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Boston College vs Barnard: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students talking to each other.

Boston College vs Barnard: Which College is Right for You?

Are you considering Boston College or Barnard College for your undergraduate education? These top-tier institutions are both renowned for their academic rigor, supportive communities, and vibrant campus cultures. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the similarities and differences between Boston College vs Barnard College, helping you make an informed decision about which school is the best fit for your needs and goals.

Introduction to Boston College and Barnard College

Boston College is a Jesuit, Catholic research university located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Established in 1863, Boston College is ranked #37 on the US News & World Report 2022-2023 national university rankings list. With an undergraduate enrollment of around 9,700 students, Boston College emphasizes a comprehensive liberal arts education combined with strong preparation in the professions.

Barnard College, located in New York City, is a private women’s liberal arts college founded in 1889. It is affiliated with Columbia University but maintains its own distinct identity and curriculum. Barnard is ranked #25 on the US News & World Report 2022-2023 national liberal arts college rankings list and has an enrollment of around 2,600 students.

Barnard College's front building

Boston College offers over 60 undergraduate majors across its nine schools and colleges, including the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, the Carroll School of Management, and the Connell School of Nursing. The university also has a strong commitment to research, with over 30 research centers and institutes, and offers graduate programs in fields such as law, education, and social work.

Barnard College has a unique partnership with Columbia University, allowing students to take classes and participate in activities at both institutions. Barnard offers over 50 majors in fields such as anthropology, economics, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The college also has a strong emphasis on leadership development, with programs such as the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Career Development Office.

Location and Campus Comparison: Boston College vs Barnard

Boston College’s suburban location offers a peaceful campus with stunning views of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and Boston skyline. Students can explore the nearby communities of Brookline and Newton, as well as take advantage of easy access to Boston. In contrast, Barnard College is located in the heart of New York City, with easy access to the vibrant cultural and educational resources of this global metropolis. The college’s campus spans several blocks along Broadway and is situated adjacent to Columbia University’s campus.

While Boston College’s campus is more contained, it offers plenty of green space and a serene atmosphere. Barnard’s campus, on the other hand, is bustling with city energy and offers endless opportunities to explore and engage with the surrounding community.

Additionally, Boston College’s location provides easy access to outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking and skiing in the nearby mountains. The college also has its own golf course and is located near several parks and nature reserves. In contrast, Barnard College’s location in the heart of New York City offers students access to world-renowned museums, theaters, and cultural events. Students can also take advantage of the city’s diverse food scene and explore different neighborhoods and boroughs.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity: Boston College vs Barnard

The admission process for both Boston College and Barnard College is highly competitive, with the goal of admitting students who will thrive academically and contribute positively to the campus community. Admission criteria include high school transcripts, standardized test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

Boston College’s acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was 19%, with an average SAT score of 1460 and an average ACT score of 34. Barnard College’s acceptance rate for the same year was 11%, with an average SAT score of 1490 and an average ACT score of 33. These statistics reflect the high level of academic excellence and intellectual curiosity that both schools expect from their students.

Scholarship document, admission paper or letter on table.

However, admission requirements and selectivity are not the only factors that determine a student’s success in college. Both Boston College and Barnard College offer a range of academic and extracurricular opportunities to help students thrive and develop their skills.

Boston College, for example, has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work with faculty members on cutting-edge projects. Barnard College, on the other hand, has a unique partnership with Columbia University, which allows students to take classes and participate in research projects at both institutions.

Furthermore, both Boston College and Barnard College are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive campus community. They offer a range of resources and support services to help students from all backgrounds succeed, including mentorship programs, counseling services, and student organizations. This commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in the student body, which includes students from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered: Boston College vs Barnard

Both Boston College and Barnard College offer a wide range of academic programs and majors, with a strong emphasis on the liberal arts. Boston College’s core curriculum includes requirements in natural science, social science, history, philosophy, theology, and the arts, along with a wide range of elective courses.

The college’s professional schools, including the Carroll School of Management, Connell School of Nursing, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and Woods College of Advancing Studies, offer specialized training in business, nursing, education, and other fields.

Liberal arts carved into a stone window

Barnard College’s curriculum focuses exclusively on the liberal arts, with majors in areas such as anthropology, art history, computer science, economics, English, history, psychology, and sociology, among others. Students can also choose from interdisciplinary programs in areas such as urban studies, environmental policy, and women’s studies.

In addition to the majors and programs offered, both Boston College and Barnard College provide students with a variety of opportunities to engage in research and experiential learning. Boston College’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships offers funding and support for students to conduct research in their field of interest, while the Career Center provides resources for internships and co-op programs.

Similarly, Barnard College’s Beyond Barnard program connects students with internships, research opportunities, and post-graduate fellowships, and the Athena Center for Leadership Studies offers courses and programs focused on developing leadership skills.

Faculty and Class Size Comparison: Boston College vs Barnard

Both Boston College and Barnard College are committed to providing a high-quality, personal educational experience for their students. Boston College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, with an average class size of 28 students. The college boasts a distinguished faculty of over 900 full-time and part-time faculty members, with a student-centered teaching philosophy that emphasizes dialogue, research, and critical thinking.

At Barnard College, the student-to-faculty ratio is similar, at 10:1, with an average class size of 17 students. The college prides itself on its exceptional faculty, which includes a Nobel laureate, numerous Fulbright scholars, and other distinguished academics. Faculty members are known for their accessibility and close mentoring relationships with students.

In addition to their commitment to small class sizes and personalized attention, both Boston College and Barnard College offer a wide range of academic programs and opportunities for students. Boston College has over 50 majors and minors across its nine schools and colleges, including programs in business, education, nursing, and the arts and sciences. The college also offers study abroad programs in over 30 countries, as well as research opportunities and internships.

Similarly, Barnard College offers a diverse range of academic programs, with majors in fields such as anthropology, economics, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The college also has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with opportunities for internships, research, and community engagement. Additionally, Barnard College has a unique partnership with Columbia University, which allows students to take classes and participate in activities at both institutions.

Student Life and Extracurricular Activities

Both Boston College and Barnard College offer a robust array of extracurricular activities and clubs, giving students numerous opportunities to connect with peers and pursue their interests. Boston College has over 200 clubs and organizations, ranging from the athletic to the artistic, and its Division I sports teams are popular draws for students and alumni alike. The college also has a strong commitment to service and social justice, with over 40 campus-based and community organizations dedicated to these causes.

Barnard College’s smaller size lends itself to a tight-knit community, with around 150 student clubs and organizations. The college emphasizes women’s leadership and empowerment, with numerous groups dedicated to these themes. Barnard is also home to a variety of cultural and artistic events, with close connections to the vibrant arts scene in New York City.

Additionally, both colleges offer a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in research and internships. Boston College has a dedicated Career Center that provides resources and support for students seeking internships and job opportunities. The college also has a strong research program, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects.

Similarly, Barnard College has a Career Development office that offers career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities. The college also has a robust internship program, with partnerships with a variety of organizations in New York City and beyond. Students can gain hands-on experience in fields ranging from finance to journalism to public policy.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Options: Boston College vs Barnard

Both Boston College and Barnard College are private institutions with high tuition fees, but they also offer generous financial aid packages to help make college accessible to all students. Boston College’s tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year is $64,176, with additional expenses for housing, meals, and personal expenses. The college offers need-based financial aid, with around 2/3 of students receiving some form of assistance.

Barnard College’s tuition for the same year is $62,525, with similar expenses for on-campus living and personal expenses. The college also offers need-based financial aid, with around half of students receiving assistance, as well as merit-based scholarships and awards.

It is important to note that both Boston College and Barnard College also offer work-study programs, which allow students to work part-time on campus to help cover their expenses. These programs not only provide financial support but also valuable work experience and networking opportunities.

Additionally, both colleges have dedicated financial aid offices and staff who are available to assist students and their families with the financial aid application process, as well as provide guidance on managing college expenses and budgeting.

Career Opportunities and Alumni Network Comparison

Both Boston College and Barnard College have strong career development resources and alumni networks, providing students with valuable connections and opportunities post-graduation.

Boston College’s Career Center offers a range of services and resources, including one-on-one advising, career fairs and events, internship and job listings, and alumni connections. The college boasts numerous notable alumni, including US senators, CEOs, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists.

Barnard College’s Career Development office provides similar services, as well as specialized programming for women’s career development and entrepreneurship. The college’s alumnae network is also notable, with prominent graduates including Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, renowned artists and scholars, and influential political figures.

Additionally, Boston College has a strong focus on experiential learning, providing students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields through internships, co-ops, and service-learning programs. The college also has a robust network of industry partners, allowing students to connect with professionals in their desired fields and gain valuable insights into the job market.

On the other hand, Barnard College has a strong commitment to social justice and community engagement, with many students participating in service projects and activism initiatives both on and off campus. The college also offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs, allowing students to explore diverse fields of study and gain a well-rounded education.

Athletics and Sports Programs Comparison

Both Boston College and Barnard College have strong athletic programs, with opportunities for students at all levels to participate and excel. Boston College is a Division I member of the NCAA, with 31 varsity teams competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Hockey East. The college’s sports teams have a strong following among students and alumni, with numerous championships and national titles in football, basketball, and ice hockey.

Barnard College is a member of the NCAA Division III and the Liberty League, with nine varsity teams in sports such as basketball, crew, and soccer. The college’s sports program emphasizes fitness, wellness, and teamwork, and provides opportunities for students to pursue their athletic passions in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Aside from varsity sports, both Boston College and Barnard College offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students to participate in. These programs allow students to engage in sports and physical activity in a more casual setting, while still fostering a sense of community and teamwork.

In addition to traditional sports, both colleges also offer unique opportunities for students to explore alternative forms of physical activity. Boston College has a rock climbing wall and a dance program, while Barnard College offers yoga and Pilates classes. These programs allow students to stay active and healthy while also exploring new interests and hobbies.

Diversity and Inclusion Policies: Boston College vs Barnard

Both Boston College and Barnard College are committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus community. At Boston College, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion works to promote equity, access, and inclusion for students, faculty, and staff. The college has a number of programs and initiatives in place to support students from underrepresented groups, including the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center and the Montserrat Coalition.

five different nation girls dressed in casual wear with smartphones

 

Barnard College has a similar commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a range of programs and resources dedicated to creating a supportive and inclusive environment. These initiatives include the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; the Barnard Center for Research on Women; and numerous student-led affinity groups.

Conclusion: Which College is the Best Fit for You?

Ultimately, the decision of whether to attend Boston College or Barnard College will depend on your individual needs, goals, and preferences. Both colleges offer world-class academics, vibrant campus cultures, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Boston College may be the better fit for students seeking a peaceful, suburban campus, strong professional programs, and a comprehensive liberal arts education. Meanwhile, Barnard College may appeal to students seeking a dynamic city experience, a tight-knit community, and a women’s-focused curriculum.

Consider your priorities carefully, and take the time to explore both colleges in depth before making your decision. The choice you make will have a profound impact on your life and career, so choose wisely.

Want to learn more about getting into College? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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