Vassar vs. Smith

Hi everyone! I’m currently deciding between Smith and Vassar, and any input would be helpful at this point. I was given a Zollman scholarship + STRIDE at Smith (don’t qualify for financial aid), but I’m instinctively leaning towards Vassar at the moment. A little bit about me:

• I’m considering majoring in biology and/or anthropology
• I’m interested in joining some kind of music ensemble and doing community service, but I’m not very athletic
• I’m quite liberal/leftist and definitely want some degree of activism in the student culture but not at the expense of expression. That is, I would hope there is culture of open discussion and respect even if someone’s values do not necessarily align with your own
• Looking for a close-knit, supportive, collaborative community and an academic environment that is rigorous and intellectual but not so stressful that there’s no time for other pursuits (extracurriculars, etc.)
• I’m also most likely going to grad school, so does one have a better reputation/advising?
• Also Smith has almost twice the endowment of Vassar- is that important in any way?
• Not sure about all women vs co-ed

I don’t have the opportunity to visit, so any information at all about general student culture, social life, campus vibe, etc. would be very helpful! :slight_smile:

Vassar: English major/artsy veneer, recently offset by their investment in an impressive new science building. Beautiful chapel and library. The gender imbalance, though real, does not differ significantly from the national average. An easy train ride to New York City. The Hudson Valley, as well, offers its own attractions. Irrespective of its surface vibe, Vassar is a mainstream college at its core, enhanced by a broad curriculum, excellent resources and accomplished students.

You have two great options and will find the academic challenges and liberal environment you seek at either.

  • Smith is in Northhampton which is a cool artsy town, with nearby colleges UMass Amherst, Hampshire College and Amherst College so there is plenty of social scene in the area.
  • For residential life, Smith's houses are much smaller (up to 100 housemates) than Vassar's houses (170-350 housemates); neither have large dorms

These are both excellent schools so there’s not a bad choice. Good luck!