Vanderbilt University is considered one of the top private research universities in the nation. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the school’s roots date all the way back to 1873, when it was founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Today, with approximately 7,100 undergraduates, they offer 70 majors for undergraduates in four separate schools: the College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, the Blair School of Music, and the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.
Although the 330-acre campus is located in the urban center of Nashville, Vanderbilt University prides itself on the beautiful surroundings, including a national arboretum that has over 300 different types of trees and shrubs. The unique atmosphere is also aided by the many student organizations on campus. More than 500 registered student organizations help students become involved in a variety of extracurricular activities (including academic societies, sports teams, and community service.) Greek life is also very popular among Vanderbilt students, with roughly 27% of men affiliated with a fraternity and 33% of women affiliated with a sorority. Undergraduate students are also brought together through dorm life, because most undergrads are required to live on campus. Vanderbilt is currently going through a revamp of their living arrangements. Over the next several years, communal buildings will be constructed, in which students will live, eat and take advantage of study rooms all in one location.
Another significant aspect of Vanderbilt’s student culture is the Honor Code, which began with the class of 2002. The university was founded with the idea of an honor system, in which every student was dedicated to the ideals of honesty. At the beginning of every school year, each Vanderbilt class attends the Honor Code Signing Ceremony. Each student pledges their honor to uphold the values of honesty and signs the code. The signed pages are displayed in the Sarratt Student Center, marking one of the few times when the entire class is able to gather together.
Vanderbilt does have a strong sports presence, which is surprising given the small size of the school. The most popular sports are men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s basketball. Each of these teams plays at Memorial Gym, which was built in 1952. The school’s spirit is known as “Memorial Magic.” While the football team has struggled in recent years, the sport is still taken seriously among students.
Students who are interested in a personalized, yet challenging education should strongly consider Vanderbilt University. The urban environment of Nashville mixed with the close-knit community of students is perfect for those looking for plenty of opportunities at one campus.