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How to Respond to the Barnard Supplemental Essay Prompts 2022/2023

Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college that is found within Columbia University. It is located in the heart of the city that never sleeps, New York City. Barnard is extremely selective as its acceptance rate lies around 14%. So, how do we help make you a part of that 14%? In order to apply, students must complete two Barnard supplemental essays and one optional Barnard supplemental essay.

Before you begin answering the Barnard supplemental essay questions, it is important to do your research. Find out what parts of Barnard excite you and differentiate from other colleges. Here’s our guide for how to ace the Barnard College supplemental essay questions!

Before answering the essay questions 

All Barnard College applicants have to respond to two mandatory 300 word maximum Barnard supplemental essays. There is also an additional optional Barnard supplemental essay that also has a 300 word maximum, 

300 words is not a lot. Therefore, it is best to be direct and concise with your responses! To ensure you do not drag on, brainstorm! This will allow you to plan out responses carefully to fit your personality into your response without it being too long. 

If your response ends up being too long, try to get rid of filler or transition words. Give your essay to someone you trust to read it over to help get fresh eyes to eliminate words as well! Doing this will make your Barnard supplemental essay responses stand out from the rest! 

Essay question #1 

“What factors encouraged your decision to apply to Barnard College and why do you think the college would be a good match for you? (300 words max)”

This is a typical “why us” essay question. Therefore, make sure you have done an adequate amount of research! You should be able to reference several programs or aspects about Barnard that interest you. 

Try to choose one main reason for your interest in Barnard and then include a few details from your life. For example, Barnard is unique for being a women’s only college. If this is intriguing to you then write about that main point throughout your essay. Then, include a few random details about your life to support this reason. For example, maybe you looked up to your grandma for being a strong woman figure in your life so you want to continue to be surrounded by strong females. 

It is best to stay true to yourself. Revealing your personality while describing why you want to attend Barnard is key. Be sure to discuss what programs and aspects of the academic curriculum excite you. 

Questions to consider

  • What makes Barnard unique from other colleges? 
  • Why are you excited to attend Barnard? 
  • Why did you choose to apply to Barnard? 

Essay question #2

“At Barnard, academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited and why do they interest you? Tell us how you would explore these questions at Barnard. (300 words max)”

This prompt is essentially asking you to describe what interests you. Barnard wants to get to know its applicants. 

Choosing just one or two “bold” questions is a difficult task. Therefore, you must brainstorm before answering this essay prompt. Write a list of questions that you have always wondered about. You can approach this prompt by choosing two to three broad issues or one in-depth question. 

Once you have selected what question or questions you want to dive into, make sure to connect these back to Barnard’s resources. How will Barnard be able to help you explore these questions? Is there a particular class or club offered that will allow you to quench your curiosity? Remember, Barnard wants to see applicants who have done their research and are serious about attending their college. 

Questions to consider

  • How have you been challenged in the past? 
  • Have you ever changed your mind on a topic? Why or why not? 
  • What is a topic you are passionate about? 

Optional: essay question #3

“Pick one woman — a historical figure, fictitious character, or modern individual — to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. Why does this person intrigue you? What would you talk about? What questions would you ask them? (300 words max)”

Although this essay is optional, no essay is truly optional when it comes to the college admissions process. Be sure to complete each of the Barnard supplemental essays, as you want to take advantage of any presented opportunity to reveal more about your personality. 

Barnard is an all-women college. This means that your answer should reveal how much being surrounded by strong women appeals to you. This essay provides you with a lot of creative freedom. 

To begin, you should pick a woman who means something to you. You can spend a few minutes writing down a list of women who are important to you or have inspired you in some way. Then narrow down this list to one woman you should love to talk with for an hour. Some women you can choose from are Taylor Swift, Hermonie Granger or your grandma! The limits are endless. 

Remember that this essay is about you and not the woman that you are choosing to write about. Therefore, make sure to tie all of your statements back to yourself. Be sure to reveal pieces of your personality that you have not already in this application. 

Choose someone that you genuinely admire! Do not pick someone that you think the admissions officers want to hear. Rather, be true to yourself and your heroines. 

Questions to consider

  • Who is the most inspirational woman in your life? 
  • Who is the strongest woman you have learned about? 
  • Who is your favorite woman in a television show or book? 

Next steps after applying to Barnard College

Congratulations! You are now done with the Barnard College supplemental essays! It is time to submit your flawless application! 

The next step after you submit your application would be to continue to show demonstrated interest in Barnard so they know you are committed and prioritizing their school (even if you have a few other top choices.) 

How can I show demonstrated interest in Barnard College? 

Check out our guide on how to show demonstrated interest to learn more! 

Essentially, by doing one of the above suggestions, Barnard will see how committed you are to their college. This will give you a leg up above the competition. 

Additional resources

As you are in the middle of the college application process, it can be stressful. There are a lot of tough decisions you will have to make. Luckily, we have an abundance of resources to make the college process a little easier on you. 

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