Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

Reviews

Vassar College
4.21 Average Rating

Erin from Boston, MA

a current student here
12 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Vassar's zero core curriculum approach to academics allows any student to explore their academic interests to the fullest degree. The professors are wonderful and the majority have the highest degree possible in their field. They are open to student input and genuinely love when their students are passionate about what they are teaching. Furthermore, small class sizes and round table discussion facilitate student involvement in the classroom. I really cannot picture a better academic environment for the student who wants an engaging small liberal arts college.
Am enjoying being here
Vassar's campus is large for its 2,400 student body and there are several student hang-out spots. It is a welcoming and diverse atmosphere that makes you feel at home but keeps you entertained and interested in what the school and student body has to offer. Even more so, campus events are literally happening everyday of the week, whether it be a lecture, sports game, campus party, benefit dinner, art showing, etc. The only challenge is the Vassar bubble. It is named so because campus often offers so many events that students do not leave very often. However, there are off-campus eateries and malls that can urge you beyond the Vassar borders. And do not forget the train from Poughkeepsie right into NYC!
Bang for the buck
Although tuition is high, between the quality of the academic experience, number of campus activities, food choices, and living situations available, you do get a lot back for what you pay. Also, 60% of the class of 2014 is receiving some form of financial aid, and Vassar is known for its need-blind policy.
Tips for prospective students
Come to Vassar because you love it and you are passionate about where your life is headed, whether it be academically, musically, artistically, spiritually, whatever. Vassar simply wants you to care. And show that in your application. However, don't get too caught up in the I need to stand out! mindset.
Great for these types of students
Students who are passionate, activists, accepting, and willing to have a theoretical discussion over lunch.
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Brittany from Arlington, TX

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
One of the best things about Vassar are the professors. You can tell that they all truly care about what they are teaching and really want you to succeed. I can't count how many times a professor's name has appears in our text, because these people not only know their subjects, but a lot of them were actually there! Also, the classes are some of the most interesting I've ever seen, let alone taken. They can be difficult sometimes, but overall they are all well worth it!
Am enjoying being here
The student body at Vassar is so diverse. It's very importat to keep an open mind when meeting new people, which you will do all the time, despite Vassar's small size. There are also so many opportunities to do anything your want really and it is all student run, which feels amazing! I really appreciated the opportunities offered to freshman for leadership which is often hard to find in larger universities.
Bang for the buck
One of Vassar's appeals is it's large alumni/ae network and name recognition. I know that once I graduate having a Vassar degree will help a lot, because it is recognized and respected. Also, the past two years have been a blast! I've been having the time of my life meeting so many new people and learning about things that personally interest me, so it is definitely worth the buck.
Tips for prospective students
As a prospective student, I would recommend visiting, especially overnight. There is no better way to get to know the campus than spending the night with a current student. My time as a prospie was so much fun and I met so many people who I'm still great friends with today. As for the application, I would recommend being as sincere and honest as possible. Admissions counselor's here are great and really want to get to know the applicants. I don't know how the do it, but they find a way to accept students here, that make Vassar the amazing, quirky place it is.
Great for these types of students
Vassar is great for everyone! We have so many different types of people and a mixture of people that I can't imagine someone not finding their niche. The school also does a superb job of offering support to students in looking for their passion and developing that passion.
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Zoe from Danbury, CT

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Vassar College is school where anyone can go to be themselves without feeling self-conscious. It's a fascinating place with all kinds of interesting mixes of different styles and points of view, including the different architecture and the diverse student body. Especially a great place for arts students.
Tips for prospective students
Go their and spend a day. Interact with the students because the students really make or break a school, as they are the people you'll be spending four years with. Sit in on a couple of classes and ask a lot of questions of everyone you encounter. It should be a place where you think to yourself, Yeah, I could be happy here. What I like about Vassar's prospective student process is that they didn't try to make you go to their school. They want you to talk to them so that they can figure out whether Vassar is the best fit for you. It's all about you as the prospective student, not Vassar as a prestigious academic school that you should choose. Also, admissions are need-blind and all scholarships are on need-based.
Academic Rigor
It's not as hard as I'd imagine Ivy League schools are, but it certainly isn't easy here. It all depends on your professor, obviously, but some classes are definitely easier than others. I haven't encountered a class I'd call amazingly easy, but maybe others would beg to differ. I found that there's a large amount of reading in general and the classes are challenging, but it's all do-able if you have your priorities straight.
Dorm Life
The dorms aren't bad. Some dorms have bigger rooms than others, but I've found that it's more about the people you're with than the actual rooms. They're good enough that they don't impede other things you want to do. However, I've found that Building and Grounds aren't very good about fixing things that you submit requests to fix. Also, the bathrooms are unisex, so if that bothers you, keep that in mind. However, I find that because of this, there's actually more privacy in the bathrooms than single-sex bathrooms.
Food and Dining
There's one dining hall, a pay-as-you-go cafe-type place, and a bunch of places to get coffee and snacks. A lot of people get sick of the dining hall, but I don't mind it. They have a decent variety. They always have a salad bar, bagels, fruit, a stir-fry station, cereal, a sandwich bar, dessert, a grill option, and a hot-food option. They often also have other options, though they have less on the weekends. The cafe, called The Retreat, is much better, but it works on a different paying system, so you can't just eat there all the time. There's also a smoothie/milkshake type place above the dining hall that opens after the dining hall closes that many students frequent. It's open fairly late into the night.
What to do for fun
There's not much to do around Poughkeepsie, but there are always parties on campus. And if you're not into parties, there are a ton of on-campus events all the time. I can never go to all the events I'd like to. Furthermore, we have an insanely overactive theater population here, so on any given weekend in the second half of the semester, we have at least 4 shows going on at once. There are also school-sponsored parties, concerts by the music department, and sporting events (though we don't hear too much about them).
Bang for the buck
It's an expensive school, but I think it's a great education and the opportunities it affords you are worth it.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
All of the buildings are different, so I highly suggest exploring every single one. The library especially is magnificent and gorgeous, with a neat meditation room on the very top floor, hidden away beyond a twisty staircase. Also, all of the window fixtures are different. Random but interesting point.
Great for these types of students
Hipsters. Artsy students. Theater majors. Weird people. People who know that everyone is weird, so being weird is normal. Students who know how to work hard and play hard. Anyone who's interested in studying liberal arts or doesn't know what he or she wants to study.
Clubs and Activities
There are so many different groups on campus, especially for it being such a small school. Anything you like to do, you can find a group. And if you can't find a group, you can make it yourself. We even have a quidditch team.
Greek Life
Non-existant, which I love.
Campus Safety
I've never felt in danger on campus. It's very safe. Although I've heard of strangers coming onto campus, so that's something to watch out for. Security is very friendly and very helpful though, so just give them a call. There could be more lamps in dark places, but otherwise it's safe. Just don't go off campus late at night.
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Willow from Wayne, PA

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The professors are absolutely INCREDIBLE. I have learned so much in the past year; my writing, and my way of thinking has changed a great deal as well thanks to the eye opening influences at Vassar.
Am enjoying being here
The social life is fun, but it is limited. Parties mostly occur in the senior housing, and it can be awkward if you don't know seniors. Lots of parties happen in the dorms though, and they can also be fun. Security is more likely to break up these parties due to noise, though, and the students in the dorm need to take the initiative to have the parties.
Bang for the buck
Vassar has amazing resources, but it is also very expensive. I think that the school doesn't work hard enough to make the students aware of all that it has to offer.
Tips for prospective students
Do a sport or theater! Playing on a team at Vassar has been one of the best parts of my experience, because it's a group of friends from all different years and backgrounds that I wouldn't necessarily have met otherwise. And, the sports teams at Vassar are not super intense. They're fun and you definitely have to work at it, but it's not the kind of competition that you'd have at a D-I school.
Theater is a rich culture at Vassar. There are many interesting people to meet in theater circles, and theater at Vassar is fun and accessible to students of all years.
Great for these types of students
Artsy, sporty, intellectual, whatever! Dedicated students though, all around. Really anyone can find their place at Vassar. There are many different parts of the community so people can find acceptance somewhere. It is also a good school for students who thrive on being part of a small community where you will see people you know pretty much everywhere you go on campus.
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Kimberly from Omaha, NE

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Vassar has challenging academics and a vibrant social atmosphere, and students here are very good at balancing both. Vassar advocates an environment of inclusion and social awareness that ensures every student is made to feel at home. Overall, Vassar is as much of an experience as it is an education.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure to visit. Vassar is different from other colleges in many ways, and make sure that you can handle Vassar before coming to Vassar.
Academic Rigor
The higher the grade, the higher the academic rigor. The workload during the year is manageable, but come finals, the workload multiplies tenfold. Workload at Vassar is not busy work, however. It is comprehensive and challenging. You will be challenged to think here.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is amazing, and residential life works really hard to make it so. With friendly competition between the dorms, each student develops a pride and vanity for their own dorm, which creates a unity within each dorm. Each dorm has a house team, which regularly puts on dorm programming such as study breaks or food-related events for residents to enjoy. Being a freshman especially has its perks. You'll be living with fellow freshmen, all arranged into a group called a fellow group. This group of freshmen will be your first group of friends on campus, and they're your support network for your freshman year. Each dorm has a parlor and multipurpose room, and each dorm has a piano. They're well equipped for your late night jam session with your friends or just your 2 AM conversation about life. Dorm life really is the greatest, and the aesthetic of Vassar dorm life is unparalleled.
Food and Dining
Vassar has been contracting with Aramark for a past couple years, which hasn't had a good track record when it comes to quality of food. Food on campus is also outrageously overpriced. The good thing is that the ACDC is all you can eat for a meal swipe, and taking fruit with you or containers full of food help you get what you paid for. However, some days, the food is almost inedible. Luckily, there are many cheap eats off campus and the Retreat, which is a grab-and-go dining option, usually has something for everyone's taste buds.
What to do for fun
There are so many different organizations to participate in on campus. One of the most popular is a cappella. If singing isn't for you, have no fear. There are comedy groups, acrobatic groups, outing and adventure clubs, sports clubs, almost any group you can think of. There is also student theater as well as just normal hobby clubs. Even if you don't participate in a club, you can always attend their shows or performances, and there's so many, almost more than you can fit into a weekend. Dorms also host events with music, dressing up, and more, so there's that. Hanging out with friends or going off campus for dinner or ice cream or even fast food is also an option for fun. There is never nothing to do at Vassar.
Bang for the buck
Vassar's tuition is ridiculously expensive, but most of the cost of living on campus is included in the tuition. Unless you're dying, you shouldn't need to leave campus. There is food on campus, which is prepaid for through your meal plan. There are free things to do on campus. Vassar shouldn't cost you a fortune outside your tuition.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Founders Day is a blast. We also have a few national historic landmarks. Vassar is just its own place, honestly.
Great for these types of students
Vassar is great for students who were smart misfits in high school. Everyone is accepted here.
Clubs and Activities
There are so many, and if you don't see one you like, grab a group of friends and start your own!
Greek Life
Greek life is nonexistent on campus.
Campus Safety
Campus safety and security isn't super on top of things, but they're good at responding when you report something to them. Be smart. Don't leave your valuables lying around. Don't leave your bike unlocked. Just common sense things.
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Jelena from Boise, ID

accepted here and planning to attend soon
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
From what I have seen and heard from Vassar students, there isn't a doubt in my mind about the quality of education to be received at Vassar College.
Will enjoy being here
I visited Vassar not too long ago, and stayed on campus for three nights. And, let me tell you, it was Spectacular. Not only were the current students completely open and welcoming, but it was impossible not to fall in love with the campus. It is absolutely gorgeous, from it's stunning buildings and Sunset Lake, to the regal trees everywhere you look. The library, especially, is breathtaking. Each dorm has its own special personality-but each one's inhabitants would swear that theirs is the best...That's dorm loyalty for you! I felt so welcomed by the students and faculty. This is really a remarkable school-I cannot wait to move-in next month! (:
Bang for the buck
It's worth it. That's all anyone needs to know. For the caliber of professors, the diverse and wonderful student body, the academic freedom, and the beauty of the campus, it's worth every cent and more.
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Monica from Stockton, CA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Academic Rigor
It's challenging, but if you keep your schedule well-balanced, you won't be too overwhelmed. You'll have stress, but not to the point of having a meltdown. If you do, there are people and resources available to help you out.
Dorm Life
It's pretty good compared to some other schools. The bathrooms could be cleaner, but they're not horrible. The lounges in the dorms are beautiful, especially in Cushing House (woot woot). I got an enormous room with a walk-in closet, but some aren't so lucky...
Food and Dining
It's hit-or-miss....Some days it's amazing, some days it's unsatisfying, boring and/or gross. It really depends on the day, but that seems to be the case at most schools for the most part. Luckily, we get meal swipes and a ton of dining bucks, so when the ACDC (Deece) sucks, we can go to the Retreat and get food from there, or even get something from either the Kiosk, Express Lunch, or UpC (from 7 pm - 2 am).

We have tons of vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options.
What to do for fun
There are tons of things to do on campus, as well as orgs like Outing Club, which plans tons of outdoorsy trips that you can go on for free.

There are also tons of thrift shops and little cafes/restaurants in the surrounding Arlington district. I personally love Twisted Soul: Food Concepts, but Babycakes and Bacio's tend to be popular among Vassar students.

Vassar also has a bus and multiple shuttles that will take you to the mall throughout the week/weekend.
Bang for the buck
I say 5 stars, but I'm on full financial aid, so I really can't say.....
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Serenading, Water-falling, the Mug...
Great for these types of students
All kinds of students find a way to fit in here. Vassar's especially great, though, for liberal, socially-conscious, intellectual students.
Clubs and Activities
I haven't gotten EXTREMELY involved yet, but so far it seems pretty good. There are quite a few options.
Greek Life
THIS IS NON-EXISTENT, THANK GOD.
Campus Safety
Maybe it's just because I'm from the hood, but Vassar feels pretty darn safe, even in the middle of the night.
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animecrazy

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
There is such an open and understanding atmosphere. Everyone takes academics very seriously, but I have never felt tension on campus as a result of that. It's not a place you will ever want to leave.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the campus and feel the amazing atmosphere for yourself. You will automatically feel the comfort and kindness that radiates from Vassar. Also, check out the restaurants around campus.
Academic Rigor
Don't come here if you aren't willing to work your hardest day in and day out. The academic rigor is tremendous because everyone is working there hardest all the time. It is worth it though because the professors are amazing and passionate about what they do. I would choose Vassar over slightly less rigorous academics any day.
Dorm Life
I personally loved my dorm. It was quiet when it needed to be and everyone was respectful. The people around you become family and your student fellow is like the big sister/brother you always need.
Food and Dining
I really liked the on-campus food, although I know not a lot of people share this view. I wasn't offered a lot of variety in my household, so I really enjoy the variety at ACDC. And the food is always fresh, so I don't see what the problem is.
What to do for fun
You can go dancing at the Mugg or at a Villard room party. Those are my favorite things to do each weekend. I have 1 or 2 nights or dancing and then smoothies at UPC. You can also go to dorm parties, town house parties, town apartment parties, etc...
If you aren't a party or dance person, there are lots of comedy shows, acapella performances, and plays each weekend.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The mugg is a dance club under Vassar and it is AWESOME.
Clubs and Activities
I play a Varsity sport, which is pretty demanding, but I also take hip hop lessons as a part of the on-campus dance group Hype. Also, I take free judo classes offered in the on-campus gym.
Campus Safety
I feel so safe on campus during all hours of the day.
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Jade from Sparrow Bush, NY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Vassar is a big, beautiful, liberal school in Poughkeepsie. It's a school full of students from all parts of America and the world at large. It provides so many opportunities for a brighter future in scholarships.
Tips for prospective students
Get involved on campus! If you have to do a partner project, go for someone who has a strong grasp of the concept, not necessarily someone you get along with outside of class. Run your essays through Grammarly before handing them in. Have your essay read-over by another person. Read your paper out loud to hear any weird wording. Attend office hours with your professors. The homework isn't optional.
Academic Rigor
The four classes I took in one semester challenged me more than the four years I spent in high school. The professors push you out of your comfort zone and force to acknowledge your failings and improve. Try your hardest, do the homework, study, and mentally prepare for what will be expected in class.
Dorm Life
There's a bit of a class divide on campus. You can tell who's rich by who refuses to clean their hair out of the shower stalls EVERY NIGHT, no matter how gross. If you get a bad roommate, you won't receive help in you're working class. When your rich roommate finally complains, they will be given their own room. Make sure you address who will clean in you Roommate Contract with your dormmate. That being said, the cleaning staff work SO HARD to keep our dorms clean. Please be polite and say high to them; their great! You'll find plenty of cool kids in your dorm.
Food and Dining
We have so many cool eateries on campus alone; the Deece, the Retreat, the Mug, the Express AND a food truck that goes around campus. Not to mention, the school hooks you up with a card that you can use at the food places off campus. That being said, the food can get kind of repetitive, and it'll be hard not to use up all your card money in one semester out of two.
What to do for fun
We have tons of clubs and activities that are tons of fun. We have parties, we have Big Night In for all the sober living kids, and we have the Saturday Shuttle that takes you to grocery store, Barnes and Noble, Ultra, and the mall!
Bang for the buck
This school offers so much for so little. The amazing scholarship they gave me was only the beginning of their generosity. Vassar is the gift that keeps on giving.
Great for these types of students
If you are someone who could use a great scholarship for your great grades, this school is ideal. If you're a member of LGBT+ community, a POC, or both, this school is ideal. If you're a liberal, a feminist, or an activist, this school is ideal. If you're an artistic hipster who loves to thrift shop, this school is ideal.
Clubs and Activities
We have a mind-blowingly large array of extracurriculars for such a small school. You'll quickly want to join ten different orgs, but you'll dedicate so much time to a few. Most people bounce to and from different clubs, especially if they're similar. The flexibility is really nice for the students and their hectic schedules.
Greek Life
There is no Greek life. We don't have Frats, we don't have an all boys house. It's great.
Campus Safety
The school has blue lights everywhere and Vassar Security Vans constantly cruising around. I don't hear about a lot of crime happening on campus. There are tons of fire drills and such.
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Olivia

researching this school
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Vassar is beautiful, open, and overall very friendly. This is a place I could spend four years attending.
Tips for prospective students
Vassar is a very liberal and open place, which is great if that is what you are in to. Think about if this is the environment you would like to spend your time in, because it isn't for everybody.
Dorm Life
beautiful dorms
What to do for fun
lots of clubs and artistic possibilities
Great for these types of students
artsy
Greek Life
non existent
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