Statement Regarding Test-Optional Policy for fall 2021 Applicants
Update: Vanderbilt University will extend the test-optional policy for students applying for fall 2022 entry.
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 pandemic, Vanderbilt 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If I submitted my application WITHOUT test scores, may I change my response? Yes, IF it is before the application deadline. For Early Decision II and Regular Decision applicants, before January 1, you may submit your scores for them to be considered in the application review. NOTE: Transfer applicants may not change their response.
- If I submitted my application WITH test scores, may I change my response? It depends. Once your scores are received by our office, you may not change your response. If scores have not been received by our office, you may change your response by contacting your admissions officer or email@example.com. NOTE: Transfer applicants may not change their response.
- I said YES to submitting testing but have not yet taken the SAT or ACT, what do I do? If you have not been able to sit for an SAT or ACT please email your admissions officer or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will change your application to NO for submitting testing. If you would prefer to apply for a later decision round and sit for a standardized test, you can update your decision plan on your MyAppVU portal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.