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Statement Regarding Test-Optional Policy for fall 2021 Applicants

Posted by on Saturday, June 20, 2020 in Admissions Life, General Information, Standardized Testing.

Vanderbilt University understands that families throughout the world are dealing with the very real and tangible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including, for some, the loss of employment, concern over their own or a loved one’s health, and the realization that the ramifications of the pandemic will be felt for months to come 

To support prospective students and their families during the ongoing global pandemicVanderbilt University will not require scores from the SAT or ACT exams for students applying to enter the university in the fall of 2021. 

The admissions process will be test-optional for all first-year and transfer applicants, including international and homeschool students. This test-optional admissions process will be in effect for students applying to matriculate at Vanderbilt in fall 2021 only. Proof of English proficiency will continue to be required for international students. 

When applying to Vanderbilt, students will indicate on the application whether they wish to be considered with or without test scores. The applicant’s choice regarding test score submission will not advantage or disadvantage the application review. Vanderbilt will consider an applicant’s academic record, including rigor of coursework; SAT or ACT scores (if submitted); personal essay; letters of recommendation; the breadth and depth of extracurricular engagement; and other items submitted on a student’s behalf. If students self-report scores from AP exams or SAT Subject tests, these may be considered as part of the review process. 

Beginning with students applying to enter fall 2021, Vanderbilt will implement a self-reporting testing policy. ACT or SAT exam scores reported on the application will be considered for admission evaluation purposes. However, official score reports will be required for all enrolling students. 

Applicants who expect to play on one of Vanderbilt’s NCAA Division I varsity teams must abide by NCAA and Southeastern Conference eligibility regulations regarding the SAT and ACT. 

FAQs: 

  1. If I choose not to submit scores from the SAT or ACT, how will my application be reviewed? For students who do not submit standardized test scores, the rest of the applicant’s academic record will take on more importance. This includes the transcript, relative position in class, rigor of coursework, grade trend over time, and teacher recommendations. As always, Vanderbilt employs a holistic, context-aware review process which considers all additional components of the application, including the personal essay and required short answer, letters of recommendation, and breadth and depth of extracurricular engagement.  
  2. If I choose not to submit scores from the SAT or ACT, how does this impact Vanderbilt’s merit scholarship process? All applicants who apply for merit-based scholarships by the December 1 deadline will be considered whether or not test scores are submitted. 
  3. Once I have indicated on the application whether I wish to be considered with or without test scores, may I change my mind? If you indicate on your application that you wish to be considered as a test-optional applicant, and you subsequently wish to submit ACT or SAT scores, you are welcome to do so before the application deadline, and we will consider them in the evaluation process. However, if you indicate on your application that you will be submitting ACT or SAT scores, and we receive the scores before the application deadline, you may not switch to test-optional consideration. 
  4. What about international applicants? While international applicants will not be required to submit an SAT or ACT exam result, proof of English proficiency will be required. This can be achieved by submitting the results of previously taken SATs with a Reading Test score of 33 or higher, or previously taken ACT exams with an English section score of 26 or higher, or by submitting the results of a TOEFL, PTE, IELTS or the Duolingo English Test. International applicants who have been educated in an English-speaking curriculum for high school are not required to take an English language exam.  
  5. What about homeschooled applicants? Homeschooled applicants will not be required to submit an SAT or ACT exam result. Homeschooled applicants are encouraged to fully engage with the application platform so the admissions committee can fully understand the context of their homeschool environment. 
  6. What about recruited Division I athletes? Applicants who expect to play on one of Vanderbilt’s NCAA Division I varsity teams must abide by NCAA and Southeastern Conference eligibility regulations regarding the SAT and ACT. 
  7. Will the test-optional policy be continued for future admissions cycles? Currently, there are no plans to extend this policy beyond the fall 2021 admissions cycle (class entering Vanderbilt in fall 2021). 
  8. Will students be able to self-report test scores for the SAT or ACT in future admissions cycles? Yes, self-reporting is a permanent policy change. 

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