still have a major decision on the horizon. Those of you who are admitted but not yet committed are probably feeling a mix of anxiety, confusion, and hopefully a tinge of excitement, too. Clearly, this is one of the biggest decisions you have needed to make so far in your life, and you should be commended for taking your time and focusing your energies. (And they say, “getting in” is the hardest part!)

    So how do you choose? How do you make this big decision? What is the value of an education at one institution compared to another? What is the right choice? The perfect fit? Asking others these questions is acceptable, but in the end, it is you and you alone who must make the choice. This decision-making process challenges your ability to self-analyze your personal priorities and preferences while forcing you to attempt to predict the next four years of your life. And not only does this choice impact those next four years—your school will become your alma mater and an important section of your resume.

    OK, that last paragraph probably just added to your stress level. So let’s change gears for the rest of this post and provide the best possible assistance we can for tackling this decision. If you can approach your decision-making process with an organized game plan and clear mindset, you will hopefully find the right choice will illuminate itself. Our advice falls into four categories:

    1. Self-Analysis

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.48.46 PMDetermine what is it you want/need and then research all the aspects behind the decision. Self-analysis is crucial before deciding which college to attend. Ask yourself the critical questions, and be honest with yourself when it comes to the answers:

    • What kind of a school do I want to attend for four years? Location? Atmosphere?
    • What kind of student body am I looking for? Do I think I will mesh well with the current students?
    • What kind of academic opportunities will be available to me as an undergraduate, and how am I looking to be educated?
    • Same question, but relate it to extracurricular options. Which is more important: strong academics, an active social life, or a mix of both?
    • What about the faculty? Are they accessible? Can I see myself learning from them? Do I want to learn from them?
    • Will I learn? Will I have fun? Will I be challenged? Will I easily engage? Which of these matters most?
    • Will I be proud in four years to call myself an alumnus of the school?
    • Will I / can I make a difference?

    If you visited your final choice schools it is probably easier to answer these questions. If you didn’t visit, you can conduct tons of research via websites and social media to get a feel for the school, its student body, and the faculty. Comparing what you value with the attributes of each school that remains on your list will aid you greatly.

    1. Make Pro/Con Lists

    For some, Pro/Con lists are tedious or laughable. Trust us. They work, especially for this kind of decision making. Make lists for each school you are still considering. It is time for you to really start thinking about fit. No school is perfect, so make sure to be as detailed listing strengths as you are listing weaknesses.

    Not only is this the time where you can catalog your personal opinions about each school; it also becomes a study in what characteristics you find most important. If you did a self-analysis, now is the perfect time to match the list of qualities you want to your opinions about what each school has to offer. Location, size, friendliness, professors, extracurricular offerings, cost, academic opportunities, etc. List everything from the most important detail to the most insignificant. Nothing is too ridiculous to be included on these lists—consider it a personal brain dump that in the end will bring clarity, focus, and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. All in all, this is your compare and contrast system, and it should help.

    1. Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.48.29 PMDisregard Statistics and Rankings

    Though rankings and statistics are quite helpful as you first start thinking about colleges and as you decide where to apply, in all honesty, numbers can be manipulated to prove any point you want. To make your final decision, throw U.S. News out the window and avoid side-by-side number comparisons of schools. It is time to focus on the intangibles. Each of the schools that have admitted you offer amazing opportunities. This is not an apple versus orange versus kiwi decision, but rather a gorgeous green apple versus a shiny red apple versus a delicious yellow apple. Numbers do not predict whether you will be happy for the next four years, whether you will be challenged, or whether you will be stimulated. The top schools are all top schools. It now comes down to fit, and a percentage, formula, or statistic does not determine fit.

    1. Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.46.40 PMWe strongly encourage you to make sure to avoid hearsay, conjecture, myths, and rumors—they often are far from the truth. Every person sees every college differently. Do your own analyses; get information directly from the source, and avoid biased comments. Value your personal conclusions over all others. There is no cardinal rule that says if you read it or heard it; it must be 100% true. Consider everything—both overly positive and overly negative comments—with a grain of salt. Constantly question the source, and consider the agenda of the person feeding you information. Ultimately your own personal conclusions will be the best guide.

    Clearly you need to talk with others about this decision. Your family may be the top of the list. Your college counselor or respected teachers are other great sources. Friends can be helpful, but their advice could also be worth little. Make sure to gather information from the schools themselves. Avoid anonymous sources. In the end, filter through all the information you have compiled to make the best decision for you.

    Still Stumped?

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.49.02 PMIf all this advice fails … just choose Emory. You can’t go wrong.

    Seriously though, if you remain confused at the end, go with your gut. We hope you will choose Emory University (wink, wink). Whatever your choice, understand one last important concept—one of the hidden truths of college admission is that once a student commits to a school they begin to mold their choice into the perfect school. So whatever school you’ve chosen will become your perfect college experience. These four years are what you make of them, so go out there and be successful.

    Best wishes!

  • This Week on #AskanEagle

    If you follow our Instagram account, you’ve probably noticed that this month we’re doing #AskanEagle. Admitted students from both Oxford and Emory College have submitted their questions, and we’ve been out on campus getting answers! Here are the answers from this week’s questions. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and see more videos throughout April!

    Harlan Cutshall – Falmouth, Maine (Senior)
    What are the biggest differences between studying for high school and for college?

    In college, I start studying for my tests a lot earlier than I started in high school – I start studying about a week out, or so, in advance, rather than a couple days before. I go over material and make sure I’m as comfortable with it as possible, and that’s worked well for me so far and it’s what I’d say for people moving forward into college.

    Noreen (Sophomore)
    Do Oxford students spend a lot of time on the Atlanta campus?

    Hi! My name is Noreen. Oxford students can spend as much time on the Atlanta campus as they’d like. It’s up to the students here to decide. They have shuttles available, but it’s up to you as to how involved you want to get on either campus.

    Jake Tegtman – Wellington, Ohio (Junior)
    What is the Emory Farmer’s Market?

    Every Tuesday, a bunch of local vendors come and set up in front of Cox Hall, on the bridge, to sell produce and other organic foods. It’s always worth a stop!

    Noah (Sophomore)
    What should I expect at Oxford orientation?

    At orientation, there are a lot of fun events planned. You also register for classes and can take shuttles to Wal-Mart in case you need to pick anything up. The most exciting thing is you get to meet your [hard to hear] group where you’ll meet a lot of your friends for the next few years.

    Joan (Sophomore)
    Is it possible to explore Atlanta without a car?

    There is a shuttle that takes you out for free to explore Atlanta – such as, the High Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens of Atlanta, and the Mall of Georgia. For me, personally, I enjoy going to Lenox Mall with my friends to do some shopping.

    Maggie (Sophomore)
    Can students study abroad while at Oxford?

    To answer your question, no, you cannot study abroad while at Oxford. However, you can take summer or winter abroads with Emory, and you can take classes that study abroad during spring break, AND you can study abroad your Junior and Senior years at the Atlanta campus.

  • Honest talk about Oxford College

    0042306-13kh-f018-_raw_ (1)Oxford students complete their first two years in an idyllic liberal arts setting in Oxford, GA, about 45 minutes to the east of the Atlanta campus. (Learn more here and here.) As admission staff, we are often asked about the transition Oxford College students make to the Atlanta campus as juniors.

    We wanted to address misconceptions about the transition Oxford students make to Atlanta honestly and openly. We asked Maddie Clifton 14OX 16C*, an Oxford student now at the Atlanta campus as a junior, to share her personal experiences.

    Misconception #1: Students only go to Oxford because they didn’t get into Emory College.

    That’s not true at all! Students 0100101-14KH-F228-_RAW_choose to go to Oxford for a myriad of reasons
    but it is mostly for the small community. Because the campus is small, I never had a class over 25 students, and my smallest class was 8. I had the opportunity to get to know my classmates and professors really well and on a very personal basis. Also, because there are only freshmen and sophomores on campus, it is really easy to get leadership roles early on.

    When you attend Oxford, you really do get the best of both worlds. You get the small liberal arts intensive education your first two years on the Oxford campus while learning great leadership skills. And your second two years you get to attend a larger research-based university and get all of the perks that come with a name like Emory!

    Misconception #2: Oxford students only hang out with other Oxford students on the Atlanta campus. They don’t integrate well into the Emory community and are not as involved on campus.

    False! Oxford students come to the Atlanta campus already with a tight group of friends from Oxford, but they often get very involved in different campus life initiatives, too, at Emory. At Oxford, students get the opportunity to get hyper-involved and become the presidents of organizations only as sophomores. When they make the transition to the Atlanta campus, they already have leadership experience and are eager to get involved again.  It’s not uncommon at all for an Oxford student to be on the executive board of a club here in Atlanta. I myself have joined a sorority, became a tour guide/admissions fellow, joined the Student Alumni Board, and the women’s Club Volleyball Team and have a lot of new friends through all of these outlets.

    Misconception #3: Oxford students don’t have the same academic opportunities as juniors and seniors when they get to the Atlanta campus (ie: internships, research, study abroad, etc.).

    All undergraduate students have theScience at Oxford same opportunities to apply to different research, provided by the school. Often students also find research opportunities through individual relationships with professors, and when you are at Oxford in a class of only 20 students, it is incredibly easy to approach your professors and ask if they are conducting research and if they want a student worker to assist.

    Misconception #4: Oxford students don’t ever get accepted to the Goizueta Business School.

    Plenty of students from Emory and Oxford are accepted to the business school. The acceptance rates are actually about the same for Oxford students and Emory College students. Both applicants are held to exactly the same standards and which school you attended is not a factor being considered. Students who are accepted to the business school are expected to have a high GPA, take certain prerequisites, and also be involved on campus.  While I did not apply to the business school, I have a lot of friends that applied, and the majority of whom were accepted and love it there.

    Maddie Clifton head shot

    Maddie Clifton
    Political Science & Interdisciplinary Studies double-major
    Savannah, GA



    * Emory University uses these abbreviations to designate graduation years. For example, Maddie was at Oxford her freshman and sophomore years, finishing in 2014 (14OX). She is now at the Atlanta campus, Emory College, where she will complete her junior and senior years, graduating with her bachelor’s degrees in 2016 (16C).