The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Dream come true’: Newest Commodores react to early decision I acceptances

Some members of the Class of 2027 were admitted via the first early decision cycle on Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. CST.
Andrea+Elorriaga+and+her+family+celebrating+her+acceptance+to+Vanderbilt%2C+as+photographed+on+Dec.+14%2C+2022.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Andrea+Elorriaga%29
Andrea Elorriaga
Andrea Elorriaga and her family celebrating her acceptance to Vanderbilt, as photographed on Dec. 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Elorriaga)

Vanderbilt notified early decision I applicants of their admissions decision on Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. CST. Accepted students reacted with excitement, shock and relief about joining the Vanderbilt community. 

The university has not yet released statistics for this admissions cycle. Last December, admissions statistics for the EDI cycle were inadvertently posted in a now-deleted Vanderbilt Admissions blog. The EDI acceptance rate was 24.1% for the Class of 2026, the EDII acceptance rate was 10.3% and the overall ED rate was 17.6%.

Whitney Childs with her acceptance letter, as photographed on Dec. 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Childs)
Whitney Childs with her acceptance letter, as photographed on Dec. 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Childs)

Whitney Childs of Sugarland, Texas, was admitted to the School of Engineering and plans to study biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt. She described checking her MyVU admissions portal around 10 times per hour on Dec. 14 and being caught off guard when her acceptance letter was made available 10 minutes early.

“I cried immediately,” Childs said. “I’m still in shock.” 

Childs said she knew Vanderbilt was the place for her when she toured the campus. Explaining that it felt different than other schools she had visited, Childs added that Vanderbilt’s balance of rigorous academics and close-knit community drew her in. On her tour, Childs described being greeted by students tabling at the Rand Wall and leaving campus with a handful of pamphlets advertising their many initiatives.

“It felt like family,” Childs said. 

Next fall, Childs is interested in joining the club swim team, Greek Life and a musical theater group. She added that she is also excited to explore Nashville’s live music, concert and restaurant scenes.

“I want to join all of the clubs; I want to dip my toe into every pond,” Childs said. 

Alessandra Messina with her acceptance letter, as photographed on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Alessandra Messina)
Alessandra Messina with her acceptance letter, as photographed on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Alessandra Messina)

Alessandra Messina, an incoming first-year from Cranston, Rhode Island, was also accepted to the School of Engineering where she plans to major in mechanical engineering. She described falling in love with Vanderbilt after touring the school while visiting Nashville for her brother’s high school baseball tournament in 2019. Despite it only being the summer before her first year of high school, she said she already knew she wanted to join the Vanderbilt community.

“I said to myself ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to get there,’” Messina said. “I started crying after seeing my acceptance; it felt so real.”

Once she arrives on campus next fall, Messina is excited to explore Nashville and its music scene. She plans to major in mechanical engineering after being part of her high school’s pre-engineering and robotics program.

“Nashville is filled with new things; it’s a new cultural experience,” Messina said.

Messina credited her parents and brother for encouraging her to work hard and not give up on her goal of attending Vanderbilt. She plans to surprise her brother with her acceptance when picking him up from college for winter break. 

“Nothing makes me happier than when I can tell that he [my brother] is proud of me,” Messina said. “He wanted me to go here [to Vanderbilt] more than I wanted to go here, which is saying a lot.”

Both Messina and fellow incoming first-year Coco Laska stated that the email notifying applicants about decisions being released went to their spam mail. Laska said she found out from a friend that decisions were coming out that night; she is one of four students accepted to Vanderbilt EDI from her high school in Westport, Connecticut. 

“I really didn’t expect to get in,” Laska said. “We’re all really surprised that all four of us got in.”

Laska explained that she knew she wanted to apply to Vanderbilt EDI after touring the campus last April. She added that she is excited to live in Nashville, participate in the Commons Cup and meet her future roommate and friends. She plans to major in mathematics.

“It lived up to my expectations and exceeded them,” Laska said. 

Valeria Toscano celebrating her acceptance to Vanderbilt, as photographed on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Valeria Toscano)
Valeria Toscano celebrating her acceptance to Vanderbilt, as photographed on Dec. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Valeria Toscano)

Valeria Toscano of Tucson, Arizona, will similarly be attending Vanderbilt with a friend from her hometown who was also accepted from the Vanderbilt EDI pool. She plans to double-major in biochemistry and chemical biology as well as neuroscience and hopes to conduct research at Vanderbilt, having been involved in research at the University of Arizona for the past two years. She added that she is excited to be part of Vanderbilt’s diverse student body and meet different types of people. 

“I would love to get involved in research right away,” Toscano said. 

Andrea Elorriaga from Johns Creek, Georgia, said she first visited Vanderbilt during her sophomore year of high school when she traveled to Franklin for a volleyball tournament. Like Laska, she hasn’t looked back since. 

“I immediately fell in love,” Elorriaga said. “I’ve never felt more excitement in my life [than when I was accepted].” 

Vanderbilt’s cultural diversity also resonated with Elorriaga, who was born in Mexico. Her mother and brother are both from Colombia, while her father was born in Venezuela. She added that she is excited to connect with different people and to join the pre-med community at Vanderbilt as she plans to major in biochemistry on the pre-med track.

“I’ve always been family oriented, but having the independence of living a couple of hours away but being close enough where it doesn’t feel too far is something I’m looking forward to,” Elorriaga said. “[I’m excited to] start over in a new place and follow the goals and dreams I’ve established for myself since I was really little.”

Also a Georgia native, Jada Mitchum similarly stated that Vanderbilt’s cultural and financial inclusivity sold her on the school. She visited the Black Cultural Center when touring Vanderbilt, where she said she envisioned her future community as a Black student.

“It is amazing to be somewhere that is inclusive and that cares about the people of color who attend their school,” Mitchum said. 

Mitchum added that the school’s architecture, specifically Zeppos Tower, made her feel like she was “in a Harry Potter movie.” She explained that her interactions with students during her campus tour showed her that Vanderbilt is different from other schools.

“Students were so nice, and everyone kept smiling at me,” Mitchum said. 

Mitchum, who plans to study sociology on the pre-law track, said she is excited to try new things at Vanderbilt. However, she also intends to join the mock trial team 

“I’m not limiting myself; I’m open to anything,” Mitchum said. 

The Office of Admissions encourages accepted students to join Vanderbilt’s online admitted student community to meet other members of their class. The portal allows students to make a profile and connect with others based on their interests. Students are also asked to upload their acceptance reaction videos for a chance to be featured on Vanderbilt’s social media. 

Messina stated that the admitted student community is helpful for meeting new people. 

“I feel like I could spend hours and hours exploring the whole website because there is so much useful information,” Messina said.

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About the Contributor
Rachael Perrotta, Senior Advisor
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and is majoring in cognitive studies, communication of science and technology and political science in Peabody College. She was previously Editor-in-Chief and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
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