Frequently Asked Questions About Barnard: Answered!

Frequently Asked Questions About Barnard: Answered!

Are you interested in Barnard? Do you have a million burning questions and don’t want to search through the admissions website? Well, you’re in the right place! We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about Barnard in hopes that we can answer at least some of those burning questions.

How do you pronounce Barnard?

It’s Bar-NARD or Bar-NERD. Honestly, people pronounce it different depending on where you’re from. I say Bar-NERD, personally, but many people say Bar-NARD. (Many also affectionately call Barnard the ‘Nard.)

Why Barnard?

There are so many ways to answer this question. Barnard is a place that will change you from the moment you walk through the gates. I found that Barnard completely changed the way I look at the world around me, made me more confident in my own skin, and allowed me to meet some of my best friends in the world. Barnard is a magical place because it’s a place with such a wide variety of students who together make up this incredible place we all call home!

Here are some posts on why students chose Barnard:

How would you describe Barnard women?

Curious. Brilliant. Hilarious. Caring. Supportive. The best women in the world.

Why a women’s college?

Tons of reasons. I found that a women’s college boosted my confidence, made me feel more supported emotionally and academically, made me feel at home, and made me have a better understanding of my place in the world as a woman.

To learn more about what other students thought, check out these posts:

What is the Barnard/Columbia relationship?

This is possibly the hardest question to answer about Barnard. In short, Barnard is a college of Columbia University, meaning your diploma will be from Columbia University, Barnard College. However, Barnard has a completely separate admissions and financial aid process, separate housing, meal plans, and administrative offices. You can take any class at Columbia (except for the Columbia core classes) and any Columbia students can take a class at Barnard. You can go into any dining hall at Columbia, use all the libraries, use the gym, and join clubs and greek life at Columbia.

Basically, it’s super complicated and no one really understands it. It’s different to every person who comes to Barnard because it’s all about the relationship you want to have. If you want to spend all your time at Barnard, you totally can. If you want to spend more time at Columbia, that’s fine too. If you want to strike a balance, that works as well. It’s what you make of it!

What are the classes like at Barnard? How much homework do you have at Barnard?

Classes at Barnard are challenging but incredibly thought-provoking. I continue to have fascinating discussions in my classes at Barnard and am impressed by my professors on a daily basis. Most classes are small and focused on discussion, and large lecture classes will commonly have discussion sections attached so that despite being in a large class you’re still getting small group discussions.

As for homework, it depends on what you take! I’m a History major so most of my classes are heavy on reading, so I tend to have about two to three hours of homework to get done every day.

Here’s Amara’s post on her Comparative Politics of Gender Inequality class

What’s Foundations?

Foundations is the new curriculum at Barnard! Here’s a quote from the Barnard website about it:

“Foundations, which went into effect for students entering in Fall 2016, prepares Barnard students for the future by adding depth and breadth to our existing course of study. It emphasizes technology and digital learning; international and global learning; and the importance of quantitative and empirical reasoning. Our students are expected to study the local—our connection with New York City—and the historical, and to study and think hard about social difference. And with Foundations, Barnard is one of the first liberal arts colleges with a distinct technology requirement.”

What’s it like to live in a dorm? What’s the housing situation like at Barnard?

I love living in a dorm! I went random with my housing assignment and am so happy I did--I ended up meeting one of my best friends and having an incredible year. Right now, I live in apartment-style living, which has a kitchen and a bathroom within our suite (basically an apartment). You are guaranteed housing all four years at Barnard, and all housing is within a ten-minute walk from campus.

How often do you get off campus and into the city?

If you aren’t interning off campus, I’d say most students leave Morningside Heights at least once a week. I’ll usually spend a day in the city, usually a Friday or Saturday (I don’t have class on Fridays!) and the rest of my days on campus.

What do you do on the weekends at Barnard?

I spend my weekends doing homework, seeing friends, catching up with TV shows, exploring New York, and sleeping. I have some club meetings on weekends, and usually, have one or two obligations on a Saturday or Sunday of events I need to go to.

Here’s my post from last year on a sample weekend at Barnard

What things do you do outside of class?

I’m on the executive board of a club, a member of the women’s water polo team, and have an internship at a literary agency, so that occupies a lot of my time! The rest of it is filled with friends and activities around campus. I’d say Barnard students are pretty active on campus, so most people are involved with a club that occupies some of their time, or have jobs keeping them busy!

Do students do internships during the year? How does this work out with schedules?

Yes! I’m currently interning for a literary agency in Midtown, and also had an internship last semester. I spend one day a week at my internship, and just had to plan my classes around the days when I’d be working. It’s fairly easy to do as long as you plan ahead! Barnard also has tons of great resources for finding internships in the city that you can use upon getting to campus.

Here’s a post on what a day in the life of a student with an internship is like (it happens to be my post from last semester!)

Does Barnard have sororities?

Kind-of? All Greek life is done through Columbia, so all Barnard students can join Greek life at Columbia, but we don’t have Barnard-only sororities.

What are the research opportunities like at Barnard?

One of the many perks of going to a college without a graduate school is that all the research opportunities go to undergraduate students. This means all Barnard students interested in doing research have the opportunity to do so during their four years at Barnard, and not just in their senior year - you could start doing research as early as freshman year!

Here’s Hannah’s post on research from last year

Can you join athletics at Barnard? Does Barnard have sports teams?

Barnard doesn’t have separate athletic teams from Columbia, but you can totally join a team at Columbia! Barnard women make up part of Columbia’s fencing, squash, and swimming teams among others.

Interested in knowing more about athletics at Barnard? Check out this post!

I hope that answered some of your questions, and feel free to email me at if you will have an unanswered burning question.


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My Experience Applying to Barnard Early Decision

My Experience Applying to Barnard Early Decision

The Best of Barnard and Columbia Libraries

The Best of Barnard and Columbia Libraries