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Why Vanderbilt?

Posted by on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 in Academics, Admissions Links, Blair School of Music, Dining, Engineering, Family, Freshman Life, General Information, Grad School, Teachers, Work Study.

Every once in a while I reminisce back to those wonderful (ha!) months of high school during which I googled different universities every day, wrote personal statements, and stressed about SAT scores…maybe more so now because soon I will have to do the same thing to apply to graduate school…and I remember discussions I had with my parents about choosing which college to go to. In the end, Vanderbilt came out on top…and I have never once regretted it.

Vanderbilt's campus

Everyone has their own various reasons for why they end up choosing the college they go to…from family legacies to financial aid to proximity to home to certain departments at the institution and all of the reasons are good ones. It’s just a matter of how to weigh them against the negatives and positives of other universities. Most of the universities I applied to were within a 10 hour drive from my hometown so for me, there were 3 main reasons (apart from proximity to home) that I chose Vanderbilt…1) financial aid, 2) the biology department, and this one sounds super cheesy, but is nonetheless true, 3) making a bigger step in life and challenging myself. So let’s go through them, shall we?

1) FINANCIAL AID — This factor is obviously dependent on the financial standing of your own family, but Vanderbilt is pretty good about giving financial aid to those who need it. For those who don’t (and those who do as well)…there are a handful of some very nice merit scholarships that can help out too. Additionally, there are countless student worker positions on campus from which to choose if you are a work-study student or just want to make a little pocket change or help your parents out. These jobs range from making calls to alumni or sitting at a desk (reeve-ing) in case someone needs information to working in dining or tutoring athletes. There is something for everyone, you just have to find it.

2) DEPARTMENTS — Luckily for you, Vanderbilt is good at everything! Now, that wasn’t very eloquently worded, but it’s true. There isn’t a single department where you won’t find some very well-known, engaging, published professors with fascinating life stories. This is especially great for you if you are undecided concerning your major because even if you think now that you want to pursue music or engineering, you can always switch to the College of Arts & Science, and vice versa.

3) A PERSONAL CHALLENGE — This was arguably the most important reason I chose Vanderbilt. Essentially, I asked myself if I wanted to take a small step or a big step regarding my college years…this applied to my situation specifically because it came down (because of the other reasons) to deciding between Indiana University (a wonderful public university in my hometown) and Vanderbilt. Since both universities had already passed my first two criteria, it came down to this question: Where will I challenge myself more? …and after debates with my parents and some introspection, I decided on Vanderbilt. It was further from home, I wouldn’t already know a huge percentage of the student body, it was in a completely different social and political environment (Tennessee versus Indiana, big versus small city…) and I would be more challenged by my fellow peers and my professors. IU certainly has both excellent students and professors, but it also comes with some of the downsides (huge class sizes, faculty:student ratio, etc.) of a large public university. And Vanderbilt has never let me down…working hard and knowing that I have truly earned the grades I have gotten here has made each A sweeter. It is an academic challenge, but it is great because of it.

Let me know if you have any questions about the college-choosing experience or about any aspect of Vanderbilt.Vandy really is a great institution of higher learning for academic, social, and extracurricular reasons. I didn’t realize coming here that I would have as much school pride as I do.

Good luck!

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