A demonstrated commitment to academic excellence is the primary consideration in admission to Vassar College, but candidates should illustrate that they will contribute to and benefit from the range of intellectual, leadership, artistic, and athletic opportunities offered by the college community. The Admission Committee is particularly interested in candidates who have made effective use of all opportunities available to them.
Admission to the Freshman Class
Vassar welcomes applications from candidates of varied backgrounds and does not require a specific secondary school program. However, Vassar does expect candidates to have elected the most demanding course work offered by their high schools. Therefore, we recommend that students elect four years of English, mathematics, laboratory science, history or social science, and foreign language. Students should take a substantial portion of their work in enriched, accelerated, or honors courses or in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs when these options are available. Special attention is given to the academic breadth, depth, and rigor of candidates’ junior- and senior-year programs.
Early Decision Plan
The Early Decision Plan is intended for candidates who have explored and researched their college options carefully and concluded that Vassar is their clear first choice. Vassar has two early decision deadlines: November 15 and January 1. Candidates who use the first deadline will hear from Vassar in mid-December. Candidates who use the second deadline will hear from us by early February. Candidates will receive one of three decisions: admission, a deferral of our decision until the regular decision period, or denial, which is our final decision. The Office of Financial Aid makes preliminary financial aid awards at or near the same time to admitted candidates who have demonstrated financial need. Successful early decision candidates are expected to return the Candidate’s Reply Form within two weeks, pay the required fee deposit, and withdraw any applications submitted to other colleges and universities.
Regular Decision Plan
Candidates who wish to be considered under Vassar’s regular decision plan should insure that all required credentials are postmarked by the January 1 deadline. The preapplication and the nonrefundable $60 application fee (or a formal request for a fee waiver) should be submitted as early as possible in the senior year. Candidates are notified of the Admission Committee’s decisions in late March or early April. Regular decision candidates must respond by May 1, the Candidate’s Uniform Reply Date. Admission to the freshman class is contingent upon maintenance, throughout the senior year, of the level of academic performance on which admission was based.
In addition to the preapplication form, the nonrefundable $60 application fee, biographical information, and information about extracurricular activities, candidates must submit the following credentials: a transcript of high school courses and grades, the scores of the College Board SAT I examination and the scores of any three SAT II examinations, or the results of the ACT, an evaluation from the high school counselor that addresses the candidate’s qualifications for admission, a recommendation from a teacher in an academic subject, and a personal statement or essay.
Admission of International Students
Vassar College welcomes applications from international students. These candidates must take the College Board SAT I examination and any three SAT II examinations or the ACT if testing centers are available to them. Candidates whose primary language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We generally expect a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (or 250 on the computer-based version).
Some need-based financial aid is available to international freshman applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications from noncitizens who apply for financial aid are considered on a need-aware basis. Vassar College also welcomes transfer applications from international students. However, we are unable to offer any financial aid to transfer candidates who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Vassar welcomes visits from high school students and their families. Guided tours of the campus led by Vassar students and group information sessions led by an admission officer and a Vassar senior are available on a daily basis. Please call the Office of Admission at 845-437-7300 or consult our website for the seasonal schedule. Appointments are not necessary for tours and information sessions.
An interview is not required for admission. Most students and their families find that they have a clear understanding of Vassar’s academic and extracurricular offerings and admission standards after attending a group information session and going on a campus tour. However, candidates may feel that further dialogue with a Vassar representative would be helpful. Applicants may request an interview with an alumna or alumnus in their local area when completing the application for admission. While interviews are not offered on campus, admission officers are always available after information sessions to advise students and their families on the admission process and to discuss special circumstances and needs.
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate
Every effort is made to insure that students do not find college work to be a repetition of high school work. Appropriate placement is made by departments at the time of registration or within the first two weeks of classes. Students who have taken Advanced Placement examinations will receive one unit of credit, equal to one semester course at Vassar, (or 1/2 unit for the Physics “C” examination) for each examination in which a score of four or five is earned. Students may then be permitted to elect an intermediate-level course after consultation with an adviser and if given permission by the department chair. A maximum of 4 units of credit is allowed for Advanced Placement examination results. (See Freshman Handbook.)
Vassar welcomes applications from students who have participated in the International Baccalaureate program, and awards credit for scores of five, six, or seven on the Higher Level examinations. No credit will be given for work done in IB Standard Level courses.
The college may also grant credit for sufficiently high marks on certain foreign advanced programs of study, such as the GCE A levels, the German Abitur, the French Baccalaureate, etc. Students possessing such credentials should consult with the Office of the Dean of Studies.
College Work before Admission as a Freshman
Vassar may accept the equivalent of, and not more than, four courses of comparable work taken at a college or university prior to a student’s admission as a freshman. Transfer credit for work completed prior to admission to Vassar must be applied for within one year of matriculation. The student must list such courses and the colleges at which they were taken on the application for admission. Transfer of this credit will require departmental approval as well as approval of the Committee on Leaves and Privileges.
Credit will be granted only for coursework completed on a college campus and not used to satisfy requirements for the high school diploma. Students involved in college-level work during high school may wish to supplement their request for credit with the result of an Advanced Placement Examination, even if they were not enrolled in an Advanced Placement course.
Admission of Transfer Students
Students from two- and four-year institutions are typically admitted as transfers into the sophomore or junior classes for either the fall or the spring semester. The college may also admit some highly qualified freshmen candidates for the spring semester. All transfer students must complete a minimum of seventeen Vassar units to be eligible for the Vassar degree. Thus, students with more than four semesters of college-level work are generally not eligible to apply for admission.
To be considered for admission, candidates for transfer are expected to present a strong college record with at least a B average in liberal arts courses comparable to those offered at Vassar. Candidates should be enthusiastically recommended by their current dean and college instructors. Those denied admission to the freshman class who want to reapply should complete a minimum of one year of college with an exemplary record before submitting a transfer application. Vassar may also accept transfer applications for the spring semester of the freshman year from new candidates with very strong high school records who have performed well during the first semester in college. Credit toward the Vassar degree for courses of comparable quality taken elsewhere is determined after admission by the Office of the Dean of Studies. No transfer credit will be assigned without an official transcript.
Please note that financial aid is available on a limited basis for transfer students. Students who are considering applying for financial aid should consult the financial aid office for eligibility requirements, policies, and information about application procedures and deadlines. We regret that we cannot offer financial aid to international transfer applicants.
Credentials and Application Deadlines
Transfer candidates are required to submit the application forms, the nonrefundable $60 application fee, and all required credentials by March 15 for admission in the fall semester and by November 1 for admission in the spring semester. Required credentials include official college transcripts from all schools attended, an official transcript of the secondary school record, recommendations from the college dean and a college professor, standardized test scores, a graded writing sample, and a personal statement or essay. The application fee may be waived upon written request from the dean or advisor substantiating reasonable need for the waiver.
All transfer candidates should submit scores from the SAT I and any three SAT II: Subject tests or from the ACT. However, the SAT II: Subject Tests may be waived for students who are returning to college after a lengthy hiatus or who will have completed one full year of college. Consult with the transfer coordinator for more information. In addition, the TOEFL exam is required for candidates whose primary language is not English.
Candidates for transfer admission to the fall semester are normally notified of our decisions on their applications in early May. Candidates for admission to the spring semester are normally notified of our decisions by mid-December. Transfer candidates for both semesters are expected to respond to offers of admission within two weeks. Admission to Vassar is contingent upon the maintenance, for the balance of the term, of the standard of academic performance upon which the admission committee based its decision.
Admission to Exchange Programs
Students attending colleges or universities which have established exchange programs with Vassar who wish to study at Vassar for a semester or a full academic year should make arrangements directly with the exchange coordinator on their own campuses. Vassar has exchange programs with the member colleges of the Twelve College Exchange (Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Wheaton, and Williams), with Brooklyn College, and with York University in England.
Special Students and Part-Time Students
Well-qualified non-traditional students who live within commuting distance of the campus and who wish to study on a part-time basis are encouraged to discuss special-student status and resumption of work with the Adviser to Special Students in the Office of the Dean of Studies.
Student Right-To-Know Act
Under this act, educational institutions are required to disclose to current and prospective students their completion or graduation rate. This rate is defined as the percentage of students who complete their degree program within 150 percent of the normal completion time for that degree. For Vassar College, this means the percentage of entering students who complete their degree within six years. The most recent Vassar class graduation rate is 88 percent. Additional graduation and retention rate information is available from the Office of the Registrar.