Colby vs Barnard: A Side-by-Side Comparison

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Male student resting next to a pile of boxes in his dorm room.

Colby vs Barnard: A Side-by-Side Comparison

When it comes to choosing the right college, location, academic programs, and campus culture are just a few factors that students consider. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at Colby College vs Barnard College to help you decide which school might be the right fit for you.

Location: Where are Colby and Barnard?

First, let’s start with location. Colby College is located in Waterville, Maine, while Barnard College is located in New York City. Colby’s campus is set on 714 acres of land, surrounded by lakes and forests, and offers a picturesque view of central Maine.

On the other hand, Barnard is located in the heart of Manhattan, just a few blocks away from Columbia University and the vibrant city life that New York has to offer.

View of students sitting on the bench.

It’s worth noting that the location of each college also offers unique opportunities for students. At Colby, students can take advantage of the nearby outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking. Meanwhile, Barnard students have access to all that New York City has to offer, including internships, cultural events, and networking opportunities with professionals in various industries.

History: A brief overview of the history of Colby and Barnard

Colby College was founded in 1813, making it one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States. It was originally established in response to the lack of resources for higher education in central Maine. Similarly, Barnard College was founded in 1889 as a women’s college in response to the lack of educational opportunities for women at the time.

Over the years, Colby College has undergone significant changes and expansions. In the early 20th century, the college moved from its original location in downtown Waterville to its current location on Mayflower Hill. In the 1960s, Colby became coeducational, admitting women for the first time. Today, Colby is known for its strong academic programs and commitment to sustainability.

Barnard College has also undergone changes since its founding. In 1977, it became affiliated with Columbia University, allowing students to take classes at both institutions. In recent years, Barnard has expanded its curriculum to include majors in fields such as computer science and urban studies. Despite these changes, Barnard remains committed to its mission of providing a rigorous liberal arts education for women.

Admissions: Admission rates, requirements, and processes at Colby vs Barnard

Both Colby and Barnard are highly selective schools. Colby has an admission rate of about 10%, while Barnard’s admission rate is around 15%. Both schools look for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic excellence, extracurricular involvement, and leadership potential. While the application requirements for both schools are similar, the admissions processes differ slightly, with Colby requiring interviews as part of the application process.

Additionally, Colby and Barnard both offer early decision and regular decision application options. Early decision is a binding agreement, meaning that if a student is accepted, they must attend the school. Regular decision allows students to apply to multiple schools and weigh their options before making a final decision.

Furthermore, both schools have a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admissions process. However, both schools do offer financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need, which can include grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities.

Academics: An in-depth look at the academic programs offered at Colby vs Barnard

Both Colby and Barnard offer rigorous academic programs that prepare students for success in their chosen fields. Colby’s core curriculum emphasizes a broad-based education in the liberal arts. Students can choose from 57 majors and minors and are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary studies.

Barnard’s curriculum is similarly built around the liberal arts and sciences, and students can choose from over 50 academic programs. Barnard is part of the larger Columbia University network, and students have access to classes and resources at Columbia.

Additionally, both Colby and Barnard offer extensive research opportunities for students. Colby has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on research projects in a variety of fields. Barnard also emphasizes research, with programs such as the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Research and Development Initiative providing students with opportunities to conduct research and gain hands-on experience in their fields of interest.

Campus life: Campus culture, student organizations, and activities at Colby vs Barnard

Colby and Barnard both offer vibrant campus cultures with a variety of student organizations and activities. Colby has over 100 student-led organizations, including athletic teams, interest groups, and clubs. The college also has a strong outdoor education program, which takes advantage of its unique location in central Maine.

Two students talking in the school campus.

Similarly, Barnard has over 150 recognized student organizations, including publications, cultural groups, and political organizations. Barnard also has a strong commitment to social justice and offers various opportunities to get involved with activism and community engagement.

Aside from student organizations, both Colby and Barnard offer a wide range of activities for students to participate in. Colby has a robust intramural sports program, which allows students to compete in a variety of sports against other students. The college also hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as concerts, lectures, and film screenings.

Similarly, Barnard offers a diverse range of activities, including dance performances, theater productions, and art exhibitions. The college also has a strong athletics program, with varsity teams in sports such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

Furthermore, both Colby and Barnard have unique traditions that contribute to their campus cultures. Colby has a longstanding tradition of holding a winter carnival, which includes events such as ice skating, snow sculpting, and a polar bear plunge. Barnard has a tradition of holding a Big Sub event, where students come together to create a giant sandwich and share it with the community. These traditions help to foster a sense of community and pride among students and alumni.

Athletics: A comparison of the athletic programs at Colby and Barnard

Both Colby and Barnard offer competitive athletic programs with numerous opportunities for student athletes. Colby is a member of the NCAA Division III, and its teams compete in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. It offers 15 intercollegiate sports teams as well as intramural and club teams. Barnard competes in the NCAA Division I as part of the Ivy League and offers eight intercollegiate sports teams.

Despite the difference in the number of intercollegiate sports teams offered, both Colby and Barnard prioritize the well-being of their student athletes. Both schools have athletic trainers and medical staff available to provide care and support to their athletes. Additionally, both schools have implemented policies and programs to ensure the academic success of their student athletes, such as study halls and academic advising specifically for athletes.

Student body: The demographics and size of the student body at Colby vs Barnard

Colby has a total enrollment of about 2,000 students, with a relatively even split between men and women. The student body is diverse, with representation from 50 states and 70 countries. Barnard has a slightly larger student body of about 2,500 students, with a focus on women’s education. The college is part of the larger Columbia University network and offers access to Columbia’s resources and student body as well.

Despite the relatively small size of Colby’s student body, the college offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs. Students can participate in over 100 student-run organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and athletic teams. Barnard also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, with a focus on promoting women’s leadership and empowerment. The college has a strong tradition of activism and social justice, and students can get involved in a range of community service and advocacy organizations.

Both Colby and Barnard have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Colby has a dedicated Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which works to promote a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for all students. Barnard has a similar commitment to diversity, with a range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting equity and inclusion. The college also has a strong network of alumnae, who serve as mentors and role models for current students.

Faculty: The qualifications and experience of faculty members of Both Colleges

Both Colby and Barnard have highly qualified faculty members who are experts in their fields. Colby has around 200 full-time faculty members, over 95% of whom have a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their fields. Similarly, Barnard has over 250 faculty members who are experts in their fields and dedicated to providing a top-notch education to their students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1.

Group of students gathered around a their professor in a room.

In addition to their impressive academic credentials, many faculty members at Colby and Barnard have extensive professional experience in their respective fields. This real-world experience allows them to bring a unique perspective to their teaching and research, and helps students to better understand the practical applications of the concepts they are learning in the classroom.

Furthermore, both Colby and Barnard prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their faculty hiring practices. They actively seek out faculty members from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, in order to create a more well-rounded and representative learning environment for their students.

Alumni network: The strength of alumni networks of Both Colleges

Both Colby and Barnard have strong alumni networks that provide support to current students and help prepare them for their careers. Colby has over 30,000 alumni worldwide, many of whom remain dedicated to the college and participate in alumni events and mentorship programs. Similarly, Barnard has a large and active alumni network, with over 35,000 women who are leaders in their fields and actively engaged with the college community.

These alumni networks offer a wealth of resources and opportunities for students, including job and internship connections, career advice, and networking events. Colby’s alumni network, for example, includes a career center that provides students with access to job postings, resume reviews, and interview preparation. Barnard’s alumnae network offers a variety of mentorship programs, including the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, which connects students with successful women leaders in various industries.

Cost of attendance: A breakdown of the costs associated with attending Colby or Barnard

Attending either Colby or Barnard is a significant investment, and it’s important to factor in the cost of attendance when making your decision. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the total cost of attendance at Colby is approximately $78,500, while the total cost at Barnard is around $76,000. Both colleges offer financial aid packages to eligible students to help offset the cost of attendance.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance includes not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, textbooks, and other expenses such as transportation and personal expenses. At Colby, the tuition and fees alone make up around $60,000 of the total cost, while at Barnard, tuition and fees account for approximately $57,000.

Despite the high cost of attendance, both Colby and Barnard have a strong commitment to making their education accessible to students from diverse backgrounds. In addition to need-based financial aid, both colleges offer merit-based scholarships and grants to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or talent in a particular area, such as athletics or the arts.

Financial aid: The types of financial aid available for students at Colby vs Barnard

Both Colby and Barnard are committed to providing access to education for all students, regardless of their financial backgrounds. Both colleges offer need-based and merit-based aid packages, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid at the same time they apply for admission to the college.

View of post it notes placed on the table.

It is important to note that the financial aid packages offered by Colby and Barnard differ in some ways. Colby, for example, offers a “no-loan” policy for students with family incomes below a certain threshold, meaning that these students will not have to take out loans to cover their education costs.

Barnard, on the other hand, offers a program called “Beyond Barnard” which provides funding for students to pursue unpaid internships and research opportunities. Both colleges also have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process and manage their finances while in school.

Conclusion: A summary of the similarities and differences between these two institutions

Both Colby and Barnard offer outstanding academic programs and vibrant campus cultures that attract talented students from all over the world. While there are differences in location and size, both colleges are committed to providing a top-notch education that prepares students for success in their chosen fields. Ultimately, the right college choice depends on your specific goals and preferences, but we hope this article has provided a useful comparison that helps you make an informed decision.

One notable difference between Colby and Barnard is their approach to undergraduate research. Colby emphasizes hands-on research opportunities for students, with a strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration. Barnard, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on independent research projects, allowing students to pursue their own interests and develop their own research questions.

Another difference between the two institutions is their approach to community engagement. Colby has a strong commitment to community service and encourages students to get involved in local organizations and initiatives. Barnard, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on social justice and activism, with many students involved in advocacy and organizing efforts both on and off campus.


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