Prospective Students FAQ
Q: Can I arrange a campus visit?
A: The best time to visit campus is during the summer when our session is in progress. We also hold information sessions and campus tours in the fall; dates are listed on our website once they are confirmed. To visit Bard at another time, contact our office at 845-758-7481 or email email@example.com.
Q: Can I submit my application if my recommendation letters have not been uploaded?
A: Yes, you can submit your application whenever you are ready, up through the deadline of January 15, 2013. Your recommenders can still upload or mail their letters after you have submitted.
We will accept recommendation letters and transcripts that are sent after the application deadline, but they must be received within 2 weeks of the deadline (by January 29) in order to be reviewed by the admissions committee.
Q: Do you accept transfer credits?
A: No. Applicants who transfer from another MFA program must complete all program requirements.
Q: Do you require the GRE?
A: No. Applicants who have taken a GRE test may submit their scores if they wish.
Q: How competitive is the admissions process?
A: The admissions process is highly competitive; in 2011 we received over 400 applications. Of these around 70 were invited to interview, and 29 were admitted to the program. Painting and sculpture are the most competitive disciplines, receiving well over 100 applications each.
Each discipline accepts 4-5 students each year. There are about 12-15 students (3 class years worth) in each discipline, and a total student body of approximately 80.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: Applicants who are invited for an interview must submit the 2013-14 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by March 15, 2013. You can complete the FAFSA online after January 1, 2013 at www.fafsa.ed.gov. International applicants must submit a copy of the International Student Financial Aid form. You will also need to submit a copy of your 2012 tax return to Bard as proof of income.
The FAFSA is used to apply for all need-based financial aid: scholarships and loans. Fellowships are awarded based on merit and do not require an application. Fellowships are typically smaller than scholarships, especially for students with high financial need.
Q: How is the program structured?
A: Students in Bard's MFA program are in residence for three summers (8 weeks each, in June and July). During the rest of the year (August-May) students complete an independent study project, which they come back and present the following summer. During the third and final summer students present their thesis projects to the public, either through a joint exhibition or as part of an evening presentation.
Students who start the program in summer 2013 can complete the program at the end of the 2015 summer session. Official graduation (receipt of diploma) is the following May.
Q: How should I submit my letters of recommendation?
A: The preferred method of submission for letters of recommendation is online through the SlideRoom application system, as it is fast, reliable, and matches your letter with your application automatically. You can also track who has submitted their letters. You will need to start your online application before your recommenders can upload their letters, but it is ok to submit your application before all letters are received.
We also accept mailed recommendation letters if a recommender does not want to use the online format. Mailed letters should be postmarked by the January 15, 2013 deadline to ensure that they arrive in time to be reviewed by our admissions committee. If your recommender is mailing a letter, please be sure that they include your full name on the letter so we may match it with your application. There is no recommendation form/questionnaire to submit.
If you have applied in the past two years, you can re-use any letters that were previously submitted through SlideRoom by clicking Add Reference and then selecting Reuse Previous.
Q: I am reapplying to the program; what do I need to submit?
A: We retain application files for two years. Applicants from 2011 or 2012 still have their previous applications on file and may re-use transcripts and letters of recommendation; all other application materials will need to be resubmitted. Applicants from 2010 and prior will need to submit an entirely new application.
Q: I don't know what discipline my work falls into: what should I do?
A: For logistical reasons it is necessary to separate our program into 6 disciplines: Film/Video, Music/Sound, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Writing. Students are "housed" in one of these disciplines, but are free to explore and work in forms outside of their discipline. If your portfolio work falls into more than one discipline, you have two options.
1. Consider which discipline you would like to focus your attentions on during your graduate study, and/or which area you identify with more closely, and apply to that discipline.
2. Apply to two different disciplines, following the portfolio requirements for each. You will have to submit two separate applications (though SlideRoom allows copying of content from one to the other in most areas) and pay the application fee twice.
We no longer offer the option of applying as "Unsure."
Q: Is financial aid available for foreign students?
A: Yes. Foreign students are considered for fellowships and may apply for scholarships. Most foreign students are not eligible for government loans, but you may be able to apply for a loan from your home country. At this time we are unable to offer scholarships and fellowships that cover full tuition.
Q: My college can't send my transcript by the application deadline. Can I send an unofficial transcript?
A: We do not accept unofficial (copied or opened) transcripts. Transcripts should be mailed to our office directly from the school. We will accept official transcripts mailed by the applicant as long as they are in an unopened envelope sealed by the institution. Official transcripts postmarked after the deadline are accepted.
If your school offers official digital transcripts, we will also accept those. We cannot accept unofficial digital transcripts or course/grade reports.
Q: What are the requirements for foreign applicants?
A: Foreign applicants are required to submit the same application materials and fee as US applicants. In addition, applicants for whom English is not a first language must demonstrate English speaking proficiency. There are several ways to meet this requirement:
1. Show proof of a high school or college degree earned at an English-speaking institution
2. Score at least 90 on the internet (iBT) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
3. Score at least 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test
Q: What is the total cost of the program?
A: The estimated tuition (starting in 2013) is $54,000. Tuition includes three summer sessions and two independent study periods. Fees for 3 years are approximately $1,500. On-campus housing (optional) for 3 summer sessions is estimated at $5,000.
Over 95% of our students receive financial aid in the form of fellowships and/or scholarships to offset part of the cost; the average financial aid award covers about 1/3 of tuition.
Q: What should I include in my portfolio?
A: Specific portfolio requirements for each discipline can be found on the website below. In general, your portfolio should demonstrate a broad spectrum of work over the past three years. You may include multiple works from a particular series, but it is recommended that your portfolio not consist entirely of one series of work. Sculptors and those with large installation pieces may include overview shots or video of an installation as well as detail shots. Film/Video applicants should limit their overall length to 30 minutes, but can include segments from a number of longer works. Writers may submit 15-20 pages from one longer work or multiple examples of shorter work.
If your work spans more than one discipline, you can include work from the other disciplines as well. Applicants to Film/Video can submit a supplementary CD or DVD containing images, writing samples, or sound work. Applicants to other disciplines should submit videos, images, or writing samples through the SlideRoom online portfolio system.
We do not accept slides or prints. Please do not submit any original or valuable materials, as we do not return any application or portfolio materials.
Q: When will I be notified about my admission status?
A: If you apply for summer 2013, you will receive an email in mid-February regarding your interview status. Those who are offered interviews (which take place on Saturday, March 16) will then be notified by April 1 regarding whether they have been accepted, placed on the wait list, or not offered a space in our program.
Q: Will I be notified when my application is received?
A: With our online application through SlideRoom, you will create an account that you can access repeatedly to complete your application. Once you've submitted your application you will receive an automated email from SlideRoom confirming it's submission.
If your recommenders submit their letters through SlideRoom, you will also receive an email when each letter is submitted.
We attempt to notify each applicant once their application is complete, but that is not always possible, especially for those who wait until the application deadline to submit. We recommend submitting prior to the deadline to ensure that all of your materials are received on time.