Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Admission to Bard

In selecting an incoming class of students for whom Bard is the right choice, the Admission Committee appraises the standards of the secondary school curriculum, and considers achievement, motivation, and intellectual ambition. The committee reviews the time and effort a student has dedicated to classes and out-of-class activities and pays close attention to recommendations. 

Bard expects applicants to have pursued an appropriately challenging program of study offered by their schools, including honors or advanced-level courses. In addition, a well-balanced program of study is considered the best preparation for a college of the liberal arts and sciences. The Admission Committee is interested in the entire high school record, with junior- and senior-year courses and results being especially important.

Using the Common Application, candidates may apply to Bard through the Regular Action, Early Action, or Early Decision application process, or, in certain cases, through the Bard Immediate Decision Plan. A complete application includes letters of recommendation from at least two of the student’s junior- or senior-year academic teachers (one of whom should be a mathematics or science teacher), the guidance counselor recommendation and school report, and a complete transcript, including grades from the senior year, as soon as they become available.

Candidates may also choose to apply using the Bard Entrance Examination, an online essay platform.

Candidates are encouraged to visit the Bard website and, if convenient, tour the campus with a student guide and learn about the College’s curriculum, academic programs, and cocurricular activities. Appointments for campus visits may be made, at least one week in advance, through the Admission Office (telephone: 845-758-7472; fax: 845-758-5208; email: Interviews are not required, but are available to applicants until the last day of Bard’s fall semester. Skype™ interviews are also an option.

Regular Action  The application deadline is January 1 for notification in late March.

Early Action (EA)  Candidates for whom Bard is a top choice may apply using the nonbinding EA by November 1 for notification in late December.

Early Decision (ED)  Candidates for whom Bard is the top choice may opt to use the binding ED process by November 1 for notification in late December.

Immediate Decision Plan (IDP)  Offered on select dates in November (see online calendar at Candidates for whom Bard is the top choice may participate in this daylong, campus-based program, after which admission decisions are made immediately. The process can be binding or nonbinding. If a student submits their application as an Early Decision candidate, the process becomes binding, and if a student submits their application as an Early Action candidate, the process becomes nonbinding. 

Bard Entrance Examination  Candidates complete the online essay examination by November 1, with notification in late December.

Commitment Dates  A nonrefundable deposit of $515 is required to hold a place in the class. Students accepted through Early Decision are expected to submit their deposit within a month after receipt of an offer of admission and, when appropriate, an offer of financial aid. All other students must inform the Admission Office of enrollment plans by May 1 (postmarked). Accepted candidates may ask to defer matriculation for one year. This request must be made in writing to the director of admission.

Early Admission  Candidates seeking admission to Bard before completing secondary school may be accepted if they have an appropriate high school record and the recommendation of a guidance counselor or principal. An interview with a Bard admission counselor is required.

Transfer Students Transfer students are expected to be familiar with Bard’s distinctive curricular components, particularly Moderation and the Senior Project, and should anticipate spending three years at the College. Students who wish to transfer apply by March 1 for the fall semester (notification in April) or November 1 for the spring semester (notification in December). A student transferring from an accredited institution usually receives full credit for work completed with a grade of C or better in courses appropriate to the Bard academic program.

International Students  The College encourages applications from students regardless of citizenship or national origin. Candidates whose first language is not English must submit the result of the Test of English as a Foreign Language or other evidence of proficiency in English. 

All foreign nationals must file a Certificate of Finances (issued by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board, or CSS) before a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) will be issued. Both are needed to obtain a visa. International students may be eligible, based on need, for Bard scholarships. Students seeking aid must also submit the International Student Financial Aid Application (also issued by the CSS). These forms are available at most secondary schools and through the College’s website.

Advanced Standing  Advanced standing or college credit for College Board Advanced Placement courses may be given for the grade of 5. Students who wish to request credit or advanced standing must submit the appropriate record of their grade to the Office of the Registrar.

The following international diplomas may be accepted for advanced standing: International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, Swiss Maturity, and German Abitur. A student may be allowed to accelerate for up to 32 credits (a normal full year) at the time of Moderation if the Moderation board so recommends. Students who have earned A-level passes may enter with advanced standing.

The Bard College Conservatory of Music

In addition to applying to Bard College, candidates for admission to the Bard College Conservatory of Music must complete the Conservatory’s online supplemental application. As part of this online application, candidates must upload a recording (audio or video), a musical résumé, and a letter of recommendation from a music teacher. These prescreening recordings are reviewed, and selected candidates are then invited for a live audition. Admission decisions are made on the same schedule as those for the College. The musical résumé should include the names of teachers, dates and places of study, public performances, honors and awards, and other information about musical influences and education. For more information on the Conservatory of Music, see