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Undergraduate Admissions

Applying to Vanderbilt


Admissions Philosophy

Vanderbilt uses a holistic admissions process in which all parts of a student's application are considered — we do not employ cutoffs for standardized testing or grade point averages. Rather we look for students who have demonstrated strong academic skills and intellectual curiosity, and who have engaged in activities outside the classroom that have nurtured their growth as leaders. Most successful applicants have taken a very rigorous course load and have challenged themselves at the highest levels of the available curriculum. 

The Common Application requires that you apply online; if this presents a hardship, please contact your admissions officer. You must submit the Common Application first, followed by the Writing Supplement.  All parts of the application should be submitted by the published deadlines

Decision Plans

Early Decision is a binding agreement that communicates to our office that Vanderbilt is your first choice. By applying under Early Decision you are agreeing to enroll if you are admitted. Regular Decision allows you to apply to Vanderbilt without agreeing that you will definitely enroll if admitted.

Either way, you may still apply to other colleges, but if you are admitted to Vanderbilt under an Early Decision contract, you must withdraw applications to these other colleges. Read more about our decision plans. 

Requirements for First-Year Applicants

Once you submit your Common Application to Vanderbilt, please be sure to check your Common Application Dashboard to confirm that your application has been properly submitted. In addition, within two business days of submitting your Common Application to Vanderbilt, you should receive an email from our office explaining how to create your online MyAppVU account. If you do not receive this email, check your Common Application Dashboard—you may need to click the submit button!
  • The Common Application, including personal essay, list of extracurricular activities, and $50 application fee or  fee waiver (see "Additional Requirements for International Applicants" for international student fee waiver information)
  • The Writing Supplement (short answer): Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
  • Official high school transcript
  • Counselor letter of recommendation
  • Two academic teacher letters of recommendation
  • Official SAT or ACT scores (SAT code: 1871 / ACT code: 4036)

Additional Requirements for Blair School of Music Applicants

(NOTE: Please visit for all details and latest information regarding application requirements for Blair applicants)

Learn more about the requirements for Blair School of Music applicants.

Homeschool Applicants

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • International applicants will be prompted to complete an international section of the Common Application
  • Official results of the TOEFLIELTS, or PTE if applicable*
  • A completed College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, if applicable**
  • $50 application fee or fee waiver request**

*Applicants whose first language and language of instruction is not English are required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE). For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test or 230 on the computer-based test, a 6.5 on the IELTS, and a score of at least 70 on the Pearson are recommended. The Vanderbilt University ETS code is 1871.

**International applicants requesting consideration for need-based financial aid are required to submit the CSS Profile showing their sources of financial support. If paying for the CSS Profile and/or application fee is a financial burden for the applicant, students should contact their admissions counselor for more information.

Please provide all documents in English. Learn more about the application requirements for international students.

Optional CoRPs Alumni Interview Program — First-Year Applicants Only

Vanderbilt University alumni provide first-year applicants with informational interviews through Commodore Recruitment Programs (CoRPs). Through CoRPs, first-year applicants are welcome to contact alumni in their local areas to request an informational interview about life at Vanderbilt. Interviews are informational in nature and serve as a tool for students to evaluate their fit with Vanderbilt University. While the interview is informational in nature, CoRPs alumni interviewers will also provide an evaluative report to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions that will be included in the applicant's admissions file.

First-year applicants will receive an email from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions inviting them to participate in the optional CoRPs interviewing program after submitting the Common Application.

Transfer applicants are not eligible to participate in the CoRPs Alumni Interview Program.

Requirements for Transfer Applicants

Learn more about the requirements for Blair School of Music applicants.

Relevant Links

Dates and Deadlines

The Selection Process

Financial Aid

Guide to Writing Letters of Recommendation

**Additional Information on Standardized Tests


  • Official SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores are required to complete your application.
  • An official ACT or SAT score report must be submitted directly from the testing agency.
  • Students who choose the ACT must take the optional writing exam.
  • Students whose native language is not English and who have not spent the last three years in an English-speaking high school must take both the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT.

SAT Subject Tests

  • SAT Subject Tests are optional. If included with the application, these scores will be considered during the application process.
  • For students who enroll at Vanderbilt, SAT Subject Tests are used for placement in first year courses.
  • SAT Subject Tests are strongly recommended for home schooled applicants.
  • Applicants to the School of Engineering who choose to take Subject Tests should strongly consider taking either of the two mathematics exams (Level 1 or Level 2).

A Note to Applicants Regarding Vanderbilt's SAT Score Choice Policy

Vanderbilt will consider the highest section scores across all SAT test dates. Students should send scores from every SAT test date in which they receive a top score in at least one section: mathematics, critical reading, and writing. Only the highest section scores will be considered as part of the admissions review process. Each time SAT scores are submitted, the student's record is updated with the new high section scores. Vanderbilt strongly encourages students to submit scores each time they take the SAT.

While many of our applicants submit SAT Subject test scores, they are not required. As part of the admissions review process, the Admissions Committee may consider any SAT Subject test scores that a student submits.

Testing Codes For Vanderbilt

ACT: 4036

Educational Testing Service (ETS): 1871

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The TOEFL examination is required of all international applicants whose primary native language is not English, even if the student studies at an English-speaking school.

There are three different TOEFL examinations an applicant can submit:

  • Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT)
  • Computer-Based TOEFL (CBT)
  • Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)

Minimum scores of 570 on the PBT, 230 on the CBT, or 100 on the iBT are recommended. Institutional TOEFL examinations are not accepted; the examinations must be taken at an official TOEFL testing center.

The results of the TOEFL examination are used by the Admission Committee to better understand your written and spoken English ability. Because the SAT was originally written with U.S. domestic students in mind, we realize that many international students do not score as well on the SAT Critical Reading portion as do domestic students. Therefore, in most cases, a strong TOEFL score will enhance the strength of an international student's application. This requirement will only be waived if a student has earned an SAT Critical Reading score of 600 or better.

Vanderbilt University's Institutional TOEFL Testing Code is 1871.