In a Class of Their Own

Barnard’s newest students distinguish themselves through academic excellence and accomplishments

By by Stephanie Browne ’10

On August 30, Barnard enthusiastically welcomed the 635 exceptional young women of the Class of 2019. “This group of young women has a remarkably diverse range of strengths and talents, and we are so excited for them to weave themselves into Barnard’s brilliant fabric,” says Dean of the College Avis Hinkson ’84.

Even before arriving at the College, many of its newest students had impressive achievements on their résumés. “Our goal is to find students who are accomplished, show promise, and have an intellectual spark,” explains Jennifer Fondiller, dean of enrollment management.

The Class of 2019 includes:

Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer

A former member of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood’s Southwest Oregon chapter

An accomplished writer from New York City who had an essay published in The New York Times

A British actor who performs with the famous Bristol Old Vic

An entrepreneur from India who runs her own online business and cofounded an NGO that supports education

An Ann Arbor, Mich., woman who raises Chinook salmon as a hobby

A musician from Los Angeles who released an album and has performed live in L.A.’s House of Blues

This year, the College accepted 19.5 percent of its applicants, marking the lowest admit rate in the College’s history. Fifty percent of admitted students chose to enroll, the highest yield in Barnard’s history and one of the highest of any institution in the country. In addition, applicant numbers have increased by almost 45 percent over the last 10 years. “We were struck by the increase in applications, but not exactly surprised,” says Fondiller. “The interest at our visits to high schools around the country was evident. We saw a significant jump in attendance by prospective students at events such as Founders Day, which indicated that more young women were taking Barnard seriously.”

First-year and transfer students spent a week participating in orientation, which included several new features. Students shared talents at an amateur-night performance while faculty shared their academic expertise in an event titled Barnard Reads. New students also received a special zine, which included advice from older students, games, and tips on settling into campus life.