What type of grass is on the soccer field?
How many declared majors are in the philosophy department?
Is a double major in biology and chemistry the same thing as a biochemistry degree?
What percentage of incoming freshmen preference a roommate versus those that go potluck?
Of your African American students, what is the gender breakdown?
Last year, how many individuals from the graduating class went on to veterinary school?
Are there any sets of twins/triplets/quadruplets in your freshmen class?
Can you name the London-based companies Vanderbilt students interned for recently?
Are there any Native American multicultural organizations on campus?
IDK. I don’t know. Well, I didn’t when the above questions were originally asked. Please do not misunderstand me; I know A LOT about Vanderbilt University. I can answer a broad array of questions about the undergraduate experience, the graduate experience, highly selective admissions, and higher education issues in general. However, there are questions, such as the ones asked above where the best answer I can give you is “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.” If you receive this answer, my colleagues and I are not brushing you off. Rather, we are committed to giving you accurate information. Sure, I could have made up the answer to most of these questions, but it wouldn’t have done either of us any good.
I now know the answer to these questions. If I meet you at a college fair, a high school visit, or a reception and tell you “please email me and I’ll get you that answer” – I mean it! I really will dig around for you and find you either an answer or a more appropriate contact person. You have a right to ask questions which reflect your values and to receive answers which help you decide if each institution matches those values.
Follow up with admissions officers. The reason I tell students and their families to email me is that I simply meet too many people in the course of an event to remembered who asked which question. If it’s in my inbox, though, I will not forget to track down an answer. This year I’ve had about a dozen students ask truly interesting questions and then not follow up with me afterwards. I hope they found their answer.