This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Bard High School Early College5
Posted August 07, 2014
- a parent
BHSEC is a fantastic educational environment and my son has thrived. The curriculum is thoughtful and challenging; teachers are truly inspiring; kids are diverse and talented. I want to take issue with the parent who says that kids who want to get A s must stay up all night once or twice every week. That s ridiculous. My son, a rising senior, is an A student who has never once pulled an all nighter; in fact, he has rarely done homework beyond midnight. No, he s not a genius. Yes, he works hard. But he also tutors other students, joins clubs, hangs out with friends, watches TV, and spends too much time on the Internet. (Don t they all?) His resume is terrific and I suspect he will go to a top college; clearly Bard has made that possible, not precluded him from that. All top NYC high schools are rigorous, and kids do work extremely hard; BHSEC is no exception. And it s not perfect: a few teachers have been terrible, the location is remote and kids don t have so many choices for athletics or clubs. Still, I think for smart, thoughtful kids it s the best public high school in the city. My son turned down Stuyvesant for BHSEC and has never once regretted his choice.
Bard is a great educational opportunity within the public school system, with a heavy asterisk. The teachers are excellent, and committed. The administration fosters a sophisticated environment. The kids amazing. Here's the rub. There's something they call "Bard Hard". The school has a culture of exceptionally difficult grading. In order for a kid to get A's, they need to do one or two all nighters per week. For the average kid doing 3-5 hours of work per evening, that's only good enough for a B average. The kids do learn a ton, and improve their writing and thinking, and by the time they finish, they will be ready to excel in nearly any university. But Bard kids have a hard time getting into top schools because, despite having already done 2 years of college courses already, their grades are usually low. And, since they get so much homework, they don't have had a chance to put extra-curricular activities on their transcript, either. Going to BARD means having to choose between a great high school experience and a full childhood. Or, between high school and a great college opportunity. If you want to enjoy your childhood AND get into a top college, try a different high school.
The curriculum is challenging but teachers give you at least a week or so for essays and its up to you to manage your own time when writing it. I acknowledge that there are many cliques and such but all schools have that. Sometimes I also wonder if it would be better if i went to a regular high school but i want a challenge. You are not forced to do anything so if you aren't up for a challenge then don't choose bard. If you aren't willing to pay the price for 60 credits and an associates degree then don't choose bard. If you think you can just slack off and procrastinate for four years then don't choose bard. The teachers are required to stay after school for thirty minutes so you can attend tutoring and get help. They just sit there and so nothing because no one takes advantage of such a great opportunity. There are also centers such as the writing and math center which can help you at any stage of your assignment. It is a school that sends you to college ready so that you won't get your face slammed by the first door you are going to go through. They aren't doing this for their reputation like specialized schools such as Stuyvesant and such.
As an alumna (2011), I can say with confidence that I would not be the person who I am today if not for the life-changing education I received at BHSEC. My professors really challenged my thinking and supported both my personal and academic growth. When are cliques not evident? Finding the right group of friends may be difficult, but the overall community at BHSEC is incredibly inclusive. I agree with all of the comments about BHSEC's difficulty, and it may not be for everyone. It is intensive, but the pace and density of the material in the 9th and 10th grade will prepare you for the "college" leveled work, which in my honest opinion, is comparable to 100-200 leveled classes at competitive colleges. BHSEC teaches you to read critically, which is the foundation for learning how to structure an argument and having strong writing and oral communication skills. I am currently a junior at a highly selective private liberal arts college, and I can say with confidence that my learning experiences at BHSEC were more rigorous and fulfilling. I will never forget how passionate my peers and professors were. BHSEC inspires curiosity and a love for learning; that is priceless.
Hello, I'm a freshman here in BHSEC and it is a hard school. After reading most of these comments I agreed with everyone. So far the atmosphere in Bard is a little intense for me. Sometimes I wonder why they even pick me. I'm very lonely in the school and yes there are cliques. But from what i notice from the older grades such things are diminished. Some teachers my appear not to care at first , but it is us the students to make the school, not the adults. We should take advantage of this opportunity actually.Maybe if Bard look a lot nicer so there would be more space and the teachers start adapting a slower pace BARD(esp with me around( will be number 10. Also Bard is not for everyone, nor is it a place for only logical,spontaneous, critical thinking kids -from the only weird lonely freshmen in Bard:) -also I'm African american and yes some racial sly comments do occur.
I'm a student at Bard and I love it here. Yes it's a lot of work, a lot of students will get overly stressed out; I'd say about 5-10% of the students have to transfer out before Year One. But at that point everyone who is still there is able to manage the (at times disheartening) workload, and there is a really great appreciation for the school. To speak to the comment about bullying, I know there have been a few isolated incidents with the underclassmen, but the community here remains very welcoming. Yes there are 'cliques', but through every grade above and below me I've witnessed them slowly disappears as the grade gets older, until all that's left is a very supportive and friendly community. Additionally the college program is incredible. The electives such as American Education, Ethics, and History of Food foster really interesting discussions both in and most notably out of classes. With that said bard isn't for everyone. I would warn off those who seriously wish to pursue a specialized career. The art and STEM classes are definitely good but they are unmistakably intro courses and not specialized the way they would be at a tech school.
If I can go back in time I would of saved myself and not went to bard. It's a horrible school and false advertised. It gives you so much work that it's impossible and the teachers are so unhelpful they wont help you they just make you"think about it" you go to meet the teacher and they just say you should write more. How does that help me write an essay. Anyways your stress level skyrockets at this school. The school work is unmanagable. A 6 page essay for Literature, with a Chemistry Lab Report, a math exam, and a history essay due all on the same day. That's crazy! This school is not diverse at all. Everyone has there own little cliques and no one comes out of it. It's very racist. All they white kids are together, the Hispanic kids are together. The black kids are together and then the Asians are together. Also this school is located in the projects so it's not a safe area for kids. I'm telling you kids the most I slept was 4hrs and I'm lucky that I'm able to even sleep for four hours. Make sure you kids really think about this school before you apply because I don't want you to go on the same road I'm going through.
For bright motivated kids, Bard is probably the best high school in NYC. The student body is as, if not more, accomplished academically than Stuy, Lehman, or Bronx Science. The faculty are, as a rule, superb. The resources available to students in the arts, travel, languages, tutoring, specialized classes, college placement, and so on are amazing and without parallel. Most kids leave Bard with 1 to 2 years of transferable college credit. The only downside is: Bard is not for everyone. It's true that kids are treated more or less as college students the day they walk in. Like most good colleges, the burden of keeping up and doing the work is put on the student. Being bright isn't enough at Bard, you also need to work hard and be motivated enough to take responsibility for your own eduction. Bard does not hold student's hands or hand out credit for trying hard or give brownie points for school spirit. The focus is on academics and individual student growth. It's much like attending a small highly selective liberal arts college. A hands down wonderful place for the right kid, tricky at best for an average or unmotivated kid.
I AM A FRESHMAN HERE. To be completely honest with whoever is reading this, I do not even know why I got into this school. My middle school was so easy its just looked good on my report card. Coming to Bard everything has started to change. Our first marking period came and I got my report card or what the teachers call "progress reports" and for the first time in my WHOLE entire school life, I got something under a B+. It was not a terrible thing but I just did not like it. The worst part about this is that, although I am still in school, I do not feel like I am learning anything AT ALL. The grades are really just grades and are nothing to me. Whats most important is that you know what you are learning. The workload is stressful and although you can have a "social" life, its hard to maintain your hobbies with the work. The teachers are helpful, but I just don't have the time to be going to homework help every after school! Now for those of you wondering whether this school is the right choice. If you are a very "smart" and "capable" person, come here ASAP. It will benefit you. Those who are ehh average like me. Dont even bother putting this school on your list. Its just not good.