Early Decision and Regular Decision
Barnard offers two rounds of first-year admission: Early Decision and Regular Decision. Learn more about which round might be right for you.
Deadline: November 1
The Early Decision plan is intended for students who passionately believe that Barnard is their first choice college. It is a binding decision plan, meaning that if you are admitted Early Decision, you agree to attend Barnard and promise to withdraw all other applications. Along with all other required and optional application materials, Early Decision applicants are required to submit an Early Decision Agreement which is signed by the applicant, their parent/guardian, and their counselor.
Students who apply through Early Decision may be admitted, deferred, or denied. If admitted, Early Decision applicants agree to attend Barnard. If deferred, Early Decision applicants will be re-reviewed during our Regular Decision round. Applicants will be given the opportunity to submit additional materials, such as an expanded essay explaining their interest in Barnard and updated mid-year grades. If admitted during Regular Decision, applicants who were deferred from Early Decision are no longer bound by the enrollment agreement. If denied, Early Decision applicants may not appeal their decision or re-apply for Regular Decision. However, they are welcome to apply as a transfer student in the future.
Deadline: January 1
Notification: Late March
National Reply Date: May 1
Regular Decision is an excellent choice for applicants who would like to consider offers from various schools. Students apply through Regular Decision for a variety of reasons: Perhaps they are not sure that Barnard is their top choice, or perhaps they would like to compare financial aid offers from multiple schools.
Students who apply through Regular Decision may be admitted, waitlisted, or denied. If admitted, Regular Decision applicants must reply to Barnard's offer of enrollment by May 1. If waitlisted, Regular Decision applicants will be re-reviewed throughout the spring and summer should room arise in our class. Applicants will be given the opportunity to submit additional materials, such as an expanded essay explaining their interest in Barnard. If denied, Regular Decision applicants may not appeal their decision. However, they are welcome to apply as a transfer student in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I apply through Early or Regular Decision?
We realize that the binding agreement that comes with Early Decision is not a choice to be made lightly.
It is expected that students who apply through Early Decision will have explored the Barnard literature and website and will have connected with current students, alumnae, admissions officers, or faculty to learn more. We strongly suggest that you connect with us through a virtual event. Additionally, we require that students who apply through Early Decision sign an Early Decision Agreement, along with a guardian and guidance counselor. You should discuss Early Decision with your family and should take into consideration all aspects relevant to making your college choice. Students who will require financial aid to attend Barnard are expected to review the financial aid policies and deadlines and should be comfortable with the financial aid application and prospective financial aid decision when applying Early Decision.
Is it any easier to be admitted under Early Decision?
The simple answer is no. Our holistic admissions process is the same for candidates applying through Early and Regular Decision. Our GPA and standardized testing averages for admission are the same for both decision plans. Historically, we have accepted between 40-45% of our first-year class from the Early Decision applicant pool. However, as the majority of our applicants apply through Regular Decision, by applying through Early Decision you may have the benefit of standing out in a smaller pool of applicants. Also, by applying through Early Decision, we assume you have done thorough research on Barnard and feel it is your first-choice school, a factor we do not take lightly.
Will my financial aid package be affected if I apply Early Decision?
If you apply through Early Decision and you are applying for financial aid, your application for aid will undergo a thorough review for need-based aid, based on the projected income and asset information presented in the FAFSA and CSS Profile, as well as tax information from two years prior to the application year. If you apply for financial aid, a financial aid decision will be posted in your application portal with your Early Decision acceptance letter. Methodology used to calculate financial aid in Early Decision and Regular Decision is the same; as long as your financial situation remains the same, your financial aid package would be the same during Early or Regular Decision. Barnard meets 100% of demonstrated need for every admitted student.
If you are concerned about finances, we urge you to use our Net Price Calculators to estimate your family contribution and to determine eligibility for a need-based financial aid award. Then, you and your family should contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions. While our financial aid packages are quite generous, if you would like to compare financial aid packages with other schools, it may be advisable to apply Regular Decision.