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YOU. Yes, You. Apply to Grad School Now Because the World Needs You.

We get it, the idea of applying to grad school right now may not seem like a top priority. It may even seem laughable. 

You might be thinking…“Is this a joke? Do you really think I’m ready to apply to grad school in the midst of a global pandemic? When I’m not sure if I’ll keep my job or be able to find a new one? When it’s not clear if education will ever happen in person again? When I’m worrying about my grandmother and dreaming of a day when I don’t have to wear a mask outside? No thank you, grad school can wait.”

But that last conclusion is where you are very very wrong. You’ve seen the crisis of leadership this pandemic has exposed. You’ve watched as countries have bickered and coordinated to combat the virus. You’ve seen the injustice and cruelty of unchecked capitalism as our economy tanks, and those who are already hurting suffer the most. You’ve seen reports about how lockdowns have dramatically reduced air pollution and other environmental hazards.

And yet you still think this is the time to sit back and leave the risking and the dreaming and creating to others? We need you. We need every single smart, passionate leader for the environment that we can find, and we need them now. It’s time to step into the coming reality of a Green New Deal and begin to get the tools and training you need to build a career in fighting the climate crisis.

Still have questions about our programs? Schedule a call with our director,  Eban Goodstein!

There’s a reason 2020 is happening. It’s the wake up call we need to change how we operate as human beings and as societies in a dramatic, life-changing way. This is our chance to change our climate trajectory for the better as we rebuild.

So, Here Are Three Reasons Why You Should Apply to Grad School Now

Reason #1: The Economy Is Struggling—Go Back to School for More Training.

Facing the worst job market in 80 years, now could be a good time to stay in school, or head back to it. If you do, you will need to find a graduate program that helps you gain real-world, practical experience and build your resume while in school. In addition to the graduate degree, employers will be looking for concrete experience solving sustainability challenges when jobs start coming back in 2021 or 2022.

A good program will help you develop skills and experience, build a professional network, and upon graduation, turbo-charge your impact in the world. Rather than flounder in a very bad economy, you can build the track record that in two or three years will open doors to sustainability impact that will be out of reach for your peers.

Reason #2: We’re Experienced at Offering High-Quality, Hybrid Delivery Programs

We won’t pretend that we have all the answers about what school in general will look like in the coming months and years. Will education take place primarily online? Who knows.

But at the same time, we aren’t too concerned about it. That’s because we have years of experience operating a high-quality, hybrid delivery model for the Bard MBA. In this model, classes take place both online and in a series of intensive residency weekends. 

The fact that we’ve successfully operated within this model makes us confident that we can adapt and react quickly across all our programs no matter the landscape, promoting health and safety while never losing sight of our mission and the value of the education we offer.

When this crisis fades away, the Bard Center for Environmental Policy will be standing strong and resilient, continuing to teach smart, passionate leaders how to transform business, policy, and education in order to save the planet.

Reason #3: We Teach You How to Lead Effectively in the 21st Century

There are lots of myths and misconceptions out there about what it means to be a leader. These myths about leadership keep wicked problems from being solved, and are preventing us from moving forward toward a more sustainable future in the 21st century: 

  • Leadership is about having all the answers.
  • Leaders come up with the strategy, everyone else simply follows.
  • Leadership is a skill you are born with, it can’t be developed.
  • Leadership is about results, not people.
  • Leadership is for a select few.

Shared well-being on a healthy planet can only be accomplished if the principles of shared leadership are taught and implemented. Together we must move forward from the old models of exclusive and hierarchical responsibility and authority, to many leaders taking ownership for the whole of the vision.

In our master’s programs, we help you break down these leadership myths and rebuild a sense of how you specifically can grow, contribute, and lead, especially in the environmental field.

For more on this, check out this resource: How to Become a Leader in Sustainability.

How to Apply to Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability

The deadline to apply to Bard CEP is June 1 so set aside a couple hours this weekend to submit the online application! 

We do allow a brief grace period upon request if you need more time to take the GRE, gather test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The online application and personal statement must be submitted by the application deadline. Reach out to us today at codonnell@bard.edu if you’d like to request extra time for your supplemental material

1. Complete the Online Application

Create an account in our online application system, select the application that corresponds to your program of choice, complete all required fields, and submit along with the $65 application fee (if you have attended an event or virtual event, you are eligible for a fee waiver!). Please email Caitlin O'Donnell (codonnel@bard.edu) with any questions. Start your CEP application HERE.

2. Write a Personal Statement

Provide a written personal statement that addresses the following points. Personal statements should be a maximum of 1000 words and double spaced. Introduce yourself, providing context for your interest in Bard’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability based on your personal, academic and/or professional experiences. Speak to the environmental or social problem around which you see the biggest opportunity to drive change. Tell us what the issue is, why you’re motivated by it (be specific), and why you think it's poised for meaningful change.

3. Submit a Resume/CV

A resume or curriculum vitae highlighting your professional experience and relevant qualifications.

4. Submit two letters of recommendation.

Two letters of recommendation from both an academic and professional source. We accept letters of recommendation through the online application system. When prompted in the Recommendations section of the application -- enter each recommender's name and contact information. The recommender will then receive an email with detailed instructions on how to submit his or her recommendation online.

5. School Transcripts.

Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, because we cannot access our mail and most other college campuses are working remotely, we have a limited ability to receive official transcripts. If your undergraduate/graduate institution does not offer electronic transcript transmission, we will accept an unofficial copy/screenshot of your transcript until the time that an official copy can be sent.

6. Submit GRE Scores OR Take Bard's GRE Replacement Test - deadline extended to June 15th

Bard CEP is extending the deadline to complete the GRE to June 15th AND offering an in-house GRE replacement test. Many applicants are struggling to find test times or complete the GRE due to technical issues, so we are offering an alternative option. If you've taken or plan to take the GRE, please use Bard College school code is 2037 (there is no departmental code). For applicants to the dual degree program with Pace Law School, LSAT scores are acceptable in lieu of the GRE. For applicants to the dual degree program with the Bard MBA in Sustainability, GMAT scores are acceptable in lieu of the GRE. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.7 or higher may submit a formal GRE waiver request. Contact Caitlin O’Donnell (codonnel@bard.edu) for information on how to apply for a GRE/GMAT waiver OR to take the Replacement Test.

7. Complete and Submit FAFSA.

All applicants requesting any sort of financial aid (loans, fellowships, campus employment) must complete a FAFSA. Read More about Financial Aid.

8. Schedule an Interview.

Upon the submission of your application, the Bard Admissions Office will be in touch to schedule your admissions interview. All interviews will be conducted by members of the Graduate Admissions Committee and are held via video conference.

The World Needs Leaders Who Have Problem-Solving Experience

Ultimately, we need all of you working at the top of your game, making a difference, soon, and at scale on climate, gender equity, access to clean water, homelessness, food systems, ecological literacy, financial inclusion, land stewardship, mass incarceration.

As humanity works through the COVID-19 crisis, new opportunities to address these inter-related crises will surface. So however you do it, grad school or not, use the next couple of years to tool up with new skills and problem-solving experience, and we can come out of this difficult time on a stronger path to a sustainable future.

Wanted: smart people who want to
change the world. Is this you?

Apply Now


About the Author

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle

Katie Boyle is the Enrollment and Marketing Director for the Bard MBA in Sustainability program and Bard Center for Environmental Policy. In this role, she oversees the marketing and brand management for The Impact Report podcast. She also manages recruiting, admissions, and enrollment for both programs as well marketing and advertising campaigns.