What are Vanderbilt's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:
- GPA requirements
- Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
- Application requirements
In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into Vanderbilt and build a strong application.
School location: Nashville, TN
This school is also known as: Vandy, Vanderbilt University
If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
The acceptance rate at Vanderbilt is 9.6%. For every 100 applicants, only 10 are admitted.
This means the school is
extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don't meet their expectations, your chance of getting in is nearly zero.
After crossing this hurdle, you'll need to impress Vanderbilt application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We'll cover more below.
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Vanderbilt GPA Requirements
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.
The average GPA at Vanderbilt is 3.83.
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
With a GPA of 3.83, Vanderbilt
requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average. Your transcript should show mostly A's. Ideally, you will also have taken several AP or IB classes to show that you can handle academics at a college level.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.83, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
SAT and ACT Requirements
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Vanderbilt. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.
Vanderbilt SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.
The average SAT score composite at Vanderbilt is a 1505 on the 1600 SAT scale.
This score makes Vanderbilt Extremely Competitive for SAT test scores.
Vanderbilt SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile SAT score is 1450, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1560. In other words, a 1450 on the SAT places you below average, while a 1560 will move you up to above average.
Here's the breakdown of SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
|Reading + Writing||730||700||760|
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
Vanderbilt has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."
This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.
Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.
How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, Vanderbilt will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Vanderbilt forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1560, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will give you the highest Superscore possible.
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Vanderbilt ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, Vanderbilt likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
The average ACT score at Vanderbilt is 34. This score makes Vanderbilt Extremely Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 33, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35.
Even though Vanderbilt likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 33 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 34 and above that a 33 will look academically weak.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 35 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Vanderbilt, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 35.
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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.
Vanderbilt requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that Vanderbilt requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.
We did more detailed research into this school and found the following information.
SAT II scores are not required but will be evaluated. Applicants in engineering are encouraged to take one of the SAT IIs in math. Furthermore, SAT II scores can be used for class placement, so if you have them you should send them.
What are your chances of admission at Vanderbilt University?
Chances of admission with these scores:
Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.
Pick your test:
Note: Your admission decision relies not only on your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but also on your coursework difficulty, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. This tool provides only a simplistic estimate of your chances of admission. Instead of treating this tool as a crystal ball, we recommend you consider the big picture of what your chance means:
We recommend you apply to schools across a range of chances. Applying to some safety schools will guarantee you have a college to go to, while applying to some reach schools will give you a shot at getting into the school at the top of your range.
- 80-100%: Safety school: Strong chance of getting in
- 50-80%: More likely than not getting in
- 20-50%: Lower but still good chance of getting in
- 5-20%: Reach school: Unlikely to get in, but still have a shot
- 0-5%: Hard reach school: Very difficult to get in
How would your chances improve with a better score?
Take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?
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Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of Vanderbilt here.
Application Requirements Overview
Accepted, supplemental forms required
Essay or Personal Statement
Required for all freshmen
Letters of Recommendation
Fee Waiver Available?
SAT or ACT
SAT Essay or ACT Writing
SAT Subject Tests
Scores Due in Office
Deadlines and Early Admissions
November 1, January 1
December 15, February 15
Admissions Office Information
We did more detailed research into this school's admissions process and found the following information:
You have to submit a request for an alumni interview through Vanderbilt's online application system -- you will not be contacted automatically. More info on the process here.
There are three major merit scholarships with deadlines of December 1st and December 15th. To apply, you have to submit your regular Vanderbilt application, after which you will be able to access your online Vanderbilt admission account and apply for scholarships. Note how far before the regular admission deadline of January 5th the scholarship deadlines are, and plan accordingly! The application for these scholarships will also be considered for other, smaller merit scholarships. Learn more about the process here.
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