Jul 17, 2024  
Catalogue 2019-2020 
Catalogue 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


A demonstrated commitment to academic excellence is the primary consideration in admission to Vassar College, but candidates should illustrate that they will contribute to and benefit from the range of intellectual, leadership, artistic, and athletic opportunities offered by the college community. The Admission Committee is particularly interested in candidates who have made effective use of all opportunities available to them.

Vassar adheres to a need-blind admission policy, which means that admission decisions for all first-year students who are U. S. citizens or permanent residents are made without regard to the students’ financial situation during early decision and regular decision. An applicant’s financial need may be taken into consideration if the college utilizes the wait list. Vassar meets 100% of the full demonstrated need of all admitted students for all four years.

Admission to the First-Year Class

Vassar welcomes applications from candidates of varied backgrounds and does not require a specific secondary school program. However, Vassar does expect candidates to have elected the most demanding course work offered by their high schools. Therefore, we recommend that students elect four years of English, mathematics, laboratory science, history or social science, and foreign language. Students should take a substantial portion of their work in enriched, accelerated, or honors courses or in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs when these options are available. Special attention is given to the academic breadth, depth, and rigor of candidates’ junior- and senior-year programs.

Early Decision Plan

The Early Decision Plan is intended for candidates who have explored and researched their college options carefully and concluded that Vassar is their clear first choice. Vassar has two early decision deadlines: November 15 and January 1. Candidates who use the first deadline will hear from Vassar in mid-December. Candidates who use the second deadline will hear from us by early February. Candidates will receive one of three decisions: admission, a deferral of our decision until the regular decision period, or denial, which is our final decision. The Office of Student Financial Services makes preliminary financial aid awards at or near the same time of the offer of admission to admitted candidates who have demonstrated financial need, assuming that all the necessary information has been filed. Successful early decision candidates are expected to return the Candidate’s Reply Form within three weeks, pay the required fee deposit, and withdraw all other active applications submitted to other colleges and universities. Admission to the first-year class is contingent upon graduation from high school with a strong academic and personal record. Candidates will also agree to not engage in behavior that brings into question the honesty, maturity or moral character of the matriculated student.

Regular Decision Plan

Candidates who wish to be considered under Vassar’s regular decision plan should ensure that the application is submitted by the January 1 deadline. Candidates are notified of the Admission Committee’s decisions in late March or early April. Regular decision candidates must respond by May 1, the Candidate’s Uniform Reply Date. Admission to the first-year class is contingent upon graduation from high schools with a strong academic and personal record. Candidates will also agree to not make plans to enroll at another college nor engage in behavior that brings into question the honesty, maturity or moral character of the matriculated student.

Required Credentials

 In addition to the completed application and the nonrefundable $70 application fee, candidates must submit the following credentials: a transcript of high school courses and grades, standardized test results from either the SAT or the ACT, an evaluation from the high school counselor that addresses the candidate’s qualifications for admission, a recommendation from a teacher in an academic subject, and a personal statement or essay.

Admission of International Students

Vassar College welcomes applications from international students. These candidates must take either the SAT or the ACT. In addition, if English is neither your first language nor the primary language of instruction you have used throughout secondary school (minimum of three full years in English), you should submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We generally expect a minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the IBT or 600 on the paper test. As an alternative to the TOEFL, Vassar also accepts the IELTS. A minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS Academic Test is required. Vassar does not grant waivers for TOEFL/IELTS based on SAT/ACT or other exams. In addition to the school transcript(s), Vassar requests official copies of all predicted and/or completed external/national exam results (i.e., Cambridge assessments, CAPE, WASSCE, IB, etc.).

Need-based financial aid is available to international first-year applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applications from noncitizens who apply for financial aid are considered on a need-aware basis. Vassar College also welcomes transfer applications from international students. However, we are unable to offer any financial aid to transfer candidates who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Admission of Undocumented Students

Vassar College considers applications submitted by undocumented or DACA-mented students with the same consideration given to any other applicants when reviewing their application. The college is committed to meeting the full, demonstrated financial need of undocumented or DACA students admitted to Vassar following the same financial aid packaging policies for U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Campus Visits

Vassar welcomes visits from high school students and their families. Guided tours of the campus led by Vassar students and group information sessions led by an admission representative are available Monday through Friday and on selected Saturday mornings in the fall and spring. Please contact our office at (845) 437-7300 or consult our website for the seasonal schedule and to register for a visit.


A conversation with one of our volunteer alumnae/i interviewers is an excellent way for students to learn more about Vassar. Most students and their families find that they have a clear understanding of Vassar’s academic and extracurricular offerings and admission standards after attending a group information session and going on a campus tour. However, candidates may feel that further dialogue with a Vassar representative would be helpful. These evaluative alumnae/i interviews are available for first-year applicants and take place from November through early-March. However, interviews are not required and if a student is unable to meet with an alumnae/i interviewer this will not negatively impact their application to Vassar. While interviews are not offered on campus, admission officers are always available after information sessions to advise students and their families on the admission process and to discuss special circumstances and needs.

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and International Credentials

Every effort is made by departments to ensure that the student’s academic schedule has appropriate placement at the time of registration or within the first two weeks of classes. Students who have taken Advanced Placement examinations in which a score of four or five is earned will be permitted to elect an intermediate-level course after consultation with an advisor and if given permission by the department chair.

A maximum of 2 units of exam-based pre-matriculation credit is allowed. The College will grant a unit of credit based on the student earning a 4 or 5 on an AP exam (or one-half unit for Physics “C” examinations). For those students who have participated in the International Baccalaureate program, up to 2 units of credit will be awarded for scores of 5, 6, or 7 on Higher-Level examinations. No credit will be given for work done in IB Standard Level courses.

The college also grants credit for sufficiently high marks on certain foreign advanced programs of study. Common examples include: GCE/Cambridge A-Level exams with a grade of A or B; French Baccalaureate exams with a minimum coefficient of 4 and a minimum score of 11; German Abitur exams with minimum score of 10; CAPE exams with a grade of I or II. Students possessing such credentials should consult with the Office of the Dean of Studies.

College Work Before Admission as a First-Year Student

Vassar may award up to 6 units of transfer credit for comparable work taken at a college or university prior to a student’s admission as a first-year student. Students must list such courses and the colleges at which they were taken on the application for admission and may not apply for transfer credit for these courses until after they matriculate and are active students at Vassar. 

Credit will be granted only for coursework completed on a college or university campus along with other undergraduates, taught by a qualified college teacher, not taken as part of a dual-enrollment program, and neither granted high school credit nor used to meet high school graduation requirements. Students involved in college-level work during high school may wish to supplement their request for credit with the result of an Advanced Placement examination, even if they were not enrolled in an Advanced Placement course. A maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based pre-matriculation credit, and 6.0 units of pre-matriculation credit in total, will be awarded.

Deferring Admission

Admitted first-year students may, with the permission of the Office of Admission, defer matriculation for one year. The student should first confirm his or her intent to enroll at Vassar by submitting the Candidate’s Reply Form and the required enrollment deposit by May 1. A written request for deferral should also be submitted, preferably along with the enrollment deposit but by no later than June 1. If deferred status is approved, a formal letter stating the conditions under which the deferral has been granted will be sent to the student. However, students who may be offered admission to Vassar from the waiting list after May 1 are not eligible to request a deferral of admission.

Admission of Transfer Students

Students from two- and four-year institutions are typically admitted as transfers into the sophomore or junior classes for either the fall or the spring semester. The college may also admit some highly qualified first-year transfer candidates for the spring semester. All transfer students must complete a minimum of 16 Vassar units to be eligible for the Vassar degree. Thus, students with more than four semesters of college-level work are generally not eligible to apply for admission.

To be considered for admission, candidates for transfer are expected to present a strong college record with at least a B average in liberal arts courses comparable to those offered at Vassar. Candidates should be enthusiastically recommended by their current dean and college instructors. Those denied admission to the first-year class who want to reapply should complete a minimum of one year of college with an exemplary record before submitting a transfer application. Vassar may also accept transfer applications for the spring semester of the first year from new candidates with very strong high school records who have performed well during the first semester in college. Credit toward the Vassar degree for courses of comparable quality taken elsewhere is determined after admission by the Office of the Dean of Studies. No transfer credit will be assigned without an official transcript.

Please note that financial aid is available on a limited basis for transfer students. Students who are considering applying for financial aid should consult the Office of Student Financial Services for eligibility requirements, policies, and information about application procedures and deadlines. We regret that we cannot offer financial aid to non-citizen transfer applicants.

Credentials and Application Deadlines

Transfer candidates are required to submit the application forms, the nonrefundable $70 application fee, and all required credentials by March 15 for admission to the fall semester and by November 1 for admission to the spring semester. Required credentials include official college transcripts from all schools attended, an official transcript of the secondary school record, recommendations from the college dean and a college professor, standardized test scores, and a personal statement or essay. The application fee may be waived upon written request from the dean or adviser substantiating reasonable need for the waiver.

All transfer applicants are required to submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT. Consult with the transfer coordinator for more information. In addition, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required for candidates whose primary language is not English.


Candidates for transfer admission to the fall semester are normally notified of our decisions on their applications in early May. Candidates for admission to the spring semester are normally notified of our decisions by mid-December. Transfer candidates for both semesters are expected to respond to offers of admission within two weeks. Admission to Vassar is contingent upon maintaining a strong academic and personal record with the expectation that matriculated students will not engage in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity, or moral character. Students admitted as transfer students are expected to enroll in the semester for which they have been offered admission. Deferrals of admission to later semesters typically are not granted, except under extraordinary circumstances.

Admission to Exchange Programs

Students attending colleges or universities that have established exchange programs with Vassar who wish to study at Vassar for a semester or a full academic year should make arrangements directly with the exchange coordinator on their own campuses and consult the Office of International Programs and the Dean of Studies Office at Vassar. Exchange students are expected to return to their home institution following their time at Vassar. In addition, The TOEFL exam is required for candidates whose primary language is not English.

Visiting Students

A limited number of places are available for full-time visiting students for a single semester or for the full academic year. To be eligible, a student must be currently enrolled in a college or university and have completed at least one year of full-time work. Students interested in visiting student status at Vassar should contact the Dean of Studies Office for further information and an application. Please note that enrollment at Vassar as a visiting student is an option designed to allow an individual to experience a different educational environment and is not viewed as a route to transfer admission. On-campus housing may be available for visiting students each year, depending on enrollment and housing capacity. In addition, The TOEFL exam is required for candidates whose primary language is not English.

Special Students and Part-Time Students

Well-qualified nontraditional students who live within commuting distance of the campus and who wish to study on a part-time basis are encouraged to discuss special-student status and resumption of work with the Advisor to Special Students in the Office of the Dean of Studies. In addition, The TOEFL exam is required for candidates whose primary language is not English.

Student Right-To-Know Act

Under this act, educational institutions are required to disclose to current and prospective students their completion or graduation rate. This rate is defined as the percentage of students who complete their degree program within 150 percent of the normal completion time for that degree. For Vassar College, this means the percentage of entering students who complete their degree within six years. The most recent Vassar class graduation rate is 90 percent. Additional graduation and retention rate information is available from the Office of the Registrar.