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Vassar College is a prominent private college in New York that has a reputation similar to those you might find among Ivy League schools. Founded in 1861 as Vassar Female College, it was part of the Seven Sisters. The Seven Sisters referred to female colleges that granted the same type of degrees and provided students with the same experiences they would have at an Ivy League school. It was the first college in the United States that offered degrees for women. Vassar admitted its first class of male students in 1969 and saw enrollment of males increase over the years. It now has a nearly equal number of male to female students.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Vassar as the 12th best liberal arts college in the United States, and Washington Monthly included the college on its own list of liberal arts schools with a ranking at number 28. On the national level, Forbes ranked Vassar at number 28 among all colleges. The college also has a reputation as an extremely selective school. It receives more than 7,000 applications every year but accepts around 23 to 27% of prospective students. The college works hard to keep class sizes down and to maintain an enrollment rate of around 2,700 students. More than 50% of Vassar graduates attend graduate, law or medical school within five years of leaving the college.
Vassar College Accreditation Details
Vassar College provides students with a strong education and a great background for future success, which is evident through the accreditation the college received. Its institutional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and allows the college to award its graduates with college degrees. MSCHE accreditation also allows enrolled students to apply for financial aid like loans from the government. This organization requires that the college maintain its accreditation and renew that accreditation every 10 years. Its degree program in chemistry also has accreditation from the American Chemical Society.
Vassar College Application Requirements
As the Vassar College acceptance rate is so low, it's important that you know when and how to apply. The college offers two different types of early decision. The first requires that students complete their applications by the middle of November and that they agree to not apply early decision to any other school. The deadline for the second type of early decision is at the beginning of January and allows students to apply to other colleges at the same time. All other students must submit completed applications to the college in January.
Vassar requires that all prospective students follow a college preparatory curriculum. They should take four years of classes on a foreign language, English, math, science and humanities. Vassar recommends that applicants take advanced placement courses or classes in high school too. Though grades and test scores are important, the college also looks at experiences that applicants had outside of their classes, including jobs they held, extracurricular activities they participated in and volunteer work they did.
When applying to Vassar, you will use the Common Application. This app asks about your high school grades and experiences and for some background information too. Though Vassar charges a $70 application fee, you can request a waiver to apply without paying that fee. Other requirements include an official high school transcript, official standardized test score, midyear grade report and evaluations from teachers. You must submit an evaluation or letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor and at least one teacher. Vassar will also accept one letter of recommendation from a former supervisor, religious leader or someone else willing to speak on your behalf.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The total cost of attending Vassar College is nearly $66,000 a year. This includes a base tuition rate of around $52,000 for going to school full time. Miscellaneous fees charged by the college add around $500 to your cost, the remainder comes from room and board. Students may spend more than $2,000 a year on textbooks, supplies and personal expenses. Though this cost is high, Vassar works with students to ensure that they get as much help as they need. The college will never turn down a qualified applicant because he or she cannot afford the school's tuition.
More than 60% of students receive financial aid every year, and packages can range in size from a few thousand dollars to more than $60,000. Alumni make donations each year to assist students in need, and those donations can pay for a significant portion of your education. Vassar also works with QuestBridge to help those who come from low income households afford to attend college. There are grants available from the federal government and the New York state government, loans and a work-study program. The work-study program allows students to make more than $1,700 a year as they work eight hours a week. Vassar also offers a number of scholarships to qualified incoming freshmen.
Vassar College Student Experience
Attending Vassar College lets you get an Ivy League education without attending an Ivy League school. The college has an active alumni network that provides the school with funding every year, and graduates like helping younger students too. Those former students often offer job and internship opportunities for students studying a wide range of disciplines. More than 50 majors are available for students to choose from, including some unique fields like astronomy and Asian American studies. Other majors include Victorian studies, Jewish studies and an independent program that lets students design their own programs.
Both the drama and film studies programs are popular on campus because some of the college's most famous alumni work on stage and screen. Meryl Streep, Hope Davis and Lisa Kudrow are just a few former graduates who gained fame as actors. Its film studies program teaches students the basics of making their own films, critiquing the work of others and working with actors.
The college also offers "cool courses" that let students study fun and unusual topics for credit. These courses look at topics like the history of rock music, African American films, working as a professional comedian and unraveling the mysteries behind scientific discoveries. Though these courses are open to all students, Vassar College recommends that students enroll early as most classes fill up early during registration.