atmosphere

<p>for some reasons, academics location etc., vanderbilt really appeals to me but from some things i've heard it, super frat life, majority white upper class, students love of name brands, it does not. does anyone have any insight on the latter qualities? i'm not necessarily looking for somewhere without frat life but i would like more of a balance along with other things...
so what's the atmosphere at vanderbilt like.
this has probably been answered before if you'd like to direct me to a thread.
thanks!</p>

<p>The social scene at Vanderbilt is quickly changing. The seeming shift in the way that admissions has been evaluating applicants (I can't say that there's a definite <em>change</em> in what they've been doing) and the rising prestige of Vanderbilt as a strong academic school (rather than the party school of the top 20) really changes the way students on campus react with each other. </p>

<p>The Greeks on campus are definitely very visible; and they're mostly great kids. The student body president, the president of the honor council, presidents of the different colleges, leaders in service organizations, and many more leaders are Greek. It definitely has a disproportionate amount of members in leadership positions with respect to the amount of students involved in it (40%). Now, that's not to say that the Greeks run the school without anyone else having a say. From what I can tell, Greek students are simply very involved and supporting of each other, which shows in the leaders that emerge from them.</p>

<p>Vanderbilt definitely has a party scene. There's no denying that. What it doesn't have is a n over-focus on fraternity life. It's as much as you want it to be. You can spend every night out partying at the frats if you so please, but you're in no way an outcast if you don't. Students are becoming more and more academically supercharged in a sense at Vanderbilt, and as such the fraternities don't suck the academics out of students like they're portrayed and stigmatized to be. Yes some students overdo it, but there's students at ivies that overdo it to (look at the younger Bush..). </p>

<p>There's a strong balance between work and play, but it's really as much as you make of it. A lot of students go downtown on the weekends, others hang out on campus at different events, from movie showings in the student center to showcase events setup by different groups, to even sporting events or musicals sponsored by the school (and even paid for too by lottery system sometimes!). </p>

<p>As a student who didn't party very much in high school, I feel right at home at Vanderbilt. Feel free to pm me with anymore specific questions and I'll be happy to answer.</p>

<p>There are a lot of students who are white, upper middle class and love name brands. The school costs $60,000, so you know they are going to be around. There's even a Ralph Lauren section in the bookstore.</p>

<p>It's not something to be afraid of though. They're all great people, and you don't have to wear name brands to fit in. We just tend to like dressing nicely. </p>

<p>Don't write off the frats either. I've found that they do dominate the party scene- the frats are where most people end up on the weekends, and where the majority of the parties are. It's not like big state schools where there are a bunch of house parties going on at all times. That being said, frats don't dominate the social scene. Vanderbilt delays pledging until Spring to ensure even the students interested in Greek life are able to establish themselves socially without the influence of the Greek system. There's always plenty to do and plenty of people around if you're independent. Just be open minded about the Greek system. It's really important to some people here.</p>

<p>Couldn't agree more with Pancaked on this one. </p>

<p>The school does cost $60,000, but the need-blind admissions process as well as the generous financial aid program that Vanderbilt has ends up bringing a lot of students whose families don't make $60,000. These students aren't looked down on, and the wealthy students generally don't flaunt where they come from.</p>

<p>In conclusion, balance is the name of the game at Vanderbilt.</p>

<p>thanks for all your answers</p>

<p>One of my son's is a Duke alum with strong post grad ties to his frat. My Vandy son is independent as are the majority of males on campus. Greek life has a very high profile at Vandy. It is all about your own self esteem and ideas about how you want to spend your evenings and time. My comment is always this: For a top school with a strong Greek scene, the setting of Vanderbilt...with its positive relationship with Nashville and its cozy access to tons of things to do within 2-3 miles or on foot...Vanderbilt is one of the better colleges for quality of life for Independent students who use their weekends elsewhere than on Greek Row. Duke for instance...for independents...has Durham. No comparison to Nashville. Not much to do at Dartmouth or at Wash and Lee on weekends if you are not in the Greek scene. I think Vandy is more like UVA---there are many many things to do if you don't pledge. Charlottesville is a really Zen town, Nashville is a vibrant city with much better opportunities than most colleges have for internships. If you are the kind of person who paddles your own canoe, you can enjoy life at Vandy on Greek Row or off Greek Row.</p>