A Visit to Vanderbilt University

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By Sue Luse


Vanderbilt University clock tower

Clock Tower

Vanderbilt University is located a mile and a half southwest of downtown Nashville.  The 330 acre campus is home to more than 300 tree and shrub varieties and was designated a national arboretum in 1988.  A beautiful, preppy campus with very friendly students.  While the campus is full of activity it maintains a peaceful atmosphere.

Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, and human development, as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees.  An internationally recognized research university, Vanderbilt maintains strong partnerships among its ten schools, neighboring institutions and the community.

The city of Nashville has a population of 1.2 million people and is filled with very friendly people and great restaurants. It is definitely a “music city” – all kinds of music. Besides great musicians, Nashville is also known for sports and great little neighborhoods.  Hillsburough Village is a fun and interesting student hangout.

Information Sessions

Vanderbilt conducts its Information Sessions in a very fun and engaging manner. At the Information Session I attended, they used the question “What did you want to be when you were 5?” as an opener.  There were students from all over the country conversing and enjoying themselves. They discussed  how finding “the right fit” in a college can be difficult and that unfortunately you can’t visit every college.  They suggested picking five things that are imperative to you and looking for those attributes.  The admissions counselors also encouraged students to begin exploring colleges early on.

Vanderbilt Profile

  • 6,800 students
  • 4 Undergraduate Colleges
  • 65 majors
  • 350 student organizations
  • Squirrel to student ratio is 3 to 1 🙂
  • 47 students from Minnesota
  • Urban environment yet has lots of green space and trees
  • Freshman live in the Commons with their own dining hall
  • Modern, bright dorms with high ceilings
  • Most students live on campus all four years
  • No cars allowed freshman year
  • Division I Sports – great football and basketball teams
  • 96% retention rate


  • Admissions Counselor for Minnesota is Andrew Moe
  • They look for rigorous curriculum and AP courses
  • Only send in SAT Subject Test Scores in the 90 percentile
  • Vanderbilt generally awards college credits for AP scores of 4 or 5
  • Should demonstrate a passion for something
  • Essay should be reflective and not be a narration of your resume
  • 2 teacher letters and one counselor letter (you can add extra letters but they should be of a different context)
  • Admittance Rate is 14%
  • Average ACT score for admitted students is 33 to 35
  • Super scores the SAT, but not the ACT
  • 97% of admitted students are in the top 10% of their class (when official class rank is reported)
  • Early Decision has an acceptance rate of 24%
  • 40% of the incoming class are Early Decision
  • Good financial aid – one of the best in the country
  • Once you send in your application, you will be contacted for an optional alumni core interview

For more information, read about Ryan Luse’s visit (a separate trip from Sue’s visit) to Vanderbilt University in the latest addition to our College Spotlight series.

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