What are my odds for Vassar/Grinnell?

Hi! I’m a rising senior in high school and throughout my college research process I have found Vassar and Grinnell to be high on my list. However, both schools are competitive in terms of applications, so I was wondering if anyone has any insight into my chances at getting accepted. Thanks in advance!

Weighted GPA: 4.41
Unweighted GPA: 3.78
Both of these are on an upward curve, with straight As junior year but worse grades freshman year, with some improvement sophomore year

ACT: 34

APs: Human Geo (5), Computer Science Principles (5), Literature (4), World History (5), US History (probably 5), Lang (hopefully 5), BC Calc (who knows? maybe a 5? probably a 4), Physics A (probably 5),
APs senior year: AP Euro, AP Stats, AP French, AP Physics C, and potentially AP CS A

ECs: 9ish years piano, 8 years karate (black belt, 2 time national competitor), 2 years volunteer karate instructor, Scholastic Bowl starter (2 years) + captain (1 year), planned peer tutor senior year, planned marathon senior year (hopefully going to get both done in the early fall), NHS

Not entirely sure all of those are valid extracurriculars, but the more the merrier!

Other: I am a guy, which I’ve heard could help in Vassar admissions. Not super sure.

Thanks so much in advance! If you need any more information just ask!

For both, your GPA is on the lower side, and your ACT is on the higher side. On the other hand, you have a clear upward trend in your GPA, which means that your GPA may not be as much of an issue as would a steady 3.78 or a downwards trend - you are getting As on the most challenging classes, especially the college level ones.

You have two long-term, intensive ECs, and both piano and karate are excellent ECs (perseverance, dedication, and focus), which is also great.

Still, both colleges have acceptance rates below 25%, so they will be reaches, but not out of reach. So you should definitely apply, and definitely demonstrate interest.

Having your GC speak about you strong upwards trend in your GPA may also help.

Good luck!

While both schools are competitive, Vassar will probably be harder to get into. You should apply to both, but your ECs and GPA are a bit on the weaker side, and Vassar is a very academics oriented school, so admissions committees are really looking for students that can prove their mettle in a college class. You are a good student and will probably get into a great school, but if you are set on Vassar, it’s best to apply early and maximize your ability to get in by indicating to the school that you think you will be a good fit.

I’m Vassar 2024! So here’s my stats:

White, female, from MA

GPA: 3.96 UW 4.32 W
SAT: 1540
APs/honors: every single course I took was honors level. In addition, I took accelerated courses in math and Latin. The maximum number of APs one was allowed to take at my school was 8, and I took 7 (AP World, AP Language and Composition, APUSH, AP French, AP Bio, AP Lit, and AP US Gov)

ECs and Awards:
-School newspaper, Head Editor of the opinions section (3 years)
-Dramaturgy for my school theater (3 years)
-Volunteered in the school library (3 years)
-Volunteered at a thrift store/nonprofit in my neighborhood (2 years)
-Varsity ice hockey (2 years)
-NHS (2 years)
-Peer mentor (2 years)
-Cello lessons (4 years)
-Editorial board of the school’s literary magazine (4 years)
-Recipient of a fellowship which gave me the chance to do an internship at a nonprofit the summer before my senior year (also an award)
-Recipient of a social justice fellowship in my junior year
-Recipient of a creative writing fellowship in my sophomore year
-Attended a journalism institute in my junior year
-Award for excellence in modern foreign language (French)
-Award for academic accomplishment and leadership in my school
-Award for highest average in a Classics course
-National Merit Scholar Finalist

I applied RD as an International Studies major. I would say that everyone I have talked to going to Vassar has a strong GPA and extracurriculars, but so too did most applicants. What differentiated most people was their Vassar YourSpace (basically a section where you can submit whatever supplement you want) and their essay. Any chance to really sell themselves and their passions! I had a solid, fairly unique essay, although I don’t consider it anything mind-blowing, but an interesting YourSpace.

By recent, settled data, Vassar admitted 30% of male applicants and 21% of female applicants. For comparison, Grinnell admitted 22% of male applicants and 24% of female applicants.

https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Vassar&s=all&id=197133#admsns

https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Grinnell&s=all&id=153384#admsns

@merc81 points out an important distinction between the two: at vassar—if you’re male—you’re 8% more likely to get in there than at grinnell. as per vassar’s most recent common data set, the college has 2.1x as many women applying than men. its seven sisters reputation precedes it.

college admissions, in my opinion, is a game of strategy, and looking at a college’s common data set(s) is the best way to narrow down where you would have the best shot at securing an acceptance depending on different variables.

for example, vassar does not consider the state residency of or the amount of interest displayed by an applicant, whereas grinnell considers both. furthermore, your class rank and recommendation letters will be seen as “very important” by grinnell, whereas they’ll be seen as just “important” by vassar. your ACT score places you at the 75th percentile at both colleges. neither go into detail about average GPA.

fwiw, i’ve had two of the best years of my life at grinnell—two years full of growth, maturity, and so much love—however, there is a chance i may be transferring, mostly for academic reasons that i believe would benefit me in the long run. i love the school very much, but every institution has its own set of pros and cons. if you’d like to talk about life (academic and social) at grinnell, feel free to send me a PM. doing so is literally one of my jobs on campus, so i’m more than happy to help.

resources:

vassar’s most recent common data set (2019-20): https://institutionalresearch.vassar.edu/docs/Vassar%20College%20CDS_2019-2020.pdf

grinnell’s most recent common data set (2019-20): http://web.grinnell.edu/institutionalresearch/webdocs/GC_CDS_1920.pdf