Academics

Location
Poughkeepsie, NY
Undergrads
2,370
Tuition
$46,270
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Academics: It depends on the person and major, etc., and if you have personal problems it's 10x harder. But besides that, it's good.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: You can do a good amount of doing things/studying on your own

5 College Freshman

Academics: Academics is unbeatable at Vassar. I have opportunities to research/work with PhDs from Oxford, UChicago and Yale as a freshman. Professors go out of their way to meet with you and mentor you. The opportunity to grow under the guidance of academic giants is incredible. Office hours extend way beyond the afternoon and its not uncommon to go for lunches with professors or be invited to their houses for long discussions.

Workload is challenging for anybody but its really what you make of it. There are more opportunities than people are even aware of, and should they go exploring the internship and fellowship offices even Juniors and Seniors may be surprised at the opportunities they find. Lots of people study abroad and several are torn between going abroad and staying at Vassar to take advantage of the brilliant and compelling courses right here.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Academics: Rigorous but undoubtedly the best education on par to ivy leagues.

2 people found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Academics: They have a bad course selection for biology. I can't get into classes because there aren't enough teachers.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 5th
    Most Flexible Curriculums
  • 24th
    Best Academic Advisers
  • 46th
    Smartest Professors
  • 51st
    Professors Most Interested in Classes
  • 75th
    Most Caring Professors

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sam Murray
Hometown
Bend, IN
Major
Philosophy/Economics
View all previous student authors

Vassar professors are approachable. You won't be told to go to a teaching assistant because there isn't one. Professors lead classes, grade papers and tests, advise students, make themselves available for hours beyond office hours, and conduct research in their respective field. They live in dorms, are with kids at lectures, and invite students to their homes. Professors create and modify classes to fit personal strengths and student input. They are proficient in what they teach and often dynamic in their style of teaching.

Even if Vassar professors weren't half as good as they are, the academic freedom allows students to construct their own program. The fine print is not something you should pull out a magnifying glass for. There are no core requirements, but only three classes students must take: a writing-intensive version of an introductory class offered in a wide range of departments, a quantitative analysis class, and a foreign language sequence, which a good score on an SAT II test fulfills. The rest of your education is up to you. Students are allowed to "shop" for classes, and most add and drop courses during the first two weeks of class to fine tune their schedules. They can create an independent major and are encouraged to study abroad.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
8:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
280
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
43
Total FT Faculty
280
Faculty with Terminal Degree
90%
Average Faculty Salary
$94,331
Full-Time Retention Rate
96%
Part-Time Retention Rate
100%
Graduation Rate
91%
Programs/Majors Offered
48
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
Yes
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 67%
  • 20 to 49 Students: 33%
  • 50 or More Students: 0%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Biology and Biological Sciences: 3%
  • English Language Studies: 5%
  • History, General: 3%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 3%
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Best Places to Study
  • Dorm parlors
  • Library
  • Student center
Tips to Succeed
  • Ask for extensions ahead of time; you'll most likely get them.
  • Be confident.
  • Challenge not only the content of a class, but the structure.
  • Don't fill up class schedule in late afternoon.
  • Don't get caught in the Mug more than three times a week.
  • Don't leave anything to the last minute. Work ahead.
  • Don't think you are smarter than Betty.
  • Expect weirdness from people.
  • Get drunk before you go to the Mug.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Go out even if you have work.
  • Introduce yourself as much as possible.
  • People are tougher and smarter than they look.
  • Security is lenient, but don't think you can get away with anything.
  • Sleep rarely. There are way too many fun things to do in the middle of the night.
  • Take advantage of the shuttle.
  • Take Intro to Art History.
Did You Know?
  • Vassar was the first college in the country to include a museum and teaching collection among its facilities. The college's gallery predates such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was founded in 1880, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, established in 1870. Today, Vassar's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center has more than 17,000 works in its collection.
  • About 500 students participate in fieldwork or internships locally or in New York City for credit. Approximately 70 percent of Vassar students participate in fieldwork for credit before they graduate.
  • Paper needs a little editing? The student-staffed Writing Center located in the library provides help to students at any stage of the writing process, from rough outline to final draft.
  • Students can take as many as four Vassar courses with the Non-Recorded Option, also known as pass/fail. Students select the minimum grade they are willing to accept for a class in the beginning of the semester; if they end up doing well in the course (better than the minimum grade), then they get the grade earned. Otherwise, as long as they don't fail it, they'll earn a pass in the course.
  • The library doesn't have what you're looking for? Vassar students have access to a seemingly infinite number of resources from other academic libraries through Interlibrary Loan and Connect NY. Materials usually arrive within two weeks. Students can renew their borrowed books online to keep them out for extended periods of time.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 23 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 5 responses

  • 33% Meryl Streep - award-winning actress
  • 27% Lisa Kudrow - Emmy Award-winning actress
  • 13% Vicki Miles-LaGrange - first black female U.S. Attorney
  • 13% Jane Fonda - award-winning actress
  • 7% Edna St. Vincent Millay - Pulitzer Prize winner, poet
  • 7% Jackie Kennedy Onassis - former first lady
  • 0% Elizabeth Bishop - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
  • 0% Lloyd Braun - chairman, ABC Entertainment
  • 0% Mary McCarthy - American critic/novelist
  • 0% Ethan Zohn - professional soccer player
  • 0% Ken Kaess - president of DDB Worldwide

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 23 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.
4
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