I'm a transfer student who is working to obtain a Bachelor's in Music Education with a Vocal Emphasis.
I like Lee, but I am also a realist. That said, one of the problems with people's perception of Lee is that people either think everything is great and wonderful or they criticize Lee for the wrong things. (There's little in-between, in other words.) What do I mean by the wrong things?
1. Lee is a Christian school, founded by the Church of God in Cleveland. Therefore, there are rules you will need to follow, like going to chapel, not having premarital sex, etc. Lee isn't going to change that anytime soon, so get used to it. That said, Lee students enjoy lots of freedom and, particularly for upperclassmen, some of the rules aren't very strictly enforced, especially if you live off campus. Many of my friends do enjoy drinking and smoking.
2. Lee is a small private school. Therefore, Lee does not have the resources other schools, like large state schools such as UTK, have. You aren't going to have a ton of wiggle room as far as class times, for instance. That said, people are generally helpful and the president of the university is extremely receptive to the needs of the student body (there's even an "Ask the President" chapel). We do have good resources for what you will need to accomplish while here and are making considerable progress.
3. Lee's a work in progress. In all honesty, Lee is just beginning to come into its own as a university. The three primary departments are Religion, Music, and Education. Close behind those are Psychology and Business. Even in the good departments, however, there is progress to be made, particularly in terms of reputation with other schools and intercollegiate competitions/conferences in various fields.
I'm not saying that any one person's experience was wrong, but many times, I'm assailed with complaints that could have been easily resolved in the "deciding where to go for college" stage had that person realistically evaluated what they wanted in a school compared to what Lee would provide.
*Lee basically has a total acceptance rate; that is, you are very likely to get in. That said, the average ACT/SAT scores has risen steadily with each new class.
*Lee's not a very difficult school. Some classes may be difficult, but making good grades, if you apply yourself, shouldn't be a challenge for someone who excelled in high school. That doesn't mean you can shirk your responsibilities, though, and some professors are very academically intensive (and, somewhat ironically, those are some of the best loved).
*Generally speaking, the faculty is awesome. You will build relationships with many of them while you are at Lee. I happen to think most are highly qualified teachers, since I've only met one or two that I felt was incompetent, which isn't something you can say for all schools. Also, even if you don't care for their teaching style, they are often more than willing to help and respond to your needs.
*I not thrilled with Cleveland, TN by any stretch of the imagination, but with Knoxville and Chattanooga close by, as well as Atlanta and Nashville only two hours away, you can always find something to do with your friends over weekends.
*Lee is a good size to me. At roughly 4,000 students, it's simultaneously familiar and new at the same time.
*Lee is one of the cheapest private Christian schools around. The reason for this is that the Church of God subsidizes the tuition rate there for all of its students. Still, you will need to take into account that scholarships will not be as abundant (though nor as competitive) as they are in large state schools. Also, budget in the fact that you will need a cross-cultural trip will cost an average of $4000.
*Parking is not the horror story many students will tell you. It only costs $25 (per year or semester, I don't remember), and chances are good, particularly after Freshman year, that your parking lot will be very close to your dorm. This is not the case at state schools, where you could pay $500 or more on a space far away from your dorm.
Final Words...When choosing a college, always keep in mind that you will live there at the college. The people there will be around you wherever you go. I didn't do that my first time, and took two years before correcting that mistake. Rankings are good, but they aren't everything. Also keep in mind that, when choosing a major, you have certain odds of getting a job in that field: in other words, make sure your odds are good.