The Ivy Coach Daily

May 10, 2024

How to Get Into Barnard College

A statue of a Greek goddess is featured at Barnard College.

A proud member of the Seven Sisters, Barnard College offers ambitious young women a unique opportunity to experience both the intimate community of a liberal arts college and the robust resources of an Ivy League university. As an affiliate under the Columbia University umbrella, Barnard allows students to cross-register for classes at the prestigious neighboring institution. The 2024 U.S. News and World Report National Liberal Arts College Ranking places Barnard at #11 due to the college’s academic renown, impressive history of feminist advancement, and close-knit campus culture.  

What Is Barnard College?

Barnard is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. 3,091 women are currently enrolled at Barnard according to the school’s 2022-23 Common Data Set. Among members of the Class of 2027, 15% are the first in their families to attend college, and 12% come from outside the United States. 43 states and 41 countries are represented in the class.

How to Get Into Barnard

Barnard Admissions Requirements

Barnard’s admissions cycle has grown increasingly competitive in recent years. Despite lacking a minimum GPA requirement, Barnard almost exclusively admits applicants who have excelled academically. Students who take the most rigorous high school coursework available to them will stand out when applying to Barnard.

Barnard GPA Requirements

Admissions officers at Barnard review each applicant “contextually and holistically.” In other words, they take the full picture of an applicant’s background and experiences into account when making their decision, not just the applicant’s academic performance. 

However, academic performance is still one of the most important components of this process. Any shortcomings in this area should be supplemented by strong showings in other application areas, such as essays and recommendations.

Does Barnard Look at Class Rank?

The 2022-23 Common Data Set indicates just how important strong academic performance is to getting into Barnard. The data reveal that 94.6% of current Barnard students graduated in the top tenth of their high school class. 99.5% graduated in the top quarter, and 100% graduated in the top half.

Barnard SAT/ACT Score Requirements

Barnard is test-optional through 2024, but the Ivy Coach crystal ball tells us that this policy will not last for too much longer.

Amongst members of the Barnard Class of 2027, 33% submitted SAT scores and 21% submitted ACT scores. 

Mid 50% Range1,430 — 1,53032 — 34

Does Barnard Superscore Students’ SAT or ACT scores?

superscore combines the highest section scores from each individual test sitting for admissions evaluation. Barnard superscores both the SAT and the ACT, but submitting multiple test administrations is only recommended for the purposes of superscoring. It shows Barnard that you had to work harder than many to achieve your scores (which isn’t a good thing!), so we at Ivy Coach approach the practice with caution. 

What High School Courses Does Barnard Require?

Barnard recommends the following academic preparation for all prospective students:

“To be well-prepared for Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard’s general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.”

It is essential that all students with sights set on highly selective colleges anywhere in America take four years of classes in all core subjects listed above. What’s more, foreign language study should ideally begin in grade 8.

What Extracurriculars Does Barnard Look For in Applicants?

A myth often circulates during admissions season that we at Ivy Coach have made it our duty to continually debunk: the myth of the well-rounded applicant. Yes, many of the most competitive applicants to Barnard have gone above and beyond in many different domains in their lives — from sports, clubs, and art, to research, activism, and professional preparedness. But these applicants are careful to frame their applications around the things they are most passionate about.

Admissions officers at Barnard seek to create well-rounded classes composed of students who are experts in their respective fields — the prodigy musicians, groundbreaking chemists, and compelling debaters. Homogeneity is the last thing Barnard desires.

Barnard Application Requirements

Barnard applicants must complete The Common Application, the Barnard Writing Supplement, a counselor recommendation, and two teacher recommendations.

Let’s focus on each individual component and discuss how students should complete them to give them the best shot of admission.

Who to Ask For Letters of Recommendation

Applicants to Barnard should ask two teachers — ideally two junior year teachers in core subjects — in addition to their school counselor for letters of recommendation.

Does Barnard Require an Alumni Interview?

Barnard does not conduct interviews as part of the application process.

What are Barnard’s Supplemental Essay Topics?

Essay responses can make or break an application. It is crucial that an applicant think through each response to the Barnard Writing Supplement, as admissions officers probe how well an applicant knows the specific culture and history of Barnard through the responses. For the past admissions cycle, these were the questions asked in the supplement:

“Required: 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? (250 words max)

Required: 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? (250 words max)

Optional: 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? (250 words max)

Optional: 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? (250 words max)

Optional: 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? (250 words max)”

Barnard College Application Deadlines

Barnard’s two admissions rounds are Early Decision and Regular Decision.

Early Decision applications to Barnard are binding. They are due on November 1st. 

Regular Decision applications are non binding, and they are due on January 3rd.

Barnard Acceptance Rate and Statistics

So just how difficult is it to become a member of the Barnard community? 11,804 students applied for admission to the Class of 2027, and 944, or 8%, were accepted. 

How Much Does Barnard College Cost?

The cost of tuition at Barnard College for the 2023-2024 academic year was $64,078. Additional fees added $2,168 to this charge, while housing costs fluctuated between $12,438 and $20,264. Food is made available according to a flexible dining plan that costs anywhere from $1,050 to $8,144. 

All told, the total cost of attendance at Barnard ranged from $79,734 to 94,654 this past year. A comprehensive breakdown of these costs is available on Barnard’s website.

How Ivy Coach Helps Students Get Into Barnard

Ivy Coach’s Barnard expertise goes far. We understand the college’s history, traditions, culture, and the typical admitted student profile.

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in optimizing your child’s case for admission to Barnard, fill out our complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch.

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