My Experience Applying to Barnard Early Decision
The fall of my junior year of high school, I was receiving a ton of letters and information packets from colleges and universities. Among the postcards and guidebooks was a sleek, matte black book with raised letters spelling out “BARNARD” on the cover. It was The Barnard Book, the info guide sent out to prospective students to learn about Barnard. With this book, I got my first glimpse into life at Barnard. The classes students took, what activities they were involved in both on- and off-campus, and what alumni were up to were all included in the book.
This book led me to visit campus the spring of my junior year. Which led to a summer obsessing about Barnard. This resulted in me knowing too much information about Barnard and sharing that information with everyone who was unfortunate enough to cross my path. This finally culminated with me in the fall of my senior year of high school asking myself “Do I apply early decision to Barnard?”
Early decision (ED) is a binding agreement between you and Barnard College. This means if you apply ED and are accepted, you agree to attend Barnard and withdraw all other applications from schools. Additionally, while Barnard’s regular decision (RD) deadline is January 1st, the early decision deadline is November 1st. You find out Barnard’s decision earlier as well; ED decisions are released in mid-December while RD decisions are released in late March. With a shorter deadline to get my application in and a binding commitment to Barnard, I knew I had to be sure that Barnard was right for me.
There were 3 ways I knew applying to Barnard early decision was right for me. First, I had no more questions about Barnard. I talked with the admissions office, current students, and alumni, I scoured the internet for every piece of info on Barnard I could find, and read cover to cover any informational material I got from Barnard in the mail. By the time this whole process was over I was a walking Barnard encyclopedia. Every question my parents or I had, I found an answer for. From academics to housing to meal plans, there was nothing left to ask questions about. I felt like I knew Barnard inside and out.
Second, I could envision myself in the Barnard community. I had an idea about the clubs and organizations I would want to join and the classes I’d be interested in taking. I could see myself eating lunch with friends on the steps of the Diana Center, hanging out in the quad, or studying at Butler Library. When I visited Barnard, the campus felt comfortable to me and like a place where I could grow and thrive over 4 years.
Lastly, applying ED was a commitment to Barnard I was willing and able to make. I knew Barnard was where I wanted to be for college and that it was my first choice. Additionally, my family was also ready to make the financial commitment to Barnard as well. Financial aid is available to ED applicants, however, ED is a binding commitment so it’s important to make sure that you, your family, or whoever else is contributing to your tuition is comfortable with your possible financial contributions to Barnard before applying ED.
Applying early decision says “Hey, Barnard, you’re my number 1 choice! If you accept me, I will definitely attend Barnard.” My excitement and love for Barnard prompted me to apply ED and it was the best decision I could’ve made. If you’re thinking about applying ED, check in with yourself about your feelings for Barnard and talk to your family and your high school guidance/college counselor to find out if applying early decision is right for you.