Princeton vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Guide

July 4, 2023
By AdmissionSight
College Decision Day

Princeton vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you trying to decide between attending Princeton or Barnard? It’s certainly a tough decision to make. Both institutions have a lot to offer, but deciding which one is right for you can be difficult without proper research. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at Princeton vs Barnard, and the similarities and differences between them. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which institution is the best fit for you.

Introduction to Princeton and Barnard

Princeton and Barnard are two of the most prestigious private institutions in the country. Princeton is located in Princeton, New Jersey, and is one of the eight Ivy League universities. Barnard is located in New York City and is a private women’s liberal arts college that’s affiliated with Columbia University. While they’re both highly regarded institutions, they have some significant differences that are important to consider when deciding which to attend.

One major difference between Princeton vs Barnard is their size. Princeton has a larger student body, with approximately 5,400 undergraduate students, while Barnard has a smaller student body of around 2,600 undergraduate students. This can impact the overall campus culture and the types of opportunities available to students.

Additionally, Princeton has a larger endowment, which allows for more resources and funding for research and academic programs. However, Barnard’s affiliation with Columbia University provides unique opportunities for cross-registration and access to Columbia’s resources and facilities.

History and Background of Princeton University

Princeton University was founded back in 1746, which makes it the fourth-oldest college in the United States. It started as the College of New Jersey and was located in Elizabeth, New Jersey before moving to its current location in Princeton. The university is known for its distinguished faculty members and for producing a high number of Nobel Prize winners.

Blair Hall on the Princeton University campus.

Princeton University has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence and innovation. It was one of the first universities to offer a graduate program in the United States, and it has continued to be a leader in research and scholarship across a wide range of fields.

The university is also known for its beautiful campus, which features a mix of historic and modern buildings, as well as extensive green spaces and gardens. Today, Princeton remains one of the most prestigious universities in the world, attracting top students and faculty from around the globe.

History and Background of Barnard College

Barnard College was founded in 1889 as a women’s college that would offer women the same educational opportunities as men. The college has a long history of advocating for women’s rights, and many famous feminists have attended or taught at the college.

One of the most notable alumnae of Barnard College is the American writer and feminist, Zora Neale Hurston. She attended college in the 1920s and went on to become a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston’s work, including her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” is celebrated for its portrayal of African American life and culture. Today, Barnard College continues to prioritize the education and empowerment of women and is recognized as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Admission Requirements for Princeton and Barnard

The admission requirements for Princeton and Barnard are similar in many ways, but there are some notable differences. Both institutions require a high school diploma or equivalent, transcripts, test scores, and essays. However, Princeton also requires applicants to submit two teacher evaluations, while Barnard only requires one. Additionally, Barnard is a women’s college, while Princeton is co-educational.

Another difference between the admission requirements for Princeton and Barnard is the standardized test scores they accept. While both institutions accept the SAT and ACT, Princeton also accepts the SAT Subject Tests, while Barnard does not require them. It is important for applicants to check the specific requirements for each institution they are applying to.

Furthermore, both Princeton and Barnard value extracurricular activities and community involvement. Applicants should highlight their involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, and other activities in their application. Princeton also encourages applicants to participate in an interview, either on campus or with an alumni interviewer, while Barnard does not offer interviews as part of the application process.

Application Process for Princeton and Barnard

The application process for both Princeton and Barnard is straightforward. Prospective students can apply online through the Common Application. Princeton also accepts the Coalition Application. Both institutions require applicants to submit application fees, but they offer fee waivers for students who demonstrate financial need.

In addition to the online application, both Princeton and Barnard require applicants to submit standardized test scores, high school transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Princeton also requires applicants to complete the Princeton Supplement, which includes additional essay questions specific to the university. Barnard encourages applicants to submit a personal statement and a creative writing supplement, but these are optional.

Acceptance Rates at Princeton and Barnard

The acceptance rates at Princeton and Barnard are both quite low. For the class of 2024, Princeton’s acceptance rate was 5.5%, while Barnard’s was 11.3%. However, it’s important to note that Barnard has a smaller applicant pool than Princeton.

Despite the lower acceptance rate, both Princeton and Barnard have highly competitive applicant pools. In fact, both schools received record numbers of applications for the class of 2024, with Princeton receiving over 32,000 applications and Barnard receiving over 9,000. This means that even though Barnard has a smaller applicant pool, the competition for admission is still incredibly fierce.

Academic Programs Available at Princeton and Barnard

In comparing Princeton vs Barnard, both offer a wide range of academic programs, but they have different strengths. Princeton is known for its strong programs in the sciences, engineering, and public policy. Barnard is known for its excellent programs in the humanities and social sciences.

Additionally, both Princeton and Barnard offer unique interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs combines coursework in law, politics, and economics, while Barnard’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program integrates feminist theory with a variety of disciplines such as literature, history, and sociology.

Faculty and Teaching Quality at Princeton and Barnard

The faculty at both institutions are highly regarded in their respective fields. Princeton has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, while Barnard’s is 9:1. However, it’s worth noting that at Barnard, classes are taught by professors rather than graduate students, which may appeal to some students.

In addition to the high quality of faculty, both Princeton and Barnard prioritize teaching excellence. Princeton has a Center for Teaching and Learning that offers resources and support for faculty to enhance their teaching skills. Similarly, Barnard has a Teaching and Learning Center that provides workshops and consultations for faculty to improve their teaching practices. These initiatives demonstrate the commitment of both institutions to providing students with a top-notch education.

Student Life at Princeton University

Life at Princeton is rigorous but rewarding. Students are expected to participate in many extracurricular activities while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule. Princeton has a strong sports program, with many varsity and club teams available to students. There are also many cultural and social events on campus, including concerts, plays, and art exhibits.

a group of student working together

Additionally, Princeton University offers a wide range of academic resources to its students. The university has a well-stocked library system, with access to millions of books, journals, and other resources. There are also numerous research opportunities available to students, including internships and fellowships.

Princeton also has a strong commitment to community service and social justice. The university offers many opportunities for students to get involved in community service projects, both on and off campus. There are also many student-led organizations focused on promoting social justice and equality, such as the Black Student Union and the LGBTQ+ Center.

Student Life at Barnard College

Barnard offers a vibrant student life. As a women’s college, it places a strong emphasis on women’s empowerment and advocacy. Students can participate in a variety of clubs and organizations, including academic groups, social clubs, and activism groups. Barnard is also located in New York City, providing students with many opportunities to explore the city and engage with its culture.

Barnard College's front building

Additionally, Barnard College offers a wide range of resources and support services to help students succeed academically and personally. These include academic advising, tutoring, career services, mental health counseling, and wellness programs. The college also hosts numerous events and workshops throughout the year, such as guest lectures, performances, and networking opportunities, to enrich students’ educational experiences and help them build connections with peers and professionals.

Housing Options for Students at Princeton and Barnard

Both institutions provide a variety of housing options for students. Princeton requires all undergraduates to live on campus for their freshman and sophomore years, while Barnard only requires students to live on campus for their first year. After that, most Barnard students choose to live in nearby apartments or dormitories.

Princeton offers a range of housing options for upperclassmen, including residential colleges, co-ops, and independent living. Residential colleges are communities of students who live together, share meals, and participate in social and academic activities. Co-ops are student-run living arrangements where residents share responsibilities for cooking, cleaning, and maintenance. Independent living allows students to live off-campus in apartments or houses, but still be part of the Princeton community.

Princeton vs Barnard: Campus Facilities and Resources

Both institutions have top-notch facilities and resources for their students. Princeton has extensive research facilities, including many libraries and laboratories. Barnard has a strong emphasis on the arts, with many performance spaces and art galleries available to students.

In addition to research facilities, Princeton also has state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including multiple gyms, swimming pools, and sports fields. These facilities are available to all students and are used for both recreational and competitive purposes.

Barnard also offers a variety of resources for students interested in social justice and activism. The college has a dedicated center for community action and social justice, which provides resources and support for students interested in making a positive impact on their communities. Additionally, Barnard has a strong network of alumni who are actively involved in social justice work and can provide mentorship and guidance to current students.

Athletics and Sports Programs at Princeton University

Princeton has a strong athletics program, with many varsity and club teams available to students. The university is a member of the Ivy League, and its teams compete against other Ivy League schools in many sports.

In addition to varsity and club teams, Princeton also offers a wide range of intramural sports for students to participate in. These sports include basketball, soccer, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee, among others. Intramural sports provide a fun and competitive outlet for students who may not have the time commitment or skill level required for varsity or club teams. Additionally, Princeton’s athletics program emphasizes the importance of academic success, with many student-athletes achieving high academic honors while also excelling in their respective sports.

Athletics and Sports Programs at Barnard College

While Barnard doesn’t have varsity sports teams, it does offer many intramural sports programs for students. These programs allow students to participate in sports and stay active while still focusing on their academics.

In addition to intramural sports programs, Barnard College also has a state-of-the-art fitness center that is available to all students. The fitness center offers a variety of equipment, including cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights. Additionally, the college offers fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Students can take advantage of these resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle and relieve stress during their busy academic schedules.

Career Opportunities for Graduates of Princeton and Barnard

Because of their reputations, graduates of both institutions have a wide range of career opportunities available to them. Many graduates go on to top graduate schools or pursue careers in law, medicine, and business. The strong alumni networks of both institutions can be helpful in finding employment opportunities after graduation.

In addition to the traditional career paths, graduates of Princeton and Barnard also have opportunities in fields such as technology, journalism, and the arts. Both institutions offer programs and resources to help students explore and prepare for these non-traditional career paths.

Furthermore, graduates of Princeton and Barnard are highly sought after by employers due to their strong academic backgrounds and critical thinking skills. Many companies actively recruit from these institutions and offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract top talent.

Princeton vs Barnard: Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance at both institutions is high, but there are some differences. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the total cost of attendance at Princeton is around $74,000, while the total cost of attendance at Barnard is around $77,000. However, both institutions offer generous financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at both institutions includes not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses. Additionally, while the cost of attendance at Barnard may be slightly higher, the college is located in New York City, which offers students unique opportunities for internships, cultural experiences, and networking.

Financial Aid Options Available to Students Who Attend Either School

In the Princeton vs Barnard financial aid, both offer need-based financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need. These packages can include grants, loans, and work-study programs. It’s important to note that neither institution offers merit-based scholarships, so students will need to demonstrate financial need in order to receive financial aid.

Additionally, both schools have financial aid offices that are available to assist students and their families in navigating the financial aid process. These offices can provide guidance on completing financial aid applications, understanding financial aid packages, and exploring alternative funding options. Students are encouraged to reach out to these offices early in the application process to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of financial aid for which they are eligible.

Conclusion: Which School is Right for You?

Deciding between Princeton vs Barnard is a big decision, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Both institutions have a lot to offer in terms of academic programs, student life, and campus resources. It’s important to consider your own interests, needs, and goals when making a decision.

Female teacher talking to her students.

Ultimately, the best way to get a feel for each institution is to visit the campus and talk to current students and faculty members. By doing your research and exploring your options, you can make an informed decision about which institution is the right fit for you.

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

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

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