Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions


Back to all FAQs


Vanderbilt’s 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio gives students access to faculty across academic disciplines. Ninety-one percent of classes have fewer than 50 students and over half of Vanderbilt undergraduates conduct research in close collaboration with faculty, doing innovative work across academic disciplines.

Opportunities to interact with faculty outside of the classroom begin day one at Vanderbilt. All first-year students live on The Martha River Ingram Commons, a living and learning residential community. A faculty member serves as head of house for each of the 10 houses and lives side-by-side with students, acting as both teacher and mentor. Beyond the first year, student-faculty interaction outside the classroom continues as a hallmark of the Vanderbilt experience.

Remember that college is a time for self-discovery, exploration, and independence. Then remember back to when you were that age and trust your child to make even better decisions.

Yes, Vanderbilt’s Career Center offers resources such as individual career coaching, career exploration tools, and on-campus recruiting events. Please visit the Career Center website for more information.

Leaving for college can be very stressful for student and parent, so it becomes increasingly important for you and your student to recognize that you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain of what lies ahead.

As a parent, you should strive to help your student make the best choice based on his/her interests, likes, and aspirations rather than your own. It is also important to keep in mind that the college search should be a quest for the “best fit,” not necessarily the “best&lrquo; college.

Students have different needs and preferences when it comes to how they pursue higher education. Once this has been acknowledged, work with your student to help determine a list of colleges that he/she would be happy to attend.

Vanderbilt works to maintain a safe, secure environment for all members of the community. This overarching policy extends to matters of alcohol and substance use. In general, students who wish to consume alcohol on campus or at any off-campus university function must be at least 21 years of age as mandated by the state of Tennessee. If an underage student is caught consuming alcohol, it could lead to disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution depending on the nature of the offense.

In the event that an underage student has had so much to drink that they may require medical attention, these special circumstances allow for the intoxicated student, and any of their friends helping the student, to be “immune” from disciplinary action to a certain degree. We want our students to seek help if they need it. However, students who do require medical attention might be placed on probation or required to undergo counseling.

The use, possession, or distribution of illegal substances on campus or at any off-campus, university-sponsored events is strictly prohibited. This includes the use of prescription medications by an individual without that prescription.

Read about Vanderbilt‘s policies on drugs and alcohol in full.

One year after graduation, approximately 65 percent of Vanderbilt graduates are employed, 30 percent are attending graduate or professional school, and about 5 percent are traveling, doing internships, or engaged in some other activity. In recent years, about 70 percent of graduating seniors who are admitted to graduate or professional school are admitted to their first-choice school. For more information, please visit the Career Center website.

There are seemingly endless opportunities to get involved. Vanderbilt hosts 460+ student organizations, including a student-run media, 38 club sports, over 40 intramural sports, musical ensembles including a 200-member marching band, fraternities, sororities, and Division I-SEC sports with enthusiastic student cheering sections. In addition, Nashville is located in a major metropolitan area with about 1.6 million people. Our campus is in Midtown Nashville, located just minutes from a lively downtown scene and within close distance of much of what Music City has to offer.

Click on the Affording Vanderbilt link of the Parents section for a breakdown of annual costs. But before you focus on cost alone, visit our Financing section to find out about the unique programs Vanderbilt offers to help all who are accepted to Vanderbilt stay here.

Early Decision is a binding agreement that communicates to our office that Vanderbilt is your first choice. Specifically, if you apply under Early Decision you are agreeing to enroll if you are admitted. Regular Decision allows you to apply to Vanderbilt without agreeing that you will definitely enroll if admitted.

Either way, you may still apply to other colleges, but if you are admitted to Vanderbilt under an Early Decision contract, you must withdraw applications to these other colleges. Students should only consider applying under Early Decision if they have determined that Vanderbilt is their definite first choice. If they are considering Vanderbilt, but they are not certain it‘s where they most want to attend, they should apply under the Regular Decision plan.

The timelines for all three options are as follows:

  • Early Decision 1 has an application deadline of November 1, and applicants are notified of their admissions decision by mid-December.
  • Early Decision 2 has an application deadline of January 1, and applicants are notified of their admissions decision by mid-February.
  • Regular Decision has an application deadline of January 1, and applicants are notified of their admissions decision by late March.

The only major difference between the Early Decision plans is time frame.

Our student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 makes it possible for our faculty to offer small, interactive classroom experiences. All faculty are required to hold office hours and teach undergraduates, allowing students to engage in discussion with distinguished scholars in a host of disciplines.

While graduate students may teach some of the introductory level courses, professors will teach the vast majority of courses with an average class size of 19 to foster a rigorous academic environment that benefits all students.

Vanderbilt encourages students seeking help regarding their academic performance to meet with their professors or consult with their academic advisers right away. Other options for assistance include the Writing StudioTutoring Services, and the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department.

To find the complete academic calendar, click here.

For a comprehensive look at our programs, visit our New Student & First Year Programs Web site.

First-year students live on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons.  Each of the 10 houses that make up The Commons is guided by a Faculty Head of House, a professor and mentor who lives among the students of the house.  Through The Ingram Commons first-year students connect with each other and the entire Vanderbilt community – the upper class undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators of one of the world’s great research universities.

Vanderbilt Dining offers a variety of menus, including options for vegetarian students and students with special dining needs. Please note that first-year students are required to be on a meal plan. For information about the location of campus eateries, menus, meal plan details, and off-campus restaurants that participate in meal plans, please see the Vanderbilt Dining homepage.

Feel free to contact the admissions officer responsible for the geographic territory where your student‘s high school is located or our on-campus office.

If you have specific questions related to academics, student life, athletics, or other aspects of an undergraduate education at Vanderbilt, the parents‘ section of the university‘s Web site is a great place to start.

While there is no way to predict with any certainty whether your child will find Vanderbilt to be a fit, the following information may help:

  • The first-year orientation program, Vanderbilt Visions, helps to facilitate the transition to college life and academic work. As part of Vanderbilt Visions, the VUcep program selects upperclass students to help first-year students get adjusted to campus life.
  • Academically, our student-faculty ratio of 7:1 means that students can get to know their professors and get extra assistance on class material if needed.
  • With more than 430 student organizations focused on intramural sports, community service, religious activities, areas of academic interest, and civic issues, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved, stay active, and make new friends.