POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Six hundred and seventy-one freshmen selected from the largest applicant pool in Vassar College's history will begin classes on August 31. Vassar received 7985 applications for the class of 2015, and offered admission to only 22.5 percent of applicants, making 2015 Vassar's most selective class ever. Among the many measures of the academic strength of this class, together they had the college’s highest ever average combined SAT scores (2092). Nearly 38% of Vassar's new freshmen are students of color, and 45% are men, two more historic marks. This is also a very socio-economically diverse first-year class, with 60% receiving Vassar scholarship funding. Moreover, 67 members of the class are first generation college students.
“We always seek to admit the most talented and interesting students possible, and that means young people from varied backgrounds who will enter an ever more diverse world after graduation. said Vassar President Catharine Hill. “This diversity matters so much because the learning experience is enhanced among people who have differing world views. Maintaining this kind of broad student body is also essential to our mission, which has always been committed to making a Vassar education as accessible as possible.”
Seventy-four percent of Vassar's class of 2015 with a high school rank graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, and 49 percent were in the top 5 percent. Their average SAT scores were 704 on the critical reading exam, 687 on the mathematics exam, and 701 on the writing exam, with a mean recomputed high school grade point average slightly above A-minus.
Among the outstanding students in the class of 2015 are 34 valedictorians, 15 salutatorians, 42 National Merit Finalists or Semi-Finalists, 114 students with perfect scores on one or more standardized test, 53 winners of major book awards, three National Achievement Scholars, nine National Hispanic Scholars, and eleven National Honor Society presidents. Twenty-seven members were class or student council presidents, along with 113 varsity sports captains, 160 school club presidents, 56 founders of a high school club, and 48 editors-in-chief of a major high school publication.
The class of 2015 comes to Poughkeepsie from more than 500 high schools in 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and 32 foreign nations. Comprising 12.5% of the class, 84 members are international students with either foreign or dual citizenship from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Ninety-eight members are bilingual or speak English as a second language, and the first languages they speak include Akan, Albanian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Yoruba.
Members of the Class of 2015 have already accomplished many interesting things. They’ve established such non-profits as a microcredit banking group, an organization that raised $25,000 to purchase water filters for rural villages in Africa, and an online community with 26,000 members in China who are students considering school abroad.
One student has performed over 100 times with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, and another is a member of Singapore’s national netball team. The class includes a paid writer for an online sports magazine, a student who breeds and raises goats, and a beekeeper.
A class member founded the band “Dumbledore’s Army” to perform for children in libraries and promote literacy and music. Another founded a city-wide Model United Nations group in Beijing that now has 400 members from 30 high schools.
Several students in the class have held research internships sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and six are certified emergency medical technicians.
Among the standout athletes in the class of 2015 are a national 17-and-under equestrian champion, a nationally ranked squash player, state champions in several sports, and five Black Belt holders in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, or Aikido. The class also boasts the composer of more than 50 songs, a composer/lyricist of a full-length musical, an Indian classical dancer, a curator of an exhibit at a San Francisco art gallery, and a former soap opera actor.
In descending order, the top U.S. feeder states for the class of 2015 are New York (164), California (87), New Jersey (50), Massachusetts (49), Connecticut (28), Pennsylvania (26), Illinois (23), Maryland (16), Texas (15), Virginia (14), Florida (10), Ohio (10), Vermont (9), Washington (8), New Hampshire (7), and North Carolina (7).
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.