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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 2,500-word essays.

The College's traditional admission options will 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 exam will be available later this summer (date to be announced). 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.

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.

All the information needed to answer the questions is on the examination platform. However, you are not limited to these sources. If you use other materials, they must be properly cited. Remember that this is not a test of what you already know; rather it is an opportunity to demonstrate close reading, critical thinking, and the ability to interpret problems. It is an effort to connect testing to learning.

Once registered for the Bard Entrance Examination, applicants may enter and exit the examination as often as needed before November 1. Along with the completed examination, applicants must sign an Honor Pledge assuring the readers that the work is their own. The Honor Pledge is located on the examination platform.


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 Your 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.

An official letter of admission will be sent within one week of receipt of these documents.

Candidates who receive a B will be invited to complete the Common Application and will be considered as having met the January 1 deadline. Their strong showing on the examination will complement their application in the regular admission review process. They will receive their regular admission decision by the end of March.

International Applicants

International Bard Entrance Exam applicants take note: our admission process for non-U.S. citizens is need-aware, and our international financial aid budget is limited. International students applying for financial aid are encouraged to submit their International Student Application for Financial Aid and Certification of Finances to by January 1.