Vassar College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in over 50 majors, including different interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary academic fields of study. Some of the more popular majors are English, political science, biology, economics and psychology.
A student can also design his or her own major under the Independent Major program. The self-instructional language program allows a student to finish courses in Portuguese, Irish, Swedish, Korean, Swahili, Turkish, and Yiddish. The curriculum is flexible, so students can study at their own pace. Each major has specific requirements, but there are universal requirements for graduation, which include proficiency in a foreign language, finishing a quantitative course, and completion of the freshman writing course.
The college emphasizes study abroad options, which students can participate in for one or two semesters during their junior year. The college has sponsorship programs for study abroad students bound for China, England, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Morocco, Spain and Russia. Cross-registration is allowed in approved programs in historically Black colleges and colleges included in the Twelve College Exchange.
All classes are taught by members of the faculty, and there are no graduate students or teachers’ assistants. The most Vassar also offers a variety of correlate sequences, or minors, for intensive study in many disciplines.
The Vassar campus is picturesque and owns over 1,000 acres and over a hundred buildings, including 4 National Historic Landmarks. The school features an arboretum where more than two hundred tree species are being maintained. Approximately 400 acres have been converted into an ecological preserve.
Vassar College was one of the foremost women’s colleges and the founding of this school was in 1861. It was only in 1969 when the school turned co-educational. Vassar was one of the sister institutions to the Ivy League schools. The name was taken from its founder brewer Matthew Vassar, in the Hudson Valley. Before its co-ed policy in 1969, the school accepted a small number of male students because of the G.I. Bill. The male graduates from that batch, however, were awarded diplomas by the University of the State of New York instead of Vassar. These male graduates were re-issued their certificated after the college officially became co-ed. There was a plan of merging with Yale, but the school opted to become co-ed instead.
Students are required to live in college residences, but some students that live off-campus do so as long as the director of residential life allows it. Room-draw is the method for assigning housing to students, with seniority being the main basis for which students can select first. Apartment units are for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Freshmen can live in residence halls along with some of the upperclassmen that weren’t able to get their own apartments. A part of the charges for room and board is used by the school to make a declining-dollar account for students. Students can use this instead of cash for paying for their meals in dining halls and snack bars. Apartment dwellers may or may not get their meal plan.
Getting into a class is easy, and very few students are blocked out of a class because the spots are full. If there are more students attending, the department would open a new section to accommodate more sign ups. One of the best things about having smaller classes is that the faculty member can interact directly with the students. The question and answer type of discussion becomes easier to manage. Professors also leave their phone numbers with the students so that the students can contact them at any time regarding school work.
Vassar gives financial aid to students that are financially unable to meet the school requirements. Vassar doesn’t offer scholarships based on academic or athletic achievements. The college determines how much each applicant should receive after thorough assessment of the financial information submitted by the parents and the student. Once the calculations are made, a student receives a financial aid package that will meet 100% of the student’s financial need.
The financial aid comes in various forms, including grants and scholarships, student loan, and part-time on-campus job. Students from low income families are likely to receive scholarships instead of loans. Loans are payable for ten years, and are low-interest. A part-time job involves working in a college facility for 8 to 10 hours each week. The income from the job is expected to go to books, personal expenses, and traveling around the campus and to other places.