Barnard is a good school and it is serious as far as things academic. However, it is a cold impersonal place that is not student friendly. The teachers have very limited office hours and in general, once tenured, care little about individual students. Most of the grading is done by teacher's assistants and many teachers seem to want to keep their time on campus to a minimum. The registrar's office often acts like it is doing you a favor when you try to get a service provided.
Pros: In New York City .. access to Columbia classes and Butler Library
Cons: Teachers not caring, students are spolied and act as if they are a privileged class