On Site: Vassar College


At a Glance

Poughkeepsie, NY

Undergraduate Students: 2,500

Student to Faculty Ratio: 8:1

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Six Year Graduation Rate: 88%

Freshman Retention Rate: 93%

Notable Majors: English, Biology, Political Science, Drama, Film, Neuroscience, International Studies



The Feel

  • Vassar’s thousand-acre campus, which includes hiking trails and a farm, has a mixture of beautiful red brick and cream stone buildings. The city of Poughkeepsie, in the Hudson Valley, is close enough to New York City, but far enough to offer more outdoor options and small town life.

  • 97% of students live on campus. The residential life is broken up into 9 houses, and first year students are put into small groups that share an individual house along with the support of House Fellows (faculty members), and student fellows (upperclassmen student mentors). This system offers an unprecedented amount of support for students.

  • Students are described as activists, and throughout history, they have rallied together to create change.

  • Vassar takes small classroom settings seriously, with an average of 17 students per class.

  • This Division III school has 23 varsity teams, though sports do not seem to be highly emphasized on campus.


Standout Points

  • Vassar has the unique “open curriculum,” in which the only requirements are the student’s major courses, a first year writing seminar, language proficiency, and one quantitative analysis (math or science). All other classes the students take are up to them!

  • Vassar is a leading example in bringing in an economically diverse student body each year thanks to their dedication to meeting 100% of the financial need of every student.

  • CAAD ensures that the creative arts are expressed and utilized in every department, which helps break cross disciplinary boundaries.

  • URSI teams up 60 students with 30 faculty every summer for research opportunities, and students earn a $5,000 stipend!


Fun Fact

  • Vassar’s mascot is the Brewer, thanks to the founder, Mathew Vassar, who was a brewer himself, establishing a very successful brewery in the Hudson Valley.


Bottom Line Fit: For the intellectually curious student looking to benefit from a renowned liberal arts environment that is "outside the box."

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