Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vassar College Review

First Impression: We went to Vassar on a very hot day. The majority of the tour was outside, and the indoor sections were not heavily air conditioned. I know that the weather won't be like that during the school year, but this left a bit of a bad impression on me.

  • There are no required General Education classes, although freshman must take at least one writing seminar, one quantitative course, and pass a language proficiency exam.
  • Over 20 foreign language classes are offered.
  • Pre-Major advisers are assigned to each student for the first two years. At the end of sophomore year, when students declare, they are assigned Major advisers.
  • Each adviser advises only 4-5 students. Personally, although I think I can function well in a large class setting, I would like to have a lot of one on one time with a counselor or adviser, who doesn't deal with many students.
  • Work internships are a major part of the Vassar experience.
  • Class sizes average around 10 students.
  • 10% of students are international.
  • 12.5% of students are from California.
  • According to the info session, Vassar students tend to be independent and interested in many things.
  • There are over 300 approved study abroad programs.
  • Financial aid from Vassar is applicable to study abroad trips.
  • All housing is inter-year.
  • Student government is very important.
  • Vassar is in Poughkeepsie, a small city less than an hour from NYC.
  • Acceptance is need blind.
  • Vassar meets 100% of all demonstrated financial need.
  • They attempt to cover need with grants, rather than loans.
  • They super score for SATs
  • Leadership in clubs is very important for acceptance.
  • They want to see interest and commitment.
  • There is a "Your Space" section in the supplement part of the application. Here, you can submit anything that expresses who you are: trophies, artwork, videos, etc.
  • The dorms have recreation and common rooms.
  • The rest of the advantages are true of every school we have seen: excellent academics, a lot of support, etc.

  • There's no graduate school.
  • There's no research department. It's a college, not a university.
  • The student population is only 2450. That's a bit small for my tastes. 
  • No Greek life at all. I don't know if I want to be in a fraternity, but I'd like to have the option.
  • Transcript is the most important part of acceptance. Although I feel that I have an impressive transcript, I want a school that accepts me for who I am, not what I did, because that's more telling of what I WILL do.
  • The admissions officer said that 90% of personal statements neither help, nor hurt someone's acceptance to Vassar. I don't like that. The personal statement is supposed to be a reflection of my personality and interests. Once again, Vassar seems to be more impressed by accomplishments than by people.
  • I didn't really like the architecture that much. The buildings didn't seem to all belong on the same campus, and there was a lot of empty space.
  • There is only one major library. To be fair, it looks like a castle.
  • The rest of the disadvantages are true of every school we have seen: far from home, unreliable East coast weather, etc.

Final Thoughts: My opinion on Vassar is pretty simple; it's an excellent school, it's just not the right match for me. I want a bigger school, and Vassar doesn't offer a lot of what I'm looking for.

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