The College's traditional admission options 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.
If you are applying via the Bard Entrance Exam, you cannot participate in the Bard Immediate Decision Plan.
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 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.
If applying for financial aid: for domestic students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and The College Board's College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) must be submitted by December 1. For international students, the Bard International Student Financial Aid application, which can be found here, must be submitted by November 1.
Taking the Bard Entrance Exam
“The Bard Entrance Examination was incredibly challenging. Additionally it prepared me for the rigors of advanced academic work. After having completed the application, I feel confident in my awareness of my strengths and weaknesses in scholarly writing. My greatest struggle was effectively organizing my thoughts and perceptions into a concise, clear narrative. I believe I was able to have an in depth, thorough understanding of the material fairly quickly. However, employing judgment as to what details and perceptions to emphasize or include in my own material work, my essays, was a tremendous ordeal for me. I believe that over my high school career I have tended to miss the forest for the trees. My ability to perceive nuances in literary texts has both been incredibly stimulating for my personal intellect, my own thoughts, but has also been a hindrance for overt academic pursuit. I tend to tangle myself up and focus more on nuances than essential ideas so that writing a clear, concise narrative becomes incredibly challenging. My ability to complete this exam, though some of the essays may not include all of the ideas I had hoped to convey, represents a personal triumph for me and my intellect. I am incredibly grateful to Bard for offering this application for it provided me with the means to overcome the roadblocks my mind places in front of me, to navigate my own perceptions and ideas so that I now feel prepared and confident in my ability to make the academic jump to an institution of higher education.” —Jeremy Waldinger-White '21
"The Bard Entrance Exam was certainly a challenge for me. During the writing process, there were a few peak creativity moments where the words seemed to pour out of me as if the essays were writing themselves. There were probably more times where I experienced feelings of deep insecurity, and felt that my essay was not doing the topic justice. Or maybe my writing was even worse than I imagined, and I wouldn't get into Bard. I was relieved when I read an interview with the artist Cindy Sherman as I prepared to write about her photo Untitled Film Still 10. (I had never heard of Sherman before, but I absolutely fell in love with her photographs. I want to study film, and even though Sherman is a photographer, her film stills excited and inspired me. I remember thinking, "Wow! That's the kind of art I want to make.") The interviewer asked Sherman if the high prices her photos were fetching made her feel better about her work, to which she replied: "No, my self-esteem still fluctuates." This made me feel much better. Sherman's photographs are incredible, and if even she doubts her work, then there is certainly hope for me. Even so, it was difficult at first to power through my low moments. Eventually, I found that identifying the insufficiencies in my essay and tackling them head-on instead of anxiously avoiding them gave me a firmer grasp of the point it was trying to make. Whether I am accepted or not, I am extremely proud of myself for finishing the BEE, and am grateful for this opportunity. It was the hardest assignment I have ever been given, but I feel that it taught me how to buckle down and finish what I started, no matter how difficult that may be." —Lyra Johnson '23
The Bard Entrance Exam in the Press
Bard's Better Admissions Application (Slate)
Bard College Relaunches Successful Online Essay Exam as Alternate Path to Admission (Bard College Press Release)
Bard College Applicants Trade 10,000 Words for Two: You’re In (New York Times)
Bard College Launches New Online Essay Exam as Alternate Path to Admission (Bard College Press Release)
Didn’t Ace SAT? Just Design Microbe Transplant Research (New York Times)
The Admissions Essay Is Back (Inside Higher Ed)