Vanderbilt Admits Just 11.6 Percent of Applicants

Vanderbilt University’s admittance rate for incoming first-year students once again fell to a new low this year, continuing a trend toward higher application volumes and greater selectivity.

As of June 15, Vanderbilt had reviewed 31,466 applications—the most ever received—and offered admission to 11.6 percent of those applicants. Other distinguished universities have experienced record-low selectivity rates in recent years as well. Stanford University, for example, admitted just over 5 percent of its applicant pool this year, while Harvard admitted slightly more than 6 percent.

While Vanderbilt has long been a highly ranked school, the latest selectivity rates mark a rapid turnaround from the more than 61 percent admission rate for first-year students as recently as 1999. This year Vanderbilt ranked No. 16 on U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of top national universities, its highest placement ever.

Douglas Christiansen, vice provost for university enrollment affairs and dean of admissions and financial aid, attributes the recent uptick in number of applications to three main factors: (1) the development of a pipeline recruiting strategy; (2) the opening of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students; and (3) greater affordability as a result of the expanded financial aid program known as Opportunity Vanderbilt.

“Students are applying to Vanderbilt, and enrolling here, because we have a great faculty and top academic programs,” Christiansen says. “At the end of the day, that educational experience is why they come.”

See our special report about undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt.