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FAQs

Admitted Students

  • Admissions

    How many people applied to Vassar this year? How many were accepted?

    8,961 students applied to Vassar. We admitted 23.4% of those students and expect 680 to enroll.

    Can I defer admission for one year?

    Admitted first-year students may defer entry to Vassar for one year with the permission of the Office of Admission. Students who are taking a gap year must confirm their intent to enroll at Vassar by submitting the Candidate’s Reply Card and the required enrollment deposit by May 1. A written request outlining specific plans for the gap year should be submitted as well, preferably along with the enrollment deposit, but by no later than June 1. If deferred status is approved, a formal letter stating the conditions under which the deferral has been granted will be sent to the student. However, students who may be offered admission to Vassar from the wait list after May 1 are not eligible to request a deferral of admission.

    What is the female student to male student ratio of the student body?

    The female-to-male ratio is about 58/42.

    What is the ratio of students from public and private schools?

    Around 67% of Vassar students are graduates of public high schools; around 32% enroll from private or religiously affiliated high schools; and 1% are homeschooled students.

    Can I stay overnight with a current student in a residence hall? What about visiting a class?

    Yes, both overnights and class visits are available in April for admitted students. Please see the Visit Schedule page.

    How large is the school?

    Vassar is actually one of the larger small liberal arts colleges with approximately 2,450 students. With an average class size of 16 and an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, you can participate, get feedback on your work, and get the kind of personal attention that you won’t find at a larger university. After a few years, many of the faces will be familiar. It’s a nice feeling. However, the campus isn’t so small that you feel it is suffocating. The size is partially why we have such a tight-knit community here, and New York City is close enough to provide a larger sense of cultural presence.

    Academics

    When do I have to declare a major?

    Students have until the end of their sophomore year to declare their major, unless they participate in a Study Away program, in which case they must declare by first semester of sophomore year.

    What majors are the most popular?

    Vassar is a liberal arts college. All of our programs are strong, but our most popular departments include Biology, Economics, English, Political Science, and Psychology. Vassar is unique in that it offers a number of multi-disciplinary and inter-departmental programs, and is very encouraging of students who wish to design their own course of study.

    Is Vassar a good place to start a medical career? What about preparation for law school?

    Vassar students are very successful when applying to medical schools; not only are the science programs well-regarded and rigorous, but students are well-advised. The pre-med committee is dedicated to ensuring that you are taking the right preparatory classes, tests, etc. Many of our science students also have the opportunity to do graduate-level research with professors on campus through the URSI program which makes them particularly desirable to medical schools. Our acceptance rate into medical school is substantially higher than the national average. Roughly 80% of applicants are accepted into medical school each year. Vassar does not limit the number of applicants in a given year. Our acceptance rate into law school is also very high, usually around 90 percent, well above the national average. More information is available at Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising and Career Development.

    What are the arts programs like?

    Whether your interest lies in dance, drama, film, music, or studio art, Vassar offers many opportunities to get involved in the arts. Organizations include the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, the very popular Philaletheis (drama society), and music groups ranging from a cappella to the college choir and orchestra. Art students can take classes in both art history and studio work (such as painting, drawing, and sculpting). The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is open to the public with a variety of exhibitions with “People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs, and Films by Andy Warhol” and “Fluid Expressions: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler” as two recent examples as well as a compelling permanent collection. Perhaps the best part of Vassar’s arts programs is that they are open to everyone (i.e., you need not be a drama major to be in a dramatic production).

    Is it difficult to get into the classes I want? When do I register?

    Absolutely not. Most students have no difficulty getting into classes. If there is great demand, multiple sections of the same class are offered. In the rare instance you are unable to register for an upper-level class initially, you will be able to do so by the time you become a junior. Online pre-registration for classes takes place during the summer. You will meet with an advisor and finalize your class schedule during New Student Orientation in late August.

    In general, what AP scores do I need to receive credit? What about my IB diploma?

    Generally, credit is awarded for scores of 4 or 5 on AP examinations. Additionally, credit is granted for performance on Higher Level IB examinations, typically for scores of 5 or higher. Students can bring in up to two AP/IB credits.

    Residential Life

    What is housing like? When will I find out my housing assignment and roommate?

    Vassar has nine residence halls and three apartment complexes. Each housing option has its own architecture and characteristics, adding to a unique sense of home. All students are guaranteed housing for all four years. Over half of all housing options are single rooms, though the majority of first-year students live in a double, or possibly a triple. With no “standard” floor plans, you’ll want to check out what each house has to offer. To view the interior of each residence hall, as well as examples of different rooms, visit the Residential Life 360° tour.

    Housing assignments are typically made available in August. For more information, contact the Office of Residential Life at reslife@vassar.edu or visit the Residential Life website.

    I hear each of the residence halls has a kind of personality. How do I know if I will be put into the “right” residence hall?

    While it is true that various residence halls gain their own personality-like characteristics, those vary greatly from year to year based on the current occupants. Placement is somewhat random (roommate matching is a much higher priority), so no residence hall ever stays the same. The majority of students will not change their residence hall until they move to a campus townhouse or apartment as a senior. Remember that Vassar has never had you as a resident before, so the personality of your house also depends on you.

    What is the food like?

    Vassar recently launched a new dining program in collaboration with the award-winning food service company Bon Appetit. The company is a leader in Farm to Fork initiatives, sustainability, and flexibility in meeting the dietary needs of a wide variety of students. The primary dining venue, Gordon Commons, features an open and welcoming environment with a number of different dining “destinations,” including non-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, gluten-free, kosher and halal options. Students have unlimited access to Gordon Commons. They can swipe into the dining hall any time it is open (daily until 1am), whether they want just to grab a quick snack or a piece of fruit or to sit down for a full meal. In addition to Gordon Commons, there are several other dining options in convenient campus locations for people who want to grab a snack or a beverage.

    Can I have a car on campus? Do I have to pay for parking?

    Yes, you may bring a car, but you will certainly not need to have one on campus. The campus itself is easily walkable, and there are all sorts of shops and restaurants within walking distance of campus. The college has a shuttle that goes to the supermarket, malls, etc. There is public transportation, and taxi/uber/lyft options are not very expensive. There are always students who are willing to give others a ride. First-year students are encouraged to wait a semester or two before bringing their car to campus in order to see if they find a car is really necessary. First-year students can park their cars in either South Lot or the New Hackensack Lot. It costs $125 per semester to park on campus.

    Can I print to anywhere on campus?

    Students do not need to bring their own printer to campus. VPrint is Vassar College’s print management system. This system allows students to print to any public printer from any computer on the campus network. Students have access to both black-and-white and color laser printers. Find more information about printing on campus.

    If you do bring a personal printer to campus, be sure that it can connect directly to your computer. Wireless printers are not supported on campus.

    What types of computing and technology services are available on campus?

    Computing and Information Services (CIS) offers a centrally located Service Desk that is fully staffed and able to assist the community with all types of questions related to computing, from software configuration and networking questions, to hardware troubleshooting advice. Our staff can help troubleshoot hardware and software problems on student-owned computers, as well as make recommendations on standards, to ensure that everyone can take full advantage of the computing environment at Vassar. The Digital Media Zone on the first floor of the library is available to students working on video, web, graphic design or sound projects. Expert help is available nearly all hours the library is open.

    If a student needs a little more than technical support, we have one-on-one training available on a wide variety of software packages. Students can set up appointments to work one-on-one with our campus technology trainer.

    Students have 24-hour access to the computer clusters housed in each residence hall. There are also public computers available in the College Center, the Library, and in various academic buildings.

    Vassar’s Campus Computer Store offers discounts on Apple and Dell & Warranty Apple repair.  For more information regarding the computer store, email servicedesk@vassar.edu.

    Are all wireless devices supported on campus?

    Not all wireless devices are supported on campus.  

    List of unsupported devices

    Student Life

    I want to play sports. Will I be able to balance athletics and academics? Are there open tryouts for teams?

    Absolutely—we are a Division III school and firmly believe in an academic-athletic balance. Opponents are rarely more than a few hours away. Practices are scheduled so that you will never miss class. Our varsity athletes compete at a high level, but academics always take priority. The term “scholar-athlete” is quite apt for Vassar College. For information on a specific team, or to contact a coach, visit Vassar Athletics.

    Are there social events on campus?

    Vassar students work very hard, but they play hard as well. There are several all-campus social events sponsored each semester by the various student organizations and house leadership teams. Vassar boasts close to 1,000 events each year, ranging from guest speakers and performers—Philippe Petit, Solange Knowles, Jessica Williams (The Daily Show), and Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black), to name a few—to athletic events and music, dance, and theater performances. Of course, many informal gatherings take place as well. With so much happening, you’ll often find that you wish you could be in two places at once!

    What is the LGBTQ+ population on campus?

    Various student organizations representing gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender students play an active role on campus, as do many other groups dedicated to community, diversity, respect, and education. Uniqueness and individuality of all of Vassar’s students contribute to the liberal arts experience. None of the administrative departments on campus track statistics related to sexual orientation.

    What is the drinking culture at Vassar?

    Students are expected to make responsible choices for themselves. For example, we ask students to follow state laws for drinking. The reality is that binge drinking is typically not a part of our campus culture. Students definitely go to parties and have fun but there are so many options, that the focus is not on alcohol. With close to 1,000 on-campus events each year, there are plenty of opportunities for socializing without alcohol.

    I’m an international student. Will I be able to interact successfully with the rest of the student body?

    Vassar is very inclusive. We have a variety of advising programs that support our international students as well as a student-run group called VISA. Vassar’s international students are not left out. Except for special functions for international students, they are welcomed in the same way as any other new student. International students are a tight-knit group, but they make just as many friends outside of that group. You will meet a few people right away, and gradually meet more and more and become closer to those with whom you share similar interests. See International Students FAQ.

    Location

    How far is New York City? Is Poughkeepsie interesting?

    NYC is 75 miles south of Poughkeepsie. Trains run every hour, and the ride is under two hours each way, running along the Hudson River for the entire trip. Round-trip tickets are approximately $30-$40 (off-peak and bulk fares are less expensive). Poughkeepsie is the home of Vassar College, Marist College and Dutchess Community College, and the renowned Culinary Institute of America is nearby. Within an hour’s drive are the United States Military Academy and Bard College.

    The greater Poughkeepsie area has over 100,000 residents and is situated in the scenic Hudson River Valley, with vast wilderness and outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, hang-gliding and rock-climbing. Just north of the city are the historic sites of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and the Vanderbilt and Mills mansions. Within a short drive of the campus are four movie theaters (including two drive-ins), countless restaurants and venues for live music, the oldest opera house in the state, and other fun and interesting destinations.

    There are plenty of ways to get involved, and volunteer opportunities abound: environmental organizations like the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, The Art Effect, or even the local farmers’ markets on campus. There are many options for Community-Engaged Learning and internships as well. Students often work for the mayor or DA, art galleries, law firms, the Poughkeepsie Journal, etc.

    What is the weather like on campus?

    You will see very distinct seasons at Vassar; just look around the website for pictures. The fall has brilliant autumn colors, and the winters range from no snow at all to ground covering of over a foot. The campus is absolutely gorgeous during and after a snowfall. Spring has beautiful, sunny days with temperatures in the 70s and clear blue skies, a few days of rain, and budding trees and green grass. By the time finals come around in late spring, temperatures are well into the 70s and often 80s. See what the weather in Poughkeepsie is like right now.

International Students

  • How well known is Vassar?

    Vassar is consistently ranked among the top one percent of colleges and universities in the United States and has been a frontrunner in higher education for over a century and a half. Numerous external ratings have confirmed Vassar’s status as one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States. For example, the annual U.S. News & World Report college rankings list Vassar as one of the top 11 liberal arts colleges in the United States and Forbes ranked Vassar 51st out of all United States colleges and universities.

    Can I pay my enrollment deposit by wire transfer?

    International students can submit their enrollment deposit via wire transfer (Flywire) or check. Online bank transfer is only available for those with a US bank account.

    Vassar College has partnered with Flywire to streamline the wire transfer payment process for our international students. With Flywire, you can pay from any country and any bank. You will also be able to track where your payment is in the transfer process via a student dashboard and an email confirmation will be sent to you when your payment is received by the school. Create an account with Flywire to begin the wire transfer process. Please include the student’s name and Applicant ID in your wire transfer information.

    Can I still apply for Financial Aid?

    Students who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents who wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during their four years at Vassar should apply at the same time that they apply for admission. Since Vassar is not need-blind in the admission of non-US citizens, financial need may be a factor in the evaluation process for admission. Therefore, those admitted without financial aid subsequently would not be eligible to receive Vassar funding during their years at the college, except under the most extreme circumstances (i.e., death of a wage-earning parent, natural disaster, etc).

    How many international students are at Vassar?

    International students at Vassar include non-citizens and U.S. citizens alike who have lived in or are from different nations. About 14% of Vassar students hold non-U.S. citizenship. The largest representation of our international students come from: Bangladesh, Canada, China/Hong Kong, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

    Is there special advising for international students?

    Vassar’s Office of International Services (OIS) provides year-round assistance and advice to all international students and scholars, including help with the visa/immigration process, workshops on summer and post-completion employment, and programming designed to help students adjust to life in the United States. Beyond the professional office staff, there are several wonderful OIS interns—who are international students themselves—available to answer any questions you may have.

    Andrew Meade, Director of International Services: anmeade@vassar.edu

    The OIS Post Baccalaureate Fellow for the Office of International Services : internationalservices@vassar.edu

    Vassar College Box 594
    Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
    Phone: 1 (845) 437-5831
    Fax: 1 (845) 437-7298

    Is there an international student organization?

    Yes. There is a student-run organization for all international students called the Vassar International Student Association (VISA). There are a host of student-run organizations for particular groups of students, such as the African Students Union (ASU), Asian Students’ Alliance (ASA), Caribbean Students Association (CSA), Chinese Student Community (CSC), and the South Asian Students Alliance (SASA). There are also other organizations with an international focus, such as the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP), Amnesty International, and UNICEF. New organizations start up every year as Vassar students explore their interests. New groups with an international focus include the Vassar World Affairs Council and the Vassar Alliance of Women in Foreign Affairs. For more information, visit the Vassar Student Association website.

    Is there an international alumnae/i network?

    Yes! Thousands of alumnae/i who were international students or who now live abroad are registered with Vassar’s official Alumnae/i Directory and are available to students for networking and advice. While no school can guarantee placements after graduation, our international graduates are quite successful. Of 50 international visa graduates in 2017, 9 returned to their home countries, and the remainder entered the work force or graduate/fellowship programs in the United States. Employers included Amazon, Ernst & Young, McLean Hospital, UNICEF, and Viacom Media. Graduate schools included Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

    Is there a special arrival day and orientation for international students?

    Yes. Please plan to arrive at Vassar on Thursday, August 22. A three-day international student orientation is scheduled to begin on Friday, August 23. This orientation precedes (and will help prepare international students for) the New Student Orientation that all new students are expected to attend. (New Student Orientation for all first-year students begins on Monday, August 26). More details about International Orientation will follow.

    Will Vassar award credit for my advanced program of study?

    Vassar awards up to 2 exam-based units for students who earn scores of 5, 6, or 7 on Higher-Level International Baccalaureate exams. In the same manner, Vassar grants credit for high scores on certain foreign advanced programs of study such as the GCE/Cambridge A-levels, the German Abitur, the French Baccalaureate, etc. Vassar also accepts AP credits for scores of 4 or 5 on the AP exams.

    I’ve decided to attend Vassar. What do I need to do to get my F-1 student visa?

    Once you have returned your signed Candidate’s Reply Card, enrollment deposit, and completed the online I-20 request form (access will be provided to admitted students in the beginning of April), Vassar will forward your I-20 Form.

    In addition to your I-20 Form, you will need to pay a $200 SEVIS fee. This fee is required by the US with all new visa applications. Vassar will pay this fee up front as a convenience so that we may supply you with the payment voucher at the same time as your I-20. You will need both your I-20 and this voucher to apply for a visa. The SEVIS fee will be added to your tuition bill.  If you are receiving need-based financial aid, Vassar will cover this fee.  

    To enter the US as a non-immigrant student, students applying for an F-1 student visa must have the “Certificate of Eligibility”, or Form I-20. Once you receive the form, you will take the I-20 along with the SEVIS fee voucher, your passport, and supporting documentation to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request the F-1 visa. For advice on the visa application and interview process, consult the Education USA website.

    Note: Canadian students are not required to schedule a visa interview.

    What’s the weather like in Poughkeepsie?

    Poughkeepsie weather is much like the temperate climate of New York City. Average temperature in the winter months is about 30°F (-1°C); while in the summer months about 80°F (27°C). We are not located in a “snow-belt”—however, modest snowfall is the norm during the winter. We do experience all four seasons, so you need to be prepared for both warm and cold temperatures.

    How do I get to Vassar for Orientation?

    The majority of international flights into New York City will arrive at JFK Airport, while a smaller number will arrive at either LaGuardia or Newark-Liberty airports. Public transportation is available from each of these airports to Poughkeepsie. In addition, Vassar is pleased to provide transportation for students arriving from overseas from JFK Airport in New York to our campus in Poughkeepsie. More details will follow, but pick-ups will take place in the afternoon and evening on Thursday, August 22.

    Whom should I contact if I have more questions about being an international student at Vassar?

    Be advised that additional information covering such topics as money and banking, shopping, campus employment and social security numbers, immunization requirements and health insurance, and more will be posted on the New Student website in early May.

    In the meantime, please to direct questions to the Office of International Services:

    Andrew Meade: anmeade@vassar.edu

    The OIS Post Baccalaureate Fellow and Interns: internationalservices@vassar.edu

Financial Aid

  • How is my financial aid package constructed?

    Once Vassar has determined your level of financial need, financial aid is awarded in a package that includes: government and other non-Vassar grants/scholarships, loans, campus job allocation, and Vassar Scholarship. The standard package for first-year students  demonstrating need, after considering outside grants and scholarships, includes a student loan and a campus job allocation. Students with need that exceeds these resources receive need-based Vassar Scholarship to the full extent of their calculated financial need. Vassar has eliminated loans for students from low-income families. Loans for these students will be replaced by additional Vassar Scholarship funds.

    Please note: Students who receive scholarships/grants from non-Vassar sources must report those scholarships to the Office of Student Financial Services. Also, students are not required to take the job or the loan in order to accept the offered scholarship. However, those who decide not to take the job or the loan are expected to make up the difference in some other way.

    If I receive an offer of financial assistance as a first-year student, am I guaranteed assistance in all four years?

    Yes. As long as your family continues to demonstrate financial need as determined by the college, we will continue to provide financial assistance. However, we do not guarantee a specific level of financial aid from one year to the next since we reassess financial need each year. Parents should expect minor variations in their contribution from year to year and can expect substantial changes when certain conditions apply:

    1. an increase or decrease in parental income
    2. the addition or loss of a dependent child in residence in the household
    3. another child entering or graduating from college
    4. increase or decrease in medical expenses
    5. changes in employment

    If I don’t apply and/or qualify for aid my first year at Vassar, can I apply for financial aid in subsequent years if my family needs it?

    Yes, but there are some things to keep in mind. Some families do not apply for financial aid as entering first-year students, choosing instead to exhaust family resources that first year and apply for financial aid as returning sophomores. This is not always a very prudent financing strategy as it depletes resources that could have been spread out over four years and could have reduced the need to borrow or pay out of current income. For international students, if you wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during your four years at Vassar, you must apply at the time of admission. Vassar is not need-blind in the evaluation of international students, which means that the amount of financial aid you would need is considered at the time of admission.

    Does Vassar offer any payment plans to help my family with the tuition bills?

    Yes, Vassar College offers an interest-free monthly payment plan through Nelnet QuikPay. A low enrollment fee is required each semester. Vassar College is pleased to offer this service, and we encourage you to take advantage of it. We believe it is a responsible tool for managing debt and making education affordable. To use this service you can enroll online by visiting the Student Financial Services website.

    Other questions about financial aid?

    Call the Office of Student Financial Services at (845) 437-5320.
    Email finaid@vassar.edu