Bennington, VT
Bennington College


33 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Reggie
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is a good place to transform an idea for a major into a sophisticated set of questions. Bennington's Plan process ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is a good place to transform an idea for a major into a sophisticated set of questions. Bennington's Plan process forces you to find something you're genuinely passionate about, to be able to articulately speak and write about it, and to research everything about it. Curiosity is the overarching trait in Bennington students, and people will leave parties to argue about ideas discussed in class. The Field Work Term, a program which puts students in internships related to their academic interests for 7 weeks in the winter, grounds the whole process in useful networking and a killer resume upon graduating.

Describe the students at your school.

Students are very receptive and open minded, though they have high standards and do not suffer fools gladly. Interestingly, the definition of a fool varies considerably. The typical Bennington student is interested in many different areas of culture, and loves to argue about topics about which they are not especially informed. They are very enthusiastic and scorn the notion of following the rules and seeing academia as a series of boxes to be checked. Students here typically hold most social mores at ironic arm's length, including traditional dating practices. They tend to either have enlightened flings or idiosyncratic longterm relationships. There is a sense of humor to any social pattern that can be categorized. Bennington students come from drastically different backgrounds, and come together to live very closely and intimately. Naturally there is the occasional conflict, but for the most part Bennington students are incredibly considerate and respectful. They rarely lock their doors and their mailboxes don't have locks. It is a safe and trusting campus full of honest people.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

You will discover your destiny at Bennington, just don't expect to have ten million boyfriends.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

They are often bizarre, usually not on drugs (far more less than at most colleges, given our workload) and only occasionally rich (80% of our students get financial aid).

What are the academics like at your school?

Student feedback on classes affects whether professors stay at the college or leave. Faculty members don't get tenure, which might discourage more renowned individuals from teaching at Bennington. Faculty members also seem to feel hesitant to speak their minds about the administration since they are frequently fired without explanation. Nonetheless, they are wonderfully available to students, incredibly knowledgeable, and willing to spend hours discussing students' ideas and plans outside of class. Classes are tiny, discussion based, and intense. We work incredibly hard because we're encouraged to study exactly what excites us most, without the constraints of arbitrary course distributions. The Plan makes us figure out what's most important to us through a series of essays and meetings with faculty members.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

If you are infectiously passionate about what you like, start a club and everyone will join. Clubs for the most part depend on who's there at the moment. There are no fraternities, but some of the dorms have so much house pride that they often resemble them. Fraternities of hipsters trying casually to assimilate to the local color by wearing Vermont sweatshirts and drinking locally brewed beer. Bennington students support their friends by going to their performances and openings. They love to argue about modern dance, postmodern literature and post-postmodern art.

Laura
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Because Bennington is a school that believes in building your own education from the ground up, choosing your own courses, de...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Because Bennington is a school that believes in building your own education from the ground up, choosing your own courses, deciding for yourself what you need to study and what that means in your life, there are two types of students at Bennington: those who give their all, work constantly, only taking breaks to complain about how they have no time and those who, yes, study what they want, but find the easiest ways to do so.

Describe the students at your school.

Bennington students are firecly independant and individualistic; we twist boundaries, put our heart and soul into our work, and then recover by partying until we fall over.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I'm done. I don't need a scholarship. I just like surveys. But if you want to give me the money, go right ahead. My advice to students looking for colleges (it should be the students perogative and choice0 is to look at mission statements, talk to students of the college, and ask questions. I personally think the best question a student can ask is "What makes this college special? How is it different?

Aubrey
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is about a personalized education: it's about working hard and designing your own plan of study (we don't have ma...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is about a personalized education: it's about working hard and designing your own plan of study (we don't have majors, we have "plans"). A plan basically describes your concentration, or concentrations, and addresses how you plan to answer the questions and concerns that drive your studies. The small size allows for close collaboration with faculty and staff, meaning that you are not entirely on your own (because the process can seem daunting as a sophomore--which is when you begin to write your plan).

Describe the students at your school.

Students all study something different and work ridiculously hard. Class doesn't end when you leave the classroom: discussions and work are always ongoing and pervasive. One thing I love about Bennington is that I'm around people who don't want to sit around and talk about TV shows (though there are some people like that here, too); rather, I'm around people who sit down for a meal and debate about the meaning of democracy.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

There is free coffee and tea on campus in Admissions and Student Life every day. You cannot understand how amazing and important this is until you get here.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Not at all: students come from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our financial aid here is actually very good (there's merit-based aid also) so low-income families are still represented. Students also come from EVERYWHERE...just because our campus seems to be primarily white doesn't mean that people all come from the same place or background.

What are the academics like at your school?

Bennington is geared towards learning for the sake of learning: grades are optional (instead narrative evaluations are commonly used to review students). I wouldn't say that going to Bennington isn't geared towards getting a job, though: with Field Work Term, experience-based labs and classes, and faculty who actively practice what they teach, if anything you are more ready for the working world than at a traditional grade-based school. There have been quite a few students who leave Bennington before graduation because of being hired by past FWT jobs and such.

Helen
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

An environment where learning is talored to student's individual needs and wants; we are pushed to think deeper.

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

An environment where learning is talored to student's individual needs and wants; we are pushed to think deeper.

Describe the students at your school.

Artful, friendly, unique, inspiring.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Applying to schools that you know a limited amount about can be terrifying. You?re not sure if choice A really is better then choice B, because you don?t know exactly what you are buying into until you experience it. Firstly it?s very important to visit. Visit multiple times if you can. Visit classes, talk to students, and stay the night; it will be worth the time spent. This allows you to get a better feel for the environment beyond what the admissions office sells. While visiting, ASK QUESTIONS, although you may have an interview where you are evaluated, evaluate the college just as critically. In the end, as much as you know about a school, you are still taking a chance. Try to find this exciting. Even if it doesn?t end up being the perfect school for you, the next college search you do will be a lot easier. Transferring is a lot easier, and less stressful then it is made out to be. Students should check in with themselves along the way, if the experience doesn?t feel right, ASK QUESTIONS, maybe it?s the school; maybe it?s the way you are using it.

alex
What is your overall opinion of this school?

It's a weird place, but I love it. Last term I was in a class of twenty people, & everyone complained because it was too big ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

It's a weird place, but I love it. Last term I was in a class of twenty people, & everyone complained because it was too big & not enough people were able to contribute their ideas. How many other colleges have students complaining that a class of twenty is too big? I complain about Bennington sometimes, it's true. It's a small place, so running into people you'd rather not see is pretty unavoidable. I thought about transferring a lot my first term, but now I'm glad I didn't. I don't think I could go anywhere else. I'm used to my course schedule being completely customised, to being able to access my professors whenever I need them, & being able to develop film at four in the morning if it strikes my fancy. People complain a lot about the male to female ratio. Read the news, read about other colleges & universities. The Bennington ratio is becoming the norm.

Describe the students at your school.

It's not a very culturally diverse campus. Frankly, I'm used to that. I've never been part of the majority in any of my schools. It's probably problematic statistically, but it doesn't bother me. The people here are incredibly diverse in terms of personalities, passions, hobbies, & academic interests. I don't care about their ethnic backgrounds. In my house in particular, people work hard & party harder. We've got musicians, painters, sculptors, photographers, politicians, singers, architects, animators, programmers, etc. We give each other feedback on whatever projects we happen to be working on. During the weekends, we unwind together.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

You'll know right away whether you belong here or not. This place definitely isn't for everyone. Even if you fall in love with the college based on reviews you read, or a brief tour of campus during our Field Work Term, you may realise you don't want to be here. Fourteen freshmen left during Orientation this past fall.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Most people wear skinny jeans & listen to Animal Collective, since that's apparently what being a "hipster" is. Personally, I don't buy into it. I also don't care enough. Some students here are rich, & some are also art students. Again, I don't care. They're paying for my tuition, so thank you, rich art students. Of course some people here are pretentious & elitist. You're going to find that anywhere. It's just more noticeable here, since it's such a small school. But that certainly does not exemplify Bennington in the slightest. I have so many friends who went to traditional universities, & think I'm a cop out because I went to an "art school." First of all, this isn't an art school. You don't get a bachelor of fine arts. You get a bachelor in liberal arts & whatever you concentrate in. Second, I think my friends who went to big universities are the cop outs. They can sit in a huge lecture hall, or skip the class, & spend four years as a number & do fine. You can't do that here. You work hard or you fail. End of story.

What are the academics like at your school?

Things get personal here. Professors know your name, your major, what you like & what you don't like (academically speaking). Classes are small enough to facilitate heated debates, & that's a beautiful thing. I have this photography professor who has an open workshop every Thursday night for his Photography Foundations class. He invites the class to show up in the darkroom for two hours & he provides the paper as well as support. He will also come in on weekends to help anyone who is having difficulties. I'm in Historical Processes with him & he is always fired up about the next process we're going to learn. I've also spent the past two years studying with a social psychologist. For every paper you write, in any of his classes, he will have about a page of typed feedback. I don't know of any other college that does that.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There aren't too many clubs on campus, but if you want to start one, no one's stopping you. We've even got a brand new volleyball club (who knew?). There are always plenty of people around on weeknights & weekends. They might be drinking, or hosting an art exchange, having an open mic night, karaoke, making books, playing board games, having a film screening, playing pranks on other houses...

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Hipsters, rich art students, pretentious, elitist, lazy because we don't get grades.

Emily
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Bennington is best known for its creative thinkers, for its community, for its progressive approach to studies and for the pa...

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Bennington is best known for its creative thinkers, for its community, for its progressive approach to studies and for the passion of both students and faculty.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I through a lot of college books but it was only when I visited the colleges that I realized what I was looking for. That changed the whole list of my "top choice" and made very clear what I was looking for. I think that was the most important factor in my finding the right college, so I suggest visiting the schools you are thinking about before applying. I discovered what I am now most passionate about by chance, taking a class that I didn't have much previous interest in. I had heard a talk from the faculty teaching it and become highly interested in their way of thinking, and it turned out that this was the field I wanted to dedicate myself to the most. So I recommend going into college with a truly inquisitive mind and with a lot of interest -to not just follow what may be set out for you but see how you can make the most out of the system. Be excited, there is so much to learn and develop -I think college can be an amazing process if you go into it with all of your energy and the right mind!

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

About all the opportunities I have to create my own education -what I value the most and find most special about the school is that it gives you infinite possibilities, that I am able to study what I truly want to. I am able to develop my mind in a way that none of my friends can, and have the possibility to study things that I never thought could enter my academic life. I am studying what I am most passionate about, not anything imposed, and that makes me strive for more than I ever could have somewhere else.

Alex
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is an art school, plain and simple. Don't believe otherwise. Sure, you can study history and psychology and even...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Bennington is an art school, plain and simple. Don't believe otherwise. Sure, you can study history and psychology and even math (though there is only one math teacher at the moment). But everything is definitely artsy. Also, you would expect there to be creative writing but alas, there is not. The dining hall often is complained about, but unless you're super picky I find that it does a good job (particuarly for such a small school). There are a lot of vegetarian options and even vegan options. Although there are a few meals I don't like, there are also ones I love- like the squash lasagana and the feta pancakes. The desserts are really good, i love the carob chocolate chip cookies.

Describe the students at your school.

Pretty much everyone is liberal and as least 3/4 of the students are blatant hipsters. In a way, there is no diversity; everyone listens to indie music, everyone loves dressing up... Though you would expect most students are all rich kids, students actually do come from various socio-economic backgrounds. Many students receive financial aid.

What are the academics like at your school?

The classes are interesting for sure. The teachers are definitely accessible and they know your names. But I find that after taking a calculus course at Bennington I probably will have to retake the class at another college. If you want to study science or math, I highly recommend going to a different school.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The housing is amazing. I live in Fels (it's a house, not a dorm), and I love it. The rooms are big and the kitchen we share is very nice. We also have our own washer and dryer. Houses also have nice traditions, such as DBD (drunk before dinner) or mattress sliding. There are a lot of things to do on campus. There are talks, theatre preformances, bands to go see. There are parties like every weekend. But the school is very cut off from the town so the social scene is limited. I felt like the school is too small (700) and that I was very limited in the people I could make friends with. Pretty much everyone is nice, but not very many different social groups, so it can be hard to find people you click with. Bennington is very much a drinking school. It is very easy to get alcohol. People do smoke pot, but its not as prominent. Most people smoke ciggarettes.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Bennington students are indiehipsters who very liberal and artsy.

Edward
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates at Bennington are artistic, original, passionate, intense, a little crazy, but overall brilliant academics and ...

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates at Bennington are artistic, original, passionate, intense, a little crazy, but overall brilliant academics and artists who strave for innovation in their projects and studies.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

When I was applying for college, the president of Bard told me one thing: "It's not where a person goes to school, but what he does when he gets there." That said, I did not get into Bard. At Bennington College, however, I found my home. I have been blessed with a wonderful group of friends and the drive to do unprecedented things. It just goes to show that with the right match and equal motivation, whatever you wish to acheive can be done regardless of the school. Keep your hopes high and your ambition strong.

What's unique about your campus?

The best thing about the school is (surprising though it may be) the higher rate of attrition. People who are at Bennington just to party will be expelled quickly for not going to class or doing their work. Thus, you are left with a very special group of students who are passionate about their work and strive for the best. This, in turn, is beneficial to my own work as you are surrounded by people who push you to better yourself.

Details

  • Enrollment
  • 711
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $50,100
  • Acceptance rate
  • 60%

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