Why Barnard?

I found Barnard in my Freshman year of high school when a graduating senior at my school told me she was going to Barnard. We were on the same swim team, had a ton in common, and I absolutely idolized this girl. So naturally, I immediately looked up Barnard.

Three things made me pick Barnard: the feeling I got when I stepped on campus, the people, and New York City.

The things that got me interested in Barnard are all ones that you can find on the website, but the ones that made me pick Barnard are things that are personal.

I visited Barnard as a part of the Pre-College Program when I was a rising Junior, and the moment I walked through the gates I knew I was home. The dark red brick of Barnard Hall, the ivy crawling up Milbank Hall, the smiling faces on the women that greeted me. At Barnard, I had conversations about politics, women in media, and our favorite art at the Met. My classmates pushed me in conversation and my professor for the program encouraged me to keep researching topics we discussed that interested me. Barnard made me love learning for the sake of learning. These were all things that were new to me--completely different from my fairly homogenous Texas high school that force me to increase my homework load instead of my curiosity. Barnard quickly became my dream school and #1 choice.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to get into Barnard. I wasn’t quite inside the recommended score range and my grades were good, but let’s face it--I’m horrible at science. So when I opened my admissions notification email and saw “Congratulations!” I screamed. Literally screamed. Barnard had been my dream for two years, and having it come true was exhilarating. Once the shine wore off though, I was torn between the other schools I’d been admitted into.

Barnard in the summer of 2015 (we no longer have the magnolia tree or the library on the left, sadly. #RIPMaggie)

Barnard in the summer of 2015 (we no longer have the magnolia tree or the library on the left, sadly. #RIPMaggie)

Ultimately, I went with my gut. I went in to talk to my guidance counselor and told her I had no idea where I wanted to go. She looked me in the eye and said, “If you could be at any of these schools right now, where would you be?” and the gates of Barnard popped into my head immediately. And that’s when I knew.

I committed two days later.

Thankfully, my financial aid package made Barnard a possibility for me (otherwise I never would’ve been able to afford it) and my parents supported my decision. The minute I committed to Barnard felt just as right as the moment I stepped on campus for Pre-College two years prior, and I knew I’d made the choice that was perfect for me.

So, why Barnard?

Because Barnard will push you in ways you didn’t know you could be pushed. You’ll meet professors who will force you to think about life in ways that you didn’t even know existed. You’ll debate utopian ideas of gender, question political structures, learn about why humans interact the way we do, about the criminal justice system and the nuances of classic literature. You’ll look at the Course Catalog and fill your schedule with seventy credits before remembering you’re human and no, can’t take four class at the same time. You’ll be walking down Broadway in a sunny April afternoon and it’ll hit you that, yes, your life is real, and you won’t be able to imagine a different one.

Barnard is transformative. It’s already changed me in the year I’ve been here, so I can’t imagine the person I’ll be in 2020 when I walk across the stage in my blue graduation robes. What I do know is that I’ll have the tools, confidence, and knowledge to take me wherever I choose--whether it be back to Texas or to my own apartment in Brooklyn.

However, no matter where I end up, Barnard will always be home

--Willa Smith




My Acceptance to Barnard

My Acceptance to Barnard

Staying in the Tri-State: New Jersey to N.Y.C.

Staying in the Tri-State: New Jersey to N.Y.C.