Considering ED? READ THIS!
Hey! So much has happened since my last post that I want to tell y’all about! That would have happened sooner except for the Gen Chem test last week which had me in panic/study mode. However, my adventurous tales of adventure will have to wait because this post is for those of you out there currently in a state of panic. If you are considering applying ED, but you still haven’t decided what to do then your situation is a little more high stakes than mine. I do empathize with you though because at this time last year I was in the exact same position!
I decided to apply ED to Vanderbilt University around October 27 last year, 3 short days before the deadline *spoiler alert: it was a good decision. Don’t worry though if you’re still trying to decide; this post won’t solely consist of me trying to persuade you to come to the greatest university in the country. You see, I’m generally pretty indecisive when it comes to decision-making. A lot of the people you meet at Vanderbilt seem to have the next 10 years of their lives figured out. While, I’m just trying to plan next semester. So last year when it was time to make a decision that had the potential to shape the trajectory of my life, I was a little stressed. I don’t think I need to elaborate; you probably understand.
Anyways, I knew Vanderbilt was a top choice, but was hesitant about whether or not I was ready to make the commitment and say, “If I get into every school I’m looking at, I would chose here.” Then, on October 23, I did Vanderbilt’s Dore for a Day program. In this program, I spent time touring the school and sitting in on classes. It was fantastic to experience what it was truly like to be a student, walk around campus, and eat in the dining hall. Still, what helped my decision the most was talking to my guide, a freshman, and having him answer some of the specific, tough questions that I had. Hopefully, I can do something similar to that here.
One misgiving that I had was about Vanderbilt’s party reputation. From what I had heard, Vanderbilt is the place where smart kids who still want to be able to party go. This is fine, except that I don’t drink, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rush or not. Now, if you like to party, don’t worry, there’s plenty here—it’s college. However, there’s also plenty of stuff to do even if that’s not your scene. The great thing about Vandy is that it really has a niche for everyone. Yes, greek life is a big part of campus, but you can still find a vibrant social life and community without ever stepping into a frat house (although that’s still fun to do). The reason I believe Vanderbilt get’s labeled as somewhat of a “party school” is because of the emphasis on quality of life. Vanderbilt obviously has top tier academics, but rather than striving to produce only great test results, Vandy also focuses on producing amazing people. They believe that if you put a bunch of gifted people together with some stellar mentors in a stimulating environment that something truly special happens.
If you ask a Vandy student why they chose to go black and gold, the word you most often hear thrown around is “balance.” Vanderbilt students enjoy an extraordinary number of different activities, from philanthropies to athletics to academics, and many don’t want to give up any part of who they are or what they love. Vanderbilt does a great job at providing a setting where one can attain a world class education without having to live in a library. Furthermore, Vanderbilt students love to be social and realize the value of a social life because college is supposed to be where you get a degree and become a better person, but it’s also supposed to be FUN! And, at Vandy, there is much of that to be had.
Another fear that I had was that everyone at Vanderbilt would be a genius, that it would be super competitive, and that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Well, everybody at Vanderbilt does seem to be kind a genius, but instead of competing and pushing each other around, everybody pulls each other up to in order to ensure that everyone reaches their potential.
I just need to pause a second and quote my roommate because in conversation he literally just said, applying early decision was, “probably the best decision I ever made.” Carrying on…
Vanderbilt students are undoubtedly bright high achievers, but not everyone has perfect study habits or discipline. For all you procrastinators out there, I promise you can find a home at Vandy.
One final thing that was holding me back from applying ED was the freaking US News and World report. There was always this little voice in the back of my mind saying, “What if you could get in somewhere better?” Yet, I was allowing “better” to be defined by some website. Better for me turned out not to be at the number one school academically, or at the school with the best football team (although GO DORES! Guess who just won their first SEC football game in 2 years!?). The best school for me turned out to be the one with the best balance because I want to be a balanced, healthy person. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, we also have the happiest students in the country!
So, these are my experiences, but you might still be wondering, “Jackson, how do I decide if ED is right for me!?” Well, the people I’ve talked to at Vanderbilt made college decisions in all types of ways. From, “it just felt right,” to people creating formulas and spreadsheets, it varies. If you’re being held back by questions of, “will I fit in,” “will I be happy,” or “are the academics on the right level,” then APPLY NOW! If you have to have financial aid information before you make a commitment, then Vanderbilt has a financial aid calculator and they are very generous, but you might still want to wait for regular decision. Even if Vanderbilt doesn’t embody every hope or dream you had for a college, but you really enjoy a lot about it and can envision yourself at the best college in the country, you should probably apply ED. If you have buckets of confidence about your ability to get in anywhere and want to tell your grandkids you were accepted to Harvard, then don’t apply ED. However, if you don’t have much to compare yourself to and you’re just hoping that somehow you can be a Commodore (that was me) than apply ED. Either way, college is what you make of it, but I promise you could make a lot of it as a Commodore.