Why I Chose Vassar – A Narrative by Tyler Wen

I never knew Vassar even existed until 2 weeks before its college application deadline. I was just looking online for more colleges, possible places that I could willingly call my alma mater in the future, colleges where I knew I could both learn a lot and still have fun, institutions that could really change my life for the better. Names such as Oberlin, Wesleyan, and Williams popped up whenever I searched for a list of really great liberal arts colleges, but out of the blue I saw the name “Vassar College”. I thought it was a fancy name, and so spurred on by my parents, I decided to check out its website.

I then spent a good 4 hours learning everything I could about Vassar, from its average class size of 17 to its neighboring restaurants like Twisted Soul and Tokyo Express. I was honestly astounded by the things I learned, and the more I read the more I wanted to attend the college. I’ve always loved being in small school settings, and I really wanted to make lots of close connections with my classmates or professors without being lost in a sea of students. The thought of being in a lecture hall that could seat 400 people at once terrifies me, but being in a classroom with only 10 other students? Sign me up, please.

The fact that Vassar’s campus looked beautiful was also a big factor in my decision, mainly because who wouldn’t want to live in a place where the library looks like it was taken straight out of Hogwarts? And the trees–oh boy, the entire campus looked lush and green and alive in the spring and summer, which would be highly impossible in an urban setting. But if I wanted to go to NYC, it wasn’t that far away either; only 2 hours by train, so a weekend getaway was entirely possible. I mean, Vassar seemed to be everything I wanted in a college.

But one of the most important factors that led to my decision was the fact that Vassar was so international. Over 250 students came to Vassar from abroad, and I believed that I would feel at home in such a diverse environment. And I wasn’t wrong. The very first minute I got here for international orientation, I was surrounded by internationals that understood my background as an American abroad in China, and I felt at home. And even to this day, almost 2 years since my freshman orientation has passed, I’m still close friends with the internationals that I’ve met and befriended in that short 3-day period. We understood each other. And to a certain degree, we really treat each other as members of a very, very extended family.

Of course, I couldn’t have known all of that just by looking at Vassar’s website. I was fortunate enough to have an international email me right after I received my admittance decision, who told me a lot more about the international community at Vassar. The personal connection that was immediately established was just a teaser for what would later happen at Vassar, as I could meet and befriend people from all walks of life, whether they were students, faculty, or even administrators. Vassar was everything I wanted, really. It was a small liberal arts college. It was diverse. It was friendly.

But most of all, it felt like home.

And that’s why I chose Vassar.

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