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Vanderbilt is somewhere you have been thinking about applying to, and you’re curious about your chances of admission. Well, we’re here to help! Of course, there are a lot of factors in the admissions process, and it’s impossible to accurately predict whether you’ll be admitted or not. However, the most important factors in the admissions game are your GPA and test scores. So, using those as a measure, we can give you an estimate of your chances.

With an acceptance rate of 12%, admission to Vanderbilt is very competitive. Based on our analysis, to have a good chance of being admitted, you need to be at the very top of your class, and have an SAT score of close to 1590, or an ACT score of around 35.

Not quite there? You still have a chance of getting in by taking our SAT prep course. Let’s take a closer look at Vanderbilt admission statistics.


Vanderbilt Admissions Statistics

Vanderbilt’s acceptance rate in 2016 was 12%. For students applying to the class of 2020, out of 31,464 applicants, Vanderbilt admitted 3,674. The average GPA of admitted applicants was 3.8, the average ACT score was 31, and the average SAT score was 1510.

For students who took the ACT, the 25th percentile score of successful applicants was 32, and the 75th percentile score was 35.

For students who took the SAT, the 25th percentile score was 1430. The 75th percentile score was 1590.

If you’re somewhere in the middle of these numbers, remember that a high test score can compensate for a slightly lower GPA, and vice versa. If you’re at the lower end, it helps if you’re a diverse applicant, the child of an alum, or have incredible personal achievements. Still, at the 25th percentile, your chances of getting in are in the low single digits.

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Other aspects of your application, such as athletics, extracurricular and recommendations, are important, but will likely only make a difference for admission if you’re in the 75th percentile range for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

As we said, admission to Vanderbilt is very competitive. Even if Vanderbilt is your dream school, and even if you’re in the 75th percentile, you’ll still want to make sure you apply to a wide variety of schools to ensure you’ll gain admission somewhere. Generally, you should have at least three safety schools (where you are in the 75th percentile of GPA/test scores), three reach schools (where you are in the 25th percentile of GPA/test scores) and three target schools (where you are near the average for GPA/test scores) on your list.

Now, you’ve decided to apply. We took at a look at Vanderbilt’s admissions requirements to help you get everything in order.

Vanderbilt Application Requirements

To apply to Vanderbilt, you’ll need to fill out the Common App and the Vanderbilt supplement, submit an ACT or SAT score, SAT Subject Test scores (these are recommended, but not required), a school report, and three letters of recommendation from your teachers. Everything should be submitted by November 1 for Early Action, and January 1 for Regular Decision.

Here’s a full list of application requirements:

  • Fill out the Vanderbilt Application, answer Vanderbilt’s supplementary questions, and pay an application fee of $50 (or apply for a fee waiver)
  • Submit an ACT or SAT score (writing score optional)
  • Submit your high school transcript
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from your teacher

The application deadline is November 1 for Early Action, and January 1 for Regular Decision. February 1 is the financial aid application deadline. Early Action notifications are released December 15, and Regular Decision applicants find out their fates on April 1. May 1 is the reply date for admitted students.

Have you been admitted to Vanderbilt? Congratulations! Below is a glimpse at what your classmates will be like.


Vanderbilt Admitted Students Profile

If you matriculate at Vanderbilt, you’ll be joining a diverse class, with students from all over the U.S. and the world, and have a chance to study in dozens of fields.

Here are some interesting facts about the recently admitted class:

  • 8% were the valedictorians of their high school class
  • 14% are National Merit Scholars
  • 91% were in the top 10% of their graduating class

Vanderbilt has a diverse class, as well, with a large number of people of color. The ethnicities of admitted applicants are:

  • African American: 9%
  • Asian American: 12%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 9%
  • Other: 5%
  • White: 59%

What do these admitted students plan to study? Vanderbilt offers dozens of majors, and students matriculating there pursue a wide number of subjects. Here is a list of some of the top programs:

  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Interdisciplinary Studies

But, how are you going to pay for this?

Vanderbilt Tuition Figures

At $65,154, Vanderbilt’s cost of attendance is astronomical. But, don’t panic! About 98% of incoming studies receive some form of financial aid, and the average award is $47,309.

Here’s a fuller look at Vanderbilt tuition and financial aid in 2017:

  • Total budget: $65,154
  • Average financial aid package: $46,002
  • The average student debt of a Vanderbilt graduate is $21,506

For the latest numbers and to learn more about financial aid options, click HERE.

What is life like at Vanderbilt you ask? Let’s take a look.


Vanderbilt Location

Vanderbilt has an urban campus, located in the West End neighborhood of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Its bucolic campus has a large amount of green space, and was even dedicated as a national arboretum in 1988. Some of the trees on the Vanderbilt campus date back to the time of the American Revolution.

Remember, you’re going to Vanderbilt for its excellent academics! Below is a look at what academic life will be like.


Vanderbilt has dozens of majors. Some of the school’s more interesting majors are:

  • Jewish/Judaic Studies
  • Religion/Religious Studies
  • Film/Cinema/Video Studies
  • German Language and Literature
  • Voice & Opera
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Women’s Studies
  • Woodwind Instruments
  • Music Theory & Composition
  • Classics & Classical Languages
  • European Civilization Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Education

Now, let’s take a look at life outside the classroom at Vanderbilt.


Student Life at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt has hundreds of student organizations, covering academic interests, creative and performing arts, cultural and racial initiatives, gender and sexuality affinity groups, government and politics interests, and various media and publications.

Here’s a sampling of Vanderbilt’s student activities:

  • After School Chess Program
  • African Student Union
  • VanderBIKES
  • Vandemic Dance Crew
  • Sailing Club
  • Happiness Club
  • For All Life
  • Freestyle Club
  • Panhellenic Council
  • Asian American Student Association
  • Cards for a Cause
  • Coaching for Literacy
  • Dance Marathon
  • Hidden Dores
  • Inequality in the Biosciences Association
  • Maker Club
  • Marginalia

Are you an athlete? Vanderbilt’s got plenty of options for you.

Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt offers a large number of intercollegiate sports, with extensive varsity, as well as club, offerings, for both men and women. So, if you’re not up to varsity level, remember there are plenty of club and intramural sports to try out for, too.

Vanderbilt’s sports include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross-Country Running
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Track & Field
  • Tennis

Who might you become with a Vanderbilt degree? Let’s take a look at some well-known and successful alums:


Notable Alums

Vanderbilt has produced politicians, business tycoons, entertainers, musicians, media figures, and leaders in dozens of other fields.

Here’s a list of some particularly well-known alums:

  • Former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, Jr.
  • Actor, senator and former presidential candidate Fred Thompson
  • Sportswriter Roy Blount, Jr.
  • Journalist Willie Geist
  • Journalist David Brinkley
  • Former Vice President of the United States Albert Gore, Jr.
  • Former United States Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander
  • Singer/songwriter Roseanne Cash
  • Robert Penn Warren, author of All the King’s Men
  • Bestselling author James Patterson
  • Allen Tate, United States Poet Laureate
  • Professional football quarterback and Hall-of-Famer Bill Spears

And this is only a partial list!


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Getting into Vanderbilt is very competitive. Don’t despair if you get a no. If you have a strong GPA and high test scores, you have a great chance of getting into at least one of the more competitive schools. And if you don’t, remember: where you go is NOT who you are. If you work hard, you’ll end up at a school that’s right for you, and still get a great education.

If you need to boost your GPA or test scores before application time rolls around, you should consider signing up for a course with Prep Expert. We offer one-on-one tutoring and classes, both in-person and online, at locations throughout the United States. Our expert teachers and tutors will not only share with you tried and true methods for improving your score, but also help you correct deficiencies in any subject that you’re having difficulty with—English, Writing, Mathematics or Science. Additionally, online classes can be watched On Demand, so if you miss a class due to your busy schedule, you can catch it online later. We have helped hundreds of students get the scores they need to attend the school of their dreams.

Best of luck with your applications and go check out Prep Expert!

Clay Cooper

Clay is a double-perfect scorer - within one week, he earned a 1600 on an official SAT and at 36 on an official ACT! Clay has also achieved 99th percentile scores on the PSAT, ISEE, GMAT, GRE, and LSAT. He has taught and developed courses for high school, college, and graduate-level standardized tests extensively around the country, and specializes in the field. He has studied law at Georgetown University Law Center and worked in the legal field as well, for attorneys, judges, and the Tennessee Attorney General.

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