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Will I be disadvantaged at Vandy?

FranciscoPizarroFranciscoPizarro 8 replies9 postsRegistered User Junior Member
I'm growing kinda nervous/jealous about my fellow incoming freshmen who are wealthy ultranerds with ridiculously high stats, resources, highly educated parents, etc from private/prep schools and whatnot.

I'm a white male with avg/below avg stats (34 ACT, mediocre ECs) from a poor rural Southern town. No one from my family has a high school diploma and I've been around anti-intellectualism and drug addiction for a lot of my life.

Not looking for a "this shows how well you've done!" type response, but I feel WOEFULLY inferior and unprepared.
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Replies to: Will I be disadvantaged at Vandy?

  • happy1happy1 22649 replies2223 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    edited June 17
    You asked this already and got many responses. https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/vanderbilt-university/2129088-admitted-vandy-ed2-please-assuage-my-anxiety.html#latest

    I will add that if you hit any academic bumps along the road (as many do regardless of their background) take advantage of resources on campus (ex. writing center, tutoring centers) and go to professor's office hours.
    edited June 17
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22415 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Be yourself. Don't try to keep up with the spending of others and don't apologize for your background.

    I find it best to be honest. If you don't know about something, ask. New foods to try or don't know how to get airline tickets home? Ask.
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  • bernie12bernie12 5427 replies10 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 17
    @FranciscoPizarro : I really really hope that people in that other thread put the idea that having ultra high stats matters at selective universities (the fact is, pursuing humanities, you probably will not encounter many assessments similar to an AP/IB and definitely not the SAT/ACT. If you do, you are choosing courses very badly. Courses will focus on developing excellent critical thinking and analytical skills, research skills, and writing skills. And trust me, no matter the SAT range at a school....most students coming out of HS will have to adjust to curricula focusing on such things). I noticed that someone alluded to your "smarts" over there (basically saying, it isn't because you were resilient and strived to do better, but because you have "smarts"....yeah I would say it is the smarts to try again and keep trucking). Uhmmm, don't put too much value in displaying some special innate talent or the illusion of it. Lots of high achievers who go to elite schools fall into this rabbit hole. This often results in students applying sort a "fixed" (lots of good research coming back into light about fixed versus growth mindsets: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/fixed-mindset-vs-growth-mindset/) mindset (towards learning where they avoid intellectual and academic risks because they either want to appear perfect/talented to others or are desperate to remain paper perfect for employers/next opps. And the worst thing about it is that when confronted with academic/intellectual challenge, those worried about this don't respond that well. They just assume that "well, I am simply not smart enough because it is supposed to come easy".

    The reality is that you are obviously very intelligent, but a better assumption to make is that you can and must constantly develop yourself, even after stumbling. From the looks of your post here and elsewhere, you may have that sort of resilience that a lot of folk who appear so perfect just don't have when confronted with challenging situations. Be yourself, and worry about your own social and intellectual development. Don't worry about other folks, especially before even stepping foot on campus. You'll find that you have plenty of assets BECAUSE of your background and good attitude. Don't get caught up in comparison wars now or when you get there. It will do your mental health and performance a lot of good.
    edited June 17
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2298 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Don’t worry about ‘imposter syndrome’ and not fitting into Vandy. You earned your acceptance and hard work and innate intelligence will win out.
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  • PureShoresPureShores 89 replies9 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    You have a 34.. That's way above average! They accepted you for a reason. Always ask for help when you're struggling.
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  • TS0104TS0104 832 replies26 postsRegistered User Member
    Where are you getting the picture of your class? From stats and social media (incoming class facebook groups, etc)? Remember that this is not a true picture of everyone. There will be kids with your stats there. There will be kids on scholarship, or not, who don't have unlimited spending money. You'll find them, don't worry. College is unlike high school, you will encounter much more diversity, even though it doesn't seem like it from what you are seeing on paper/social media.
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  • bernie12bernie12 5427 replies10 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Let us please stop talking about their anguish over an ACT scores. A few points above or below them should make no difference, especially given what they plan to major in. OP should not even be thinking about it. They took it, did well, got in. It's over. Their college course work is highly unlikely to separate elite test takers based on those tests unless they choose pretty poorly run courses. Let us just assume they won't and not mention the scores. There is also plenty of economic and demographic diversity.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7591 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP; I think that your vision of your future classmates is outdated. Vanderbilt is diverse & full of outgoing, social students.

    A score of 34 on the ACT is outstanding & above at least half of your class. Don't waste energy on negative thoughts. You should be thrilled & excited about your upcoming journey at such an distinguished, diverse & exciting school & city.
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm going to give you my perspective and it's a little different than what you might have heard already.

    You're going to feel like a fish out of water. That's normal and natural. All those other kids who seem so sophisticated and accomplished feel the same way.

    You're probably used to always being the smartest kid in the class. (I know that's how I was at my rural high school in central Illinois.) That won't be the case at Vandy. You'll be one of many, many kids who are just as smart as you are. And that's okay.

    Your background might be different than those of students who will become your friends and classmates. They'll challenge you with new ways of thinking and they'll take things for granted that are completely new and different to you. And that's okay, too.

    Be yourself. Be open to new things. It will be different than the life you've lived for the last 17 years or so. And that's okay, too.

    Your "stats" are not average; they're above average. And your story is a compelling one. At least Vandy admissions thought so. Don't be ashamed of who you are or where you came from. And don't assume that others are "better" in any way than you are because they have more resources or their parents have fancy degrees and even fancier pedigrees. People are people. There's a reason why the golden rule—treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself—is a basic tenet of faith the world over. It works.

    You'll be okay.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2298 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    And at this point everyone has a clean slate once freshman year of college starts. A perfect GPA/test scores from a top rated high school/privilege means nothing if the student can’t handle the academics. There are plenty of students with high academic numbers who will do badly first year.

    I think the OP will do fine as he is willing to put in the work and effort to succeed in any environment. Plus it seems like he is intellectually curious and will utilize Vandy’s resources to the fullest.
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  • AnisqoyoAnisqoyo 21 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    If you scored a 34 on your ACT, then you've received a solid education that positions you to compete with other students in your class at Vandy. Don't know what your chosen area of study will be, but from my experience, the first semester is where you will build the confidence you need to cast off any feelings of inferiority and unpreparedness. If you hunker down the first semester and make your school work your top priority, while watching some of those wealthy ultranerds with stratospheric stats struggle, the confidence you gain from doing so will allow you to relax and enjoy the remaining best four years of your life. All while getting a superior education that prepares you for a rewarding and comfortable life - not only for you, but also for your family. However, your 1st semester will be the key. Be prepared and don't lose your focus. There are a lot of distractions for college students in their first year.
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  • SincererLoveSincererLove 738 replies21 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 18
    If Only you can access to parents FB page and see how many parents who are complaining about decreasing FAs!

    Not everyone is wealthy in the school and there are a lot of kids on FA, I would think almost half of the kids are on FAs. But you also have kids who have private planes in their family. You will experience way more diversity than you are used to in your HS. At least that is my D’s experience.

    From what I have seen, kids are kind to each other while they know who are on FA or not. Your peers, at least the peers who you want to be friends would understand that they like you as a person, not you with your bank account as a friend!

    Head up, and enjoy your new journey and new adventure! All the scoreboards are wiped clean. It is up to you to make your own scores! Best of luck!
    edited June 18
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  • FionaGallagherFionaGallagher 10 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    @FranciscoPizarro For what it is worth, my son will be attending Vandy in the fall. He is from a small town in rural
    Missouri, has a 34 ACT, and is receiving a ton of aid. You won’t be alone!
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