NEW YORK, March 30, 2022 — For the first time in its history, Barnard College’s annual acceptance rate fell below 10% of those who applied. The College received 12,009 applications to become part of the Class of 2026, which is 16% higher than the 10,395 applications submitted last year. The increase in applications led to intense review, resulting in just 8% of the young women who applied securing a spot in the incoming class, which is the College’s most diverse on record.

About two-thirds (66%) of the newly admitted students identify as women of color. The admitted Class of 2026 hails from 46 states and territories, as well as 36 countries. Approximately 10% are international students, and 21% are the first members of their families to attend college. 

A significant portion of those who applied this year indicated that they became interested in the College because of its growing reputation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and highlighted the emphasis on the Barnard Year of Science (BYOS) as a motivating factor in their decision to apply. Students also expressed a strong desire for an environment where they could engage with tough issues, a place with a sense of community, and mentorship opportunities. Barnard’s focus on health and wellness through the Feel Well, Do Well program, leadership development opportunities through the Athena Center for Leadership, lifelong career services and job placement support through Beyond Barnard, and the College’s engagement around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were also consistently cited as key areas of interest.

Admissions decisions were released the evening of Wednesday, March 30.

“This is truly an extraordinary group of applicants,” said Jennifer Fondiller, Vice President for Enrollment and Communications. “Not even a two-year-long global pandemic could stand in their way. All of us who read their applications were struck by how poignantly they conveyed their vulnerabilities while simultaneously showing extraordinary resilience, sustained intellectual purpose, and an ability to find ways to pursue their passions at a time when options were limited and their energy was tested.”

This is the second group of applicants to learn about Barnard through virtual formats, though students were fortunate to be able to take advantage of on-campus tours beginning last spring. 

The month of April will offer more opportunities for students to visit in person and virtually to connect with students, faculty, administrators, and alumnae.

In the past several years, the College has made significant efforts to build a larger pipeline of exceptional applicants from a wide range of backgrounds. The recruitment program Barnard Bound (formerly a fly-in program that went virtual due to the pandemic), for example, aims to identify high-achieving students of color. Additionally, the College supports a number of research programs geared toward underrepresented minority students, which include the Science Pathways Scholars Program, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a national fellowship program that supports enrolled students of color and others with a demonstrated commitment to diversity in pursuit of a Ph.D. and diversification of the academy. 
Finally, Barnard is also enrolling its first QuestBridge cohort. This recent partnership has resulted in the admission of 41 QuestBridge scholars to the Class of 2026 — three of whom were admitted as match scholars and will receive a full scholarship.
“I am so proud of Barnard’s continued commitment to enrolling the most talented and diverse students from around the world,” said Christina Lopez, Dean of Enrollment Management. “We know that excellence can come from anywhere, and with generous financial aid support, we are able to enroll students from all economic backgrounds. In addition, we are thrilled to enroll our first QuestBridge cohort this year. I look forward to all the amazing things our admitted students will do during their four years here.”

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.