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When applying to schools, it's so easy to get wrapped up in the vanity metrics: standardized test scores, acceptance rates, and comparative college "rankings". And benchmarks like these are fine when narrowing down a college search. But what can these surface-level statistics say about the 4 years spent at a university AFTER getting that acceptance letter in the mail senior year? The answer is—not much.
I found myself obsessing over these trivial numbers, but Vanderbilt turned my whole perspective on its head when I visited campus for Admitted Students' Day in April of my senior year. My tour guide talked so frequently and so highly about the common sense of community at Vanderbilt. I saw dozens of students happily walking in groups to class on Main campus, studying together in Central Library, or sharing a delicious meal at one of the wall-to-wall tables in the Commons dining hall. Students would holler "Anchor Down" and throw up the Vanderbilt hand signal as they passed by and our tour guide high-fived, fist-bumped, or exchanged a cheerful wave with at least 20 of her peers throughout the 90 minute walk.
By the time our tour had ended, I found myself yearning to be a part of such an upbeat, vibrant, and sincerely collaborative community of friends and colleagues. Now speaking as a veteran Commodore myself, I realize how that unparalleled sense of belonging truly was something I never knew I needed until I made the best decision of my life in choosing to come to Vanderbilt University.
Describe a favorite activity/organization and why you like it.
The Vanderbilt VUcept organization is a first-year mentorship program that divides the incoming first-year class into 92 "Visions" groups of 18 new students, 1 upperclassman (the student VUceptor), and 1 faculty member (the faculty VUceptor). The VUceptors lead their groups through an assortment of orientation activities during the first couple of weeks on campus and then proceed to meet once a week until the end of the first semester, helping to familiarize first-year students with campus resources, cultivating a space to share differing opinions and perspectives, and easing the transition to college life. Because I entered Vanderbilt without knowing a single other student in my incoming class, my Visions group provide that first sense of home away from home, and I love having the opportunity to provide the same sense of comfort to a new batch of first-year students as a VUceptor myself.
Describe a favorite class and why you like it.
During the second semester of my freshman year, I took a course on Greek Civilization. While classical literature and history have never been my strong suits, and a lecture style class on such unfamiliar subject matter would seem insufferable, my professor was so knowledgeable, personable, and engaging that I've recommended his class to every single student I know who has even considered taking it.
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