Founded in 1889, Barnard College was one of the original “Seven Sisters” women’s liberal arts colleges connected to colleges that at the time did not admit women. Today, five of the original seven remain open as women-only.
Barnard is located across the street from Columbia University in Morningside Heights, New York City. As with some other women’s colleges that are connected to co-ed institutions, Barnard students will find themselves taking classes on both the Barnard and Columbia campuses with male students.
Academics at Barnard College
Unlike Columbia across the street, Barnard College doesn’t have a core curriculum, but still has distribution requirements that can be met in many ways. Barnard’s location allows students to fulfill requirements by utilizing resources in New York City, such as theatres and museums. Barnard is strong for students who work well with mentors: all first-year students are paired with faculty and student advisors, as well as a librarian, who guide them as they integrate into this new environment.
The largest classes you’ll take as a Barnard student could be up to 300 students; at Columbia the lectures can be as large as 400 students. However, nearly 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. Two-thirds of Barnard’s faculty are women. One-third of Barnard students go into STEM-related occupations.
Student Life at Barnard College
Barnard and Columbia students share resources both in and out of the classroom. The colleges share activities, clubs, events and speakers and the Kosher dining hall on Barnard’s campus. Barnard athletes compete at the Division 1 level through their partnership with Columbia; they’re the only women’s college whose athletes compete in Division 1 sports.
While the Barnard campus can feel small and contained, Barnard students have access to all of the gyms, libraries and shared space on the Columbia campus. Public transit makes all of New York City’s resources easily accessible to everyone, and New York natives help their out-of-state classmates learn how to navigate the large city.
Barnard College is a great place for women who are looking for a women’s college but want the opportunities to be part of something bigger. Traditionally highly selective, Barnard admitted just 11% of first-year applicants in the most recent year. Barnard is test-optional through fall, 2023. The mid-50% SAT scores range from 1440-1520; ACT range is 31-32. Barnard fills up more than half their class with students who declare their ultimate “interest” by applying (binding) Early Decision.
Sheryl visited Barnard in the spring of 2022; you can see all of her photos in the slideshow below.