What You Need to Know When Applying to Bard College
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Chase Williams and Elias Miller in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Why You Should Apply to Bard College
At Bard College, students have a variety of academic programs to choose from. Bard offers five categories of academic programs: Arts, Social Studies, Languages and Literature, Science, Mathematics and Computing, and Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations.
Students studying in Bard’s Arts academic program have access to courses in areas like music and studio and visual arts. In the Social Studies area, course offerings range from topics like economics, philosophy, and art history. Language and Literature students can explore a variety of world languages and literature courses. The Science, Math and Computing area consists of Bard’s STEM courses.
The last academic area, Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations, exists for students interested in fields that cannot be narrowed to just one specific category.
For example, a discipline like Africana studies would fall under the interdivisional area as there is not just one specific method in which to study this topic. In pursuing Africana studies, you would need to take courses in the arts, social sciences, history, as well as language courses related to the regions of Africa that you may be focused on. The Interdivisional Programs allow students to pursue disciplines like this that require a combination of courses from different subject areas.
Concentrations at Bard are similar to minors in that you can explore that specific field more than just by taking one or two classes, but you don’t have to declare your major in that topic.
As you explore Bard as a college option, you can view all of the majors and concentrations offered through the undergraduate academics and programs website.
How to Apply
There are several different components to keep in mind when applying to Bard. First, Bard is completely test optional, and has been that way since the 1970’s. Students applying to Bard do not need to worry about taking the SAT or ACT if that is not something that they want to do.
Additionally, Bard has no application fee for applicants. This ensures that students with concerns about affording the application fee are not prevented from applying to Bard.
Two unique components of the Bard application process are the Bard Entrance Exam and Immediate Decision Plan. The Immediate Decision Plan is similar to applying Early Action, in that students apply early but their application is non-binding. In addition to that, students applying through the Immediate Decision Plan pathway complete an admissions interview and attend a mock-class at Bard. Following this experience, they will hear back with Bard’s admissions decision in about two days.
Financial Aid and Funding
Bard’s financial aid is completely need-based, with merit only impacting need-based grants that are specific to majors like the sciences, where students may need a specific GPA or background to be admitted to that major. That said, a student admitted to a science program who does not have financial need would not be able to receive that subject-specific need-based grant.
Applicants to Bard must complete the FAFSA and CSS profile, and those applications are used to determine student financial aid eligibility. Bard aims to meet the full demonstrated financial need of students, but it is important to note that they are need-aware, meaning that financial need is one of the deciding factors in their admissions.