Would I fit in at Vandy?

<p>My impression is that Vandy caters to a very particular type of person- the confident, typically wealthy, typically southern intellectual. I'm wondering though, if I would fit in given my qualities that I feel my be less prevalent at Vandy.</p>

<p>I'm a male from a prestigious prep school in Arizona.
Parents make <60k per year.
Academics consume most of my time, but I'm also very athletic--would probably run track for Vandy if they had a men's track team (the fact that they don't is probably the biggest thing keeping me from applying).
I love to party, but I'm not sure if I would want to be in a frat.
To me, community is very important in a college- more important than research opportunities and ferocious competition among students.
Intimacy and closeness among students and professors is also very important to me.
I'm very, very socially and politically liberal.</p>

<p>I know that Vandy students are famous for being good looking, confident (sometimes overly so) and preppy. I feel that, in that respect, I would fit in at Vandy...for the most part (maybe not the preppy part).
However, a sense of community and intellectual stimulation is very, VERY important to me in a student body.
Are students open minded and friendly? Are students searching for intellectual stimulation?
I want a student body that is willing to discuss academics outside of the classroom- to discuss Plato and Freud under a tree or in a common room when class is over. Are students liberal? Do they care about the community? </p>

<p>What I hope to avoid at all costs is a pompous, arrogant, conservative student body. Insight is appreciated.</p>

<p>stopped reading at ‘Parents make <60k per year’</p>

<p>You assume conservatism=anti-intellectual (and say this as a liberal. The fact that the conservative viewpoint is not welcome on campus indicates a degree of anti-intellectualism and perhaps lack of will and civility to engage differing world views). However, you’ll find that anti-intellectualism is a natural part of the American landscape (read about it and its history in America via w/e source you can) and is indeed seen in most institutions of higher education where most students “lean left”. Not many (even top) institutions would be considered but so intellectual, this does not exclude Vandy. Often the “anti-intellectualism” takes the form of careerism where the education is simply a stepping stone to a career. Thus for many even liberal students, it becomes about the grades. As for Plato, I don’t even want to talk about that, after reading The Republic for the millionth time (my dystopia/utopia class was the last I read it in a formal setting), I realize how much I disagree w/his proposals (or moreso the methods of implementation).<br>
You seem a fit at Vandy mostly though. Go for it. Just don’t expect the overwhelming amount of intellectualism you speak of, it’s simply difficult to find in excess at colleges. Top 20 ResearchUs are known for being pre-prof. factories.<br>
If you are worried about “intellectual participation” and the like. You should maybe look into any cultural or intellectual initiatives sponsored by Vandy Go on the website and see if any of them seem likely to generate some intellectual energy/curiosity on campus (see if there is evidence that undergrads have played any role in events associated w/the initiatives. Basically figure out if there is a reasonable level of participation. Do students care about them?) . We’ve really ramped up on them here (over the past 3 years), and I’ll say it has really helped as undergrads. have become tied to them (one recent event that garnered a lot of excitement was TEDx Emory. It had high participation among undergrads and was well received. The same w/the Dalai Lama visit and similar events). See what they have going on via their YouTube. Perhaps the same has happened/is happening at Vandy. There are many ways of gauging it w/o visiting.
Conservative or not: At a top school you will find arrogant and pompous people (most Ivies are liberal, but you know that they have a fair share of folks with those qualities).</p>

<p>Things like this are what you should look for:[Two</a> Nashville juniors place third in national sustainability challenge | News | Vanderbilt University](<a href=“http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2011/05/national-sustainability-challenge/]Two”>Two Nashville juniors place third in national sustainability challenge | Vanderbilt University)</p>

<p>This is evidence that they care about important social, cultural, and intellectual issues.</p>

<p>Not to be rude, but I wanted to point out that you seem to be the one that is quite pompous and arrogant.</p>

<p>Me? Sorry you think that, but it wasn’t my intent. My bad. I was just speaking on my observations (we have a similar academic culture to y’alls, a lot of people are only about the grades+parties. But where isn’t this true?) and trying to help the person. The thing about lack of intellectualism wasn’t meant to say I was particularly intellectual, it was just me saying that it, in general, isn’t as present at Universities as many would like to believe. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that it isn’t. Even if it isn’t present in huge quantities, you can still find it (and it manifests itself in many different ways perhaps different from the "discussing Plato under a tree), which is a point I was trying to make. The OP should seek those opportunities at Vandy if he wants them.
And if I am pompous or arrogant (I honestly have no reason to be. I really don’t think high enough of myself to be. I’m just very vocal.), add me to one among many. My point still stands that many top schools will have a fair share of the people he is attempting to avoid</p>

<p>I was also just pointing out a flaw in the OPs logic conservatism=anti-intellectualism. Is that fair? It’s not like even Plato can be read w/a single interpretation. Intellectualism, or lack thereof manifests itself in many ways and from many vantage points/perspectives. On top of that, I vouched for Vandy and said that you guys obviously have some degree of it. Nothing was meant be haughty or pompous. Anyway, upon glancing at what the OP is looking for (emphasis on community among other things), they will get it at Vandy, but they seem really hardcore about it. Maybe they should also consider a smaller LAC.</p>

<p>I meant the OP. I completely agree with your point bernie.</p>

<p>I know he probably didn’t intend to, but op made it seems to think that, though Vandy students are attractive and confident, they lack the intellectual capacity to function outside of the classroom.</p>

<p>Male from a prestigious prep school in Arizona. Hmmm. Which one? I went to Brophy for HS, but since you didn’t mention “Jesuit” or “Catholic” but did describe it as prestigious I can only assume PCDS? There… really aren’t any other prestigious prep schools here besides that, haha.</p>

<p>If you went to PCDS you’ll be familiar with being around relatively rich people, shouldn’t have a problem fitting in there. Nobody in my experience at Vandy has ever flaunted their wealth at me, people tend to be pretty humble. And my household income is far less than yours atm, so it should be pretty comparable.</p>

<p>Academically inclined athletes fit in well here, and we have a bunch of club sports, including track/running, which should provide you with a like minded community and plenty of competition, too. The rec center is well equipped (good sized indoor and outdoor track, nice pool, solid weightroom, though they keep buying frickin ellipticals and treadmills instead of a donkey calk raise machine like we’ve been asking. </p>

<p>I’m not much of a partier but there are TONS of non-frat related parties going on almost every night on campus, especially thursday-sunday. No worries there, and so long as you’re not a total recluse you won’t find yourself wanting in that regard.</p>

<p>Community is obviously what you make of it, but there are lots of activities going on open to the vanderbilt public, and plenty of school pride (from what I can tell. I should note that I don’t care in the slightest for community, so perhaps I’d not be the best judge, but it seems people here tend to be pretty united).</p>

<p>“Intimacy and closeness among students and professors” are very prevalent, though again it’s what you make of it. Some departments are more intimate than others, though I suspect if you seek people out they will gladly reciprocate. The EES department is great – I’m on a first name basis with most of the profs, we go out to eat occasionally, and there are a few department wide hiking/canoeing trips throughout the semester where you and the teachers can kick back and share a few beers. There are also longer weekend trips if you’re interested (eg, geoconclave). Bio department not quite as much (I suspect 'cos its much bigger), but I’m on good terms with a lot of the professors. I’ve been able to make a few close friends here without much trouble, too, and strangers are all generally cordial, always returning eye contact and smiles (though a good third of the people just stare at the ground while walking).</p>

<p>Haha, good looking eh? :stuck_out_tongue: Well, at least you’re confident. </p>

<p>I’ve found riveting intellectual discussion when I’ve sought it, though I hear some people have had problems with that. Again, it’s what you make of it. We’re not all discussing foucalt and derrida in a circle sitting on the quad, but there’d be plenty of people here who’ be interested in something like that (myself included) if you start it up. I’m not much for large group discussions, but I’ve had tons of interesting several-hour long chats on philosophy, literature, and science with people here, either in small groups over long dinners or 1on1. Philosophy department has some good teachers, they’d certainly be up for chatting, as would the people taking philosophy classes (though not all of them). I haven’t encountered much in terms of competition personally, people I’ve asked are all willing to help me out academically, and so on. People do tend to be a bit preoccupied with academics and will discuss it at length, which I don’t care much for, but it sounds like you won’t mind it.</p>

<p>Most of the people I know are distinctly liberal, but I think the general trend’s toward conservatism. It’s a mid sized school, you won’t have any problems finding like minded peers. Be open to talking with those who hold conflicting viewpoints, though.</p>

<p>Bernie- thank you for your response, but I’m a little confused. Are you saying conservatism is not welcome on campus? I did not mean to imply that conservatism entails “anti-intellectualism”. Rather, just that, being quite liberal, I would prefer an environment that is not predominantly conservative.</p>

<p>Classof2013- I’m not sure how I came off that way, but I assure you I didn’t mean to. I have no doubt that Vandy students are extremely intelligent (numbers don’t lie, i.e. admissions statistics), but being intelligent doesn’t mean that one can’t be wealthy, stuck up, and arrogant-- qualities that I know will exist at almost any school, but that I hope to avoid as much as I can in a student body.</p>

<p>Moodrets- thank you very much for your insight. I beg to differ, however, that Brophy and PCDS are the only prestigious prep schools in the state. I go to Notre Dame (which I feel I can safely regard as “prestigious” primarily because of our large number of acceptances and matriculations into Ivy League and other top 20 schools this year and in recent years), which is just one of quite a few other prestigious high schools in the state (Verde Valley, Xavier, Tesseract). But yes, being at Notre Dame, I am very used to being around very wealthy people. It typically doesn’t bother me, but, as I’ve said, it is something I wish to avoid; economic diversity is something I’ve grown thirsty for after living in Scottsdale for almost my whole life.
All of your other information was very helpful, and much appreciated.</p>

<p>I’m planning a visit to a bunch of schools, including Vandy, this summer, so I’m hoping that the campus vibe will tell me everything I need to know.</p>

<p>Again, I thank all of you for your insight.</p>

<p>I didn’t mean to imply they were, only that PCDS is the only prep school I can think of 'round here that’s not religiously inclined (I’d include Brophy, Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, Xavier, etc in the “prestigious catholic prep schools category”). Funny you didn’t mention the Catholic part. I’d never heard of Verde Valley and Tesseract, but judging by their tuitions they’re prestigious enough! Haha, clearly I don’t know who’s who in the exciting world of Arizona High Schools.</p>

<p>I’m not really sure I’d know what economic diversity would look like or that you’d notice it much, unless you pay attention to fashion or something. Prior to their telling me or my staying at their house or something I’d not have been able to tell the multimillionaires from the lower class. If you want to be around the visibly impoverished why not just volunteer at a shelter or kitchen or something?</p>

<p>Your very last sentence somewhat implied it unfortunately. I was trying to say that conservatism hardly seems “welcome” on many of the campuses in America, this includes the top 20s (minus Notre Dame of course). I think it may actually be healthy for Vandy to have just a tad bit more than its peers. It’s quite scary when I hear the president say at Emory’s townhall meeting: “My dear friend, the president at Northwestern, actually said that we were one of the more conservative campuses”. I think this was out of something like NU, Harvard, and us (for some consortium. I think it had to do with religion, which is something that is addressed really well on our campus compared to others due to a mixture of the diversity and liberalism that hasn’t spiraled out of control yet). Emory is in hardly no way conservative. I would suppose the diversity has probably lead to more “tolerance” and a will to civilly engage and debate difficult/controversial issues of the day publicly, whereas many campuses couldn’t because they generally lean so far to the left that campuses rather not even engage in such discourse because of the potential fallout. I mean, we have Tibetan Monks studying science here(stems from discussion w/the Dalai Lama and him being convinced that they should “modernize” to some extent). If that isn’t odd/difficult, what is?
Basically, Vandy having even a slightly more diverse campus ideologically could lead to interesting things (if the faculty, student body, and administration support such efforts). I don’t see how we did it. I think we got lucky personally. It was moreso the diversity than the hardly existent ideological diversity. However we got it, I like it because it certainly makes us a more interesting place culturally and intellectually.
As the “new” top 20, we could use things that make us different from other schools. If it wasn’t for this, we’d be just like the other top 20 D-3 schools, but with a lower rank. I am really convinced that, other than UChicago, the educational quality and/or rigor hardly differs from the other schools. After researching and looking at work of peers including some Ivies, I’m now convinced that the difference is moreso in perception/prestige and the stats. of incoming students moreso than educational quality. In fact I’ve found that many classes were harder (content wise, I don’t know about grading and workload) than many of the Ivies. I’m sure a similar pattern would be found if you compared a place like Vandy and other non-Ivy top 20s to them. If you’re ever curious when, say sitting in a harda** organic chem. or neuroscience course , how bad your friends at some higher ranked Ivy. Go onto their website or google to see. Just find the course number of their equivalent class and type in something like: “Chem X exam”. You will often be p<strong>ed to see that your friends at these higher ranked schools suffer much less. This is one reason grades are so high these places. They are, surprisingly, in many instances, straight up easier. One would expect science courses at these schools to be tougher, but it hardly is the case (many are easier than the top publics). If in the social sciences, it it’ll be the grading differences/standards that p</strong>s you off (the structure of courses and the workload will be similar, but there will be less As at non-Ivies, except Princeton). </p>

<p>Perhaps, if you haven’t applied yet, you should also consider us. It seems it has the right mixture. But if the D-1 sports team fervor is more important than the cultural scene I describe, don’t even waste the 50 bucks.</p>

<p>Also, summer visits don’t tell much as a majority of the student body isn’t there. Given that, try to kind of observe any summer programs (often targeting HS students) occurring. It may give you an idea of some initiatives or programs/themes taken serious on campus.</p>

<p>Try and observe any activities (or people) associated with things like this:
<a href=“http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cngr/summer_programs/[/url]”>http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cngr/summer_programs/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;