Nearly 30,000 students apply to Vanderbilt University in Nashville each year. Of these, just under 4,000 students are accepted, for a 13 percent admissions rate.
VU’s admissions committee requires either an ACT or an SAT score. If you take SAT subjects tests, you can submit them with your application for consideration as well, but they’re not required.
Vanderbilt is obviously a selective school, but just what kind of test scores does it take to be accepted? To gauge what range of scores you should aim for, it is helpful to look at a school’s 25th-75th percentile range. This range tells you how the middle 50 percent of students accepted generally score.
At Vanderbilt, the 25th-75th percentile range for the math section of the ACT is between 30 and 35. For English, the bar is raised slightly higher, with a range of 33 to 35.
ACT English and math are often considered by themselves when estimating admissions odds. The other two sections, reading and science, commonly are not looked at individually. Instead, they make up part of the composite score, which is the average of all four sections of the ACT.
At Vanderbilt, the middle 50 percent of successful applicants generally have composite scores between 32 and 34.
Since the new SAT is slightly different from the old one, it’s hard to say if scoring will be exactly the same. Currently, admissions statistics are based on the old SAT, but it still may be helpful to use historical data for estimation.
Of the students Vanderbilt accepts, the middle 50 percent generally score between 720 and 800 on the SAT math section and between 710 and 800 on the verbal section, keeping in mind, 800 is the highest possible score on each section.
On the new SAT, your combined score is just the sum of the verbal and math sections. The 25th to 75th percentile range for combined scores of students accepted to Vanderbilt is 1430 to 1580.
Vanderbilt in perspective
The average composite ACT score of all students nationwide is 21.0. For English and math, scores average 20.4 and 20.8, respectively. Given Vanderbilt’s 25th-75th score ranges, students interested in attending Vanderbilt should aim for scores significantly above average. Successful applicants generally score the same or higher than 98 percent of test takers.
Keep in mind that there’s a lot more to an application than just test scores. A top notch score doesn’t secure your spot at any given college. Similarly, a slightly lower score doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. After all, 25 percent of students at Vanderbilt scored lower than the middle 50 percent!
Vanderbilt, like all top tier universities, is looking to form a well-rounded class. Extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and academic record are other important parts of your application.
When choosing where you apply, and ultimately attend, college, look at more than how your test scores match a school’s admission profile. Make sure that the college fits you financially and culturally, in addition to academically.