Vanderbilt announces new standardized testing policies for applicants

Test-Optional Policy for fall 2021 applicants

To support prospective students and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—which has impacted the availability and accessibility of the SAT and ACT exams—Vanderbilt University will not require scores from these standardized tests for students applying to enter the university in the fall of 2021.

This test-optional admissions process will be in effect for students applying to matriculate at Vanderbilt in fall 2021 only.

University leadership understands that families throughout the world are dealing with the very real and tangible effects of the global pandemic, including, for some, the loss of employment, concern over their own or a loved one’s health, and the realization that the ramifications of the pandemic will be felt for months to come. This means that many high school students realistically may not be able to access and/or to prepare for a standardized test.

As always, Vanderbilt will employ a rigorous, context-based, holistic review process of every applicant to ensure the university admits the most highly accomplished and diverse class possible. The hope is that by implementing a test-optional policy, applicants will be able to concentrate on other parts of their application without being overly concerned about a test score.

For the 2021-22 academic year, the admissions process will be test-optional for all first-year and transfer applicants, including international and homeschool students. Proof of English proficiency will continue to be required for international students. Additional information for international applicants can be found here.

When applying to Vanderbilt, students will indicate on the application whether they wish to be considered with or without test scores. The applicant’s choice regarding test score submission will not advantage or disadvantage the application review.

Vanderbilt will consider an applicant’s academic record, including rigor of coursework; SAT or ACT scores (if submitted); personal essay; letters of recommendation; the breadth and depth of extracurricular engagement; and other items submitted on a student’s behalf. If students self-report scores from AP exams or SAT Subject tests, these may be considered as part of the review process.

Self-Reporting Testing Policy for all applicants

Beginning with students applying to enter in fall 2021, Vanderbilt will implement a self-reporting testing policy. ACT or SAT exam scores reported on the application will be considered for admission evaluation purposes. However, official score reports will be required for all enrolling students.

Applicants who expect to play on one of Vanderbilt’s NCAA Division I varsity teams must abide by NCAA and Southeastern Conference eligibility regulations regarding the SAT and ACT.