International Student FAQs
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for International Students
Determining Application Type
- Who is considered a foreign or international student?
- Who is eligible to apply as an international freshman candidate?
- My parents and/or I have applied for a green card (permanent resident status) and expect to receive it by the time I enroll as a freshman. Do I still have to apply as a foreign student?
- What are the application deadlines?
- Are SATs required? What about the TOEFL?
- How do I get an application?
- Is an interview required for admission?
- Is there a separate international application for foreign or international students?
- Does Vassar offer financial aid to international students?
- How many international students apply for financial assistance?
- Can the application fee be waived for International Students?
- I am applying as a transfer student. Can I apply for financial aid?
- How many international students are at Vassar?
- Is there special advising for international students?
- What about the meal plan?
Where is Vassar located?
Vassar College is located in Poughkeepsie, NY, in the Hudson River Valley, 75 miles (120 km) north of New York City. The population of the greater Poughkeepsie area is about 100,000.
How accessible is Poughkeepsie?
Vassar is accessible from all the major airports in the greater New York City area, as well as those in Newburgh and White Plains, New York. The Metro North commuter train also provides regular rail service between New York City and Poughkeepsie.
What is the weather like at Vassar?
Poughkeepsie weather is close to that of New York City, with a temperate climate and four distinct seasons. The average temperature in the winter months is about 30ºF (2ºC), and in the summer months about 80ºF (27ºC). We do get snow, but we are not located in a “snow-belt”, so moderate snow is the norm during the winter. Most students love spring and fall, and it is common to see professors hold classes outside on nice days. While you'll need a hat, gloves, and scarf in the winter, you'll be able to wear shorts and t-shirts at other times of the year.
How well known is Vassar?
Vassar is consistently ranked among the top one percent of colleges and universities in the United States and has been a frontrunner in higher education for over a century and a half. Numerous external ratings have confirmed Vassar’s status as one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States. For example, Forbes named Vassar #33 out of all colleges and universities in U.S., and the Princeton Review rankings called Vassar’s students the happiest in the country and our campus one of the two most beautiful.
How many international students are at Vassar?
About 14% of Vassar students hold foreign citizenship. Current students represent 55 different nations, with the largest representation coming from Canada, China/Hong Kong, Ecuador, Georgia, Greece, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
Is there special advising for international students?
Vassar’s Office of International Services provides assistance to all foreign students including a new student orientation, and helps them through the visa process. In addition, there is a student-run organization for International students (VISA) to help them integrate into the Vassar community, and a committee of administrators that meets regularly to address international students’ concerns.
Who is considered a foreign or international student?
For purposes of applying for admission to Vassar or for financial aid, anyone who is not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States is considered a foreign or international student.
What about the meal plan?
In the fall of 2017, Vassar implemented a new, all-access dining plan through Bon Appétit Management Company in a newly renovated campus dining hall. All students are now on one standardized meal plan, providing them unlimited access to the main dining hall from 7 am to 1 am, as well as expanded options at Express, the Bridge Café, a food truck, and cook-your-own ingredients. Matthew’s Bean and the Retreat dining venues take cash and credit, and students also receive $200 on the plan that can be used at local vendors and restaurants on Raymond Avenue, as well as on campus for Tasty Tuesday. Click here vassar.cafebonappetit.com for more information.
Who is eligible to apply as an international freshman candidate?
Any student who is currently enrolled in their final year of secondary school (high school), or any student who has completed secondary school but has not begun studies at the university level is eligible to apply to Vassar as a freshman. However, students who have enrolled at a college/university after the completion of secondary school are not eligible to apply as freshman applicants. Current university-level students must apply as transfer candidates. Unfortunately, Vassar does not award any financial assistance to international transfer students.
Is there a separate international application for foreign or international students?
What are the application deadlines?
The deadline for Regular Decision applicants is January 1. Early Decision (binding first choice) candidates should apply by November 15 for the first round or January 1 for the second. For more information on Early Decision, go to the Apply page.
Are SATs required? What about the TOEFL?
Vassar requires all applicants to submit standardized test results from either the ACT or the SAT. The optional writing test is not required for either the SAT or the ACT.
In assessing SAT scores, Vassar will accept either the Pre-March 2016 SAT or the redesigned SAT. In addition, Vassar uses the highest individual subscores of the same version of the SAT from multiple test dates. For applicants submitting both the Pre-March 2016 SAT and redesigned SAT, the results will not be superscored across the two versions. In assessing ACT scores, Vassar uses the highest subscores taken from multiple test dates and recalculates a new composite score. For candidates taking both the SAT and the ACT, Vassar will use whichever scores are higher.
In addition, if English is neither your first language nor the primary language of instruction you have used throughout secondary school (minimum of three full years in English), you should submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Vassar typically expects scores of at least 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL and 600 on the paper-based version. As an alternative to the TOEFL, Vassar also accepts the IELTS. A minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS Academic Test is required. Vassar does not grant waivers for TOEFL/IELTS based on SAT/ACT or other exams.
Will Vassar award credit for my advanced program of study?
Students who have earned scores of 4 or 5 on an AP exam are eligible for advanced placement credit. International Baccalaureate scores of 5, 6, or 7 on higher-level exams are also awarded credit. In the same manner, Vassar grants credit for high scores on certain foreign advanced programs of study such as the GCE A-levels, the German Abitur, the French Baccalaureate, etc.
How do I get an application?
Follow the instructions on the Apply page.
Is an interview required for admission?
For applicants required to submit the TOEFL/IELTS, Vassar recommends you also submit an interview as an additional way to demonstrate English language proficiency. You may request to meet with a Vassar alumnae/i volunteer (Submit request) and/or participate in a third party interview service. Vassar accepts interviews from InitialView and Vericant. Please note that these vendors, unlike our alumnae/i volunteers, are not Vassar specific. InitialView and Vericant interviewers will not be able to answer questions about Vassar.
We understand there is a cost for these vendors, therefore interviews are recommended, but not required. In cases where the interviewing fee would be prohibitive, you or your high school counselor can contact the vendors directly to obtain a fee waiver.
Can the application fee ever be waived for International Students?
The application fee of $70 may be waived if you request a waiver by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your counselor or school advisor can also request a fee waiver by sending a letter to the Office of Admission. Otherwise, the application fee should accompany the application.
Does Vassar offer financial aid to international students?
Yes, Vassar does offer significant need-based financial aid to international students applying as first-year students. Vassar meets 100% of the candidate’s demonstrated financial need for all four years. Students who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents who wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during their four years at Vassar should apply at the same time that they apply for admission. Since Vassar is not need-blind in the admission of non-US citizens, financial need may be a factor in the evaluation process for admission. Therefore, those admitted without financial aid subsequently would not be eligible to receive Vassar funding during their years at the college, except under the most extreme circumstances (i.e., death of a wage-earning parent, natural disaster, etc.).
How many international students apply for financial assistance?
Each year, close to 950 international students apply for admission and financial assistance, and 35-45 are admitted with funding. Clearly, while Vassar’s international aid budget is substantial, competition for this assistance is quite keen. For those foreign citizens with financial need who enrolled in the class of 2021, the average scholarship was approximately $52,510, plus a Vassar student loan of $3,500, and eligibility for a campus job earning $2,160, for a total average financial aid award of $58,410. Of course, each individual student’s financial aid package will depend on his/her family’s financial circumstances.
My parents and/or I have applied for a green card (permanent resident status) and expect to receive it by the time I enroll as a freshman. Do I still have to apply as a foreign student?
Until you actually receive your green card and a permanent resident number from the U.S. Immigration Service, you must apply for admission and aid as a foreign citizen.
I am applying as a transfer student. Can I apply for financial aid?
We are sorry, but Vassar does not award financial assistance to international transfer students.