How to Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School

October 10, 2023


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/10/23

Is Vanderbilt the right medical school for you? Let’s find out! Follow along with our complete guide to understand how to get into Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine celebrates cultural diversity, thinking, learning, and leading. Vanderbilt is ranked 5th in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking for Best Med Schools: Research and maintains high rankings in several other categories.

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the school is spread across a timeless urban campus in the city’s center. If you’re looking to enjoy southern food and a world-renowned music scene, Vanderbilt medical school might be right for you.

We’ll break down everything you need to know about how to get into Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. From admissions requirements to tuition costs, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

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Vanderbilt Medical School Programs

Vanderbilt offers various medical education programs to ensure each student has a program tailored to their needs. Vanderbilt’s MD programs include the following:

  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)
  • Medical Innovators Development Program
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery MD Program
  • Vanderbilt Program for Interprofessional Learning

Vanderbilt also offers the following MD dual degree programs:

  • MD/PhD
  • MD/JD
  • MD/MS in Biomedical Informatics
  • MD/MDiv
  • MD/MTS
  • MD/MEd
  • MD/MPH
  • MD/MBA
  • MD/MA in Medicine, Health, and Society

These programs only represent MD and dual MD programs offered at Vanderbilt. For a full list of Vanderbilt’s programs, check out their website.

Vanderbilt Medical School Admissions Statistics

Although Vanderbilt isn’t an Ivy League school, it’s consistently compared to the eight schools in the Ivy League and presents impressive statistics. 

Vanderbilt med school
Source: Vanderbilt School of Medicine

That means Vanderbilt is challenging to get into and maintains a very high academic standard. The Vanderbilt med admissions statistics are as follows.

Vanderbilt Medical School Acceptance Rate

In the most recent application cycle, 95 of 7268 applicants matriculated into the school, making the enrollment rate of Vanderbilt medical school approximately 1.3%. The acceptance rate is slightly higher, at 4.5%. 

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine GPA

Vanderbilt doesn't have a minimum GPA requirement, although the typical GPA of an entering student at Vanderbilt medical school ranges from 3.71 to 4.0. The median GPA of the 2027 class was 3.94. 

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine MCAT

The MCAT is required as part of your application to Vanderbilt medical school. There is no minimum MCAT requirement. However, the median MCAT score of the 2023 entering class was 521. We recommend taking the MCAT early enough to retake it if necessary while giving yourself plenty of time to prepare.

Vanderbilt Medical School Requirements

These are the Vanderbilt med school requirements your application must meet to be considered. Your application should exceed the minimum requirements to be considered competitive. If you’re struggling, consider seeking an admissions counselor’s guidance to strengthen your profile.

AMCAS Application (with Transcripts)

You must submit your AMCAS application and transcripts by the mid-November deadline. Vanderbilt recommends sending your application early, as it can improve your chances of admission.


You must take the MCAT on or before a late-September deadline and submit your score. There’s no minimum MCAT score. However, you should aim for a score of around 521.

Prerequisite Courses (Recommended)

The following courses aren’t Vanderbilt School of Medicine requirements but are strongly recommended to demonstrate your knowledge of these core competencies:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry
  • Mathematics/Statistics and Physics
  • Social Sciences and Communication (English)

For more information on what Vanderbilt medical school is looking for in terms of courses and demonstrated understanding, check out the school’s website

Letters of Evaluation

To submit your letters of evaluation, you must use the AMCAS letter submission service and select Vanderbilt medical school. Vanderbilt accepts three to five letters in any of the following formats:

  • Committee Letters
  • Pre-Health Advisor Letters
  • Individual Letters

Vanderbilt emphasizes quality over quantity, suggesting most students only send three strong letters. 

Additional Requirements

Vanderbilt medical school is competitive. To ensure your application is as strong as possible, ensure you demonstrate each of the following:

  • Academic accomplishment
  • Motivation
  • Personal qualities
  • Leadership skills
  • Educational background

Consider these factors when crafting your primary application. After the first round of screening, you must submit a secondary application with the $95 application fee. If your secondary application is approved, you’ll be invited to interview.

Vanderbilt Medical School Secondary Essays

Here are the most recent Vanderbilt medical school secondary application essay prompts and how to answer them.

Prompt #1

Please reflect on the upbringing, background, and experiences in your life that have shaped who you are as a person and will help define the person you want to be in the future. In other words, what makes you who you are? (800 words)”

With broad, open-ended questions like this one, it can be challenging to get started. We recommend brainstorming moments or pieces of your history you feel have shaped you before writing. Consider where you’re from, a challenge you’ve faced, or even a job you had. 

Ultimately the experience isn’t the important part: it’s what you learned that matters. Vanderbilt is interested in getting to know you, but that doesn’t mean you should list everything that’s ever happened to you. Choose an experience that exhibits a key quality you have and would give a stranger an idea of what’s important to you. 

Even if your story is about a time you failed, your essay should demonstrate your ability to get back up, reflect, and grow. 

Prompt #2:

“Tell us about a time when you interacted with someone who is different from you. What did you learn? What would you do differently? (600 words)”

This is an excellent question for future medical students because doctors must interact with many patients. The important thing to insert here is an actual life experience in which you had to overcome your differences with another person.

Similar to the first prompt, how you overcame the differences and what you took away from the experience says the most about you. For example, if you had a coworker who disagreed with you, think about how you came to an agreement. 

If the interaction ended poorly, what did you learn and put into practice the next time something similar came up? How did you examine your behavior to ensure you were being fair? This is a great time to demonstrate teamwork, growth, self-reflection, and listening skills.

Prompt #3

“Everyone needs help at various times in their lives. Describe a time you asked for help and what you gained from that experience that has influenced your approach to asking for help. (600 words)”

Knowing when to ask for help is a valuable skill in the medical field. Don’t pretend you’ve never needed help or have always been a one-person show. What will impress the admissions committee is a real answer that demonstrates your ability to put away your pride to benefit the greater good.

For example, maybe there was a time you went to a friend or a professor for help when you were really struggling with a project. Or maybe you had a difficult time with mental health and needed help from a therapist. Show how you learned that asking for help when you need it, although it can be a real challenge, is absolutely necessary. 

Optional Prompt #1

If you have completed your undergraduate education, please comment on what you have done or have been doing since graduation. (200 words)”

Optional prompts are just that: optional. Don’t answer this prompt if it doesn’t apply to you. If it does, briefly explain any gaps on your resume or additional opportunities you’ve pursued since graduating.

Optional Prompt #2

“If applicable, please describe how the COVID-19 outbreak affected your pathway to medical school. You may discuss any academic, personal, financial, or professional alterations to your plans. NOTE: Disclosing certain hardships or obstacles that have been faced during this time will not negatively affect an application. (200 words)”

Again, this prompt is optional. This would be the time to explain how the pandemic affected your current application. If you choose to answer this prompt, only respond with specific COVID-19-related hardships; don’t include other unrelated challenges you’ve faced.

Optional Prompt #3

"How did you first become interested in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine? (200 words)”

There’s a reason you put Vanderbilt on your list of top choices. Now’s the time to share why! What first sparked your interest in this school? What led you to learn more about it? Keep your answer brief and to the point. 

Vanderbilt Medical School Interview

Vanderbilt interviews are currently conducted virtually via Zoom and are only offered to a select group of applicants. However, Vanderbilt hasn’t released whether this interview format will continue this cycle. 

Each candidate will be invited to a morning or afternoon interview session via email at least three days before their scheduled interview time. If you’re wondering how to prepare for the Vanderbilt interview, check out our guide on how to ace your video interview.

Interviewees will be invited via email to join an optional “Deep Dive with Vandy” session. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the school and speak with experienced staff. 

Vanderbilt Medical School Tuition

Full-time tuition at Vanderbilt medical school is $66,828. The table below includes costs at Vanderbilt medical school you can expect to pay across your four-year MD degree.

Direct Costs Paid to Vanderbilt 1st Year
2nd Year
3rd Year
4th Year
Tuition $66,828 $66,828 $66,828 $66,828
Student Services Fee $714 $714 $714 $714
Student Health Fee $888 $888 $888 $888
Transcript Fee $100
Books / Supplies $500 $500 $500 $500
Rent / Utilities $20,749 $19,019 $20,749 $17,290
Meals $9,492 $8,701 $9,492 $7,910
Personal Total (includes $291/month for health insurance) $7,610 $6,976 $7,610 $6,342
Transportation $2,040 $1,870 $2,040 $1,700
Loan Fees (based on current student average) $912 $912 $912 $912
Residency Interviewing $6,058
STEP Fees $660 $660
Total Cost of Attendance $110,833 $107,068 $110,393 $109,142

Source: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Application Timeline

Here is the application timeline you need to follow if you’re applying to med school at Vanderbilt. The table below includes all the important dates and deadlines you’ll need to consider before applying: 

Date Materials Due
Late May Earliest date to submit your application to AMCAS.
Mid-July - The earliest date to receive an initiation to complete a VU secondary application.
- The secondary application and letters of recommendation must be submitted to be invited for an interview.
Late July Interview invitations begin.
September to February - Latest date for the MCAT is in September.
- Interviews are offered several times a week. Once invited for an interview, you can schedule your virtual interview.
Early November Last date for AMCAS application submission.
Mid-November Last date for AMCAS to accept official transcripts.
Late November VU Secondary application hard deadline.
*Note: Vanderbilt doesn’t recommend waiting until the final date to submit your secondary application.
Mid-December Admission offers begin to be sent (via phone call and email).
Late February The second wave of admissions offers are sent out (via phone call and email).
April Second Look Weekend event.
Early May Last date to accept/confirm admission offer.

Source: AAMC | Vanderbilt University

Most of these date ranges are final deadlines; you should begin working on/submitting your application as early as possible.

Tips for Getting Into Vanderbilt Medical School 

Although meeting all Vanderbilt med school requirements is a great start, here are some top tips to help you put your best foot forward! 

Participate in Research Projects 

Vanderbilt is one of the nation’s top medical schools for research and seeks students who will appreciate and use the school’s resources and opportunities. According to Vanderbilt, “Experience in research and evidence of a concern for others are positive factors for selection.” 

Solid research experience (and publications) in your interest areas can help you stand out from other applicants and show you’re an excellent fit for Vanderbilt. According to recent data, matriculants applied with 191,000+ research hours collectively (compared to 73,000+ community service hours). 

While community service is also important, the cumulative amount of research the incoming class participated in shows how important it is to Vanderbilt! 

Aim for a Higher GPA and MCAT Scores 

Vanderbilt has no score or GPA cutoffs, but they’re still one of the most important selection factors. The first thing the admissions committee looks at is your record of academic accomplishment. 

While there are no magic GPAs or MCAT scores to guarantee your acceptance, Vanderbilt states that the “intense competition tends to eliminate applicants with low GPAs and/or MCAT scores.” Be mindful of your academic standing – a well-crafted application can only offset lower scores so much. 

FAQs: How To Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to get into Vanderbilt medical school.

1. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School?

Vanderbilt doesn’t have a minimum GPA requirement; however, the median GPA of incoming students is 3.94. Vanderbilt is a competitive school, so you should aim to raise your GPA as high as possible before applying. 

2. How Hard Is It to Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School??

Vanderbilt is a competitive school with an acceptance rate of only 4.5%. It may be hard to get into the school as it’s highly selective, but it’s not impossible.

3. Is Vanderbilt A Good Medical School?

Vanderbilt is an excellent medical school with a great national reputation. It’s currently ranked 5th for Best Med Schools: Research.

4. What MCAT Score Do I Need for Vanderbilt? 

TThe median MCAT score of Vanderbilt medical school students is 521. Although there is no minimum MCAT score requirement, an MCAT score of around 521 or higher can boost your profile.

5. Is Vanderbilt a Prestigious Medical School? 

Yes, Vanderbilt’s prestige attracts thousands of applicants annually. 

6. How Is Vanderbilt Medical School Ranked? 

The Vanderbilt medical school ranking 5th in Best Med Schools for Research shows the school’s prestige.

7. What Does Vanderbilt Medical School Look for in Applicants? 

Vanderbilt seeks students “who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership qualities, with broad extracurricular experience.” Research experience and “evidence of a concern for others” are also positive selection factors. 

8. What is the Lowest MCAT for Vanderbilt? 

According to the MSAR, the 10th percentile MCAT score of matriculants was 514. Vanderbilt’s average MCAT score range is 518 to 524. 

Getting Into Vanderbilt Medical School With Inspira Advantage

You can get into the Vanderbilt School of Medicine by following our guide. VU is a competitive school, which is why enlisting the help of an MCAT tutor or admissions counselor can help fortify your application. If you’re looking for expert guidance, we’re here to help. Good luck!

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