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Tips for applying to Bard High School Early College by a kid for kids

High School Application Tips from an 8th grader who's been through it.
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We've heard about getting ready for the Specialized High School Test (SHSAT), now it's time for our intrepid, 8th grade guide to fill you in on what you need to know about admission to Bard High School/Early College.


Bard High School Early College is one of the many screened and “selective” schools of New York City. This school is unique since it combines, in four years, a high school diploma and an Associates in the Arts Degree. This school is actually two schools or two campuses, one on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and one in Long Island City in Queens. In order to be considered for admission, you must take an assessment test.

The assessment test is 90 minutes long with two sections: writing and math. First things first, sign up for the test. To sign up, go to and sign up on the day after Labor Day, right before you start eight (or ninth) grade, otherwise you may not get a spot.

Next you must learn about the test; I will tell you what you need to know.

The Bard Assesement
The Bard Assesement Author's personal photo

The Bard Assesement

The first section of the test is math. There are 25 questions that mainly focus on the Pre-Algebra and Algebra you learned in seventh grade; These math questions are easier that the ones that are on the SHSAT. This section should be completed in less that 45 minutes, so you have time for the essay.

The next part is the essay. The essay question focuses on a literary passage, and it asks you to write about what you enjoyed about it, and what interests you from it. The passage I was given was "The Three New Yorks" by E.B White. The essay should be about 2 to 3 pages in length, but, in reality, write as much as you can. Tests care about quantity over quality.

Now you may ask: “How do I prepare?” The answer is: Make sure you can do basic algebra and make sure you can write a decent paper. Not to discourage anyone, but over 3,000 students apply to either or both Bards, though only 800 get interviewed, which is the next step of the admissions process.

The Bard Interview
The Bard Interview Author's personal photo

The Bard Interview

The interview lasts about 10 minutes (mine was more like seven, but I got in anyway). Some questions may be:

“Are you a leader, facilitator or observer?”
“What is a world problem that you think needs to be fixed?”
“Tell me a little about yourself?”

These are some of the questions that you may face if you make it to the interview round. You will receive an email if they want you, two to four weeks after your test. If you get the email, you go to an online software and you pick a date to be interviewed at the campus that you took the test at.

Good Things To Know About Applying to Bard
Good Things To Know About Applying to Bard Author's personal photo

Good Things To Know About Applying to Bard

* Bard is a Round 1 School, meaning that you need to put it on your Round 1 high school application that is normally due in December
* The Assessment can be taken at either campus
* Register for the assessment the day after Labor Day
* Remember to bring Number 2 Pencils, a sharpener and your seventh grade report card from spring term.

Good Luck !


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