NEW YORK, April 1, 2021 — Though the COVID-19 pandemic and issues related to social justice presented many challenges over the past year, prospective students expressed their desire to be part of Barnard College’s strong community by applying in the largest numbers on record. The College received 10,395 applications — a 10% increase over last year and the highest number it has ever received — and admitted 1,084 young women to the Class of 2025. Newly admitted students hail from 43 states and territories, as well as from 40 countries; 19% identify as first-generation college students; and 64% identify as women of color. 

At the conclusion of this year’s virtual recruitment and selection process, Barnard ultimately accepted just 10% of those who applied to be part of the Class of 2025, making this the most selective year yet.

“Our incoming class is truly impressive, and the record-breaking number of applicants this year is a testament to the value of the education we offer and the Barnard experience as a whole,” said Jennifer Fondiller, Vice President for Enrollment and Communications. “It's a recognition of not only our academic excellence, but also the strong sense of community on which we relied to get us through the most difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Though safety requirements forced the Office of Admissions to quickly adapt to fully virtual methods for reaching prospective students – including online information sessions and virtual open houses – this didn’t prevent applicants from engaging with our admissions staff, our faculty, and others in the Barnard community in a meaningful way. 

“We heard from many applicants that they saw and valued the feelings of togetherness Barnard College fostered, even as we maintained physical distance for the safety of our community during the past year,” said Christina Lopez, Dean of Admissions. “We're all looking forward to welcoming our newest students into the fold as our college and city prepares for the fall with renewed hope and a sense of optimism.” 

President Sian Leah Beilock remains committed to continuously building upon Barnard’s well-known eminence in the arts, social sciences, and humanities, as well as growing the College’s offerings in STEM. In addition to joining a diverse intellectual community at one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges for women, students who enroll in the fall may also earn a bachelor’s degree from Barnard and a master’s degree from Columbia University in just five years through the College’s growing number of “4+1” pathways for accelerated graduate study.

Newly admitted students will also have access to Beyond Barnard, a program launched in 2018 by President Beilock to support students and alumnae in achieving academic and professional success before – and long after – graduation. Since that time, Beyond Barnard has built a mentorship network that includes thousands of alumnae and current students, provided targeted career guidance in more than 4,000 advising appointments, and helped ensure that within six months of graduation about 90% of our alumnae have secured full-time employment or enrollment in graduate programs. Students can also take advantage of the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, which opened in fall 2018 and offers research experiences in computational science, empirical reasoning, digital humanities, design, movement and media. Through the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, student athletes have the opportunity to compete at the only women’s college to offer NCAA Division I athletics.

Kathryn Gerlach

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About Barnard

Barnard provides a singular educational experience, as a world-renowned college focused on excellence across the arts and sciences, with all the academic resources of Columbia University and the City of New York as an extended classroom. Founded in 1889, Barnard was one of the few colleges in the nation where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, Barnard is one of the most selective academic institutions in the country and remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional. For more information on Barnard College, contact Barnard Media Relations at 212-854-2037 or To learn more, follow Barnard on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.