Frequently Asked Questions for Transfer Applicants and Visiting Students
Barnard has long welcomed transfer students from colleges and universities in this country and abroad. Some of our most well-known alumnae, such as Margaret Mead ’23, Zora Neale Hurston ’28, and Lauren Graham ’88, entered Barnard as transfer students. About 80 transfer and visiting students matriculate to Barnard each fall, and 20-50 enter in the spring.
Transfers find Barnard to be a welcoming community. The flexibility of our curriculum, along with the type of students we attract — goal-oriented and eager to make their mark on the world, articulate without being unapproachable, confident without being arrogant, and ambitious without being ruthless — make us a perfect match for many transfers’ goals and interests. With a supportive community, flexible general education requirements, and a diverse student body, there are many ways for students to fit in quickly.
A student who has completed 24-60 transferable credits at another institution following high school is considered a transfer applicant. If you anticipate completing fewer than 24 credits, you must apply as a first-year student. The number of transfer credits accepted by Barnard will be determined by the Office of the Registrar and students will be notified of their credit status at the time of admission. A maximum of 60 points can be transferred from another college or university toward a degree at Barnard College. Applicants who are currently first-year students in college may not apply for Spring transfer admission - we do not admit second-semester first-year students. Students currently enrolled in and in the process of completing at least 24 credits by the end of the term may apply as a transfer applicant.
Pre-evaluations of transfer credit are not conducted by the College. Students are advised to compare and contrast the course descriptions at their institution(s) against Barnard's online course catalogue to gain a sense of possible credit transfer outcomes. Generally, if courses taken at another institution are in alignment with courses offered at Barnard, credit is likely to be awarded but not guaranteed. At this time, we do not grant transfer credit for distance learning courses. Additionally, AP or IB credits are not considered as part of the minimum 24-credit requirement. Students may request credit for qualifying scores upon enrollment at the College.
Admitted transfer applicants receive a transfer credit evaluation with their offer of admission indicating transferable credits and notification of which Foundations requirements have been satisfied. Barnard College reserves the right to accept or decline transfer of credits based on specific academic expectations or prerequisites.
The most successful transfer students have both high school and college transcripts with strong outcomes in a rigorous curriculum. To strengthen your profile as a transfer and ensure that you will be more competitive in our applicant pool, we recommend selecting courses in college that might be transferable to a liberal arts and sciences college like Barnard. Look at your relative strengths and weaknesses, and choose classes that will enable us to view your application in the best light. It is also important that you take care in thinking through your answers to both the personal statement on the Common Application and the required writing supplement.
Any admissions officer should be able to answer your questions about the process. If you are visiting the campus, be sure to let the admissions officer leading the information session know you are a prospective transfer student. Once you apply, if you have more specific questions about your application or transfer of credits, contact the Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will route your question to the appropriate staff member. While we cannot accommodate individual appointments, students are welcome to contact the Office of Admissions during business hours to direct questions to our counseling staff.
Courses completed at other accredited colleges and universities, which are similar in content and depth to Barnard courses, may be submitted for transfer credit. Credit for approved work at another institution is applied to Barnard’s 121-point graduation requirement for transfers with a maximum of 16 points per term. Credit cannot be granted for courses with grades lower than C-. Acceptable transfer work does not usually include applied or professional courses or more than the equivalent of two Barnard studio courses. The first term of an elementary language course is not usually credited until the second term or a more advanced course has been satisfactorily completed, but a student may request a single exemption to this ruling.
Pre-evaluations of transfer credit are not conducted by the College. However, admitted transfer students will receive a transfer credit evaluation with their letter of admission indicating transferable credits and satisfied Foundations requirements. At this time, we do not grant transfer credit for distance learning courses. Students are advised to compare and contrast the course descriptions at their institution(s) against Barnard’s online course catalog to gain a sense of possible credit transfer outcomes. Generally, if courses taken at another institution are in alignment with courses offered at Barnard, credit is likely to be awarded but not guaranteed. Barnard College reserves the right to accept or decline transfer of credits based on its specific academic expectations.
AP or IB credits will not be considered as part of the minimum 24-credit requirement. Students may request credit for qualifying scores upon enrollment at the College.
Scores from standardized tests are required as part of the transfer admissions process. We require official scores from either the SAT I (Reasoning Test) or the ACT exam from ALL transfer applicants, regardless of the number of credits transferring or length of time since high school. We will accept either the old or new version of these tests (with or without writing components). International applicants who have studied in the United States (or in a setting where the language of instruction was not English) for fewer than five years are also required to submit an official TOEFL or IELTS exam score.
If you are offered admission to the College, we will provide you with a tentative evaluation of transfer credit at the time we notify you of our decision. In order to evaluate any course work that you completed, or that is currently in progress, we will need to review official course descriptions from the college or university catalog. Therefore, we request official course descriptions for all college coursework at the time of application. Final credit evaluations and determination of General Education or Major Requirement exemptions will be completed once the final transcript is received and course descriptions may be reviewed by appropriate faculty members and the Office of the Registrar.
When considering transfer students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, Barnard has limited funding available, and we consider financial need when reviewing admissions applications. Fall transfers are reviewed with an awareness that need may be a factor in a student’s ability to attend and are eligible for both Barnard College grant aid and for federal and state aid. Barnard does not offer institutional financial aid to Spring transfer students. Federal student loans and state aid are still available to students who qualify for them, but students who require additional aid to attend Barnard are encouraged to apply for admission for the Fall term instead. For those transfers who are admitted with financial need, Barnard remains committed to meeting full demonstrated need in our financial aid packaging.
Barnard is unable to assist international transfer students.
If you applied previously to Barnard, whether it was as a first-year applicant or the previous year as a transfer, you will need to submit an entirely new application. However, we will have access to your prior application materials. For previous first-year applicants, if you submitted official standardized test scores when you first applied, and you have not taken the exam since, we would still have this information on file. Letters of recommendation and supplemental materials would still be on file. We would not have your final high school transcript, so this must be requested from your high school. In addition, current and past college transcripts must be requested.
For previous transfer applicants, all dated materials (transcript, Registrar Report, Academic Evaluator Report, etc.) must be resubmitted to reflect the most up-to-date information. We will use previously submitted standardized testing and final high school transcripts that have been sent to us for previous applications. And, remember, we also have your old essays, so this is a chance to inspire us with the new perspective you have gained as a wise transfer student.
Yes. Individuals applying to Barnard as transfer students are required to submit two letters of recommendation:
1) a college-level faculty recommendation* from a faculty member who has taught you in an academic setting, and
2) a Registrar report or current/most recent academic dean or advisor.
It is not uncommon for the Registrar to submit this information without a detailed evaluation letter. This is acceptable and will fulfill this application requirement. The purpose of this form is to obtain information about your overall academic record/standing at the time of enrollment.
Unfortunately, letters of recommendation from employers and high school teachers cannot be submitted in lieu of these requirements. If you feel these recommendations would be helpful as an additional reference for you, we will accept employer or teacher recommendation as a supplement to those required.
*We recognize that transfer students come to Barnard College from a wide range of colleges and universities. Therefore, students who have the most personal contact with Teaching Assistants may find it more appropriate to ask a TA for a letter of recommendation.
Interviews are not part of the transfer application process. We invite you to convey to us within the context of the short answer questions or the lengthier application essay any information that you feel we should be aware of in evaluating your candidacy. If you have further questions, contact the Office of Admissions at email@example.com.
While the College always hopes to be able to assign as many applicants as possible, housing is not guaranteed for new transfer students. Prioritization for housing depends on a combination of deposit date and geographic distance from campus. The numbers of spaces in singles and/or rooms that do not require participation in a more comprehensive meal plan are typically limited.
Are you a degree candidate at another college planning to spend a semester or two at Barnard? Visiting students love spending time at Barnard for much the same reasons as their degree-seeking peers. They join a small community within a large university and City and are able to choose from more than 3,000 classes. In addition, they reap all the benefits of being in a dynamic urban setting, including internships, co-curricular activities, or simply taking a bite of the Big Apple. For more information about our visiting student program, please find our FAQ below.
Undergraduate degree candidates at other colleges who have completed at least one year of college by the date of enrollment may apply for admission as visiting students for one or two semesters. Applicants to the Fall or Spring program must complete the Transfer/Visiting Student version of the Common Application, present a satisfactory college record, and a submit a letter of approval from the dean or major advisor from the degree-granting institution.
As part of Barnard College’s broad initiative to internationalize its campus, the College created the Visiting International Students Program (VISP) for the Spring semester only. Through a limited number of collaborative relationships with international universities, our partners send cohorts of 3-15 undergraduate students to Barnard to spend the Spring semester as full-time visiting students in residence.
Similar to transfer students, while we do our best to assign housing for those who wish to live on campus, we cannot guarantee placement for every visiting student. That being said, we prioritize housing placement for any student who would be outside of commutable range and work closely with students for whom placements cannot be made to help them find appropriate accommodations locally.
Visiting students are eligible to take any class a degree-seeking Barnard student would be eligible to take as long as she meets any stated prerequisites for that course (for example, an introductory course may be required before taking an advanced course, or certain seminars may be reserved for majors). Visiting students are assigned an advisor to assist with navigating registration procedures and to act as a general resource during the student’s stay at Barnard.
The Office of Career Development (OCD) is a tremendous resource for Barnard students and is a hub not only for internship and career advice but also for volunteer and civic engagement work and on-campus employment. Visiting students may work with OCD to best prepare themselves for any of these opportunities. Also, note that most Barnard students do not have classes scheduled for Fridays, giving students a full day to devote to gaining practical experience.
Visiting students cannot participate in the Barnard-Juilliard Exchange Program, Manhattan School of Music Program, Barnard-Jewish Theological Seminary Double Degree Program, or any of Barnard’s study abroad or domestic exchange programs.
Unfortunately, due to limited financial aid funding, visiting students are not eligible for financial assistance.