The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Early Decision admit rate falls to 18.1 percent

The university received 715 more ED applications than last year, Dean of Admissions Douglas Christiansen said.
Emery Little
Kirkland Hall during the fall. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Vanderbilt’s early decision (ED) admit rate fell from 20.7 to 18.1 percent this year, per a Feb. 19 update from Vanderbilt Undergraduate Admissions. 

Per Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs Douglas Christiansen, the decrease reflects an overall increase in the number of ED I and II applications. This year, the university received 5,049 ED applications to join the Class of 2025, representing a 16 percent increase from last year’s 4,334, Christiansen said.

The number of ED applications has steadily increased over the past decades. According to Christiansen, Vanderbilt received 1,227 ED applications in 2007. Between 2010 and 2020, the university saw a 92 percent increase in ED applications. 

That steady increase in ED applications has created a steady decline in ED admit rate because the university admits roughly the same number of people each year, Christiansen said. 

Shift to online programming

The Class of 2025 was the first class to complete a full application cycle during COVID-19, and this meant a change in approach for the admissions team. 

“The whole country changed—the world changed in the span of a couple weeks, so we had to immediately pivot,” Christiansen said. 

Per Christiansen, the admissions office had previously maintained an online tour and pre-recorded presentation. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all admissions events—from Anchor Days to high school visits—shifted to an online format. The office’s daily virtual presentations are so well attended that, while one admissions officer conducts the presentation, two additional officers focus solely on responding to questions and comments in the chat box, Christiansen said.

Though in-person and travelling events will eventually resume, many of the additional online offerings are here to stay, Christiansen said. 

“I think it’ll become more of a blended approach,” Christiansen said. “We’ve learned a lot from these virtual offerings—that it just allows greater access to more people.” 

Visiting campus in person can be a challenge for geographically remote or low-income students, Christiansen said, but he added that online tours and admissions events are a great alternative. 

Marco Navarro, an incoming first-year from Lima, Peru said he attended the virtual tour, watched online information sessions and reached out to current students to get to know the university before applying ED.

“Since I don’t live in the US, it would’ve been really hard to visit Vandy’s campus,” Navarro said in a message to The Hustler. “But the online resources they offered were more than enough to have a glance of what life [on] campus is.”

Ziqi Zhan, a Chinese international student in the Class of 2025, was originally accepted in the 2024 ED class but deferred enrollment one year to avoid online classes during the pandemic, she said. Zhan hails from Zhengou, China, and was not able to visit campus before submitting her ED application. 

“I wasn’t able to do a campus tour before I applied, even though I have watched so many Youtube videos of Vandy,” Zhan said in a message to The Hustler. “At least, it looks amazing on the videos!”

Zhan said she also utilized student “day-in-the-life” vlogs and the Vanderbilt website when deciding whether to apply. 

“Those resources definitely [helped] a lot when I was applying,” Zhan said. “They were technically the first visual impressions I have of Vanderbilt.”

Fewer ED demographic statistics released this year

The Feb. 19 Early Decision Update included one statistic: the combined admit rate from ED I and ED II. 

Last year’s Early Decision Update included various demographic statistics about the ED portion of the Class of 2024, including middle 50 percent SAT scores, number of countries represented and percent of students in the top ten percent of their graduating class. 

Per Christiansen, admissions decided to withhold that demographic information this year to minimize confusion. Since the statistics for ED are different than those for the final class overall, the information can get mixed up in the news or guidebooks, Christiansen said. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will instead release demographic information about the entire Class of 2025 in the fall. 

“We know people want to know that admit rate number, so we just put it out there,” Christiansen said. “But other than that, you’ll notice this year we tried not to put anything else other than the class in more general terms.”

Approximately 18 in every 100 ED applicants received admission from the university for the 2021-22 academic year. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Applying ED During a Pandemic

Early decision applicants who were unable to visit campus drew on a range of resources to make an informed decision, including conversations with current students, YouTube videos and the school’s overall reputation.

Incoming first-year Calla Reardon said she chose to apply ED to increase her chances of being accepted at Vanderbilt, though she was unable to see the campus in person before applying. 

“Because of COVID, it was a risk to apply ED to a school that I had not been able to visit, but after being accepted I feel like I made the right choice,” Reardon said in a message to The Hustler. 

Incoming first-year Josh Sacca described a similar application experience.

“I applied ED because Vandy was my number one school by a pretty significant margin,” Sacca said in a message to The Hustler. “Because of the pandemic I wasn’t able to visit campus, but I was able to talk to a few current and former students and everything I heard was extremely positive.”

Incoming first-year Nehemiah Stovall-Wright said the pandemic circumstances may have helped his application, given that he was no longer required to submit his SAT scores. Ultimately, he had to decide whether to apply early decision to Vanderbilt or the University of Virginia, Stovall-Wright said.

“One of the big factors … was the campus and quality of life rating,” Stovall-Wright said in a message to The Hustler. “It seems like a really nice atmosphere. I weighed the benefits of the two schools, consulted my mother, prayed on it, and Vandy just seemed like the right choice.”

Like Stovall-Wright, incoming first-year Ashley Ahn said the university’s reputation for campus community influenced her decision to apply ED.

With a 16 percent increase in ED applicants, the university’s ED acceptance rate dropped by 2.6 percent, from 20.7 to 18.1 percent. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

“I wanted a college that has a tight knit community who works alongside each other (both faculty and students),” Ahn said in a message to The Hustler. “Without even visiting, I knew Vandy would give me that.” 

Christiansen advised newly admitted students to keep their grades up and be mindful of what they say on social media. 

“My best advice right now is to stay engaged in high school; be focused with your studies,” Christiansen said. “Yes, you’re admitted, but you need to remember that if you don’t use your muscle brain since December, and then you come in the fall, it’s hard.”

Regular Admission Decisions Expected End of March

Last year, regular admissions decisions were made available online on March 25, when the university announced it had admitted 2,907 regular decision applicants. Per Christiansen, regular decision applicants can expect a similar timeline this year as well. 

“We don’t actually give a specific day because if we’re a little ahead, we go a day early. If we’re a little behind, we go a day later,” Christiansen said. “But it’ll be almost identical to the end of March, like all the other years.”

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About the Contributors
Emma Mattson
Emma Mattson, Former Copy Editor
Emma Mattson ('21) wrote for the News section. She studied communication arts, Spanish and German in the College of Arts and Science. In her spare time, she eats Grins obsessively, listens to indie music and tries to pet all the dogs on campus.
Emery Little
Emery Little, Former Social Media Director
Emery Little (‘22) is from Birmingham, AL. She majored in communication of science and technology and Spanish. In her free time, she loves to design graphics, follow tech news and run her photography business. She can be reached at [email protected].
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