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How to get into Barnard—General Information

Barnard College is a women’s liberal arts college located in New York City. Founded in 1889, Barnard College was the first college in NYC to offer degrees to women. US News ranks Barnard at #17 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. 

As an affiliated college of Columbia University, Barnard students have the advantage of getting a high-quality liberal arts education with accessibility to a major research university. Students enrolled in the college have access to a big-city lifestyle with a more intimate and personalized campus setting. No wonder you want to know how to get into Barnard! 

If you’re interested in joining this elite community of women, then you’re in luck. We’ll give you the best tips on how to get into Barnard by making yourself a competitive candidate for Barnard admissions. 

What we’ll cover in this How to Get into Barnard Guide: 

  • Average Barnard GPA
  • Optimal Barnard SAT scores
  • Barnard acceptance rate (including Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate)
  • Expectations related to the Barnard admissions process
  • Barnard supplemental essays
  • Advice for the Barnard interview, and more!

Figuring out how to get into Barnard takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former Admissions Officers) includes Barnard graduates. Want to maximize your Barnard admissions odds? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

How can I get into Barnard?

Wondering how to get into Barnard College? Barnard is one of the most selective institutions in the US, making it an exciting higher education opportunity for many. Your “how to get into Barnard” strategy starts with research, so let’s discuss some important details about the Barnard admissions and application process. 

First, keep in mind Barnard College has an undergraduate enrollment of about 3,000 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9 and nearly 50 majors to choose from. This makes Barnard a small selective school offering students individual attention in the classroom and beyond. 

When thinking about how to get into Barnard, your first step will be figuring out how to apply! Barnard admissions accepts applications through both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. 

For expert tips on acing the Common Application, check out our Guide to the Common App.

Is it hard to get into Barnard?

Barnard College is one of the most selective academic institutions in the country. The Barnard acceptance rate is 11% for first-year applicants. The Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was 29%. Barnard SAT scores and Barnard GPA are well above average for the accepted student. 

There are no quick tricks when it comes to learning how to get into Barnard. Falling under the umbrella of its affiliate, Columbia University, some consider Barnard College an Ivy League school. Early planning and preparation is the best way to maximize your admissions odds and beat the low Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate or regular Barnard acceptance rate. 

Beating the Barnard acceptance rate or the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate lies heavily in academic achievement. However, don’t panic if you don’t have the perfect Barnard GPA or Barnard SAT scores. It just means that you need to shine in other areas of your application, like the Barnard supplemental essays and the Barnard interview. 

What test scores do I need for Barnard?

With the Barnard acceptance rate at 11%, and the Barnard Early Decision Acceptance rate not much higher, you can expect the Barnard SAT scores to be high. In fact, the middle 50% range of Barnard SAT scores is 1430-1550, and the middle 50% ACT score range is 31-32. There is no official average Barnard GPA, but because Barnard is on par with Ivy League schools, it’s safe to assume you should strive for a 4.0. 

Getting ahead with standardized test prep is the best way to make sure you meet the average Barnard SAT scores. However, there are ways to make your application stand out without hitting those academic marks, like the Barnard interview. Check out this article that will help you create a strategy for how to get into Barnard with below-average Barnard SAT scores. 

Barnard admissions has extended their temporary test-optional policy to Fall/Spring 2022 and 2023. Applicants are free to omit standardized test scores from their application. Students will be at no disadvantage in the admissions process by doing so. However, if your scores meet the average Barnard SAT scores, send them in!  

If your test scores are lower, focus on other parts of the application, like meeting the assumed Barnard GPA or writing strong Barnard supplemental essays.

What does the Barnard application look like?

When strategizing how to get into Barnard, start with knowing the application process and the Barnard admissions deadlines. It may seem obvious but it’s easy to get caught up in your rigorous academic courses when trying to meet the assumed average Barnard GPA. Do yourself a favor and plan out your application process. 

Aiming to contend with the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate or regular Barnard acceptance rate? Take advantage of the summer before your senior year to create the most compelling application narrative possible and build a strong “how to get into Barnard” plan.  

The Barnard Early Decision deadline is November 1st. You should not make the decision to apply Early Decision without careful consideration. Like all schools, at Barnard College, Early Decision applicants enter a binding agreement to attend the college if they are accepted. Alternatively, the Barnard regular decision deadline is January 4th

Although the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate is low, the regular Barnard acceptance rate is even lower. So, if you’re sure Barnard is the school for you, consider applying Early Decision to demonstrate your commitment. However, no matter which Barnard admissions deadline you’re submitting for, all applicants must send in the same material. 

Applicants must submit

  • The Common Application or Coalition Application 
  • Personal Statement
  • Barnard Supplemental Essays
  • Official transcripts
  • Secondary school report
  • Barnard SAT scores or ACT scores (optional for fall/spring 2022 and 2023 applicants)
  • Counselor letter of recommendation
  • Two teacher letters of recommendation
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English test scores for students whose primary language is not English

Applicants have the option to submit supplementary portfolios and additional letters of recommendation. Also, we encourage students to fill out the additional information section on their preferred application platform with anything else they want Barnard admissions to know. Applicants may also request a Barnard interview. These optional application materials are a great way to stay competitive as a candidate if you have below-average Barnard SAT scores or Barnard GPA.  

What extracurriculars do I need for Barnard?

Barnard College states that its purpose is to “amplify women’s power to change the world.” Barnard admissions boasts that their students are “passionate, curious, driven, empathetic, and brilliant.” So, what does all that mean in relation to how to get into Barnard? Well, a good deal actually, especially with regard to the narrative you create through your extracurriculars. 

Extracurriculars are a great opportunity for you to show Barnard admissions who you are and what you’re passionate about. The Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate is low, and the regular Barnard acceptance rate is even lower. So, extracurriculars are vital in making sure you succeed in your “how to get into Barnard” strategy.

Identify your passions and choose activities related to them. It’s as simple as that. Avoid doing activities for the sole purpose of impressing Barnard admissions. The only wrong extracurriculars are the ones that you’re only doing because you think they will look good on your college applications. That is not how to get into Barnard. Instead, use the opportunity to grow and get involved in your community. 

Remember to start planning your extracurriculars early, just as you should with Barnard SAT scores and Barnard supplemental essays. Don’t wait until junior year to join every club at your school. Start getting active in extracurriculars long before the Barnard application deadlines. 

What is the Early Decision acceptance rate at Barnard College?

Students who apply for Early Decision at Barnard are entering a binding agreement stating that if accepted, they will attend the college. Although you may see the higher Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate and think applying early is your best choice, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re on the fence, read more about the differences between Early Decision and regular decision to help you decide.

The Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate is 26% and the overall Barnard acceptance rate is 11%. While considering applying early decision should be taken seriously, it’s a good opportunity to stand out in a smaller pool of candidates and show Barnard admissions that Barnard is your top choice. Over 50% of the Barnard first-year class is accepted through Early Decision.

The Early Decision application deadline is November 4th, so if you want to contend with the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate, make sure to get an early start on the application!

Do Barnard College applicants get interviews?

Barnard College offers an optional Barnard interview to their applicants. If applicants decide not to request a Barnard interview, it will in no way put their application at a disadvantage. However, if you request a Barnard interview and are granted one, it will be considered in the application process. 

Interviews are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. They’re conducted from June-December. For example, a fall 2023 applicant could have their Barnard interview as early as summer 2022. Currently, all interviews are being conducted virtually.

Acing the Barnard interview should be included in your “how to get into Barnard strategy”. Barnard admissions describes the Barnard interview as a 20-30-minute conversation with a Barnard community member. The interviewer will inquire about your interests and thoughts about Barnard. Your Barnard interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate your personality, passions, skills, and why you would be a great fit for Barnard. What makes you the perfect candidate? It’s also a great way for interviewees to learn more about their potential four-year home. 

If you request and are granted a Barnard interview, make sure to prepare thoroughly. Check out this virtual information session to learn more about life at Barnard. Be sure to also read this blog post with tips for the Barnard interview from a Barnard admissions interviewer. 

How do I write my essays for Barnard?

The Barnard supplemental essays are a requirement for applicants hoping to contend with either the Barnard acceptance rate or the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate. In addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application personal essay, applicants must respond to specific Barnard supplemental essays. These essay questions vary yearly, but generally, Barnard admissions requires two Barnard supplemental essays with the option of writing on additional essay. Be sure to answer all three!

The Barnard supplemental essays are absolutely vital to your application narrative. You should think through, plan, edit, and revise your Barnard supplemental essays several times. These aren’t essays that you pull an all-nighter before the deadline to complete. Think of the Barnard supplemental essays as critical works of art meant to enhance your application. Like a Barnard interview, the Barnard supplemental essays are a great opportunity to show Barnard admissions your personality and what you would bring to the Barnard community. 

The Barnard supplemental essays can change yearly. Currently, there is a 300 word maximum for each. You’ll want to answer the Barnard supplemental essays concisely and clearly in a way that shows Barnard admissions you are a great fit for the college.

To sum up, the Barnard supplemental essays are a wonderful way to advance your application, especially if you have less than the ideal Barnard GPA and Barnard SAT scores. Be sure to answer the questions with thoughtful, unique responses and impeccable grammar.

How does Barnard College review applications?

The answer to how to get into Barnard starts and ends with a compelling application narrative. To organize the most competitive application, make sure you know what Barnard College values and how they’ll be evaluating your application.

Barnard College has an application review philosophy that is “contextual and holistic.” That means they will carefully consider each part of your application to figure out if your academic achievement, interests, and community involvement align with Barnard’s values. This holistic method is part of the reason there are no Barnard GPA requirements. Barnard admissions officers want to get to know you for you.

With the Barnard acceptance rate at 11%, admission to this liberal arts college is extremely selective. However, with the holistic application review approach, students with less than the ideal assumed Barnard GPA or Barnard SAT scores shouldn’t panic quite yet.

Tips for an ideal application: 

Show academic achievement

Barnard College is selective and looking for students who excel academically. In other words, you should take rigorous high school courses in varying subjects. Take AP courses in your strong subject areas to meet the assumed Barnard GPA standards. 

Write meaningful essays

Carefully and thoughtfully answer your Barnard supplemental essays. Make sure to use the personal essay in the application platform of your choice to show who you are and what’s important to you. Refrain from just listing academic courses and extracurriculars. Try to show something that Barnard admission won’t see anywhere else in your application. 

Love Barnard

The best way to get into the school of your choice is to show the value you would bring to that community. Barnard College looks for intelligent, curious critical thinkers who are active in the community. Show them that’s you!

Does Barnard review social media accounts?

The short answer is no. Barnard admissions says nothing on their site about checking students’ social media accounts during the application process. However, you should keep in mind that college admissions officers and future employers may see anything you decide to post on social media. 

Why add another stressor to the college application process? Instead, be mindful of what you’re posting on your social media accounts. If you’re not sure that what you’re posting is appropriate, check out these general guidelines for social media posting. Don’t let a distasteful post jeopardize all of your “how to get into Barnard” hard work. 

Is Barnard College the right school for me?

It’s easy to obsess over how to get into Barnard: working tirelessly on hitting the assumed average Barnard GPA and Barnard SAT scores, debating if you want to beat the Barnard Early Decision acceptance rate, scheduling and prepping for your Barnard interview, and writing and rewriting your Barnard supplemental essays. You’ve asked yourself if Barnard will want you, but is Barnard your dream school? It may seem like an obvious question, but it’s important to consider if Barnard is right for you. 

Barnard College is a women’s college and an affiliate of Columbia University, located in the heart of New York City. In addition, they boast a holistic education, one which “looks at mind-body connection and how health and wellness are directly linked to success.” Barnard looks for high-achieving, intellectually driven, critical thinkers who will become active members of their community.

You should keep researching how to get into Barnard, if…

Academics excite you

You’re always challenging yourself to improve, learn, and excel academically. You take challenging courses and you love learning about your favorite subjects even outside of designated school hours. 

NYC calls to you

Life in the big city does not intimidate you. If you’re a little nervous, it’s the good kind. You’re excited to become not only a member of Barnard College but also to become a part of the Big Apple

Women empowerment is one of your core values

You’re excited to be a part of the rich history of influential women who have graduated from Barnard College. You’re already thinking about how you can personally contribute to the Barnard community. 

When considering if Barnard College is right for you, be sure to take a campus tour. If you can’t get there in person, try their virtual tour option. You can also check out the Barnard blog to get a feel for what life at Barnard is really like. These steps are an important part of your “how to get into Barnard” research.

Additional tips to get into Barnard:

Figuring out how to get into Barnard or an Ivy League school, is an intimidating undertaking. With the Barnard acceptance rate at 11%, there are certainly no guarantees when it comes to cracking the “how to get into Barnard” code. However, there are things that you can do to best set yourself up for success. 

Extra tips on how to get into Barnard: 

Start early

Don’t wait until a month before the application deadline to think about your application narrative strategy. Instead, begin preparing before your senior year. Academic, extracurricular, and standardized test prep should start long before that. 

Be a community-minded critical thinker

Barnard admissions is looking for academic achievement and community involvement. Get out there and stimulate your mind while giving back to your area. Don’t feign passion, though. You should choose to participate in things you really care about!

Do some stellar writing

Lastly, take advantage of the personal essay on the Common App or Coalition App. Use it as an opportunity to show Barnard College who you are and why you’re a great fit. Make sure to carefully craft your Barnard supplemental essays as well. They’re short, so you should make the most of the words you use. 

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to ace your “how to get into Barnard” plan. If you need somewhere to start your Barnard admissions journey, check out our Barnard College page for Barnard’s overall grade, tuition cost, and more. Good luck!

This guide was written by Sarah Kaminski. If you want to know how to get into Barnard, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former Admissions Officers) includes Barnard graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.