New Kinds of Programs and New Kind of College: Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Bard College at Simon’s Rock appears in our ranking of Best Tiny Colleges.
This “blow-your-mind” concept of higher education gets an early start with its two-year high school at Bard’s Academy and then progresses to college-level courses. There are four areas of study at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: Science, Math and Computing; Performing and Visual Arts; Social and Political Studies; and Languages and Literature. There are also about 40 areas of concentration which the school says are its equivalent of majors. Students receive an associate’s degree after two years of study. After that, about half transfer to a regular university and the other half finish their last two years and earn an undergraduate degree from Bards.
In the area of Social and Political Studies, for instance, a student may earn an Associate Degree in Psychology, Mind and Brain Concentration. This degree requires completing the Bard general education and workshop requisites as well as 24 credits in the concentration. There are four prerequisite classes: Introduction to Psychology; Introduction to Biology; Introduction to Statistics and Chemistry I.
Students also take three intermediate-level courses of which one must be in biology and one in psychology, and two advanced-level courses. All psychology students are required to take Research Methods in Social Sciences as well.
After that, Bard College encourages students to take additional courses and to participate in at least one internship.
Again, students are awarded an Associate Degree in Psychology, Mind, and Brain Concentration after two years. After four years of study, the degree of Bachelor of Arts is conferred upon them. The first year of study is given to writing and thinking skills, the second year to exploring psychology and focusing on the concentration, the third year students “dig deeper” into the concentration, and the fourth year is spent in researching and presenting a thesis.
Another degree in this area is the Associate Degree in Social Sciences, Social Change Concentration. All incoming students in this and other areas of study at Bard College read the same book over the summer before entry. Then they begin their school experience with a group experience in which the book’s author, the faculty and staff and the students meet to discuss the book.
In the Science, Mathematics and Computer Science area, students can earn an associate or a bachelor’s degree in computer science. In addition to the university requisite courses, these students take 24 credits in the concentration. There is one prerequisite course, two courses at the intermediate level, and a choice of three additional computer sciences courses plus electives.
Students are also encouraged to do independent study at the Bard Upper College or enter the Dual Degree program with the Bard Colombia Campus that involves taking two years at Bard at Simon’s Rock and two in Colombia.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock can start a future doctor on his or her way as well. Pre-Med students earn a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College and graduate early, moving directly into Upstate Medical University’s medical doctor degree.
Although there are some courses that are available online, this school does not offer any online degrees or programs.
About Bard College at Simon’s Rock
This innovative school is a branch of Bard College, an institution that was founded in 1860. Bard College at Simon’s Rock came into being in 1966. The school is the only accredited early college in existence. Students normally enter after their sophomore year of high school instead of matriculating. The average age of applicants is 16.
There are four areas of study at the school: Science, Mathematics and Computing; Performing and Visual Arts; Social and Political Studies and Languages and Literature. Within these areas are 40 concentrations, comparable to majors. Additionally, the school maintains partnerships with several universities, schools, and organizations that afford students further study, internships and other opportunities. Ninety-five percent of faculty members hold the highest degrees available in their disciplines.
The school is very small and selective with a student body of about 400 and accepts just over half the students who apply. Students at the school are encouraged to call the faculty members by their first names. Bard College at Simon’s Rock fosters an environment of mutual learning between students and faculty, and the college says as much dialog occurs around seminar tables and lunch tables as in classrooms.
The US News and World Report ranks this school seventh in Regional Colleges North, seventh in Best Undergraduate Teaching and fifth on the list of Most Innovative Schools. Six of Bard College’s graduates were listed in the first two years of the Forbes compilation of “30 Under 30.”
Bard College at Simon’s Rock Accreditation Details
New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission for Independent Schools.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock Application Requirements
Students apply during the 10th or 11th grade. Those who intend to attend Bard Academy, which is the high school component of the school, apply during the eighth or ninth grade. Although the college has its own application, it does accept the Common Application. They must provide four letters of recommendation, two from teachers of different disciplines, one from a high school counselor and one from someone who knows the applicant but who is not a family member.
Applicants must submit a parent recommendation as well. There is a writing component that requires the completion of two essays and an interview. Applicants must also submit an official transcript from their high schools and the official results from the SAT or ACT if they took those exams. Neither the SAT nor ACT are required. Additionally, applicants should submit a personal statement in the form of an essay, drawing, poem, sculpture or project.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition at Bard College at Simon’s Rock is $55,292 per year. Additionally, there are fees and charges for residence halls and other expenses. The estimated cost of attendance at this college is $83,715 per year plus personal expenses and supplies. About 85% of Bard students receive financial aid. Students are eligible for federal grants, loans, and work-study opportunities through the FAFSA program. There are state grants and scholarships as well, and Bard College at Simon’s Rock has many in-house scholarships.
If students do not receive enough “free money” in the form of grants and scholarships to meet their education obligations, they might consider taking out student loans. Tuition to this school is much higher than to state universities, however, and debt from loans could rapidly mount up. Another resource to pay for a program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock is taking a part-time job that would not only give students needed income but afford them valuable work experience.