Vanderbilt Acceptance Rate: 7%

February 12, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Vanderbilt Acceptance Rates: 7%

Shortcuts to sections offered for Vanderbilt prospective students and Vanderbilt Acceptance Rates:

 Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT Scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect? 

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable alumni

Vanderbilt Acceptance Rate – Important Information for Applicants

Vanderbilt University is one of the most popular universities in the United States. As the most successful private research facility in Tennessee, students apply from around the country and the world for a chance to obtain a world-class education from this university.

With famous names like Al Gore, James Patterson, and Jay Cutler gracing the alumni list, it’s no wonder some of the most talented high school students set their sights on Vanderbilt after graduation.

Vanderbilt University campus building with flags bearing the school name and motto "Advancing Knowledge."

Founded in 1873, the school was named after the rail and shipping baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the college with its very first endowment.

Vanderbilt had hopes that the $1 million gift and the works the university would help to heal the divisive scars resulting from the aftermath of the Civil War. Since its inception, Vanderbilt University has provided students with world-class education to prepare them for a successful future.

In US News’ 2020 ranking of the best national universities, Vanderbilt was listed #15 – a testament to the school’s esteem and reputation. As you might expect from such a prestigious university, the Vanderbilt acceptance rate is highly competitive.

While it fluctuates from year to year, the latest Vanderbilt acceptance rate is listed as 7% on the university’s official site. Although these odds might seem insurmountable, having an experienced college admission expert in your corner can help tremendously.

The AdmissionSight has a proven track record of aiding countless students in their eventual admittance to some of the country’s most respected and competitive universities – including Vanderbilt.

Over our years of experience, we’ve developed the tools, resources, and services necessary to help students perfect their applications and drastically increase their chances of gaining admittance to the school of their dreams.

Our goal is to help students see the Vanderbilt acceptance rate in a much more manageable light. Read on to learn more about the Vanderbilt application process and what you’ll need to succeed.

Successful Applicant Profile

Even with a competitive Vanderbilt acceptance rate, tens of thousands of eager high school graduates still apply to attend this university each year. In 2019, the total number of applications reached a whopping total of 37,310. Of these applicants, only 3,402 were admitted to join the incoming freshmen class.

You’ll be relieved to know that admission officers at Vanderbilt take a comprehensive approach when handling applications.

In other words, several different factors are taken into account when deciding if students gain admittance. While test scores and course grades are critical, the Vanderbilt admission process also considers your personal and academic interests, extracurriculars in which you’ve participated, letters of recommendation, and much more.

Where are the applicants from?

Vanderbilt’s location in the cosmopolitan city of Nashville is representative of the diverse makeup of this university’s student population. Students come from all corners of the country as well as several different countries. In fact, 10% of the student population originates from Tennessee. The rest of the students from the United States represent 43 different states and Washington D.C.

Ever since its inception, Vanderbilt University has encouraged international students to apply. In 2018, it was estimated that 1,355 international students called Vanderbilt home for the duration of the school year.

The university has assumed that international students made up roughly 10.8% of its student population. This rate has been growing steadily over the past few years with China being the most represented country.

The ratio of males to females at Vanderbilt is quite representative of the overall population. In the undergraduate student population, 3,522 are female and 3,363 are male.

This comes out to be 50.5% women and 49.5% men. These percentages shift slightly when looking at the faculty of which 54.1% are female and 45.9% are male.

What are the more common programs?

Students attending Vanderbilt have a diverse array of programs and majors from which to choose. In fact, the university has 70 different undergraduate degrees that are concentrated into 49 distinct majors and within 18 wide-ranging fields of study.

Some of the more popular majors for Vanderbilt students include Computer Science, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Economics.

Main building of Vanderbilt University surrounded by trees on each side.

Some of Vanderbilt’s most well-known undergraduate and graduate opportunities include the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, the Owen Graduate School of Management, School of Nursing, School of Medicine, Law School, and School of Engineering.

The undergraduate Blair School of Music is another well-known program. Students looking to pursue a degree in medicine will be happy to know that the Vanderbilt University Medical Center is acknowledged as one of the best in the country.

What is the average SAT/ACT score of admitted students?

As you can tell from the Vanderbilt acceptance rate, this university is highly selective. Only the very best high school students who compile fantastic applications will end up receiving that highly coveted acceptance letter in the mail. In order to greatly improve your chances of being accepted, it’s important to aim for an excellent GPA and high SAT/ACT scores.

If you’ve been struggling with low grades, that doesn’t automatically count you out from getting accepted into Vanderbilt University. SAT and ACT exams are a great opportunity for you to prove your academic prowess since these standardized tests are used to give admission officers a better idea of how students will perform in college.

Vanderbilt Average SAT Score of Admitted Students

Overall average score: 1505

75th percentile score: 1590

Students who score lower than the overall average score on the SAT might want to consider omitting it from their application since it has the possibility of working against the applicant.

Vanderbilt Average ACT Score of Admitted Students

*Overall average score: 34

75th percentile score: 35

Students who score lower than the overall average score on the ACT might want to consider omitting it from their application since it has the possibility of working against the applicant.

The unweighted, estimated average GPA of incoming students at Vanderbilt is 4. This highlights the level of academic proficiency that admitted students demonstrate. AdmissionSight recommends taking weighted classes, like honors or AP courses, in order to greatly improve your GPA and to better prepare for the standardized tests.

Entry Requirements

The selective Vanderbilt acceptance rate is indicative of the stringent entrance requirements that applicants must meet or exceed in order to gain admittance. With over 10,000 students and a 333-acre campus, Vanderbilt is regarded as a semi-large university.

Despite having a competitive admission process, Vanderbilt graduates make an average of $45,000 in their starting salaries – highlighting the benefits of attending such an esteemed university.

The decision between rejection and refusal isn’t just dependent upon your test scores and accumulative high school GPA. While these components are highly impactful in the overall decision, admission officers at Vanderbilt take an aggregate approach when determining which students get admitted.

For example, in addition to your test and course grades, admission officers will also factor personal statements, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, and summer programs – among others – into the final decision. Before you spend time on the application, it’s important to know how much this education will cost and what types of financial assistance are provided.

How much will it cost to attend?

Vanderbilt University offers students a wide selection of programs that each come with varying costs and unique fees. Although the final cost will be different for each student, it’s still possible to identify some of the most common costs to give an accurate estimation of what you’ll incur when studying at Vanderbilt. We’ve broken down some of the most important costs below:

Average Cost of Attendance for Vanderbilt

Tuition $50,800
Accommodation $11,044
Meals $5,866
Books & Supplies $1,294
Student Activities $1,270
Personal Costs $2,874



If those numbers are starting to make you sweat, don’t worry! Vanderbilt has always strived to ensure that qualified students aren’t impeded from attending due to financial burdens. This university provides students with a host of financial support in the form of scholarships, grants, and more.

What financial aid opportunities are available?

Vanderbilt has always been dedicated to making its world-class education accessible to students from all backgrounds and financial standings. In that spirit, Vanderbilt makes there critical commitments to citizens and eligible non-citizens to make sure that students from challenging economic circumstances can attend:

  1. First and foremost, the admissions process at Vanderbilt is need-blind since the university acknowledges that promise and talent don’t recognize geographic, economic, cultural, or social boundaries.
  2. Vanderbilt is dedicated to meeting 100% of your family’s financial needs.
  3. Lastly, Vanderbilt’s financial assistance doesn’t include loans – something many college graduates struggle with for decades after graduating.

Opportunity Vanderbilt – the university’s financial aid arm – is one of a small group of US universities that make these commitments in an effort to support all qualified students in their attendance at the university.

What are the application requirements for Vanderbilt?

When applying to Vanderbilt, you can send an application through the Common Application; the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success; or QuestBridge. Be sure to submit your application through only one of the systems. You should be submitting all of the requested materials through one method.

If you’re applying to the Blair School of Music, you’ll have to fill out the school-specific application along with a pre-screening video. Applicants can choose to apply through Regular Decision or through Early Decision I or II.

You must have the following items submitted to Vanderbilt through the permitted channels before you can be considered for admittance:

  • An application filled out through one of the designated channels
  • $50 application fee or waiver for eligible students
  • An official high school transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from counselors
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • Official ACT or SAT scores

If you’re an international student applying to Vanderbilt, you’re encouraged to visit the college’s International Student Admission page to learn more.

AdmissionSight advises students to double-check their applications to make sure all of the required documents are included before hitting the send button.

What are the timelines for the Vanderbilt application?

There are four methods through which a student can apply to Vanderbilt. The vast majority of high school graduates will opt for Regular Decision, which sees the largest pool of applicants each year.

Like many universities, Vanderbilt also offers an Early Decision program for students who want to get a headstart on the admissions process.

The final way to apply to Vanderbilt is through the Transfer program – something incoming freshmen won’t have to worry about. The deadlines for each of these programs differ, so it’s important for students to always check Vanderbilt’s site for exact dates. Here’s a quick rundown of the application timelines:

Early Decision I – November 1st

Early Decision II – January 1st

Regular Decision – January 1st

Transfer – March 15th

What to Expect

Although Vanderbilt is sizable when compared to some of the smaller universities across the country, it still maintains an intimate and connected vibe that students love. Participation is high throughout all non-academic offerings such as intramural sports, clubs, Greek life, and more.

In fact, 40% of the students enrolled at Vanderbilt are associated with the Greek system in one way or another. Located near a lively and exciting city, students attending Vanderbilt will rarely stumble into boredom.

Whether you’re looking to attend concerts, relax in Centennial Park, or join a school excursion to enjoy the surrounding nature, Vanderbilt delivers on all levels.

Vanderbilt University campus in spring with simple flowering plants circling a plant in the center.

What do students think of life at Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt’s reputation is solidified by the fact that 97% of first-year students decide to stay enrolled for a second year. Considering that the national average for this retention rate is around 68%, it’s safe to assume that the student satisfaction rate at Vanderbilt is high when compared to other universities. Here’s a review from a Vanderbilt freshman to give you a clearer idea:

“I absolutely love Vandy. It has the best of everything. Not too big, not too small. Tons of different clubs and social groups. Challenging classes and ones that you can relax more with. Great people. It feels safe. There are tons of food options on and just off-campus. And Nashville is the best!!” – Anonymous Vanderbilt Freshman 2020

What academics are offered?

Vanderbilt is revered around the country for its academic offerings. Not only does the university offer a diverse array of programs and majors, but the overall quality of a Vanderbilt education is one of the school’s major highlights.

Despite being a fairly sizable university, Vanderbilt has an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, making for a much more personalized and intimate teaching environment. In total, 65.9% of Vanderbilt classes have less than 20 students.

What athletic options are available?

Although Vanderbilt isn’t heralded for its athletics, it still maintains competitive collegiate leagues for students who are interested in pursuing a sport in college.

For the vast majority of students, however, the intramural sports and other activity-related extracurriculars offered at Vanderbilt will be the highlight of the university’s athletic options.

Basketball players stacking hands in the court getting ready for the game.

Who are some famous Vanderbilt alumni?

Jay Cutler – Former NFL Quarterback who played for 12 seasons

Al Gore – 45th Vice President turned environmentalist and author

James Patterson – Best-selling author and philanthropist

Are you hoping to get into Vanderbilt?

As one of the most prestigious universities in the US, it’s understandable for students to feel uncertain about their chances of getting accepted.

Having a college admission specialist in your corner can make it easier to tackle the application process and cement yourself as a worthy contender in the eyes of admission officers. AdmissionSight has helped countless students overcome obstacles in pursuit of their academic goals. If you’re interested in learning about how we can help, feel free to contact us today to set up a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.






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