Vassar Today

A Diverse, Gifted Class: Meet 2015

By Peter Bronski
When the 671 freshmen that comprise the Class of 2015 arrived on Vassar’s campus this fall, they brought no shortage of class superlatives: smartest (with the highest-ever average combined SAT score), most diverse (nearly 38 percent students of color, another best), most male (45 percent men, yet another historic mark for the college), and most selective (almost 8,000 students applied, while just 22.5 percent were offered admission). Nearly 60 percent receive some form of need-based aid, and 67 members of the class—which hails from 46 states and 32 foreign countries—are first-generation college students.

But statistics tell only part of the story. Social marketing firm Mr Youth surveyed more than 5,000 incoming freshmen nationwide, generating an insightful look inside the Class of 2015.

Its childhood was defined by uncertain, troubling times. Most of 2015’s students were seven or eight years old when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened ten years ago. The more recent financial collapse of 2008 and the tsunami in Japan also stand out in students’ minds.

According to the survey, the Class of 2015 defines “technology” as a hallmark of its profile (an influence that prompts members to expect immediate access to information). The class grew up in the Age of Apple—they saw the rise and prominence of the iPod (and iPhone), and some 89 percent own a laptop, while only 5 percent plan on buying a PC. (At Vassar, 99 percent of the incoming class own laptops.) They also witnessed the explosion of Facebook. Lastly, 2015 lists “parents” as the most important role models.