How Do I Apply?

Bard Microcollege Holyoke invites students to apply now for the semester beginning in August 2024.

To register for an admissions session, click here.

If you have questions, please call Julisa Deleon, Program Coordinator, at 413-532-2900, ext. 133 or email

Microcollege applicants begin by participating in a timed, in-person writing session at The Care Center. At the writing session, you’ll write in response to a prompt (you should plan to spend 1.5 to 2 hours on this part of the process). After that, you’ll be contacted to start your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and discuss your needs for childcare and transportation. Finalists will then be contacted to set up a 10-15 minute interview via Zoom.

No standardized tests or placement exams are required to apply. There is no application fee to apply to Bard Microcollege Holyoke.


Sign up for a writing session at the link above. Basic information is all that is required.


Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours on this part of the process. Writing sessions are scheduled on many different days at different times of day during the period of April 12 to May 7, 2024. During the writing session, you will be given three short text excerpts or images, and asked to write an open response to just one. You may write in whatever form you choose—the writing does not have to be a formal essay. Grammar and spelling are less important than showing how and what you think about the text or image you choose to write about.


Once the essays are reviewed by Bard College staff, finalists will be asked to fill out the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).


Finalists will then be invited to a brief interview on Zoom. Each finalist will meet individually with Bard College staff for a 10- to 15-minute conversation.


What is Bard College?

Bard College is a small liberal arts college founded in 1860 known for its commitment to the liberal arts and to democratizing access to them. Its main campus is located in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bard seeks to inspire curiosity, a love of learning, and a commitment to the link between higher education and civic participation. Its small group seminars encourage thoughtful conversation in an inclusive environment.

What is the Bard Microcollege Holyoke?

A local, top-quality, accredited college where students earn an Associate in Arts degree from Bard College by attending classes at The Care Center at 247 Cabot Street, Holyoke MA. Courses are taught by experienced, qualified professors from local colleges who help students meet Bard’s high academic standards. Bard Microcolleges are large in ambition but small in terms of the number of students they serve at any one time. Students receive individual attention that keeps them on track toward their degree.

Who is this for?

Bard Microcollege Holyoke is a gender-diverse women’s college in the Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee area for students whose educations have been interrupted by children, financial challenges, or other family responsibilities and life events. Age does not matter. Applicants who qualify for Pell Grants will be given priority.

What can I do with a Bard Associate in Arts degree?

The Bard associate degree prepares students for meaningful, stable, and better-paying jobs that value communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. For many students, the next step will be a bachelor’s degree program, where they can pursue a major in their chosen field.

What is the cost?

Tuition and books are fully covered by scholarships and federal Pell Grants, which do not have to be paid back. The Care Center helps with transportation, child care arrangements, breakfast and lunch, computers, and other services. Student costs include the time, energy, and effort it takes to commit to their education and do the work required.

What do I need to get in?

A high school diploma or its equivalent (GED/HiSET). A desire for education. A willingness to take on challenging intellectual work. An open mind.

What will I study?

Everything liberal arts college students study at respected institutions the world over: literature, philosophy, anthropology, art, science, writing, mathematics, sociology, science, history, and more.

How long will it take?

Two to three years (usually four or five semesters). Students may quicken or slow their pace toward completion, depending on their individual circumstances.

How many classes will I take each semester?

The typical full-time course load is 3 courses per semester, 4 credits per course = 12 credits per semester. Some variation is possible.

Will we be studying online during the pandemic?

Classes ran remotely during some parts of 2020 and 2021. But Bard Microcollege Holyoke is essentially an in-person college, and hybrid or virtual classes are only offered as a last resort. You will receive a Chromebook before the start of classes. If we have to move to remote learning, you will still be welcome to come to The Care Center to attend virtual classes, study, and use the WiFi.

When will classes start and end?

Courses are offered in the fall semester from September to December and in the spring semester from January to May. New Fall 2023 students will begin their first year with a two-week workshop in mid August and complete it with another two-week workshop in early June. Classes are scheduled between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Can I work while studying at Bard Microcollege?

Yes, if you can schedule your work hours around your college work and other responsibilities. A full-time, three-course, 12-credit course load requires at least 8 hours of in-class time per week, plus 16-24 hours of work outside of class. Students who have added a job to their college and household responsibilities have become expert time managers.

I have already taken some college courses. Can I transfer those credits?

Yes, Bard will accept up to 30 credits for courses taken at another institution as long as they are similar to those offered at Bard. You must provide proof that you completed the course and earned a grade of C or better. Bard’s registrar has to review and approve each transfer-credit request. Bard credits earned for the Clemente Course in the Humanities will apply to the Microcollege degree.

I have a student loan in default. Can I still apply?

Yes. Bard counselors may be able to work with you to rehabilitate loans in default and help you qualify again for federal and state financial aid. This is a goal but not a guarantee.

What's my next step?

For more information or to schedule an admission session, call The Care Center at 413-532-2900. To keep up with the latest news, like us on Facebook: BARD Holyoke.