Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: A Comparative Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

berkeley alumni

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: A Comparative Analysis

Washington University in St. Louis and Barnard are two prestigious institutions that offer an outstanding academic experience to students. Both are renowned for their focus on academics, research, and innovation. However, there are some key differences that set them apart from each other. In this article, we will compare and contrast Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard based on various parameters such as location, admissions, academics, student life, and more.

Location and Campus Size

Washington University in St. Louis is located in the heart of the city of St. Louis, Missouri. The campus is spread across 169 acres and is well-known for its lush greenery and beautiful architecture. Barnard, on the other hand, is situated in New York City, New York. The campus is relatively smaller than Washington University, with an area of 4.6 acres.

Despite its smaller size, Barnard’s campus is known for its unique architecture and historic buildings. The campus is also located in the vibrant neighborhood of Morningside Heights, which is home to many cultural institutions and landmarks such as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Riverside Park. In contrast, Washington University’s campus is located in a more suburban area, but still offers easy access to the city’s many attractions and amenities.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Both institutions are highly competitive in terms of admissions. In terms of acceptance rates, Barnard is considered more selective than Washington University. For the class of 2025, Barnard had an acceptance rate of 10.4% while Washington University had an acceptance rate of 16%. Barnard has a holistic admissions process and looks for well-rounded applicants with strong academic credentials and extracurricular achievements. Washington University places more emphasis on extracurricular activities, leadership, and community involvements when evaluating applications.

View of three students smiling at the camera.

It is important to note that both institutions have specific admissions requirements that applicants must meet. Barnard requires applicants to submit standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. In addition, Barnard strongly recommends that applicants complete an interview with an admissions representative. Washington University also requires standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. However, they do not require an interview.

Once accepted, both institutions offer a wide range of resources and support for their students. Barnard has a unique partnership with Columbia University, which allows students to take classes and participate in activities at both institutions. Barnard also offers a variety of academic and career advising services, as well as opportunities for research and internships. Similarly, Washington University provides students with access to a variety of academic and career resources, including research opportunities, internships, and study abroad programs. Additionally, Washington University has a strong commitment to community service and encourages students to get involved in volunteer work both on and off campus.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered

Both institutions offer a diverse range of academic programs and majors. Washington University has seven undergraduate schools and colleges, offering more than 90 programs of study across 200 academic departments. Barnard, on the other hand, is an all-women’s college that offers more than 50 majors across 27 academic departments. Despite the difference in the number of programs offered, both institutions are committed to providing students with a rigorous academic experience.

At Washington University, students have the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary studies through the Beyond Boundaries program. This program allows students to combine multiple areas of study to create a unique academic experience. Additionally, the university offers a number of study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and broaden their perspectives.

Barnard College offers a unique academic experience through its partnership with Columbia University. Barnard students have access to all of the resources and facilities of Columbia, while still maintaining the close-knit community of a small liberal arts college. The college also offers a number of research opportunities for students, allowing them to work closely with faculty members and gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: Student Body Demographics and Diversity

Washington University has a predominantly undergraduate student body of 7,822 students. About 47 percent of the student body comes from outside Missouri, and more than 19 percent are international students. Approximately 6 percent of the student body identifies as Black or African American, 12 percent as Hispanic/Latino, and 22 percent as Asian. Barnard has a smaller student body of around 2,600 students, with a significant majority of whom identify as white. However, Barnard is committed to diversity and inclusion and has recently undertaken initiatives to increase diversity on campus.

One of the initiatives that Barnard has undertaken to increase diversity on campus is the creation of the Barnard Opportunity Program (BOP). BOP is a program that provides academic and financial support to students who are the first in their families to attend college, come from low-income backgrounds, or have attended under-resourced schools. Through BOP, Barnard aims to increase access to higher education for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds and to create a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

Campus Culture and Student Life

The campus culture and student life at Washington University and Barnard differ significantly. Washington University has a robust campus life with more than 300 student organizations and clubs catering to various interests and passions. The university is also known for hosting various cultural and sports events throughout the year. In contrast, Barnard has a smaller community and hosts a more intimate campus life. However, the tight-knit community fosters meaningful relationships among students that carry on long after graduation.

Three architects talking to each other.

Another notable difference between the campus culture and student life at Washington University and Barnard is the location of the campuses. Washington University is located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is a bustling city with a diverse population. This provides students with opportunities to explore the city and engage with the local community. On the other hand, Barnard is located in New York City, which is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in the world. This location provides students with access to a wide range of cultural and artistic events, as well as internship and job opportunities.

Furthermore, both universities have unique traditions that contribute to their campus culture. At Washington University, one of the most popular traditions is the annual WILD (Walk In Lay Down) concert, which takes place at the end of the academic year and features popular musical acts. At Barnard, one of the most cherished traditions is the Big Sub, which is a giant sandwich that is shared among the entire student body during the first week of classes. These traditions help to create a sense of community and belonging among students, and are an important part of the overall campus culture and student life experience.

Housing and Dining Options

Both Washington University and Barnard offer on-campus housing options to their students. The housing options at Washington University cater to different preferences, including residential colleges, theme houses, and traditional residence halls. The university’s dining program is highly acclaimed and offers a range of options catering to different dietary requirements. Similarly, Barnard also has a variety of residence halls, and students are required to dine on campus with a range of meal plan options available to them.

Additionally, both universities offer off-campus housing options for upperclassmen who prefer to live independently. Washington University has partnerships with several apartment complexes near campus, while Barnard has a housing referral service to assist students in finding off-campus housing options.

Furthermore, both universities have dining options beyond their on-campus facilities. Washington University has a food truck program that brings a variety of cuisines to different locations on campus, and Barnard has partnerships with local restaurants that accept meal plan swipes as payment.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: Athletics and Sports Programs

Washington University has a robust athletic program, with its varsity teams known as the Bears competing in NCAA Division III. The university offers a range of intramural sports, including soccer, volleyball, and basketball, among others. Barnard does not have a varsity athletic program; however, the college offers various fitness classes and club sports for students to participate in.

Additionally, both universities have state-of-the-art athletic facilities that are available to students. Washington University’s Athletic Complex includes a fitness center, indoor and outdoor tracks, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Barnard’s Dodge Fitness Center features a rock climbing wall, dance studios, and a pool, among other amenities. Both universities prioritize the health and wellness of their students, providing ample opportunities for physical activity and exercise.

Research Opportunities for Students

Washington University is well-known for its research-intensive focus, and undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in research activities. The university offers various research and funding opportunities for students in collaboration with faculty. Barnard also supports undergraduate research and has an extensive network of research mentors and programs through its partnership with Columbia University.

One of the most popular research opportunities for students at Washington University is the Summer Research Program. This program allows students to work closely with faculty members on research projects over the summer months. Additionally, the university offers research grants for students to conduct independent research projects during the academic year.

Barnard College also offers research opportunities for students through its Science Research Fellows program. This program provides funding and mentorship for students interested in pursuing research in the sciences. In addition, Barnard has partnerships with various research institutions in New York City, providing students with access to cutting-edge research facilities and resources.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: Career Services and Alumni Network

Both institutions have robust career services offices that offer career guidance, job search support, and networking opportunities for students. Washington University has a strong alumni network, with over 130,000 alumni that are spread across the world. Similarly, Barnard also has an active alumnae network that offers mentorship, job search support, and networking opportunities to current students.

Two students talking in a room.

In addition to career services and alumni networks, both Washington University and Barnard offer a variety of internship and experiential learning opportunities for students. These programs allow students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study and make valuable connections in their industry. Washington University’s Career Center offers resources for finding internships, as well as funding opportunities for unpaid internships. Barnard’s Beyond Barnard program connects students with internships, research opportunities, and other experiential learning opportunities both on and off campus.

Faculty Quality and Teaching Styles

Both institutions have a highly qualified faculty with expertise in their respective fields. At Washington University, faculty members are known for their research contributions and are committed to providing students with a personalized learning experience. At Barnard, faculty members are celebrated for their excellence in teaching and their passion for mentoring undergraduate students.

Additionally, both universities offer a variety of teaching styles to cater to different learning preferences. Washington University offers a mix of traditional lectures, small group discussions, and hands-on learning opportunities. Barnard, on the other hand, emphasizes interactive and collaborative learning through seminars, workshops, and group projects. This allows students to engage with the material in different ways and develop a well-rounded understanding of their field of study.

Affordability and Financial Aid Options

Both institutions are committed to providing students with a rigorous academic experience despite the high cost of tuition. Washington University and Barnard both offer need-based financial aid to students. Washington University has a need-blind admissions process, meaning that a student’s ability to pay for tuition does not factor into their admissions decision. Barnard recently replaced student loans with grants in financial aid packages, making the college more affordable to low-income families.

In addition to need-based financial aid, both Washington University and Barnard offer merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or talent in a particular area. These scholarships can cover a significant portion of tuition costs and are renewable for all four years of undergraduate study. Students are encouraged to research and apply for these scholarships early in the admissions process to increase their chances of receiving financial assistance.

Washington University in St. Louis vs Barnard: Study Abroad Programs and Opportunities

Both institutions offer students opportunities to study abroad and gain international exposure. Washington University has its study abroad program, which offers students the chance to study in more than 90 countries worldwide. Similarly, Barnard has a variety of study abroad programs, including the opportunity to study at various institutions around the world through its partnership with Columbia University.

University students sitting next to each other next to a building.

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students, as it allows them to immerse themselves in a new culture, learn a new language, and gain a global perspective. In addition to the academic benefits, studying abroad can also enhance a student’s personal growth and development.

Both Washington University and Barnard College offer support services for students who are interested in studying abroad, including advising, financial aid, and pre-departure orientation. These resources help students navigate the application process, prepare for their trip, and make the most of their experience abroad.

Internship Opportunities for Students

Both institutions have strong internship programs that offer students real-world experience in their respective fields. Washington University has a dedicated Career Center that works with students to identify internships and job shadowing opportunities. At Barnard, the Beyond Barnard Career Development Center helps students explore potential career paths, gain professional experience, and offers access to various internships and job opportunities.

Internships are a valuable way for students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field and make connections with professionals in the industry. Many students who complete internships go on to secure full-time employment with the same company or organization. Both Washington University and Barnard College have partnerships with a wide range of companies and organizations, providing students with a diverse range of internship opportunities. These internships can be completed during the summer or throughout the academic year, and some may even offer academic credit.

Graduate School Placement Rates

Both institutions have impressive graduate school placement rates. According to Washington University data, around 85 percent of the graduating class of 2020 went on to graduate or professional school within six months of graduation. Similarly, according to Barnard data, around 74 percent of the graduating class of 2021 pursued graduate or professional education or entered the workforce. These figures indicate that both institutions prepare their graduates well for their future careers and endeavors.

A woman interviewing a man in an office.

In conclusion, Washington University in St. Louis and Barnard are outstanding institutions that offer a rigorous academic experience. While the two institutions differ on various parameters such as location, campus culture, student demographics, and extracurricular offerings, both are committed to providing students with the education and resources they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing world.

It is worth noting that both institutions have a strong network of alumni who are successful in their respective fields. This network can be a valuable resource for current students and recent graduates who are seeking career advice or job opportunities. Additionally, both institutions offer various career services and resources, such as career fairs, workshops, and counseling, to help students navigate the job market and achieve their career goals.

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