How to Get into Barnard: Admission Requirements and Tips

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

How to Get into Barnard: Admission Requirements and Tips

Barnard College is a prestigious women’s college that offers a unique blend of rigorous academics and a tight-knit community. Getting into Barnard can be challenging due to its competitive admissions process, which looks for not only academic excellence but also a strong personal character and a passion for community engagement.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with essential tips and insights to navigate the application process successfully. Whether you’re just starting to consider Barnard or are in the midst of preparing your application, our insights will help you understand what Barnard looks for and how to present yourself as a strong candidate.

Overview of Barnard

Established in 1889, Barnard College is a significant institution in the landscape of American higher education. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Morningside Heights in New York City, Barnard offers its students the best of both worlds: a small college environment with the resources of a major metropolitan city.

Barnard’s prestige is reflected in its high rankings: it’s ranked 50th in the world by Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 and 11th among National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News Best Colleges. These rankings underscore Barnard’s commitment to academic excellence and its impact on the global educational stage.

The college’s influence is further evidenced by its notable alumni. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri and Oscar-winning filmmaker Greta Gerwig are among Barnard’s distinguished graduates. Their achievements highlight the kind of innovative and influential work Barnard encourages in its students.

Moreover, Barnard is renowned for its strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences. It offers a personalized educational experience, emphasizing critical thinking, leadership, and social awareness. Barnard’s unique partnership with Columbia University provides students with expanded academic opportunities and resources.

Understanding Barnard’s history, prestige, alumni, and academic strengths is crucial for your application. It’s not just about academic achievements; Barnard seeks students who resonate with its values and can contribute to its diverse and dynamic community. Showcasing your alignment with these aspects can significantly strengthen your application.

How Hard Is It to Get into Barnard?

Gaining admission to Barnard College is extremely competitive. The college’s latest acceptance rate stands at a mere 6.5%. This illustrates the high level of selectivity in its admissions process.

This figure signifies that out of every 100 applicants, only 6 to 7 students are offered admission, highlighting the exclusivity and rigor of the selection criteria.

Barnard’s acceptance rate

Barnard College’s acceptance rate has become increasingly selective over recent years, with rates steadily decreasing:

Class Acceptance Rate
Class of 2023 11.3%
Class of 2024 13%
Class of 2025 10%
Class of 2026 8%
Class of 2027 6.5%

This trend reflects the growing competition and heightened standards for admission, making Barnard one of the most sought-after and selective liberal arts colleges in the United States.

For the Class of 2027, Barnard received 11,803 applications, but only 6.5% of these applicants were admitted, marking the most selective rate in the college’s history. This figure demonstrates the intense competition and high standards applicants face when seeking admission to Barnard.

Prospective students should view this low acceptance rate as indicative of Barnard’s commitment to maintaining a diverse and high-achieving student body. It’s a call to ensure that your application is robust, showcasing not just academic excellence but also unique personal qualities and experiences.

Factors influencing the acceptance rate

Understanding the factors that influence Barnard College’s acceptance rate offers valuable insight into the institution’s selection process. These elements contribute to the competitive nature of admissions:

  • Increasing Applicant Pool: Each year, Barnard experiences a surge in the number of applications, leading to heightened competitiveness in the admissions process.
  • Rising Academic Standards: The college’s ever-increasing academic expectations play a significant role in making admissions more selective.
  • Brand and Reputation Enhancement: As Barnard’s reputation continues to grow globally, its appeal to top-tier students increases, subsequently reducing the acceptance rate.
  • Strategic Enrollment Goals: The college’s specific objectives regarding class composition, which focus on diversity and a balance of various interests and backgrounds, also play a crucial role in shaping the acceptance rate.

Barnard Admission Requirements

Gaining admission to Barnard College requires meeting various academic and personal criteria. Here’s a brief overview of the key components of Barnard’s admission requirements:

  • GPA: A high GPA is crucial, reflecting your academic consistency and ability to excel in a challenging curriculum.
  • High School Curriculum: A rigorous high school curriculum, including Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, demonstrates your readiness for Barnard’s academic rigor.
  • Standardized Test Scores: While Barnard has a test-optional policy, strong SAT or ACT scores can bolster your application, especially if they align with the college’s high academic standards.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Engagement in extracurriculars showcases your passions, leadership skills, and potential contributions to the Barnard community.
  • Personal Essays: Your essays offer a window into your personality, experiences, and how you align with Barnard’s values.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Recommendations from teachers or counselors provide external validation of your academic and personal qualities.

The admission process at Barnard is holistic, meaning every aspect of your application is considered. It’s not just about numbers; it’s about who you are as a student and a person. This process ensures that the college selects students who are not only academically qualified but also a good fit for the Barnard community.

What Does Barnard Look for in Students?

Knowing the values that Barnard College prioritizes in its students is essential for crafting a successful application. Understanding these values not only helps you align your application with what Barnard seeks but also allows you to gauge how well your personal and academic qualities fit with the college’s ethos.

With its rich tradition and innovative approach, Barnard looks for certain key qualities in its students:

1. Academic strength

Barnard College places a premium on academic excellence. The college is not just looking for students who have achieved high grades; it seeks individuals who show an authentic love for learning and a desire to explore subjects in depth.

This intellectual curiosity is often demonstrated through the pursuit of challenging coursework, a passion for research, or engagement in intellectual discussions and projects. Barnard’s ideal student is someone who thrives in a rigorous academic environment and consistently seeks to expand their knowledge and understanding.

2. Diverse interests

Beyond academics, Barnard values students who bring a variety of interests and experiences. This diversity goes beyond mere participation; it’s about how these interests have shaped the student’s perspective and character.

Whether it’s excelling in the arts, dedicating time to sports, engaging in meaningful community service, or exploring unique hobbies, Barnard looks for students who will contribute to the campus’s dynamic culture. These varied interests suggest a well-rounded individual who will take advantage of the broad array of opportunities at Barnard and contribute to the college’s vibrant community life.

3. Impact and leadership

Leadership and impact are central to Barnard’s ethos. The college seeks students who have demonstrated leadership, not just in traditional roles like club presidents or team captains, but in any capacity where they have positively influenced others.

This could be through innovative community projects, significant volunteer work, or even initiatives within their own families or local communities. Barnard values students who show resilience, the ability to overcome challenges, and a commitment to making a difference.

The college believes these qualities are indicative of individuals who will not only succeed academically but also lead and inspire change in their future endeavors.

Barnard GPA and SAT Requirements

At Barnard College, the importance of GPA and SAT scores in the admissions process cannot be overstated, despite the institution’s holistic review approach. These components play a crucial role in assessing an applicant’s academic readiness and potential for success within Barnard’s rigorous academic environment.

A young woman using a laptop while writing on her table.

Your GPA is a key indicator of your academic performance over an extended period. A high GPA demonstrates consistency, diligence, and the ability to thrive in academically demanding settings. Barnard, known for its challenging curriculum, looks for students who have consistently performed at a high level throughout high school.

While Barnard adopts a test-optional policy, submitting SAT scores can be beneficial, particularly if they are strong. High SAT scores can complement your GPA, providing another dimension of your academic ability. These scores offer a standardized measure of your readiness for college-level work, allowing the admissions committee to assess your academic strengths in a broader context.

In summary, both GPA and SAT scores are significant factors in Barnard’s admissions process. They provide a comprehensive view of your academic capabilities and preparedness for the college’s challenging and intellectually stimulating environment.

Barnard College GPA Requirements

At Barnard College, the average GPA of admitted students is a remarkable 4.0, typically reflecting a top-of-the-class standing with straight A’s. Barnard does not explicitly state a minimum GPA requirement, but the high average GPA indicates the college’s preference for academic excellence.

This average GPA of 4.0 needs to be understood in the context of Barnard’s rigorous academic standards and its position within the competitive landscape of American higher education. It suggests that Barnard students are among the highest achievers, not just at the college but nationally.

When you consider these GPA statistics, it’s important to recognize that while a high GPA is crucial, Barnard’s holistic admissions process also values other factors. However, the average GPA does indicate the level of academic excellence that Barnard typically expects from its applicants.

GPA recommendations

Given the high average GPA of admitted students, aspiring Barnard applicants should aim for a GPA that is as close to 4.0 as possible. While a perfect GPA is not a guarantee of admission, striving for top grades can significantly enhance your application’s strength in the competitive pool of candidates.

Here are some tips to help you achieve and maintain a high GPA:

  • Enroll in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or honors courses. Excelling in these advanced classes can boost your GPA and demonstrate your ability to handle rigorous academic work.
  • Aim for consistency in your grades throughout high school. Avoid significant fluctuations, as a steady record of high grades is more impressive than a sudden improvement.
  • If you’re struggling in a subject, don’t hesitate to seek extra help. Utilize tutoring resources, study groups, or additional support from teachers.
  • Develop strong time management skills to balance academics with extracurricular activities. Efficiently managing your time can help you maintain high grades while being active in other areas.
  • While all subjects are important, core academic subjects like math, science, English, and social studies typically carry more weight. Excelling in these areas can have a significant impact on your GPA.
  • Show genuine interest and curiosity in your studies. Engaged learning often leads to better understanding and higher grades.

Barnard Course Requirements

Understanding the typical high school coursework of successful Barnard College applicants is important, although these are not strict requirements. Following these recommendations can demonstrate your preparedness for Barnard’s academic rigor and help you stand out in the competitive admissions process.

Academic Literature

Barnard recommends taking the following subjects:

  • English: Successful applicants often complete four years of English, developing essential skills in reading, writing, and critical analysis.
  • Mathematics: Four years of math, including advanced courses, is common among admitted students. This shows an ability to tackle quantitative and analytical challenges.
  • Science: Four years of science, particularly with lab experience, is a frequent choice. It reflects proficiency in scientific methods and concepts.
  • Foreign Language: Studying a foreign language for four years demonstrates linguistic skills and cultural awareness, traits valued by Barnard.
  • Social Science: A background of four years in social sciences, such as history and economics, is typical, indicating an understanding of societal dynamics.

In addition, many successful Barnard applicants have pursued advanced, honors, or AP/IB courses. While not required, these courses demonstrate a commitment to academic rigor and a readiness for the challenges of college-level studies.

Tips on selecting courses

Selecting the right courses in high school is key to preparing for Barnard College’s rigorous academic environment. Here are some tips to guide your course selection:

  • Choose courses that offer both depth in subjects you are passionate about and breadth across a range of disciplines. This approach demonstrates your diverse interests and intellectual curiosity.
  • Whenever possible, enroll in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or honors courses. Success in these classes indicates your readiness for college-level work and your willingness to take on challenges.
  • While meeting Barnard’s recommended course guidelines, also pursue subjects that genuinely interest you. This balance can lead to better engagement and performance in your studies.
  • If you have a potential major in mind, take related courses to build a strong foundation in that field. This foresight shows Barnard that you are thoughtful about your academic journey.
  • Be realistic about how many challenging courses you can handle effectively. It’s important to maintain a high GPA, so balance rigor with what you can realistically manage.
  • Utilize your high school’s guidance counselors to help plan a course schedule that aligns with Barnard’s expectations and your academic goals.

Barnard SAT Requirements

The SAT assesses a student’s readiness for college, focusing on areas like mathematics, evidence-based reading, and writing. It’s designed to gauge critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to apply knowledge in these core areas.

Barnard College does not have an absolute minimum SAT score requirement, but these statistics reflect the high caliber of students the college admits:

Average SAT Score 25th Percentile SAT Score 75th Percentile SAT Score
1490 1430 1530

Barnard’s SAT score ranges are high compared to national averages, reflecting the college’s competitive nature. These scores are indicative of a student body that excels in critical thinking and academic skills.

Achieving a score at or above 1530 (75th percentile) significantly enhances your application. This score not only places you among the top academic achievers but also indicates your preparedness for the rigorous academic environment at Barnard, suggesting you’re well-equipped to excel in their challenging coursework.

Scoring at or above 1430 (25th percentile), meanwhile, still marks a competitive achievement in your application. However, while this score demonstrates a commendable level of proficiency, it is important to complement it with other strong application components.

These statistics should guide your SAT preparation strategy. While high scores are important, remember that Barnard employs a holistic admissions process, so your score is just one component of your application.

SAT recommendations

Aim for the 75th percentile (1530 or higher) to position yourself competitively among Barnard applicants.

Achieving a score in this range demonstrates strong academic potential in the context of Barnard’s selective admissions process.

Here are some effective strategies to help you reach or surpass the 75th percentile:

  • Begin your SAT preparation well in advance. This gives you ample time to understand the format, work on weaker areas, and build confidence.
  • Consistent practice is key. Use official SAT practice tests to familiarize yourself with the types of questions and the test’s pacing.
  • Identify and concentrate on your weaker sections. Tailored study plans can significantly improve these areas.
  • Understanding test-taking strategies, such as time management and question prioritization, can greatly enhance your performance.
  • Invest in high-quality study materials. Resources provided by the College Board or reputable SAT prep companies can be particularly beneficial.
  • If self-study isn’t enough, consider enrolling in a prep course or hiring a tutor, especially if you’re aiming for a top percentile score.
  • Regularly review learned concepts and take full-length practice tests under timed conditions. This helps build stamina and reduces test-day anxiety.
  • Keep abreast of any changes in the SAT format or content by regularly visiting the College Board’s website.

Barnard ACT Requirements

The ACT is a standardized test that evaluates college readiness across four key areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing section. It’s designed to measure a student’s comprehension and ability to apply knowledge, providing a common metric for comparing applicants.

Barnard College doesn’t specify a minimum ACT score for admission, but these figures illustrate the high caliber of students typically admitted:

Average ACT Score 25th Percentile ACT Score 75th Percentile ACT Score
33 32 34

The typical ACT scores at Barnard are considerably high when compared to national averages, underscoring the college’s selective nature. These scores reflect a student body that excels in critical thinking and possesses a strong academic foundation.

Scoring at or above the 75th percentile (34 or higher) places you among the top applicants, highlighting exceptional academic proficiency and enhancing the overall strength of your application.

A score of 32, which represents the 25th percentile, is certainly impressive and indicates strong academic capabilities. However, given the competitive nature of Barnard’s admissions, a score at this level should ideally be complemented by other strong elements in your application.

When reviewing these ACT statistics, it’s important to remember that Barnard employs a holistic admissions process. While achieving a high ACT score is beneficial, the college evaluates applicants based on a combination of factors, including academic achievements, personal qualities, and potential contributions to the Barnard community.

ACT recommendations

Aiming for a score at or above the 75th percentile (34 or higher) is a solid goal for applicants to Barnard College.

Here are some strategies to help achieve this:

  • The ACT encompasses English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Ensure you are well-prepared in each area to maximize your overall score.
  • Regularly take full-length, timed ACT practice tests. This not only familiarizes you with the test format but also helps identify areas needing improvement.
  • After each practice test, review your answers, especially the incorrect ones. Focus your study on these weaker areas.
  • Develop efficient time management skills. The ACT is time-pressured, so practicing under timed conditions is crucial.
  • Make sure you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals in each test section. This includes grammar rules for English and foundational concepts for Math and Science.
  • Invest in high-quality study guides and online resources. Materials from reputable sources, including the official ACT website, can be particularly beneficial.
  • If self-study isn’t yielding the desired results, think about enrolling in an ACT prep course. These courses offer structured learning and often provide insights into test-taking strategies.
  • Regular study and consistent practice are key to improving your ACT score. Stay motivated by setting clear goals and tracking your progress.

Is Barnard Test-Optional?

Barnard College has adopted a test-optional policy for its admissions process. This means that submitting SAT or ACT scores is not mandatory for applicants.

Barnard’s test-optional policy offers flexibility. If you have strong SAT or ACT scores, submitting them can enhance your application by demonstrating your academic abilities in a standardized context.

However, if you feel that your test scores do not adequately reflect your potential, you have the option to withhold them without penalty. This policy allows you to emphasize other aspects of your application, such as your GPA, coursework, essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

Like many institutions, Barnard adopted the test-optional policy to make college admissions more accessible and equitable. This decision acknowledges that standardized test scores may not fully capture a student’s abilities and potential, especially considering varying access to test preparation resources.

By adopting a test-optional policy, Barnard aims to evaluate applicants more holistically and provide an opportunity for all students to showcase their strengths and capabilities in different areas.

Does Barnard Superscore SAT and ACT?

Barnard College employs a superscoring policy for both the SAT and ACT.

For the SAT, the college considers the highest score in each section across all exam sittings. In the case of the ACT, Barnard evaluates the highest scores in each individual section, if taken multiple times, and then recalculates to determine your highest combined ACT composite score.

The college recommends that you submit your entire testing history, allowing the admissions team to evaluate your scores in context. Barnard emphasizes that they will use only the highest testing scores in their application review.

It’s important to note that if you are self-reporting ACT scores, you should not calculate a superscored ACT composite score yourself. Barnard will do the calculation during their evaluation.

Superscoring can significantly benefit your application, especially if you have strengths in particular test sections. It means that if you take the SAT or ACT multiple times, Barnard will consider only your best section scores from all test dates, potentially leading to a higher composite score.

This approach allows you to focus on improving specific sections in subsequent tests without worrying about other sections’ scores decreasing your overall performance. It encourages a strategic approach to standardized testing, where you can concentrate your preparation efforts on areas where you have the most room for improvement.

Barnard Application Essays

Application essays are a vital component of the admissions process at Barnard College. They provide a unique opportunity for you to convey your personality, perspectives, and passions beyond what can be gleaned from grades and test scores.

Essays allow the admissions committee to understand your character, how you think, and what values you bring to the college community. They are your chance to make a personal connection with the admissions officers and demonstrate why you are a good fit for Barnard.

Barnard requires a personal essay as part of the Common Application or Coalition Application. Additionally, there are supplemental essays designed to understand more about you, your perspectives, and your fit with Barnard’s values and community.

Personal essay

Your personal essay is your main essay on the Common or Coalition Application, where you share your story, experiences, or background in a way that is meaningful to you.

Supplemental essays

Barnard requires two supplemental essays. You also have the option to write an additional supplemental essay.

The prompts for the required supplemental essays are:

  • Our backgrounds and experiences shape how we navigate the world and see ourselves. Tell us about when, where, or with whom you feel your most authentic, powerful self. How might Barnard College further cultivate this version of you?
  • Barnard College celebrates intellectual risk-taking, and we believe that academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What questions do you have about the world around you, and why do they matter to you?

For the optional supplemental essay, choose one from the following prompts:

  • As a college for women, “Barnard embraces its responsibility to address gender issues in all their complexity and urgency to help students achieve the personal strength that will enable them to meet the challenges they will encounter throughout their lives.” How have you thought about gender in your academic life thus far and how has it shaped your learning experiences?
  • Barnard College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mission statement says “Our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity has the potential to disrupt and transform entrenched practices and thinking.” In what ways have you challenged ideas, practices, or spaces? What did you learn from these experiences?
  • Pick one woman—a historical figure, a fictitious character, or a modern individual—who you’d like to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. Why does this person intrigue you? What would you talk about? What questions would you ask her?

Barnard’s supplemental essays have a word limit of 250.

Essay tips

Crafting your essays for Barnard College is a crucial part of your application. Here are some tips to help you create compelling and effective essays:

A student writing in a room in front of her laptop.

  • Whether it’s your personal essay or a supplemental one, authenticity is key. Share real stories and insights that reflect who you are. Reflect on your experiences and how they’ve shaped your perspective or aspirations.
  • In your responses, especially to the supplemental essays, make a clear connection between your experiences, thoughts, or questions, and how Barnard fits into your journey. Show how the college can help cultivate your authentic self or further your intellectual curiosity.
  • Bring your essays to life with vivid language. Describe moments, people, and settings in detail to engage the reader and convey your message more powerfully.
  • For the essay about intellectual risk-taking, delve into the questions that fascinate you. Explain why these questions are important to you and how they align with Barnard’s academic environment.
  • When tackling the optional essays, use specific examples to illustrate your views on gender, how you’ve challenged established ideas, or why a particular woman inspires you. Specificity makes your essay more compelling and memorable.
  • While maintaining professionalism, keep your tone approachable. Your essays should sound like you and reflect your personality.
  • Be concise and stay within the 250-word limit. This constraint requires you to be clear and direct in your writing.
  • Thoroughly proofread your essays to eliminate grammatical errors and typos. Consider getting feedback from teachers or mentors who can provide constructive criticism.
  • Use your essays to demonstrate how you’ve grown or what you’ve learned from your experiences. Colleges, including Barnard, value applicants who show self-awareness and the ability to evolve.

Barnard Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are a critical component of the Barnard College application. They provide the Admissions Committee with valuable insights into a candidate’s character, academic abilities, and contributions to their school community.

These letters offer perspectives that grades and test scores alone cannot, highlighting the applicant’s personal strengths, classroom contributions, and potential for success in a college environment.

Barnard requires three recommendations for first-year applicants:

  • One Counselor Recommendation: This is a letter from your high school counselor. This letter helps the admissions committee understand your academic and personal background from a school perspective. In cases where a counselor is unable to provide a recommendation, you should inform the admissions office. An additional teacher letter may be submitted in lieu of the counselor’s recommendation.
  • Two Teacher Recommendations: These letters must come from your teachers in core academic subjects. Barnard prefers these recommendations to come from teachers who have taught you in your last two years of high school. However, letters from 10th-grade teachers are also acceptable. These recommendations should speak to your academic performance, intellectual curiosity, and engagement in the classroom.

For transfer students, Barnard’s requirements differ slightly:

  • Dean or Advisor Recommendation: One recommendation from a dean or advisor at your current college. This letter should focus on your college experience, academic performance, and personal growth during your time at the institution.
  • College Academic Recommendation: One academic recommendation from a college professor. This should provide insight into your capabilities and accomplishments in a college-level academic setting.

These recommendations collectively offer a comprehensive view of your abilities and potential, both academically and personally, and are vital to your application to Barnard College.

a father helping her daughter to make recommendation letter

Tips for seeking recommendation letters

When requesting recommendation letters for your Barnard College application, consider these strategies to ensure effective and supportive references:

  • Select teachers who know you well and can speak to your strengths, achievements, and character. Preferably choose those who have taught you recently in core academic subjects.
  • Give your recommenders an overview of Barnard College and what it values in applicants. Share your reasons for applying and what you hope to achieve.
  • Inform your recommenders about specific projects, achievements, or instances in their class where you demonstrated qualities Barnard values, like intellectual curiosity or leadership.
  • Approach your recommenders well in advance of the application deadline. This courtesy gives them ample time to write a thoughtful letter.
  • Provide a resume or a list of your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any other relevant information to help your recommenders include specific examples and details.
  • Politely follow up with your recommenders as the deadline approaches, especially if they haven’t confirmed submitting your letters.

Tips for recommenders

For teachers and counselors writing recommendation letters for Barnard College applicants, these tips can help in crafting effective letters:

  • Share specific anecdotes and examples that highlight the student’s strengths, character, and achievements. A personalized letter is more impactful than a generic one.
  • Barnard values intellectual engagement. Discuss instances where the student has demonstrated curiosity, critical thinking, or a passion for learning.
  • Describe how the student contributes to classroom discussions or group projects. Highlight their ability to collaborate and engage with peers.
  • Reflect on the student’s potential for further academic and personal growth. Barnard seeks students who will continue to develop and contribute meaningfully.
  • If applicable, discuss how the student has overcome challenges or demonstrated resilience. This aspect can provide insights into the student’s character and determination.
  • Tailor the letter to align with Barnard’s values, such as leadership, community engagement, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Extracurricular Activities for Your Barnard Application

Extracurricular activities play a significant role in the Barnard College application process. They offer a window into who you are beyond academic achievements, showcasing your passions, commitments, and how you engage with the world around you.

These activities provide evidence of your potential to contribute to Barnard’s campus life and the broader community. They also reflect your time management skills, balancing academics with other interests.

Extracurricular activities Barnard looks for

When it comes to extracurricular involvement, Barnard College is particularly interested in activities that resonate with its core values and the ethos of its programs. Leadership and initiative are highly valued; the college looks favorably on applicants who have taken on leadership roles or initiated projects or clubs, showcasing their ability to lead and inspire others.

Equally important is community engagement and service. Involvement in community service or social justice initiatives reflects a commitment to making a positive impact, aligning with Barnard’s emphasis on social awareness.

Intellectual curiosity, a hallmark of the Barnard experience, can be demonstrated through participation in academic clubs, competitions, or engaging in research opportunities. This shows a dedication to learning and exploration beyond the classroom.

woman leader

Creative and artistic pursuits are also a significant area of interest for Barnard. Involvement in the arts, be it performing, visual, or literary arts, speaks to a candidate’s ability for creative thinking and expression, qualities that are deeply appreciated within the Barnard community.

Additionally, Barnard values efforts towards diversity and inclusion. This commitment can be demonstrated through involvement in cultural organizations, leadership in diversity initiatives, and volunteering with underrepresented communities. These activities showcase your dedication to align with Barnard’s mission to nurture a diverse and socially conscious student body.

Extracurricular activities tips

Effectively presenting your extracurricular activities in your Barnard College application can significantly impact your overall candidacy. Here are some tips to help you showcase these activities effectively:

  • Emphasize any leadership roles you’ve held or initiatives you’ve spearheaded. Describe the impact of these roles, both on you and the groups or communities involved.
  • Focus on activities where you’ve been involved for an extended period, as this demonstrates dedication and commitment.
  • Explain how your extracurriculars have contributed to your personal development. Link these experiences to the qualities Barnard values, such as intellectual curiosity or community engagement.
  • If you have a range of interests, showcase this diversity. It reflects a well-rounded character and adaptability, traits valued by Barnard.
  • Include any awards, recognitions, or significant achievements in your activities. These distinctions can set you apart from other applicants.
  • Rather than just listing activities, reflect on what you’ve learned from them and how you’ve contributed to them. This reflection demonstrates self-awareness and a deeper engagement with your interests.
  • Where possible, align your activities with Barnard’s core values and the ethos of the programs you’re interested in. This alignment shows that you’re a good fit for the college.

Barnard Application Requirements

In applying to Barnard College, understanding and meeting the various application requirements is crucial for a successful submission.

Mandatory requirements

  • Common Application or Questbridge Application: This application requires your personal information, details of your extracurricular activities, and a personal essay. Ensure that your application comprehensively reflects your academic achievements and personal interests.
  • Barnard Writing Supplement: This includes a set of essays that offer deeper insights into your character and compatibility with Barnard. You should use these essays to effectively showcase your unique perspective and alignment with Barnard’s values.
  • Application Fee or Fee Waiver: The application process involves a fee of $75, but fee waivers are available for eligible applicants. If the fee is a financial burden, it is advisable to request a waiver.
  • Official High School and College Transcripts: These documents are crucial as they record your academic performance. You should ensure their accuracy and completeness before submission.
  • Mid-Year Report: This report, submitted by your counselor, includes your first-semester senior grades. It’s important to maintain strong academic performance as these grades are a critical component of your application.
  • Secondary School Report and High School Profile: These documents, submitted along with your transcript, help contextualize your achievements. Ensure your counselor includes any notable details about your school’s curriculum or extracurricular opportunities.
  • High School Counselor Letter of Recommendation: This letter provides insights into both your academic and personal attributes. Select a counselor who knows you well and can speak to your strengths and potential.
  • Two Teacher Letters of Recommendation: Ideally, these should come from teachers in core academic subjects. Choose teachers who can provide detailed comments on your academic abilities and personal qualities.

View of a student using her laptop while writing.

Optional requirements

  • Standardized Test Scores: You may choose to submit SAT or ACT scores. Only submit these scores if you believe they will enhance your application.
  • Additional Letters of Recommendation: You can request letters from up to two additional sources. Use these letters to illuminate different facets of your character or achievements.
  • Additional Information Section on the Common Application: This section is for any relevant information that doesn’t fit elsewhere in your application. Be judicious and concise in what you include, ensuring it adds meaningful context to your application.
  • Portfolios: If you’re a student in a creative field, submitting a portfolio can be a great opportunity. Select works that best showcase your skills and passion in fields such as film, music, or art.

Other requirements

  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test Scores: These are required for students whose primary language is not English or who have not been educated in an English-speaking school. Aim for scores that demonstrate your proficiency in English, which is essential for academic success at Barnard.

How to Apply to Barnard

Navigating the application process for Barnard College can be both exciting and challenging, requiring careful attention to detail and thorough preparation. This step-by-step guide is designed to walk you through the entire journey, from initial research to the moment of awaiting your admission results.

1. Preparation and research

Start by researching Barnard College thoroughly to understand its ethos, values, and programs. Visit the college’s website, attend information sessions (virtual or in-person), and connect with current students or alumni.

During this phase, focus on understanding what Barnard looks for in applicants and how your interests and goals align with the college. This is also the time to start thinking about your application strategy, including which teachers you’ll ask for recommendations and what you’ll write about in your essays.

2. Gathering and organizing application materials

Once you have a clear understanding of Barnard and its requirements, begin gathering necessary materials. This includes your high school transcripts, standardized test scores (if you choose to submit them), and details of your extracurricular activities.

Organize these materials and plan out your application timeline, noting down all key deadlines, such as for the Common Application, Barnard’s supplemental essays, and recommendation letters.

3. Completing the application

With all materials at hand, start filling out the Common Application or Questbridge Application.

Pay close attention to Barnard’s supplemental essays, as these are your opportunity to directly address the college and demonstrate why you are a strong fit. Ensure your essays are well-crafted, reflective of your personality, and aligned with Barnard’s values. Ask for feedback on your essays and revise them carefully.

4. Submission and confirmation

After completing your application, review everything thoroughly to ensure accuracy and completeness. Submit your application ahead of the deadline to avoid any last-minute technical issues.

Once submitted, confirm that all parts of your application, including recommendation letters and transcripts, have been received by Barnard’s admissions office.

5. Awaiting results

After submission, the waiting period begins. During this time, stay engaged with the college by attending any prospective student events and keeping an eye on your email for any communication from Barnard.

If there are significant updates to your application (like awards or new test scores), inform the admissions office. Finally, be patient and use this time to explore other college options and financial aid planning.

View of a female student typing in her laptop.

How to Submit Supplemental Materials to Barnard

Submitting supplemental materials to Barnard College can enhance your application, particularly if you have talents or achievements that fall outside of the standard application requirements.

Barnard College allows students to submit supplementary portfolios, which can include film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dance, theatre, or creative writing.

However, it’s important to note that Barnard does not require these portfolios or auditions from any of its applicants, regardless of their intended major. Additionally, Barnard’s faculty does not review these supplementary materials, meaning they are considered by the admissions team rather than academic departments.

Submission methods

For submitting portfolios in visual and performing arts, Barnard College uses Slideroom, an online platform accessible through the Common Application.

If you wish to submit written materials such as writing samples, poetry, or other documents in PDF format, you can email them directly to Barnard’s admissions office at [email protected].

Step-by-step guide

  1. Before you begin the submission process, ensure that your supplementary materials are polished and reflect your best work. Organize them in the format required by Barnard (e.g., digital files for Slideroom, PDFs for written materials).
  2. For visual and performing arts portfolios, log into your Common Application account and find the Slideroom link. This link is usually in the Barnard-specific section of the application.
  3. Follow the instructions on Slideroom to upload your portfolio. Make sure to adhere to any format and size guidelines specified by the platform.
  4. If you have written materials to submit, compile them into PDFs and email them to [email protected]. Ensure that your email includes your full name and any relevant application identifiers (like your Common App ID).
  5. Before submitting, review your materials to ensure they are complete and accurate. Once satisfied, submit your portfolio via Slideroom and send your written materials via email.
  6. After submission, you may want to follow up with Barnard’s admissions office to confirm that they have received your supplementary materials.

By following these steps, you can successfully submit your supplemental materials to Barnard College, providing an additional dimension to your application.

Barnard College Scholarships and Financial Aid

Navigating the landscape of scholarships and financial aid at Barnard College is a crucial aspect for many students, ensuring that higher education is accessible and affordable. Understanding the types of financial aid and scholarships available can significantly ease the financial burden of college education.

Barnard College offers a variety of financial aid options, primarily focusing on need-based aid, to support students from diverse economic backgrounds. Barnard meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need of its admitted students, making it possible for students from all financial backgrounds to attend.

The college does not offer merit-based scholarships, emphasizing the commitment to providing aid based on financial necessity. Financial aid packages may include a combination of grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and loans.

The grants and scholarships are funds that students do not need to repay, while work-study programs provide part-time employment to help with educational expenses. Loans, which do need to be repaid, are typically offered as part of an aid package but can be declined if the student prefers.

Young woman using a laptop on a table.

Additionally, Barnard participates in several federal programs, such as the Federal Pell Grant Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, and the Federal College Work-Study Program.

Barnard is also involved in state-specific programs like the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). These programs are administered in accordance with government regulations and align with Barnard’s policies on financial aid.

To further support their financial needs, students are encouraged to explore additional funding sources, such as external student loan programs, scholarship and tuition assistance programs, and college tuition financing plans.

Barnard Regular Decision vs Early Decision

When applying to Barnard College, one of the critical decisions you’ll face is choosing between Regular Decision and Early Decision. Each option has its own timeline and implications, making it important to understand the differences and determine which path aligns best with your circumstances and college aspirations.

Regular Decision and Early Decision at Barnard College differ primarily in their application deadlines and the binding nature of the acceptance.

Regular Decision is the standard admissions process, with a later deadline, typically in January. Applicants receive their admissions decisions in late March and are not bound to attend if accepted. This option allows more time to complete applications, consider various college options, and compare financial aid offers.

On the other hand, Early Decision is a binding agreement, meaning if you are accepted to Barnard under this plan, you are committed to attending. The application deadline is earlier, usually in November, with decisions announced in mid-December. This option is suitable for students who are certain that Barnard is their top choice and are ready to commit upon acceptance.

If Barnard is your top choice and you have completed a thorough college search, Early Decision can be a great option. This choice demonstrates your commitment and interest in Barnard, which can be an advantage in the admissions process. However, it’s important to be confident in your choice, as the decision is binding.

Regular Decision is ideal if you’re still exploring college options or if you want to compare financial aid packages. This non-binding option provides more flexibility, allowing you to keep your options open until you make a final decision in the spring.

In both cases, it’s crucial to ensure that your application—including essays, recommendation letters, and transcripts—is well-prepared and reflective of your best self, regardless of which deadline you choose.

Barnard Application Deadlines

When planning your application to Barnard College, it’s crucial to be aware of the key deadlines for both Early Decision and Regular Decision. These deadlines are as follows:

Application Option Deadline Notification Date
Early Decision November 1 Mid-December
Regular Decision January 1 Late March

Adhering to these deadlines is essential for a timely and successful application process.

How Hard is It to Get into Barnard?

Gaining admission to Barnard College is notably challenging. The Class of 2027 saw an acceptance rate of just 6.5%, reflecting the highly selective nature of the college. This statistic places Barnard among the most competitive institutions in the country. For prospective students, this low acceptance rate underscores the importance of academic excellence and a well-rounded application showcasing unique qualities and achievements.

Barnard’s rigorous admissions process evaluates candidates holistically. This means that while academic achievements are crucial, they are not the sole focus. The admissions committee looks for students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, leadership, community involvement, and potential for growth and contribution to the Barnard community. Moreover, Barnard seeks individuals who resonate with its values and vision, making personal essays and interviews crucial components of the application.

Applicants should strive for high academic standards, particularly in a challenging high school curriculum. Participation in extracurricular activities, community service, and leadership roles also play a significant part in making an application stand out. Personal essays provide a platform for applicants to share their unique stories, passions, and perspectives, allowing the admissions committee to gauge the applicant’s fit within the Barnard community.

Female student writing on a sofa.

Benefits of Attending Barnard

Barnard College, a prestigious women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, offers a unique educational experience that combines the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the resources of a major research university. Here, let’s explore the various benefits of attending Barnard.

Empowering Women’s Education

Barnard is dedicated to empowering women through education. It provides an environment where women’s voices are heard and valued, fostering leadership and confidence. The college’s curriculum and community encourage students to challenge conventional boundaries, think critically, and develop a strong sense of self.

Access to Columbia University Resources

As an affiliate of Columbia University, Barnard students enjoy a wealth of resources. This includes access to Columbia’s libraries, dining halls, and various campus events. Students can take classes at Columbia, and the two campuses’ proximity fosters a rich exchange of ideas and opportunities for collaboration.

Vibrant Campus Life in New York City

Located in New York City, Barnard offers a vibrant campus life amid the backdrop of one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Students can take advantage of the city’s cultural, professional, and social opportunities, which significantly enrich the college experience.

Diverse and Supportive Community

The Barnard community is known for its diversity and inclusivity. Students from various backgrounds and cultures come together, creating a supportive and dynamic learning environment. This diversity promotes a broader worldview and a deeper understanding of different perspectives.

How Can an International Student Get into Barnard?

Navigating the admissions process at Barnard College can be a unique journey for international students. Here’s a guide to help international students get into Barnard College.

English Proficiency Requirement

Barnard mandates that all applicants, especially international students, demonstrate proficiency in English. This can be done by submitting scores from standardized tests like TOEFL, IELTS, or the Duolingo English Test. However, you may be exempt from this requirement if you meet any of the following criteria:

  1. English is one of your first languages.
  2. You attended a secondary school where English was the primary language of instruction.
  3. You are enrolled in or have completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program or A Level curriculum taught in English.
  4. You have scored 700 or higher in the SAT’s Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, or 29 or higher on the ACT’s English or Reading sections.

If you fulfill one of these criteria, contact [email protected] to have your English Language Proficiency Requirement waived, if it hasn’t already been waived in your Barnard Applicant Portal.

Submission of Test Scores

If you don’t meet the above exemptions, you’ll need to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or DET scores. Note that these scores should not be more than two years old at the time of application. For competitive candidates, a score of 7.5 or higher on IELTS, 105 or higher on TOEFL, or 135 or higher on the Duolingo English Test is recommended. Also, Barnard accepts TOEFL iBT Home Edition or IELTS Indicator scores in response to COVID-19, but this is temporary until normal testing resumes.

Academic Transcripts and Documents

Students must provide official transcripts or exam results from their high school and/or college. If these documents are not in English, certified English translations are required. Your school or third-party organizations can assist with these translations.

Certificates and Test-Optional Policy

Do not submit other academic or activity certificates. Barnard has adopted a temporary test-optional policy for SAT and ACT through the 2023-2024 application cycle. You can self-report your highest SAT or ACT scores via the Common Application or directly through the Barnard Applicant Portal. Note that Barnard will superscore these exams.

Interviews for Assessing English Proficiency

Barnard partners with organizations like InitialView and Vericant to offer interviews that assess English language proficiency. These interviews are not Barnard-specific and can be sent to multiple colleges. If cost is a concern, reach out to Barnard for assistance.

Preparing for these requirements well in advance will ease your application process to Barnard College. Always check the latest updates on Barnard’s admission website or contact the admissions office for the most current information.

How to Get into Barnard as a Transfer Student

Becoming a transfer student at Barnard College requires a strategic approach, given the institution’s rigorous academic standards and unique community. Understanding the specific requirements and preparing accordingly can significantly enhance your application’s prospects.

Below is a detailed list of the essential components for a successful transfer application:

  • Completed Credits: Applicants should have completed between 24-60 transferable credits post-high school. Those with fewer than 24 credits must apply as first-year students.
  • Application Submission: Transfer applications to Barnard are facilitated through the Common Application. This includes a Personal Statement and the Barnard Writing Supplement, offering a glimpse into your personal and academic journey.
  • Application Fee: A $75 non-refundable fee is required. Fee waivers are available for eligible students.
  • Educational Transcripts: Official final high school and college transcripts must be submitted. For those with high school equivalency exams, the official diploma and test subject transcript are required.
  • College Report: A form to be completed by a college official who has access to your institutional record.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Submission of SAT or ACT scores is optional for certain application cycles. If submitted, official scores sent directly from the testing agency are required.
  • Academic Recommendation: One letter of recommendation from a professor or faculty member who taught you in the past year is needed.
  • Course Descriptions: A comprehensive list of official course descriptions from all attended colleges is mandatory.
  • Mid-Term Report: This report, completed by current instructors, provides in-progress grades at the time of application.
  • English Proficiency for International Applicants: Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores are necessary unless waived under specific conditions.

Meeting these requirements with a focus on showcasing your academic achievements and potential for contribution to the Barnard community is vital for a successful transfer application.

View of a female student studying in her room.

Can an Average Student Get into Barnard?

Gaining admission to Barnard College as an “average” student requires understanding what the term implies in the context of this prestigious institution. Barnard, known for its selective admission process, does not publicly disclose a minimum GPA requirement, emphasizing a holistic review of applicants. This approach means that even if a student’s GPA might not be exceptionally high, other factors can significantly impact their admission chances.

  • Academic Rigor: Barnard values a strong academic record. An average GPA paired with a challenging course load can demonstrate your commitment and ability to handle rigorous academic environments.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Active participation in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service can offset an average academic performance by highlighting other strengths and talents.
  • Personal Essays: Your essays offer an opportunity to provide context to your academic record and showcase your unique personality, experiences, and aspirations.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Strong recommendations from teachers or counselors who can attest to your academic and personal qualities can bolster your application.
  • Interviews: Although Barnard does not conduct mandatory interviews, taking advantage of optional interview opportunities can help you make a more personal impression on the admissions committee.

An “average” student, in terms of GPA, can still be a strong candidate for Barnard if other aspects of their application are compelling and align with the college’s values and expectations.

How to Get into Barnard with a Low GPA

Securing admission to Barnard College with a low GPA is challenging but not impossible. It requires a strategic approach to your application, highlighting strengths and potentials that can compensate for academic shortcomings.

  1. Showcase Improvement: If your GPA improves over time, emphasize this upward trajectory in your application. It can demonstrate resilience and a commitment to academic growth.
  2. Highlight Extracurricular Involvement: Active involvement in clubs, sports, community service, or other extracurricular activities can showcase leadership skills and dedication.
  3. Strong Essays: Use your personal statement and supplemental essays to tell your unique story. Explain any circumstances that may have impacted your academic performance and highlight your strengths and aspirations.
  4. Exceptional Recommendations: Secure recommendations from teachers or counselors who can vouch for your character, work ethic, and potential.
  5. Standardized Test Scores: If your SAT or ACT scores are strong, they can serve as an additional metric to demonstrate your academic abilities.
  6. Special Talents or Achievements: If you have special talents or significant achievements in areas such as arts, sports, or community service, make sure to highlight these in your application.
  7. Additional Courses or Programs: Taking additional courses at a community college or online can show your commitment to learning and improving your academic skills.
  8. Interviews: Use the interview opportunity (if available) to make a personal impression and demonstrate your enthusiasm for Barnard and its community.

Remember, Barnard’s holistic admissions process means that a low GPA is just one aspect of your application. Demonstrating a well-rounded profile with strengths in other areas can enhance your chances of acceptance.

What Makes Barnard Unique?

Barnard College stands out as a unique institution due to several key aspects that define its character and appeal to a diverse student body.

Emphasis on Women’s Leadership and Empowerment

At its core, Barnard is dedicated to the advancement of women’s education and leadership. As a women’s college affiliated with Columbia University, it offers a distinctive environment where women’s voices, perspectives, and potential are elevated and celebrated. This focus on women’s empowerment permeates all aspects of the Barnard experience, from classroom discussions to leadership opportunities.

Blend of Liberal Arts and Research Opportunities

Barnard’s liberal arts curriculum, combined with access to the vast resources of Columbia University, provides students a balanced and comprehensive educational experience. This unique partnership allows Barnard students to enjoy the intimate, supportive atmosphere of a small college while benefiting from the resources of a major research university. Students can participate in groundbreaking research, diverse internships, and a wide range of academic offerings.

Location in New York City

Barnard’s location in New York City is a defining feature that offers unparalleled opportunities. The campus is situated in the vibrant neighborhood of Morningside Heights, giving students access to a plethora of cultural, professional, and social experiences. This urban setting extends the classroom beyond campus borders, allowing students to engage with various industries, arts, and community organizations.

A man working with his classmates on a library.

What Does the Barnard Application Look Like?

The application process at Barnard College is comprehensive and requires several components, ensuring a holistic review of each candidate.

  1. Common Application: Applicants must submit the Common Application, which includes personal information, extracurricular activities, and college classes.
  2. Barnard Writing Supplement: This is a crucial part of the application, comprising essay questions that change annually. The supplement allows applicants to express their unique perspectives and interests.
  3. Application Fee or Waiver: A non-refundable fee is part of the application, though fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
  4. Official Transcripts: Applicants must submit their final high school transcript and, if applicable, college transcripts.
  5. College Report and Recommendations: A College Report from a college official and at least one academic letter of recommendation are required.
  6. Standardized Test Scores (Optional): Barnard has a temporary test-optional policy for SAT/ACT scores, but students can submit them if they choose.
  7. English Proficiency Tests: For international students, TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test scores may be required.
  8. Supplementary Materials (Optional): Students may submit additional portfolios or letters of recommendation.
  9. Interviews: Interviews are both informative and evaluative, conducted by staff, senior interviewers, or alumnae.

Is Barnard a Good School for You?

Determining if Barnard College is the right fit involves considering various factors that align with your personal and academic goals.

Consider Your Academic and Career Goals

Barnard’s strong liberal arts curriculum and affiliation with Columbia University offer a unique blend of intimate, women-focused education and access to extensive resources. If your goals include engaging in a rigorous academic environment while having opportunities for research and internships in diverse fields, Barnard could be an excellent choice.

Evaluate the Campus Culture and Community

Barnard’s commitment to women’s leadership and empowerment creates a distinctive campus culture. It’s crucial to consider whether this environment, which fosters strong female voices and leadership, aligns with your values and aspirations. The community is tight-knit, yet part of a larger university setting, offering a balanced college experience.

Assess the Impact of the Urban Setting

The urban location of Barnard in New York City offers vast opportunities but also comes with the hustle and dynamics of city life. Prospective students should reflect on their preference for a college setting – whether the vibrancy and opportunities of a major city are what they seek or if they prefer a more traditional campus experience.

By considering these aspects, you can gauge whether Barnard College aligns with your personal and academic aspirations, making it a suitable choice for your higher education journey.

How Selective is Barnard?

Barnard College, an esteemed institution in New York, is known for its selective admissions process. The acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 stood at a mere 6.5%, reflecting the college’s high standards and the competitive nature of its admissions. With 787 students accepted out of 11,803 applications, it’s evident that Barnard prioritizes a diverse and highly qualified student body. This selectivity underscores the importance of a strong academic record, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and compelling personal essays.

In addition to academic excellence, Barnard values unique personal qualities and achievements. The college looks for candidates who exhibit potential for leadership, community involvement, and a passion for their field of interest. Prospective students should demonstrate intellectual curiosity and the ability to contribute positively to the college community. Given Barnard’s holistic review process, every aspect of an application is critical – from grades and test scores to recommendations and personal statements.

To stand out in such a competitive environment, applicants should focus on showcasing their individual strengths and experiences. This could include leadership roles, community service, creative endeavors, or any other activities that highlight personal growth and commitment. Academic rigor in high school coursework is also a key factor, as Barnard seeks students who are prepared for the challenges of its rigorous academic programs.

The selectivity of Barnard College is a reflection of its commitment to maintaining a high-caliber student community. Aspiring students must prepare a robust application that showcases academic excellence and a diverse array of personal achievements and characteristics.

Should You Apply to Barnard?

Deciding whether to apply to Barnard College involves considering various factors. Below is a list that can help prospective students weigh the pros and cons:

  • Academic Rigor: Barnard offers a rigorous academic environment. If you thrive in challenging academic settings and seek intellectual growth, Barnard could be a good fit.
  • Selective Admissions: With an acceptance rate of 6.5%, Barnard is highly selective. Applicants should have strong academic records and extracurricular achievements.
  • Opportunities for Leadership and Growth: Barnard seeks individuals who demonstrate leadership potential and a desire for personal and professional growth.
  • Location: Situated in New York City, Barnard offers numerous cultural, educational, and professional opportunities. However, the urban setting might not be ideal for everyone.
  • Community and Diversity: Barnard is known for its diverse and inclusive community. If you value a diverse learning environment, Barnard could be a great choice.
  • Financial Considerations: Barnard meets 100% of the demonstrated need for U.S. citizens and permanent residents but is need-aware for international students. Applicants should consider their financial situation and aid availability.
  • Campus Culture: Barnard’s campus culture is vibrant and dynamic. It’s important to consider if this environment aligns with your personality and preferences.
  • Career and Networking Opportunities: Barnard provides excellent networking and career opportunities, especially beneficial for those aiming for careers in urban settings or industries prominent in New York City.

Considering these factors, prospective students should assess their personal and academic goals, financial situation, and preferences for campus culture and location before deciding to apply to Barnard.

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How Does Barnard Review Applications?

Barnard College employs a holistic approach to reviewing applications, which means that every aspect of an application is considered. The process is designed to evaluate not just academic achievements but also the personal qualities of the applicant. This approach helps the admissions committee understand the applicant as a whole person, beyond just grades and test scores.

The admissions committee at Barnard carefully reviews each applicant’s academic record, including the rigor of their high school coursework, grades, and standardized test scores (if submitted). In addition, the committee pays close attention to the applicant’s personal essay, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. These components provide insights into the applicant’s character, interests, and potential contributions to the Barnard community.

For international students, additional factors are considered, such as English language proficiency and the educational context of their home country. Barnard acknowledges the diverse educational experiences of international applicants and evaluates their academic records within the context of their respective educational systems.

The review process also considers unique circumstances that may have impacted an applicant’s academic journey. This includes personal, familial, or financial challenges that may have affected their academic performance or extracurricular involvement. Barnard values resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles, viewing these qualities as indicative of a student’s potential for success.

Barnard’s application review process is comprehensive and student-centric. It aims to identify students who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the college community. This holistic approach ensures that each application is evaluated fairly, taking into consideration all aspects of the student’s background and achievements.

Does Barnard Require Interviews?

Barnard College’s approach to interviews in its admissions process is both unique and integral. Unlike many colleges, Barnard views interviews as a dual opportunity: they serve as a platform for applicants to learn more about the college and for the admissions committee to gain a deeper understanding of the applicant. This dual nature makes the interview a critical component of the application process.

The format is both informative and evaluative. It’s important for applicants to be aware that these interviews are not just a formality; they play a significant role in the admissions process. Applicants should prepare to discuss their interests, experiences, and motivations for attending Barnard, while also being ready to ask informed questions about the institution.

For those applying for Early Decision, the timeline for interviews is particularly important. Barnard asks that interviews for Early Decision applicants be completed before November 1st. This requirement underscores the importance of planning and preparing for the interview well in advance of the application deadline.

What Extracurriculars Do You Need for Barnard?

When considering extracurricular activities for admission to Barnard College, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. The college seeks students who demonstrate passion, commitment, and leadership in their chosen activities. Here are key extracurricular areas that can strengthen your application:

  1. Leadership Roles: Holding leadership positions in clubs, organizations, or sports teams demonstrates your ability to take initiative and manage responsibilities. This could include being a team captain, club president, or organizer of a major event.
  2. Community Service: Involvement in community service projects shows a commitment to helping others and contributing to society. This could be volunteering at a local charity, organizing a fundraising event, or participating in community clean-up efforts.
  3. Creative Arts: Participation in the arts, whether it’s music, drama, dance, or visual arts, indicates creativity and dedication to developing your talents. This could include being part of a band, participating in theater productions, or exhibiting artwork.
  4. Academic Clubs: Involvement in academic clubs or societies, such as a science club or a language club, demonstrates a commitment to academic pursuits outside the classroom.
  5. Internships or Work Experience: Gaining practical experience through internships or part-time jobs can show maturity, responsibility, and a sense of direction in your career interests.

It’s important to remember that Barnard values the depth of involvement and the impact you’ve made in your activities, rather than just the number of activities you’re involved in. Choose extracurriculars that truly interest you and where you can make a significant contribution.

What Should You Write About in Your Personal Statement to Get into Barnard?

In your personal statement for Barnard College, focus on four key areas:

Highlight Your Unique Background and Experiences

Your personal statement for Barnard should reflect your authentic self. It’s your chance to share your story and showcase how your background and experiences have shaped you. Discuss moments where you’ve felt most empowered and true to yourself. Explain how these experiences have prepared you for a diverse and inclusive academic environment like Barnard.

Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity and Academic Interests

Barnard values students who show a passion for learning and intellectual exploration. Use your personal statement to discuss your academic interests and how they align with what Barnard offers. Whether it’s a particular field of study, a unique program, or a specific faculty member’s work that excites you, make it clear why Barnard is the right place for you to pursue these interests.

Address Challenges and Personal Growth

Your journey to Barnard may have included challenges or obstacles. Your personal statement is an opportunity to talk about these experiences and how they’ve contributed to your personal growth. This could include overcoming a difficult situation, learning from a failure, or navigating a significant life change. Show how these experiences have made you stronger and more resilient.

Connect Your Goals with Barnard’s Values

Barnard is known for its commitment to women’s leadership and social change. In your statement, connect your future goals with these values. Discuss how being a part of the Barnard community will help you achieve your aspirations and contribute positively to the world.

Remember, the personal statement should not just be a list of achievements. It’s a narrative that weaves together your experiences, interests, challenges, and goals, showing why you are a perfect fit for Barnard College.

Male student looking at his laptop.

How Do You Write a Barnard Supplemental Essay?

The Barnard supplemental essay is a crucial component of your application. It offers a unique opportunity to showcase your personality, intellect, and fit for Barnard. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting an impactful supplemental essay:

  1. Understand the Prompt: The Barnard essay prompts are designed to understand you better. They ask about your authentic self and your intellectual interests. Reflect deeply on what makes you feel powerful and authentic.
  2. Be Personal and Honest: Your essay should reflect who you are. Write about real experiences, thoughts, and dreams. It’s not about impressing with grandeur but connecting through sincerity.
  3. Connect to Barnard’s Values: Research Barnard’s mission and values. Show how they align with your own. Perhaps Barnard’s emphasis on women’s empowerment resonates with your experiences or aspirations.
  4. Be Specific: Vague statements don’t stand out. If you’re discussing a seminar you’d like to lead, detail the topic, why it interests you, and how it aligns with Barnard’s academic offerings.
  5. Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity: Barnard values intellectual engagement. Discuss how you pursue knowledge outside the classroom. This could include books, projects, or community involvement.
  6. Proofread and Revise: Before submitting, ensure your essay is free from grammatical errors and flows well. Have someone else read it for feedback.
  7. Stay True to Your Voice: Your essay should sound like you. Avoid overly formal language if it’s not how you naturally write.

What Enrichment Opportunities Will Help You Get into Barnard?

To enhance your Barnard application, focus on enrichment opportunities that align with your interests and demonstrate your readiness for a challenging academic environment. Here are key activities to consider:

  • Leadership Roles: Pursue leadership positions in clubs, sports teams, or community organizations. Barnard values students who show initiative and the ability to lead.
  • Community Service: Engage in community service activities. These experiences showcase empathy, social awareness, and a commitment to making a difference.
  • Creative Pursuits: Whether it’s art, music, writing, or theater, creative endeavors indicate a well-rounded personality and the ability to think innovatively.
  • Academic Competitions: Participate in debates, science fairs, or math leagues. Success in these areas demonstrates intellectual curiosity and a competitive spirit.
  • Internships or Job Experiences: Gaining real-world experience through internships or jobs, especially in fields related to your interests, shows maturity and a readiness for college-level responsibilities.
  • Summer Programs: Enroll in summer courses or programs, particularly those offering college-level coursework or unique experiences in your field of interest.
  • Cultural Experiences: Experiences that expose you to diverse cultures, such as travel or language study, can enhance your application by demonstrating global awareness and adaptability.

Do You Need to Take AP Courses to Get into Barnard?

Barnard College, known for its rigorous academic environment, doesn’t explicitly state a requirement for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in its admission criteria. However, considering the competitive nature of its admissions process, taking AP courses can be advantageous. Here’s why:

  • Showcasing Academic Rigor: AP courses are regarded as college-level classes in high school. Taking these courses demonstrates your ability to handle challenging coursework, a quality that Barnard values in its students.
  • GPA Boost: Excelling in AP classes can positively impact your GPA. Since Barnard considers your academic performance, a higher GPA can strengthen your application.
  • College Credit: Success in AP exams may grant you college credits, allowing you to advance to higher-level courses sooner at Barnard.
  • Highlighting Specific Interests: AP courses in areas related to your intended major can showcase your depth of interest and commitment to that subject area.
  • Balancing Your Schedule: While AP courses are beneficial, it’s crucial to balance them with extracurriculars and personal interests. Barnard looks for well-rounded individuals, so a mix of rigorous academics and engaging activities is ideal.
  • AP Courses and Holistic Review: Remember, Barnard adopts a holistic approach to admissions. Your entire profile, including leadership, community service, and personal essays, is considered alongside academic achievements.
  • Consult Counselors: Talk to your high school counselor about the right mix of AP courses that align with your strengths and college goals.

View of three people studying in a desk.

Does Barnard accept AP credit?

Barnard College values the dedication and academic rigor demonstrated by students who take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams. The college offers credit and course exemptions for AP scores of 4 or 5 in various subjects. For instance, a score of 4 or 5 in Art History results in an exemption from AHIS BC1001, while similar scores in Biological Sciences lead to an exemption from BIOL BC1001. This policy is reflective of Barnard’s commitment to acknowledging the academic achievements of incoming students.

The policy, however, underwent changes in fall 2016, particularly affecting exemptions related to the Thinking Quantitatively/Empirically and Languages requirements. It’s important to note that the awarding of AP credit can vary by department. For example, in subjects like Chemistry and Computer Science, a score of 4 or 5 translates to specific course equivalents at Barnard. The college also awards credits in areas like Economics, Environmental Science, and various Foreign Languages based on high AP scores.

While AP credits can bolster your academic profile, they form only a part of Barnard’s comprehensive review process. Applicants should understand that Barnard values a holistic approach to admissions. Beyond AP scores, the college considers a range of factors, including academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and personal essays. This holistic review ensures that students are not only academically capable but also a good fit for the Barnard community.

Prospective students are encouraged to carefully review the AP credit policies for their intended major or department. This understanding will help in planning their college curriculum and in recognizing how their AP achievements might be integrated into their academic journey at Barnard. It’s also advisable to stay informed about any updates to the AP credit policy, as such changes can influence course planning and academic strategies.

Will Barnard Look at Your Social Media?

Currently, Barnard College does not explicitly state its policy regarding the review of applicants’ social media profiles. In the broader context of college admissions, some institutions might review social media profiles to glean additional insights into a candidate’s personality and interests, but this practice is not uniform across all colleges.

Social media platforms can serve as an extension of one’s personal brand and, in some cases, provide additional context to an applicant’s life outside the academic realm. Profiles that showcase community involvement, leadership, creativity, and other positive attributes could potentially add depth to an applicant’s profile.

On the flip side, inappropriate or offensive content on social media can raise red flags for admissions committees. In an era where digital footprints are increasingly scrutinized, it’s important for students to be mindful of their online behavior. This includes considering the privacy settings of their accounts and being thoughtful about the content they share.

While Barnard’s admissions process is comprehensive and multifaceted, focusing on academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal essays, applicants should not disregard the potential impact of their digital presence. A well-managed social media profile, aligning with the values and ethos of the institution, can subtly complement an application, even if it’s not a decisive factor.

Students applying to colleges, including Barnard, are advised to conduct a thorough review of their social media accounts. Ensuring that their online persona reflects maturity and responsibility can be an important aspect of presenting oneself holistically in the college admissions process.

Will Visiting Barnard Help You Get In?

When considering admission to Barnard College, prospective students often wonder if visiting the campus can impact their chances of acceptance. It’s important to note that Barnard does not consider demonstrated interest, including campus visits, in its admissions decisions. This approach aligns with Barnard’s commitment to a fair and holistic review process, ensuring that all applicants, regardless of their ability to visit, are evaluated on an equal footing.

However, visiting Barnard offers invaluable benefits beyond the admissions process. Campus tours and information sessions provide a tangible sense of the college’s environment, community, and resources. Engaging with current students, faculty, and staff during these visits can offer insights into the academic culture, student life, and opportunities available at Barnard. For many students, this firsthand experience is crucial in determining if the college aligns with their academic and personal goals.

Visiting the campus also demonstrates a proactive approach to college selection. It shows an eagerness to learn more about the college, understand its values, and assess how well it fits with one’s own aspirations. While this might not directly influence the admissions decision, it equips applicants with a deeper understanding of Barnard, which can be reflected in their application essays and interviews.

Furthermore, campus visits can clarify aspects of college life that are not always apparent through brochures or websites. Interacting with the Barnard community, exploring the campus facilities, and experiencing the vibrancy of college life can provide a more comprehensive view of what it means to be a part of Barnard.


Applying to Barnard College involves understanding various aspects of the admission process, each playing a vital role in crafting a compelling application.

The competition for admission to Barnard College is indeed stiff, reflecting the college’s high standards and reputation. However, this should not be discouraging. Instead, view it as a motivation to present the best version of yourself in your application.

Barnard College

Focus on highlighting your unique strengths, passions, and achievements. Remember, a well-rounded application showcasing not just academic excellence but also personal character, leadership qualities, and community involvement can set you apart.

Stay confident, be authentic, and use the application process as an opportunity for self-discovery and growth.

We can help you figure out how to get into Barnard

At AdmissionSight, we understand the intricacies and challenges of getting into top colleges like Barnard.

Our team of experts is equipped to guide you through each step of the application process. From strategizing your application to polishing your essays and preparing for interviews, we offer personalized support tailored to your unique profile and goals. Our goal is to help maximize your chances of admission by showcasing your true potential.

Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s start working together towards achieving your Barnard admission goals.

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