Early College Programs
Bard College has been a national leader in early college education—providing intellectually inspiring college study in the liberal arts and sciences to high school–aged students—since 1979, when it assumed leadership of the nation’s first early college, Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early Collegesimons-rock.edu
Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. Simon’s Rock enrolls approximately 400 full-time students, and awards both AA and BA degrees. The campus is located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, which launched in 2015, uses the first two years of high school to help students develop the skills they will need to succeed in college. Upon completing the 10th grade, Academy students begin full-time college study at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
Bard Early Collegesbard.edu/earlycollege
Now in their 17th year, the Bard Early Colleges were founded on the belief that many high school-age students are eager and ready for the intellectual challenges of a college education. The Bard Early Colleges—satellite campuses of Bard College in public school systems—act on this belief by providing younger scholars with a tuition-free, credit-bearing college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences following the 9th and 10th grades. Through two campus models, Bard Early Colleges make it possible for high school–age students to earn as many as 60 college credits and an associate in arts (AA) degree concurrently with a high school diploma, tuition free. All courses are taught by college faculty in rigorous and engaging undergraduate seminars. By bringing the best qualities of the liberal arts and sciences into high school settings, Bard strengthens academic opportunity for young people across the United States. More than 2,700 students are enrolled nationwide.
Bard High School Early Colleges (BHSECs) are four-year public high schools. Students finish an accelerated high school program in the 9th and 10th grades and a full-time college program in place of the 11th and 12th grades. BHSECs award up to 60 college credits and an AA degree in addition to a state high school diploma. All courses are held on the same campus, and the same faculty teach across all four years. Bard operates BHSEC campuses in Manhattan, Queens, Newark, Cleveland (one each on the east and west sides of the city), and Baltimore.
Bard Early College Centers are Bard-led partnerships with public high schools and school networks. Students enroll as part-time undergraduates in the 11th and 12th grades, earning as much as one year of college credits. Bard operates Early College Centers in New Orleans, Harlem (in partnership with the Harlem Children’s Zone), and Hudson, New York (in partnership with the Hudson City School District).
The Bard Early College model has proven extraordinarily effective in positioning young people of all backgrounds to succeed in higher education. In the BHSEC Class of 2017, 89 percent of students earned an AA degree alongside a high school diploma, and 98 percent earned a high school diploma and transferable college credits. To date, over 90 percent of BHSEC graduates have completed their baccalaureate degrees, a significantly higher percentage than the national average of 60 percent. An independent, quasi-experimental study on the flagship campuses in New York City found that BHSEC students completed bachelor’s degrees at a 31 percent higher rate than comparison students who attended traditional public high schools.