School Profile: Student Life at Vassar College

Vassar College is ranked #35 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This liberal arts college is located in Poughkeepsie, New York in the picturesque Hudson Valley north of New York City. The Vassar campus has residential and academic buildings in a range of architecture, two of which are National Historic Landmarks. Nestled on roughly one thousand acres of land, you will find everything from formal gardens to woodlands and meadows on this designated arboretum. The college boasts impressive academic offerings and excellent athletic facilities on a tranquil campus with breathtaking views. It supports an organic farm, cross country trails, and community gardens on the former all girls’ campus.

The academic program at Vassar College is one of the most elite in the nation. They have a long history of utilizing innovative curricula and continue to be pioneers of educational achievements. Vassar offers over 50 liberal arts majors, including a self-designed independent major. Political science, phychology, English, economics, and biology are the most chosen majors among Vassar students.  The school offers small class sizes that are taught solely by renowned professors—no teaching assistants. One of the key academic facilities is the renovated Thompson Library which stores 25% of the titles from the Federal Depository Program. Another outstanding facility is the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, which serves as an art center and museum. It houses a variety of collections totaling 19,000 works representing every era from antiquity to contemporary art. This is one of the oldest college art collections in the nation.

While these two prominent fixtures provide exciting learning opportunities for those attending Vassar, the school has so much more to offer. The Vassar Farm is a unique educational feature; it includes over 500 acres of land with a large part attributed to various research projects run by faculty and students. Extensive division-specific resources, study away programs, internships, research opportunities, and field work are just a few other learning options for students at Vassar. If you want a well-rounded and in depth education that will catapult your life after college Vassar is the college for you.

Vassar College knows athletics play an important role in developing a well-rounded person in the world. Twenty-three teams compete in NCAA Division III sports at Vassar, along with a variety of club sports, and intramural leagues. Vassar supports their athletes with impressive facilities. An elevated running track, fitness facilities, various top-of-the-line sports fields, a wood floor gymnasium, and a large six-lane pool with a diving area are just a few of the student amenities in the athletics department. They also provide modern upscale locker rooms and a sports medicine facility that is open to all of their students. This is a dream college for athletes of all levels.

A student’s life on campus is what they make it—literally. Vassar bestows a great deal of power on the student body regarding how the campus is run and what the future should hold. Students can start new organizations, attend policy committees, plan conferences, find and fix institutional problems, and much more. Vassar students can shape not only their own college experiences, but also those of future students, constantly improving Vassar. Over 95% of students, along with faculty, take advantage of on-campus housing all four years. Dorms are referred to as houses and are designed to make students feel at home.

Each student stays in the same house for the first three years; houses creatively imprinted by the students who occupy them. This not only creates space for camaraderie, but also allows students a little fun rivalry between houses. Senior year students are allowed to choose to stay in their homes or move into apartments on campus. Attending Vassar also allows you to choose from over 1,600 sponsored events annually; you can attend some seriously amazing concerts, films, and lectures, to name a few. There is also a wide variety of student services provided on campus from research and teaching to learning centers and counseling services. Attending Vassar means having a jam packed diverse calendar.

Traditions are taken to a new level at Vassar, they take pride in their gorgeous campus and deep historical roots. This can be seen clearly through their many traditions some dating back to the eighteen hundreds. Some prominent examples include the class trees where each class plants a tree each year adding to the glorious natural arboretum that is Vassar campus, and The Book of Matriculation that freshmen sign the first day at Vassar as a symbol they have become part of elite Vassar student community. Be wary of the Primal Scream done on the eve of exam week. There are many more traditions students participate in throughout the year that reinforce Vassar pride. This liberal arts college suits independent and creative students who flourish in an environment of innovation and tradition.

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By Colleen Hill