How to Apply

If you’re applying to the BardBac and you’ve been to college at any time in the past, follow these three steps. (If you’ve never been to college before, reach out to for an alternative way to apply.)

  1. Common Application: Fill out the Common Application using the Transfer Student option, and identify Bard College as the school you’re applying to. Within the Common Application, be sure to indicate that you’re interested in applying to the BardBac. A link will take you to the Bard Baccalaureate Scholarship Form, a brief questionnaire that asks you four BardBac-specific questions.
  2. Letters of Recommendation: All BardBac applicants need to get two letters of recommendation. These letters can come from anyone who knows you well and can speak to your ambitions and interests–they don’t have to be from professors or teachers. Colleagues, mentors, current or former employers, or collaborators on community projects can all make good recommenders for BardBac applicants. But you should include your recommenders’ information in the “Academic References” section of the Common Application even if they’re not academics — otherwise, the form won’t allow you to submit
  3. Financial Aid Documents: Finally, complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and the CSS Profile, two important forms that make it possible for the college to offer you financial aid if you’re accepted. The FAFSA form is free to submit; the CSS Profile waives its application fee for applicants who make less than $100,000 a year (if you fall into this category, you’ll be notified about your waiver eligibility as you complete the CSS Profile, based on the information you enter into the form itself)

Everything is due March 1, 2024
if you’re applying for the Fall 2024 semester.  

Finalists will be contacted for an interview via Zoom.

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Or reach out to to set up a one-on-one conversation with BardBac staff to get your questions answered.

What if I went to college in the past but I can’t get my transcript — should I still apply using the Transfer Student option on the Common Application?

Yes. If you’ve ever been to college before, even if you ended up withdrawing before you earned any credits, you have loans in default, your transcript is tied up in another school’s bureaucracy, you went to college in another country, or you can’t get your transcript right now for any other reason, you should apply to the BardBac using the Transfer Student option on the Common Application. You can report your previous college experience on the application now and submit the application by March 1, even without transcripts. We recommend beginning the process of trying to get your transcripts as soon as possible, though, because if you’re accepted, you’ll need to get the transcripts sent to Bard before you enroll.

The Common App asks for letters of recommendation from teachers or guidance counselors, but I haven’t been in school for many years — what should I do?

You can get letters from any person who knows you well, can speak to your ambitions and interests, and isn’t a member of your immediate family. Colleagues, mentors, current or former employers, or collaborators on community projects can all make good recommenders for BardBac applicants.

What if a question on the Common Application doesn’t apply to me?

Some adult applicants feel like the Common App includes questions that don’t apply to them — questions about parents and teachers, in particular. If you feel like a question doesn’t apply to you, you can reach out to to talk it over, or just skip it; you’ll have a chance to explain your decision to skip a question later.

What if I’m not sure how to answer a question on the FAFSA form or CSS Profile?

If you have questions as you’re filling out one of the two financial aid forms, please reach out to financial aid counselor Rupali Rifenburg at She can talk through your specific questions with you.

Is there an application fee?

There is no application fee to apply to Bard College.

Are there any standardized tests required?

There are no standardized tests required to apply to Bard College.

When will I hear whether I’ve been accepted?

Decision letters will be released through your Bard applicant portal by April 1, 2024. If you’re accepted, you’ll have until May 1, 2024 to decide whether to accept the offer of admission, decline the offer of admission, or defer your acceptance for one year.

When will classes begin for new BardBac students?

BardBac students, like all incoming Bard College students, begin by taking an intensive introductory course called Language and Thinking, or L&T. That class will begin in mid-August. The Fall semester begins in early September.

If I don’t get in this year, can I apply again?

Of course. The BardBac admits new students every spring for fall enrollment. Remember that if you’re not accepted to the BardBac this year, you may still be offered admission to Bard College as part of the Return to College Program, or RCP. RCP students are not guaranteed a full scholarship, but they’re offered financial aid packages like all other Bard College students.

Can I visit campus to learn more?

Please do! The Bard College Admissions Office offers a number of virtual and in-person ways for prospective students to visit the campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Take a look at their website here.

What if I have a question not covered in this FAQ?

There’s more information about the program itself here. Feel free to reach out to with any questions you can’t find the answer to there or here.