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To the Class of 2024

In a few short weeks, you will join a college community of other students, faculty, and administrators eager to welcome you to Vassar. This year has been like no other year in the recent history of the College and our world. The protests happening across the country against racism and police brutality and with collective claims towards racial justice remind us how important our educational mission and work are at this moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has also challenged our nation, community, and our College.  At the heart of Vassar’s response to the pandemic has been the College’s steadfast commitment to the safety of our students and employees with a particular emphasis on centering the most vulnerable members of our community.  This Fall 2020 semester will feature a community care approach that employs multiple strategies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our local community.

Planning for your academic and co-curricular success at Vassar in the midst of this is also important to us. No doubt, you have already begun reflecting on your own intellectual and personal goals for the next four years at Vassar. To be prepared to meet them, you will need to think through, plan, and carry out an academic program grounded in the broad tradition of liberal education. The Dean of the College division is committed to helping you prepare and support you in meeting all of your goals. The materials in this book will help you make good use of the time between now and when you arrive on campus in August. As you read and work through them, I encourage you to be in touch with any relevant offices to ask any questions or to ask for additional support.

You will also find instructions for pre-registering for your fall semester courses. Please read and consider this material carefully. We encourage you to think about it while pre-registering for classes and preparing the Statement of Academic Interests, which the dean of first-year students has requested you send before you arrive on campus. Your understanding of the materials here, the Vassar College catalogue, and your Statement of Academic Interests will provide the basis for the critical discussions that you will have with your faculty pre-major advisor, your house fellow, and the dean of first-year students when you arrive on campus in August.

We look forward to welcoming you to campus and to facilitating your smooth and enjoyable transition into the Vassar community. Please be on the lookout for additional guidance and recommendations from the College in the coming weeks on how to best pack and prepare for your arrival on campus in August.  I look forward to meeting each of you during your time at the College as we forge ahead in confronting the challenges of our contemporary moment together in the creation of a collective and beloved community. 

Carlos Alamo-Pastrana
Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Sociology