Amari Larry, an incoming first-year, holds up her acceptance letter from Vanderbilt on Dec. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Amari Larry)
Amari Larry, an incoming first-year, holds up her acceptance letter from Vanderbilt on Dec. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Amari Larry)
Amari Larry

First members of Class of 2028 welcomed to Vanderbilt via early decision I

Like last year, no statistics about the EDI admissions cycle were released.

The newest Commodores were accepted to Vanderbilt’s Class of 2028 on Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. CST via the early decision I cycle. Admitted students shared why they chose Vanderbilt” and their excitement for moving to Nashville next fall.

For the second year in a row, no admissions statistics were released about the EDI cycle. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Doug Christiansen said combined EDI and EDII statistics will be published in mid-February.

QuestBridge scholars were also accepted as part of the EDI cycle but were notified of their admission on Dec. 1. Like last year, 60 students were matched to Vanderbilt via QuestBridge, compared to 30 in the Class of 2026. Students applying to the Class of 2028 had the option of whether to submit their standardized test scores, a practice that Vanderbilt has continued since the COVID-19 pandemic. Christiansen told The Hustler that a decision regarding Vanderbilt’s test-optional policy for the Class of 2029 would be made by January or February of 2024. 

“We wanted to really look at the first four years of everyone who started and left with COVID-19,” Christiansen said. “Does it [test scores] affect performance?”

Students who apply ED to Vanderbilt will either be accepted, denied or deferred to the regular decision pool, a practice that Vanderbilt began with the Class of 2026. Christiansen declined to comment on the admit rate of students deferred to RD in the Class of 2027. A “solid portion” of the 400 deferred students in the Class of 2026 were admitted, according to Christiansen. 

“Beyond excited” for “dream school”

Newly admitted students stated that touring campus helped solidify their decision to apply to Vanderbilt EDI. Megan Wachtel, who is from Granger County, Tenn., said she learned that she had been admitted through the QuestBridge program on a visit to Vanderbilt. 

“We all started crying,” Wachtel said about opening her acceptance and match letter on campus with her family.

Olivia Ryan, a native of Loxley, Ala., said speaking with campus identity center leaders and students when visiting campus was instrumental to her “falling in love” with Vanderbilt. Ryan plans to major in neuroscience on the pre-medical track in the College of Arts and Science. She said watching a heart dissection with a VUMC fellow while on campus also swayed her decision to apply to Vanderbilt EDI.

“I talked to the people [at the Women’s Center] for like an hour and a half,” Ryan said. “Everyone was so welcoming.”

Shannon Gordon reacting to being accepted to Vanderbilt’s Class of 2028 on Dec. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Gordon)

Shannon Gordon, who is from Ashburn, Va., shared Ryan’s sentiments, saying everyone she spoke to about Vanderbilt shared only positive anecdotes.

“I knew a friendly and collaborative atmosphere was something that I wanted in the school that I decided to attend,” Gordon said.  

Amari Larry, a native of Clarksville, Tenn., also said she “fell in love” with the campus when she toured Vanderbilt. She added that the professors she met and Vanderbilt’s pre-medical program made her excited to be in the classroom at Vanderbilt, where she will study cognitive studies in Peabody College on the pre-medical track as a QuestBridge scholar. 

“It felt like I was right at home,” Larry said. “All of the professors really reminded me of the teachers that I’ve had in high school with the way that they’re so concerned with their students and ready to support them.”

Mia Claire Palmer after being accepted to Vanderbilt on Dec. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Mia Claire Palmer)

When Mia Claire Palmer made the drive east to Vanderbilt from her hometown of Arlington, Tenn., she also said she was immediately drawn to Vanderbilt’s “supportive culture.” She added that the School of Engineering’s gender diversity — women make up 53% of the school’s Class of 2027 — and “cutting-edge” research also appealed to her. Both she and Gordon plan to study in the School of Engineering, majoring in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, respectively. 

“It felt like a community of people who really work together,” Palmer said. 

Alyssa Vassel echoed Palmer’s thoughts about Vanderbilt’s culture. She is from Clarksdale, Miss., and will study psychology in the College of Arts and Science. 

“I always sought the resources and educational offerings that Vanderbilt has, especially in the psychology department,” Vassel said. “It seems like the great collaborative yet rigorous environment that I need.”

A QuestBridge Scholar, Vassel describes opening her acceptance and match letter as “surreal.”

“Vanderbilt has been my dream school since I was a little kid,” Vassel said. 

Aspirations at Vanderbilt and in Nashville

At Vanderbilt, Ryan hopes to bring back and compete with the powerlifting club, which has been dormant since 2017. She added that she hopes to bring diversity to the sport at Vanderbilt.

Olivia Ryan holding up her acceptance to Vanderbilt, as photographed on Dec. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Ryan)

“[I] really [want to] inspire girls and underrepresented minorities to participate in strength sports,” Ryan said. “[Powerlifting] is very much white-male-dominated.”

Gordon also hopes to participate in club sports — she is interested in Vanderbilt’s Women’s Club Soccer team in addition to music and photography student organizations.

Wachtel is excited to join the Vanderbilt Army ROTC Go Gold Battalion. After studying human and organizational development in Peabody College, she hopes to serve in the U.S. Army for at least six years before attending business school. In high school, she participated in JROTC, for which she presented the colors at Nashville Predators games. She said this exposure to Nashville sparked her interest in Vanderbilt. 

Megan Wachtel and her family on campus, as photographed on Dec. 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Megan Wachtel)

Ryan, Palmer, Larry and Gordon all said they are looking forward to Nashville’s concert and foodie scenes. Ryan mentioned her excitement about on-campus concerts like Rites of Spring, Commodore Quake and Lights on the Lawn. Both Palmer and Larry said they love Nashville’s hot chicken — particularly Hattie B’s, with Palmer adding that White Limozeen will be her first stop in the city come August. Larry said Vanderbilt’s Taste of Nashville program “sold” her on the school. 

“I thought, ‘These people are foodies! This is perfect!’” Larry said. 

Ryan and Vassel spoke about growing up in small, rural towns and how Nashville will provide a desired change of pace. 

“I felt a little alone in the process,” Ryan said. “[Ryan’s hometown] is such a small area, and [students are] more focused on work after high school, so I had quite a bit of anxiety [about applying].” 

Vassel and Ryan students are part of Vanderbilt’s STARS — Small Town and Rural Students — College Network and said they are ready to expand their horizons. 

“As someone who has lived in a small rural town all her life, I’m used to the same limited experiences, so I can’t wait to break that pattern as I move to Nashville,” Vassel said. “I’ve also always loved the location of Vanderbilt and the whole ‘big city’ life. My first stop will definitely be Broadway.”

Palmer also mentioned hoping to explore Broadway. On campus, she hopes to join the Society of Women Engineers, environmental organizations and a Panhellenic sorority chapter. She expressed gratitude for being close to her grandparents during college, who live in Nashville. Larry also said Vanderbilt’s distance from her home is important to her. 

“I am excited that Nashville is only an hour away from where I live, so I [will] still have my support system,” Larry said. 

Larry and Vassel both stated that they hope to join Active Minds. Larry also expressed interest in Tutor Nashville, Best Buddies, Begin With Books and Vanderbilt Pre-Medical Society, while Vassel aspires to join psychology clubs and the Black Student Association.

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About the Contributor
Rachael Perrotta
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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2 months ago

What is the ED admin rate for 2028(ED 1&2)

1 month ago
Reply to  lyla