Bard Early Colleges offer students the unique opportunity to earn up to 60 transferable college credits and an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree from Bard College, tuition-free, as well as a high school diploma within four years. This unique opportunity affords students significant college savings and the ability to get a two-year jump-start on their bachelor’s degrees.
2) The Faculty
Bard Early College students are taught by college professors – faculty with terminal degrees in their fields of study – throughout their Bard Early College education. These professors are experts in their fields and active scholars who inspire students through their passion for their subjects. Bard Early Colleges offer students great access to professors, both in and outside of the classroom.
3) The Curriculum
Bard Early Colleges offer high school courses (at most campuses) and core and elective college courses across the liberal arts and sciences (at all campuses), providing Bard Early College students with a strong general education foundation. Courses are small, writing-, inquiry- and discussion-based seminar classes that help students develop the writing, communication, and analytical and problem-solving skills necessary for success in college and beyond. Bard Early College’s college curriculum is modeled on that of Bard College and includes signature Bard elements, such as the four-semester Great Books seminar sequence and “Writing and Thinking” workshops that start the academic year. The Bard Early College curriculum has been successful for over 13 years and is continually being strengthened.
4) The Student Supports
Bard Early College students receive a number of individualized supports to ensure their smooth transition from high school to college, at Bard Early College and beyond. Support services include faculty office hours, an advisory program, the Learning Commons, which offers professional and peer tutoring, a college skills course, and college counseling services to help students transfer their college credits and find a B.A.-granting college that meets their needs.
5) The Bard Early College and Bard Networks
Bard Early College students are part of a growing Bard Early College network that includes campuses in New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Harlem Children’s Zone); Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; and Cleveland, OH. This network of over 1,800 students, in turn, is part of a broader early college movement of which Bard is a pioneer. The early college movement seeks to rethink the education of adolescents in this country and to create a more seamless pathway for students to and through college.
Bard Early College students also become part of a larger Bard College network, which includes approximately 1,600 students at the main campus in Annandale, NY, as well as hundreds of students at satellite campuses across the U.S. and abroad. The opportunity to join the ranks of one of the most forward-thinking, innovative, and elite colleges in the country is a large benefit for Bard Early College students.
The Bard High School Early Colleges (BHSECs) in New York City, Newark, and Cleveland are partnerships between school districts and Bard College that embed a college education in the liberal arts and sciences within a public high school, allowing students to earn up to 60 tuition-free college credits and an associate’s degree from Bard, concurrently with a high school diploma.
The BHSECs have an integrated academic program in the liberal arts and sciences in which college faculty (the majority of whom have Ph.D.s in their fields) teach both high school and college courses all in one building. During their first two years at BHSEC, students generally complete most of their high school requirements while at the same time developing the skills needed to succeed in rigorous college courses. Then, in what otherwise would have been 11th and 12th grades, students take a full two-year college course of study, which includes core classes in the humanities, languages, mathematics, and sciences, as well as a range of college electives.
The Bard Early College Centers in New Orleans and the Harlem Children's Zone are two-year college programs embedded within their public school systems or networks. Participating students take college seminar courses in the liberal arts and sciences for half of each school day in the 11th and 12th grades at the local Bard Early College campus. Students complete up to one year of tuition-free college credits in the early college program, concurrently with a high school diploma at their high schools.
Students at the Bard Early Colleges are intellectually curious and motivated to challenge themselves with a liberal arts college education while in high school. The model has worked in for 13 years for students from diverse socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and academic backgrounds.
All Bard Early College students are selected through an application process that includes an individual interview. In addition to the interview, components of the admission process can include a faculty-designed assessment or audition and a review of students' academic records and attendance in middle school. Visit the individual campuses for more detail on their admissions processes.
The additional costs of providing a college program in high school include: professor salaries, college textbooks for students, science equipment for college-level laboratory courses, library resources, college advising services and academic support, and college liaison positions. In order to provide writing- and laboratory-intensive classes that are truly the equivalent of those offered by liberal arts colleges, Bard's early college classes have no more than 25 students. The small class sizes help younger students succeed in the college courses, as do the academic tutoring and college counseling supports. Bard relies on funding from public and private sources to ensure that these costs are not passed down to students and families.
Approximately 70 percent of faculty at the Bard Early Colleges have terminal degrees in their fields of study, and many are published scholars. Bard Early College faculty members share a deep knowledge and passion for their subjects as well as an interest in teaching younger students.
Bard Early Colleges provide support services to help students succeed in the early college program and beyond. In addition to small classes, which allow students to develop strong relationships with professors and receive individual attention, the early colleges each have a Learning Commons where students can access academic support, and a college transfer office where students can get help preparing for college life and transferring to four-year colleges. Professors also hold office hours before, during, and after school, where they work with students individually or in small groups.
Approximately 90 percent of students in the Bard High School Early Colleges complete an associate’s degree concurrently with a high school diploma. The majority of students who do not receive the associate's degree earn more than 50 college credits.
More than 95 percent of Bard High School Early College students matriculate at a four-year college after graduating from the early college program, and more than 90 percent of matriculating students complete their bachelor's degrees. Students can transfer their credits from the early college program to a four-year institution, reducing the time to degree completion. In recent classes, more than a third of students have finished their bachelor's degrees within three years.
Bard Early Colleges have long employed the teaching practices promoted by the Common Core. In humanities courses, students learn how to analyze and find meaning in increasingly complex texts, using evidence from the texts. Students learn to write strong arguments based on supported claims and sound reasoning, and how to conduct thorough research. Students also develop strong communication and public speaking skills through discussion-based classes and group projects. In math and science courses, students learn how to create and test hypotheses, understand assumptions, and identify solutions. By the time they graduate, students have strong analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills that help them succeed in college and beyond. These skills are precisely the ones that Common Core standards aim to impart.