How to Write the Vassar College Supplement 2018-2019

Vassar is a small liberal arts school in Poughkeepsie, New York. The class of 2022 admitted just 1,996 students with an acceptance rate of 24%. Vassar is liberal, there’s a lot of on-campus activism, and students are encouraged to study multiple disciplines.

The good thing about Vassar’s supplement is that it sets up a structure for you. The wording is a little fancy, but they’re basically asking “Why Us”.

How do you see yourself adding to the vibrant academic and campus community at Vassar? Limit 350 words.

You’ll answer the question of Why Vassar by writing about two things: what you plan to do inside the classroom and what you plan to do outside the classroom. You only have 350 words to answer which means you have to research, research, then research some more before you start writing. You should be interested in discovering new things, and there’s a lot to look into on their website. Let’s break it down:


You probably won’t officially declare a major until the end of sophomore year, but for the purpose of this portion of the essay you need to pick a major. Don’t freak out, you have plenty of options, so start by looking through this list of majors and see what interests you. Think about your favorite classes and any other academic interests you have and find something similar on their website.

You need to be VERY specific here. Vassar students tend to be passionate about pretty much everything. Once you’ve picked a major, find upper-level classes that you’re interested in taking and write about why you want to take them. Be sure that everything is specific to Vassar: don’t write about 100 level classes that you could take at any school.

Let’s say you decide you want to major in environmental studies. Take a look through the course catalog and research the professors. There’s a long list of directors, faculty, and committee members so you should plug them into google and read about research projects, grants, and anything else they might be doing. This could be a good time to write about your desire to join a research project. Look and see if there’s a minor you might be interested in that compliments your major.

Outside the classroom:

Let’s stick with the environmental studies plan for now. Did you happen to notice that Vassar’s homepage is a picture of a young student doing outdoorsy things in the wilderness? It’s because the school just received a grant to make science curriculum more inclusive, and there are definitely a bunch of clubs on campus that are working towards this goal.

Look at the list of student organizations Vassar has to offer and find something that is 1) related to the major you chose and 2) a logical extension of the activities you did in high school. There’s a lot to choose from, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something that interests you.

Make sure you don’t pick something random. Vassar is looking for students that are focused, driven, and passionate: if you declare an English major and write about your plans to join the Quidditch club, and you haven’t taken advantage of the AP or Honors English at your school, you probably won’t seem like you have much direction. Admissions officers want to admit students that have a plan.


Wrap things up nicely, but briefly, especially since you probably used up most of your word count above.

Want some help writing or researching? We’re happy to help.