Barnard College Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores, and GPA You Need to Get In

Barnard College Admissions - Magoosh

What is the Barnard admissions committee looking for? Well, a good place to start is the word splashed across Barnard’s website, describing the college’s personality: “Bold.” That’s what you have to be to choose the prestigious, highly selective women’s liberal arts college in New York City!

Known around the world as one of the oldest colleges for women, Barnard was founded to ensure the highest quality education was available for the diverse, engaged students who called it home.

Small classes on an intimate campus aren’t the only thing Barnard has going for it. Sitting on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Barnard is right across the street from Columbia University. The colleges are affiliated with each other, meaning Barnard students have access to all of the resources, courses, and opportunities as their Ivy League neighbors. That’s more than twenty libraries, 1500 classes, and 450 student groups!

“Dedicated to the success of women,” Barnard boasts alumnae who have become famous writers, politicians, and scientists, excelling in just about any field you can think of.

If this distinctive, rigorous, and tight-knit community sounds right for you, read on to learn more!

“At Barnard, I learned to trust my instincts, value my intelligence, and refuse to be silenced. I was surrounded not only by thousands of challenging, engaging, and inspiring peers, but also by powerful women leaders.”
– Abby Stone ’10

Barnard Quick Admissions Statistics

Here’s a short look at the basic Barnard admissions data:

Average Barnard SAT Scores (Middle 50%): 1340-1490
Average Barnard ACT Scores (Middle 50%): 30-34
Average Barnard GPA: 4.0
Barnard Admissions Rate: 11.8%

Barnard SAT Scores

There are a few things to know about Barnard’s standardized test policy if you’re planning to apply:

  • Barnard requires SAT or ACT scores as part of your application, but you can choose to submit both
  • The essay part of the SAT is not required
  • Barnard superscores SAT test results. This means they take the highest scores for each section from every time you took the test, creating a profile of your best performance!
  • Barnard does not recommend or require the SAT subject tests
  • You are allowed to self-report your test scores. This means you don’t have to send in an official score report when you apply, but they will accept one when you’re accepted to confirm the scores you reported

With all that information in mind, how can you put it to work to understand what kind of scores make you a competitive applicant?

 25th Percentile50th Percentile75th Percentile
Barnard SAT Scores134014151490

The middle 50% of Barnard’s class of 2023 scored between a 1340 and a 1490, which puts students accepted to Barnard in about the 90th percentile of all test-takers nationally.

To break those numbers down further, the 25th percentile of students scored a 1340 or below, placing them below average, and the 75th percentile got a 1490 or above, meaning their scores were above the average admitted student.

Aim for 1490 (the 75th percentile) to distinguish yourself from other applicants and gives the admissions committee an opportunity to look deeper into your materials and understand what makes you unique.

Barnard ACT Scores

Here’s what we know about how Barnard uses ACT test results:

  • The writing portion of the test is not required
  • Unlike their policy on the SAT, Barnard does not superscore ACT results. That means they will take your highest composite score, but not put your highest scores from across test dates together into a new composite.
  • You are allowed to self-report your ACT scores. This means you won’t have to pay to send Barnard an official report until you choose to enroll.


 25th Percentile50th Percentile75th Percentile
Barnard ACT Scores303234

The middle 50% of the class of 2023 scored between a 30 and a 34 ACT composite. That means, to be really confident about your chances, you should aim for above a 34.

The reason we recommend setting your sights on a 34 is simple: The middle 50% score range means that the 25% of admitted students who scored under a 30 were below average compared to other students, while the 25% who scored higher than a 34 were above average.

That means you can be certain the parts of your application which distinguish you from other applicants can really shine!

Barnard Average GPA

The average GPA of Barnard’s class of 2023 was a 4.0.

That’s a really good GPA, and suggests that Barnard looks for students who took challenging classes in high school. You should try and take as many college prep courses as possible, like honors, IB, AP, or Dual Enrollment to demonstrate you’re ready for a rigorous academic experience.

Moreover, 85% of students came from the top 10% of their high school classes. Since it’s tough to change your GPA dramatically after sophomore year, take your grades seriously from the beginning of high school, plan on enrolling in those challenging classes, and don’t let your GPA slip in senior year!

Barnard Acceptance Rate

Only 11.8% of students who applied were accepted into Barnard’s class of 2023. Ten years ago, Barnard accepted over 28% of students into its class of 2013, demonstrating their acceptance rate is following the national trend in higher education of falling over time.

Barnard is committed to being one of the most rigorous, selective colleges in the country, and works to admit a diverse and high-achieving student body.

Barnard Freshman Profile

If you’re considering Barnard, chances are you want to know what your classmates will be like.

Barnard students come from all over. Only about half are from New York or the Mid-Atlantic, and 12% are international students.

48% identify as people of color, and 13% are the first in their families to attend college. Almost half come from public schools.

Other Barnard Admissions Requirements

Here’s a list of what you’ll need to apply:

  • Common App, including the Barnard Writing Supplement
  • High school or college transcripts
  • Recommendation from a guidance counselor
  • Two teacher evaluation forms
  • SAT and/or ACT scores

Barnard also offers a couple optional application materials:

  • An on- or off-campus interview (This is a good way to demonstrate your interest and learn more about the college!)
  • Portfolios for art, dance, music, creative writing, or theater programs

Remember, the deadline for Regular Decision is January 1st!

Barnard FAQs

Does Barnard have Early Decision?
Yes! Early Decision is a binding program offering applicants the opportunity to submit their applications early and find out if they’re admitted ahead of the Regular Decision timeline. The “binding” part means if you’re accepted, you are obligated to attend. That said, it is a smaller pool of applicants, and you’re more likely to stand out.
For Barnard, the deadline for submitting your materials is November 1st, and you’ll hear back by mid-December about whether you’ve been admitted.

What kind of student does Barnard look for?
In Barnard’s own words: “[Barnard] selects women of proven academic strength who exhibit intellectual voracity and strong potential for further scholarly growth.” Learn more about what they’re looking for here.

Does Barnard accept AP or IB scores?
Yes, up to thirty points of credit. They generally expect a score of at least 4, and 5 for some subjects.

How to Get In To Barnard College

It’s important to remember that the Barnard admissions office evaluates applications holistically. That means there’s no one thing you can do or have to guarantee you’ll be admitted, whether that’s a perfect test score or straight As.

Like all selective colleges, Barnard is looking for interesting, engaged, well-rounded students who will benefit from joining their diverse and exciting community.

With that in mind, here’s your “How to Get Into Barnard College” Checklist!

  • 1490 or higher on the SAT, or a 34 or higher on the ACT
  • 4.0 or higher GPA
  • A record of challenging classes like AP, IB, or honors in high school
  • Strong recommendations
  • A distinctive, compelling essay
  • The optional interview to demonstrate your interest

Good luck, and happy studying! 🙂

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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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