How to Get Into Vassar: Admissions Stats + Tips
Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?
See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.
- How Hard Is It to Get Into Vassar?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Vassar Students
- What is Vassar Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Vassar
Meryl Streep, Anthony Bourdain, Jane Fonda, Mark Ronson, Grace Hopper, Mary Oliver, and Katharine Graham all graduated from Vassar College. Founded in 1861, the prestigious institution was only the second college of higher learning for women in the US, before becoming coeducational in 1969.
Today, this member of the Seven Sisters is one of the most highly regarded and selective liberal arts colleges in the country, with thousands applying every year.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Vassar?
Vassar is highly selective. In 2020–2021, 8,663 students applied, and just 2,126 were admitted, for an admissions rate of 24.5%. Meanwhile, 660 students applied Early Decision, and 308 were accepted — an admissions rate of 46.7%.
This may sound discouraging, but keep in mind that your personal chances of admission depend on your profile. To better understand your odds, try our free admissions calculator. It will allow you to estimate your chances of admission to Vassar and give you tips for improving your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Vassar Students
With 64% of the freshman class submitting scores, the middle 50% SAT score range was 1380-1490. Forty percent submitted ACT scores, with a middle 50% range of 32-34.
Of those submitting class rank, 73% were in the top 10% of their high school class, and 95% were in the top 25%.
What is Vassar Looking for?
“Each year, Vassar aims to enroll the most interesting, talented, and diverse first-year class possible,” says Vassar. “We admit students based on their academic and personal accomplishments, as well as their potential to contribute to the Vassar community, not on their ability to pay.”
These qualities are evidenced by students taking a challenging curriculum, including advanced courses in core academic subjects: English, Math, Foreign Language, Natural Science, and History/Social Science. Vassar also looks for leadership and the strength of your extracurricular profile.
Vassar is an incredibly diverse college, with students from all states and 55 countries. It welcomes students of many different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, gender identities, and much more. These qualities should be exemplified in your application.
How Vassar Evaluates Applications
According to the 2020–21 Common Data Set, these are “very important” factors in the admissions process:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Academic GPA
These are “important”:
- Class rank
- Standardized test scores
- Application Essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Character/personal qualities
These are “considered”:
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
- Level of applicant’s interest
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Vassar
1. Achieve a high GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
Vassar seeks out students who take the most challenging curriculum available to them. According to the college, applicants typically have an unweighted A- average (around a 3.6) and are in the top 10-20% of their class. Note, too, that Vassar “seriously considers” the quality of your senior year program.
This is a major factor in calculating your Academic Index score, which is used to filter out candidates who don’t meet Vassar’s academic standards.
If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Aim for a 1490 SAT and 34 ACT.
Vassar is currently test-optional in light of COVID-19, but we recommend taking the SAT or ACT if you can safely do so. Moreover, you should submit scores if they are at or above the 25th percentile for the college (1380 SAT and 32 ACT), since students who do submit scores are admitted at higher rates than those who don’t. Students can get recommendations on whether or not they should apply test-optional using our free Chancing Engine.
Because Vassar superscores, it’s a good idea to take the SAT or ACT 2-3 times to maximize your overall score.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Cultivate a strong portfolio of extracurriculars.
Selective colleges like Vassar evaluate activities according to the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars. Tier 1 is considered the most prestigious and unique, and Tier 4 is considered the most common — activities adcoms see routinely. You should aim to have at least a couple Tier 1-2 activities on your resume, and all your extracurriculars should be grouped around 1-2 interests, demonstrating real passion.
If you plan to continue activities related to art, music, or dance at Vassar, the college recommends submitting materials that showcase your talent. Check out these Guidelines for Optional Art, Music, and Dance Submissions.
4. Write engaging essays.
Your essays are a critical way of distinguishing yourself and setting yourself apart from other academically qualified applicants. Take care writing these essays, and get feedback from others to ensure that they reflect your best work, personality, and authentic voice.
5. Apply Early Decision.
Vassar’s Early Decision acceptance rate is 46.7%. Meanwhile, its Regular Decision acceptance rate is less than a quarter. According to Vassar, this “allows the Admission Committee to take your commitment to Vassar into account in the selection process.”
Before you commit, however, you should be aware of the drawbacks and limitations of applying ED. For example, this plan is binding, meaning that you are required to matriculate at Vassar and withdraw your applications from other schools if admitted.
6. Secure strong recommendations.
Vassar weighs recommendations heavily in the admissions process. The college requires two, including one from a guidance counselor and another from a teacher in a core academic subject. You should develop strong relationships with teachers and your guidance counselor to ensure that they can speak knowledgeably to your strengths and qualities.
How to Apply to Vassar
Regular Decision/Early Decision II
- Common Application or Coalition Application
- Two recommendations: one from your guidance counselor/advisor and one from a teacher in a core academic subject
- Mid-year grade report
- Standardized test scores (currently optional)
Learn more about Vassar