Seeking Additional Information Regarding Transferring Into Vanderbilt

So, I applied early decision to my dream school: Vanderbilt University. It was my dream university for as long as I could remember. I would definitely say I have an unhealthy obsession with Vandy. I live in Southern California, and I have visited the campus three times. With each visit, I fell in love with the campus more and more each day. Over the past four years, I spent hours and hours on end researching Vanderbilt and Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, along with his family and his grandson George Washington Vanderbilt who spent the family fortune to build America’s largest estate.

I was so anxious to get my response back. I even wore my Vanderbilt sweatshirt and brought my pennant to my computer when I opened my portal in hopes that it would be an acceptance. As soon as I opened that portal, to my disappointment, it was a denial of admissions. I sat there in shock, wondering if it was a mistake for nearly an hour. I wondered what I did wrong. Was it because I did not want to not take certain classes such as Physics? I wondered if it was because of what I did was not enough, as my school does not offer AP classes or have an IB program. After the shock wore off, I realized that there were just too many qualified applicants for such few spots. In past years, per every accepted candidate, 9 who are similar to that applicant is turned down. Now, it was more about luck than anything.

So, here I am now. I am curious as to what exactly the transfer process is like. I was told that I should try transferring into Vanderbilt, but I am unsure about that. I know that the transfer rate is pretty high compared to other highly selective universities, but I do not know if this is something I should really pursue. I am not a good test-taker, and I know that you have to submit test scores along with your application. I was told by my admissions counselor that the transfer class typically consists of 220 students—give or take—who are all applying either from the United States or internationally. She also mentioned that Vandy fondly looks upon applicants who applied previously, and the majority of transfer students did not receive admission the first time around. So, if anyone could give me any insight about it, that would be great. I have a lot of options right now, and I want to be certain I choose the right path.

Vanderbilt recently accepted one quarter of the female applicants who applied for transfer, so in this sense it seems it would become more accessible to you in the future.

The above noted, Vanderbilt appears to emphasize test scores as a criterion for admission. For this reason, it may never have been the ideal destination you imagined it to be, in that its priorities do not seem to align with your particular attributes as an applicant.

as for SAT testing…practice. I practiced every day for 5 hours continuously for about 2 months. If math is your weak area, I suggest khanacademy, but I have some resources I could email to you if you want. For english its rly a game of luck (according to me) but I will say that using the practice in the Kaplan and Princeton Review English helped a lot. Erica Meltzer’s grammar book is super helpful for grammar. If you take it in March, you will have your time to retake it 1 or 2 times before school starts. I did have a friend who mentioned that a good idea would be to email your admission counselor and ask to speak to a current vanderbilt transfer student - although you can easily find that on their website (it makes a good impression to ask). Vandy says it doesn’t track demonstrated interest but it doesn’t hurt to try :slight_smile:

I can agree that their priorities do not align with my attributes. I felt relieved when they announced that they went test-optional because I do have rather strong and competitive stats. As mentioned before, I live in California. Fortunately/unfortunately for me, I have registered for nearly as many SATs and ACTs as I could with no luck being able to take them because my test centers would all shut down. The last one was rescheduled to a test center that was way too far away that my mom would let me go to. I know that there are people who would drive to other states just to take these tests too, which is rather a bummer that this test makes or breaks people’s college choices.

I would appreciate any sources I can get—that is, for if I decide transferring into Vandy is worth it to me. It also wouldn’t help for me to brush up on English or actually learn some Math. I would say that I’m stronger in English than math, but my SAT scores said otherwise; I had such a higher difference in scores when it came to the SAT. To me, math is a joke as I don’t even know how to do it besides finding loopholes and shortcuts and memorizing that. I love grammar, and I tend to be a little crazy when it comes to picking through other people’s grammar, so a lot of my friends send me their essays to make sure that it’s grammatically correct.

As far as testing goes, I doubt that test centers near me will open up in March. The whole state of California is on its like, third lockdown, and my county never made it out of lockdown anyways. I heard there were kids who were even trying to go to different states to take this test too, which is rather unfortunate that a test can really make or break someone’s future at their dream school.

hi, friend. i think it’s lovely that you have such an admiration for vandy. it’s a wonderful school located in a wonderful area. one thing i must preface before i continue is that i don’t want you to go into college hoping that you will be able to transfer somewhere else. it’s a very common thing for students who don’t get accepted into their first choice to do, and i feel like it takes away from all the wonderful things the university that did want you can provide. for example, i fell in love with stanford to the point i believed i would be unhappy anywhere else and that i was going to try my hardest to transfer there. fast forward to my gap year, i realized i actually didn’t want to go to a large uni and ended up at a small LAC in the midwest, where I’m extremely fortunate and happy to be. your happiness index based on what you want may change along the way, and that’s okay. just don’t put all your eggs in one basket. : )

now, all of that being said, transferring into vanderbilt is, indeed, arguably much easier than gaining an acceptance as a first-year (the transfer-in acceptance rate used to be in the mid-to-high 30s until people started catching on and vandy started gaining more national prominence). you say you have a lot of options right now… what are they? have you applied to more universities? have you gotten accepted to any universities? furthermore, what are you wanting to study that gives vandy that slight edge above the rest? you say you’re not the best test-taker, but i do have to mention what others have already said in that vandy really, really likes people with high test scores. for the 2019-20 class, the ACT range was from a 33-35, meaning the average ACT was a 34. if vandy requires standardized test scores in the future, the best advice i have is to practice, practice, p r a c t i c e. it will benefit you so much in the long run. the easiest sections to master, in my opinion, are the reading and english sections. math is… well, it’s math, and the science section is just a more “complicated” reading section.

going back to the other options you have, have you looked into other universities or even LACs that are similar to vandy? they may be worth an application if it’s not too late (think: davidson, rice, uofrichmond, wake forest, tulane, and emory). lmk.

RIGHT? i agree… hopefully centers open up soon or maybe look into the ACT? Worst case scenario try taking a different test. Since they are test-op, maybe take a CLEP exam or just get 5s on your APs. However if you are set on the SAT, maybe find a way to convince your parents to take you to another state. Maybe a test date will line up with spring break so you could take a road trip maybe. Some of my friends rented a house and took the exam together in the summer (obv thats summer vacay, so its a different scenario). As for studying for testing in general, find a friend or two and have a hangouts call everyday. set a timer for 50 minutes, and then have a 10 minute break. Just seeing someone work in front of you can be good motivation.

I also just realized how many “maybes” I used lol

I always knew Vandy would be a long shot. I’d definitely say I have an unhealthy obsession with Vanderbilt, as I know way too much about it than like, anybody else. More reasons to incline why I was so disappointed when I didn’t get in.

I loved Vanderbilt because of the location being in Nashville, the heart of music city. I loved that Dierks Bentley, one of my all-time favorite artists, went there and graduated in 1997 with a major in English. Of course, Dierks transferred in his sophomore year to get closer to Nashville and pursue a career in songwriting. I liked their competition between their commons and the Dine In Nashville where their meal swipes worked some Nashville Restaurants. (I happen to know which ones and the ones that offer vegan options and an alternative diet option). I loved the beautiful campus and community-like environment where everyone is empowered and there for one another. When I first toured Vandy during Summer 2017, I was just a rising high school freshman. They mentioned that they have one of the best—if not, THE best education program—in the United States. According to Niche, that still stands. I wish to become a Spanish teacher at high-school level. I also really liked the aspect to where the school is 100% needs-met. A lot of the schools I applied to, I received merit money, and although I am fortunate for my working class mom to pay for my college, she is unwilling to pay for the majority of them because they’re going to end up being too expensive. I liked that needs-met match what we can not pay, and I do not have the pressure to maintain a certain GPA (ranging from 3.4–3.5). I also loved that Vandy is ranked among one of the best as far as academics go. I also liked that small LAC setting where the professors value your education.

As far as where I have applied, I applied to the following schools:
Vanderbilt University (ED—Denied Secondary Education from Peabody)
Cornell University (RD—Awaiting Response: Spanish at CAS)
Scripps College (RD—Awaiting Response: Spanish)
UC Berkley (Awaiting Response: Spanish & Portuguese, I believe)
UCLA (Awaing Response: Spanish)

Baylor University (Free app for everyone, EA—Accepted Spanish with $80,000 scholarship, but I may not be able to go because of the cost)
Cal State Fullerton (Awaiting Response, I believe Spanish)
UC Riverside (Awaiting Reponse, Spanish

Southern Utah (Accepted Undecided at the time I applied with full-ride)
Cal State San Marcos (Accepted Spanish)
California Baptist University (Accepted Spanish, I believe, with Trustees Scholarship)
Sonoma State (Accepted Spanish)
Westmont College (Accepted Spanish with Presidential Scholarship)
Point Loma Nazarene University (I just need to press “submit”)
Biola University (Free app—Accepted Undecided at the time of app with Presidential Scholarship)

I might put in an app for Flagler College as well because I have close family-friends who live very close to Flagler, and my best friend was just accepted tonight.

I wondered, mostly, if it was worth it to transfer in because I feel my stats would be stronger now than when I would be attempting to transfer in. I know they’re probably not as competitive as the majority of people who apply either.

Asian Female from the Inland Empire of Southern California
Test Optional
4.0 UW/4.46 W HS with a 4.0 college GPA
Class Rank: 1/120
11 College Dual Enrollment courses totaling 37 units (taking the highest level of Spanish I could; as mentioned before, my high school does not offer AP or have an IB program, so my only option was to enroll in the local community college)
Honors: 4.0 High School Gold Honor Roll and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society (Community College Honors Society), plus some more
ECs: Student Council, amazing service project, Chinese School since 9th grade, Middle School Cross Country Assistant Coach 9th & 10th grade, and Varsity Cross Country 9th & 10th grade
Hopefully good letters of recommendations.

scripps sounds like a great place for you, especially since you’ll be surrounded by all the other colleges (pomona, cmc, harvey mudd, and pitzer). i think you stand a very strong chance.

this is something that strikes me as an indication that you would more than likely be better off attending an LAC vs. a university like vandy. have you looked into the university of the south? the application deadline isn’t until February 1st, and i think it’s another school worth possibly adding to your list. the campus is HUGE and beautiful, it’s a liberal arts college, and it’s only an hour and a half away from nasvhille/vanderbilt. furthermore, the school just established the policy whereby they’ll meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated need. is your ACT score between a 25-30? according to the most recent common data set provided by the school (, the average ACT is a 27.5, with the 25th percentile scoring a 25 and the 75th percentile scoring a 30. if your score is within that range, i say include it in your application. they also have a spanish major, a pre-education program, and vanderbilt seems to be one of the most popular destinations—if not THE most popular destination—for those who pursue graduate school ( & definitely look into it, as i think you may like it a lot. it’s a top-notch LAC that is often overlooked by many.

also, the only one who can ever know if it’s worth it to transfer is you, unfortunately.

I’ve thought Scripps would be a great place for me as well. I actually had never heard of the 5Cs until fairly recently. My aunt is an alumna ('95), and she very recently started talking to me about how much she loved her time at Scripps and thinks Scripps would be a great match for me. Very recently, I’ve been thinking of withdrawing my application because I feel as if there are a few personal drawbacks to it (I will PM it to you so I don’t spam everyone on this thread, haha). She always talked about her time studying abroad in Spain, and I know that Scripps is really great with studying abroad. The 5Cs consortium is really cool, and I really loved that idea of being able to take classes at the other colleges and even having the possibility of majoring at another college in the 5Cs if I wish to pursue, say Computer Science at HMC because I was also interested in Comp Sci, if I wished. That being said, I also loved how Scripps is all about empowering others and finding your own voice. I liked that intimate class setting where it’s all discussion-based because they want you to find your own voice.

I have not heard of University of the South. I’ll definitely look into it. Thank you so much for all your help! :))

1 Like