Location: Nashville, TN
Size: 11,965 (total full-time students)
Percent Women: 53%
Tuition (one year): $41,928
Most Popular Majors: Economics, Political Science, English, Psychology, and Spanish
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 12.7%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit Vanderbilt's website at http://vanderbilt.edu/prospect...
Why Choose Vanderbilt?
"I chose Vanderbilt mainly because of its location. Nashville is truly one of the best cities in the world- it has an awesome music scene, great food (because we all know that's important), fun nightlife, and a much warmer climate than most cities! Living in the South is truly a blast, and though I'm from Florida, I know so many people who hail from California, Chicago, and New Jersey who love being here just as much as I do. I never want to leave Vanderbilt or Nashville!"
"I chose Vandy because of the Commons. I come from a really tight-knit family, and I was worried about being homesick. But the Commons, Vandy's freshman-only housing, provided a unique living situation where freshman were grouped together as a community. It made it so much easier to get to know people and helped me find a home away from home at Vanderbilt."
“I applied to Vandy because it seemed fun; people drink, but they’re also really smart.”
"I fell in love with Vandy the minute I walked onto campus. I had already done my research about the school and knew it had everything I wanted, but taking my campus tour really helped me see that I would fit perfectly here. What I liked about Vanderbilt as a prospective student was the mix of academic rigor with a full social life. I liked applying to a school where I knew I would be pushed to be a great student, but also be able to make fun memories with friends. I applied to Vanderbilt in October for Early Decision and was accepted by December!"
"I chose Vanderbilt not only for the prestigious academics, but also because of the work life balance that I heard was prevalent at the school. Vanderbilt also attracted me because it had a small enough student body where I felt as though I wouldn’t get lost both socially or around campus. Lastly, I did not want to attend a school that was in the middle of nowhere, so the idea of going to school in Nashville was a huge selling point."
"My favorite part of Vanderbilt is the focus on the students. We are pushed to reach our potential and all of the staff wants to help you succeed. When I wasn’t doing well in a class, my professor pulled me to the side and asked what I really wanted to be doing. He helped me drop out of his class and enroll in a class that I excelled in."
"Something I love about being a student here is that when I start to get stressed about schoolwork, I always have a friend who will help me relax and keep my life in balance. It feels great that even though people around me are always doing their best, they also take breaks and have fun. I didn’t want to go to a school where the only focus was on work. There is such a great social life at Vanderbilt, considering downtown Nashville is only a 5-minute cab ride away!"
“I’m loving every moment of my undergraduate experience, but I’m actually really excited for graduation! Vanderbilt does a great job of making the experience special for seniors. I’ve been excited about the Strawberries & Champagne ritual ever since I heard about it freshman year! We also attract some pretty inspiring speakers. But don’t think I’m wishing my college years away by saying that I’m excited for graduation- I honestly never want to leave!”
“I feel that Vanderbilt has everything a person would want when looking for a true college experience. We not only have strong academics, but SEC football, Greek life, a beautiful campus, and not to mention are located in a top city. It is rare that you find a school that embodies each of those varying characteristics. At Vanderbilt, you do not sacrifice one of those things for another. You are able to enjoy the benefits of a truly well-rounded school.”
"One of the best parts about Vanderbilt is that it is really easy to find your place on campus. Even though the Greek scene is huge, and yes I am a part of it, you definitely don’t have to join in order to have fun or do great things. Whether it is volunteering, doing research, or even playing a sport, Vanderbilt has it all. I think that there is just something both academic and social for everyone on campus, and that is what makes it great!"
“I feel like Vanderbilt really benefits from its SEC status. Our football games are so much more exciting, especially because our team has been getting better in recent years. And tailgates are literally the best thing in the world, whether you’re in a sorority/fraternity or not! I love that we get to play top-notch teams in our conference yet also maintain such a high academic standard. We’re pretty unique that way!”
"Every year students get excited for Rites of Spring, the annual music festival on campus. It’s hugely popular as a last hurrah before finals and graduation. I can’t wait to see the lineup of acts this year!"
"Something that Vanderbilt needs to work on is its disability access. I have friends who need handicap accessible paths and those aren’t always available. However, there have been a lot of great changes to this and I’m looking forward to seeing them improve."
"Vanderbilt is definitely lacking in diversity, both in terms of ethnicity and the type of people that it attracts. The student body is pretty homogonous in the way that people dress, look, and act, which can be frustrating at times. It would be great to see a little more variety on campus.
"I’m in a sorority, but I hate how predominant the Greek scene is on campus. I’ve heard from friends that if you don’t go Greek, you feel really left out socially. Plus, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more disillusioned with Greek life. I’d love to branch out and meet new people, but it’s actually so hard. That said, I have enjoyed my experience in my sorority and wouldn’t have had it any other way!"
"Not to scare anyone away, but the growing crime rate on and around campus is starting to freak me out. When I was a freshman, I never had to think twice about walking alone at night. Now, I'm much less sure of myself, even during the early evening. This problem could be solved if VUPD stopped caring so much about busting Greek life and started caring more about the serious threats to our safety as students."
"Though we have great academics, our course registration process is incredibly flawed. Most students aren't able to take good/interesting classes until junior year, which can lead to a lot of confusion and disillusionment freshman and sophomore year. Picking a major can seem pretty daunting if you still haven't enjoyed a class by the end of your sophomore year! Our housing situation is also getting more messed up by the year- freshmen on the Commons definitely have the best set-up out of all of us!"
New Collegiette on Campus
“I honestly believe that my time on the Commons (freshman-only dorms) was my favorite part of college. I made so many friends within my dorm, and I truly felt like I was part of a community. I have more memories from that year than any other since, from flag football playoffs between dorms to special freshman-only events at fancy locations in Nashville. You definitely don’t get that same experience after freshman year, so enjoy the magic while it lasts!”
"Being a first year was great because of the Commons. I loved being with other freshmen. O-week is SO easy. It was essentially here is a campus tour and a group of friends you hang out with once a week. I also really liked that O-week was immediately before classes started, so I didn’t have to make two trips. If you want to make friends with upperclassmen, join some clubs! "
"One thing that I think Vanderbilt does a great job of is really catering to the freshman experience and assimilating first years into the college routine. The Commons experience, having all of the freshman living and eating as a community on one part of campus, really allowed me to bond with other first years and to become comfortable with being self-sufficient (or more so than ever before, at least) at college. It was nice to know that if I missed a freshman chem lab, there were hundreds of others within a 1-floor or 1/2-block radius to help me out and I was never two steps away from someone I could eat lunch with. Also, as someone who was truly experiencing a "harsh winter" for the first time, having a dining hall steps from my dorm room made keeping healthy and nourished during the winter a possibility (the Commons munchie mart baristas, by winter's end, met me at the door with a hot beverage because I was such a "Regular!")
“Although Commons can sometimes feel like a “bubble,” in my opinion that is also the beauty in it. Freshman year can be extremely intimidating and Commons truly becomes a place where freshman are on common grounds. The solitude of solely being surrounded by other kids in your shoes helps tremendously with the transition. Commons quickly becomes a place to call your new home.”
"Just a tip for future students- don't freak out if you get lost. It happens to everyone, and while campus might seem huge and scary at first, it's actually very navigable. You'll become a pro by your third month or so here!"
All About Academics
“If I could do it all over, I would definitely pursue a major in HOD- Human and Organizational Development. The major literally prepares you for any career, and it actually focuses on your development as an individual- you’re not just a statistic within that department. Plus, the classes are SO cool. I’m actually taking one this semester, even though I’m an English major! People make fun of HOD because their work isn’t necessarily as tough as other majors, but the long papers and massive reading assignments are no joke! Don’t let other people turn you off from HOD because my biggest regret is choosing a boring A&S major over an awesome Peabody one!”
“AXLE, our liberal arts requirements, can be a real pain in the butt, but it’s definitely manageable. Do your homework and scour Rate My Professor so you don’t get stuck in awful classes with boring teachers! And do not leave your lab science until your last semester senior year! You will regret it!!!”
“Before applying, you should really explore AXLE and see if it’s something you’re interested in doing. It adds tons of required courses, and it can be frustrating having to take some of them. With that said though, the AXLE courses force you to try things that you may have never tried otherwise.”
"The workload is definitely manageable, but you have to stay on top of everything. It can be easy to get behind if you miss a class, so make sure that you have reliable friends in your classes that can keep you on track."
"The advising system at Vanderbilt is great, or at least it is for the HOD major. My advisor has been extremely beneficial in helping me pick my classes, and not only that; she has given me useful internship and career advice. Although you don’t usually meet with your advisor on a regular basis, they are available when you need them and are more than open to help you with anything."
"HOD is definitely one of the most popular majors. Everyone jokes that it’s easy, but they are the ones with the highest job rate after graduation. The workload really depends on the department. If you’re in Anthropology you’ll have a lot of reading whereas if you major in Chemistry you’ll have a lot of lab work. AXLE seems like a lot of work, but I found it pretty easy to complete. I finished all of my AXLE requirements by junior year, but I didn’t finish my major until senior year. It really depends on whether you know what you want to focus on as a freshman."
Learn from the Best
"Most of my classes are pretty small because of my majors, and the teachers are very approachable and easy to contact. For all of my larger lecture classes, the teachers are very friendly and have TAs if they are not available."
“Some of the best professors work in the Managerial Studies department, which is home to all of the business minors. I loved Professor Rando’s Fundamentals of Management class (he owns all of the Dunkin Donuts in Middle Tennessee so you get donuts in class sometimes!) and Professor Cleek’s Intro to Marketing class. I’ve also heard great things about Professor Johnson for Advanced Marketing! These teachers clearly love their jobs, and I loved how Professor Cleek would invite us over to his house for dinner during the semester! It really made me feel like I mattered.”
“I hate math and science, so I made it my mission to find the easiest/most interesting classes to satisfy my MNS requirement within AXLE. General Logic within the philosophy department is a must! Easiest A at Vanderbilt, by far. Beware of Astronomy though- it’s actually really hard and the “stargazing” is miserable if it’s cold out!”
“Economics is one of the most popular majors on campus, so you’re inevitably going to take a class with Professor Buckles. He is one of the highest-paid professors, because rumor has it, he worked in the Reagan administration helping to design Reaganomics. His tests are hard, but it’s worth it.”
“If you’re interested in political science, make sure you take a class from Professor Hetherington. He is hilarious. He makes political science seem not so boring. Definitely go to class, as his lectures are both entertaining and informative (and his tests are 65% lecture based).”
"Some of the classes that I have enjoyed the most were the random ones that I needed in order to fulfill my core Peabody requirements. I have taken some awesome Film and Medicine Health & Society courses that I would not have taken if they were not required for my degree. I highly recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking classes in a wide variety of disciplines, which isn’t hard because there are so many amazing classes and professors at Vanderbilt."
"The best teacher is Leigh Gilchrist. She is so dedicated to helping you reach your full potential while introducing you to a lot of new ideas. My favorite class at Vanderbilt is probably MHS 202: Global Public Health. I loved the readings we did and the speakers we had. It inspired me to have a career path in public health!"
"Go to office hours! Everyone will tell you to do it, but it really does help especially when you need letters of recommendation."
Interests & Involvement
"People are really involved on campus. There is a huge organization fair at the beginning of the year which really helps freshmen get involved. You have so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming, but I loved the variety!"
"Most students are extremely involved in extracurricular activities, whether they be intramural sports or volunteering at a non-profit organization. There are many clubs and activities for students, which not only makes it easy to find your niche on campus, but it is also a great way to meet new people."
"My favorite extracurricular is TAP, which stands for The Afterschool Program. It’s a mentoring program that helps kids of all ages in an at-risk part of Nashville. I was honestly a little scared going into that neighborhood at first, but the place where we mentor is super safe and the kids are fantastic. One of the greatest parts about TAP is that you get matched with one student for the entire semester, so you really develop a bond with your kid. If you love them, you can keep them throughout the entire time you do TAP so you can see them grow up and mature! TAP is easily one of the biggest organizations on campus, so make sure you join!"
"Everyone on campus is involved in something, so you’ll feel left out if you don’t. There are plenty of ways to get involved, and AnchorLink, which is Vanderbilt’s social networking site, is really underutilized, but it is a great help for finding things in which you could be interested."
"Literally every person on campus is involved in something. It is very easy to get involved on campus and it is very easy to find an organization that you are passionate about. Also, most organizations have flexible commitments and are easy to fit into your schedule."
"I think that Vanderbilt has good team spirit. It’s not as common to go crazy like painting your body for big games because in the South people typically dress up nice. It was a tradition that I had never heard of before but now I love seeing the guys in their bowties while I choose which sundress to wear to the football game! There are always a TON of alumni tailgating every game. I love knowing that the team loyalty continues even after graduation."
"The athletes are definitely easy to pick out because they are constantly decked out in their Vandy gear—it’s literally all they wear. It makes sense that they are close-knit community because of their time commitment, but that doesn’t limit them from being part of the larger Vanderbilt community."
"Our football team used to be pretty awful, but our most recent coach, James Franklin, completely changed the culture at Vanderbilt. Though he’s left us for Penn State, I truly believe that he made a difference that will continue in the coming years. People actually go to games now- in the past, people would just attend the tailgates and go home! I can’t wait to see how our football team progresses, but in the meantime, our baseball team is AWESOME and the guys are really cute ;)!”
"People don’t really go to the sports games because we’re honestly not that great. For football, it’s more about the tailgating. Every once in a while though, some of us get together to attend a basketball or baseball game. But I mean it when I say only every once in a while."
"Being a woman on campus is actually pretty intense. Girls do not roll into class in their pajamas or workout clothes- looking good is a must. The guys put a lot of pressure on us to be attractive and thin, as well. It’s particularly tough freshman year, but thanks to the many support systems that we have on campus, girls usually make it through okay. For me, I just stopped caring what the super fratty guys thought and focused on my personal goals. Shortly thereafter, I met my current boyfriend who I’ve been dating for over two years!"
"Being a woman at Vanderbilt is underratedly a lot of pressure. You dress up for everything- class, going out, frat parties, etc. You always have to look your best, or the guys won’t look your way."
"The male to female ratio on campus seems to be pretty even, but I think the aspect that most girls complain about the most are the lack of cute guys. The girls at Vanderbilt are so much prettier than the guys, which really leaves us at a disadvantage."
"Being a woman at Vanderbilt puts me in a great position. I have a lot of opportunities for leadership and to shine academically. However, this school is preppy and girls typically dress up every day. At first I thought that was weird, but now I appreciate that people try to look their best even during class. It brings a level of respect to the campus."
"I think people at Vanderbilt have pride in their personal appearance. While it is not necessary to dress up everyday, it’s common with the majority of the student body. I really like that people look put together rather than just wearing sweat pants every day."
Food & Drink
"I am a very picky eater and get bored of the same food all the time so I worship the Taste of Nashville program. It makes eating off campus very easy and there are a variety of places to go. Also, since campus is right in Nashville, there are a lot of options close by."
"The food is great! We have amazing meals. My friends at other schools always complain, which makes me feel even luckier when I have spinach quiche for breakfast, roasted acorn squash at lunch, and salmon for dinner. There is a lot of variety and dining does a good job of switching the menu before we get bored of it. Plus, my favorite is when Rand has specialty dining nights. It happens about once a month where dining goes all out on a certain theme with food that correlates. It’s really fun and the food is awesome."
"The dining halls on campus are very good, and they provide many different options for those who may have allergies or are even just trying to be healthy. Unlike most colleges that have an unlimited meal plan, Vanderbilt’s is restricted to one main dish and then two sides. This is great for those people who definitely don’t want to be gaining that freshman 15. My favorite place on campus to eat is Grins. Their daily salads are awesome, and they also have delicious hot and iced teas. All of their breakfast items are amazing, including their famous Apple PBG, which is essentially fruit, peanut butter, and granola in a whole-wheat wrap. Yum!"
"I live off-campus, which has forced me to venture beyond the campus dining halls. I couldn’t be happier!!! Freshman year I ate way too much of the crappy food at Commons (which is definitely the best dining hall on campus, by the way), and now, I’ve gotten so much healthier by cooking most of the time and then treating myself to the delicious food in Nashville. Some of my favorite places are Taco Mamacita, Bricktop’s, Edley’s BBQ, Tavern, and Samurai Sushi!"
"There are so many great restaurants around campus that are definitely worth trying. Most popular for freshman are: Fido (where you’ll inevitably see a star from the show Nashville or a Nashville local musician), Taco Mamacita, Cabana, Zumi's, and Sunset Grill. Not only are these places delicious, but they are also walking distance from Commons."
"Taste of Nashville is one of the best things about Vanderbilt’s meal plan. You get $200+ a semester to spend at awesome restaurants around Nashville, including Chuy’s, Cabana, and Café Coco. Boys are notorious for taking girls on dates to restaurants on the card- it’s kind of a cheat, but you can’t blame them for being resourceful!"
"I’m not a total party person but my best friends are and I love that Vandy has something to offer to all of us. The frat parties are open to everyone, which is what I really liked. They were on campus and really safe (you must have a Vanderbilt ID to even get in). The music was loud and I knew I could get home easily with a Vandy Van. I never felt pressured to drink. I didn’t drink my freshman year and I never felt weird about it. My friends did, but we would still all party together. Vanderbilt also offers a lot of “specialty nights” that are great options to have fun without alcohol."
"One of my favorite things about being involved in the Greek social scene is fraternity formal. You and a date go to PCB (or some other beach) for a weekend in April and just have a blast. It's always a crazy time, but my past experiences have been some of the best times of my college life."
"One of Vanderbilt’s most popular taglines is “work hard, play hard” and we subscribe to that wholeheartedly. Freshman year, you can expect to go out almost every day of the week. People try to take it down a notch as they get older, but the party scene never goes away. Frat parties are pretty much a no-no after freshman year, though. Most upperclassmen either drink in their dorms or off-campus and then go to Demonbreun (where most clubs are located). If you aren’t down to party, you’ll definitely be in the minority."
"Vanderbilt’s social scene is definitely Greek-dominated. The majority of people you meet say they are either in a sorority/fraternity or want to be in one. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t go Greek; most people just choose to. On Tuesdays, people go to Sportsman’s for a chill night. On Thursdays, we hit Demonbreum for crazy nights at bars. Fridays/Saturdays mean frat parties, and you dress up for them like it’s Halloween with a specific theme. It’s intense, but you don’t have to partake in all of it."
"Although the majority of the student body at Vanderbilt likes to have a good time, including myself, there are definitely other things to do on the weekends besides going out and drinking. One of my favorite activities is going to concerts. Nashville has an amazing music scene, and there are always shows to go to. Not only that, if you like to shop, Nashville also has some great boutiques and the Green Hills Mall."
"The dorms are amazing. You will never live in anything better (at least not until you get a real job). Living in Hank Ingram House felt like a hotel. The furniture was new, the ceilings were high, and we had common areas to hang out on every hall. The upperclass housing has improved a lot too. There are brand new Warren/Moore college halls opening in fall 2014. The dorms are really safe. You need your Vanderbilt ID to swipe into the building, then onto your floor, then your key to get into your room."
"Beware of getting screwed by housing. So many of my friends have gotten the short end of the stick, which meant getting thrown in Blakemore (which used to be a retirement home) or on Alumni Lawn (the most anti-social dorms on campus). If you're an assertive person, make sure to approach housing immediately if you get a bad assignment. They'll usually help you out if you stick up for yourself and your needs!"
"My best advice to students coming to Vanderbilt is to find a roommate before school starts! Going random can be okay, but the people who connected via Facebook beforehand become really good friends most of the time. I think there’s a Facebook group for students looking for roommates, so if you get in, look the group up and USE IT! You don’t want to end up living with someone you aren’t compatible with."
"As an upperclassman, living off campus becomes a lot more popular. This is because the social scene relies less heavily on Greek row and the frats, so students are less inclined to live on campus as they become juniors and seniors. The only downside to living off campus as an upperclassman is the fact that events and parties still happen in the dorms, which can often make it inconvenient getting to campus."
"Choosing to live off-campus has been one of the best decisions of my college career. I get to cook gourmet meals in my kitchen, throw awesome pregames, and work out in my downstairs gym whenever I want. Sure, I don't get to experience the camaraderie of on-campus living, but I got that as a freshman, and I don't think it gets any better than that. Plus, I get to have my dog here, which I absolutely love!
"If you get a new dorm in Commons, consider yourself lucky. The old dorms (Gillette, North, East, West, and Memorial) are kind of gross. But the experience of being on the Freshman Commons is worth it. It is so fun, and you get to be near all your friends. Commons Center is great too; you have Estrogym, appropriately named because there are tons of girls there at every hour of the day, and you have a dining hall, and the aptly named Munchie Mart."
"Nashville is actually awesome. The food here is top-notch, so most people who come to Vanderbilt end up as Instagram-crazy foodies after their freshman year. The city is clean and pretty safe while still being exciting and fun. Music-lovers can go to free concerts at various venues almost every night of the week. Plus, we have a hit show named after us that is actually filmed here, so expect to see stars like Hayden Panettiere out at night!"
"Nashville has my heart. I could 100% see myself living here post-grad. The city is beautiful with hiking trails on one side and fun neon-lit bars on the other. There is always something to do, whether it’s listening to live music, watching Shakespere in the Park, or getting some food in East Nashville. Being in downtown Nashville is the best part of Vanderbilt. We get a real campus with a grass quad, but we can also take a 5-minute cab into the city where there is something to do every night!"
"There is so much to do in Nashville, especially if you have a car. Even if you don’t have a car though, you can take Ubers or cabs or get a Zipcar and explore the town. There are awesome restaurants and a really cool music scene. Vanderbilt can feel very insulated from all of that, but if you make the effort, which you should, Nashville is an awesome city."
"One of the best aspects about Nashville is the fact that there are so many opportunities for students to get involved within the community either through internships or volunteer work. It doesn’t matter what career path you may be interested in, because Nashville will definitely have something to offer. I have had internships at both a talent agency and an online clothing retailer while in Nashville, and both have been great experiences and have definitely boosted my resume."
"I've been lucky enough to spend a summer in Nashville in between my sophomore and junior year, and it helped me to fall in love with the city even more. It's easy to get stuck in the Vanderbubble, especially during the winter, but I absolutely loved exploring this city and all of its hidden treasures! Nashville is definitely proud of its Southern heritage, but we also have a ton of hipsters and a very posh, high-end crowd as well. There is always something to do, and literally everyone will find their niche in this city. I'll miss Nashville so much when I graduate!!!"
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HC's Complete College Guide: Vanderbilt University
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