Spotlight: Vanderbilt University

Photo credit: Don Keller, HelloCollege College Admissions Counselor

Vanderbilt University has long been one of the South’s top schools. Often referred to as a “Southern Ivy,” Vanderbilt attracts some of the world’s most accomplished scholars and students.  

There’s a lot to know about this Nashville, Tennessee, research university, so if you’re curious about Vandy and the opportunities you’ll find on campus, we’ll discuss some of the university’s key features in this post. 

What Is Vanderbilt’s Admissions Process Like?

Vanderbilt is a top private university, one of the country’s most selective schools. It has a student population of around 12,000 and an acceptance rate under 10%, so if you plan to apply, be ready to demonstrate your capabilities as a scholar. 

Good grades and test scores factor into admissions, but you’ll also want to have other academic accomplishments—including scholastic awards, a high class rank, and a challenging course load—to show off.

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Students should also provide evidence of leadership abilities, strong letters of recommendation, and a resume of varied extracurriculars. And, you’ll need to fill out the common application form, along with a supplemental essay describing how an extracurricular or work experience has influenced you. 

Campus Culture and Academic Opportunities at VU

Campus culture and academics are best experienced firsthand, so we highly recommend visiting VU to get a feel for campus life, but not everyone has the time or money to travel or visit schools, so we’ve compiled the most important information about Vanderbilt’s campus culture below. This way you can get a feel for the school and a sense of whether it’s right for you.

Academics at Vanderbilt University

VU offers one of the country’s most prestigious educational experiences. As a top-ranked school, students who attend should expect to be challenged both inside and outside the classroom, through coursework, research opportunities, and internships.

Once accepted, you can choose from 70 undergraduate programs and enter one of Vandy’s four undergraduate schools. There are also two honors programs and a 4+1 plan that allows you to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. Students can even study abroad through Vanderbilt’s Maymester program, taking VU courses taught in other countries by international faculty members. 

In addition, Vanderbilt’s small classroom sizes create intimate but lively learning environments. Because class sizes average around 19 students, you should expect to have close academic relationships with your peers and professors.

Overall, Vanderbilt students have access to some of the country’s best academic resources. Your ability to explore, research, and even customize your educational pathway makes VU a special school for students. 

Extracurriculars at Vanderbilt University

Like most top universities, VU offers a wide range of extracurriculars. You can participate in all kinds of student organizations, intramural and intermural sporting events, school-hosted concerts, and other exciting student activities. 

VU is notable for its Aviadores club, which offers skydiving and flying lessons. They also have an outdoors club, WilSkills (short for Wilderness Skills), that teaches survival skills and organizes weekend trips.

Financial Aid Options at Vanderbilt University

Unlike most universities, Vanderbilt meets 100% of demonstrated student financial need If you can’t pay for your education, Vanderbilt will cover the cost so that you don’t have to take out loans. 

Room and Board at Vanderbilt

All Vanderbilt freshman must live on campus. Campus features ten dormitories, and students are randomly assigned to one of them. There are also three learning communities that promote certain student values and lifestyles. McGill Hall, for instance, was created for students interested in philosophy and academic debate, while McTyeire Hall is tailored for international students and promotes sharing of culture and languages. After freshman year, students can choose to live off-campus if they wish.

Exploring Nearby Nashville

Vanderbilt is located within bustling Nashville, Tennessee, making the school perfect for students who want to live in a more metropolitan area. Students shouldn’t have trouble finding something to do during their downtime, as Nashville is known for its music venues, lively nightlife, shopping districts, and an abundance of museums and cultural events.

Can You Get into Vanderbilt University?

With an acceptance rate of 7.1%, Vanderbilt University lives up to its selective reputation as a “Southern Ivy”. Applicants should therefore prepare to apply to other universities, as well. 

If you apply, make sure you have stellar grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and something that makes you stand out from other applicants. Those accepted will get a great education and a vibrant college experience as a Vanderbilt Commodore!

And remember, if you need any assistance with any college admissions factors, we are here to help. HelloCollege provides college admissions help to students just like you. Reach out today to learn how we can help make your enrollment and application process easier!

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The Hello College Team

HelloCollege CEO Andrea Emmons has spent the last 15 years guiding students and families across the country on their path to college. Andrea knows the profound impact proactive college planning has on the lives of students and is passionate about mentoring families through the process.
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About Our Founder

Kevin Krebs

Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.

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