How to Get Into Vassar College

River and buildings in New York
Updated:
April 10, 2024
6 min read
Contents

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/24/23

Want to attend a suburban private liberal arts college that takes academics very seriously? Continue reading to learn how to get into Vassar College! 

Poughkeepsie, NY

Vassar College is a private residential liberal arts college located in Poughkeepsie, New York State. Known for its rigorous academic program, small class sizes, and commitment to diversity and inclusion, Vassar has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, and an average class size of 17 students.

US News ranked Vassar College as the 16th best liberal arts college in the country, and the 20th college for undergraduate teachers. With 48 departments and programs as well as 50 majors, Vassar College is an outstanding choice for students seeking a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Are you interested in giving Vassar a try? In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know on how to get into this esteemed school!

Vassar College Acceptance Rate

Vassar College’s acceptance rate is 19%. This acceptance rate suggests Vassar is highly selective with a competitive admissions process!

For students hoping to transfer, the Vassar College transfer acceptance rate is estimated to be around 10-15%. For all eager candidates that are set on attending this school, the Vassar College early decision acceptance rate is approximately 39%. 

Vassar College Yield Rate

Vassar College has a yield rate of around 32%. This means a large percentage of students consider Vassar to be their top choice!

Vassar College Admission Requirements

Applicants with SAT scores higher than 1535 and ACT scores higher than 34 are considered highly competitive at Vassar College. To maximize your chances of acceptance, these scores should be complemented with a 3.9 GPA or above. Ensure you also highlight non-academic talents to add color to your application!

Now, let’s dive into how to get into Vassar College and all of the application materials you’ll need to gather. 

Application Fee

Students must pay a fee of $65 to apply to Vassar College.

Common Application Or Coalition Application

Students must submit their application through either the Common Application, Coalition Application, or the QuestBridge Application. The QuestBridge application specifically focuses on connecting talented low-income and underserved students with some of the nation's top colleges and universities!

The admissions committee has no preference for which portal you use, so you should apply using the one you’re most comfortable with. No matter which portal method you choose, here’s a rundown of all the documents you need to provide for your application:

Vassar College GPA Requirements

Previously admitted freshman class had an average GPA of 3.9, which is consistent with the last two admissions cycles:

Class GPA Median
2027 3.9
2026 3.9

Vassar College Average GPA

According to this data, the average GPA of Vassar admits is 3.9. But, to give yourself the best chance of acceptance, try to secure a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible

Vassar College SAT Requirements

As of now, Vassar does not require students to submit the SAT or ACT, so it is up to the applicant to make that choice. Applicants who want to submit their scores need to log in to their applicant status portal and complete the test-optional form.

Vassar accepts self-reported test scores, as well as superscores, meaning they will consider your highest section score from all submitted score reports for valuation.

According to the last three admissions cycles, the Vassar College SAT scores have always been high:

Class Median SAT Range
2027 1430-1535
2026 1440-1510
2025 1420-1520

Vassar College Average SAT Scores

These stats suggest the average SAT score to aim for is approximately 1430-1525. 

Vassar College ACT Requirements

Vassar College’s successful applicants have had the same ACT scores for the past three years:

Class Median SAT Range
2027 32-34
2026 32-34
2025 32-34

Vassar College Average ACT Score

Considering the average ACT score has been 32-34 for the past three years, it’s safe to say this should be your target range!

School Report and High School Transcript

A school report needs to be completed and sent to Vassar College by your school counselor. The form for the school report can be found online and downloaded through Common Application. Have your high school counselor fill it out and send it to Vassar College.

Your official high school transcript needs to include all courses completed or in progress during your high school years (grades 9 to 12) and the number of credits each course has. Completed courses must also have a final grade for each course. Any academic achievements or honors should also be included in the transcript.

Early Decision Agreement 

This is a document that Early Decision applicants need to complete and submit. It serves as a confirmation that the applicant seeks to apply for Early Decision, and agrees with its binding conditions. Namely, to withdraw applications to other schools and enroll in Vassar if the applicant is accepted. 

Teacher Evaluation

Female math teacher with whiteboard

Each applicant needs to submit one teacher evaluation, which is an overall assessment of an applicant done by a teacher who has taught the applicant a core academic subject. The teacher evaluation serves a similar function to recommendation letters.

It usually includes information about the student's academic performance, such as grades, class participation, and attendance, as well as the student’s personality, character, and extracurricular involvement. As such, you should find a teacher who knows you well to complete this evaluation. 

Mid-Year Report 

Vassar College requires all applicants to have their mid-year grades sent to them by a school official, usually their counselor. These are usually the grades at the point of the closest quarter or semester to the date of applying. 

If you have applied for Early Decision, you must also submit a fall progress report and your grades for the first term as soon as the grades become available. 

Optional “Your Space Section”

Students have the option of sharing more about yourself that you haven’t already in your application. Applicants have shared short stories, poetry, art, photography, videos, short films, and more in the past. It is your space, so share something that reflects who you are!  

English Language Proficiency Test

You must take a standardized English language proficiency test if English is not: 

  • Your first language 
  • The primary language of instruction in the secondary schools you have attended for the last three years

Common English language proficiency exams include TOEFL, IELTS, and the Duolingo English Test. Vassar does not have any preferences on which tests the applicant chooses. 

Informational Interviews

Two people shaking hands

Domestic, first-year applicants may request an interview with an alumnus if they would like to learn more about Vassar College. There interviews are purely informational, not evaluative, so they will not have an effect on your admissions. Interviews take place from October to early March.

Transfer Student Requirements

Transfer students are required to submit the following:

  • Application fee of $65
  • Transcripts from all high schools attended
  • Transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Transfer college report (must be completed by someone at your current institution with access to your academic and disciplinary record)
  • Transfer academic evaluation with a letter of recommendation from a college instructor and an optional additional recommendation from an instructor, employer, or teacher
  • Transfer mid-term grade report if you’re currently enrolled in college

Applicants may choose whether or not to submit their ACT/SAT scores.

International Student Requirements

International students are expected to submit the same application materials as domestic students, but will be required to submit an English proficiency test if English is not their primary language of instruction. 

Vassar College Supplemental Essays with Examples

Blank notebook with pen

Students must select one of the following supplemental essay prompts and write a response no longer than 300 words:

Prompt 1

“At Vassar, we aim to foster an inclusive community through our philosophy of engaged pluralism. Engaged pluralism is rooted in ‘the conviction that collaborating across differences is necessary for social transformation and critical for the well-being of any community and its members.’ In short, we believe it’s our differences that make us stronger. Tell us a little bit about what makes you unique and what you hope to add to our community.”

Sample Response

I was always taught to view the world in shades of gray rather than black and white. My upbringing emphasized the importance of advocating for the underdogs and approaching every issue with an open mind, always striving to see both sides of an argument. This mindset has not only shaped my perspective but has also motivated me to actively contribute to my community. Through my volunteer work at local women's and homeless shelters and active participation in campaigns aimed at breaking stigmas associated with them, I have been taking small steps toward a future where I can make an even greater impact as a human rights lawyer.

At Vassar, the philosophy of engaged pluralism resonates deeply with me. It underscores the belief that collaboration across differences is not just beneficial but essential for social transformation and community well-being.

What makes me unique is my unwavering commitment to breaking down societal barriers. My involvement in volunteer activities at women's shelters and homeless shelters has exposed me to the stark realities faced by marginalized communities. It has fueled my determination to be a catalyst for change. I've had the privilege of working closely with individuals who, despite facing unimaginable hardships, possess immense resilience and strength. Their stories have shaped my empathy and sharpened my resolve to advocate for justice.

At Vassar, I aspire to amplify the voices of the marginalized and be a part of a community that actively seeks to understand the diverse experiences of its members. I hope to foster dialogue, challenge stereotypes, and promote inclusivity. As a human rights lawyer-in-training, I aim to engage in rigorous legal advocacy that tackles systemic inequalities head-on. I believe that, together, we can harness our differences as a source of strength and work towards a more just and equitable world.

Prompt 2

“Vassar is a diverse community that inspires positive change through open inquiry, deep dives into society’s most difficult challenges, and collaborative problem solving. We care deeply about one another, the communities that have forged us, and the community we build together on campus. Tell us more about the community (or communities) you come from and how it has shaped who you are.”

Sample Response

I’m fortunate to come from a stable and relatively wealthy family, an environment where financial struggles have been foreign to me. However, I was raised with a profound lesson: if you have something to give, it's your responsibility to give back. This ethos has become an integral part of my identity.

My parents instilled in me the importance of empathy and the belief that privilege should be used to help those less fortunate. From a young age, I observed them set aside a portion of their income to support various charitable organizations, so when I secured my first part-time job at a local thrift store, I made a conscious decision to continue this tradition. Every month, without fail, I would allocate 10% of my paycheck to donate to organizations dedicated to making the world a better place. I've been involved with a range of causes, from supporting underprivileged children's education to aiding local food banks and contributing to environmental conservation efforts. Although my contributions may seem modest compared to the vastness of the challenges we face, I firmly believe that every effort counts.

The community that I come from, characterized by privilege and abundance, has both illuminated and humbled me. It has taught me that wealth, when used responsibly, can be a powerful tool for good. It has also instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities and advantages I've been granted.

Furthermore, this upbringing has spurred me to be an active member of communities beyond my own. I hope to bring my perspective and commitment to giving back to Vassar, to engage in open inquiry, delve into society's most pressing challenges, and work collaboratively towards positive change.

The Vassar College essay prompts give you an opportunity so share more about yourself, not only as an applicant, but also as a person. So, make sure your personality, experiences, and goals are at the heart of your responses! 

Do some deep and thorough self-reflection. In what ways do you resonate with the essay prompt? Is it your experiences? Your beliefs and values? Your skills and capabilities? Anything about yourself can be a starting point as long as it connects with the prompt, so open your mind and be venturous. 

Vassar College Tuition and Fees

calculator

Tuition at Vassar College costs $66,870 a year. On top of all of your other fees and expenses, it’s estimated the total cost to attend this school could be over $90,000.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Vassar promises to meet 100% of each student’s demonstrated financial need with a personalized award package. These packages can involve gift aid, scholarships, and work study.

Vassar College Application Deadlines

Vassar offers three application options:

  • Early Decision I
  • Early Decision II
  • Regular Decision

Early Decision has two rounds: the first one has deadlines earlier than regular application, while the second one has the same deadlines as regular application. However, Early Decision II is still considered an early application. The Vassar College decision date is the same for both Early Decision applications. 

Both Early Decision applications are binding, unlike Early Action, which some schools offer. This means that if you applied for either of the two rounds and got admitted, you must immediately withdraw from your application to other schools and enroll in Vassar College. 

Here is a table of all the Vassar College applications deadlines and dates you should pay attention to for your Vassar application.

Event Deadline
Early Decision I November 15th
Early Decision II January 1st
Regular Decision January 1st
Standardized Test Submission November 22nd
Early Decision II January 9th
Regular Decision January 9th

Of course, make sure you frequently browse Vassar’s official website in case any sudden changes or announcements show up.

Tips for Getting Into Vassar College

Vassar College is a highly competitive institution that evaluates various factors when considering admission decisions. Among the most significant factors are academic performance, personal strengths, potential, and community involvement. 

To increase your chances of getting into Vassar, you should demonstrate excellence both as a student and as a person. Here are some more specific tips that could effectively help your chances of getting into Vassar College.

Focus on Your GPA

The admissions committee considers a student's GPA a crucial academic factor for their chances of admission. Special attention is given to the academic breadth, depth, and rigor of junior and senior year curriculum. So, doing well in your high school courses should be on the top of your priorities list.

Make sure you allocate enough time for studying, attend all of your classes, take notes, and stay connected with your teachers and instructors to get help and assistance. You should also prepare for assignments, tests, and exams as early as possible.

But there’s more to your high school performance than your grades alone. Course selection is also an important element. Vassar recommends that prospective applicants take four years of the following courses:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History or social science
  • A foreign language

To further improve your competitiveness, you should take the most advanced or challenging coursework available in your school, such as the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs. 

Keep in mind that Vassar is favorable towards those who are willing to tackle challenging situations head on, and won’t back down in the face of difficulties. 

Pay Attention to Your Extracurricular Activities

Of course, merely doing well in the classroom is not enough. Vassar prides itself in its diverse student body who embrace the value and ability of learning from each other’s differences. 

Your extracurricular activities are an excellent way to reflect these non-academic values that Vassar holds near and dear. On top of being an indicator of how you spend your time outside of the classroom, extracurricular activities are a splendid opportunity for you to meet new people and discover new interests. 

Consider What Makes You Stand Out

Of course, on the topic of being outside of the classroom, your non-academic talents and skills also matter. Vassar College has a section in its application where you can submit music, art, and dance portfolios. If you have a well-developed talent or accomplishment in those areas, here is your chance to showcase them to Vassar!

It’s important to know that music, art, and dance portfolios are not just useful for students applying to Arts related programs. These non-academic talents also make you a well-rounded applicant who can balance studying and non-academic activities and is willing to pursue interests and passions. 

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about getting into Vassar!

1. How Hard Is It to Get into Vassar College?

Vassar College currently has an acceptance rate of 20%, making the school quite competitive and selective. Getting into Vassar College is a steep slope to climb, and you need to do very well in many aspects of your application to give you the best chance of acceptance. 

2. What GPA Is Required for Vassar?

Vassar doesn’t have any GPA requirements for applying, so students with any GPA are free to apply as long as they deem it viable. However, the average admitted freshman class for the previous year had an average unweighted GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0.

This means that the average student admitted to Vassar did very well in their high school courses and graduated on the top of their class. So, your GPA needs to be very high if you want it to give you an advantage.

3. What Kind of Students Get Into Vassar?

Vassar College admits students that are not only incredibly academically skillful, but also willing to share and contribute their talents and capabilities with the community they’re in. 

4. Can I Get Into Vassar with a 3.7 GPA?

The most recently admitted freshman class had an average GPA of 3.9. So, getting accepted with a 3.7 GPA is somewhat of a challenge. It requires excellent performance in other aspects of the applicant profile for one to get in with a 3.7 GPA.

Fortunately, 3.7 is quite close to the Vassar average of 3.9. Do your best to improve your academic performance, and if you need help, your teachers, instructors, tutors and counselors are some examples of where you can go. 

Final Thoughts 

Vassar College is a great liberal arts school that takes its academic education very seriously. Now that we’ve thoroughly gone over how to get into Vassar College, you should have a better idea of how competitive it is and just how much work you’ll have to put into your application! 

Although getting into Vassar is a challenge, hard work always pays off, and Vassar is always interested in those willing to commit to overcoming challenges. Best wishes on your road to college admission!

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