Situated in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt has ten graduate and undergraduate schools, a distinguished medical center, and a wide range of institutes that provides opportunities to know and work alongside talented students and faculty.

Vanderbilt UniversityOne of America’s top universities, Vanderbilt offers 66 major fields of study in the arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development, as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

Here is a transcript of our recent interview with Brad Weiner, Admissions Counselor for Undergraduate Admissions at Vanderbilt University.

What differentiates Vanderbilt from other universities? What are Vanderbilt’s mission and core values?

For years Vanderbilt University has attracted students who are not only intellectually remarkable, but also demand a sense of balance in their lives. Our lively and exciting campus is a direct result of students willing to study hard, but are also willing to serve others, work together, be a part of a community and have fun. Indeed, one component of the Vanderbilt Community Creed is “Celebration” which, as far as we know, is fairly unique among highly selective institutions.

Another value Vanderbilt embraces is the concept of Diversity. Like other institutions of higher learning, we know how the student experience is improved by ethnic, cultural and geographic diversity. Vanderbilt, however, is dedicated to diversity of political thought, lifestyle, creed and economic background. We guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need provided alongside a Need Blind admissions process. Access and affordability are the cornerstone of our commitment to high achieving students from all backgrounds.

Vanderbilt University also has a fully residential campus for undergraduates starting in the Fall of 2008. We are excited about the completion of the Freshman Commons, a 10-year, $154 million project that combines the academic, co-curricular, and residential experiences for our incoming students.

Finally, our campus provides a beautiful oasis is the middle of a bustling metropolis unlike any other in the world. Nashville (also known “Music City”) is an entertainment, health care, governmental and education epicenter providing students with many internship, service and employment opportunities. Even more important is our positive relationship with Nashville, and our respect for our neighbors. Since 1873 Nashville and Vanderbilt University have an inextricable link, and neither the city nor The University would be the same without the other.

Did the admissions office witness any changes with this past year’s applicant pool? If so, what?

Vanderbilt University received a record number of applications from an increasingly talented group of students. We are predicting an even more competitive group this year as the number high school graduates increases and as Vanderbilt continues to attract applicants from around the globe.

What were the SAT ranges and GPA averages for the students entering this fall? What acceptance rate did Vanderbilt see this year, and how does it compare to years prior?

Vanderbilt always reports admissions data based on tenth day numbers for the entering class. The 2007 Middle 50% range for the SAT was a 1300-1480 on the Critical Reading and Math Sections. The same range on the ACT was 29-33. Vanderbilt admitted slightly less than 33% of the applicant pool.

Besides test scores and GPA, what else does the admission committee look for in an applicant?

Vanderbilt is committed to a student-centered, holistic admissions process. Although grades and standardized testing are part of our admissions process, we take much more into account including letters of recommendation, essays, strength of curriculum, and extra curricular activities.

It is no accident that our student body is so well rounded and diverse. Beyond the grades and scores we look for a variety of qualities in an applicant. Some (but certainly not all) of those qualities include students who:

  • Demonstrate an intellectualism and curiosity about the world and are excited for an undergraduate experience.
  • Are proven leaders or advocates, even if they do so quietly and without fanfare.
  • Appreciate diversity and work well with people from all backgrounds.
  • Find time for art and music.
  • Have a broad range of academic interests.
  • Successfully overcome a challenging situation.

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