Rubin was inspired to pursue an undergraduate education at Vassar College – then an all-women’s school – because Maria Mitchell had been a professor there. She also ignored advice she had received from a high school science teacher to avoid a scientific career and become an artist. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned her bachelor’s degree in astronomy in 1948, the only graduate in astronomy that year. She attempted to enroll in a graduate program at Princeton, but was barred due to her gender. Princeton would not accept women as astronomy graduate students for 27 more years. Rubin also turned down an offer from Harvard University due to her husband, Robert Rubin’s, position as a graduate student at Cornell University.