Vanderbilt University is the closest thing that Tennessee has to an Ivy League school. Though the Methodist Episcopal Church wanted to build a college in the Nashville area, the Church had a hard time gaining the funding needed for the school. After hearing about those financing problems, Cornelius Vanderbilt donated $500,000 to the university’s fund. Vanderbilt originally planned to help fund a school in New York but later changed his mind and put his help behind the Tennessee school. The university had several names before becoming Vanderbilt University. The university later ended its affiliation with the Church to become a standalone private college.
Despite not being an Ivy League school, Vanderbilt University ranks higher than many private and public schools in the nation. On its list of the top American colleges, U.S. News & World Report put Vanderbilt at number 15. It also ranks within the nation’s top 50 schools on similar lists released by Forbes, ARWU and Washington Monthly. ARWU and QS also put Vanderbilt within the top 100 of the best schools around the world. Students attending the university today often call it Vandy instead of its full name. Former students of the university include Rosanne Cash, Dierks Bentley, Bettie Page, Al Gore and Skip Bayless.
Vanderbilt University Accreditation Details
Vanderbilt University has regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This means that students attending the university can get financial aid in the form of loans and certain grants from the federal government. It also lets students know that the university will do whatever it takes to prepare students for their future careers and education. The SACS was the first organization that granted Vanderbilt accreditation, and the SACS also renewed the university’s accreditation every time it came up for renewal.
Vanderbilt also has something that experts call specialized accreditation, though some may call this program accreditation instead. Rather than being a general form of accreditation, this type of accreditation applies to one or more specific programs of study. For example, the American Bar Associated granted its law school accreditation. Vanderbilt also has accreditation for programs in counseling, engineering, education and other programs from organizations like:
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
- Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
- Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
- Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET)
Vanderbilt University Application Requirements
Vanderbilt University has one of the most selective admissions departments in the nation. Fewer than 12% of students who apply every year receive acceptance. The university attempts to keep its acceptance to 1,600 students or fewer each year. Each application that the university receives goes through several different review boards that determine if the applicant will receive an acceptance letter, a rejection letter or go on the wait list. Those accepted typically have a high grade point average, took advanced placement classes in high school, did well on the SAT or ACT and participated in a number of extracurricular activities.
Prospective students can apply via either the Common Application or the Universal Common Application, both of which are available online. They will also need to pay a fee of $50 or apply for a waiver. Students will also need to submit an official high school transcript, standardized test scores and a letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor. Vanderbilt is one of the only colleges that also requires two or more letters of recommendation from a student’s teachers as well. All letters of recommendation should explain why the student should attend that university and what the student can bring to the school. Those who receive an acceptance letter must notify the university of their intent to enroll by May or risk losing their spots.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The cost of attending Vanderbilt is fairly high, especially when compared to state schools in Tennessee. Tuition alone comes in at more than $46,000 a year. Vanderbilt estimates that students pay more than $63,000 a year for tuition, personal expenses, textbooks and miscellaneous fees. Other fees, including those associated with specific classes, can add $2,000 or more to the annual costs that students face.
More than 94% of all enrolled students receive financial help directly from Vanderbilt, but around 4% of students also receive some type of government assistance. Vanderbilt offers a number of assistance options for those who cannot afford to attend college. The average aid package that those students receive is more than $41,000 a year. This includes scholarships and special packages that come from the university’s own endowment. There are also merit-based scholarships that award hundreds of thousands of dollars to students every year. Students will need to fill out an application for each scholarship they hope to receive. These scholarships generally require that students receive a certain score on the ACT or SAT and/or have a high GPA. Any student who needs financial assistance, including need-based scholarships, will need to fill out the FAFSA.
There are more than 65 majors and nearly as many minors open to students attending Vanderbilt. The university has 10 housing complexes that help students get to know one another and make new friends during their studies. Other unique opportunities open to students include intramural sports, dance recitals, guest lecturer series and even the chance to share a meal with one of their professors.
Many of the students enter Vanderbilt with some idea of what they want to do in the future and the topic they want to study. Vanderbilt offers a unique African American studies major that actually gives students the chance to study abroad in parts of Africa. The cinema and media arts major is more popular with students who want to work in film production. Students actually learn how to write scripts, budget for productions, film footage, edit the footage and find investors. The university also has a recognized public health program that teaches students how they can change public policy and hopefully change the world. Vanderbilt University has connections with universities and colleges around the world that let students study abroad at one of those schools for a semester or longer as well.