A Student Review of Vassar College

Tonya earned her bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Vassar College. She specializes in music theory tutoring, French tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, she shares her experience at Vassar College:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Tonya: It's a very small and walkable campus, with lots of trees and nature. Almost everybody lives on campus, and everyone walks to all of their classes. Some people have cars for adventures off campus, but usually people spend their time on campus.

How available are the professors, academic advisors, and teaching assistants?

Tonya: My teachers and advisors were always very accessible. They were extremely personable, approachable, understanding, and engaging. Classes are small, so the professors know your name by the second or third week of the semester.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students, etc.?

Tonya: About 95 percent of students live on campus all four years, and everyone's on a dining plan. Students are extremely involved, so there's always a bunch of stuff to do on the weekends—plays, concerts, lectures, and events that are almost all free to students. There are so many student activities that you won’t feel like you're missing out by staying on campus.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why?

Tonya: Vassar very recently built a new chemistry building, so they're really trying to attract more students in the sciences. That being said, though, the arts are still going strong at Vassar, because drama and art history are two majors that Vassar is still known for.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Tonya: It was very easy to meet people on campus! Having many different events to attend meant there was a lot of potential to interact with a bunch of new people who were usually super friendly. There's no Greek life at Vassar, and that was probably one of my favorite things about the school, because there were no huge parties or a culture that perpetuated exclusivity.

How helpful are the Career Center and other student support services?

Tonya: I heard good experiences from my classmates who visited the Career Center more frequently, about the center’s willingness to help students find jobs and internships. As a drama major and aspiring actor, I knew there wasn't much they'd be able to do for me, so I didn't make it a priority for myself.

How are the various study areas, such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Tonya: The study settings were beautiful! The Vassar library often gets mistaken as the chapel, because it has stained glass and looks like it belongs in Harry Potter. Most of the buildings are very old fashioned, which I really enjoyed. Some of the furniture could stand to be more comfortable, but the buildings really are gorgeous.

Describe the surrounding town.

Tonya: The Hudson Valley is beautiful and there are lots of cool places to visit nearby if you've got access to a car. People do tend to stay on campus most of the time.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Tonya: The student body is about 2,400, and classes are usually around 25 people. There are just a couple of lecture-style classes with around 100-125 students, but I also had a seminar one semester with five students, myself included. I loved being in an intimate class setting and really engaging with the material, my professor, and the other students. I learned so much more when I had no choice but to be an active participant in the class.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Tonya: My senior year, I took an international studies class called "Mexico Today," in which we learned about Mexico's social and political past and present, primarily through art and culinary culture. We spent two weeks in Mexico during spring break, and it was an incredible experience. The two professors took us to see and experience such amazing things, and I couldn't have been more grateful for that opportunity. I also got to travel to the Adirondack Mountains, Cuba, and Uganda through Vassar, and every one of these trips impacted the way I interact with the world. I'm so grateful to Vassar for giving me those opportunities.


Check out Tonya’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.