Vassar College—located in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley—is an independent, coeducational, liberal arts college, which fosters intellectual openness and lively exploration through its widely varied course offerings. Vassar is a community of special character in which people of divergent views and backgrounds come together to study, work, and live in the proud tradition of a residential liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar continues to be renowned for pioneering achievements in education, and for the beauty of its campus in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Vassar College welcomes students from our partner institutions to spend a semester or full year studying on campus. Students interested in attending Vassar should speak with the exchange coordinator at their home institution and may contact the Vassar Exchange Coordinator, Greta Decker, with any additional questions.
How to Apply
To come to Vassar College as an exchange student, you will need to be nominated by your home institution’s exchange coordinator. Once nominated, you will receive an email invitation to complete an online application.
Exchange coordinators are required to nominate you via an online form. Further instructions will be sent to them when our nomination opens.
Fall Semester or Academic Year
- Nomination deadline: March 1
- Application deadline: March 15
- Nomination deadline: September 15
- Application deadline: October 1
Academics and Advising
Specific course offerings can be found in our online Course Catalogue. All courses are open to exchange students as long as students have taken any prerequisites for a given course. Not all courses in a given catalogue are offered every semester or even every year. Students are advised to be flexible and have multiple course options in mind when submitting their application.
All students must be registered for a full course load. Courses are typically worth one unit each. Students are considered fully enrolled with 3.5 to 4.5 units. A well-balanced course load at Vassar is typically 4 units.
All visiting and exchange students are advised through the Dean of Studies office. The Assistant Dean of Studies will work directly with each student to preregister for as many classes as possible before the semester starts.
You should view the Vassar Academic Calendar for details regarding semester dates. Please note that exchange students will take part in the International Student Orientation at the beginning of their first semester at Vassar.
Community-engaged learning (CEL) is an experiential learning opportunity where students can combine work in a non-profit organization, government agency, or business with academic work under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. CEL aims to enhance classroom learning, provide experience, and foster civic engagement. For more information and to view potential opportunities, please visit the Office of Community-Engaged Learning website.
Housing and Student Life
Residential life is an essential component of a Vassar education, allowing students to experience the value of being part of a diverse community. All exchange students are guaranteed housing, though there is no guarantee that students will be placed in a single room. Exchange and visiting students are typically assigned to Cushing House. To view the interior of each residence hall, as well as examples of different rooms, visit the Office of Residential Life.
The Office of International Services (OIS) supports international students in becoming acquainted and adjusted to a new culture through events and workshops that help facilitate the transition of international students into their new life at Vassar. OIS promotes the global perspective of our international students and engages the greater Vassar community through events, cultural programs, and workshops.
The Office of Student Growth and Engagement (SGE) fosters inclusive learning environments as integral components of a liberal arts education for Vassar students. SGE facilitates efforts to promote an environment that helps all students thrive, with particular attention to those served by affinity resources such as the ALANA Cultural Center, Office of International Services, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Women’s Center. The Community Care Team is also coordinated through SGE.
Vassar has over 160 student organizations that collectively host hundreds of events each month. Exchange students are encouraged to be involved in these organizations while on campus, and fully immerse themselves in the Vassar community.
Vassar’s Health Service provides routine primary medical care to Vassar students and deals with emergencies. Health Service also coordinates with students' home physicians to provide care for chronic conditions and makes referrals to local specialists or hospitals when necessary, or upon request of the student.
The Health Service is located in Baldwin House. During the academic year, Health Service hours are 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Vassar College Counseling Service (VCCS) welcomes students of all backgrounds and experiences. A variety of services are provided to Vassar students such as individual, couples, and group counseling, crisis intervention, walk-in clinic, educational programming, consultation, assessment, and referrals to off-campus mental health professionals.
Accessibility and Academic Accommodations
Vassar College is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive learning and living environment for students with learning differences, psychological disorders, chronic health impairments, mobility or orthopedic impairments, sensory impairments, and substance abuse/recovery needs. The Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO) was established to provide support and resources for these students including coordinating accommodations for academic courses, residential life, meal plans, college-sponsored extracurricular activities, and college jobs. The office is open to all students regardless of existing diagnosis or emerging difficulties.
Tuition and Fees
Exchange students from partner institutions will pay their regular home university tuition. Vassar will bill exchange students for the following fees:
- Room and board
- Student health insurance
- Miscellaneous fees*
- SEVIS fee
For a full breakdown of the Vassar yearly fees, please visit Vassar's Student Financial Services website.
*These fees cover health services, student activities, and transcript fees.
English Language Requirement
For exchange/visiting students not currently studying in an English-speaking country, scores must be from tests taken within two years of application to attend Vassar and the following requirements should be met.
The following minimum scores are required:
- 100 on the internet-based TOEFL
- 600 on the paper-based TOEFL
- 250 on the computer-based TOEFL
- The minimum acceptable score is 7
Duolingo English Test (DET)
- The minimum acceptable score is 120
Visa and Immigration
To enter the U.S. with a non-immigrant status, applicants on a J-1 visa must have the “Certificate of Eligibility” or Form DS2019. The Office of International Services (OIS) will mail you Form DS2019 and a SEVIS payment voucher, which Vassar will pay on your behalf and which will later be added to your Vassar bill.
You will take the DS2019 form, the SEVIS fee voucher, your passport, and any further supporting documentation to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request the J-1 visa. Vassar Exchange Visitors will usually receive their DS2019 forms and fee vouchers by the end of May for students starting in the fall, and by early November for students starting in the spring. Afterward, please schedule a visa interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.