The Bard Entrance Examination

The Bard Entrance Examination offers a new way to apply to Bard that bypasses existing standardized tests and admission processes, leveling the playing field among applicants worldwide. The examination enables motivated students to gain admission through an essay test, engaging applicants in a process that more closely mirrors actual college coursework. The examination is composed of essay questions in three categories: Social Science, History, and Philosophy; Arts and Literature; and Science and Mathematics. Applicants are required to complete four of 12 questions with 2,500-word essays.

The College's traditional admission options remain unchanged and, if they're the most suitable for you, we hope you'll use them to apply to Bard. There are no negative consequences for choosing these traditional application processes.

About the Entrance Examination

The Bard Entrance Examination is an online essay test open to high school juniors and seniors. Completion of the test is equivalent to an application for admission. Candidates who score B+ or higher will receive an offer of admission. The deadline for submitting a completed examination is November 1, with notification of the results by the end of December. There is no fee for this examination.

Bard Exam for Fall 2018 will be available in August.

How Does It Work?

Candidates must write four essays. The questions are organized into three categories. One question must be answered from each category. The fourth essay may be from any of the three, thereby repeating a category. The suggested length for each of the four essays is 2,500 words. Expand for How Does It Work? Expand


The examination will be graded by members of the Bard faculty and staff. Each of the four essays will be evaluated separately. There will also be a composite grade. Candidates scoring a composite grade of B+ or higher will receive notification of an offer of admission to the College by the end of December.

Completing the Application 

Students who pass the essay examination must complete their file by submitting two documents: an official high school transcript and a general reference letter from the high school counselor or another appropriate school official. Homeschooled students may submit documentation of their curriculum in lieu of a transcript. Expand for Completing the Application  Expand

The Bard Entrance Exam in the Press

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