The Ivy Coach Daily

November 23, 2023

What To Do After Being Deferred by Vanderbilt

A street is featured under a purple tree at Vanderbilt University.
Vanderbilt University admitted less than 16% of Early Decision applicants to its Class of 2027 (photo credit: BugsMeanee).

Were you deferred by Vanderbilt University to its Class of 2028 in either Early Decision I or Early Decision II? If so, it’s certainly not the news you had hoped for over the weeks since you submitted your Early Decision application. But it’s also not the worst possible outcome either since you’ve still got a shot of earning admission to the Nashville, Tennessee-based institution. Yet the odds of every deferred candidate are not created equal, and there are specific steps you can take to improve your chances of admission dramatically. So, what should be your Vanderbilt post-deferral game plan? Let’s dive in!

Vanderbilt Early Decision Admission Rates

Below is a breakdown of Vanderbilt’s combined Early Decision I and II admissions statistics over the last several years — from the Class of 2028 through the Class of 2018 (with only the Classes of 2028 and 2019 not included since the figures were withheld, though we anticipate publishing Vanderbilt’s ED I figures for the Class of 2028 in due time).

Note that for the Class of 2026, the only year Vanderbilt released both the overall Early Decision and Early Decision II admissions figures, the statistics shine a spotlight on how Early Decision I applicants have significantly stronger odds of admission than Early Decision II applicants. Wondering why? You’ll have to stay tuned to our FAQ section!

Admissions CycleVanderbilt Graduating ClassVanderbilt’s Early Decision I & II Combined Admission Rate
2023-2024Class of 2028Not Yet Published
2022-2023Class of 202715.7%
2021-2022Class of 202617.6% (10.3% for ED II only)
2020-2021Class of 202518.1%
2019-2020Class of 202420.7%
2018-2019Class of 202319.8%
2017-2018Class of 202220.5%
2016-2017Class of 202123.6%
2015-2016Class of 202023.6%
2014-2015Class of 2019Not Published
2013-2014Class of 201823.01%

Vanderbilt Early Decision Deferral Rates

Vanderbilt has only deferred Early Decision candidates to the Regular Decision round over the last three admissions cycles, beginning with the Class of 2026.

At the time, as Rachael Perrotta reported for Vanderbilt’s student newspaper, The Hustler, “Per [Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Doug] Christiansen, this application cycle is the first time the university deferred some ED applicants to RD, a procedure most schools that offer ED use. He said in an email to The Hustler that the university plans to continue deferring ED students in the future.”

As Christiansen stated, “Something new this year we are doing is deferring a small subset of early decision students to regular if they will be competitive in the regular decision round. We’ll continue to evaluate them and go where the applicant pool takes us.”

For the Vanderbilt Class of 2027, around 400 students were deferred from the Early Decision I and Early Decision II rounds to Regular Decision. Of deferred applicants to last year’s Class of 2026, Christiansen said, “‘a small number’ of students were deferred with a ‘solid portion’ of deferred students being admitted.”

6 Steps to Take After Being Deferred by Vanderbilt

  1. Go for a run, a swim, a walk — anything to clear your mind. You’re going to have to attack the deferral. But first, clear your head!
  2. Fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form and set up a time for a call to learn about our services for deferred applicants.
  3. Complete a PostMortem application review with Ivy Coach. We’ll go through every section of your Common Application and up to three supplements, letting you know what went wrong, what went right, and what needs to change for your applications due around the top of the New Year.
  4. Submit a compelling Letter of Continued Interest to Vanderbilt within a few days of your deferral. No brags. No updates. The letter should be a love letter to Vanderbilt. You must show rather than tell why Vandy remains the school you most wish to attend. In a word, Ivy Coach’s post-deferral letters are weird. It’s a big reason why they’re so often effective.
  5. Use the Letter of Continued Interest to Vanderbilt as a framework for how you’ll reposition your narrative in your Regular Decision applications (you can’t change your Vanderbilt application but you can change any RD applications you haven’t yet submitted).
  6. In the New Year, after it’s been submitted, bring your Letter of Continued Interest to your school counselor so they can make an advocacy call to your regional representative at Vanderbilt on your behalf. Some school counselors won’t make advocacy calls, but the good ones will.

Vanderbilt Deferral FAQ

Does Vanderbilt accept, defer, or deny the most Early Decision candidates?

Vanderbilt denies admission outright to most Early Decision I and Early Decision II candidates. And while Vanderbilt does not release the percentage of students denied in the Early Decision I or Early Decision II rounds, from our sources, over the last couple of admissions cycles, Vanderbilt has deferred slightly fewer than 10% of ED applicants. For the Vanderbilt Class of 2026, as an example, 5,107 students applied either ED I or ED II. If a similar number of students were deferred that year to the around 400 students deferred to the Class fo 2027, around 7.8% of applicants would have been deferred to Regular Decision.

Is a Vanderbilt deferral meaningful?

Yes, a deferral from Vanderbilt is one of the most meaningful deferrals among America’s elite universities because Vanderbilt defers such a small chunk of its Early Decision candidates, choosing instead to deny admission to most. Thus, if you’ve been deferred by Vanderbilt, if you play your cards right, you’ve got a genuine shot of getting in.

Why is it so much easier to get into Vanderbilt through Early Decision I than Early Decision II?

Elite colleges tend to grow more secure as time passes in the admissions cycle. For example, when students apply Early Decision I by November 1st, colleges are often insecure. They don’t know if they’ll secure a large Early Decision II and Regular Decision applicant pool. they don’t know if they’ll secure a strong Early Decision II and Regular Decision applicant pool.

Yet when students apply Early Decision II to a school like Vanderbilt by January 1st (the same deadline as Regular Decision), the school can already see their full Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision applicant pools. As they grow more secure, they become less lenient. As such, there are significant advantages to applying Early Decision I compared to Early Decision II.

The two rounds are not created equal. Hence, for the Class of 2026, when Vanderbilt’s admissions committee released the combined Early Decision admission rate and the Early Decision II admission rate, there was a major disparity — a 17.6% ED admission rate and a 10.3% ED II admission rate. 

What does Vanderbilt’s plummeting Early Decision admission rate say about the school’s competitiveness?

Vanderbilt’s Early Decision admission rate has consistently dropped in recent year — speaking to the school’s uber-competitiveness. That said, it’s important to note that just because a school’s admission rate went down doesn’t mean it became more challenging to make the cut. Year after year, schools get better and better at inspiring students to apply — even unqualified students. All top schools do it. Vanderbilt is no exception.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Vanderbilt Deferral

If you would like to optimize your chances of admission after your Vanderbilt deferral, fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll promptly be in touch to outline our college counseling services for deferred candidates.

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