Vassar College is a small “academically challenging” school that offers a “perfect liberal arts feel” and seeks to broaden students’ perspectives. The “strong sense of community” is apparent both in and out of the classroom, where the school drums home the idea that “it’s all about being unique and letting your quirky characteristics shine.” “We’re asked to critically think about the world we live in and how our privilege plays into these systems,” says a student. This freedom of character is a main reason why everyone here is “excited to be with each other, which creates this school spirit that isn’t necessarily based on sports.”
The lack of core requirements is “a great opportunity for students to explore anything they want before settling into a major.” “Amazing” professors are “super accessible” and “fully engaged in the total Vassar community.” “They are willing to meet you outside their office hours if they don’t work for you,” says a student. “My professors are…spectacular at illuminating difficult material,” says a junior psychology major. Classes are all small and “most are very discussion-based”; students are “not competitive with each other, but with themselves,” which creates a more relaxed environment despite the very high academics. Many do admit that there could stand to be “more sections of the most popular classes so that the most amount of people can be happy with their course selections.”
Opportunities are there for students’ voices to be heard, and “the administration is very willing to work with the student organization to accomplish goals,” such as a ban on bottled water from dining services as a result of an initiative by the environmental group on campus. “Vassar students will do things in any way but the traditional way,” says a sophomore. “No problem goes undiscussed.” “Incredible” study abroad opportunities and a “beautiful campus” don’t hurt, either.
New York City isn’t far, so some people take advantage of that, and “there are always parties you can go to if you want to,” but “there is nothing wrong with staying in and watching a movie or chatting with friends.” There is no Greek life; intellectual conversations abound at all hours, and students spend “significant time thinking about the state of the world, what’s going on within the campus community.” There are always a decent amount of weekend activities such as “concerts, comedy shows, plays, dances, etc.” Be warned: “transportation is limited to get off campus unless you own a car.”
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The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education: http://ope.ed.gov/security