It all started in 1873 when school founder Cornelius Vanderbilt endowed the university with a gift of 1 million dollars. His vision was to unite and sponsor students to achieve greatness through higher education.

Reestablished in 2007, the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarsh​​​​ip is given to those students who go above and beyond not only in their academic life but their communities as well.

This scholarship isn’t just randomly handed out. It is a full ride scholarship, which means as long as all the criteria are met, it renews year to year, providing you with tuition and books each of your four years in school.

So how do you qualify? What are the requirements? How do you apply? This article will examine the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship and answer all those questions and more. Let’s dig in and find out what you have to do.

What is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship?



In 2007, the Sartain Lanier Family Foundation of Atlanta gifted the school an undisclosed sum for the purposes of offering tuition to students who needed the financial aid. This scholarship was given in the hopes of keeping the founder’s vision alive and promoting the school as one of the country’s elite.

The award offers students full financial tuition, plus the cost of books and money for an immersion project to be carried out during the summer months following the sophomore or junior year.

There are even instances where additional funding can be acquired if the need is demonstrated as crucial. The exact value of the scholarship varies from student to student but is always enough to cover that student for the full four years they attend the university.

There are requirements that must be met as well as an application process. None of which are overly difficult, which, in and of itself makes winning the award more difficult, since the application process is open to so many qualified students.

If you believe you qualify for the application process and are interested in attending the university, let’s find out how you apply for the award.


Who is the Scholarship For?


Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarships are merit scholarships awarded to students who achieve excellence in growth, both personal and communal and strive to push themselves towards greatness.

To be considered for the scholarship you must apply (some Vanderbilt merit scholarships only recommend the application, for this one it is mandatory).

Most past winners were high school students who had heavy course loads with challenging classes, honors courses, and full extracurricular activities.

While the consideration for the award is not based solely on grade point averages (GPA) or scholastic achievement, it almost goes hand in hand with the award. If you do not have a 3.5 GPA throughout high school, your likelihood for winning is diminished.

You should strive to be an active member of your community through various programs, time donations, community service and joining outreach programs.

While there aren’t any set guidelines for these, the more often you can be involved, the better your chances. There are more awards given out each year than there are awards to give out.

This is due to the admission process not admitting students, students who choose to attend a different school or other incidents that prevent the winner from accepting the award.

If you qualify and apply, your chances are good that you can win an award. You can also apply for other merit scholarships, of which Vanderbilt offers several. Winning one scholarship is not a determining factor in winning others, as each is judged, weighed and considered separately.


How Do You Qualify?

Woman in stripes smiling


To qualify, you must apply for enrollment at Vanderbilt University. You do not have to have an acceptance letter or be a full-time student at the time of application.

You must show that you can push yourself to achieve more than you think you can. This is done by showcasing heavy workloads throughout high school, achieving a 3.5 GPA or higher during the four years and providing information that will showcase and prove work history, volunteer work, community service and extracurricular activities.

Being able to maintain time management, as well as workload is crucial to the award.

Past winners have all excelled at scholastic and community projects as well as maintained a growing and healthy relationship with themselves, their school and the desire to learn more.

Proving you qualify is the qualification. His may sound counterproductive, but the idea is, if you think you do not qualify, then you probably don’t.

If, on the other hand, you feel you are deserving of the merit award and can justify your belief, then you should apply.

Where to Apply


Applying for the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship is a lengthy process. It is done digitally with creation and submission of PDF files through the schools MyAppVU web portal access.

To gain access, you must first apply to be a student at the university. After about two to three days of student application, you will receive an email with the portal login information. Once you have this information, you can log into the MyAppVU and submit your application.

The application process is detailed and requires your full attention and information. You must be ready to offer your high school transcripts, work history, community service logs and any other pertinent information as requested.

The application will take you through the process but can be confusing for first-time applicants. If you have difficulty, you can seek assistance from your guidance counselor, your career counselor, or the Vanderbilt scholastic or admissions board members.

Once you have gathered all the required information, you need to submit the application and all attachments in PDF format through the MyAppVU web portal. There, it will be sent to the selection committee, and you will be confirmed on screen that the submission was successful.

In the event, you do not see the green check mark or the text-based confirmation you should submit a trouble call to the help desk. All of the needed information to contact them is provided in the MyAppVU portal and on the application itself.


What are the Requirements?

Keyboard with form


There aren’t any hard and fast requirements other than those already talked about in this article. As stated, Vanderbilt does not rely on GPA or SAT scores. They are more interested in students who wish to further their education and are willing to take the necessary steps to do so, regardless of difficulty, amount or requirements to do so.

As long as you have a decent GPA (at or above 3.5) and can maintain that GPA throughout your tenure at Vanderbilt, you qualify.

You will need to prove that you can handle a highly demanding and heavy workload, continue to achieve scores that keep your GPA above 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) and are willing to take on even more to better yourself and your education.

The scholarship does roll over each year, provided you maintain the 3.5 GPA minimum. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the scholarship funding, and you will be required to pay using another method.

However, maintaining the minimum requirements not only pays for your tuition and books while attending the school, but you also get a summer stipend to be used for an immersion project during the months following either your sophomore or junior years.

This money is designed, and undisclosed as to the amount, to provide you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in a field, learning situation or adventure that will coincide with your chosen major. Spending the summer in France, for example, to immerse yourself in the French culture that will help your understanding of the people, land, and language for your foreign studies major.


What is the Deadline?


The merit scholarships, including the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship, must be submitted by December 1st of the year before your enrollment. All deadlines, dates and enrollment guides are available through the MyAppVU portal, the Vanderbilt website, and social media accounts.


In Conclusion


Scholarship Application Form with Pen

Applying for the Vanderbilt merit scholarship is easy enough. Qualifying is based more on personal perception and translating that perception to others than it is on grades and achievements.

You should be able to maintain a high GPA, show that coursework and workload are no issue all while being able to maintain some community services and work history related events.

If you think you qualify for the award, you probably do. The hard part will be in proving it to the scholarship committee. No matter how you do it, you should be willing to give four full, thorough and difficult years to Vanderbilt in exchange for your education.

If you are willing to push yourself, Vanderbilt is willing to provide you with a degree you can be proud of, and possibly at no cost to you.

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