2 years ago
Admissions Advice

What is my best approach to apply for Vanderbilt?

Some basic descriptions:

I'm currently at the end of sophomore year and I have a 4.00 Unweighted, 4.54 Weighted GPA. I'll be graduating at the end of my junior year, having fulfilled all my credits. At the end of high school, I'll have taken 10 APs, and 4 weighted classes. My SAT is 1480 (Which I don't plan on applying with) and my ACT is a 34 (I still have 1 or 2 more shots at increasing it). I've taken each test once.

I plan on majoring in chemistry and minoring in environmental science. This should help me with my future, where I want to research more environmentally friendly solutions to industrial agriculture. As such, I've taken the hardest classes in these subjects (APES, AP Chem, and I will be taking Organic Chem next year).

My extracurriculars are:

Piano, I'm at OMTA Level 10 which is the highest level. I've been playing since I was 4.

Debate, I'll be a captain next year and I've been debating since I saw the club in 6th grade. I also help volunteer to teach the middle school club.

I also started and preside over a middle school ecology club where I help supervise and lead them through outdoor activities.

Some of my hobbies include fishing, biking, hiking, and playing the guitar.

I used to swim but because of covid and living with my grandparents, athletic activities have been put on hold (it's bad for college admissions, but was necessary to protect their health as sports competitions tend to be extremely crowded).

Vanderbilt is absolutely my dream school, I wouldn't trade the world for going there. I've reached out to the professors at the chemistry department and emailed admissions officers asking about their programs, and went to their road show to gather more information. This is why I'm going to apply to ED to maximize my chances of getting in.

One major point of contention I'm concerned about is whether or not graduating early will affect my likelihood of being accepted. I hear it could mean a lack of maturity, but for me, the two main reasons I chose to do so were because I mainly talk to the juniors and seniors (who will be gone by the end of my junior year) and because I've wanted to go down the chem path since around 8th grade and I've loved chem (and can't say the same for bio or physics). Additionally, in regards to graduating early, I know this means that I have fewer opportunities to take AP courses. Would Vanderbilt understand this or would I have to compensate in other ways?

I know I've written a ton of stuff down, and I know it's probably been a pain to read through all of this, but I greatly appreciate your time. I guess the main thing I would like advice on is how I should market myself with my essays (Vandy's are extremely short!!!) to maximize my chances of getting in, as with answering the many questions I scattered within my lengthy description.

I sincerely thank you for helping me with my college search process.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

I'd say that you should highlight your long-held interest in Vanderbilt in your essays. Intersperse brief anecdotes into your writing about reaching out to professors and going to the road show, since few other applicants take the time to do these things.

Make sure to connect your interests in chemistry and sustainable agriculture with Vanderbilt as well. Talk about how specific resources at Vanderbilt will help you achieve your dreams better than anywhere else.

A break in doing sports is not something to worry about. As for graduating early, I recommend explaining your reasons for doing so in the Additional Information section. It would also be good to ask your recommenders to stress your maturity in their letters of recommendation, since this will be Vanderbilt's only concern with you graduating early. Hearing that you have maturity for your age from other mature people will certainly give admissions officers reassurance. Hope this helps!

2 years ago

On the subject of maturity, I am by no means qualified or experienced enough to give you anything really meaningful, but I can say that your essays and recommendations are your chances to prove your maturity. I doubt graduating early will affect anything for you either. You have an EXCELLENT resume and seem to be the type of student Vanderbilt is looking for. You also have expressed significant interest in Vanderbilt which significantly improves your chances of getting accepted. Colleges want students that they know will actually accept their offer of admissions if they give them the shot. Additionally, you have an incredible story that shows years of working towards your dream of attending Vanderbilt. To really improve your chances of getting into Vanderbilt I would recommend taking an interview with alumni. Interviews show interest and intent from you, the applicant. Doing interviews, especially with such an amazing story as yours, could give you a chance to share how Vanderbilt is your dream school. You also get the chance to ask questions and learn more about how Vanderbilt really is, which can be extremely informative for you as you start your application to Vanderbilt.

Lastly, in the coming year you have the chance to do amazing things. First off, I would recommend looking at as many internships in STEM as you can. You want to build a "spike" in chemistry, and the rest of the STEM fields, to really drive your interest further. I would recommend applying to summer camps next summer. Start looking at camps such as RIBS or the U of I summer camps (affordable yet fun and informative). You'll also want to push for national titles. Advance your debate game to the next level this year and next. Find a way to make yourself into the best debater you can so you can show Vanderbilt you know how to excel at anything you can do. I would recommend trying to get back into a sport you enjoy or excel at. It's not necessary, but sports are always great. With Piano, it sounds like you are a great player who has a lot of potential. Get in contact with your band directors at your school. Try to find any way to get certifications or All-State or national level band placements. Proving your skill in music will be super beneficial as well to your application. If you have a marching band, you might be interested in playing Synth for your marching band. Before I leave, I do want to add that your ecology club sounds super cool. Keep that up because that is unique and super awesome. Look up "Admissions Mom" on Reddit if you want great admissions advice.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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