Early Decision isn’t for the impatient or the spontaneous. This particular pathway in the admission process should be approached with lots of pre-planning, researching, and asking the right questions.
Though some universities may have an Early Decision process that gives students a slight competitive edge, Vanderbilt makes it clear that it doesn’t accept students based on interest.
The admissions process evaluates students based on a holistic look at their academics and values in an attempt to make a prestigious education accessible to students from all walks of life.
Students may wonder why even bother with Early Decision if it doesn’t add to their application.
As The College Board points out, pursuing Early Decision can be helpful for students who know a university is their first pick, who are confident in their financial aid status, and who have a competitive academic record.
When it comes to Vanderbilt, Early Decision really is up to student preference. This means that students shouldn’t approach the Early Decision application as if it is what will give them a competitive edge.
They need to approach it from the perspective that they know Vanderbilt is the school for them.
This means that a student can take their time to consider what they want from a Vanderbilt education. The best way for students to do this is to look at the cost of attendance, the academic programs, and the kind of students the university attracts.
One of the biggest concerns with Early Decision is financial aid.
Because students are applying early, they will not get word on their financial aid package until after they get word on their acceptance. This means that students need to know enough about the cost of attendance not to be blindsided by the financial side of the Vanderbilt experience.
To understand more about the cost of attendance and what aid a student will be eligible for, students and their families should check out the Vanderbilt affordability page.
This will provide students with information on merit and need-based scholarships, a net price calculator, and a breakdown of Opportunity Vanderbilt.
At the same time, students should be looking at the academics that Vanderbilt has to offer. Students will be primarily attending one of four schools: College of Arts and Sciences, Blair School of Music, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the School of Engineering.
Though a student’s program may be focused on one of the schools, the university encourages students to take courses from all four for a more well-rounded educational experience.
Finally, understanding a university through the eyes of its students is one way to determine if a university is the right fit. Students can do this by visiting the campus, checking out social media, and reading the student-run blog.
Another unique feature that Vanderbilt offers is the Contact a Student tool. Applicants can search through a list of current students based on major, location, or year to find someone to connect with.
Each student profile has an information page on the student, a contact form, and a short interview with the student about their favorite things about being at Vanderbilt.
If reaching out to a current student feels intimidating, students can also get a window into Vanderbilt student life by reading through the Inside ‘Dores student blog.
Articles range from what it has been like to live with covid-19 at Vanderbilt to what it is like to be in ROTC.
To pursue Early Decision at Vanderbilt isn’t about trying to get an edge; it is about committing to an experience that a student knows is the right fit for them. To start the process of pursuing Early Decision, students can follow the tips below.
Vanderbilt Early Decision Acceptance Rate
The Early Decision acceptance rate is 17.6%.
To get an idea of what Vanderbilt expects from its Early Decision applicants, students should look through the overview of those that have been accepted.
Vanderbilt offers a detailed picture of its incoming Early Decision students through the university’s admissions blog.
The latest class to be accepted is made up of students from all over nationally and internationally, who have received honors, and who are in the top 10% of their graduating class.
The general Vanderbilt acceptance rate hangs around 7.1% but the difference in the acceptance rates doesn’t reflect one deadline being easier than another.
Early Decision applications have higher rates of acceptance because of the likelihood that these applications would be some of the most competitive regardless of whether they came in during Early Decision or Regular Decision.
Vanderbilt Early Decision Decision Date
Students will receive Vanderbilt’s final decision on their application by Mid-December.
If students are accepted, they will be held to the binding agreement and must withdraw all other applications from other universities.
Mid-December is also the time that students will learn what their preliminary financial aid awards are.
The final financial aid package will be given to students by late March.
Vanderbilt Early Decision Deadline
Vanderbilt’s Early Decision deadline is November 1st, but this isn’t the only date students need to keep in mind. With Early Decision I comes other deadlines that students need to be aware of.
Financial aid is one of the most essential additional deadlines that is impacted by pursuing the Early Decision path.
Vanderbilt requires that students complete a CSS profile, which is an application that is similar to the FAFSA but is used instead to determine eligibility for institutional aid. The priority deadline for both the FAFSA and the CSS profile is November 4th for ED.
Though not directly impacted by the Early Decision path, but still just as important to remember, students are also able to apply for merit scholarships.
Regardless of which decision a student applies under, the deadline for applying for merit scholarships is December 1st.
One last deadline that is important is for music students who want to attend the Blair School of Music. Early Decision music students will need to submit their regular application and the music schools’ additional application by the same November 1st deadline.
Does Vanderbilt Have Early Decision 2?
Yes, Vanderbilt offers an Early Decision II option to applicants.
The deadline for ED II is January 1st. Students will be informed of the university’s decision on their application by Mid-February.
At first glance, students might find it confusing that the Early Decision II and the Regular Decision deadline are the same, January 1st.
The distinction between the two comes down to the all-important “binding” agreement that always accompanies an Early Decision deadline.
Regular Decision allows students to wait to decide if they want to attend based on all their options. Early Decision students are locked into Vanderbilt if they are offered acceptance and must withdraw all other applications.
Vanderbilt ED Deferral Rate
Vanderbilt doesn’t provide information on their ED Deferral Rate. Students who apply for ED will either be accepted or waitlisted.
Deferral can be the student’s choice.
Students who apply for Early Decision and get accepted will have the option to defer their acceptance if life circumstances come up that require a pause on their enrollment.
In order to defer enrollment, students need to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1st in order to request a deferral.
The university will review the requests on a case-by-case basis. Students who are granted a deferral will be required to pay a $400 fee to hold their spot.
How to Apply to Vanderbilt for Early Decision
The application process for Early Decision is the same as the Regular Decision process with the addition of a signed Early Decision Agreement.
One exception to this is those who wish to attend the Blair School of Music. Students will need to submit the music application requirements on top of the regular application requirements if they choose this path.
Students will start the general application process by picking the Common or Coalition Application to complete.
There will be a $50 application fee that can be paid or waived through the application. In addition, students will need to submit the core documents that nearly all colleges request: transcripts and letters.
Transcripts from high school and/or colleges should be sent directly to the university.
In addition, Vanderbilt requires students to submit two letters of recommendation from a teacher and one from a counselor.
Though there is no mandatory requirement to write an essay, students are encouraged to through the application so the university can get to know them better.
SAT/ACT scores will not be required for admission to Vanderbilt till at least 2024.
Students who plan to submit an application beyond 2024 should contact the university’s admission office to hear how the university will move forward once this deadline is reached.
Students who enter Vanderbilt will go into one of the four main schools; the Blair School of Music is the only one that requires a few more application materials from applicants.
In addition to the Blair School of Music application, students will need to submit two artistic recommendations, a photo, a music resume, a repertoire list, and a prescreening video.
To learn more about these special requirements, students should visit the Blair School of Music home page.
Another potential path available to students is the QuestBridge program. Vanderbilt is one of over 40 universities that participate in the QuestBridge match process where academically gifted, low-income high schoolers can apply for a fully-funded college education at some of the top universities in the nation.