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Admission FAQs

admission thumbnailYou’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. If you don’t find your
question below, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them.


What are the admission requirements?
We look for candidates with the qualities that characterize our student body: intelligence, academic and extracurricular achievement, motivation, curiosity, a willingness to take their work seriously, and openness to new ideas, people, and experiences.

The application process is extensive and fairly holistic; we consider each applicant as a whole individual when evaluating their readiness for early college at Simon’s Rock. We ask for the standard information – recommendations and transcripts – but we also ask for a good deal of writing and a personal interview. We like to see that an applicant has been challenging themselves in and out of the classroom, demonstrating academic initiative and leadership skills. This might mean taking honors-level or AP courses when available, enrolling in community college or online supplemental courses, or pursuing independent study. Our applicants are often engaged in their communities through extracurricular involvement, volunteer opportunities or work responsibilities.

We find that students are best prepared for the rigor of classes here after completing at least two years of coursework in English, math, history/social sciences, science and foreign language. Our math courses assume that students have completed algebra 1 & 2 and geometry, and there is a placement test to help each student find an appropriate math class at Simon’s Rock. We look at an applicant’s academic record in the context of their overall application. If a gap in preparedness exists, we need to assess whether it would pose an insurmountable hurdle to succeeding at Simon’s Rock. While there is no specified GPA requirement, a student’s transcript and application should demonstrate academic readiness as well as the discipline necessary to take on more rigorous and self-directed study. We are test-optional, so if an applicant has exceptional college entrance exam scores they would like to submit, they are welcome to do so, but it is not a requirement. Home schooled students should provide well-documented academic histories using our guidelines and the Home School Report. International students can find information about the application and financial aid process, as well as TOEFL requirements, here.

How do I get started on my application?
Simon’s Rock uses an online application. You can begin the online form up to a year before enrollment, without paying an application fee. The information – demographics, family, education and activities – facilitates conversation with your admission counselor.

To be added to our mailing list (a good idea whether you are planning to apply or just looking for more information), you can submit a request here. It’s also a good idea to be in touch with your admission counselor who can help you arrange your interview and answer any questions you may have about the application process along the way.

The application requires several recommendations and a report from your guidance counselor. As you begin the application process, you’ll want to speak with your teachers and counselor about your decision to apply to Simon’s Rock. Once you submit your online application, Simon’s Rock will provide these individuals with the forms they’ll need to help you complete your application. We are also more than happy to speak with your guidance counselor or teachers further if they have questions about early college.

What if I haven’t taken the SATs (or ACTs) yet?
Simon’s Rock does not require applicants to submit standardized test scores, but those who choose to do so should have scores sent directly to us or included on their official transcript. Choose the scores you feel best represent your academic abilities—e.g. AP, IB, ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, or SAT Subject tests.

Simon’s Rock students who are considering transferring after the junior year who have not previously taken college entrance exams will find resources available to them through the Win Resource Commons. The Commons also provides support to Upper College students taking graduate school entrance exams.

How do I arrange an interview?
An interview is required for all applicants. These conversations complement the range of written materials we ask for during the application process and give us the opportunity to get to know applicants in a more three-dimensional way. In-person interviews are preferred and can be scheduled as part of an individual campus visit or Discovery Day. Prospective students can schedule a visit online or contact us at 800.235.7186.

Visiting the college is a great way for you to get to know us better, and we prefer that admission interviews be scheduled as part of a campus visit. We understand that this is not possible for all applicants. If it is not possible for you to visit campus, contact your admission counselor directly to learn about other options.

Can I visit campus? What about talking to current students and alumni?
The decision to leave high school and start college early is a big one, and we feel it's important for each prospective student and family to be fully informed and to have the chance to hear from various members of the Simon's Rock community. Visiting campus is a great way to learn more about early college at Simon's Rock, and to get a better feel for the place.

Throughout the year, we host open house Discovery Days. The events offer a full day of activities designed to give prospective students and their families a chance to hear from many different perspectives on campus. There are sample classes with faculty members, panel discussions with current students and administrators from Student Life and Academic Affairs, and the chance to arrange an admission interview. The day also includes tours of our campus and lunch in the dining hall. We also arrange individual visits for prospective students and families on any day Monday-Friday. This typically includes a tour and lunch with current students, the chance to sit in on a class or two (if classes are in session), and an admission interview or chat.

Whichever option you choose, you can arrange your visit online or by calling our office at 800.235.7186.

It's a great idea to communicate with current students about their experience at Simon's Rock. As admission counselors, we can offer a broad view and lots of facts (things like stats and deadlines, program offerings, etc.). Some of us have worked here a long time, and others are Simon's Rock graduates, so we can offer some of our personal insights as well. But we do encourage you to hear other points of view, too. In addition to visiting campus, there are several ways you can talk to current students and alumni. You can contact the office to request to be put in touch with someone, or you can email one of our student workers in the Office of Admission at Current students and alumni are active on our Office of Admission Facebook fan page, and are encouraged to join the conversation and address prospective student questions. In general, you will find that Rockers are almost always ready to chat about their experiences here. While there is certainly common ground when it comes to what it's like to live and study here, we are ultimately a community of individuals and there's a diversity of opinions and perspectives.

Will Simon’s Rock visit my state or area anytime soon?
Simon’s Rock admission counselors travel extensively during the fall and spring to attend college fairs, visit high schools and community organizations, and meet with prospective students and their families. You can find out where we’ll be next by checking our travel page, and you can contact your admission counselor about any upcoming travel plans. While we can’t be in every state each fall and spring, we do want to hear from you! If our current schedule does not include a visit to your area, you can still call or email us with any questions you or your family might have. We’re eager to meet you and talk to you about early college at Simon’s Rock, the application process or specific programs you might be interested in.

Can I apply for the spring semester?
Simon’s Rock accepts a very small class each January for the spring semester. Applicants who wish to be considered for spring admission should submit their completed applications by November 1. Please be aware that we are not always able to offer the same level of financial aid to student entering in January.

There are a number of reasons a student might consider applying for January admission. Some students only hear about Simon’s Rock as they are entering their junior or senior year in high school and wish to be considered for early college right away. Others who have completed the 10th or 11th grade may feel that an additional semester will help them gain a greater degree of academic preparation.

January admits (JAs) attend a weekend-long orientation before other students return in January. January admits enroll in a special section of First-year Seminar II during their first semester; this allows them to read the same books as the members of the fall entering class while working with other new students to adjust to college-level writing expectations. Students who enter in January tend to get to know the members of the fall entering class very quickly; their academic advisors can help them plan their courses of study, taking into account any year-long courses that must be taken during their second and third semesters. January admits are also encouraged to attend the full week-long Writing & Thinking Workshop prior to their second semester of classes.

Can seniors and high school graduates apply? Can students apply to enroll after the ninth grade?
Bard College at Simon’s Rock is an early college. This means that most of our first-year students leave high school after the 10th or 11th grade, or in the middle of their senior year to start college here. Some students come to Simon's Rock after completing high school, either because they graduated early and would like to continue working in a community of peers their own age, or because they feel the unique program here is a good fit.

A few students are admitted to Simon’s Rock after their freshman year in high school; most often they are exceptionally well prepared for college study or older than their classmates. If you’re not sure if it’s the right time to apply to Simon’s Rock, speak with your admission counselor. We encourage 9th graders to sign up for mailings and visit campus.

What does ‘rolling admission’ mean?
Bard College at Simon's Rock accepts regular fall and spring applications on a rolling, space-available basis. Our ‘rolling admission’ policy means that we review applications in small batches as they become complete, rather than waiting to make admission decisions until all applications have been received. Applicants can generally expect to receive a decision letter from the Office of Admission within 6-8 weeks of the application becoming complete. Application submission and notification dates can be found in the application timeline.

All first-year applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships; a separate scholarship application does not exist. But we strongly encourage you to apply for financial aid as merit scholarship amounts vary on the basis of financial need. Applicants who submit their financial aid documents with their admission application will typically hear of their complete financial aid package within a few days of their admission decision.

What comes after Bard College at Simon's Rock? What do alumni go on to do?
Our students are diverse, interesting, intellectual and engaged – our alumni are no exception. They are leaders, thinkers, and active in a range of fields and industries. Here’s just a sample of some of our notable alumni:

  • Doug Ahlers, e-commerce pioneer, Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
  • Alison Bechdel, graphic artist, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
  • David Castro, VP of Marketing, HBO
  • Veronica Chambers, novelist and journalist
  • Joel and Ethan Coen, filmmakers
  • John McWhorter, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  • Dean Olsher, host of Morning Living on Sirius Satellite Radio, Creator and former host, The Next Big Thing, WNYC
  • Naomi Pabst, professor of African American studies, Yale University
  • Eli Pariser, executive director,
  • Lolly Winston, author, The New York Times bestseller Good Grief