Nashville’s Finest: Home of the Commodores
By Sally Kim
On Oct. 4 2018, Ricky Thrash, a college representative from Vanderbilt University, visited Northside College Prep for a brief information session. In the heart of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, with its relatively small population of 680,000, resides one of the nation’s finest colleges: Vanderbilt University.
Vanderbilt University (or Vandy for short), is a mid-sized private school of 6,800 undergraduates, which allows for a 7:1 student to teacher ratio, and 3:1 student to squirrel ratio. Vanderbilt is a mile and a half away from downtown Nashville and has an urban campus setting, providing students access to everything they might need. There are a lot of fun things to do in Nashville, such as numerous live concerts since Nashville is home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry House. There were 220,000 live music performances accessible to Vandy students just last year.
In addition, Vanderbilt has gained popularity among Illinois students, as Illinois is the second most represented state ath the university besides its home state, Tennessee. 98% of students are from outside of Vanderbilt’s home state. Approximately 10% of the students are international and students from all 50 states are represented. Furthermore, Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s finest research institutes. It offers study abroad programs to 40 different countries, and every continent is represented in the program. There are four undergrad colleges at Vanderbilt: College of Arts and Sciences (about 600 accepted students), School of Engineering (about 160 accepted students), Peabody College of Education and Human Development (about 160 accepted students), and Blair School of Music (about 60 accepted students).
Vanderbilt reviews its applicants using a holistic review. They base their applicants on four factors: academic achievement, letters of recommendation, essays, and test scores. For academic achievement, the admissions officers look for whether the students took rigorous classes and received good grades (As and Bs) in those classes which is why the weighted GPA plays a bigger role than the unweighted GPA. For essays, the purpose is to provide a better understanding of the student’s background and perspective and acts as an opportunity to establish one’s voice. Vanderbilt requires one mandatory supplementary essay, in which students are asked to elaborate on an extracurricular activity that has been important in their lives. Vanderbilt is a Common Application school and requires two letters of recommendation, but students have the option to submit one more. If the students choose to do so, the supplementary recommendation letter must be from someone outside of school. This letter must also be sent directly to the Chicago Representative, Ricky Thrash. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vanderbilt accepts both the SAT and the ACT; it superscores the SAT but not the ACT. Subject tests are not required; if students think it will help their acceptance rate, they have the option to send their scores in, but not submitting them will have no effect on their acceptance chances.
Furthermore, Vanderbilt offers both merit-based and financial-aid scholarships. It is a need-blind school and commits to meet 100% of demonstrated student need without loans. There are three major merit scholarships. Students may apply to all three, but will only be chosen for one. If students wish to apply to merit scholarships, they must make a Vanderbilt account and apply through MyPortal and submit all required merit-scholarship application and the Common App by Dec. 1. The first scholarship, and the most generous, is the Ingram Scholarship. Named after the Ingram family who is very active at Vanderbilt, the Ingram considers students who have had profound community service background, specifically students who service projects have scaled up over time. Ten students will be picked for this scholarship. The second scholarship is the Chancellor Scholarship which is for students interested in social justice and activism and have done works related to these fields. Such examples would be fighting for religious tolerance, gun control, and more. About 45-50 students are chosen for this scholarship each year. Lastly, there is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship, the general high academic award and the merit-based scholarship. Roughly 85 students are chosen each year.
Once accepted to Vanderbilt, it provides excellent student life on and off-campus. It’s an NCAA Division I school which offers seven varsity sports for men -- baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, track and field, and cross country -- and eight for women -- track and field, basketball, bowling, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, and tennis. If students want to play sports at the club or recreational level, Vanderbilt also offers 40+ intramural club sports.
Overall, Vanderbilt is a highly selective school with an acceptance rate of 11.7% which offers great programs in both STEM and liberal arts fields, along with its Blair School of Music, one of the most selective and best-quality fine arts programs in the nation. Students considering majoring in economics, political science, neuroscience, and/or interdisciplinary studies may find Vanderbilt to be a great match.
It might be a little tough for students to get accepted into Vanderbilt, but once admitted, Nashville’s finest promise to provide them with the best college experience, both academically and socially.
-6,885 undergraduate students
-50.5% to 49.5% female to male
-7:1 student to teacher ratio
-$44,712 is the cost
-60% receive financial aid
-Endowment of 4.1 billion USD
-Nashville, Tennessee (urban campus setting)
-11.7% acceptance rate
-93% graduation rate