Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Writing Supplement

Submit two essays and show us your point of view. 

Length and Formatting

Two essays are required. The first is an original essay based on the prompt, “Why here, why now?” This essay should be 500–1,000 words (about two to four pages). Show us how you think, what matters to you, and your personality.

For the second essay requirement, you have one of two options:

  1. Submit another original essay based on the second prompt, “Critical Analysis: W.E.B. DuBois.” This essay should be 500–1,000 words (about two to four pages); or
  2. Upload an essay that you’ve already written and which has received a grade from a current or prior teacher.

Please find details on both original essay prompts below.



Leaving high school to begin college early is an unusual choice. What goals, ambitions, and motivations have led you to apply for admission to Bard College at Simon’s Rock? Are there particular experiences, either academic or personal, that have contributed to your desire to begin college early? How does the particular kind of education and community that Simon’s Rock offers fit your own desires for intellectual and personal growth? How will your presence affect the academic and social environments at Simon’s Rock?


W.E.B. Du Bois [1868-1963] was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, and author. Born in Great Barrington, where Simon’s Rock is located, Du Bois was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard. Du Bois published The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, and edited its monthly magazine, The Crisis.

Write a 500 - 1000 word essay on one of the following topics:

A. Interpret the following excerpt and discuss its implications for education, inclusion, and democratic society.


“The hushing of the criticism of honest opponents is a dangerous thing. It leads some of the best of the critics to unfortunate silence and paralysis of effort, and others to burst into speech so passionately and intemperately as to lose listeners. Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched,— criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led,—this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society.” 

B. In this excerpt, Du Bois describes the experience of African Americans pursuing an education in post-Emancipation America. Interpret the excerpt and discuss how it might speak to the present day pursuit of knowledge, self-awareness, and authenticity.


“It was weary work…If, however, the vistas disclosed as yet no goal, no resting-place, little but flattery and criticism, the journey at least gave leisure for reflection and self-examination; it changed the child of Emancipation to the youth with dawning self-consciousness, self-realization, self-respect. In those sombre forests of his striving his own soul rose before him, and he saw himself, – darkly as through a veil; and yet he saw in himself some faint revelation of his power, of his mission. He began to have a dim feeling that, to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another.” 

Common Application

If you are using the Common Application, you must submit the Writing Supplement through your Common Application account. After submitting your Common Application, upload your supplement from the Dashboard. Alternatively, go to the "My Colleges" Tab, select “Bard College at Simon’s Rock,” and then select “Writing Supplement.”

After submitting your application, submit two essays as part of the Common Application Writing Supplement. You do not need to submit the Common Application Personal Essay.


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