Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants may send additional materials, and if they are submitted in document form (either by mail or electronically), those materials will be included in the application. Materials such as DVDs and CDs will be stored nearby and a note attached to the file. No such materials, including portfolios, will be returned to the applicant, so it is crucial that students not send valuable original material.
Please know, too, that such additional materials will probably only be seen by admissions officers and not by the persons who might be best able to evaluate them. For instance, Blair faculty will not review music tapes submitted by students who are not auditioning for Blair. The vast majority of our evaluation will focus on the required components of your application, and submitting these items will not affect your chances of admission in any significant way.
As far as additional recommendations are concerned, we would advise applicants to be judicious about soliciting them. Such letters have value only if they clearly add to our understanding of how the applicant would contribute to, and benefit from, the Vanderbilt community. For instance, a recommendation from a drama teacher or adviser is more likely to bear weight than a letter from a senator.
Vanderbilt requires all students to submit an official score report from either the SAT or the ACT directly from the testing agency. There is no preference between the two exams.
Standardized test results are part of the academic profile for an applicant. The other components of the academic profile include the student’s rigor of curriculum, grades, relative position in class, and teacher letters of recommendation. The academic profile is one part of the holistic review process. It is important to remember that admissions outcomes cannot be predicted on the basis of test scores alone. Test scores are important, but they are used in conjunction with other parts of the application.
SAT Subject Tests are optional. If official scores are sent to Vanderbilt, they may be considered during the application review process. For students who enroll at Vanderbilt, some SAT Subject Test scores can be used to meet language proficiency requirements in the College of Arts and Science, and to meet mathematics requirements for some majors in Peabody College.
Vanderbilt’s 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio gives students access to faculty across academic disciplines. Ninety-one percent of classes have fewer than 50 students and over half of Vanderbilt undergraduates conduct research in close collaboration with faculty, doing innovative work across academic disciplines.
Opportunities to interact with faculty outside of the classroom begin day one at Vanderbilt. All first-year students live on The Martha River Ingram Commons, a living and learning residential community. A faculty member serves as head of house for each of the 10 houses and lives side-by-side with students, acting as both teacher and mentor. Beyond the first year, student-faculty interaction outside the classroom continues as a hallmark of the Vanderbilt experience.
Visit our Admissions Counselor page to find your admissions counselor’s contact information.
Vanderbilt’s admissions process is a based on a holistic review in which a student’s academic profile, (described above), personal essay, recommendations, and extracurricular involvement are all taken into consideration in making admissions decisions. Of these factors, the student’s academic profile typically plays the biggest role in our decision-making. However, a holistic review ensures that no one factor alone leads to admission or keeps a student from admission. We seek to admit a diverse community of students who bring to campus strong academic backgrounds, have demonstrated engagement with their communities, and will contribute to the Vanderbilt community in and out of the classroom. Please view the Selection Process for more information.
Admissions decisions are available via MyAppVU, Vanderbilt's online application management portal.
Early Decision I applicants will be notified by mid-December; Early Decision II applicants will be notified by mid-February; Regular Decision applicants will be notified by late March.
Students should apply to Vanderbilt with confidence that our financial aid program is among the strongest in the country. Vanderbilt is need-blind for all U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens; a student‘s ability to pay will not affect his or her chances of admission. In addition, through our Opportunity Vanderbilt program, the full demonstrated need of every admitted student is met without loans. Instead, Vanderbilt’s financial aid awards include grants and a reasonable work expectation. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships to learn more about our excellent financial aid policies.
Class rank can be an illuminating measure of an applicant‘s academic performance relative to his/her peers and is considered thoughtfully in conjunction with other data the admissions office gathers about a given high school. Keep in mind that the most promising candidates for admission to Vanderbilt have typically earned grades in a high range when compared to their classmates, and class rank often confirms what we can otherwise surmise about a student‘s performance.
When evaluating a student attending a school that does not rank its students, the admissions office relies on data provided by the school to gain some sense of the student’s performance relative to his or her peers. Such information is always used responsibly. GPA ranges, distributions, and graphical displays are data sets we commonly use that provide contextual information for schools that do not release exact rank.
One year after graduation, approximately 65 percent of Vanderbilt graduates are employed, 25 percent are attending graduate or professional school, and about 10 percent are traveling, doing internships, or engaged in some other activity. In recent years, about 70 percent of graduating seniors who are admitted to graduate or professional school are admitted to their first-choice school. For more information, please visit the Career Center website.