Why Barnard?


First of all congratulations! You all should be so proud of yourself (or your daughter, sister, friend, aunt, cousin, etc.) who was accepted into Barnard! I remember the day I received my acceptance letter, but more on that later. I also know this is both an extremely exciting time, but it also can be very nerve-racking.  I hope these words of welcome and explanation show you how much I love Barnard, and I hope it will make your decision that much easier.

So… why Barnard?

On every tour I give, at some point I am asked this question- why Barnard? Out of all the colleges and universities in this country (and the world) why did I choose to spend four formative years of my life here?

Every time I am asked this question I end up giving a laundry list of answers- academics, extracurricular activities, the relationship with Columbia, being in New York City… The list goes on and on and each time I answer, it is a little different depending on my mood and feelings of the day.  But, what my answer always boils down to is the choice you get as a Barnard student to “choose your own adventure”.

Do you remember those books? You would start on the first page and depending on your responses to certain situations you would flip to a certain page. In the end, there were hundreds of different ways to arrive at several different end points. That is what life is like here at Barnard (in my opinion at least). We all start at the same place at orientation, and during our time here we make decisions that lead each of us into different directions.

So what are all of these choices? Sure there are the typical college and choices of what classes to take, what to do on the weekend, where to go for spring break (I suggest someplace warm), but at Barnard we have so much more.

Academics: Do you know about the Nine-Ways of knowing? If not take a look at http://barnard.edu/admissions/education/the-curriculum. Basically, at Barnard instead of having core classes which we are required to take, we have nine broad themes that we need to take some class to fulfill. The reason why I love this is because you truly get to shape your own education. No one is mandating certain courses (but don’t worry the advising is great and there are definitely people to help you), so you really get to make your own decisions depending on your interests.

Relationship with Columbia: So this is a really big topic, I am not going to explain it all now (so you should keep reading the blog!), BUT what I do want to say is that because of our relationship with Columbia, Barnard is truly “the best of both worlds.” At Barnard, we have all of the advantages of a small school; intimate classes, caring professors and administrators, and school traditions that everyone can take part in. Simultaneously, we have all of the resources of the large research university at Columbia. So, basically we get choices from two very different types of school. Understand the “choose your own adventure” idea yet?

New York City: The final piece of this choice puzzle is New York- “the big apple” and “the city that never sleeps.” These nicknames really say a lot about the city because there is always so much to do, and we as Barnard students get to take advantage of all of it. Who wouldn’t want so many choices?

Oh, I forgot I promised to tell you about my Barnard acceptance. So I got my letter on a Monday. During a break between classes I saw I had two messages from my mom. The first said “Hi Hannah you got a letter from Barnard. Call me back,” and the next was slightly more frantic “Hannah call me back. You got a letter from Barnard. A big letter.” Needless to say I was accepted and was so excited, a feeling I know is shared by all of you. So good luck, keep reading, and I hope to see you in the fall!