What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

2 Vassar College Essay Examples by Accepted Students


Vassar College is a pretty selective school, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to Vassar College. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 


Read our Vassar College essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.


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Example 1


Prompt: Why are you applying to Vassar? (300 words).


I grew up in the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, learning to find aisles with my eyes closed and befriending librarians. Growing up with the scent of old books and comforting silence made it easy to forget about the world outside, but even as a child, my thirst for answers pushed me into the unknown. At the age of four, I often asked my mother to reread a book about punctuation that I couldn’t understand in an attempt to puzzle out its meaning. As I moved on from Magic Tree House to Harry Potter, my inquisitive nature and determination to understand the literature around me only continued to grow. Obstacles sparked my ambition as I tackled the intimidating Les Misérables sophomore year, Crime and Punishment junior year, and Jane Eyre senior year. I could spend days in the Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library poring over Macbeth or diving deeper into the wounds of American misconceptions of Asian culture through literature such as The Good Earth with Professor Hua Hsu, but I’ve learned that life beyond the library also teems with complex characters and lessons of its own–especially at Vassar. After hearing Tyrone Simpson speak at Vassar’s Summer Institute for the Liberal Arts, I realized the rooted dedication Vassar has to grapple with difficult questions. I would be able to challenge my boundaries as a reader, writer, and human being by initiating eye-opening conversations on a diverse campus through the Asian Students Alliance, follow the footsteps of Elizabeth Bishop and Edna St. Vincent Millay by curating pieces for Vassar Review or Toni Morrison in courses like New York Stories, and host an Open Mic Night with the help of friends. I might miss the library that raised who I am today, but I know I have daunting, thrilling questions awaiting me at Vassar.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay does a really nice job of showing the student’s interest in reading and literature. The language they used to describe their library as “comforting”, and being “raised” by the library creates a clear picture for the reader that this student loves to read. Not only do we learn about this student’s passion, but we learn through them showing us. The essay shows us how the student felt in the library and takes us on a journey as they tackle more and more advanced books, as opposed to telling us they are passionate about reading.


The use of book titles was another positive aspect of this essay. Citing actual books and explaining how they affected the student helps display to the admissions officers reading the essay that literature has impacted this student in a multitude of ways. We see the student grow from being young and curious to tackling challenging concepts, embracing new cultures, and engaging in self-reflection all through reading. 


Another positive of this essay is how it takes time to establish who this student is before directly answering why they want to study at Vassar. We learn about this student’s lifelong passion for the library and reading before we hear how they plan to continue pursuing their passion at Vassar. Even before they mention specific resources they want to take advantage of on campus, the admissions officers reading the essay get a good idea about where this student will fit into the campus community and what unique perspectives they will bring. Never forget that essays are where the admissions officers learn about who you are as a person, so even when answering prompts related to the school, you should always include personal reflection as this student did.


What Could Be Improved


The main part of this essay that could use improving was in the last few sentences that discussed how Vassar will allow this student to continue exploring their passion. Although the student did provide some explanation as to how these resources at Vassar will help them grow their interest in reading and writing, the elaboration was pretty weak. Considering the prompt asks why this student wants to attend Vassar, this section of the essay should be improved.


The student mentions they want to grow as “reader, writer, and human being” by engaging in diverse conversations, writing for a literary magazine, and hosting open mic nights. These are all great, but nothing mentioned here is specific to Vassar. This student could participate in any of these activities at any college they go to, so they either need to pick something more unique or provide detailed elaboration on how participating in these activities, specifically at Vassar, will help them in the long run.


Example 2


Prompt: Why are you applying to Vassar? (300 words).


Never. Become. A. Lawyer.


My brother, a corporate lawyer and workaholic, drilled these words into my mind. So naturally, I gravitated towards the field even more. However, what I also came to realize was that he meant that I should never become a lawyer like him–one who solely hoped to accumulate a vast fortune, betraying his morality to litigate for massive corporate entities. By contrast, I plan to pursue a career as an environmental lawyer, prioritizing progress and positive change.


In this respect, Vassar resonates with my motivations and presents ideal opportunities to develop my interests. Courses like “Infamy on Trial: Famous Trials in Early Modern Europe” and “Europe 1945-Rethinking History” would provide a means to develop my innate interest in European history and an understanding of law. My passion for advanced discourse and political activism which I developed in high school through Speech and Debate and several social justice organizations would flourish outside of the classroom through the Grassroots Alliance for Alternative Politics and the Vassar Debate Society. Meanwhile, Students for Equitable Environmental Decisions would allow me to further my commitment to environmentalism.


Ultimately though, the beauty of Vassar lies in how it enables one to pursue diverse interests and activities while being surrounded by independently motivated students with similar ideals. Thus, the Outing Club and Vassar ski team both encompass pastimes I have enjoyed throughout my life and plan to pursue into the future. Moreover, through the Vassar Wesleyan Program in Madrid, I could immerse myself further in a culture I have grown to feel a strong connection to through my study of Spanish.


Vassar would enable me to develop my interest in a vast number of topics, activities, and ideas, therefore representing a critical first step toward seeking a fulfilling life.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay does a good job of establishing the student’s interest in a topic and sharing how Vassar will help them pursue that topic in the short and long run. We learn that this student’s passion for political activism and environmental justice began in high school in the Speech and Debate club and that they were influenced by their brother’s experience in law. The first two paragraphs provide detailed context to understand why this student has chosen to pursue this field in college and beyond, as well as what motivates them.


After establishing the student’s interest, the essay does a good job of explaining why this student wants to pursue these goals at Vassar because they cite specific resources and explain how they will directly benefit from them. Mentioning both specific classes and clubs that are unique to Vassar is already a positive, but the student doesn’t just name-drop them for the sake of it. They provide the elaboration necessary for a successful “Why This College” essay by explaining how each resource mentioned aligns with the student’s interests and goals.


Another positive aspect of this essay is that it mentioned both academic and extracurricular opportunities at Vassar that excite this student. Admissions officers aren’t just looking to admit perfect students—they want well-rounded individuals who will contribute to their broader campus community. By mentioning social activities this student wants to take part in like the Outing Club and ski team, the essay shows that this student has a variety of interests and will be an active member of the community. 


What Could Be Improved


One area of the essay that could have used more elaboration was when the student discussed the study abroad program in Madrid. Although including this detail shows the student has done research on Vassar and is interested in studying other languages and cultures, it felt out of place in the paragraph discussing their extracurricular interests. This detail could have been removed to free up words for the student to go into further elaboration on their other academic interests. If the student felt strongly about keeping the study abroad program, they should have moved it to the paragraph focused on their academic pursuits and found a way to connect their academic goals to studying in Madrid. As is, this detail feels out of place and underdeveloped.


More Free Essay Resources


How to Write Vassar College Essays: See our in-depth guide of each supplemental essay prompt for Vassar College. 


All of Our Essay Guides: Don’t miss our essay guides for all of the top schools.


How to Write the Common App Essays: Learn how to write a strong Common App essay for each of the prompts, with examples.


Free CollegeVine Peer Essay Review: Submit your essay and get feedback from another student. Editing other students’ essays will also help you improve your own writing skills!



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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.