Vanderbilt University Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Tim

Gradually, the student body appears to be trending towards social liberalism, which some consider a positive step for the university. Students are able to hold their own in a political discussion; however, they are not as politically inclined as I expected. Most students tend to dress pretty well at all times. Seeing individuals wear sweats to class is unusual, though not entirely unheard of. Most students are from the south; however, Vanderbilt has excellent geographic diversity.

Megan

The typical Vandy student is busy. A Vanderbilt student juggles academics, leadership positions, and a social life adeptly. Men and women are well dressed for class, show up on time, and participate actively. It is hard to tell, but many students feel overwhelmed by life at Vanderbilt. There is a lot of pressure to get good grades, go out three to four nights a week, and manage additional responsibilities on campus. By holiday breaks, students are excited for a little time off. Students at Vanderbilt come from all over the country. When I arrived at Vanderbilt, I was surprised to learn that Southern students made up only 40% of the student body. The Northeast and Midwest are also heavily represented, and there a few students from the West Coast. I believe that Vanderbilt's greatest flaw is a lack of integration between different social groups on campus. The diverse student body has many different types of men and women, but unfortunately these groups tend to stick together. It is rare to see students from the African American greek community having lunch with students from the Panhellenic greek community, who in turn socialize with each other more so than students who are not in any greek organizations. For that reason, students that are not affiliated sometimes feel out of place at Vandy. The school would benefit from more opportunities for these groups to engage.

Tim

The student body can be somewhat stratified. African-American Students seem to engage in a separate culture, as do other racial minorities. Gradually, the student body appears to be trending towards social liberalism and communalism, which is a positive step for the university. Students are able to hold their own in a political discussion; however, they are not as politically inclined as I expected. Most students tend to dress pretty well at all times. Seeing individuals wear sweats to class is unusual, though not entirely unheard of. Most students are from the south; however, Vanderbilt has excellent geographic diversity.

Jacqueline

There is such an array of students at Vanderbilt. Students from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, race, and sexual orientation. There is truly a niche for everyone. Although Vandy tends to be more conservative, it is not a predominantly conservative student body. There is an endless amount of clubs that anyone could find one that appeals to them; and if you can't, you can create your own. From intramural/club sports to a myriad of charity opportunities to the philanthropy-oriented Greek organizations, there is something for everyone.

Patrick

People at Vanderbilt are smart. Graduates are successful. Expect to find highly motivated people of all ethnicities, economic classes, and religions. There is an incredible diversity here but everyone shares the common theme of wanting to learn and wanting to get involved, be it politically, socially, or charitably. Even people who might be considered "socially awkward" or "outcasts" can find plenty of friends. It's difficult to pin down a universal description of the Vanderbilt student.

David

Students here feel like they own the world, and if they don't right now, they plan to. Kids wear Sperries and short shorts with backwards baseball caps and frat glasses all the time. Many people are rich. The odd kids are ostracized to McGill Hall.

Deborah

Brilliant and inspiring individuals, who had no qualms in helping others even if we were competing against each other.

Jesse

The campus is pretty homogenous, but it is becoming more diverse. There are a lot of minority students but they tend to be segregated from the rest of the student body. Miniority students still have a great time here regardless of how separate the social scene is! To that end, just because you're a minority doesn't mean you can't participate in the "normal" social life at Vanderbilt. The social scene is very accepting as are the people. I wouldn't recommend Vanderbilt to any extremely alternative person (i.e blue hair, extremely tight jeans, chains, piercings) as they wouldn't fit into the student body. Of course there are people like that but it might not be the best match. Also nashville is very alternative due to the plethora of independent music labels, so if vanderbilt doesn't meet your expectations, Nashville can. Most students are wealthy. Those who arent don't really speak about it/ you cant see it outwardly. The financial aid at Vandy is great so a lot of kids are on financial aid. Financial backgrounds aren't very important to students. Students don't really interact much with different groups of people, but if you do, it's not a big deal. You speak to the people you know regardless of race, economic status, or religion. Students are generally from the south east, midwest (ohio, illinois) or the Northeast, and some LA. Students know they'll earn a lot one day.

Zachary

My classmates are diverse, motivated, smart, and, for the most part, helpful.

Katie

Many are very focused on their academic work but equally enjoy partying on the weekends.

Julia

They're upbeat, intelligent, and creative.

Maggie

The typical Vandy student may seem intimidating at first and may seem stuck up and a little too fratty, but once you get to know them you see that everyone here is very ambitious and usually passionate about what they're doing but really love to have a good time. Basically enjoying college both academically and socially are whatthe students are all about. They're the people you see studying all afternoon Sunday through Thursday, but then out partying 4 to 5 nights a week. Vandy students love this school and never want to leave.

Brittany

My classmates are brilliant young people who are not only dedicated to their own learning and future success, but who also take pride in making the world a better place, all the while enjoying each day as it comes.

Kyle

Friendly, nice, respectful, and attentive in class.

Lynn

Everyone is usually extremely smart, aslong as there not a sports player (usually)!

Caroline

They are fun loving, intelligent, well rounded, and similar to me.

Devan

White, rich, religious, and pretentionous. Typically boring, anything but stimulating and thought provoking individuals.

Tracy

Rich, intelligent, some are not open to new types of people or ideas. Most people here are very nice though.

Daryl

My classmates are eclectic.

Andrew

Intelligent, motivated, but very superficial

Bobby

My classmates are mostly smart, goal-oriented people.

udom

They are very narrow-minded

Lysandra

My classmates are disciplined, driven, and competitive.

Elliot

they like to have fun but also study very hard.

Sam

Preppy, somewhat spoiled, but typically friendly and outgoing people.

Sally

Some work hard and barely pass, some sleep through class and get As, most just do their best; students study types, religions, races, and hobbies run the gamut.

Ogechi

Friendly, smart, interesting and balanced

lauren

most of the students here are straight, non-religious acting white people. there is very little evidence of the LGBT community as well as minorities. most students wear casual clothes--occasionally when the weather is nice girls will wear skirts or dresses. very few people wear pajamas to class. most students here come from wealthy families.

Tristan

For the most part, Vandy is segregated. I don't like it, but I accept it. Any student who prides him or herself on being a caring, individual, creative person who likes to go against what society tells them - need not apply. For the most part, you will not see students going to class in pajamas. Even the sloppiest people wear jeans and a message t-shirt to class. Girls and guys will dress to the 9s on some days; I still haven't figured out why. If there were only four tables of students in the dining hall they would look something like 2 tables of frat stars and sorostitutes, 1 table of overtly preachy Christians, and 1 table of minorities. Most students are actually from the North, contrary to popular belief. It still feels like a very Southern school. Most students' PARENTS are incredibly wealthy. They want for nothing, and they have no need to call and ask if they can treat their friends to a night out on the town, because their parents probably won't even notice the bill. There are politically active students, and their voices are loud. There are also students who ignorantly choose to debate on topics because their mommys and daddys believe one side of the argument. Most students do not overtly discuss their money situation, but they love to wear brand names to let you know, just in case you weren't aware that tuition is 50,000 a year and they have no chance of being on scholarship.

Ryan

In general, the student population at Vandy is fragmented and there's lots of bias about those who are different, though I'd like to think that's getting better. A month living on campus and you'll see that there are 'social outcasts' who often live in a certain dorm and, often, racial and ethnic minorities live and interact distinctly from others and the white majority. One big complaint is that students are completely unaware and inactive in the greater world and politics--even in just the past three years, the coverage of news and political issues has been dramatically reduced and is covered by people who just sound dumb in the school newspaper. And discussions in class that reference current events are often responded to with dumbfounded expressions on students' faces.

Ainsley

This is Vanderbilts weakest area. I know some GLBT students have been discrinated against very harshly in recent years. I also feel that the amount of interaction between people of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, relgigious beleifs is fairly low. Some people go their whole lives without interacting with someone who isn't wealthy then at Vanderbilt then they get involved in greek life and completely insulate themselves from the rest of campus. I don't think it is wrong to be involved in greek life but it is very important to make sure that there are other things going on in your schedule. People don't talk about how much they will make because it is assumed that most people who go there are going to do pretty well. Politically, most students are conservative but there is room for all viewpoints.

Jim

I associate socially with greek members which are almost always WASPs of some variation, with a good amount of Catholics and Jews. There are some asians, blacks, and latinos in the greek system but they all act white. In general other races segregate themselves. Students who are really liberal, poor, artsy, etc. would feel out of place. Most students wear jeans and a frat shirt and a north face in the winter and pastels in the spring/fall. Four tables in the dining hall: second/third/fourth tier greek members (first tier doesn't eat on campus), minorities, engineers, and ugly people make the other three tables.

Ben

Vanderbilt has a strong Greek system, but it is easy to take the independent path and still make plenty of friends and have things to do on any night.

Beth

Religion was a shock for me. At times it is very clear that we are in the center of the bible belt and there are alot of people who do not drink or have sex for religious reasons. They tend to be friends with each other, and often Greek houses will be divided by who is very religious and who is not. Everyone gets along - there is never any big problems, but the bible belt exists. Most students do not dress up for class. You will be looked at strange if you show up for your 9am in a dress with heels - or at your 3pm. Casual dresses are fine because it does get very hot here in the beginning and end of the year. At first I thought it was a sign of the school following its stereotype of being stuck up and southern, but skirts and dresses really are helpful when its 90 outside - or maybe I just got caught up in the culture. It is definitely thought about , and sometimes talked about how much people will earn. You do not go to school for 40,000 a year if you cant earn it back!

andrea

i feel that all the groups are very segregated but by having all of the specific organization it leads to more spereation because those people are close to the people in the groups so it becomes a clique. in the dining hall, there are the athletes, the social people, the not social people, and smart people. alot of the student body is rich and i find most people live off their parents money though a good amount are on scholarship. alot of people are from atlanta and texas also. not alot of west coast people i noticed. i think most people are conservative but im not that sure.

Lauren

There is a distinct population of hardcore “Bible-lovers,” as they are called. These are people who claim to be waiting until marriage to lose their virginity (but whether this is too late is questionable). Most often, these are people who are adamantly against drinking, but eventually succumb during sophomore year. Bible studies are common on campus. There is an entire fraternity, BYX, based on these ideals. The Jewish population is small, but increasing, as Vanderbilt recruits more and more from the North East. As a Jewish person, I’ve found is that most people do not possess prejudices, but anti-Semitic jokes or comments definitely slip out every once in a while in certain crowds. There seems to be a lack of racial or religious tension…although it would be naïve to say it doesn’t exist. Vandy’s culture is highly magnetic—it sucks in even the most resistant freshmen. I have a good friend who came to Vandy as a pot-smoking, long-haired, hippie. Finding that he didn’t fit in (and was thus not experiencing the sugary excitement on campus), he returned from winter break with a shorter, more typically Vandy, haircut. The Bob Marley tee-shirts were soon nowhere to be found…and in their place, a large selection of polos. Characteristics of the “ideal” Vandy girl: thin, tan, southern, blonde, wealthy, pearl earrings, pastel Lilly Pulitzer dresses, classy yet partys Characteristics of the “ideal” Vandy boy: pastel polo shirts (Ralph Lauren), khakis, southern, wealthy While people do not speak about money in specific dollar amounts, there is a general assumption among most students that they will be wealthy.

Jo

Some of the religious groups on campus try too hard to convert people. Minorities might feel out of place at Vanderbilt. Most students wear nice clothes to class. Most Vanderbilt students are from the south, but more are from the north in recent years. The financial backgrounds of the students are varied, as many studends need scholarships but there is also a lot of southern-wealth. Students are not too politically active, and not so much right OR left. Students do not talk about earnings.

Jacqueline

I fit in very well with the "typical" vandy kids. However, I know that as an international student, it might be very hard to adjust to the mainstream vanderbilt lifestyle. Some people don't at all and live in McTyiere. It's a personal preference. Most students wear jeans and a teeshirt (often greek) to class. Some girls dress up a lot, but I tend to be REALLY casual especially when it's cold. You can see Vandy's emphasis on brand named apparel. I don't feel like different types of students interact unless they are forced to through some type of class that requires group work or some organization like ASB. The first table is the group of blonde sorority girls who are all dressed up. The second table is a group of atheletes wearing their atheltic stuff. The third table is a group of freshmen who feel really out of place. The fourth table is a group of girls from an NPHC organization. Vanderbilt students are from everywhere - I'm from TN but the majority of my friends are from the Northeast. I feel like the majority of people are come from middle income families; they are well off but not swimming in money. There are exceptions but that's how I see it. I think students are politically aware but not active. I know that with the election it has been great to argue with people. Vandy has the stereotype of being conservative; I've witnessed a lot of liberals around me. I think it's just hard to tell.

Kendall

Although it is getting better, there is alot of racism on campus- not as open as many think , but snickering comments behind closed doors. there are also places certain people just know not to go to because they are not southern whites. Minorities would feel most out of place at vandy if they are actually interested in social life, academically, they will be fine. most students are right winged, but the northerners vandy has been recruited the past couple of years are left winged.

Kendall

students that might feel out of place at vandy are goths; we really dont have that many.

justin

every socio-economic class is even more stratified and outlined by the student body.

Marshall

The students at Vanderbilt are very well dressed per their reputation. Girls often wear sundresses and even heels sometimes to class on a daily basis which can be overwhelming but also a nice tradition. Individually, races and religions interact with one another but, coming from the north, I have definitely noticed a lack of communication between the white and black and Malaysian and even Indian nationalities. As a whole, the groups stick together yet no one seems unhappy. Students are also extremely ambitious. Even girls going for their MRS degree take hard classes and seem interested in their courses.

Michelle

The different ethnic groups don't mix all that much which is sad. The people I feel that would be out of place at vandy are the "goth" or really out there types. Vanderbilt is a very pretty school- I wouldn't want to come here if I had any self image doubts or was slightly overweight or even plain. There is a lot of money on campus. This means that there are a lot of people who wear only designer clothes. But there are also people that don't and I don't think it really matters. Engineers are not politically aware or active. Vanderbilt is a very conservative school (not surprising because it is still a southern school); however I feel like it is becoming more liberal as more students come from outside the south. I don't feel like most of the lectures are well attended.

Colleen

I absolutely love the student body at vanderbilt but I do understand that it's not the right place for everyone. The stereotype of white upper class attractive preppy students is head on and creates an incredibly harsh environment for people who don't necessarily fit that description. There aren't a lot of alternative outlets for social life outside of the greek world, but it's not impossible to be an independent.

Becca

Vanderbilt is not the most diverse place. It is mostly preppy white kids who tend to be attractive. People are fairly motivated to be successful. In terms of what people where to class: (the majority) girls: depends on the season but designer jeans, polos, sweaters,sundresses, cowboy boots, jean skirts, boots,pearls, a lot of JCrew, BCBG. Some people are more preppy and others are more trendy and have the more "northern" look boys: generally preppy and clean cut, kakies, polos, boat shoes, some people where athletic clothes to class as well

Sarah

There is a distinct lack of diversity on the Vanderbilt campus. Because I'm white, sometimes I don't notice it, but my best friend and roommate is Mexican and sometimes when we talk, it seems like we're talking about two different schools. most of the students here seem to be republican, and crazy-religious, which makes me really uncomfortable. Most of the students are not politically active, they are just mirroring the political views of their parents

Casey

My experiences concerning the sensitive issues of race, sexuality, and class at Vanderbilt have proven that Vanderbilt is a very conservative school. Racial tension definitely exists here and it really breaks my heart. For a fraternity to openly display/praise/glorify Robert E Lee in 2009, disturbs me. Yea, I know: "It's a Southern Pride thing"- but it definitely doesn't mean that to everyone. Socio-Economic status is also very important to the student body here- the wealthiest kids sometimes end up the most popular. Which leads into class attire- normal universities you would see mostly school-spirit themed outfits (t-shirts, jeans, sweats) here you would not. The only t-shirt its acceptable to wear is a Greek one. Granted this doesn't account for 100% of the undergraduate population, but its at least 85%. Let's put it this way: it's friday and I had to be up for 9 am and I'm wearing a dress, cardigan, and flats- does that seem like casual friday to you?

Jane

Most students dress very nicely to go to class. You rarely see people in sweats unless they are athletes or going to the gym.

John

It can take a while to find them, but there are other people that have the same interests as you on campus somewhere.

Emma

Most students here are from very, very wealthy backgrounds. If you don't come from wealth, some people will snub you. I don't come from a rich family, and I was pretty jealous of some people in my first year here - girls have the best clothes, the best cars, the best boob jobs... etcetera. Perhaps because of the wealth, appearance is very important here. Vanderbilt is known for having one of the most attractive student bodies in the country. There is a lot of pressure to be skinny and perfectly dressed for every class. It IS possible to find students who do not care about these things, though. And, being around Vandy girls all the time really has inspired me to keep in shape - beauty is not a BAD thing, by any means!