How to Get Into Barnard: Acceptance Rate + Tips

Barnard student wearing glasses and a green sweater studying on her laptop.
November 23, 2023
12 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 09/22/23

Known for having a “fearless history,” Barnard College has made revolutionary changes to education. To learn more about this school and how to join it, read on!

A group of students college smiling

Barnard College was the first college in New York City to offer degrees to women. In 1889, after years of protesting to create a rigorous college for women equivalent to the education at Columbia, a group of New York women convinced the Columbia Board of Trustees to create an affiliated college, Barnard, just for women.

Since then, Barnard has continued its path of boldness and redefined what it means to be a woman, activist, scholar, and leader! 

If you’d like to join this school known for producing trailblazers, read on! This guide will explore how to get into Barnard, its admission statistics and requirements, tips on how to make your application stand out, and more!

Barnard Acceptance Rate

As you create your list of top school choices, you’ll need to have a realistic understanding of your chances of getting into each college. So, how hard is it to get into Barnard College?

According to the Barnard acceptance rate, this college is highly selective! While 12,180 students applied, only 1,127 were granted admission, meaning Barnard has a low acceptance rate of just 9%.

Barnard Yield Rate

Normally, about half the students who are admitted to Barnard decide to enroll. This means that Barnard’s average yield rate is 49.3%. For example, in 2021, 769 of 1,192 applicants were enrolled at Barnard.  

How Hard Is It to Get Into Barnard? 

Barnard is a highly selective school. Only 9% of all applicants meet Barnard’s expectations and are granted admission to this prestigious school.

However, with a well-rounded application and a demonstrated commitment to boldness and curiosity, you can have a good chance of getting in! Just make sure that you carefully follow each step of the admissions process

Barnard Admission Stats

A person on their laptop

Don’t let this acceptance rate deter you from applying to Barnard; it further proves what an extraordinary curriculum and community Barnard offers! 

Barnard has a low acceptance rate because it aims to enroll the boldest, most engaged, and intellectually curious applicants who can make the best use of their resources. 

The first step toward exceeding Barnard’s expectations is to meet their GPA and SAT/ACT standards.

Barnard GPA 

Barnard offers rigorous curriculums that are meant to challenge its students and develop their academic skills. To ensure students can handle these programs, Barnard places a strong emphasis on applicants’ high school GPA. 

Considering over 93% of admitted students ranked at the top of their classes, Barnard has high expectations of its prospective students. Most successful candidates had GPAs of 3.9 or higher, which is what you should aim for. 

There are several core courses students are expected to complete prior to enrollment: 

  • English
  • Foreign language
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies (history, economics, etc.)

While students should aim to maintain good grades in all of their courses, it’s particularly important to receive high grades in these courses.

Barnard SAT Requirements

In recognition of the challenges students faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnard has implemented a test-optional policy for the 2020-2024 admissions cycles. Students will be assessed equally with or without these scores. But bear in mind that this measure will only be temporary--future applicants will still need to take the SAT.

Students who believe their applications have weak academic components, such as a lower-than-anticipated GPA, should consider submitting SAT scores to prove their academic merit. Barnard will expect students to have SAT scores between 1430 and 1550, which are the scores of most of their admitted applicants.

Barnard ACT Requirements

The same test-optional policy also applies to Barnard’s ACT test requirements, but remember, it’s only temporary. 

Barnard values high ACT scores, so if you scored well, it’s a good addition to your application. Most Barnard students have ACT scores of 32-34.

Barnard Application Requirements and Deadlines

Getting into Barnard will require a GPA of 3.9 or higher and SAT/ACT scores of 1550 and 34, respectively. This would put you in the 75th percentile. If your scores are lower than this, you can compensate by taking high-level AP or IB courses and submitting strong supplementary essays that demonstrate your passions.

Barnard uses a holistic selection process that considers applicants’ academics, personal and professional accomplishments, and experiences. Aside from your high school transcripts and potential SAT/ACT scores, you’ll have to also submit the following application materials:

Letters of Evaluation

Interested applicants must submit two letters of evaluation from teachers in their core courses. These letters should be written by your junior or senior year teachers, but Barnard will accept letters from a sophomore teacher if necessary.

Students can submit up to two more letters of evaluation from other mentors, such as employers or volunteer coordinators. These should offer different perspectives on your candidacy than your teachers’ letters of recommendation. 

High School Counselor Letter of Recommendation

Students are encouraged to have their school counselors send a letter of recommendation to the admissions committee. However, since larger schools are unable to send letters for each student, Barnard recommends students alternatively send in an additional letter of evaluation from a teacher.


While Barnard does not require portfolios for any of their majors, students may submit portfolios containing samples of film, photos, drawings, paintings, sculptures, dance, theater, or creative writing if they think it’ll strengthen their application. 

Additional Information

Students typically apply to Barnard using the Common Application. On this application, there will be an additional information section that students can use to add anything else they’d like the admissions committee to know. 

If you faced any obstacles in your education or were unable to pursue certain activities, you can explain this to the committee. If you faced COVID-19-related issues, there is a separate section for this. 

Barnard College Extracurricular Activities

Remember to include a list of your extracurricular activities in your Common App application to Barnard. Extracurriculars demonstrate to admissions committees that you are a passionate, committed individual, which is very valuable in Barnard’s application process. 


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

While there are limitless 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 as 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

Aside from your personal statement, Barnard requires students to also answer a few specific essay prompts. These will be discussed in further detail later in this guide!


A large 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 has an early application and regular application for first-year students. Students who are sure Barnard is their top choice can submit early applications to increase their chances of admission. 

Early applicants make up a smaller pool of students, meaning there is less competition for spots! However, early applications are binding, meaning students must promise to withdraw other offers if they’re admitted to Barnard. These applicants cannot re-apply for regular decision if they’re rejected.

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

Deadline What’s Due
August 1 Applications open
November 1 Early decision applications due
Mid-December Early applicants receive decision notifications
January 1 Regular decision applications due
March 1 Fall term transfer applications due
Late March Regular applicants receive decision notifications
May Fall term transfer applicants receive decision notifications

To ensure you can meet these deadlines, it’s recommended you start your application several months before the due date.

Barnard Essays

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. What factors encouraged your decision to apply to Barnard College and why do you think the college would be a good match for you? (300 words max)
2. At Barnard, academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited and why do they interest you? Tell us how you would explore these questions at Barnard. (300 words max)
3. Pick one woman — a historical figure, fictitious character, or modern individual — 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 them? (300 words max)

While the third question is optional, students are highly recommended to answer it. As Barnard is an all-female college that takes great pride in the historical strides it has made in women’s rights and justice, influential women are essential to their institution. 

As such, learning more about the women you look up to can help them get to know you better and prove you share the same values as them.

Barnard Interview

The Barnard admission interview is optional and mainly used as an informative and evaluative 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. 

Should You Apply to Bernard?

Bernard is a top-ranking liberal arts school. If you’re hoping to major in liberal arts or sciences, Barnard may be the right fit for you.

Located in New York City, Barnard can also offer you unparalleled opportunities to help kick-start your career! As an entertainment, business, and art hub, students are given access to countless internships and placements to gain valuable experience to add to their resumes

If you consider yourself a bold thinker and want to make significant changes to the world, Barnard will support you in your pursuits! If you’re up for the academic challenge of completing a rigorous program, this college can offer you the resources, support, and network to thrive in your career!

Tips for Getting Into Barnard

Two people talking and smiling

Considering Barnard is highly selective, you’ll want to exceed their minimum expectations to maximize your chances of acceptance. Follow these three tips to create a standout application and get into Barnard College:

Demonstrate Barnard’s Core Values

Barnard strongly emphasizes its dedication to boldness and facilitating intellectual curiosity. In fact, its admission page proudly presents the school’s mission as being “Boldly Barnard.” Ensure you demonstrate your boldness throughout your application.

Use your essays and personal statements to prove your values align with Barnard’s! How have you implemented boldness into your life so far? How do you plan on continuing to be bold at Barnard? 

You should also demonstrate intellectual curiosity. Participate in meaningful projects in and outside of the classroom that develop your academic skills and talents. 

Complete an Interview 

Students do not have to complete an interview to be considered for enrollment, which may seem like a relief at first. However, completing an interview can be beneficial and increase your chances of admission. 

If the committee is unsure about your application or needs convincing to take you from a “maybe” to a “yes,” you can provide this during your interview. 

Your choice to participate in this interview will not only demonstrate your interest in the school but can give you the chance to share valuable information that is otherwise missing from your application.

Consider Early Decision Application

One way to prove your dedication to Barnard is to complete a binding early application. This application lets Barnard know they’re your top choice, and you’re willing to forfeit any other options if you’re admitted. 

Early applicants are typically reviewed with more leniency and compete against far fewer students than regular applicants!

FAQs: How to Get Into Barnard

For any remaining questions about how to get into Barnard, 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 place great emphasis on students’ academic performance, they also consider how students can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to their community. 

As such, students should not only demonstrate their drive and strong interest in attending Barnard but also what they can contribute to the school. Ask yourself why Barnard should choose you over another applicant. Use your application to tell the committee your answer!

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. However, it has similar SAT and ACT expectations. 

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 unique story and explain why they’re interested in joining Barnard. It’s essential that this explanation includes 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

Few colleges can say they’ve made major changes in history and society. Barnard is one of them and is well known for its strong commitment to improving women’s lives and access to opportunities. 

Follow the suggestions and tips shared in this guide to join this revolutionary school and join Barnard’s long list of fearless leaders!

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