Vassar vs Wesleyan (Need to make a decision soon, please help!)

Try to arrange to spend a three or four day weekend at each of them, by reaching out to any organization or person you might know at each campus, to ask to stay with them. Go to some classes. Go to some rehearsals. Eat in the dining halls. Stay in the person’s dorm.

BTW, if you’re premed, a lot of people wind up not being able to get everything set for applications by the end of junior year, and so take a gap year or two. Sounds as if that Wesleyan MA program might be the perfect gap year while you are applying.

I am not sure about the point you were trying to make regarding admission statistics and how they would impact the student’s experience. In the most recent Common Data Set for Vassar, 40% of the class admitted was male, with a 25.8% acceptance rate for males compared to 15.8% for females. For Wesleyan, 48% of the admitted class was male, with an 18.5% acceptance rate for males, compared to 11.8% for females. (Yield is ~ same for males and females for both schools.) Wesleyan is closer to gender-balanced, which makes sense given Vassar’s history.

I was able to visit both, I didn’t like the wesleyan campus as much as vassar’s. Thank you so much for the info, that was really helpful to read!!

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That’s great you were able to visit both schools and form an opinion about their campuses. Vassar’s is definitely the more typically bucolic, though a bit cut off from the surrounding town. How did you feel about the people, energy, and “vibe” of the two schools? Much more than architecture and landscaping, those are the elements that will define your college experience!


I felt a little intimidated by the socratic seminar style classrooms, but then I thought about how it will force me to speak up more which I think is a pro. I also didn’t explore Poughkeepsie much, but now that I’ve read more about the town I realize it’s not all that bad. I also found out I can minor in music performance at Vassar (not Wesleyan) which is perfect because I love to sing (opera, musicals, pop, literally anything) and I’m a big chorus person. There are also a lot of opportunities to do theater without majoring it in which is great. I loved the free broadway shows every semester that they offer as well. I also love with the Vassar Devils (a Cappella group). Basically, I’m leaning towards Vassar for ED. Thank you for your question; it helped me think and put things into perspective for myself!


Hey! I’m a junior at Vassar right now. Can’t go wrong with the choice between Vass and Wes! Great schools! Not tryna indoctrinate you to come to Vassar or anything, just want to give more info, context, and ideas if you’re trying to be super thorough. If you’re just going with your gut though, I also support! I don’t know a ton about Wesleyan but can speak to Vassar –

I saw someone else linked what I said about Poughkeepsie. There’s quite a bit of stuff going on, but it also depends on what you’re into and what you’re looking for in the college town. For example, this past weekend there was a State Parks event run/walk thing at the Walkway Over the Hudson, there was the Arlington Street fair right by campus (food, live music, lots of tables and people), there was live music at the waterfront on the Hudson (local jazz improv and R&B), there was a small carnival set up by the mall, and there was a celebration of the start of Hispanic Heritage month. Plenty of stuff to do if you wanted to get off campus… though it dies down in the colder months, which is when most of us are around.

Totally legit to be concerned about the lawsuit! What someone else mentioned is true, that this is unfortunately part of a widespread trend in pay disparities, but that’s not at all an excuse for the Vassar administration’s mismanagement of something they’ve known was an issue for years. I’d encourage you to read our student newspaper article about it! It’s also quite concerning and disappointing that our administration is choosing to back the Board of Trustees over the professors.

Tons and tons of theater and a capella here though, and it’s easier to get involved in all that than one might think. Can’t say how it compares to Wes since I don’t know about Wes like that, but music and drama are totally part of the culture here. Funny to think about how important the random tour guide you get is… I have one tour guide friend who’s in a theater troupe and knows all about the a capella, and another who does comp sci and volunteering work…

Powerhouse is also a great opportunity! Even if you’re not working for them, you can go to the shows for free if you’re here over the summer and meet cool people. The first draft of Hamilton was performed here at the Powerhouse! Worth checking out if you’d be into that.

I don’t think you should choose a school based on what minors you can get. It can be comforting to feel like you have a plan, but part of the goal of the open curriculum is to take what you want, and see where your interests lead you! If that ends up being a minor, awesome, if it ends up being a collection of 5 classes, great! Another aspect of the open curriculum is the idea that you should and will change during your time here, and you should embrace that! Ie, I don’t think you should choose Vassar because you can get a piece of paper saying you’re a music minor. More valuable to check out the public course catalogs and see if the classes offered by each are the types of music classes you’d want to be in.

Other stuff you could do if you’re not able to visit – look for choir performance recordings! If you can’t find any, email the choir directors and ask, most of them have old live stream recordings.

I have some neuro friends here… you could also email a professor in the neuroscience department with questions. Most departments also have students who are their academic interns, usually seniors. You could also asj the department chair if you could email the Neuroscience academic student intern – they could tell you more about their experiences with the major and culture.

I don’t find most Vassar kids to be cliquey. Some of the sports teams can feel kind of cliquey to outsiders, but they just kinda do their thing. I imagine that’s the same everywhere. Wes supporting a football team (100 dudes) and ice hockey team (30 dudes) is pretty wild to me; I imagine that creates a different culture (whether that’s better or worse is subjective). Sports are not important here at Vassar though. I’ve noticed that there are sports fields in the middle of Wes’s campus, and I’m curious how that affects vibes (Vassar’s are all wayyy off to the side). Curious from Wesleyan people what kind of a difference this makes?

MA program looks really cool at Wes though! I’m definitely not trying to write off Wesleyan, just share what I know about Vassar! :slight_smile:


I wouldn’t get too carried away. There is no jitney service to Poughkeepsie nor is there any demand for one. You should remove Poughkeepsie from the equation.

I don’t understand this statement? Vassar is right in Poughkeepsie. There is bus service and college van service. Sure most students stick to campus and the Arlington neighborhood but location for any college should be at least a small part of the equation.

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I don’t consider Vassar to be “right in Poughkeepsie” nor have Vassar students traditionally made that claim. The fact that you actually refer to a bus system and van service belies that. My point is that the OP shouldn’t get their hopes up simply because of something they may have read on a website. Poughkeepsie, as a central business district, is not a destination unless you count the train station.

I’ve toured each twice with my kids. Neither attended either. One ED’ed elsewhere and the other was accepted to both and picked neither but Wes made the short list and Vassar didn’t. Both seem great.

Since you specifically mentioned theater but not wanting to major, one thing that stood out for me at Wed – perhaps they have similar at Vassar – is how robust the student-run theater companies were. They literally have their own beautiful building right in the heart of the campus that is full time dedicated to student productions, independent of the campus-run shows. They produced dozens a year. It seemed extremely robust. Again, perhaps Vassar has something comparable – I know a lot of colleges have student run theater companies but what seemed unique here was having their own permanent facility so they didn’t have to compete for limited campus resources.

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Wesleyan has a main quad that is capacious enough to include commencement ceremonies, rock concerts and varsity sports games to be played right in the center of campus. It means there is almost always something going on outdoors; strollers are welcome to pause and watch or ignore the activities according to their wish. I suppose it’s one of the reasons the OP came away with the impression that Wesleyan was a school for extroverts. Frankly, I don’t understand why all colleges aren’t set up the same way!


They don’t use it the same way, but Vassar also has a huge and beautiful quad.


Not that it matters, but this is a typical view of graduation at Vassar in front of sunset lake and looking out at the graduating class from the lake view


The only thing that should guide you one way or the other between the two is where you’ll see yourself happier. You have to make an educated guess. There are kids who clearly like one over the other, and a bunch more who love them both.

They are huge overlaps, as others have pointed out. Don’t worry about the wage controversy. That kind of thing happens (and at Wesleyan for sure) and then it’s over and that’s it. I would not factor that in myself.

In terms of how you’ll ultimately fit, I would predict with 100% certainty that if you fit in at one you’d find a fit at the other. Very similar schools. A few things going a little more for each here and there, but nothing big. If you like Vassar, go there and don’t look back.


@aryia2006 It would be great if you came back to CC and let us know what you decided and why. It may be useful to future applicants.

As you can tell by the comments here, you are considering two great LACs.


Now that is big!

Or the use of frivolous and self indulgent words by Wesleyan alumni versus us simple plain spoken Vassar folk😀

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I like reading them big words.


In all sincerity, I’d think capacious would represent a ninth grade or so word for you, @prezbucky.

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Your recognition fills me with modest gratitude, partner.

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