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Counselor Conference

Save the date:
Tuesday, March 31 - Thursday, April 2, 2020

Counselor Conference is an invitation-only program hosted each spring by Vanderbilt University. We are no longer accepting nominations for Counselor Conference 2020.

Designed specifically for domestic and international high school counselors and Community Based Organization leaders, the program provides an opportunity to explore our beautiful, park-like campus, get to know Nashville, and interact with current students, faculty, and members of the admissions staff.

We send invitations to Counselor Conference based on existing or hopeful new relationships between Vanderbilt and high school counselors and Community Based Organization leaders. Our goals are to foster these relationships with our guests and assist counselors in gaining a better understanding of the academic, social, and cultural experience of living and learning at Vanderbilt. 

In January of each year, we send invitations to our program. Please contact us with any questions at

Why was I invited?
You have been invited because of an existing relationship with your school or organization or because of our desire to get to know you and your school or organization better.

When does the program officially begin and conclude?
International counselors arrive on Monday preceding the program. Domestic counselors and Community Based Organization leaders arrive on Tuesday, with formal conference programming beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. All conference programming ends at noon on Thursday.

Who pays for the trip?
This is an all-expenses-paid program. For domestic guests, Vanderbilt will reimburse coach airfare up to $350, or 57.5 cents per mile within a 300-mile driving radius.  There is a $350 reimbursement maximum for drivers.

For international guests, we will book and pay for flights upfront. 

Vanderbilt will accommodate all participants at a local hotel and cover all expenses associated with the program through the duration of the conference.

May I give the invitation to another member of my counseling staff?
Our invitation is non-transferable.

How many spaces are available for the program and who attends?
Our Spring 2020 program will accommodate 110 total guests. Our participants will be from public, private, and independent high schools, as well as Community Based Organizations from around the world. Participants also include independent educational consultants who work with high school students.  

What if I can't stay for the whole program?
Space is limited for this program and we maintain a waitlist. Please plan on attending all sessions and staying for the duration of the program. If your schedule does not allow for this, we will not be able to accommodate you for this year’s program. 

What if I cannot attend the 2020 program?
Please contact us at regarding your interest in next year’s program.

Monday, March 30                                              International guests arrives

Tuesday, March 31



Domestic guests arrive 

Director's welcome and staff introductions

Dinner with admissions staff at local Nashville restaurants

Wednesday, April 1






Strategically building a first-year class 

Academic discovery

Lunch in the first-year Commons Center

Campus tours by current students

The residential experience and Immersion Vanderbilt

Reception and dinner at a downtown Nashville venue

Thursday, April 2 


Overview of Student Financial Aid

Student Support Services            

Where is our lodging?
Vanderbilt will accommodate all participants at a local hotel near our campus and within walking distance of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. 

For those of you arriving on Tuesday morning, please be prepared for the possibility that you may not be able to access your room immediately upon your arrival. The hotel will place your luggage in storage, and you will be able to explore until your room becomes available.  

Can you guarantee that I will have a single room?
Yes! Every attendee will have his or her own room.

Are you able to accommodate my special dietary needs?
In most situations, we are able to accommodate special dietary needs. Be sure to let us know of any dietary needs as soon as possible and we will do our best to accommodate them.

How much walking is involved during the weekend?
The program involves a significant amount of walking so that you can see much of our beautiful campus and the surrounding area. If you have a limitation, please let us know in advance so that we may accommodate you. 

May anyone (spouse, partner, etc.) accompany me?
Because this is an invitation-only event, we cannot include others during official program sessions. You are  welcome to explore Nashville prior to and after the program with a traveling companion, but there will be no free time during Counselor Conference to interact with those not invited to the program. We are happy to make your room double occupancy if you would like to travel with a partner. 

Note: Guests from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will be considered as international for travel purposes. 

What is the process to attend Counselor Conference?
Invitations and registration information are emailed in January. Our program fills on a first-come, first-served basis when registration opens. Once your registration is confirmed by our office, you will receive travel information via email from

What will Vanderbilt pay for?
Vanderbilt will reimburse up to $350 airfare or 57.5 cents per mile driven within a 300-mile radius ($350 reimbursement maximum for drivers).

Vanderbilt will pay for early bird check-in on Southwest Airlines. Vanderbilt will NOT pay for comfort seats, baggage fees or your parking at the airport.

Vanderbilt will pay for your lodging for Tuesday, March 31 (check-in) through Thursday, April 2 (check-out).

We will cover expenses associated with the program through the duration of the conference. 

How will I be reimbursed?
Our guests must complete the required paperwork and book their airline ticket by our travel deadline to ensure timely reimbursement. Once flying guests check in for our program on campus, a reimbursement check will be mailed to the address they have requested. Once driving guests check in for our program on campus and complete our mileage reimbursement form, their reimbursement check will be processed and mailed.
For guests who have not completed all required paperwork prior to arrival on campus, we will continue to work with you post program until we have successfully reimbursed your travel costs.

If I am driving, where may I park?
We are happy to provide parking for you at the host hotel.  You must self-park in the garage.  We will not cover valet parking.

Note: Guests from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will be considered as international for travel purposes. 

What is the process to attend Counselor Conference?
Invitations and registration information are emailed in January. Our program fills on a first-come, first-served basis when registration opens. Once your registration is confirmed by our office, you will receive travel information via email from 

What will Vanderbilt pay for?
Given the high cost of international travel, Vanderbilt will pay for the full cost of your coach airfare.  Vanderbilt’s travel agent, World Travel, will book all of your flight arrangements. 

Please do not book your own flights. We are only able to pay for your flight if you work with our travel agent, World Travel.  We will do our best to honor your airline and airport preferences, but we cannot always accommodate your requests.

Vanderbilt will pay for your lodging for Monday, March 30 (check-in) though Thursday, April 2 (check-out).

We will cover expenses associated with the program through the duration of the conference. 

*Guests from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will be considered as international for travel purposes. 

What will Nashville weather be like in March/April?
Early April presents unpredictable weather in Tennessee, so please continue to monitor the forecast.   Rain is a distinct possibility.  Temperatures can range from 50 degrees Fahrenheit/10 degrees Celsius in the evening to a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit/24 degrees Celsius during the day.

What should I pack?
Attire for most of the conference is casual and comfortable shoes for walking are a must. Tuesday dinner will be at casual, area restaurants.

Wednesday evening dinner will be in downtown Nashville. Attire for this event is business casual, but you may see some of our officers in more dressy attire as this is one of our favorite events of the year! Keep in mind, some guests will explore the downtown scene after the event so comfortable shoes are suggested.

We will provide you with a water bottle, so you can mark that item off of your list. Please plan to bring a notepad if you want to take written notes or a laptop/tablet if you prefer to take notes electronically.

We recommend bringing a sweater or a light jacket, an umbrella, a camera, and business cards to share with your new friends. 

If you are planning to explore Nashville on your own before or after our program, we have some suggestions for you.  

What is so special about Nashville?
Over 20,000 live musical performances occur in Nashville every year. Nashville Scene’s music calendar is a great resource if you want to attend a show. For a taste of music history, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, or the Grand Ole Opry. For a truly unique music experience, make a reservation for dinner at The Bluebird Cafe. And of course, don’t forget about the award-winning Nashville Symphony!

While music is Nashville’s most famous attraction, you should definitely explore some of our wonderful, locally-owned restaurants. Many Nashville Originals are in Vanderbilt’s neighborhood or within shuttle-distance. 

What are some your favorite things to do in Nashville?
Downtown Nashville
Centennial Park
Frist Art Museum
Brewery Tours
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art
Tennessee State Museum
Tennessee State Capitol
Belmont Mansion

Nashville Predators (National Hockey League)
Nashville Sounds (Minor League Baseball)
Centennial Park and the Parthenon (walking distance from hotel)
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks (wonderful hiking trails)
Bicentennial Capitol Mall (there’s a great farmer’s market and local food court here)
The Gulch
12th South
Hillsboro Village
Green Hills Mall

What local transportation is available?
The hotel shuttle serves a three-mile radius upon request. Taxi and ride-share companies are listed below. 

Taxi Companies

American Music City Taxi 615-865-4100
Nashville Cab Company  615-242-7070
Yellow Cab Company 615-256-0101

Nashville also has Lyft and Uber available for those of you who prefer ride-sharing.

Nashville – The “Athens of the South”
Many people are surprised to hear that Nashville has numerous four-year colleges and universities within the city limits and many more a short drive away. Nashville is also home to four HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). 

For your reference, we’ve included below a list of post-secondary institutions within driving distance of our campus. Feel free to contact our neighboring colleges for a visit while you’re in town or stop by their campuses for a walk around. 

American Baptist College – 15 minutes
1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207
The mission of American Baptist College, a Historically Black College with a liberal arts emphasis, is to educate, graduate, and prepare diverse students for Christian leadership, service, and social justice in the world.

Belmont University – 5 minutes 
1900 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37212  
Belmont is a private, comprehensive, co-ed institution of 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students. It features seven colleges and schools - Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Entertainment and Music Business, Health Sciences, Religion, University College, and Visual & Performing Arts.

Fisk University – 10 minutes 
1000 17th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208  
Founded in 1867, Fisk is an HBCU with a rich tradition. Currently enrolling 900 students, Fisk features a residential campus and academic programs in traditional liberal arts areas.

Meharry Medical College – 10 minutes 
1005 Dr. D.B. Todd, Jr. Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37208 
Meharry is the largest, private, historically black institution in the United States solely dedicated to educating healthcare professionals and scientists. It currently includes a medical school, dental school, graduate school, and an allied health school and enrolls 723 students.

Middle Tennessee State University –45 minutes 
1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37132 
The largest public university in the state of Tennessee, MTSU is about 45 minutes away from Nashville. It offers undergraduate degrees in 8 areas, including business administration, fine arts, nursing, social work, and university studies. MTSU also offers graduate programs, continuing education, and online learning programs.

Tennessee State University – 10 minutes  
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37209 
Tennessee State University is a land-grant university offering 45 bachelor’s degrees and 24 master degrees. It enrolls about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Historically a predominately African-American institution, TSU’s student population currently is about 75% African-American, 22% Caucasian, and 3% other. 

Drive Time to other Tennessee Colleges and Universities: 
Austin Peay State Univ: 45 minutes 
Tennessee Tech: 1 hour 
Sewanee-The University of the South: 1.5 hours 
Union University: 2 hours 
University of Tennessee-Knoxville: 2.5 hours 
University of Memphis: 3 hours 
Rhodes College: 3 hours