Vanderbilt University Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

It may now be one of the best times to transfer to Vanderbilt University. Their transfer acceptance rate is higher, compared to similar elite schools, and a recent 57.1% increase in their endowment indicates that more research projects, faculty needs, and student financial aid requests are likely to be fulfilled.

Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt is a private institution located in Nashville, Tennessee. A number of Nobel Prize laureates, governors, U.S. ambassadors, members of Congress, CEOs, military officers, judges, university presidents, and professional athletes all got their start at Vanderbilt.

65% of students receive financial aid to assist with annual undergraduate tuition of just over  $52,000. 

Students also enjoy a relatively small student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, ensuring that they will get more one-on-one support and interaction in their class environments.

Vanderbilt’s student population is growing more diverse over time. Currently, 39.5% of students are White, 18.8% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 11.% are Black, and 11.1% are Hispanic. 

Students at Vanderbilt can expect to learn from and grow with peers from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Up ahead, we’ll discuss the acceptance rate for transfers, required application materials, essential deadlines to know, and what kind of student is best suited to thrive in an environment like Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt University Transfer Acceptance Rate

Vanderbilt University
Sean Pavone /

While VU does not report its transfer acceptance rates, one can estimate that the percentage hovers around 25% – this figure is considerably higher than their more selective acceptance rates for first-year students.

Almost 80% of admitted transfer students enter Vanderbilt as sophomores, and transfer students constitute nearly 10% of the student population. 

The majority of transfer students come from institutions like Boston College, Belmont University, and NYU.

Vanderbilt admissions officers have previously stated that they view transfer admissions as a means to balance class loads after students leave to study abroad or, in more rare cases, drop out or transfer to another college.

Application Requirements & GPA for Vanderbilt Transfers

Transfer applicants admitted to Vanderbilt typically maintain a GPA of B+/A- or higher, which translates to a 3.3-4.0. 

Additionally, their standardized test scores (if submitted), investment in their current college community, and desire for completing their undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt are among the top factors considered by admissions officers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt made it optional for first-year and transfer applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores; refraining from doing so will not affect their admission decision.

According to data from the incoming class of 2025, Vanderbilt saw a 28.5% increase in applications following the implementation of a test-optional change in their admissions requirements, 56.3% of applicants voluntarily submitted their test scores, and 61.1% of admitted students applied with test scores.

All transfer applicants must complete the Coalition Application Transfer Application or the Common Application Transfer Application (the $50 application fee can be waived for applicants who qualify). 

Additional materials include official copies of the applicant’s high school and college transcripts (from all institutions they’ve previously attended), a Transfer College Report from their current institution, and two academic letters of recommendation (one of which should be from a college professor or TA).

When students apply to transfer to Vanderbilt, they must specify to which one of four schools they seek to attend:  the College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, or Blair School of Music. 

Peabody College consistently ranks among the best graduate schools of education in the nation, and the Blair School of Music is the only music school among the top 20-ranked institutions whose program is solely dedicated to undergraduates. 

While the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and Peabody College have no additional application requirements, Blair applicants should plan to submit two artistic recommendations, a headshot (which need not be professional), a repertoire list, a prescreening video, and a music resume.

Those intending to transfer to Vanderbilt should have earned at least 12 semester credit hours after earning their high school degree or GED. 

Vanderbilt requires that admitted transfer students maintain enrollment status for at least four semesters (and earn 60 credit hours) before obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the institution.

Transfer students will not receive an opportunity to engage in an interview with the admissions team, so they must show evidence of full-time enrollment in rigorous coursework and meaningful engagement within their current college communities. 

The Transfer Student Orientation introduces admitted transfer students to life at Vanderbilt. It includes small-group discussions and informational sessions related to extracurriculars, academics, campus support systems, and other things transfer students would like to know. 

Orientation typically starts on student move-in day and finishes on the last day of the first week of classes. 

Transfer students find the orientation to be helpful in that they have the chance to talk one-on-one with Transfer Student Leaders and other students transferring to Vanderbilt from schools all over the nation.

Vanderbilt will meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted transfer students. February 1 is the priority deadline to file the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile. 

All transfer students are also expected to apply for on-campus housing, which will be provided by Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt University Transfer Deadline

The priority application deadline for Vanderbilt transfers is March 15. Transfer applicants will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the spring – this means that the institution evaluates applications as they are received and that they will continue doing so until they have filled all available spaces.

Rolling admissions may reduce the stress for potential transfer students by increasing the likelihood of receiving decisions earlier than their competitors, and if applicants apply early enough, they may even “beat out” peers who would have earned their spot, had they applied later. 

Taking advantage of rolling admissions policies also gives accepted students more time to make crucial decisions, particularly if they are applying to transfer to more than one institution.

What is the Decision Date for Vanderbilt Transfers?

Admission decisions for Vanderbilt transfer applicants become available in late April of each year and on a rolling basis.

Students applying to transfer to more than one university should consider submitting their application materials to Vanderbilt first and as early before the deadline as possible. 

The earlier they submit their applications to schools that admit students on a rolling basis, the more likely they are to learn their admission decision earlier.

Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt University
Andrew Jameson, VanderbiltGymnasiumNashville, CC BY-SA 3.0

Vanderbilt is a highly-regarded university that ranks #14 in the U.S. News Best Colleges & National Universities for 2022. 

Students who prefer a more intimate campus situated in a bustling, urban environment like Nashville, Tennessee will gravitate to a place like Vanderbilt.

Students with an interest in studying abroad will find another compelling reason to attend “Vandy,” as the school is often referred to – over 40% of Vanderbilt’s students engage in a study-abroad excursion, which can take place in one of over 40 countries.

Vanderbilt is best known for its programs in education, engineering, medicine, and music – students with a proclivity for either field will find themselves among excellent facilities and world-renowned experts in the Vanderbilt community. 

Interestingly enough, it may be wiser to transfer to Vanderbilt University instead of applying as a first-year student. 

The acceptance rates for first-year applicants are typically between 5-10%, which has consistently decreased over the last five years.

RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt University
BugsMeanee, E. Bronson Ingram College, CC BY-SA 4.0

To review, transfer applicants should submit their application materials – including any supplementary materials and financial aid applications – as early as possible, so that they may take advantage of Vanderbilt’s rolling admissions policy.

Applicants should complete the online transfer application, send the nonrefundable $50 fee, schedule the Transfer College Report, share two academic letters of recommendation, and send official copies of all high school and college transcripts. SAT or ACT scores are optional.

Based upon which of Vanderbilt’s four colleges the student is applying to, they may need to send additional components (particularly if they are applying to the Blair School of Music). 

Additionally, the School of Engineering requires a strong background in mathematics and science (especially college-level courses in Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics).

When applying to transfer to any institution, it is always essential to maintain high grades at one’s current institution. This will demonstrate to the admitting university that the student is capable of meeting their academic standards and succeeding in rigorous courses.

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