Transfer Admission FAQs
In the crazy world of college admissions, it seems as if most of the spotlight is on first-time freshman admissions. However, transfer students are an important part of Vanderbilt University. Transfer students add to the classroom discussion and campus life because of their diversified experiences; we are looking for transfer students who will add to our community experience. So, if you are considering Vanderbilt to complete your undergraduate career, but already have at least one semester of college credit, this post is for you!
Who is my assigned admissions counselor?
Transfer students will receive an admission counselor based on the high school from which you graduated. Regardless of where you live now or where you attend/attended college, contact the admissions counselor responsible for the geographic area of your high school.
How do I apply?
Apply to Vanderbilt for transfer admission via the Common Application. You must also complete the one page Vanderbilt Supplement (there is no additional essay). We are also going to need a transcript from every institution you attended in your secondary and post-secondary career. Finally, we need you to send us either a SAT or ACT score.
What should I write my essay about?
The Common App asks you to write about your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. As a reader I am asking: why Vanderbilt? Why now? Answer that for me. Last year I read essays from students who were 19 years old and changed their career goal and I read essays from retired citizens who were ready to complete that degree they had yet to finish. This part shouldn’t be too hard for you, but remember to revise and edit because it is important to us.
Do I really have to submit a SAT or ACT score?
Yes. If you are five years removed from high school and cannot take a standardized exam for one reason or another, contact your admissions counselor and they may waive it. However, most transfer applicants must submit an exam score.
What’s the required GPA for transfer admission?
While there is no required GPA, we look most favorably upon applicants whose college transcript to-date has a 3.0+ GPA. We give every applicant a full review, though, and consider individual circumstances.
Does the post-secondary institution I previously attended affect my chances for admission?
Maybe. We find that the most successful transfer applicants attended institutions where they took a full slate of challenging general curriculum coursework. Attending a specialized institution (i.e. culinary school) or a non-accredited college/university may hinder your chances of admission. With that said, we accept transfer students of varied educational experiences including 2-year, 4-year, public, and private institutions.
What are the most important factors in transfer admission?
We conduct a holistic review and will consider all items of your application including testing, grades (both high school and college), essays, work experience, etc. However, the bulk of our focus will be on your collegiate-level work. Given Vanderbilt’s residential structure, we are looking for students who will contribute both in the classroom and in the community.
When is the application deadline? When will I find out if I received admission?
The application for transfer admission is due on March 1. We may accept applications after that date, if space and time allow. We do not evaluate transfer applications until we finish evaluation of first-time freshman applications; therefore, the first admission decisions will not be made until the middle of May. Transfer students receive notification on a rolling basis throughout the summer. You may learn of your status as early as May or as late as August.
August is late in the year! How can I best position myself in case I do not receive admission to Vanderbilt?
For some of our students it will make sense to make alternative plans for the upcoming academic year. We try to make transfer decisions in a timely manner, but for some students we will simply not be able to render a decision until late in the summer. This means you may need to move forward with an alternative educational option until you hear from us.
How can I know if I will receive credit for my previous coursework?
Your admissions counselor cannot tell you whether you will receive credit for a particular course. The individual college to which you are applying will make the credit award determinations only after you receive admission. In general, basic coursework that can be found at most institutions will receive credit.
What are my chances of admission?
As with freshman admission, Vanderbilt transfer applications are on the rise in both quantity and quality. Last year we had a total of 927 transfer applications and admitted 376 students. Be aware that this is a competitive process.
How will I integrate into campus life if I receive admission as a transfer student?
First, know that you are not alone. Hundreds of transfer students enroll each Fall and the university hosts special orientation events specific to your needs. Furthermore, the office of Housing and Residential Education will help you find an appropriate residential fit on campus. Finally, you will quickly find that the communal nature of campus helps you to find your niche as a Commodore.
What if I am a non-traditional student?
The vast majority of Vanderbilt undergraduates are “traditional” students: 99 percent of our undergraduates are under the age of 24, 99 percent are full-time students, and 91 percent of our students live in university housing.
If you wish to pursue admission as a non-traditional student you will work with OUA and the office of Housing and Residential Education to meet your individual needs. Many of our non-traditional students will not pursue a formal undergraduate degree at the university, but will instead take class as apart of our non-degree-seeking program. For those opportunities you need to contact the Office of the University Registrar.
Who do I contact if I am a veteran attending college via the Yellow Ribbon Program?
First off, thank you for your service. The most appropriate contact for our service members attending college through this program is Sandie Frantz (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Office of the University Registrar (615.322.7714).
Can I receive scholarships and/or need-based financial aid as a transfer student?
Transfer students are not eligible for merit awards. However, all admitted transfer students are eligible for our need-based aid. In order to receive need-based financial aid you must complete both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Vanderbilt will meet 100% of your need and will do so via our no-loan expanded aid program.
I’m certain that this list of questions could keep going and going. Hopefully the above information gave you a starting point for your questions and answers. If you still have more, post below or contact your admissions counselor.