Academics at Vanderbilt are awesome. Due to a small class size, the school is able to reduce our class sizes down, and even in our largest classes, some professors have memorized all of our names. The first year has been great and all of our faculty is extremely accessible. Grading is fair and done on a bell curve system. Teachers use the Socratic method in various ways but are usually very gentle if a student does not have the answer correct.
The facilities at Vanderbilt were one major factor in my decision to attend. The classrooms are great and the library has plenty of seating as well as extremely helpful staff. The cost of living is slightly more than my undergraduate city, but it is still much more affordable than a big city would be. Campus is a natural arboretum and is beautiful to walk around during the day.