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Vandy's Strengths?

jax123jax123 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
edited August 2013 in Vanderbilt University
Hey guys, I'm just wondering about what Vandy is known for academically. It seems as though everybody in my school (in Texas) wants to go to Vanderbilt, but what is it particularly well known for (besides premed and education). This may be flawed, but it seems like it's on the level of NYU, USC, etc, schools I understand provide the same education as UT, UCB, UVA, etc. Can anyone provide hard stats? Thanks :).
Post edited by jax123 on

Replies to: Vandy's Strengths?

  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,263 Senior Member
    Dude, it's really hard to provide hard stats. about undergrad. educational quality. By the way, education is primarily great at the grad professional level. Your peers probably like it because of its reputation, the fact that its academics are as strong or stronger than some of those places, and the desirable atmosphere (still very fun while having very strong academics).

    Also, if you ask about academic quality, what do you define as high quality?: rigor (I would argue that Vandy is more rigorous than many of those places you mentioned, but it is probably dependent upon department For example, I've seen some of the chemistry coursework, and know UCB, UT, and many of the top privates should be more difficult, but I don't know about teaching quality. Of course, anything associated with engineering at places like UT and UCB will be ridiculous.), top notch faculty members (which quite often does not necessarily equate into a good classroom experience. Vandy certainly has these though), research opps( Vandy, like most top 20s, will beat those schools you listed because it's smaller, the opps. are plentiful and consequently more accessible at an earlier time in the UG career), student engagement with academics (how much they study/week on average, how often do they read without being pushed by faculty members. Sometimes this data can be found on Universities' office of institutional research website), scholarship (award winning UG students based on scholarly activity and academic achievement: of course a place like Vandy will do well here. You can maybe go on their website and type in fulbright scholarships, Goldwater, Gates-Cambridge, Truman, etc and get an idea of how well they do here; How many people pursue honors/masters at the UG level, etc).

    I mean, your question is perhaps vague and depends on what aspect of academics you are looking for. For example, many people considering elite schools choose between more "scholarly type of environments" (like Chicago, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, MIT, Caltech) or schools that are quite pre-professionally oriented (the two need not be mutually exclusive, but one cannot really deny how different the 2 types of schools "feel" academically and socially. I think Vandy falls in the latter category and is also very fun and is thus desirable to lots of students) and some in some weird, confusing "limbo" between the 2. Some students, depending on field of interest, also would probably care about innovation in teaching and things like that. Also, Vandy won't likely be the same as those places because of the size and smaller variations in student body quality. For example, at a school like Vandy, you'll have more people with lots of AP credits that may start coursework in their area of interest at a higher level. Schools like it will also offer more options for freshmen who do indeed come in at a high level (and again, more will take advantage of such options). You'll see more stratified intro. math courses (and physics I think). Most of these types of schools have a freshman organic chemistry course (Vandy has this). Outside of science, top private schools tend to be more flexible with level of coursework taken in humanities and social sciences. Students, because of the ability levels are often trusted to take higher level courses without pre-reqs (like you may be able to take a polsci methods course as freshman or an advanced/intermediate special tops course in history or something). This will create a difference in academic environment on its own.

    I mean, I don't know about better, you'll have to find that out through more research on the school pin-pointing things you value academically, but it is certainly different than many of those places (I would guess UVa would be similar in atmosphere, but larger and a different curriculum?). It's smaller, with more concentrated talented, and the courses offered (and those being taken by students) will reflect this at schools like this.
  • bud123bud123 Registered User Posts: 692 Member
    When considering the quality of academics there are no "hard stats". Rankings look at class size, graduation rates, student to teacher ratios, prestige, wealth, quality graduate schools, research productivity, and the opinion of so called experts etc......these are all "soft data".
    A nice thing about Vanderbilt is the so called experts rank Vanderbilt as one of only 15 schools in the top 20 USNWR and top 50 World Academic Rankings for academics and research. When you look at that list only a few are also selected by students as having happy students with a great quality of life in a great city.
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