On September 3, 666 freshmen in the Class of 2017 began classes at Vassar. The select few were chosen from an initial pool of 7,597 applicants—only 24.1 percent of whom were offered admission.
It’s a diverse group. More than 37 percent of Vassar’s new freshmen are students of color, and 43 percent are men. The class is socioeconomically diverse, too, with 56 percent receiving Vassar scholarship aid. Moreover, 79 members of the class are “first-generation” students—the first in their family to attend college. Members of the class come to Poughkeepsie from 47 U.S. states and 28 foreign nations. And 118 members are bilingual or speak English as a second language.
The class has an impressive history of academic achievement. Sixty-six percent of students with a high school rank graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, and 40 percent were in the top five percent. Taking the class as a whole, the students’ combined average SAT scores (2088) were among the highest in the college’s history.
Many members of the Class of 2017 have already accomplished interesting things. One co-wrote a book that appeared on the New York Times Young Adult Best Seller list, and another testified before the U.S. Congress, advocating for a national food allergy bill. One member started a technology consulting firm, one started an international health blog, and one worked as a community public health teacher in rural India.
The class also includes a sushi chef, a therapy dog handler, a young woman who shaved her head to raise funds for a charity, and a student who can recite 1,000 digits of the value of Pi.
Eleven members of the class comprise the initial group of military veterans participating in Vassar’s first-of-its-kind admissions partnership with the Posse Foundation. (See the upcoming Fall 2013 issue of the Vassar Quarterly for more on the vets, and this first-hand account by vet David Carrell '17.)
In addition, the class boasts two Junior Olympians, a professional ballerina, musicians who have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, an actor who has appeared twice on the popular TV sitcom Modern Family, and a rock musician who has a record deal with his band in China.
Photos ©Vassar College-Jen Kiaba Barry