Why I Chose Barnard ... At Age 24
Full disclosure, I am not a Barnard alum. In fact, when I was 18 and looking at colleges, Barnard would’ve scared the bejeezus out of me. If a school was located anywhere other than a cornfield, I was not interested.
Many years after my college search, I made my way to to this little campus tucked away on the Upper West Side. And although I wasn’t looking to enroll as a student, some of the factors that attracted me to Barnard as an employee may also compel you to apply:
A series of contradictions. Barnard intrigued me because you get to choose your own adventure. You have your close-knit community on campus, but you also have the entire city at your fingertips. You have your all-female environment, but your classes may be co-ed. You have discussion-based courses on this side of the street, but you can opt to take larger lecture courses at Columbia. It’s difficult to define the Barnard experience, because everyone creates their own. It’s the best of both worlds in many respects.
- Word of mouth. Arguably two of the most influential people in my life - my best friend from high school and my best friend from college - nearly enrolled at Barnard. They both chose to go elsewhere for various reasons, but they speak highly of Barnard to this day. At a certain point, I was sensing a pattern … it’s like when everyone you know is raving about an indie movie you haven’t seen yet, and you make a mental note to see it ASAP because your friends clearly have superior taste.
Intellectual curiosity, or, people who are interesting and interested. My dad always says that liberal arts colleges attract people who are “interesting and interested.” I never considered that this notion extends to faculty and staff until my Barnard interview. Yes, we talked about my professional qualifications and goals, but our conversation also covered facets of my personality that were not job-specific (though - to be fair - I will talk about late-night comedy whenever I’m given the chance, job interview or not). The fact that my future employer wanted to get to know me not only as an employee, but also as a person, was very impressive to me.
Opposites attract. As I mentioned before, my alma mater is in a cornfield and the students there truly create their own fun. While I wouldn’t have been happy in a city at age 18, at age 24, it’s all I can imagine for myself. It’s absolutely fascinating to talk to students who are are looking for something completely different from what I was seeking at that time in my life.
Why will you choose Barnard?
Senior Admissions Officer