Barnard students change the world and how we view it. They are bold, thoughtful, analytical, intrepid and ambitious. They love to learn and make connections from the classroom to the world around them. The admissions team seeks candidates such as these to fill our first-year and transfer classes. While admission is highly selective, our process is holistic and contextual; no one criterion or score determines acceptance. In addition to school records, recommendations, writing, and test scores, we carefully consider each applicant in terms of their  personal qualities, intellectual potential, the rigor of the curriculum they pursued, as well as their  potential for achievement at Barnard. We review each applicant in the context of her school, community, and individual story.

Barnard seeks students from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and from all geographic regions. However, no preconceived profile of an ideal student population limits the number of applicants accepted from any one group. The College admits students and administers its financial aid and loan programs, educational policies and programs, recreational programs, and other College programs and activities without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

First-Year Application Procedures

Application Deadlines 

First-Year applicants can apply under an Early Decision or Regular Decision admission round. 

Early Decision 

Deadline: November 1st

Notification: Mid-December

The Early Decision plan is intended for students who passionately believe that Barnard is their first choice college. It is a binding decision plan, meaning that if you are admitted Early Decision, you agree to attend Barnard and promise to withdraw all other applications. Along with all other required and optional application materials, Early Decision applicants are required to submit an Early Decision Agreement which is signed by the applicant, their parent/guardian, and their counselor. Students applying under the Early Decision plan must apply by November 1st. Decisions will be released by mid-December. 

Notification of financial aid for those candidates who have demonstrated financial need will follow the admissions decision. To reserve a place in the first-year class, an accepted student must submit a nonrefundable enrollment deposit by the enrollment deadline (typically three weeks after acceptance). This deposit is applied toward tuition and fees for the first year. If a student is denied in the Early Decision round, this is the final decision for the year. Students are welcome to apply next year as a transfer student.

The Admissions Committee may choose to defer an Early Decision application to the Regular Decision Round and send a final decision in late March. In that event, the student is asked to submit final grades from the first half of the senior year.

Regular Decision 

Deadline: January 1st

Notification: Late-March

Regular Decision is an excellent choice for applicants who would like to consider offers from various schools. Students apply through Regular Decision for a variety of reasons: Perhaps they are not sure that Barnard is their top choice, or perhaps they would like to compare financial aid offers from multiple schools. The deadline for Regular Decision is January 1st. Students will be notified by late-March. 

The Barnard Application 

The Barnard Application consists of two parts - the Application and the Writing Supplement. Both can be submitted via the Common Application or the Coalition for College Application. A non-refundable fee of $75 must accompany the application. Students may also submit payment directly through the Common Application website. Checks or money orders must be in U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank and made payable to Barnard College. Students with significant financial hardship can request a fee-waiver through the common application, NACAC, SAT, ACT or from their high school counselor on school letterhead and submit it with the application.

Secondary School Preparation

Each candidate for admission must offer a college preparatory program from an accredited secondary school or an equivalent education representing a four-year course of study. Our most competitive applicants have taken four years of each of the five core subject areas: English, math, science, foreign language, and social science, during their high school years. There are certainly no guarantees that a student with this kind of curriculum will be admitted to Barnard, and similarly no guarantees that a student who doesn't take this broad curriculum won't be admitted to Barnard. Students should discuss all their options with their guidance counselor to ensure they are making rigorous choices within the context of their curriculum and course offerings. A secondary school diploma or equivalent is a requirement for enrollment at the College.

First-Year Entrance Tests

Barnard requires all candidates to take the SAT or the ACT. The writing portion of the exams is not required or evaluated in our review. In addition, Barnard does not require or evaluate SAT II Subject Tests. We recommend that students take these standardized tests in the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year prior to the application deadline date to ensure the scores are received for review.

For Fall and Spring 2021 Applicants: Barnard recognizes the challenges that students are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in response, Barnard will adopt a one-year SAT and ACT test-optional admission policy for students applying for Fall 2021 first-year admission as well as Spring or Fall 2021 transfer admission. This decision was made in consultation with the President and the Board of Trustees and is not intended as an admissions policy shift, but rather as a temporary measure driven by the current circumstances. Students may apply without submitting standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT exam and no other materials will be requested in lieu of test scores. Applicants may still submit self-reported SAT or ACT scores for consideration if they are able to do so.  

It is the student’s responsibility to direct the College Board or ACT Program to send official test scores to the Office of Admissions. The SAT tests code number for Barnard is 2038. The ACT code number for Barnard is 2718. 

In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, students whose primary language is not English or who have not studied at a secondary school for four or more years where the primary language of instruction is English should submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) , the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Duolingo English Test.

Recommendation Letters 

Another important part of the application is the submission of three recommendations, one from the high school counselor and two from academic teachers. We require two teacher recommendations in core subjects - english, math, science, social sciences, or foreign language courses. While we recommend that these teachers be from your last two years of high school, we will accept recommendation letters from 10th grade teachers. These recommendations give the Admissions Committee additional information about the candidate’s interests, character, skills, and contributions to the classroom. 

In addition we require a letter of recommendation from your guidance or college counselor. Due to large student caseloads, we understand if your counselor is unable to send a recommendation for you. Please contact us if this is the case. If your counselor is not able to submit a recommendation, we would encourage you to send an additional teacher letter of recommendation.


Although not required, first year applicants may choose to interview. For students who are able to visit the campus, an interview can be arranged by visiting our website. Appointments are scheduled Monday through Friday from 9:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., and on selected weekends throughout the Fall, from June to mid-December. Applicants who are unable to visit the College may request an interview with a local Barnard Alumnae Admissions Representative (BAAR)Interviews are not offered to transfer applicants.

Fall 2021 Applicants: All interviews for students applying for Fall 2021 entry will be conducted virtually, though we expect interviews for future years to be available both in-person and online. Please see our Request an Interview page for information about how and when to schedule an interview.

Deferred Enrollment

Admitted students who wish to defer enrollment in Barnard for up to one year must obtain permission by writing to the Dean of Admissions, explaining the reasons for the deferral request. Such a request is normally granted for purposes of work, travel, or pursuit of a special interest. Students are not allowed to matriculate at another institution during that year and should relinquish their space on any wait lists for other institutions. Written deferral requests must be received by February 1 for students admitted Early Decision and April 25 for students admitted Regular Decision. Transfer students and students admitted from a waiting list are not permitted to defer admission. Deferral requests do not factor into evaluations or committee decisions. Students can only defer for up to one year.

International Students

We broadly define international students to be 1) a citizen of a country other than the United States who has been educated abroad; 2) a U.S. citizen educated abroad; or 3) a Foreign National educated in the U.S. International applicants follow the same application procedure and presenting the same credentials, or the regional equivalent, as domestic candidates. Please submit materials as described under the Application Requirements for First-Years or Transfers (no separate International Student application is required). In some cases, additional credentials may be required, as described below.

All students are required to submit official results from either the SAT OR results from the ACT (please see note for Fall 2021 applicants above)In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, students whose primary language is not English or who have not studied at a secondary school for four or more years where the primary language of instruction is English should submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) , the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Duolingo English Test.

VISP: The Visiting International Students Program

The Visiting International Students Program (VISP) brings students from across the globe to Barnard for one spring semester in residence at our campus in New York City. Through a limited number of collaborative relationships with international universities, our partners send cohorts of 3-15 undergraduate students to Barnard to spend the spring semester as full-time visiting students. VISP students are fully integrated into the Barnard College academic and co-curricular community, gaining a broad understanding of how liberal arts institutions in the United States function, exploring the American model of undergraduate education, and studying and researching with Barnard and Columbia University’s world-class faculty, while also contributing to the internationalization of the student body.

Transfer Students

Barnard welcomes transfer students in the fall and spring term of each year. Applications for admission will be reviewed according to the following schedule:

Deadline Notification Enroll
March 1 mid-May Fall
November 1 early December Spring

Each candidate must submit the Common Application for Transfer Admission and the following credentials: the Barnard Supplement for Transfer Students; an official secondary school transcript; the results of the SAT or ACT (if applying for Fall or Spring 2020 you may apply under a temporary test optional policy), and, if appropriate, the TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo Language Exams; the official transcripts of all college work and a copy of the college catalogue in which the courses taken are clearly marked. Two recommendations are also required: one each from a college faculty member and a college dean or adviser. Transfer applicants may also submit a recommendation from the high school counselor (optional).

The most successful transfer students have both high school and college transcripts with strong outcomes in a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Courses completed at other accredited colleges and universities, which are similar in content and depth to Barnard courses, may be submitted for transfer credit. Credit for approved work at another institution is applied to Barnard's 121-point graduation requirement for transfers with a maximum of 16 points per term. Credit cannot be granted for courses with grades lower than C-. Acceptable transfer work does not usually include applied or professional courses or more than the equivalent of two Barnard studio courses.

Pre-evaluations of transfer credit are not conducted by the College. However, admitted transfer students will receive a transfer credit evaluation indicating transferable credits and satisfied Foundations requirements. At this time, we do not grant transfer credit for distance learning courses. Students are advised to compare and contrast the course descriptions at their institution(s) against Barnard's online course catalogue to gain a sense of possible credit transfer outcomes. Generally, if courses taken at another institution are in alignment with courses offered at Barnard, credit is likely to be awarded but not guaranteed. Barnard College reserves the right to accept or decline transfer of credits based on its specific academic expectations.

After acceptance, academic and general guidance is provided by the advisers to transfer students in the Dean of Studies Office. For information on financial aid, students should consult with Financial Aid.

Visiting Students

Undergraduate students who are degree candidates at other colleges may apply for admission as visiting students for one or two semesters. Students must submit the same credentials as transfer applicants, with the exception of standardized test scores and course descriptions.

Other Degree Credit

The following policies apply to students entering Barnard in Fall 2019 and later:

Advanced Placement exams: Students who earned an upper-level score on an AP exam may receive college credit. (For the specific scores required, please click here for information for your entering class year.) Incoming students should have ETS send their official scores to the Barnard Registrar’s Office.

International Baccalaureate diploma: Students who earned an International Baccalaureate diploma may receive credit for the number of points indicated on the diploma, up to the maximum credit limit for their entering class year. For students who did not complete the full IB diploma, credit may be granted for individual Higher Level scores only. (No credit for Subsidiary Level.) Incoming students should have their official diploma or exam scores sent to the Barnard Registrar’s Office by the examiner of record.

Select National Examinations and Diplomas: Students who complete the French Baccalaureate, the German Arbitur or the Italian Maturità may receive college credit, up to the maximum AP/IB credit limit for their entering class year.  We may grant similar credit for the Israeli Bagrut. Each GCE A-level or A2-level grade is individually evaluated for college credit. No credit is given for O-level or AS-level examinations. Credit for other national exams or diplomas will be evaluated for college credit on a case-by-case basis.

Prior to Barnard Credit: Students who have satisfactorily completed college courses before entering Barnard as first-year students may apply for a maximum of 15 points of degree credit. The courses must be intended primarily for college students and taught at the college by members of its faculty and must be in excess of the courses required for the high school diploma. With the exception of Advanced Placement courses overseen by the College Board and International Baccalaureate work, courses taught in high school (whether by specially trained high school teachers or college instructors) will not be credited towards the Barnard degree.

Resumed Education

Former Barnard students who wish to return to the College after an absence of five years or more in order to complete their degree may obtain information from the Office of the Dean of Studies. They can return to campus on a part-time or full-time basis to complete their remaining credits or requirements and earn their degree.