What Makes Vassar Exciting?

Also dropped off yesterday and it was smooth and easy! Everyone super nice and friendly. Seems like they have a lot going on this week for the students but also a fair amount of down time built in which my introvert has appreciated. Jury is still out of course but fingers crossed.

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Students take 4 courses, max/semester; sometimes 4.5 credits if there is a lab or something similar. Last year at prep school my daughter took 7, including 5 APs. I never want her to experience that level of unnecessary stress again. The cap at 4 classes is manageable and gives the students time to do their work well and to think. They have a week break in October, they have work to do, but classes are on break to allow them to downshift for a bit—good for promoting wellness. They have fellow groups, 8-13 students led by a student…kind of like a home room. Helps everyone belong somewhere until they begin to belong elsewhere. Also the dorms (houses) have a kind of Olympics during orientation where they compete for “best house”—Res Ed did a great job generating house spirit and the students had a lot of fun. Orientation has so many of the regular intro experiences and the students enjoyed it. They encourage students to live in the same dorms all 4 years if a student chooses—they do a lot to make it home away from home very quickly. There’s more…any other Vassar parents?


Which is a waste of time because Davison House has been the “best house” since 1982😀.

If I recall there used to be a midnight serenade contest and a primal scream contest but I may be confusing timing. We also used to have a huge Motown party either on the quad or at Jocelyn house Saturday before classes start.

Tons of great traditions.


Davin won this year! The serenading is another wonderful event.

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I love this thread and appreciate hearing all these perspectives. My D24 toured Vassar this summer and she loved it. These comments have me hoping it will end up at the top of her list.


Me too! S24 is obsessed with Williams and we are looking for similar schools and now I am planning a trip to Vassar. This thread makes me think he may find it just as wonderful! Thank you to everyone who commented on this thread!

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Thanks! My son has Vassar on his RD list and we are about to visit. It may be a bit too close to home and too small to be his ideal but has a lot of great features. Seems similar to Wesleyan which he really liked and Northwestern which is his ED school. Do you agree?

My D is at Williams, but she was close to enrolling at Vassar. I thought it was the best fit for her, but she wanted to go somewhere farther from home, which is NYC. She was also keen on Kenyon, Oberlin, and Grinnell, but realized that she’d rather not have to fly to get to school.

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Sounds like a lot of the same things we are thinking about, excited to look at Vassar.

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Similar to Wesleyan for sure- often linked together by folks - but totally different campus feel for both of my children. Vassar felt more like a community to them, more of a classic college campus and look, and “happier” students -TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE. Point being - yes, similar characteristics, but worth a visit.


The Wesleyan campus is centered around one of the oldest - perhaps the oldest - playing field in America. Nestled at the bottom of a natural stadium formed by two hillocks, everything from tailgate parties, baseball games, rock concerts and Commencements are played out under the watchful eye of the main library and a white-domed observatory. Not everyone’s idea of a classically designed French garden, to be sure, but it keeps things lively.

My D had the exact same reaction–loved Vassar, disliked Wesleyan. Going into the process I thought that she would love both and possibly apply ED to Wes. I still haven’t figured out why she was so turned off by Wes. She has several close HS friends who ended up at Wes and are very happy. She did apply to both schools RD and got into Vassar and was denied by Wes (a little surprising given her stats and how well her HS does with Wes). Holistic admission is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.


I’ve mentioned before that my D did not care for Wes (self-toured twice& did a couple of virtual things but never did a formal tour so that might have made a difference) and loved Vassar (her first choice). I expected Wes to make her list before we started visiting schools, but she wouldn’t even consider it. I agree that there should be more overlap between the two schools, but many kids seem to really prefer one or the other.

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I think something exciting about Vassar that is not mentioned enough, in addition to their amazing faculty and gorgeous campus, is their dining hall and meal plan.

Not only is it large and airy but students have an unlimited number of meal swipes a day at the main dining hall (Gordon Commons aka The Deece) which is also open from 7 AM to 11 PM Monday thru Wednesday and until 11:59 PM Wednesday thru Saturday.

My DD22 is at another LAC which is known for its amazing food but the very limited (maybe 2) vegetarian options cannot touch Vassar’s selection and quality. My DS19, who is at Vassar, can always find a great tasting vegetarian option and he loves being able to go practically anytime of day as many times a day as he likes.

There are also approx. 10 different stations at the Deece to visit at dinner. Here is an example menu for tonight’s dinner. I deleted the menu icons showing what is vegetarian, vegan, halal, kosher, etc. The dining hall also has a huge salad bar and a make your own section for sandwiches and stir-fries.

Link to website: https://vassar.cafebonappetit.com


5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

  • Gordon Commons is an all-you-care-to-eat dine in only café

STOCKS Station

Cream of Potato Soup with Parmesan
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Murray’s Chicken

ROOT Station

Glazed Carrots
Chickpea Marsala
chickpeas and onions in an umami mushroom marsala sauce

HOME Station

Roasted Broccoli
Yellow Rice and Black Beans
Shredded Chicken Tacos
shredded chicken braised in a chipotle, lime, garlic broth seasoned with cumin Murray’s Chicken SIDES: flour tortillas , cilantro cabbage slaw

KOSHER Station

Vegan Butternut Squash Bisque
Pasta Salad
Cous Cous Pilaf
Tomato Braised Chicken

OASIS Station

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Carrots
olive oil, salt, and pepper


Cheese Pizza
Hudson Valley Harvest

Pepperoni Pizza
Hudson Valley Harvest

Fried Eggplant Parmesan and Ricotta Pizza
fried eggplant slices, dollops of ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, basil chiffonade Hudson Valley Harvest

Bacon Pickle Pizza
shredded mozzarella cheese, crispy applewood smoked bacon, pickle chips, drizzled with ranch, parmesan cheese and fresh dill


Black Bean Burger
Grilled Chicken Breast
All Beef Hot Dog
All Beef Cheeseburger
Happy Valley Meat Company
Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Onions
Seasoned French Fries
All Beef Hamburger
Happy Valley Meat Company
Beyond Burger


Hispanic Heritage Month Concept Inspired by Dishes from Mexico and Puerto Rico

tender slow roasted pork with a garlic, oregano and adobo marinade

Beef Barbacoa
slow roasted tender shredded beef flavored with garlic, lime and chiles

Arroz Con Gandules
rice stir fried with sofrito, peas and seasonings

Street Corn
corn kernels sautéed with cotija cheese topped with cilantro lime mayo and chili powder

Chickpea Pozole
sautéed chickpeas in a rich ancho chile broth


Nilda’s Vegan Short Bread
House Baked Assorted Cookies
Confetti Cake

Stop by Coffee and Sweets and Grab Your Favorite Ice Cream or Sorbet on a Waffle Cone
chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, oreos, chocolate chips, marshmallows, chocolate syrup


Make Your Own Belgium Waffle

Turkey Cheddar Cheese Wrap
sliced tomato
sliced red onion
leaf lettuce
Hudson Valley Harvest

Sesame Hummus and Roasted Vegetable Wrap
sliced tomato
leaf lettuce Hudson Valley Harvest


Midd has this, and I can say that it is a huge help, especially for kids with eating disorders, diagnosed or not. It also helps with the social aspect of meals, creates a more “homelike” atmosphere, and really helps the overall experience. I don’t think that this is a minor addition, but a major plus for Vassar.


Vassar is a great school with a beautiful campus, but it definitely has a different vibe than other Northeast LACs. I would recommend looking at all of the NESCAC schools – despite many of them being more similar than not, each one has it’s own personality which may be a better fit. It’s best if you can visit in person while students are there, but that’s not always feasible.