Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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How to Apply

The application process is just that—a process.

Female student with rainbow umbrella walking to class on a rainy day

If you believe early college at Simon’s Rock is the right choice for you, talk to your admission counselor. Your counselor will work closely with you and your family, answering your questions and providing all the guidance and support you’ll need.

Below, you’ll find a detailed guide to the application, along with a timeline for admission. If you are applying from a homeschool program, as an international student, or as a transfer student, you’ll want to let your counselor know, and you’ll follow the additional guidelines provided.

Ready? It all starts here.


The Simon’s Rock Application

Your application is not a set of numbers but an expression of your character, ambitions, imagination and intelligence.

We ask for all of the standard information—recommendations and transcripts—but we also ask you to do a good deal of writing. We’re curious about what you are thinking, why you are considering early college, and how you approach a critical argument.

We require a personal interview with a member of our staff. There’s no script, no set list of questions, and no right answers; we want to know you as a live, talking, thinking person.

College entrance tests are optional for most students, and we welcome applications from homeschooled and international applicants.


Questions? We're here to help. 

Simon’s Rock is also home to Bard Academy. If you are a middle school student ready for an enriched 9th and 10th grade experience that will prepare you for early college at Simon’s Rock, you’ll find information about Bard Academy and an application and admission in the link below.

The information you provide in the Common Application—demographics, family, education and activities—facilitates conversation with your admission counselor. You can start the application process early, up to a year before enrollment.

Your guidance counselor will submit this report with your transcript.

Whether you are applying for Spring or Fall admission, your application will not be considered complete until we receive current year grades, i.e. first semester/trimester or the midyear grade report. In most cases, these are available after early November (semester system) or early December (trimester system). If your school does not include this with your school report and transcript, please request to have these emailed to:

College entrance exam scores are optional. Applicants who choose to do so should have scores sent directly to us or included on their official transcripts – e.g., AP, IB, ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests.

Our codes are as follows: SAT/PSAT/AP 3795; ACT/PLAN 1893.

Request recommendations from individuals who know you and your work best. Two recommendations must be from teachers of two different core academic subjects (English, foreign language, math, science, or social studies); one must be from a current teacher. The third, non-academic recommendation is completed by another adult, such as an extracurricular activity advisor or work supervisor.

Our experience has been that the decision to attend Simon’s Rock is best made after a serious discussion between the applicant and his/her/their family. After you submit your Common Application, we will reach out to the parent or guardian of your choice, via email, to request the required Parent Narrative/Parent Recommendation.

The two essay questions on the Common Application supplement are designed to give us a sense of your writing voice and command of language, as well as a sense of what and how you think. You must answer these questions through your Common Application account.

Essay #1: WHY HERE, WHY NOW?

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.

For the Critical Analysis essay, choose one of the following options:

1. Write a 2-4 page essay interpreting the following excerpt and discussing its implications for education, inclusion, and democratic society.

“[T]he 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.”

2. In this excerpt, Du Bois describes the experience of African Americans pursuing an education in post-Emancipation America. Write a 2-4 page essay interpreting the excerpt and discussing 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.”

An interview with an admission counselor is required of each applicant. The interview is not as formal or intimidating as you might think. We’ll just be getting to know you as a live, talking, thinking person. And we’ll be glad to answer any questions you or your parents have about us. We prefer that the interview be in-person as part of a visit to campus. Please call 413-528-7228 to schedule or arrange a campus visit.
We invite you to submit a piece of your own work (or description of a project, in any form you deem appropriate) that has particularly intrigued and excited you. Examples include but are not limited to a writing sample, a position paper, a problem solution, a poem or short story, a graded test, a research paper, a science project, a copy of a drawing, painting, or photograph, or a recording of music, a film, or a performance. Please send this work to

Application Timeline

You can begin college at Simon’s Rock in either the fall (August) or spring (January) semester. Though we have official deadlines, completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year as long as space remains available; early application is encouraged. Applicants typically hear a decision within 6-8 weeks of completing their application.

All applicants will be considered for any merit scholarships for which they are eligible; no additional application is required.




Simon's Rock complies with the Jeanne Clery Act and publishes crime statistics for the most recent three-year period. View the full report.