Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college that is one of four undergraduate colleges of Columbia University. It is one of the “Seven Sisters” schools, a group of seven selective women’s colleges in the Northeastern United States. Barnard is located in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, on Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets, just across from Columbia University.
Barnard was founded in 1889 in order to provide women a rigorous education comparable to that available to men at Columbia University. Frederick A.P. Barnard, 10th President of the all-male Columbia College (as it was then known), had pushed for the inclusion of women during the last decade of his tenure, from 1879-1889. The Board of Trustees of Columbia didn’t approve the suggestion, though they created a pathway for women to earn a certificate by following a syllabus and taking examinations without attending classes at Columbia. Annie Nathan Mayer, a student of this program, joined with other women to finally successfully petition the Board to create a college for women, which was named for Frederick A.P. Barnard. The college’s first home was a brownstone on Madison Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets. Interestingly, when Columbia University became co-educational in 1983 Barnard fought to maintain its unique relationship: independent and autonomous, but the resources of Columbia University.
Today, there are 2,744 students at Barnard College; 40% of the student body identify as people of color, and 16% are the first generation in their family to attend college. Barnard offers a number of access and support programs for students of color, students from low-income households, and undocumented students. Barnard admission is very competitive: only about 14% of applicants are accepted. Tuition is $60,087 per year. Domestic undergraduate admission is need-blind, meaning that a student’s ability to pay is not considered during the application process. Barnard has pledged to meet all students’ financial needs through loans, grants, and work study. The school offers no merit scholarships.
Barnard students all participate in the college’s Foundations curriculum, which includes two “intensive seminar” courses during the first year, a study of Modes of Thinking, and a senior thesis project. Students can choose from over 50 majors, and a wide array of minors. Barnard students can join organizations at both Barnard and Columbia, and student-athletes compete with Columbia University students in NCAA Division I.
Barnard has over 36,000 alumnae, from anthropologist Margaret Mead (class of 1923), to pioneering hematologist Helen Ranney (class of 1941), to writer Ntozake Shange (class of 1970), to novelist Edwidge Danticat (class of 1990), to actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig (class of 2006).
Barnard College has 12 buildings spanning four blocks between West 116th Street and West 120th Street along the west side of Broadway.
Barnard College has 11 residence halls, seven of which are suite-style dorms dedicated to upperclass students, including Cathedral Gardens, Plimpton Hall, 600 West 116th Street, 612 West 116th Street, 620 West 116th Street, 601 West 110th Street, and 537 West 121st Street. Four of the residence halls are corridor-style and are open to first-year students and upperclass alike, including Brooks Hall, Reid Hall, Sulzberger Hall, and Hewitt Hall.
Students at Barnard College are not required to live in campus housing, and since the college is located in the heart of New York City, many students choose to rent on their own. If walking to school sounds appealing to you, consider renting an apartment in West Harlem. Central Harlem is another good option and you’ll be only a few blocks away from Central Park. If being close to the subway is one of your top priorities, check out RentHop's subway rent map and see which subway stops along the 1, A, B, and C trains are the cheapest to rent.
Barnard College has over 36,000 alumnae around the world, and top industries for graduating seniors include Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Biotech, and Life Sciences, Law, Government and Politics, and Tech. Many alumnae continue to live in New York City, and they are spread throughout all five boroughs.
For people first moving into New York City, check out the RentHop Renters Guide. The guide explains everything you need to know about renting in the Big Apple, from finding your ideal apartment to signing the lease and completing the rental process.