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Guide last updated 2022.



School Name: Vanderbilt University
School Location: Nashville, TN
School Type: Private Research University

Vanderbilt University Admissions Rates Class of 2026

Applications: 46,717
Admitted: 6.1%

General Info

SAT/ACT Scores

Test Optional for 2021-2022 Admission Cycle

Class of 2026 Test Scores
SAT Evidence-based Reading & Writing Range: 740-770
SAT Math Range: 770-800
ACT Range: 34-36


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

School Information

Schedule: Semester
Curriculum Type: Core General Education Curriculum
Greek Life: 


Vanderbilt Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide

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 7,057 undergraduate students, Vanderbilt has nearly 70 undergraduate majors in four schools, 500+ student organizations, and endless research and internship opportunities.

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 Auditorium, Ascend Amphitheater, 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 theater.

What does the Vanderbilt student body look like?

Admitted students to the Class of 2026 hail from all 50 states and at least 27 countries and 49 citizenships. For the class of 2025, the racial breakdown of the students is: White: 39.5%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 18.8%, Black: 11.5%, Hispanic: 11.1%, International: 8.8%, Two or more races: 5.7%, Race unknown: 4.1%, American Indian: 0.4%.

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 Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, a collaborative learning environment comprised of 10 houses and The Commons Center, where students live with their faculty heads of house, and have access to a dining center, a gym, seminar/study rooms, public spaces, pre-major 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 500+ 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. Vanderbilt’s 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 8:1 Student to Faculty ratio. Each of the four undergraduate schools (The College of Arts and Science, the Blair School of Music, School of Engineering, and Peabody College of Education and Human Development) 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. Vanderbilt is also proud of Immersion Vanderbilt, which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to undertake an intensive learning experience in and beyond the classroom with choices in the following pathways: civic and professional, creative expression, international, and research.

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 150+ 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 500 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 ranks 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.

What do I need to apply to Vanderbilt?

As a checklist, here’s a list of what you’ll need to apply to Vanderbilt:

  • Common Application or Coalition Application or Questbridge
  • Vanderbilt-specific Essay
  • School report
  • Official High School transcript
  • Counselor recommendation
  • Two teacher recommendations
  • Mid year report
  • $50 application fee
  • Note: SAT/ACT submission remains optional through class of 2028
    • While not required, Vanderbilt will accept SAT subject tests if you submit them

*Note: In addition to submitting the application for admission, applicants to Blair School of Music requires several additional items:

  • Two artistic recommendations
  • Headshot or photo
  • Music resume
  • Repertoire list
  • Pre Screening video

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 were accepted by mid December. The deadline for Early Decision II is January 1st, and you’ll find out whether you were accepted by mid February. Early Decision I and II are a binding commitment, meaning that you commit to attending Vanderbilt if they admit you. The ED I acceptance rate was 24.1% and the ED II acceptance rate was 10.3%, these are much higher acceptance rates then the RD acceptance rate (4.7%). If Vanderbilt is your top choice, 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 late March.

How Difficult Is It to Get Into Vanderbilt?

For the 2021-2022 application cycle, Vanderbilt’s overall acceptance rate was 6.1%, regular decision acceptance rate was 4.7%, 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.

Vandebilt isn’t just looking for students with strong grades and standardized test scores, they want to see students who are passionate, driven, and committed to contributing to the greater Vanderbilt community. 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 offers both need based and merit based financial aid. For the year 2022-2023, Vanderbilt’s annual estimated cost for room, board, and other fees is $84,412. 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.
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.

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

Vanderbilt Admission Rates

Data Source
Admission Rate
Class of 2025
CDS 2021-2022
Class of 2024
CDS 2020-2021
Class of 2023
CDS 2019-2020
Class of 2022
CDS 2018-2019
Class of 2021
CDS 2017-2018


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*Updated 2022