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Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Which Is the Better Choice?

July 16, 2023
By AdmissionSight
Three students walking in front of a school building.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Which Is the Better Choice?

If you’re in the process of choosing between Washington University in St. Louis and Vassar, you’re probably wondering which institution would be the best fit for you. Both schools have their own unique characteristics that make them desirable to different types of students. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar and compare them on key factors such as location, campus, student life, academics, and more. By the end of the article, you’ll have a clear idea of which school is the better choice for you.

Location and Campus: How They Stack Up

Washington University in St. Louis is located in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, which offers a diverse range of cultural and entertainment options. The campus itself is sprawling, with a mix of modern and traditional architecture that blends seamlessly into the surrounding neighborhood. You’ll find plenty of green spaces to enjoy, including a large park that’s perfect for picnics.

On the other hand, Vassar is situated in Poughkeepsie, New York, a smaller city that’s still close enough to the hustle and bustle of New York City to make weekend excursions easy. The campus itself is stunning, with a mix of Tudor and Georgian architecture. The campus is smaller than Washington University’s, but it’s still beautiful and well-maintained, with plenty of greenery and outdoor spaces.

a male student sitting and smiling

Despite being located in a smaller city, Vassar College has a strong sense of community and a tight-knit student body. The smaller campus size allows for more intimate class sizes and a greater opportunity for students to get to know their professors. Additionally, the college is committed to sustainability and has implemented numerous eco-friendly initiatives on campus.

Washington University in St. Louis, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a research powerhouse. The university is home to numerous research centers and institutes, and students have the opportunity to work alongside faculty on cutting-edge research projects. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with numerous opportunities for students to get involved in volunteer work both on and off campus.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Both Washington University and Vassar are highly selective institutions, with acceptance rates hovering around 15%. However, there are some differences in their admissions requirements. Washington University requires you to submit standardized test scores (either the SAT or the ACT), whereas Vassar is test-optional. Both schools require essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. While admission to either school is competitive, Vassar’s test-optional policy could help some students.

It’s important to note that both Washington University and Vassar also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement in their admissions decisions. Students who have demonstrated leadership skills, a commitment to service, or unique talents may have an advantage in the admissions process. Additionally, both schools offer need-based financial aid to help make their education accessible to students from diverse backgrounds.

Academic Programs: Similarities and Differences

Both Washington University and Vassar offer a range of robust academic programs. Washington University is known for having strong programs in business, engineering, and medicine, and they partner closely with the nearby Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Vassar, on the other hand, is known for its strengths in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Both schools offer small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of around 8:1.

Despite their differences in academic strengths, both Washington University and Vassar offer interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. At Washington University, students can pursue a major in interdisciplinary project in the humanities, which allows them to combine courses from different departments to create a unique academic experience. Similarly, Vassar offers an interdisciplinary program in environmental studies, which draws on courses from biology, economics, and geography, among other fields.

Another similarity between the two schools is their commitment to undergraduate research. Both Washington University and Vassar offer opportunities for students to conduct research alongside faculty members, and many students present their findings at national conferences or publish their work in academic journals. These research experiences can be invaluable for students who are considering graduate school or careers in academia.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Student Life

One of the biggest draws of both Washington University and Vassar is their vibrant student life. At Washington University, you’ll find over 300 student organizations on campus, including a large Greek life presence, club sports, and cultural organizations. The school also hosts an annual spring music festival that draws big-name acts. Vassar also has plenty of clubs and organizations, and the school’s emphasis on social justice and activism has helped to create a vibrant and inclusive community. If you’re looking for a school with a strong sense of community, both institutions fit the bill.

Students sitting on the chairs while talking.

Aside from the numerous student organizations, both Washington University and Vassar offer a variety of extracurricular activities that cater to different interests. For instance, Washington University has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with programs such as the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Vassar, on the other hand, has a renowned arts program, with opportunities for students to participate in theater productions, music ensembles, and art exhibitions.

When it comes to the social scene, both schools offer a diverse range of events and activities. Washington University has a lively Greek life scene, with over 25 fraternities and sororities on campus. The school also hosts a number of social events throughout the year, such as homecoming and the annual WILD (Walk In Lay Down) concert. Vassar, on the other hand, has a more laid-back social scene, with students often gathering in small groups to hang out and enjoy the campus’s scenic surroundings.

Housing Options on Campus

Both Washington University and Vassar offer a range of on-campus housing options. At Washington University, you can choose between traditional residence halls, suites, or apartments. There are also several living-learning communities on campus that allow you to live and study alongside students who share your interests. Vassar also offers traditional dorms, as well as suites and townhouses for upperclassmen. Both schools prioritize community living by placing a strong emphasis on residential life.

Additionally, both universities have housing options for students with specific needs. Washington University offers accessible housing for students with disabilities, as well as gender-inclusive housing for students who do not identify with a specific gender. Vassar also has gender-inclusive housing options, as well as quiet housing for students who prefer a more peaceful living environment. Both universities strive to provide a comfortable and inclusive living experience for all students.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Both Washington University and Vassar are expensive institutions, with tuition and fees hovering around $70,000 per year. However, both schools offer generous financial aid packages that can offset a portion of this cost. Washington University offers need-based financial aid, while Vassar offers both need-based and merit-based aid. Both schools also offer scholarships that are awarded based on academic merit or extracurricular achievement. When comparing schools, be sure to factor in financial aid opportunities and scholarships.

It is important to note that the process of applying for financial aid and scholarships can vary between schools. At Washington University, students must submit the CSS Profile and the FAFSA to be considered for need-based aid. Vassar, on the other hand, requires the CSS Profile, the FAFSA, and the College Board’s IDOC service. It is important to carefully review each school’s financial aid application requirements and deadlines.

an adult man writing

In addition to financial aid and scholarships, both Washington University and Vassar offer work-study programs to help students offset the cost of tuition. These programs allow students to work part-time on campus and earn money to put toward their education. Students can work in a variety of positions, including research assistants, library assistants, and campus tour guides.

The Faculty: Quality of Professors and Teaching Methods

At Washington University and Vassar, you’ll find dedicated and knowledgeable faculty members who are committed to helping you succeed. Both schools place an emphasis on undergraduate education, and the small class sizes allow for close collaboration and individualized attention. Additionally, both institutions offer a mix of traditional lectures and hands-on learning opportunities that allow students to engage with course material in a meaningful way. When choosing a school, consider the teaching methods that work best for you.

Furthermore, the faculty at both Washington University and Vassar are actively involved in research and scholarship, which allows them to bring the latest developments and insights into the classroom. This means that students have the opportunity to learn from experts in their fields and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and discoveries.

Moreover, both schools have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusivity, which is reflected in their faculty. Students can expect to learn from professors with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, which can enrich their educational experience and broaden their horizons. In addition, both institutions offer resources and support for underrepresented groups, ensuring that all students have equal access to educational opportunities.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Career Services and Job Opportunities After Graduation

Both Washington University and Vassar offer robust career services to students and alumni. Washington University’s Career Center provides career and internship advice, including help with networking and resume building. The school also has an alumni network that can help recent graduates find job opportunities. Similarly, Vassar’s Career Development Office provides career counseling, runs job fairs, and connects students with alumni. Both schools have a strong track record of placing students in prestigious internships and jobs after graduation.

In addition to the career services offered by Washington University and Vassar, both schools have a variety of job opportunities available to their graduates. Washington University has partnerships with many top companies in the St. Louis area, including Boeing, Express Scripts, and Monsanto, which often hire recent graduates. Vassar has a strong presence in the arts and entertainment industry, with many alumni working in film, theater, and publishing. Both schools also have active alumni networks that can help graduates find job openings in their respective fields.

Alumni Networks: Which School Provides Better Networking Opportunities?

Both Washington University and Vassar have active and engaged alumni networks. Washington University’s Alumni Association hosts events and programs throughout the year to help alumni stay connected with the school and with each other. Similarly, Vassar’s alumni network is active, with regional clubs and events that allow graduates to stay connected. In terms of networking opportunities, both schools offer ample ways for alumni to stay connected and share advice with current students.

However, there are some differences in the types of networking opportunities offered by each school. Washington University’s alumni network is particularly strong in the fields of business and medicine, with many alumni working in these industries and offering mentorship and job opportunities to current students. On the other hand, Vassar’s alumni network is known for its strong connections in the arts and humanities, with many graduates working in creative fields and offering advice and support to students pursuing similar careers. Ultimately, the best alumni network for a student will depend on their individual career goals and interests.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Athletics Programs

If you’re a sports fan, you might be wondering which school has the best athletics programs. At Washington University, you’ll find a range of varsity sports teams, including basketball, soccer, swimming, and more. The school is a member of NCAA Division III and competes in the University Athletic Association. Vassar also has a range of varsity sports teams, but the school places less emphasis on athletics than other aspects of student life. When comparing schools, consider how important athletics are to you.

Female athlete holding a medal.

It’s important to note that while athletics can be a big part of the college experience, they are not the only factor to consider when choosing a school. Other important factors include academics, campus culture, location, and extracurricular activities. It’s important to find a school that aligns with your values and goals, and offers a well-rounded college experience.

Student Diversity: Comparing Diversity Statistics at Both Schools

Both Washington University and Vassar are committed to creating diverse and inclusive campus communities. At Washington University, about 46% of undergraduates identify as students of color, and the school has been recognized for its commitment to diversity by organizations like the Diversity Abroad Network. Similarly, Vassar has a diverse student body, with about 45% of students identifying as students of color. Both schools are actively working to increase diversity and support underserved student populations.

Additionally, both schools have implemented programs and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Washington University has a Multicultural Center that provides resources and support for students of color, as well as a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that works to create a welcoming environment for all students. Vassar has a similar Multicultural Center, as well as a Bias Incident Response Team that addresses incidents of discrimination or bias on campus. These efforts demonstrate the schools’ commitment to creating a safe and inclusive community for all students.

Campus Safety and Security Measures in Place at Both Schools

When choosing a school, safety is a top priority. Both Washington University and Vassar have comprehensive safety and security measures in place to ensure that students feel safe on campus. At Washington University, the school has its own police department that patrols the campus 24/7, with additional resources available through the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Similarly, Vassar has its own campus security department, as well as an emergency phone system and a shuttle service that operates at night.

In addition to these measures, both schools also offer safety education and training programs for students, faculty, and staff. At Washington University, the school provides self-defense classes and active shooter training, while Vassar offers workshops on bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention. Both schools also have a system in place for reporting and addressing incidents of harassment, discrimination, and violence.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Vassar: Student Reviews

Finally, it’s important to hear from current students when making a decision about which school to attend. At Washington University, students rave about the school’s academics, sense of community, and rigorous coursework. Many also appreciate the school’s location in the heart of St. Louis, which provides ample opportunities for internships and cultural events. At Vassar, students love the small class sizes, the emphasis on social justice and activism, and the beautiful campus. Additionally, many students appreciate the school’s location, which allows for easy access to New York City.

Another aspect that current students at Washington University appreciate is the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The university has a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and creating a welcoming environment for all students. This includes a multicultural center, affinity groups, and a diversity and inclusion committee.

a male student looking at the camera

Meanwhile, at Vassar, students also enjoy the school’s strong arts programs. The college has a renowned art museum, as well as a theater and dance department that regularly puts on productions. Many students take advantage of these opportunities to explore their creative interests and showcase their talents.

Final Verdict: Which School Comes Out on Top?

After considering all the factors above, it’s clear that both Washington University and Vassar are excellent choices for students who are seeking a rigorous, supportive, and inclusive educational experience. Ultimately, the choice between these two institutions will depend on your personal priorities, interests, and goals. If you’re interested in pursuing business, medicine, or engineering, you might lean towards Washington University. If you’re more interested in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences, Vassar might be a better fit. Regardless of which school you choose, you’ll be joining a vibrant and dynamic community of learners who are committed to making a positive impact in the world.

It’s worth noting that both Washington University and Vassar have strong alumni networks that can be incredibly helpful when it comes to finding internships, jobs, and other opportunities after graduation. Both schools also offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports teams, and volunteer organizations, that can help you develop new skills, make new friends, and explore your interests outside of the classroom.

a male student holding a tablet and looking at the camera

Finally, it’s important to consider the location of each school. Washington University is located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is a vibrant city with a lot to offer in terms of culture, entertainment, and career opportunities. Vassar, on the other hand, is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, which is a smaller town that offers a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Depending on your preferences, one location might be more appealing than the other.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

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