Barnard College Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Kat

For some people, yes, for most people, no.

Devin

since there are no men there do seem to be many lesbians around, or at least a lot of women who are bi-curious. there are more traditional women than feminists and the women considered to be slutty aren't that slutty. women are very competitive at this school and will fight and do anything to get what they want. it's a tough school and women take pride in being a student at this school. there are very many intelligent beautiful strong women here at barnard regardless of what is said about the student body. i have found some amazing friends here.

Emma

We are not all lesbians Many of us are more attractive than Columbia girls Unsure if we are more studious, on average, than Columbia girls We are not just "wannabe" Ivy-Leaguers--we chose Barnard for a reason

Carolina

The first of these stereotypes is mostly wrong. Over the years, Barnard has become increasingly diverse. As a liberal arts college with leading programs in various fields and a healthy relationship with Columbia University, Barnard has been able to attract students from all walks. As far as the financial status of their students, I would have to argue that because there is such an interactive environment for learning and the common goal of succeeding, financial status does not really make up a significant part of the college experience.

Rory

Clearly these stereotypes are false. Barnard women are just as intelligent as Columbia College students and we are all under the Columbia University "umbrella". Its a silly rivalry that some Barnard women may or may not encounter.

Brett

It is true that students are very smart and competitive, and they like to challenge themselves. It is not true that most students are feminists or lesbians, it is a place like any other, and being surrounded with many girls in classes does not mean you have to be a feminist-it is totally up to you.

Jacqueline

not totally. yeah, there are lesbians. yeah, there are ditzy, dumb, and materialistic girls. but who doesn't have them? people who want to find them in our school, in order to prove a point, will. i just hate when people think we all applied to columbia and got rejected. i most certainly didn't apply there.

lucy

no

Ruthie

1) There is definitely a constant aura of Barnard pride. BUT, by no means do I think that Barnard are the crazy protesting feminists we are often depicted as. I, myself - and tons of my friends - did not apply to Barnard because it is a women's college. Barnard does not pressure you to fight for women's rights, or anything; Barnard wants you to embrace your identity, whatever that may be. 2) I grew up being best friends with all the boys. I vowed I would never apply to an all girls' school. Yet, here I am and I LOVE IT! There are plenty of boys in classes, in extracurriculars, wandering around campus, out in the nightlife scene, eating in our dining hall, and crashing our awesome Barnard events. It took me a little while to find them. That's the difference between a girls' school with boys across the street and a co-ed school. It takes a little more time and a bit more effort, but it's not as difficult as it may sound. 3) The beautiful thing about Barnard is that there is no archetypal "Barnard girl." I think we all love to learn and we are all intelligent women. Beyond that, there are so many different types of people here that there is a place for everyone. 4) Although Barnard students enjoy the benefits that Columbia University provides, Barnard is not a "loophole." It is a fantastic, challenging liberal arts college that is one of the four undergraduate colleges of Columbia University. Barnard students worked just as hard to get into Barnard as Columbia students did to get into Columbia and both student bodies continue to work hard. 5) Like every other university, class difficulty varies. There are easier classes and harder classes at both schools. It also depends on professors and departments. It is unfair to say that one school is easier than the other. It's just not true. 6) When I first got to Barnard, I did sense a bit of tension. But really, tension is created. I had been expecting it. It's not just there waiting for you; you have to put effort into making tension. So, I've found if you don't want tension or competition it won't be there. The tension between girls is the best joke at Columbia.

Sarah

Like all stereotypes, they never describe everyone at Barnard. I have found that in general, Barnard women are much more helpful than bitchy and more motivated to do well in their classes than they are boy-crazy. As for the people that say that Barnard is the back-door to Columbia, they do not realize that there are many reasons why one would choose Barnard over Columbia. It is not that one is better than the other, but that one may fit a person's specific needs better. The Nine Ways of Knowing are more flexible than the core, the class sizes are generally smaller, and the entire environment of the college is smaller and more personal. Some people prefer Columbia, but as for me, I chose Barnard for Barnard, not to tell people that I go to Columbia.

Leslie

I would say in my experience they haven't been true. There are some Barnard girls that I've met who are much smarter than some of the Columbia students I've had classes with. The reverse has also been true. In my experience Barnard has a wide range of girls who represent almost all the different types of girls you would meet.

Devin

Some people at Barnard are indeed homosexual and some others are rejects. However, this doesn't represent the whole lot of the students that go there. So to say this stereotype is accurate would be utterly preposterous.

Anais

not at all, every barnard student made a choice to go to this college for its individual value, which includes being affiliated with columbia university, but barnard is a different college of its own

Amreen

Absolutely.

Kris

Haha of course not.

Ellie

The extreme stereotypes, while based on true specimen, are rare and in most cases blown way out of proportion. While there are Barnard "sorority" types, the partying and hooking up is no crazier-- in fact, probably less so-- than happens at most bug state schools. And as for lesbians? Well, if they're here, I rarely notice. Both lesbians and their straight counterparts basically go about their business without needing to advertise their preferences. What is pretty accurate is the picture of Barnard students as hard working and high achieving; Columbia professors love their Barnard students, and there is no denying the amazing successes of Barnard alumni worldwide.

amanda

i don't think so, but unfortunately, there are a few students at barnard who only say they go to columbia, spend all their time over there (deliberately) and specifically sign up for classes over there. these students are embarrassing, to columbia and barnard, and i think that both schools tend to just ignore these students.

Casey

Like all stereotypes, it is kind of true - we like to work hard, but its really because we are dedicated and motivated. And the lesbian thing- not true. we have a gay community like most schools but by no means are we all lesbians.

Cat

No.

Skylar

For the most part, no.

Blake

Women cannot be categorized under one label. Some are lesbians and some are sexually liberal, typecasting 50% of the population as such can never be accurate.

Tess

No!!! And anyone who is in the community for more than a year knows that these stereotypes are silly freshman insecurities.

Hayley

the only ones that are accurate are the wealthy and fashionable stereotypes :)

Kristina

It's hard to say how accurate the second stereotype is - I'd say it's possible that, like many stereotypes, there is some basis of truth - i.e., the average Barnard girl goes out more and might care more about her appearance. But this doesn't hold true for everyone, or even most students, and everyone with any intelligence knows that!

Claire

yes

Dylan

*Not at all. Barnard takes the best aspects of Columbia and combines it with its own to offer its students the best of both worlds. Barnard students get to take Columbia classes, live in Columbia dorms (however, only if your suite is at least 50% Columbia students), use Columbia libraries and facilities, and have Columbia on our diploma. We don't however, have the horrible Columbia core curriculum and instead can pick our own schedules and take only classes we want to take, while satisfying Barnard's easy-to-fill distributional requirements (called 9 ways of knowing). *There are as many lesbians at Barnard as i have seen at other schools. In NYC, or a big city in general, people are going to be more comfortable with who they are and perhaps at Barnard, people are a bit more open. Nothing extreme or unusual.

veronica

as overall steryotypes these are defiantly not true at all, although they do apply to certain individuals but that can happen anywhere

Megan

Some people see Barnard as the easy way to get into Columbia, but I think many people choose Barnard for other reasons. It's nice to have the large university, but I don't think that all Barnard students consciously choose to apply because they want people to think that they go to Columbia.

Avigail

They exist, but I find the average Barnard woman to be an academically competitive type-A student with a passion and dedication for whatever cause they've embraced.

Ryan

yes and no, Not all of us. Yes, we are nicer.

Louise

I've only met a few individuals who have actually said that thought they couldn't get into Columbia so they applied to Barnard. The rest of the stereotypes are no more true here than any other school.

Katie

Almost all of these stereotypes are false. Barnard girls are a incredibly diverse group of girls. At Barnard anyone can find a huge diverse group of friends. The number of international students at Barnard (and Columbia University in general) I think is incredible, which makes for an interesting campus dynamic. Everyone at Barnard is very accepting and it is incredible how hard working and determined some of the girls here are. Many do incredible internship, service work, or are just really fun people. Even though most girls are inevitable bookworms because they are taking very challenging courses, they are usually pretty in tuned in to the world especially cause they are living in New York. Because New York is so exciting most girls make time to get off campus. On the other hand there are lots of girls who are just in the city to play hard and party hard, but there are actually less of those types than I thought there would be (and I believe every school needs some party people anyways). The only issue that I have experienced affiliated with the bitchy girl stereotype is that in a class with 200 Pre-Med girls things can get awfully tense and competitive. I personally do not like the all girls atmosphere, but have decided to stick it out because everything else at Barnard for me is perfect. You have to be able to handle a lot of estrogen tho because for a lot of girls its really hard to make guy friends.

Pauline

Yes, partially. Boys across the street.

Charlie

There is a large gay/bi community here at Barnard. However, it is probably no bigger than anywhere else. It is just more acceptable here.

Molly

The first three are, the last one is not. Most Barnard students I know did not even apply to Columbia because the schools are so different.

Alex

No. The reason most girls attend Barnard is because they chose to. I did not even consider Columbia University when I was looking at colleges. Also we are an all girls school but that does not mean we are all lesbians. There are lesbians as there are in every school around the country and we are proud they are a part of our community and support them. We are proud to be smart, strong intellectual woman who will make a difference in the world and someones socioeconomic class, ethnicity, or sexual orientation does not matter, rather it adds some flavor to our school.

Kendall

No, alas. Try the stereotype of the spoiled, rich, fashion-obsessed girl instead.

Laura

Barnard students are highly motivated, and it would take a long time to find a barnard girl without leggings, skinny jeans or ballet flats. But while feminist lesbians feel at home and are welcomed here at Barnard, there are no more of them than you would find at any other school. And as for not getting into Columbia, a lot of us never even applied! And I actually know a couple of girls across the street at Columbia who didn't get into Barnard.

Parker

Nope. Of course you'll find girls at Barnard who know all the latest fashion trends and have the money to keep up with them, but there are girls like that everywhere. And just because these girls are obsessed with handbags and heels doesn't mean that they aren't smart. Ninety percent of the students I've met at Barnard are driven and passionate about what they're doing. They may be passionate about something I'm not into (being the next CEO of Goldman Sachs, for instance) but I love that students here care about what they're learning and where they'll be in the next ten years.

carly

there are lesbians everywhere

Veronica

No on both counts! Barnard is an all-girls school, so we do miss guys, but we look to CU for friendship more than sex. Columbia women can be a little standoffish at first, but it's not long before they realize how smart and talented their sister school is, and any animosity is usually gone by the first semester of freshman year.

Simone

1) yes and no. While the campus is heavily liberal, it is nothing like say UC Berkeley. Personally, I know several lesbians, but by no means is GLBTQ population huge 2) I think this comes from New Yorkers wearing black. 3) Most of the young women I know at Barnard, Barnard was their primary choice of schools. I have met one person who admitted that she wanted to go to CC and applied to Barnard as a back up (Barnard, CC, SEAS, and GS students can take classes at all of the schools, the only ones that are all female are first-year English, and first-year Seminar). Barnard has a very different academic milieu than CC--there is a big emphasis on female and minority thinkers in English classes, and our coure curriculum is much more open.

Amelia

These stereotypes aren't accurate at all! While Barnard girls are pretty much all fashionable, we come from all walks of life. And, our political beliefs are just as diverse. The women at this college are generally very attentive to the situation of women, in the United States and elsewhere, but no one I know allows herself to be pigeon-holed into a certain ideological category.

Isabelle

Not really, although Barnard students are certainly invested in women's rights as they are all women!

Reese

No!

Tristan

Generally- not at all

Brittany

Yes, there are lesbians and feminists, but like any population, there are people who are not. Barnard is about empowering women and preparing them for leadership and success, so outsiders might see it as fostering feminism. But it is a girls school, and by not allowing men it is a feminist school that caters to women over men. I guess it depends on your own personal definition of feminist, and whether or not you agree with it. I consider myself relatively feminist because I believe that women can do just as well as men and should have equal rights completely, but I don't advocate that any one person elevate themselves over another, and disagree when "feminists" degrade men. In terms of the "Barnyard," girls at Barnard tend to be a little more relaxed than those at Columbia. This is just my opinon, and depends on who you interact with, but typically I notice that girls who go to Barnard are more real and open to discovering themselves. If you choose Columbia over Barnard as a woman, it sometimes seems like a sell-out, because Barnard is just as great if not better. As a woman, I think the smarter choice is to go to Barnard where the classes are excellent and we are given the oppertunity to grow intellectually as women. But Barnard is not for everyone, and if you don't want to challenge your own views/opinons and be open to change, then its not for you...You might be happier at Columbia. And does everyone dance at Barnard...pretty much. As a dancer myself, the oppertunities are endless and I love being able to dance everyday. Finally, in terms of "Barnard to bed, Columbia to wed" I know that alot of Columbia guys date Barnard women...sometimes that creates tension with the Columbia women. But in terms of Columbia men ultimately choosing Columbia girls over Barnard women, I don't know if that has merit. If the man is afraid of marrying an opinonated woman who is bound to be successful, then he might not want to marry a Barnard woman. No trophy wives here

Sarah

Not at all! After the first year people realize how stupid and completely untrue these stereotypes are.

Lauren

For the most part. I would say that not as many are as well off as the stereotype suggests.

Julia

Not at all! Most of the Barnard students I know didn't apply to Columbia because they wanted a liberal arts education, and loved Barnard for what it is. I applied early decision because it was my first choice. We can cross-register for classes at Columbia, but I like Barnard classes better (Columbia is bigger though, so sometimes they have classes Barnard doesn't). There are some lesbians at Barnard, like any other college, single sex or co-ed. While most Barnard women are feminists, we are in the sense that we beleive in equal rights, and we definitely don't hate men. We just know that we're as good as they are.

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