Impressions Of
Vanderbilt University

Academic Experience

Male Engineering Science and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
When I was an underclassman, I took a lot of science courses. The work for these included problem sets, quizzes, prepping for exams, and labs. I usually had one math course each semester, on top of one or two science courses. With each science course, I’d have a corresponding lab. I added Economics as a major, which allowed me to take more liberal arts and humanitarian courses.

Is there anything you feel that your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
For Engineering Science, the department is flexible in terms of what classes you need to take within the major. Within other majors, you don’t have that much of a choice because you’re required to know certain math and conceptual concepts to be an engineer. Engineering Science is much more freeform, which I like.


Male Human and Organizational Development Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
It trains you in the soft skills that you’re not going to get in other majors. It trains you in what you need to know to get a job, and once you get that job you learn about the job. It prepares you for working with other people of different backgrounds, public speaking, and how to navigate the professional and social aspects of a job. Another part of the HOD program is you have to do a semester-long internship. You can do it wherever, but a lot of people do it in Nashville so you can be part of the social scene. I’ll do mine in Nashville next semester.

Why did you choose your combination of majors? Are you happy with your choice?
In high school, I knew I was solid in math but I wouldn’t say it was my strength. I knew I was interested in business and organizations and how they run, so I felt that this gave me the best platform to grow my strengths and interpersonal skills you need for the workplace. HOD gives you so many resources to find a job, a lot of people who do consulting or investment banking will do it. If you pair it with the business minor then you’re still getting most of the hard skills as well. I think it’s invaluable to hone in on the soft skills that you need to be employed.

Male Political Science and Spanish and Portuguese Double Major

Is there anything that you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
My one complaint with Spanish and Portuguese is they don’t allow you enough room to take the courses that you want if you study both languages. The major is very literature focused, so if you want to take a linguistics course in the other language or something like that, it’s very difficult.

Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yes. I think especially with Political Science, it’s going to become controversial at any point. I feel that our school is, in general, is more liberal-leaning, and I think that’s something that’s happened in recent years. I’d say it’s about ¾ liberal and ¼ conservative, but you don’t hear the conservative voices as much just because academia tends to be liberal-leaning too. I think people are open to different schools of thought, but I just don’t know if those different schools of thought get shared.

Social Opportunities

Male Engineering Science and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Because I’m in a fraternity, I have lots of opportunities for events like parties and tailgates. You can register parties all around campus so students everywhere will host parties with and without alcohol, because it’s a wet campus. There are stress relief activities and events hosted by the school, and you can go to the Rec Center to play in an intramural league. Off-campus you can go down to clubs and bars around Nashville.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Nightlife isn’t really dictated by Greek life that much. If you’re in the organization, it matters to you. If you throw a party, you will probably have underclassman show up. In the grand scheme of things, you don’t have to be in Greek life to have fun at Vanderbilt. [Approximately 42% of undergraduate students are in Greek life.]

Male Human and Organizational Development Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Normally Thursday night is when the most people will go out. Somebody will have a shindig at their apartment or off-campus house and we’ll go to bars. When you’re below 21 there are 18+ bars you can go to but now that everyone’s turning 21 we go to the bars downtown. There are some really awesome places there. Friday night can be the same if people want to keep going out. Saturday, if it’s nice, we’ll go hang out at one of the off-campus houses.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I think it’s pretty severe. I tend to see more of the Greek life kids going out in hordes. There’s nightlife for everyone because the honky-tonk bars are the great equalizer because everybody goes to those. In regard to doing anything before going to bars, the Greek life people will band up and figure out a plan. But, I think it’s a good city for people both in Greek life and not in Greek life.

Male Political Science and Spanish and Portuguese Double Major

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I personally have done the whole Broadway scene, which is the typical bar scene in the city. There are also frat parties which are big for people in Greek life and even the people not in Greek life will come through to the parties, and that’s not a big deal. Those are the two main things, but I’ve also done some more of the underground coffee shop scene. I’ve been to some open-mics, and there are a lot of concerts in Nashville, so I’ve been to some underground shows and stuff. The majority of my weekends are spent doing the typical college stuff, like going to bars, clubs, or frat parties.

How has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your nightlife experience?
I still have a lot of fun whether I go to a straight club or a gay club. They’re both good. I’m usually going out with my friends. My friends are more just there to have a good time. I wish there was a little bit more LGBT nightlife in Nashville, but then again, I think that’s a product of the community. Now that Nashville is growing and becoming more progressive, I think that will probably change.

Campus Culture

Male Human and Organizational Development Major C/O 2020

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
That’s honestly one of my bigger complaints. In my high school, I was friends with everyone, it didn’t matter the race, gender, or socioeconomic background. I think that’s one problem with Greek life because it’s more of an exclusive force, so the interaction between different groups is more limited. But, I think Greek life is working on that problem. My fraternity and the group I hang out with is getting more diverse by the year, which is good. Vanderbilt loves to advertise its diversity, but it lacks in being fluid.

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s definitely one of the best I’ve seen. You work hard in school and then you’re also going to have fun after you do your homework. I think it’s a good balance, and the social scene is very strong.

To what extent do people outside of Greek life and inside of Greek life mix?
One of the great things about all the freshmen living in Ingram Commons is you’re surrounded by freshmen, so you meet a ton of people. I met a lot of people freshmen year who are my good friends who aren’t in Greek life. It’s a good time to meet people and set your roots. I’ve also noticed that once everyone got their Greek life group that geographically you don’t see those people as much.

Female Math and Civil Engineering Double Major C/O 2021

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friends through clubs and studying. I usually spend my time at the Black Cultural Center, and I met some of my friends there because I kept on seeing them and figured I should get to know them. I met my closest friend through spoken word poetry. She’s going to take me to more shows this upcoming semester.

How do you like the size of the undergraduate population at Vanderbilt?
I think the undergraduate population size is great. My freshman class is the same size as my high school, and I think if Vanderbilt would be smaller it’d be too small and everyone would know your business, you’d run into people all the time, and there would be a lack of privacy. I think the size of [about 6,800] undergraduates is great because you’ll never know everyone. You’ll meet someone different every year and gives you the opportunity to meet someone new every single day.

Male Art History and Economics Double Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the student body?
There’s definitely the typical Vanderbilt student that everyone likes to make fun of, but I don’t think that’s representative of the actual student body. The typical Vanderbilt student is the spoiled frat guy, but there is way more to the school than that. People come from all over the place, I think that’s one of the more positive aspects. We also have a lot of international students. People embrace that culture and I think they bring in a lot of diversity, so that helps. That typical white, preppy student does exist, but to a much lesser extent than people think. [Vanderbilt students come from all 50 states and 9% are international students.]

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s definitely segmented. You have individual groups that kind of stay in their own thing, which isn’t super ideal because you’re not interacting with the whole grade. You can move between groups. The clubs will stick together, you will see certain types of people doing their own thing, and then you have the frat guys. It’s to each your own. Everybody’s happy with their groups, so I don’t think it’s too bad of a thing.

Nashville, TN

Pros of

  • “There are lots of different types of people in the city at all times. People come here for vacation, or work, which gives you different perspectives.”
  • “You’re in a great, central location. We do a lot of road trips. We’ll go down to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or go to Panama City, Florida, or you can drive straight up to Michigan. You’re like 8 hours from the North and the South.”
  • “Nashville has really nice weather. I think that affects things more than people think. It’s not freezing cold in the winter and people have a vibrant campus and city to explore all year.”
  • “Since it’s a growing city, by the time I’m a senior there will be a lot more jobs here. There are more opportunities for students to intern and do research.”

Cons of

  • “The transportation infrastructure isn’t the best, so it can be difficult to drive places.”
  • “There’s not a lot of parking near campus.”
  • “It’s not a major concert place for non-country music. A lot of the bands I listen to I can’t see in concert in Nashville. I have to go to Atlanta.”
  • “There’s not much diversity outside of the undergraduate population.” [About 55% of the population of Nashville is White. 19% of the staff and 15% of the faculty at Vanderbilt are members of minority groups.]

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Engineering Science and Economics Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Vanderbilt before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew what the common jobs students pursue after graduation were, for certain majors. For example, what percent of Economics majors end up going into consulting or banking. [In the Class of 2017, about 11% of students are working in finance and about 7% are working in consulting.]

What is something somebody who is interested in Greek life should know that has not been mentioned?
[During rush], be open to having a conversation with everybody regardless if they are in the Greek organization, or just another kid rushing beside you. It’s a good way to network and meet people that’ll end up in other organizations.

Male Political Science and Spanish and Portuguese Double Major

What is something you wish you knew about Vanderbilt before you entered as a freshman?
I guess I wish I had known about the racial divide on campus because that’s something I’ve wanted to change since I’ve arrived on campus. It’s hard to find organic ways to integrate disparate groups on campus. I don’t think it would have completely deterred me, but it would have been nice to know because I wasn’t expecting it.

What is something a prospective LGBT student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
It’s a good community. It’s not strong in the sense that I don’t see a ton of people all congregating around it, but I think everyone’s very accepting.

Male Biomedical Engineering and Spanish Double Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Vanderbilt before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew about how the academics would work. At Vandy, pre-med classes are focused on doing well relative to the average and students are more focused on getting the grade so they can go to the graduate school they want to go to, rather than learning for the sake of learning. People don’t learn for the sake of learning because we don’t have the time to. I also wish I knew how to take care of myself and how much more important that is in college, especially at Vandy where there’s a work hard play hard culture. In that culture you can forget to take care of yourself. If I focused on self-care my burnout wouldn’t be as much of a thing.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Catch an event that happens at night. In my opinion, Vanderbilt is an over-programmed campus. There’s a great event that happens almost every night, so try to catch one of those. If you can, especially try to see a cultural showcase or one of the performing arts groups. Those are great because they show the diversity and passion of the community.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Vanderbilt University

To Attend

  • “Great nightlife and a good balance of work and social life.”
  • “The name of the school carries some weight and can help with getting a job.”
  • “It prepares you well to succeed with whatever career you end up choosing because there will be some mentor along the way, whether it’s a professor, alumnus, or career center worker that knows the field that you want to work in.”
  • “There is good financial Aid.” [About 70% of the class of 2021 received financial aid.]

To Not Attend

  • “Greek life is dying and a lot of fraternities are getting kicked off. It’s too early to see whether that is going to resurge or not.”
  • “The social life can be overwhelming. I know that some people have commented about how Vanderbilt has a really strong extrovert culture, which I tend to work well with. A lot of people who feel more introverted don’t feel like there’s as much space for them on campus. The way our campus culture is set up is you are forced to be thrown into a lot of social scenes, so I don’t think it’s supportive of all different personality types.”
  • “It is competitive. Students like to complain that their grades are deflated. It is tough to stay afloat if you have a tough workload or are not used to grinding as much as the college expects from you. It can be pretty demanding.”
Notice: Vanderbilt University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Vanderbilt University.

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