Is Vanderbilt a Good School? Pros and Cons of Vanderbilt University


is Vanderbilt a Good School

When it comes to choosing a school to attend students and parents alike are lost for options. Getting the best education is the priority but deciding on the right school can be challenging. If Vanderbilt University has come up on your radar as a prospective school to further your education after high school, I have conducted thorough research to help you decide where the school is good for you.

You cannot afford to make the wrong choice with your education and one thing I’ve found out is that there’s no one size fits all for colleges in the United States. A school may be good for student A because they are majoring in engineering but would be the wrong choice for student B who wants to pursue a career in economics while having the time of their life.

In this article, you will discover whether Vanderbilt University is a good school for you or your ward.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School?

Vanderbilt University is a good school. The university is ranked #16 for inclusivity and has a prestigious reputation in the United States. It gives students access to financial aid to support their education and has a balanced professor/student ratio, ensuring a balanced academic environment. 

I have taken my time to spell out the pros and cons of attending Vanderbilt University. By going through them, you will learn the strengths of the school and some of its weaknesses.

Pros of Vanderbilt University 

Vanderbilt University has a couple of strengths that are quite commendable. They include:

Great Reputation

For what it is worth, Vanderbilt University is one of those universities in the United States whose students are accorded certain favors just because of the school’s name. Although the school cannot be compared with certain top universities in the United States in terms of reputation, there are numerous places where a Vanderbilt University certificate would be highly appreciated.

Good Learning Environment 

How good is a school without the right learning environment? Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville and the city is booming with all the social vibes every young person would love. For a school founded in 1873, Vanderbilt has a pretty cool urban campus and I am certain anyone would love its beautiful structures and state-of-the-art facilities.

The serenity of the campus and the excitement that feels the atmosphere in Nashville is awesome. From the nightlife to the music, everything in Nashville and VU is desirable.

Care and Guidance for Students

This is something that is commendable coming from a school like Vanderbilt. If you are not aware, there are hundreds of colleges in the United States that do not place any priority on students. You do not want to be in a situation where you cannot handle yourself in such colleges. At Vanderbilt, students are given the best of care and guidance. The school is ranked #16 in the United States for inclusivity.

Access to Financial Aid 

Vanderbilt University offers financial aid to students who may have challenges paying for their tuition. Although this is a common practice, there are not so many schools that do it. This is why I considered it a point for the university if you’re considering going there.

Good Music School

Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music is consistently ranked in the top 10 music schools in the United States. If you are considering going to Vanderbilt for a music degree, stop considering and apply already because you would be in safe hands.

Fair Professor/Student Ratio 

I do not have the exact figures but Vanderbilt has over 1000 professors both full-time and part-time which put the professor/student ratio somewhere around 1:8. This point supports the inclusivity the school is known for and suggests that students have access to their professors and the administration of the school.

SEC Football 

If you are sports-inclined, you would like this point. Vanderbilt University is among the 14 teams that make up the widely recognized SEC Football league. The university’s team is called Vanderbilt Commodores and they’re doing pretty well in the East League of SEC Football.

Cons of Vanderbilt University

There is no perfect system anywhere and as much as I hate to break it to you, Vanderbilt has some negatives. These negatives include:

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Expensive Tuition Fees

The cost of tuition fees at Vanderbilt University is almost thrice the average in the United States. Even among colleges in Nashville, Vanderbilt University has the most expensive tuition. Currently, Vanderbilt Tuition fees cost $58,130.

Delayed Access to Financial Aid

While it is a good thing that students can access financial aid to cushion the burden of attending Vanderbilt, the process of getting this aid could make one lose faith and not want it after all. Many students who I asked about the financial aid process complained about the back-and-forth movements with the financial aid officer and how the process can take weeks before it pulls through.

Highly Competitive Admission Process

One of the many things to consider when applying to college is the school’s acceptance rate. This gives you an idea of how difficult it is to get admitted to the school. The Vanderbilt acceptance rate for the class of 2026 is 17.6% which means the school is quite hard to get into.

Overpriced Meals

The cost of food is overpriced for its quality. There is no variety and the charge does not seem commensurate with the quality you’d be getting. This may not be a problem for you if you do not like food. But I love good food. The food at Vanderbilt is great but for the price, you’d expect something better.

Grade Deflation 

If you do not understand what grade deflation means, the perfect way to explain it is having more Cs than As and Bs which makes your GPA take a downward slide. Certain students, especially those in pre-med, complain of these deflations and it is quite a turnoff for me. If you study hard, this may not be a problem for you.

Overcrowded Dining Halls 

There are two dining halls in the school which is not enough. These halls get filled up and I see no reason why the school is not solving this issue. Especially during lunchtime, the halls become congested and it could be difficult to eat in peace there.

To be fair and unbiased, the pros of Vanderbilt outweigh the cons and it is by every standard a good school.

Vanderbilt Acceptance Rate

The Vanderbilt acceptance rate is 17.6% for early decisions and 4.7% for regular decisions. This indicates that the school’s admission process is quite competitive and it can be difficult to get admitted. If you plan on getting into Vanderbilt, you can increase your chances by ensuring you meet the admission requirements of the school.

Vanderbilt Admission Requirements

The Vanderbilt admission requirements are based on three options. Applicants can choose to use the Coalition powered by SCOIR, Common Application, and QuestBridge. Some of the requirements for admission into Vanderbilt for normal students are:

  1. Completion of all the requirements by any of the application processes including personal and short essays
  2. Payment of a $50 non-refundable application fee
  3. High school transcript document
  4. Letters of recommendation from two academic teachers and a Counselor
  5. SAT or ACT scores

Admission Requirements for Music School Applicants 

Applicants to the Vanderbilt music school are required to complete a Blair School of Music Application. The requirements for admission for this category of applicants include:

  1. Letter of recommendation from a music artist
  2. Provision of a photo or headshot for identification purposes
  3. Uploading a pre-screening video
  4. Provision of a repertoire list
  5. Provision of a music resume

For more information about the requirements for the Blair School of Music, please visit

Admission Requirements for International Students

International students need to complete the registration prompts in the international section of the Common Application. They are also expected to submit the official results of the TOEFL iBT (including Home and Paper Editions), Duolingo English Test, IELTS, TOEFL Essentials, and PTE Academic, where applicable.

Additionally, international students are expected to submit a completed College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile. Click HERE to read more details if you are an international applicant.

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Vanderbilt Tuition

The Vanderbilt Tuition for the 2022/2023 academic year is $58,130. Other fees at Vanderbilt University are provided in the table below: 

Fee Cost
Tuition $58,130
Housing $12,720
Food $7,142
Books and Supplies $1,194
Student Services Fee $1,480
Student Health Fee $738
Personal Expenses $3,008
Transportation Varies
TOTAL $84,412

Vanderbilt University Rankings

Rankings are not usually a significant way to determine how good a school is but they cannot be ignored. The table below shows all the Vanderbilt University Rankings across a range of ranking institutions and metrics:

Rank Category Source
#1 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in Tennessee Niche
#1 Colleges with the Best Professors in Tennessee Niche
#1 Top Party Schools in Tennessee Niche
#4 Best Colleges for Music in America Niche
#5 Colleges with the Best Student Life Niche
#6 Learning Communities U.S. News
#8 Best Value School U.S. News
#9 Best Colleges for Engineering in America Niche
#13 National Universities U.S. News
#13 Top Private Universities in America Niche
#15 US Rankings Times Higher Education
#21 Best Undergraduate Teaching U.S. News
#28 Best Universities in the United States QS
#32 First-Year Experience U.S. News
#57 Clinical, Pre-Clinical, and Health Times Higher Education
#68 Most Innovative Schools U.S. News
#78 Best Global Universities U.S. News
#98 World University Ranking Times Higher Education
#199 Best Universities QS
#319 Best Universities by Subject QS

What Majors is Vanderbilt Known For

According to Vanderbilt University, the school is known for its Education and Human Development programs. Other majors Vanderbilt University is known for include:

  1. Economics
  2. Liberal Arts and Humanities
  3. Social Science Research Methods
  4. Mathematics, and
  5. Computer Science

If you would like to pursue a career in any of the above courses, then Vanderbilt University is an excellent choice.

Is Vanderbilt an Ivy League?

No. Vanderbilt University is not an Ivy League school. Although the school was established during the time when Ivy League schools were established and boast a reputation as cool as theirs, Vanderbilt University is not an Ivy League school. 

Deciding to go to a school because it is Ivy League does not guarantee the needed educational training you need. Some Ivy League schools only offer you the certificate of a reputable school and zero training on certain courses. Ivy League or not, Vanderbilt University is a great school.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Engineering?

The Vanderbilt School of Engineering is ranked #43 in Best Engineering Schools in the United States by U.S. News. Although this may be at the far end of the top 50 spectra, Vanderbilt is one of the top schools for engineering in the United States. One good thing about the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt is that it offers a variety of engineering programs.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Computer Science?

Computer Science at Vanderbilt is offered under its School of Engineering. Among the many subsets of the school, Computer Science is among the top five proficiencies of the school. Yes. Vanderbilt is a good school for computer science and its master’s degree program is highly rated in the country.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Business?

Vanderbilt often comes in the top 25 of business schools in the United States. The Owen Graduate School of Management offers students a personal approach to business which has yielded several outstanding outcomes. The school’s career support is quite exceptional as the professors provide coaching at an individualized level for students.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Pre-Med?

Vanderbilt’s pre-med program may not be as highly rated as Georgetown or the University of Notre Dame but their program is decent. The school has one of the best biomedical engineering programs in the country which points to why Vanderbilt pre-med program doesn’t suck at all.

If rankings are anything to go by, Vanderbilt’s pre-med rankings show that the school is in the top 20 of best pre-med schools. It is ranked #13 in the best medical schools for research.

Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Nursing?

Yes. Vanderbilt is a good school for nursing. The school is ranked #8 in the best nursing schools in the United States for its Master’s program and #13 in the best nursing schools for its Doctorate program. Their undergraduate program has stayed within the top 20 in the country over the years.

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Is Vanderbilt a Good School for Architecture?

In Tennessee, Vanderbilt has a good standing for Architecture. What I mean is, among the colleges in Tennessee, Vanderbilt has the best Architecture program. However, when we consider it broadly, the school is ranked #68 in the United States which means there are schools that are way better than Vanderbilt for Architecture.


What is Vanderbilt known for academically?

Vanderbilt is known academically for its music, computer science, pre-med, nursing, and business programs. Its biomedical engineering program is one of the best in the country outshining other engineering programs in the school. However, when it comes to music, computer science, and business – Vanderbilt is quite sound.

Is Vanderbilt a hard school to get into?

Yes. Vanderbilt is a hard school to get into. The Vanderbilt acceptance rate is 17.6% which means only 176 students are accepted at the school per 1000 applicants. If you plan on applying to Vanderbilt you must have a pretty high SAT or ACT score or a 3.0 GPA if you are a transfer student.

Is Vanderbilt a Tier-1 school?

Vanderbilt is a tier-1 school. Tier 1 schools usually consist of major private research universities in the country and Vanderbilt is one of them. Others include MIT, Northwestern University, Duke, Stanford, John Hopkins, and a host of others.

Is Vanderbilt the Harvard of the South?

Vanderbilt is nicknamed the Harvard of the South and there are reasons which support this affirmation. The major reason why Vanderbilt is considered the Harvard of the South is because the quality of education offered at the school is unmatched in the region.

Is Vanderbilt University an R1?

Yes. Vanderbilt University is an R1 university. The school is among three schools that were awarded the R1 status which includes the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Memphis. R1 universities are schools that meet the benchmarks in research activity and expenditures which are measured by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Which is harder to get into Duke or Vanderbilt?

Judging from their acceptance rates, Duke is harder to get into than Vanderbilt. Duke acceptance rate for 2022 is 8% while the Vanderbilt acceptance rate for 2022 is 17.6%. This means students stand a better chance of getting into Vanderbilt than Duke.

Is Vanderbilt a Coke or Pepsi School?

Vanderbilt is a Pepsi school. The university announced that its official beverage is PepsiCo. For dining operations, school functions, and other activities involving beverages, Pepsi cans, and bottles are served. The company even supports infrastructure development at the school too.


This has been quite a read. I am optimistic you have a concise breakdown of what Vanderbilt is about and whether the school is a good one. It is important to note that a school may be good for student A but never for student B. If you plan on studying music, or computer science, or attending a pre-med school and you have the finance to back it, then Vanderbilt is a good option for you.

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