Just about this time two year ago, I got a phone call from my mom that would forever change my life. “You got accepted into Vanderbilt”, she said with excitement and relief! I was ecstatic, nervous, overwhelmed, and filled with questions. Will all of my classes transfer over? I haven’t even been to campus and I have two weeks to decide if I am going to attend! Am I really going to leave NYU after I spent a year making friends, joining clubs, and fostering relationships with professors? WIll a northern guy like me even fit in? Will transfers have a hard time adjusting, especially because of the freshman commons system? Is Nashville even a real city? #asdgdfhsdfgsgsfd
I’ll be honest-my freshman year experience was not how I envisioned it. I made amazing friends, had great grades at a fantastic school, was the freshmen class president of Steinhardt (the school within NYU I was in), was in a jazz choir, had a lead role in a musical, lived in one of the greatest cities in the world, and was conveniently close to home and a majority of my friends scattered throughout the northeast. It all sounded perfect on paper, but every day I felt like I was missing something that I had been yearning for all year-a community. For a school with 20,000 undergraduate students and New York City as your campus (literally), I never really felt like I was a part of a University culture. My friends lived scattered throughout lower manhattan (and even Brooklyn), I had to take a subway to attend sporting events, and I often felt like everyone came to NYU to be something other than an NYU student [an investment banker, an actor, or the crazy kid on my hall whose sole goal was to become an NYC socialite]. Don’t get me wrong, so many of NYU’s students truly do love it, as it can afford them an “alternative” college experience. This however, was not my cup of tea.
So when my friends began apartment hunting second semester, I was in my room filling out transfer applications. My only real criteria when looking at schools the second time around was that I wanted the quintessential college experience. I wanted a beautiful tree lined campus with a sprawling quad, I wanted to go to football games and root on my school, and most importantly, I wanted to go to a college where students went to be students-not investment bankers, not actors, not socialites. That’s where Vanderbilt fell into my lap.
My whole purpose of this post was to reassure students who got accepted as transfers to Vanderbilt to come. I promise you that if not all, a large majority of your credits will transfer, you will have no problem fitting in with your new classmates, and yes, Nashville is a real city. A really cool city.
The transfer process at Vanderbilt is seamless. I have seen it from both sides as I was a transfer back in 2011, and then a transfer orientation leader in 2012. Vanderbilt, alongside the transfer orientation team, does everything in their power to make sure that college goes a lot better the second time around. As a transfer student, you will move into Vanderbilt almost a week before classes begin, and have an intense (but fun) orientation with about 200-250 other transfer students. I LOVED having a big transfer class because it really allows you to make a lot friends right from the get go. Some of my best friends are transfers that I met during orientation. Vanderbilt also does a great job of advising, as faculty members will sit down with you before classes begin to show you how your credits transfered and what you will need to take to complete your majors/minors/liberal arts core/etc.
In terms of living, you will most likely be in a single or a double with another transfer student. I lived in a single in Kissam (RIP) my first year, and my hall had a very healthy mix of transfer and non-transfer students. So its not like you are with all transfer students, or vice-versa.
I guess my biggest concern about transferring was actually integrating myself with the Vanderbilt community, and not just becoming apart of a “transfer bubble”. I promise you, if you make even the smallest of efforts to get involved, you will find yourself forgetting that you are a new student in a matter of weeks. There are over 500 student organizations at Vanderbilt, all of which are incredibly easy to join. By the time my second semester rolled around I was already in a fraternity, a transfer orientation leader, a tour guide, had a part time job, and was a member of an a capella group. Getting involved at Vanderbilt is almost too easy.
The other amazing thing I love about Vanderbilt is the flexibility that comes with our liberal arts education. As a transfer student, I was still able to have a double major and minor, study abroad, and take classes for fun, without having to go to summer school. I can assure you that as a transfer student you will never have to play catch-up.
So, for those of you who have recently received an offer of transfer admission from Vanderbilt, I have two things to say. 1) Congratulations!!! 2) Don’t be worried at all. The thought of having “another freshman year” at a new school can be daunting, but I promise you that everything will be okay and you will soon find a home within the amazing Vanderbilt community. Transferring to Vanderbilt was the best decision of my life, and for those undecided transfer students, I can guarantee that it could be yours as well.
Over and out,