Timothy Peck 6 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, School Comparisons

Emory vs. Vanderbilt: Which College is Right for You?

There are a lot of similarities between Emory and Vanderbilt: they’re both highly ranked (each is in the top 25 of in the U.S. News ranking of national universities), both are located in great cities, and both claim the title of “Harvard of the South.” 

 

If you’re deciding between the two schools, you have some top-notch options. In this post, we’ll go over the similarities and differences between Emory vs. Vanderbilt, to help you decide which school is best for you. 

 

Learn more about Emory and Vanderbilt and see your chances of acceptance.

 

Emory vs. Vanderbilt: A Quick Overview

 

Emory  Vanderbilt
Location Atlanta, GA Nashville, TN
Campus Type City  City 
Undergraduate Enrollment 7,118 6,886
Acceptance Rate 16% 9%
U.S. News Ranking 21 14
Middle 50% SAT 1410-1550 1510-1580
Middle 50% ACT 32–35 34-36
Sticker Price $72,942 $75,974
Need-blind, no-loan, or meets 100% demonstrated need? Need-blind

100% need met (US only) 

Need-blind

No-loan

100% need met

 

Emory vs. Vanderbilt: A Closer Look

Location and Weather

 

Atlanta, Georgia, the home of Emory University, is one of the largest, best-known cities in the South. The school’s location near downtown offers easy access to numerous cultural, recreational, and dining opportunities. The weather is distinctly southern, with hot, humid spring and summer days and mild falls and winters—the average temperature in January is a pleasant 43°F. 

 

Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, the state capital of Tennessee and one of the South’s cultural hubs. Often called the “Music City,” it’s home to the Grand Ole Opry stage and radio show, along with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Thousands of concerts are held in Nashville annually, and the city’s popularity with music-focused tourists has also led to a booming food scene. Much like Atlanta, Nashville’s weather is noted for sweltering, sticky summers and more mild winter weather. 

 

Size

 

Emory has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 8,079 students and is home to another 7,372 graduate and professional students. The average undergraduate class size at Emory is 20 students, with a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

 

Vanderbilt has an undergraduate enrollment of 6,886 and a total enrollment of 12,052 students. The student-faculty ratio at Vandy is 7:1, and 61.1% of its classes have fewer than 20 students in them. 

 

When comparing Vanderbilt vs. Emory, it’s notable that the two schools have similarly sized overall student bodies and similarly proportioned ratios of undergraduates to graduate students. One distinction between the two is Vanderbilt’s slightly lower student-to-faculty ratio. 

 

Academics

 

Emory University’s academic offerings are expansive, with 86 majors, 63 minors, and more than 10 pre-professional programs provided by its four undergraduate schools. Those four schools are: 

 

  • Emory College of Arts and Sciences
  • Oxford College
  • Goizueta Business School
  • The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

 

Study abroad is a popular program at Emory—one in three students study abroad in more than 45 countries. 

 

Vanderbilt is also divided into four undergraduate schools. Those four schools are: 

 

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Peabody College of Education and Human Development 
  • School of Engineering
  • Blair School of Music 

 

In addition to Vandy’s numerous majors, it also offers a handful of interdisciplinary programs such as Medicine, Health, and Society and African American and Diaspora Studies. 

 

One of the school’s most-decorated programs is its Peabody College of Education, which is ranked #4 (tied with UCLA) in Best Education Schools by U.S. News. Vanderbilt has more than 160 approved study abroad programs, but only about 500 students participate per year. 

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Housing

 

Residential life is important at Emory—first- and second-year students are required to live on campus and three in four of all undergraduates live in campus housing. There are a variety of housing options available including residence halls, apartment-style rooms, and themed housing such as: 

 

  • Emory Bayit House (Jewish lifestyle) 
  • Black Student Alliance 
  • Casa Emory (Spanish and Portuguese-speaking environment)
  • German House 
  • Media, Literature, and Arts Outreach House 
  • Political, Ethical, Academic, Community Experience (P.E.A.C.E) Living Learning Community
  • Scientific Research and Mentorship 

 

While residential life plays an important role at Emory, it’s integral at Vanderbilt, as all undergraduate students are required to live on campus. Vandy also offers three living learning communities:

 

  • Mayfield Experience: ten students live together and create a self-generated, self-directed group project under the guidance of a faculty advisor 
  • McGill Project: attracts students interested in free expression and discovery of their choice
  • McTyeire International House: for students interested in foreign languages and cultural awareness

 

Financial Aid

 

Emory University is committed to meeting 100% of a domestic student’s demonstrated financial need—awarding more than $200 million in undergraduate aid in the 2018-2019 academic year. 48% of full-time undergraduates receive some form of need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship of grant awarded is $43,659. 

 

When comparing Vaderbilt vs. Emory by financial aid, there are some notable similarities, such as both schools having a need-blind admissions policy and both committed to helping students meet 100% of their demonstrated need

 

However, Vandy differentiates itself with its no-loan admissions policy. This means need-based financial aid that is awarded does not include loans—97% is gift aid which doesn’t require repayment and 3% is met by a work expectation. 65% of Vanderbilt students receive some sort of financial aid with the average need-based scholarship totaling $54,138. Vanderbilt also meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students, including those outside the US.

 

Basically, you can expect Vandy’s financial aid to be more generous than Emory’s.

 

Sports and Extracurriculars

 

Although better known for their academics than athletics, the Emory Eagles do have a competitive program: they’ve won 27 NCAA Division III national championships. Emory is routinely in the running for the NACDA Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup, an annual award given by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the colleges and universities with the most success in collegiate athletics.

 

The Vanderbilt Commodores field six men’s teams (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and tennis) and nine women’s teams (basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track & field). Vanderbilt participates in the Division I Southeastern Conference (SEC)—one of the most competitive conferences in the nation—and recently won national titles in women’s tennis (2015), baseball (2014), and bowling (2007). 

 

Greek life at Emory is growing in popularity as the school has welcomed new chapters in recent years. About 30% of Emory undergraduates join a fraternity or sorority. Vanderbilt is home to 20 fraternities and 16 sororities, including eight of the “Divine Nine”—nine nationally recognized historically Black sororities and fraternities. About 40% of Vandy’s undergraduates participate in Greek life. A major difference in Greek life at the two schools is that, unlike Emory, Vanderbilt’s Greek organizations are non-residential. 

 

Culture and Diversity

 

Emory strives for diversity. Minorities make up 32% of the student body, 28% of the faculty, and 49% of the staff. More so, women make up 58% of the student body, 42% of the faculty, and 67% of the staff. LGBQT students will be excited to learn that Emory receives 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, an overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program, and practice.  

 

Ethnicity Percentage of Student Body
White 44.5%
Asian 14.5%
Black or African American 9.71%
Hispanic or Latino 7.33%
Two or More Races 3.02%
American Indian or Alaska Native <1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders <1%

 

Vanderbilt has a long history of diversity and inclusion—opening their doors to men and women in 1875 and fielding the first Black athlete in the SEC. Vanderbilt also scores well on the Campus Pride Index, earning 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Ethnicity Percentage of Student Body
Asian or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 14.6%
Black/African American 11%
Hispanic 10%
International 9.7%
Two or more races 5.5%
American Indian or Alaska Native <1%

 

How to Decide Between Emory vs. Vanderbilt 

 

Many students will consider themselves lucky to get into either of these distinguished institutions; however, if you’re fortunate enough to find yourself choosing between them, there are some factors that might make one a better fit than another. 

 

Emory is especially strong for students who:

 

  • Would like the opportunity to live off campus at some point in their college career. 
  • Believe in volunteerism—it’s one of the most widely pursued activities at Emory.
  • Want access to world-class companies and institutions—the school is affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Carter Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the American Cancer Society, and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. 
  • Are focused on return on investment (ROI); Princeton Review ranked it 33rd in the nation for overall ROI.

 

Vanderbilt is especially strong for students who:

 

  • Want to attend a school that plays big-time college football—six of the last ten D1 college football national champions have come from the SEC. 
  • Want to graduate college debt free. 
  • Believe in the benefits of attending a residential college. 
  • Are music lovers (country music lovers will especially love Vandy).
  • Are looking for a school with great value—U.S. News placed the school ninth in its ranking of Best Value Colleges.

 

Will your odds of admission affect your choice between Emory and Vanderbilt? Our free changing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S.—including Emory and Vanderbilt. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.