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Barnard Supplemental Essay Examples: A Guide to Crafting a Compelling Application

Are you a high school student planning to apply to Barnard College? As one of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the United States, Barnard College is renowned for its commitment to providing an outstanding education to women. The admission process is highly competitive, and the supplemental essay is a critical component of the application. In this guide, we will provide you with tips on how to craft a compelling Barnard supplemental essay that sets you apart from other applicants.

Introduction to Barnard College and Its Mission

Founded in 1889, Barnard College is a women’s liberal arts college located in New York City. It is affiliated with Columbia University and provides students with access to the resources and opportunities of both institutions. Barnard’s mission is to empower and educate exceptional, ambitious women who are committed to making a positive impact on the world. With a diverse student body and a wide range of academic programs, Barnard College is a vibrant and dynamic community of scholars and activists.

Common Application Vs. Barnard Supplemental Application

When you apply to Barnard College, you will need to submit both the Common Application and the Barnard Supplemental Application. The Common Application provides basic information about your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal background. The Barnard Supplemental Application requires you to answer several short-answer questions and write an essay that shows your writing skills and intellectual curiosity.

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The Role of the Supplemental Essay

The supplemental essay is an opportunity to showcase your writing skills and demonstrate your fit with Barnard College. The essay prompts change each year, but they generally ask you to share your intellectual and personal interests, explain why you want to attend Barnard College, and describe how you will contribute to the community. The admissions team reads each essay carefully, looking for candidates who are thoughtful, introspective, and articulate.

Standout Examples of Past Supplemental Essays

To help you understand what Barnard College is looking for in a supplemental essay, we have analyzed some standout examples from previous applicants. Here are a few of the best examples:

Example 1:

  • Topic: Discuss a book that has influenced your life.
  • Analysis: This applicant wrote about a book that was not well-known but had a personal significance. The essay was well-researched, and the candidate demonstrated a deep understanding of the book’s themes and ideas. The essay was also well-written, with clear and concise language that conveyed the author’s ideas effectively.

Example 2:

  • Topic: Tell us about an experience that has shaped you.
  • Analysis: This applicant wrote about a summer internship that challenged her preconceptions and expanded her worldview. The essay was well-organized and engaging, with vivid descriptions that brought the experience to life. The candidate also reflected on the lessons learned during the internship and how they would apply to her life in the future.

Example 3:

  • Topic: What are your academic interests?
  • Analysis: This applicant wrote about her passion for science and her desire to conduct research in college. The essay was well-crafted, with a clear structure that highlighted the author’s interests and goals. The candidate also provided specific examples of the research projects she had undertaken and how they had influenced her academic path.
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Best Practices for Crafting a High-Quality Supplemental Essay

Here are some tips to help you create a powerful Barnard supplemental essay:

  • Be original and authentic: Write an essay that reflects your unique interests, experiences, and perspectives. Don’t try to write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.

  • Be clear and concise: Use clear and concise language that conveys your ideas and experiences effectively. Avoid using jargon, slang, or overly complicated language.

  • Show, don’t tell: Use concrete examples, anecdotes, and details to illustrate your points. Don’t just tell the admissions committee that you are passionate about a topic; show them why.

  • Edit and revise: Take the time to revise and edit your essay carefully. Ask someone else to read it and provide feedback.

  • Be honest and humble: Don’t exaggerate your achievements or pretend to be someone you’re not. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and show humility in your writing.


Crafting a compelling Barnard supplemental essay requires time, effort, and dedication. But with persistence and attention to detail, you can create an essay that highlights your strengths and makes you stand out from other applicants. Remember to be authentic, clear, and concise, and to show the admissions committee why you are passionate about attending Barnard College. Good luck!


Can I submit a multimedia essay?

Yes! In addition to a written essay, you can also choose to submit a video, audio, or visual essay that showcases your talents and creativity. However, be sure to follow the guidelines and requirements provided in the supplemental application.

How long should my essay be?

There is no strict word limit for the Barnard supplemental essay, but it should be a maximum of 500 words. Make sure that your essay is long enough to convey your ideas but not so long that it becomes tedious to read.

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What should I do if I’m stuck on the essay prompt?

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for the essay prompt, try brainstorming with a friend or family member. You can also consult with a teacher or mentor who knows you well and can provide guidance on how to best showcase your strengths and interests.

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