What You Need to Know About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It was founded in 1873. Beginning in March 2023, Vanderbilt is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding—its Sesquicentennial. The university is named after the shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. He provided the initial $1 million endowment for the university. Vanderbilt is known for its strong undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences and its highly ranked graduate and professional schools, including the School of Medicine, Law School, and Owen Graduate School of Management.

Vanderbilt is known for its vibrant student life and strong athletics programs. The university fields 16 varsity sports teams, known as the Commodores, which compete in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt is also home to a number of student organizations and clubs, including Greek life, cultural and religious groups, and service organizations. Vanderbilt’s location in Nashville provides students with ample opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences. The students also have access to numerous healthcare facilities, research centers, and other academic institutions. Vanderbilt University provides a vibrant and inspiring environment for students to learn, grow, and thrive.


Vanderbilt University’s campus spans over 330 acres in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The campus is known for its stunning architecture, including a mix of historic and modern buildings. The buildings are constructed in a variety of styles, including Gothic Revival, Georgian, and Modernist. The centerpiece of the campus is the iconic Kirkland Hall, which houses the offices of the university’s senior administration. The campus is also filled with lush green spaces, including gardens, parks, and walkways, making it a beautiful and relaxing place to study and live. The campus is also home to a variety of amenities, such as dining options, fitness centers, and recreational facilities.

Vanderbilt University is located in the vibrant city of Nashville, Tennessee, known for its lively The campus itself is a beautiful and peaceful environment, complete with lush green spaces, tree-lined paths, and historic buildings that offer a sense of tradition and community.

Student Cohort

Vanderbilt University has a total student population of 13,710 students including 7,151 undergraduate students and 6,559 graduate students. 52% of students are women and 48% of students are men. 90.67% of Vanderbilt students come from out of state and 8.24% of students are international students.

Four-Year Completion Rate

The graduation rate is among the most important factors when selecting a college. Vanderbilt University’s first-year retention rate is 97%. This means that 97% of first-year students continue their education for their sophomore year and beyond. The 4-year graduation rate is 88.76%. This implies that 88.76% of students were able to graduate after 4 years. The 6-year graduation rate is 93.38%. This implies that 93.38% of students were able to graduate after 6 years. The extra semesters or years you take to graduate increases the cost of your degree.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. The average class size is 19 students.


Acceptance Rate

Vanderbilt University is very competitive. The Class of 2027 had 47,120 applicants and a total of 1,763 students were accepted with an acceptance rate of 5.6%.

Acceptance GPA

The average high school GPA of admitted students at Vanderbilt University is more than 3.80. 99% of the accepted students ranked in the top 10% of their high school class.

Types of Admission

The students can apply through the Early Decision and Regular Decision cycle. Early Decision I and Early Decision II is an opportunity for students to show that Vanderbilt University is their number one choice. Early Decision is a binding process and it implies that the students should attend Vanderbilt University if accepted. The early decision acceptance rate is 15.7%.

The students also have the option to apply through the Regular Decision process. Regular Decision may be right for you if you need more time to get your application ready. Many more students apply for Regular Decision than Early Decision. The regular decision acceptance rate is 4.2%.

Application Components:
All required parts of the Common Application or Coalition, powered by Scoir,
Official high school transcript
Counselor letter of recommendation
Two academic teacher letters of recommendation
Standardized Test Scores: The test scores are optional for students applying for fall 2023 and Fall 2024. The accepted students had an SAT score of more than 1510 and an ACT score of more than 34. 38.9% of students did not submit their scores.
Essay: Short Answer Question:
For both first-year and transfer applicants, we ask you to complete a short answer essay (approximately 250 words) based on one of two prompts.
Vanderbilt University values learning through contrasting points of view. We understand that our differences, and our respect for alternative views and voices, are our greatest source of strength. Please reflect on conversations you’ve had with people who have expressed viewpoints different from your own. How did these conversations/experiences influence you? Vanderbilt offers a community where students find a balance between their academic and social experiences. Please briefly elaborate on how one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences has influenced you.


Vanderbilt is a unique institution that comprises a set of independent universities that offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. The College of Arts and Science is the largest school at Vanderbilt, offering more than 100 majors and minors across 70+ fields of study from English to Economics, Climate Studies to Chemistry, and Philosophy to Physics. Minors are offered by all four Vanderbilt undergraduate schools. Students may pursue any minor outside of their major. Vanderbilt also offers an academic path for students who wish to pursue professional degrees in Medicine/Health, Business, Law, Nursing, or Architecture. Vanderbilt University is a set of the following 10 schools and colleges:

College of Arts and Science:
Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy.
Blair School of Music
Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts
Divinity School
Master of Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Philosophy
School of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science, Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate School
Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Liberal Arts and Science, Master of Fine Arts, Doctor of Philosophy
Law School
Master of Laws, Doctor of Jurisprudence, Doctor of Philosophy
School of Medicine
Master of Science in Medical Physics, Master of Education of the Deaf, Master of Science (Applied Clinical Informatics, Speech-Language Pathology), Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, Master of Genetic Counseling, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Medical Physics
School of Nursing:
Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Nursing Practice
Owen Graduate School of Management:
Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Accountancy, Master of Management in Health Care, Master of Marketing, Doctor of Philosophy
Peabody College of Education and Human Development:
Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, Master of Public Policy, Master of Science, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy

Special Academic Programs

Undergraduate Data Science Minor: Vanderbilt University’s faculty has created a unique trans-institutional undergraduate minor in Data Science that spans all four undergraduate colleges and is affiliated with the Vanderbilt Data Science Institute. Students in Data Science are introduced to the foundations of this interdisciplinary field, with coursework in computer programming, statistics, machine learning, and visualization, interwoven with ethical considerations of collecting, curating, analyzing, visualizing, and interpreting data.

Combined B.A./M.A. 4+1 Degree Program: The College of Arts & Science’s 4+1 program offers the opportunity to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years. Currently, a 4+1 option is available in the following areas of study:

Vanderbilt-Duke-UVA Partnership for Less Commonly Taught Languages: The College of Arts and Science has partnered with Duke University and the University of Virginia (UVA) to offer students joint instruction in Ki’che’ Maya, Haitian Creole, Turkish, and Swahili. This unique effort both helps to preserve these endangered languages for future generations and adds depth to students’ understanding of subjects connected with these languages and their originating cultures.

Most Popular Majors

  • Economics

  • Liberal Arts and Humanities

  • Social Science Research Methods

  • Computer Science

  • Mathematics

  • Neuroscience and Neurobiology

  • Political Science and Government

  • Psychology

  • Engineering Science

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Cost of Attendance

TUITION $61,618.00 $30,809.00 $2,567.00
   Per semester rate is charged for enrollment of 12-18 hours.
Per per-hour rate is charged for enrollment less than 12 hours and hours over 18.
HOUSING $13,484.00 $6,742.00
   First Year Student (21 meals/week) $7,570.00 $3,785.00
   Second and Third Year Student (19 meals/week)  $7,494.00 $3,747.00
   Fourth Year Student (14 meals/week)  $6,672.00 $3,336.00
   All-Access Plan (Unlimited meals/week)

Student Life

Student Clubs and Organizations: Vanderbilt University students get the opportunity to participate in 500+ organizations. Many students undertake leadership positions. These organizations connect and engage the campus community as they involve in meaningful ventures.

Fun Fact

The Vanderbilt Anchor is a symbol of unity and strength and it was adopted in 2004. The anchor accompanies the Commodores football team to all home and away games. The anchor is carried in the Star Walk procession to the stadium. A group or individual is selected to “drop the anchor” before each home game. The anchor is dropped at midfield to mark the beginning of the evening’s events.

Cultural Dance Showcases: Vanderbilt University celebrates the rich diversity at the campus through cultural dance showcases. There are four annual performances: Diwali, the South Asian Festival of Lights, which is held by the South Asian Cultural Exchange (SACE); Harambee, the African Student Union’s cultural showcase; Lunar New Year Festival, which is held by the Asian American Student Association; and Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students’ Café con Leche.

“VU” hand sign: The “VU” hand sign was Introduced by Commodore cheerleaders in 2003. The sign can be seen from people in every part of the Vanderbilt community. The famous “VU” hand sign is formed with the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of your right hand, palm out. The index finger and middle finger form the “V,” and the “U” is formed by the thumb.

In conclusion, Vanderbilt University is a highly prestigious institution known for its academic excellence, research opportunities, and strong commitment to student success. Its rigorous academic programs, supportive community, and vibrant campus life make it a popular choice for students. Vanderbilt University is a truly remarkable institution that offers a world-class education to its students and prepares them for success in their future endeavors.

We can help you with your college application process. Working with study abroad consultants, overseas education consultants, or, as more commonly known, college counselors, can help you plan ahead and make those high school years count. Ivy Central offers exceptional focus to help you prepare for college admissions throughout the high school years. Start today

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