How to Get Into Barnard: Acceptance Rate + Tips

Barnard College Admission
April 23, 2024
9 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/23/24

Interested in getting into Barnard? Read on to discover everything you need to know about the school with a “fearless history.”

Barnard College, established in 1889, holds the distinction of being the first college in New York City to grant degrees exclusively to women. 

Before its founding, a dedicated group of New York women had fervently protested for the establishment of a rigorous women's college. Their efforts eventually succeeded in persuading the Columbia Board of Trustees to create an affiliated institution, Barnard College, with the sole purpose of providing higher education opportunities for women.

Since then, Barnard has continued its path of boldness and redefined what it means to be a woman, activist, scholar, and leader. Want to know how to get into Barnard College? Read on to find out!

Barnard College - 8% Acceptance Rate

For the most recent year, 11,804 students applied, and only 944 were granted admission, meaning Barnard has a low acceptance rate of just 8%. For every 100 students that apply, only 8 of them make it in every year.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 11,804 944 8%
2022 12,009 960 8%
2021 10,395 1,084 9.5%
2020 9,411 1,022 9.2%

Barnard College Early Decision Acceptance Rate: 57%

Barnard has a high early decision rate of 57% which could improve your chances of getting in. Remember, early decision means that if you are accepted, you will be automatically enrolled at Barnard.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Early Decision Acceptance Rate
2023 1,667 950 57%
2022 1,501 915 61%
2021 1,284 769 57%
2020 1,242 697 45%

Barnard College Admission Statistics

Don't be discouraged by Barnard's low acceptance rate; instead, see it as motivation for getting into an excellent school! 

The reason for the low acceptance rate at Barnard is due to their commitment to admitting the most daring, engaged, and intellectually curious applicants who can maximize the benefits of the institution's resources. 

Barnard currently has a test-optional policy, but if you score well on paper, this could bolster your application. If your scores are lower than the required minimum, you can compensate by taking high-level AP or IB courses and submitting strong supplementary essays that demonstrate your passions. 

Barnard College Average GPA: 3.9

Most successful candidates had GPAs of 3.9 or higher, which is what you should aim for. Considering over 94% of admitted students ranked at the top of their classes, Barnard has high expectations of its prospective students.

Barnard College Average SAT Score: 1478

Students who were admitted to Barnard in their most recent year had an average SAT score of 1478. To impress them even further, aim for the higher end of the scale.

Barnard College Average ACT Score: 34

Barnard is known for having some of the top students in their student body which is exemplified by the ACT average of 34. Barnard values high ACT scores, so if you scored well, it’s a good addition to your application.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Barnard? 

Barnard is a highly selective school. Only 8% of all applicants meet Barnard’s expectations and are granted admission to this prestigious school. You can improve your chances of getting in through early decision or acing your application. 

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into Barnard.

What is Barnard College Looking For In Applicants?

Barnard College maintains a highly selective admissions process for a purpose. They seek applicants who stand out in showcasing their personal qualities, academic achievements, and a genuine passion for education. 

The college firmly believes in the potential of every woman, but how Barnard College evaluates applications depends on how this potential is demonstrated through the application process.

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Racial/ethnic status X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores
Application essay X
Recommendation(s) X

Barnard College Admissions Requirements

While securing admission to Barnard requires several key factors, your focus should be on:

  • GPA requirements
  • SAT and ACT testing requirements
  • Application requirements

Here is a full list of requirements to get accepted at Barnard.

Barnard College Application Deadlines

An important part of learning how to get into Barnard is understanding the different types of applications that are available and keeping key deadlines in mind to avoid any delays. 

Barnard also accepts transfer students. Here are the important dates associated with all of these applications: 

Application Step Deadline
Applications open August 1
Early decision applications are due November 1
Early applicants receive decision notifications Mid-December
Regular decision applications due January 3
Fall-term transfer applications are due March 1
Regular applicants receive decision notifications Late March
Fall term transfer applicants receive decision notifications May 1

Source: Barnard First-Year Applicants and Barnard Transfer Applicants

Barnard College Regular Decision Deadline

The deadline to apply for the regular decision is January 3. Considering you have a better chance of getting into the school with an early decision, you should aim for that deadline first.

Barnard College Early Decision

To apply for the early decision, the deadline is November 1. You will be notified by mid-December whether you were accepted.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Barnard College

With an acceptance rate of only 8%, getting into Barnard College might prove to be difficult. Here are some tips to help you stand out and advance your application to the front of the list.

1. Academic Preparation Beyond Scores

When preparing academically, go beyond mere test scores. Barnard values a well-rounded academic background. 

Demonstrate your commitment to intellectual growth by taking challenging courses in core subjects like math, science, English, history, and foreign languages.

2. Personalize Your Academic Journey

Tailor your course selection to your strengths while continuing to challenge yourself in areas of relative weakness. Consider how your academic pursuits align with the diverse education requirements at Barnard, covering literature, social sciences, language and the arts, and lab sciences.

3. Showcase Intellectual Curiosity

Barnard seeks students with a thirst for knowledge. Highlight your intellectual curiosity in your application. Discuss how your interests extend beyond the classroom and contribute to your personal growth.

4. Contextualize Your Achievements

Every student has a unique background, so provide context to your achievements in your application by explaining the resources and opportunities available to you. Help the admissions committee understand how you've excelled within your school and community, emphasizing your personal story and growth.

5. Be Honest in Your Essay

Write an essay that provides specific ideas about your personal or intellectual life. Avoid a chronological list of achievements; instead, focus on a topic that reveals who you are and what is important to you. Use the limited 650 words wisely to convey a clear and concise message.

6. Stress the Importance of Community

Barnard is interested in students who contribute to the living and learning community. Hone in on the work you’ve done for your community and why that makes you stand out above everyone else. 

7. Understand the Application Review Process

Admission to Barnard is highly selective, but it's not determined by a single score. Emphasize your personal qualities, intellectual capacity, and the rigor of your academic pursuits.

8. Be Mindful of Word Limit in Writing Supplement

In addition to the personal essay, respond to Barnard-specific Writing Supplement questions. Stay within the word limits and use the opportunity to provide additional insights into your character and motivations. Be concise while ensuring that your responses reflect your authentic self.

9. Highlight Achievements in Various Areas

Barnard values talents and abilities in addition to academic achievements. Highlight your extracurricular activities and tie them into your writing supplement or essays. Give them a well-rounded picture of yourself to demonstrate who you are beyond the page.

10. Demonstrate Your Role As a Barnard College Female Student

Barnard College is dedicated to empowering women and preparing them for successful careers. Clearly articulate why you stand out as a top female candidate and explain the relevance of this distinction to your identity and aspirations.

Barnard College Essay Prompts

Supplemental essays are a very important part of the application process. Make sure you don’t overlook them, even if they’re optional! 

Barnard applicants can expect to see the following three essay prompts on their application:

1. 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)

2. 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)

3. 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)

4. 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)

5. 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)

Although the last three questions are marked as optional, it is strongly advised that students respond to each of them. Given Barnard's status as an all-female college with a rich history of championing women's rights and justice, demonstrating the influence of notable women is very important to their institution.

Learning more about the women you admire can help them get to know you better and prove you share the same values as them.

Barnard College Personal Statement

As part of the Common Application, you must submit a personal statement. This statement should give the admissions committee more insight into your goals, values, and principles.

While there are many topics you can write about for this statement, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure you write an effective essay:

  • Share a unique experience that had a meaningful impact on your life
  • Avoid using generic or overused quotes anywhere in your statement, especially in your opening line
  • Use simple language that you feel comfortable with
  • Demonstrate your potential to succeed in college—highlight essential traits that prove your academic excellence and drive
  • Be as specific as possible
  • Proofread your essay several times before submission

Barnard College Interview

The Barnard admission interview is optional and mainly used as an informative tool to share more about the school and learn more about the applicants. 

Barnard's interviews are booked on a first-come, first-served basis and are conducted virtually. Students are encouraged to avoid memorizing answers or following a script. Barnard's interviewers will want to have an engaged and more casual conversation with you. 


For any remaining questions about how to get into Barnard College, read on to find your answers.

1. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Barnard?

Students should aim to maintain as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible to be considered competitive applicants.

2. What Type of Student is Barnard Looking for?

Barnard is mainly looking for students who are bold, intellectually curious, and unique! While they emphasize students’ academic performance, they also consider how students can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to their community. 

3. Is it Harder to Get Into Columbia or Barnard?

These two schools are considered to have similar admission standards. Columbia offers more leniency with their GPA requirements by accepting scores in the 3.7-4.0 range.

4. What to Do to Get Into Barnard?

Students must demonstrate strong academic potential to get into Barnard. Aside from maintaining a high GPA, students should join extracurriculars that can help them develop their knowledge base and hone their academic skills. 

They should also use their personal statements and essays to share their journey and explain why they’re interested in joining Barnard. This explanation must include Barnard’s past pursuits and future visions to continue redefining what it means to be a woman. 

5. Is Barnard an All-Female College?

Yes, Barnard only accepts students who identify as women into their programs. 

6. What is Barnard College Known For? 

Barnard is known for pioneering women’s education and intellectual growth in the United States. They are also one of the most selective Seven Sisters colleges. 

Final Thoughts

Not many colleges can claim to have played a significant role in shaping history and society, but Barnard is among them. 

Renowned for its unwavering dedication to improving the lives of women and expanding access to opportunities, Barnard stands as a pioneer. 

Follow our recommendations and tips provided in this guide on how to get into Barnard to contribute to the legacy of producing fearless leaders!

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