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 20 essay questions in four categories: Social Studies; Languages and Literature; Arts; and Science and Mathematics. Applicants are required to complete three 2,500-word essays; each must be in answer to a question from a separate category, thereby covering three of the four categories.

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

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.

The Bard Exam for Fall 2019 is now available.
Photo by: Chris Kendall '82

Taking the Bard Entrance Exam 

“The Bard Entrance Examination was incredibly challenging. Additionally it prepared me for the rigors of advanced academic work. After having completed the application, I feel confident in my awareness of my strengths and weaknesses in scholarly writing. My greatest struggle was effectively organizing my thoughts and perceptions into a concise, clear narrative. I believe I was able to have an in depth, thorough understanding of the material fairly quickly. However, employing judgment as to what details and perceptions to emphasize or include in my own material work, my essays, was a tremendous ordeal for me. I believe that over my high school career I have tended to miss the forest for the trees. My ability to perceive nuances in literary texts has both been incredibly stimulating for my personal intellect, my own thoughts, but has also been a hindrance for overt academic pursuit. I tend to tangle myself up and focus more on nuances than essential ideas so that writing a clear, concise narrative becomes incredibly challenging. My ability to complete this exam, though some of the essays may not include all of the ideas I had hoped to convey, represents a personal triumph for me and my intellect. I am incredibly grateful to Bard for offering this application for it provided me with the means to overcome the roadblocks my mind places in front of me, to navigate my own perceptions and ideas so that I now feel prepared and confident in my ability to make the academic jump to an institution of higher education.” Jeremy Waldinger-White '21


How Does It Work?

The Bard Entrance Exam is open to high school juniors and seniors. Candidates must write three essays. The questions are organized into four categories. One question must be answered from three of the four categories. The suggested length for each of the three essays is 2,500 words.

Exam Evaluation

The examination will be graded by members of the Bard faculty. Each of the three 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 passing the exam 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.

The Bard Entrance Exam in the Press

The Bard Entrance Examination in the press.
Learn more by perusing the announcements and articles below.