How to Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School: Tips From Admissions Experts

Our Cracking Med School Admissions team often get asked, “How to get into Vanderbilt medical school?” In order to get accepted, you have to convey your passion to advance healthcare in an innovative way. You have to emphasize leadership and a desire to improve healthcare for our entire society.

This page serves as a high-yield resource for Vanderbilt Medical School. The information from this page is a GOLDEN resource. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is located in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve compiled it from Vanderbilt Medical School acceptance rate data, the Vanderbilt Med School website, and most importantly, from Vanderbilt med students themselves! You will have facts such as Vanderbilt Medical School admissions statistics and tips for getting accepted to Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine secondary application is among one of the hardest secondaries to complete. It notoriously has the Vanderbilt Autobiography. Read all the Vanderbilt secondary prompts below in the “Applications” section, and read ALL our Vanderbilt secondary essays tips here

Whether you’re comparing medical schools that you have been accepted to, preparing for an interview, or wanting to learn more about Vanderbilt Med School, keep reading! Contact Drs. Rachel Rizal and Rishi Mediratta if you have questions!

Why Choose Vanderbilt Medical School?

The most common reasons we’ve heard from students:

  • Supportive school
  • Flexible curriculum with the ability to do other interests at your own pace
  • Ample time to explore your passions in healthcare
  • Only one year of pre-clinical curriculum with an extra year to pursue other passions in healthcare – whether it’s working for a medical device company or creating a new public health program or conducting research
  • Great clinical training
  • Solid match list for residency
  • Close knit community


The Vanderbilt School of Medicine secondary application is very long. Not only are there several essays that are tough to answer because they require a lot of time and reflection, but also the essays are long in length. We encourage medical school applicants to answer the optional essays. 

In the 2021 – 2022 cycle, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Admissions changed the secondary essay questions. There is essentially still the “Vanderbilt secondary autobiography,” but they added other questions too. Look at our Cracking Med School Admissions Vanderbilt School of Medicine Secondary Application Prompts since 2014. 

Vanderbilt School of Medicine Secondary Application Essay Prompts:

Essay 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 max)

*Note, this is similar to Vanderbilt’s former Vanderbilt autobiography secondary essay. Read our helpful blog post about tips about your autobiography for medical school applications: How To Write An Autobiography For Medical School

Essay 2) Tell us about a time when you interacted with someone who is different than you. What did you learn? What would you do differently? (600 words max)

Essay 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 max)

Essay 4) (Optional) If you have completed your undergraduate education, please comment on what you have done or have been doing since graduation. (200 words max)

Essay 5) (Optional) 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 max)


If you have questions about Vanderbilt Medical School’s secondary application, email us at or contact us.


Get the Cracking Med School Admissions team’s expertise through our secondary essay editing packages. If you have questions, email us at or contact us.

Vanderbilt Medical School
Interview Format

Interviews at Vanderbilt Medical School are traditional one-on-one interviews.

To ace your traditional interview, you need to know how to answer common medical school interview questions. It’s important to practice, practice, practice.

Cracking Med Resources for Interviews:

Contact us if you want to schedule a mock interview with our Cracking Med School Admissions team! Take a look at our interview packages.

download your interview guide

If you are prepared, the interview gives you the perfect opportunity to standout and shine by sharing with people what you are passionate about.

Med School Admissions Interview Guide eBook Cover
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Vanderbilt Medical School Acceptance Rate

Admit Rate

Vanderbilt University Medical School Admissions Statistics:

  • Vanderbilt Med School Average GPA: 3.84
  • Vanderbilt Med School Average MCAT: 520 (130 chemical & physical / 129 critical analysis / 130 biological & biochemical / 131 psychological, social)

How did Vanderbilt University Medical School Students Do on Their USMLE Step Exams?

  • Average Vanderbilt University Medical School USMLE Step 1 Score: 247
  • Average Vanderbilt University Medical School USMLE Step 2 Score: 250

Source: U.S. News Graduate School Rankings 2021

Your medical school application Coaches, Mentors, & Cheerleaders

We Personally Advise Every Student We Work With

Dr. Rachel Rizal

Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

Princeton University

Medical School
Stanford School of Medicine

Harvard, Emergency Medicine

Awards & Scholarships
Fulbright Scholar
USA Today Academic First Team
Tylenol Scholarship

Rishi Mediratta, MD, MSc, MA

Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.Sc., M.A.

Advising students to attend their dream schools

Johns Hopkins University

Medical School
Stanford School of Medicine

Stanford, Pediatrics

Awards & Scholarships
Marshall Scholar
Tylenol Scholarship
Global Health Scholar

Each year, the Cracking Med School Admissions team
helps students get accepted to top medical schools.
We can help you get accepted!

Contact us today.

The Insider’s View on Vanderbilt Medical School's Pre-clinical years

How to Get Into Vanderbilt Medical School Tip – Know the Curriculum:

Vanderbilt Medical School Curriculum: Overview 

As a Vanderbilt med student, you only do pre-clinical work for the first year of medical school. Then, you do your core rotations starting September of your second year of medical school. After one year of clinical rotations, you can take your USMLE Step 1. You have ample time to do research and advanced clinical clerkships throughout the rest of your 3rd and 4th years of medical school.

Check out Vanderbilt Medical School’s Curriculum 2.0!

Pre-Clinical Years:

As an Vanderbilt medical student, your first year is based on basic science. 1.5 years are on basic science.  Vanderbilt has a core curriculum where you have to learn 25 common presenting patient problems, like abdominal pain and back pain.

How to get into Vanderbilt Medical School – Know Unique Characteristics:

Unique highlights about pre-clinical years:

  • One year!
  • Ample time to do research

Special Dual Degree Programs:

  • MD/PhD
  • MD/MPH
  • MD/MS
  • MD/MB
  • MD/JD
  • MD/MA

Taking Time Off:

Most MD candidates at Vanderbilt Medical School graduate within 4 years. However, because of the shortened pre-clinical curriculum, there is ample time (almost a year) to pursue other academic interests or do a joint degree.

What students are saying about Vanderbilt Medical School

The Insider’s View on Vanderbilt Medical School's clinical Years

Vanderbilt University Medical School Clinical Curriculum:

Clinical Years:

You start clinical rotations September of your second year at Vanderbilt Med School. This is much earlier than almost every other medical school!

Unique highlights about clinical years:

  • Immersion in research for at least 3 months – research doesn’t have to mean basic science research or clinical research. You can do research in policy or patient safety!
  • During your second year of medical school
  • 2 full years to explore your clinical interests

What students are saying about clinical rotations at Vandy Med


Where do students live?

Students mainly live in apartments around Vanderbilt Medical School.  Students live in the quaint town of Nashville, Tennessee.  

Getting around:

Almost all students have a car, especially for their rotations.  It is possible to live walking distance from the Vanderbilt University campus and Medical Center.


Financial Considerations:

  • Vanderbilt Medical School Tuition and Fees: ~$59,000
  • Average indebtedness of 2019 graduates: ~$170,000

Source: U.S. News Graduate School Rankings 2021

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