How to Write the Vassar College Essays 2020-2021

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Vassar College was originally founded as an all-women’s college, but has been open to all genders since 1969. The college is located in Poughkeepsie (pronounced Puh-kip-see), New York, just two hours north of Manhattan. As a liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,500, Vassar offers an intimate and engaging learning environment.

 

For the Class of 2024, Vassar’s acceptance rate was 23.5%. Of all enrolled students, the average ACT score was 33, and the average SAT score was 1459.

 

However, we at CollegeVine are here to take one less stressor off your mind: the essays. Vassar has one required essay and two optional essays/submissions. Keep reading to learn how to tackle Vassar’s supplemental essays! Want to know your chances at Vassar? Calculate your chances for free right now.

 

How to Write the Vassar College Essays

Why are you applying to Vassar? (300 words)

This is a standard “Why This College?” prompt. The key to this type of essay is to avoid generic statements such as “the campus is beautiful,” or the “students have a tight knit community,” as those could apply to literally hundreds of schools around the country. Admission officers want to see that you are genuinely a strong fit for the school

 

Accordingly, in your essay, you want to refer to factors that are specific and unique to the school. We at CollegeVine have provided a brief list of unique characteristics of Vassar, but strongly suggest you personally research the school to come up with more personal and tailored reasons for wanting to attend it.

 

  • Vassar has a multidisciplinary major in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program that allows students to examine science and technology in a social, cultural, and historical context.

 

 

  • Vassar has a synchronized skating team and quidditch club.

 

  • There is a farm/ecological reserve located on campus with wooded trails, open meadows, and sports fields for bucolic exploration.

 

  • For language fanatics, Vassar offers the Self-Instructional Language Program, which allows students to become proficient in languages such as Irish/Gaelic and Swahili.

 

Whatever you decide to reference, be sure to connect it to your goals and who you are. Otherwise, your essay will just read like a laundry list of things about Vassar, which anyone can write. Remember that your goal is to outline how you and Vassar are a good fit, not to praise Vassar.

 

For example, maybe you’re a science and tech enthusiast, having participated in your school’s robotics club, but you also read sociology and history books for fun; that would be a compelling reason to major in Science, Technology, and Society at Vassar. 

 

Finally, be sure to mention 1-2 academic aspects of Vassar and 1-2 extracurrricular ones. Admissions committees want to not only make sure you’ll thrive inside the classroom, but also within the larger school community.

 

Optional: If you wish to provide details of circumstances not reflected in the application, please upload a file here. Similarly, if you wish to upload your resume, include it here. (no word count given)

While we recommend that you complete most “optional” essays to demonstrate your interest, you don’t have to do this one if you don’t have anything to say. This prompt is usually for students who faced unusual circumstances that negatively impacted their academic or extracurricular profile, such as a family death, an illness, or family responsibilities.

 

This is also a fitting place to mention anything central to your identity that wasn’t reflected in other parts of your application. For instance, maybe you’re really passionate about learning Esperanto, the “international language,” and you’re part of a strong online community of Esperanto speakers. This could be something you include in this section.

 

You have the Additional Information space in the Common App for these situations, but Vassar provides more space to elaborate upon these aspects of your high school career. Just be sure not to repeat anything already in your application. If it’s already in your Additional Information section, no need to say it again.

 

If you wish to upload your resume, you can, but only do so if you want to provide more info. No need to rehash your Activities section. Uploading a resume could be a good idea for students with ample work experience, however.

 

Optional: Your Space is your opportunity to allow the Committee on Admission to learn something about you that you have not addressed in another section of the application. Your Space is entirely optional. If you choose to include a Your Space submission, be sure it is labeled with your name, high school, and date of birth. Due to the volume of submissions, we will be unable to return your work. Please do not send anything that is irreplaceable.

 

More information: 

“Your Space” is an optional section of our application…so don’t stress over it! This is a chance for you to show the admission committee something else about yourself. There is no “right” answer on what you should submit. For example, in the past, applicants have sent poetry, cartoons, art projects, photography, collages, short stories, videos, short films, and CDs. It is your space, so if you choose to complete it, send something that is a reflection of you!

This submission is optional, but we highly recommend that you complete it, especially if you have a creative hobby. This is a place to share any meaningful aspects of your identity that you weren’t able to share in the rest of your application. It is also a chance for you to showcase anything you did mention first-hand. 

 

For example, maybe you discussed in an essay how writing poems helped you get through your mom’s passing, and you could share some of those poems here. Or, maybe you listed winning a short film award on your application, and you can share the film here. Perhaps you have a comic book collection that you didn’t get a chance to mention, so a photo and description of it might be fitting for this section. 

 

Whatever you choose, be sure that it’s meaningful to you and reveals more about you as a person. If you submit something more creative, such as a short story or photography samples, be sure that it’s high-quality. Sending in something that’s mediocre, or not very good, may hurt your application. 

 

This is similar advice we give to students considering submitting an arts supplement; there will be many students who share extraordinarily-developed skills, so samples at a lower level of expertise will only pale in comparison. We recommend getting a second opinion from a trusted mentor, just to be sure!

 

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