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Each year the admissions team of Bard College at Simon’s Rock sets out to bring a diverse class to campus, one that will add to the mix of strengths and talents that already enhance the Simon’s Rock community.

“As we recruit and select a class, we strive to build a community in which students learn from their peers as well as their professors,” explained Leslie Davidson, dean of the college. “The variety of backgrounds and perspectives represented in a class as diverse as this one allows students to challenge each others' assumptions and develop a broader understanding of the world.

Director of Admissions Steve Coleman added, “While all of our students share similar characteristics—maturity, intelligence, and curiosity—it’s also important to shape a class with a balance of students who will contribute to the community.”

To achieve that goal, three to sometimes as many as seven people in the admissions office review every application. “We spend a lot time getting to know each person,” said Coleman. “We’re looking for reasons to admit a student. What’s on paper doesn’t tell the whole story. ”

The class of 2010 brings diversity in droves: academic and athletic award winners, entrepreneurs, entertainers, hobbyists, musicians, multiple language speakers, programmers, and volunteers are among the students entering Simon’s Rock this year.

Provost Mary Marcy highlighted the many accomplishments, attributes, and talents of the Class of 2010 in her welcoming remarks on Saturday, August 21:

“You come from all over the country, and indeed from all over the world,” Marcy noted. “You have lived all over the world including Burma, Pakistan, India, France, Mexico, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bermuda, Canada, Indonesia, China, and the Sudan.”

Marcy entertained the audience of students, parents, faculty, and staff with interesting, impressive, and fun facts about the class. “You are above average in nearly every statistical academic category, and over half of you are merit scholars. Among you are math champions from Alaska and Bermuda. One of you was a gold medalist on the National Latin Exam . . . One of you can complete the Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes.”

“You speak numerous languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Portuguese, Russian, Yoruba, Burmese, Thai, German, French, Spanish, and Italian, “ Marcy continued. “You are actors who have performed in school and community theatres, on stage, in film, and on TV. One of you already has a clothing line.”

In addition to their intellectual and artistic prowess, this group possesses practical and manual skills, is healthy and hardworking, compassionate, politically active, and socially aware. In other words, the Class of 2010 is the epitome of Simon’s Rock.

By the Numbers

This year’s class brings a wide range of socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, and geographical diversity to campus:

  • The class of 2010 continues the steady upward trend, from 22% in 2005 to 34% this year, in Pell-eligible students (students from families with annual incomes of less than $40,000).
  • 65% of the incoming class is enrolled through the Acceleration Excellence Program (AEP) Scholarship, a merit award that covers up to the full cost of tuition for outstanding students.
  • For the sixth consecutive year the entering class comprises between 26 and 30% students of color (28% this year).
  • This class also brings an increase in geographical diversity (18% of this class comes from Western states; the comparable percentages for 2005 through 2009 are 8, 10, 7, 10, and 16 respectively. International student numbers continue to rise slowly but steadily).