Updated Friday, 2:30 a.m.
Applications to Barnard jumped by 5.3 percent this year, with a record 5,428 women applying to the college.
Last year, Barnard saw an 11 percent application increase, meaning applications have now risen by 17.5 percent over the last two years.
“We really are quite pleased with the momentum that we see with the application numbers continuing to grow, and our ability to maintain our standing as the most selective women’s college in the U.S.,” Dean Avis Hinkson said in an interview. “We’re unbelievably proud about that.”
For students, the news reflects an increase in Barnard’s national and international profile.
“At my high school, I was one of two people who applied to Barnard last year, and the other person was my best friend. My mom and my sister went here,” Sophie Rubashkin, BC ’15, said. “This year seven people from my high school applied to Barnard, and none of them knew me.”
Annabella Kwei BC ’15, who came to Barnard from Hong Kong this year, said the college has done a good job of reaching out to potential students in other countries.
“They’re definitely trying to raise awareness of Barnard, and the president [Debora Spar] is doing a great job overseas,” Kwai said. “I know that she’s been to China trying to promote the school.”
Others credited part of the increase to Barnard’s relationship with Columbia.
“I think it’s word of mouth,” Paulina Pinsky, BC ’15, said. “On the West Coast, people generally don’t know what Barnard is, so I usually introduce it by explaining the Columbia relationship. More people are starting to recognize it on its own, though.”
Barnard had a larger-than-expected yield last year, leading to a packed first-year class this fall. Hinkson said that administrators will be “very mindful of last year’s yield rate” when setting the admission rate this year.
“The number of applications certainly gives us every reason to believe that the interest is there,” she said.
Applications to Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science dropped by nearly 9 percent this year, following a record 33.4 percent increase the year before.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Samantha Kwei's last name. Spectator regrets the error.