Vanderbilt University Requirements and Campus guide

School Name: Vanderbilt University

School Location: Nashville, TN

School Type: Liberal arts

Class of 2025

  • Regular Applicants: 42,124
  • Regular Admitted : 2,248
  • Regular Admission rate: 5.3%
  • Early Applicants: 5,049
  • Early Admitted : 914
  • Early Admission rate: 18.1%

General Info

Historical SAT/ACT Score (Test Optional)

  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) 700-760
  • SAT Math Middle 50% 750-800
  • ACT Middle 50% 33 – 35


  • Reach


  • Early Decision November 1
  • Early Decision I Results: Mid-December
  • Regular Deadline: January 1
  • Early Decision II: Mid-February
  • Early Decision II Results: Mid-February
  • Regular Results: March 

School Info

  • Schedule: Semester
  • Curriculum Type: General Education
  • Greek Life: Yes
  • Athletics: NCAA

Vanderbilt Admissions Requirements and Guide to Campus Life:

Vanderbilt Overview

Vanderbilt is consistently ranked as one of the top 20 universities in the United States. Based in the heart of “Music City” Nashville, Tennessee, this private university hosts a park-like campus in the middle of a thriving urban center. Home to 6,886 undergraduate students, Vanderbilt has nearly 70 undergraduate majors in four schools, 510+ student organizations, and endless research and internship opportunities. While it is not a Vanderbilt requirement to engage in these activities, they will certainly enrich your experience on campus.

How Do I Get Into Vanderbilt?

As a checklist, here’s a list of Vanderbilt Application Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application or Questbridge
  • Vanderbilt-specific Essay
  • School report
  • Official High School transcript required
  • Counselor recommendation
  • Two stellar teacher recommendations
  • Mid year report
  • SAT or ACT (writing portion of ACT is NOT required)
  • Two SAT Subject Tests are recommended but not required

Where is Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt is located in the heart of Nashville, one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. As a Vanderbilt student, you have access to this city’s rich musical history. You can see a show at a honky-tonk on Nashville’s famous Broadway strip or at music venues such as the Ryman, Ascend Amphitheatre, and the Basement. Nashville is also home to many sports teams, and you can attend a Tennessee Titans or Nashville Predators sports game. You can also explore the Nashville Farmers’ Market, discover Nashville’s increasingly renowned food scene in Nashville’s restaurants, or see a movie at the Belcourt movie theatre.

Where do students live at Vanderbilt?

Due to Vanderbilt’s belief that on-campus living increases academic and social success, all undergraduate students are required to reside on campus, though seniors may apply for off-campus housing.

To support undergraduates in their successful transition to Vanderbilt, all freshmen live together in The Commons, a collaborative learning environment comprised of 10 houses and The Commons Center, where students have access to dining, a gym, premajor advising, and other resources for underclassmen.All freshmen also participate in a meal plan during their first year of enrollment.

What is the Social Life like at Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt’s not all work and no play. Most students consider the school culture to encourage a “work hard play hard” attitude as Vanderbilt has one of the most active social scenes amongst top schools in the country. Vanderbilt’s tight-knit community begins forming when students are freshmen living in the Commons. Among 430 student organizations, Vanderbilt offers ample communities to explore and organizations for students to join, such performing arts, community service, and intramural sports and Greek life. Students also explore everything the city of Nashville has to offer. Vanderbilts thriving Greek life includes fraternities, sororities or co-ed organizations. Freshmen officially rush in the spring to join a sorority or fraternity starting the fall of their sophomore year. No matter the club students choose to become involved in, there are a plethora of opportunities for students during their time at Vanderbilt.

What are academics at Vanderbilt like?

Vanderbilt is comprised of 10 schools and colleges, four of which are undergraduate schools covering disciplines from the humanities to music to engineering. Vanderbilt’s four undergraduate schools are the top-ranked Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the School of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences and the Blair School of Music. While students must apply to one of our four undergraduate schools, they are encouraged to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s interdisciplinary approach to taking classes and explore your interests across schools.

Students have 70 Bachelor Degree programs to choose from and are not required to declare their major until the end of their sophomore year. Vanderbilt prides itself on its 7:1 Student to Faculty ratio. Each of the four undergraduate schools has its own advising system. In addition to advising, Vanderbilt offers students tutoring, walk-in advising, critical thinking and writing workshops, and pre-professional advising in pre-medicine/health professions, pre-business/managerial studies, pre-law, pre-architecture, and pre-nursing.

On the research side, most faculty at Vanderbilt are engaged in scholarly research. Research and teaching at the intersection of traditionally diverse disciplines are prevalent at Vanderbilt, which is home to more than 120 centers and institutes dedicated to research. These include the Center for Latin American & Iberian Studies, the W.M. Keck Free—Electron Laser Center and the Vanderbilt—Ingram Cancer Center. You can research Vanderbilt’s research centers and institutes here.

If you’re interested in learning abroad, you must apply to one of Vanderbilt’s 120 study abroad programs across six continents or to participate in Vanderbilt’s Alternative Spring Break through Vanderbilt’s application process.

What extracurricular opportunities do students have at Vanderbilt?

Whether it’s performing arts, sports, media or civic engagement, there are tons of clubs and student-run organizations to get involved with at Vanderbilt. Students have the opportunity to participate in more than 400 student-run organizations and 40+ intramural programs. Vanderbilt is a NCAA Division I school and Vanderbilt students can frequently be found at sporting events as spectators or athletes. Vanderbilt cheers on sixteen varsity athletic teams; their baseball team consistently ranking as one of top in the country.

As for arts and cultural activities to get involved in at Vanderbilt, first look to the historic Dyer Observatory. Students can get involved in one of Vanderbilt’s many arts extracurriculars from the Rhythm and Roots Performance Company to Vanderbilt’s University Band Program. Students interested in media and communications can write for the school newspaper (The Vanderbilt Hustler) or participate in a variety of other student-run media outlets.

Vanderbilt also has a large number of student-run service organizations celebrating the diverse cultures and identities that make up Vanderbilt’s student body. If students can’t find a club they want to join, they are encouraged to start a club of their own.

    When Do I Apply to Vanderbilt?

    Vanderbilt offers three timelines for application; Early Decision I, Early Decision II or Regular Decision.
    The deadline for Early Decision I is November 1st, and you’ll find out whether you got in or not by mid December.
    The deadline for Early Decision II is December 1st, and you’ll find out whether you got in or not by mid February. Early Decision is a binding commitment, meaning that you commit to attending Vanderbilt if they admit you. In 2020, Vanderilt’s Early Decision admission rate was 20.7 percent compared to 9 percent Regular Decision. This does not necessarily mean applying to Vanderbilt early means that you’ll have an easier chance of getting in. However, if you think that your standardized test scores and application are strong (you can check out the incoming Class of 2024 student profile) and Vanderbilt is your top choice, then applying early will show admissions how serious you are about attending Vanderbilt if selected.

    Alternatively, you can also choose to apply Regular Decision. The deadline for regular decision is January 1st and you’ll be notified by April 1st.

    How Difficult Is It to Get Into Vanderbilt?

    In 2020, Vanderbilt’s regular decision acceptance rate was 9%, making it one of the most competitive schools in the country. Applicants who are admitted to Vanderbilt typically take the most challenging course load with AP and IB classes and are academic standouts in high school.

    Testing averages for the incoming class of 2024 at Vanderbilt:

    • (SAT) 1510-1580
    • (ACT) 34-36

    Vandebilt isn’t just looking for students with strong grades, standardized test scores, and SAT IIs. They want to see students who are passionate, driven, and committed to contributing to the greater Vanderbilt community. 100 percent of students admitted early decision received one or more significant honors or held major leadership positions. Highlighting your extracurricular, leadership involvement, and unique experiences is what will set you apart from the other high quality applicants also applying to Vanderbilt.

    Can I afford Vanderbilt?

    Vanderbilt’s annual tuition is $50,800. While the cost of attending Vanderbilt seems astronomically expensive for the average family, Vanderbilt’s undergraduate financial aid program meets 100% of demonstrated financial need and entering 2018, the average need-based scholarship package for first-year students included 97% gift aid and 3% work study. Through Opportunity Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt states any student can enroll at Vanderbilt:

    1. Your ability to pay is not part of the admission decision. (For U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens only.)
    2. We meet 100% of your family’s demonstrated financial needs.
    3. Your financial aid award will not include loans. Financial aid packages for undergraduate students include only grant assistance and a reasonable work expectation

    65% of undergraduate students receive financial aid with an average package of $52,794. Prospective students can connect with Student Financial Services via email at [email protected] as they begin the financial aid application process.

    You can also try out Vanderbilt’s Net Price Calculator to estimate your family’s costs and potential financial aid funding here: