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Ask questions about the academic process, then insist on speaking to someone for whom it did not go well. Understand what yo...
Ask questions about the academic process, then insist on speaking to someone for whom it did not go well. Understand what you will be up against, and be sure it's worth it to you.
The worst things about Bennington are also the best: The rigorously challenging academic structure; the tiny, tightly knit social environment, the secluded location. Each is a challenge you must surmount, and each bouys you up at the end.
A benny is a person who loves knowledge for knowledge's sake, who relishes an idealistic debate or an academic argument. Expect to be pushed. Expect to be challenged. Expect that you will hate Bennington at times, and question your decision to attend. But also expect that, if you persever, you will be forever changed, prepared to take on challenges in a way you never thought possible.
Bennington College students are self-absorbed, intelligent, creative, out-of-the-box thinkers; they work as hard as they play...
Bennington College students are self-absorbed, intelligent, creative, out-of-the-box thinkers; they work as hard as they play... and that's very hard.
If you are thinking of moving out of state (or away from home) to attend college; make sure you visit the college you are interested in and spend sometime in the area before you decide. Also visit colleges that you AREN'T interested in that are within a 20-50 mile radius of your dream school. Since you will hypothetically be living in that area, finding out what other educational, social, recreational and employment opportunities are in your new community can help feel more at home. Once you have moved to your new environment, dont be afraid to go out and take advantage of the opportunities in the community, rather than staying on campus. Think of yourself as a citizen instead of a student... volunteer, go to local events, support local businesses, make yourself known in the community!
The lack of academic structuring makes Bennington College a dog-eat-dog world; the lack of strong guidelines allows professors to take advantage of students, insult them, and control them at their discretion with no support from the administration.
creative, uniquem self driven, slightly awkward, individuals that all have something special about them.
creative, uniquem self driven, slightly awkward, individuals that all have something special about them.
start early! if you are not sure what you want out of your college experience or what you wish to study, go to a community school for atleast 2 years to save money. there is no rush when you are only soending 2 grand a semester in contrast to 20 grand or more a year. if you do decide to go away to a 4 year university or college, make sure you visit the campus and ask as many questions as possible to make sure that this is the right place for you.
dorm rooms, traditional parties, atmosphere, student work
Bennington is pretty tiny. Roughly 600 students. Everywhere you go, you see people you recognize or know either by name or re...
Bennington is pretty tiny. Roughly 600 students. Everywhere you go, you see people you recognize or know either by name or reputation. Meals are held at set hours, so if you have an awkward night with someone, hoping you don't end up in line behind them at dinner may be useless. Bennington is a bubble. A lot of time is spent doing work & de-stressing and re-stressing about work. There's not a big sports push by any means. The town of Bennington has a pet store, a crappy gaming store, an art store, a thrift store & big name standards: Staples, K-Mart, Wal-mart(puke), Home Depot, CVS, Hannaford's.... etc.
There are a lot of students from California and New York. A lot. Generally pretty leftist and open minded when it comes to politics.
Sometimes you just gotta jump in.
in a lot of cases, but it doesn't take long to find the people that suit you.
Small classes. Teachers really get to know you & you them. Annabel Davis-Goff is an amazing though daunting professor. Oh, by the way, most teachers go by their first names, but not Professor Milford Graves. He is Professor Graves. Look him up. He is an incredibly interesting man. Take a class with him as soon as you get the chance. There aren't any required classes, or weren't before these Design labs, and grades are optional, but that doesn't mean the classes aren't challenging or time consuming. Work hard, it's worth it.
I work at the Student Center. Next term, I'll be a supervisor. There're a lot of great people working there, a lot of fun and a lot of obnoxious costumers, but it's a cool place to hang out. There's concerts and other kinds of events there & if not, the workers are generally blasting tunes & anxious for genuine human interaction. Parties happen Thursdays through Saturday morning. Dating is a ridiculous process as far as I've gathered. The library has a lot of movies if you're not the get trashed to wind down type & the weekly house dance parties can be funny if you're sober, and fun if you're not.
pretentious. rich. not quite wrong in a lot of cases. Bennington boys, now that's a whole other story. there's 75% percent women. you don't need a large imagination to understand the implications or possibilities.
Bennington is a tiny liberal arts college nestled in the middle of nowhere on an old farm. There are only about 750 students,...
Bennington is a tiny liberal arts college nestled in the middle of nowhere on an old farm. There are only about 750 students, undergrad and graduate combined, and at times all you want to do is hide in the library than see the same group of faces again. But it's also great that it's small because you are forced to be with people who are interested in similar things as you are. I think the academics are the best thing about Bennington. The teachers at our school are required to do what they teach, as opposed to just going to teaching school and then finding a job at a university. They are so experienced and we truly get to learn from experts, which is really lucky. I spend most of my time on campus, on campus... it's really small so people are usually in their room or someone else's room or in the dining hall where we all eat together at the same time or in the student center. There is no college town. The closest city is Albany, NY which is about 45 minutes away. The town of Bennington consists of a Wal-Mart, a Hannaford, Price Chopper, multiple car dealerships, a bowling alley, and a Taco Bell/KFC joint restaurant. I do have to give "Four Corners" (where main street has an intersection with 3 other streets in the heart of Bennington) more credit than we do because it's very cute and has a coffee shop and a pet store and other places where Bennington college students could hang out but we don't. I'll always remember driving to school for the first time and looking out across the highway and seeing Bennington College sitting on a green hillside all by itself with all the clapboard houses and the big clock on the commons building.
I was disappointed that Bennington wasn't more cultural. I grew up on a small island in Washington that was predominantly Caucasian and I was looking forward to going to the East coast where I would find more culture. But even though there are not many different races at Bennington, there are loads of different type of people. I think that most everybody can find a place at Bennington and can feel like they are doing something that they like to do with friends. Lots of different types of people interact all the time since we are in such close quarters. The different houses on our campus tend to have personalities and attitudes that some people get really involved in and others don't. I didn't feel like I wanted to be a part of some of the cult-ish attitudes that the houses had, so I moved to a less conspicuous more neutral house but it didn't change my friends or how people felt about me, so I was happy with my choice. I feel like a lot of the students are from New England, mainly New York, New Jersey, Maine and Connecticut. Bennington is a very expensive school. There are people from all different financial backgrounds at our school, but I feel like the incredibly wealthy kids don't mind if you know it. Our school is so expensive, though, we know that either everybody can get by paying tuition, or they were granted a huge scholarship, or somebody else pays it for them. I think that lots of our student body is politically active, and since Bennington is so liberal I don't think there is one conservative person at our school.
I would say these stereotypes are fairly accurate.
I love the classes at Bennington. The teachers definitely know your name and all students and teachers are on a first name basis. I think the largest class I have ever been in had 18 students. Of course, if you are the type of person who likes to sit in the back of the class and not talk this might be a problem. Due to the student/teacher ratio it is required to participate in class, but at Bennington you should only be taking classes you want to be in since we build our own curriculum, so it is assumed you want to participate in class. I recently took a class called From Process To Performance and it was the best class I've ever taken at Bennington. We studied Viewpoints and Meisner techniques and worked on a play for the whole term which we eventually performed and we had created such a world, it is indescribable. I love that we are allowed to take a broad range of classes, and we are encouraged to leave Bennington as a liberal artist, having gained knowledge in different categories of art. I find that most of the time our classes lead to intellectual and controversial conversations outside of class. I do think that students are competitive in their niches. For example, the theater department is very competitive and sometimes it seems like the same people are getting cast each year in the productions. This can just act as motivation to push you harder if you think about it that way.
There are lots of clubs and activities at our school that I think a lot of people get involved in. I don't, and I don't really know why I guess I just don't have a huge desire to, but I think it would be a good idea to get more involved in the future. There are always trips to go hiking and camping, or horse back riding and snow shoeing; there are even trips to Six Flags. We don't have real sports teams at our school, but we do have a huge list of intramural sports which I think people get really involved in, our soccer team being the most popular. I would say that most people leave their bedroom doors unlocked at all times, and usually open if they are in the room. Guest speakers should get more attendance than they do, but most of the performances done by students usually result in all of the seats filled and overflowing. The dating scene is something to be desired... since Bennington consists of 70% girls and 30% boys, girls are often viewed as disposable and good boys are hard to come by. If you're bisexual you are probably having a good time. I met my closest friends when I was a freshman at orientation and we had peer mentor groups, but some of my friends changed and I got new friends when I started taking classes I was really interested in meeting people who like the same things I do.
One stereotype is that there are lots of rich white people who think they are better than everybody else and are really into their artistic niche. There is a contrasting stereotype that there are lots of naked hippies running around and lots of gay people and very few straight men.
Bennington is a great place for focused and self-motivated students. Depending on who your academic advisor is, you can eithe...
Bennington is a great place for focused and self-motivated students. Depending on who your academic advisor is, you can either have a lot of willing and useful help and discussion about your studies, or, like my case, you can see your advisor twice a term and get almost no guidance at all. Bennington is a very small school (only 600 undergraduates) which is a gift and a curse. By the end of your time there, you'll probably recognize everyone, but it can be a little claustrophobic. Generally when I tell people from home where I go to college, the response is "Where?" because it seems the vast majority of people have never heard of Bennington. When people actually have heard of the place, they are usually impressed. Every person should be able to have a Bennington free-form, do-it-yourself, do-what-you-love education, but I think that the price tag is a deterrent for a lot of people, since it was just increased to $48,000 a year. One unique aspect to the Bennington education is the Field Work Term, where students go out into the real world for eight weeks and work internships or jobs related to their fields of study. It is a great experience and a way to network as well as graduate with real-life work experience.
The student body at Bennington is fairly homogenous: white, upper- middle class or higher, and artsy. It is one of the most accepting student bodies I've ever known, and a recently formed LGBT group only received any criticism because everyone felt that it was redundant on our campus. You're more likely to be prejudiced against if you're an evangelical conservative than an extremely liberal gay Jew. Students think that they are politically active, but for the most part, they are unaware liberals who spew rhetoric over dinner, and have no clue what's really going on. It's the Bennington Bubble: we're only aware of what is going on inside the bubble, which is a strange place to begin with. Most students are from the New England and Northeast regions, primarily New York and Massachusettes. There are a reasonable number of students from California and less from anywhere in the Midwest or the south.
In some ways the sterotypes are accurate, but there are a lot of students who don't fit any mold, the Bennington one or otherwise.
The best thing about Bennington is the flexibility of the cirriculum. There are no required courses, so a first-year student can take only classes that interest him or her (considering the male-female ratio, it is more like to be "her"). While that is great for some students, I found that after my first year just taking random cool-sounding courses, I felt very unfocused and a little lost. Once a plan for your concentration is made and you're taking courses related to what you want to do, everything becomes more focused and more motivated. The professors here absolutely know your name if you take the time to do your work well and stand out a little. In that respect, Bennington is competitive. The only students the teachers don't know are the ones who sit at the back of the class and never speak up. Class participation is a really important part of each class and of evaluations, since almost all classes are discussion-based, and there are few to no lecture classes. Each academic department is very strong and unique. I'm in the literature department, which is one of the biggest, but is populated with the most well-read and creative people I've ever known. The professors are all active in their fields, publishing and writing (though all professors regardless of department are that way.) Some of the stand-out students in a department go to bars with their professors or have dinner at their houses. Professors are usually available one time or another inthe week to just visit in their office and have a conversation with. Bennington students don't necessarily have a lot of hours of classes, but it is expected that they are working on their own projects in their free time. Conversations among students at the dinner table can range from environmentalism to South American politics to French poetry to the latest movie up at Cinema 7 in town. A Bennington education is geared toward learning for the sake of learning.
Student housing at Bennington is another unique feature. Instead of a hundred students living on one building, being policed by R.A.s, about thirty students live in one of eighteen houses. Each house has a very distinct personality and has its own traditions. There are two House Chairs elected in each house who can help with any house resident's problems, and who preside over Coffee Hour. Coffee Hour is something each house does every Sunday evening, in which students discuss campus-wide and house-wide issues, and talk about upcoming campus events. Someone always makes food for coffee hour as well, which is further reason to go to Coffee Hour. It's a good time to get to know the other people in your house. Few people lock their doors on cmapus, and there haven't been many problems with theft recently. The only athletic events that draw any sort of crowd are Pioneers soccer games, in which the Bennington Pioneers play the local high school and other local colleges, like Marlboro. Guest speakers and concerts are popular, as are several weekly film screenings and theatre performances, which happen often. The dating scene is strange. Just don't come to Bennington as one of those girls who expects to leave college with a husband. Casual sex is pretty common, but relationships are not. A friend once told me that there are three kinds of Bennington boy: the Taken, the Gay, and the Creepy. It is astonishingly accurate. Parties are common and there are a few big House parties held each month. Smaller room parties happen regularly. Drinking is very common and most parties have a drinking room, and at smaller parties, drinking is usually the primary goal of the evening. Of course, it isn't hard to find things to do that don't involve drinking. Peer pressure isn't an issue. If someone doesn't want to drink, no one questions them or pressures them into anything. Parties are just as much fun if you drink or if you don't. Bennington has several traditional event that happen over the course ofthe year, such as Sunfest, our (invariably rainy) day-long music festival in May, 24-Hour Play, where several plays are written and perfromed within 24 hours, Pigstock, the Rain Plays, Baccanal, Midnight Breakfast, Study Breaks, and several themed parties (Swan-Halloween, Cannfield's Versus etc) If someone happened to be awake at two in the morning on a tuesday, which isn't exactly a stretch, they'd probably be doing homework, practicing music, working on a project in the visual arts building VAPA, or just watching a movie and chilling on a house common room. Insomnia seems to be common at Bennington.
Bennington students are thought to be, largely, rich, vegan, hippie kids who didn't fit in in high school, and who are kind of flighty.
Bennington thrives on it's tight knit community. Everyone knows everyone else if not by name than by face. The size certainly...
Bennington thrives on it's tight knit community. Everyone knows everyone else if not by name than by face. The size certainly enhances academics, but can make social life demanding and intense if you let it. All in all I would say that the most distinguishing characteristic about Bennington's students is their motivation. Most everyone is interested in what they are doing, and in what everyone else is doing. Plenty of of collaboration. The administration can be both amazing and lousy depending on the circumstances. I personally have very little good to say about our president Liz Coleman. She has done wonderful things for Bennington in the past, but after being president of an institution for twenty years, I feel she is beginning to just take the college in a direction that she wants without the input of students.
The student body is primarily Caucasian, but ranges vastly in backgrounds and lifestyles. It is truly one of the most accepting places on the planet. There is a large LGBT population, and finding people with piercings, tattoos, radically dyed hair, and dreadlocks are not uncommon. All in all, Bennington students are very friendly and open. There are however some small, elitist cliques, but because they are usually in the minority, they are never taken too seriously. Popularity is not a strong virtue at Bennington by any means. Students are very politically aware and active, but it is often hard to find a staunch Republican on the campus. While this helps everyone get along a little better, it can be frustrating in classes when an entire class is in political agreement, and can make for less heated debate.
Bennington is not for everyone, but for the people it is for, there is nothing that can come close to it. If you are interested in the school, I suggest contacting a student via admissions, or coming up for a visit. If you do visit, come in the spring when the weather is beautiful, and you won't be able to help but falling in love with the campus.
No stereotype can be completely accurate across the eclectic Bennington personalities, but to some degree, yes.
Bennington's classes are amazing, and in my first two years I had but one bad class. The teachers are all professionals in what they do, so for instance, a music teacher may teach three days a week, and then go play the Broadway pit for "Chicago." In fact, one music faculty just received a Tony, and others have artwork in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA. Faculty are generally very engaged with the students and available outside of class. Bennington is also entirely unique in that each student designs his/her own academic plan from their freshman year. Students are responsible for outlining their academic plan with a committee of faculty, and having their plan proposal approved, and evaluated throughout their time at Bennington. In this way, you never have to take classes that don't interest you. The plan process is truly one of the most incredible aspects of Bennington.
There is plenty to get involved with on campus. Pretty much any type of student group you would be interested in from Student Council to the Beer Brewing Club. If you are interested in these groups, check out the Bennington Wiki at wiki.bennington.edu. There is no fraternity/sorority life, but rather, everyone lives in coed houses with about 30 people. I personally would not have it any other way as far as a living situation goes. Each house has its own personality and vibe - some smoking with no quiet hours, some non-smoking with quiet hours and any mix of the two. Some traditional events are Bowlarama (Midnight Bowling in Bennington), Rollerama (Rollerskating in Greenwall Auditorium), Midnight Movies, and Snowball (Winter Formal type thing). There are bands that play on campus almost every weekend, and every spring there is an all day music festival called Sunfest with carnival games etc. As far as partying goes, it depends where you look. Some houses party really hard and others are quiet 24 hours a day. You just have to find your niche in that sense. The dating scene is a little tricky. Because the school is very small people often refer to it as incestuous. For instance, your next door neighbor might be hooking up with the guy/girl you were hooking up with three weeks ago, and it can get a little weird. However, plenty of people have great lasting relationships as well (myself included for a year and a half.)
Artsy, liberal, progressive, self involved, hippie, hipster, hipstery(?).
Bennington is a very close knit community of free thinkers. A lot of people I tell about Bennington think that I go to a jok...
Bennington is a very close knit community of free thinkers. A lot of people I tell about Bennington think that I go to a joke of a college, but in fact, I have so many freedoms. With those freedoms come responsibility. In one year of college I have grown independant, and responsible.
They are accurate to a certain degree, if you want to find those things at the college, you will.
The professors at Bennington all know your name. Classes are very intimate, and there are rarely exams. Most things are extremly self directed, as this is the philosophy of the college. Its great knowing that my own choices play such a direct role in my future.
It is a school of hippies, everyone is lazy, no one gets grades.
The best thing about Bennington in my opinion is the other students. I've come to the realization that Bennington is as much ...
The best thing about Bennington in my opinion is the other students. I've come to the realization that Bennington is as much of a college as it is a collection of some of my generations most out-of-the-box thinkers. Being there affords me the possibility to truly learn whatever I want (and not through the faculty, necessarily) because anything I want to learn someone else has probably already mastered somewhere on campus. The question of Bennington's size is completely relative, sometimes on a day to day basis. There are times where more people would bring me down and there would be far too much to deal with and there are other times that the fact that the school is so small and news can sometimes travel too fast becomes a problem for me. One experience of Bennington that I will always remember was part of my tour before I was a student. The tour had actually finished and I still hadn't seen the music building so I asked where it was and my guide gave me directions. I drove up to see it and as soon as it came into view about a quarter mile up the hill all I could say was "no way". The building is literally a mansion, given to the school when the owners died, that sits on a hill overlooking the school. Trust me, it's an incredible sight still after two years. But the thing I remember most was the first time I walked into the building. The lobby has been left almost completely intact except for a few fire alarm panels on one wall. The fireplace is enormous and has two iron lion's head ornaments like you would see in the movies.
I think that the only person who would feel out of place at Bennington would be the kind of person who desperately needs to fit in with a crowd or wants to go to frat parties. At Bennington, there really is no majority crowd and there aren't any frats so that might be a problem for them. Most Bennington students are from cities, we have Boston, New York, LA, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Baltimore, both Portlands and Philadelphia plus a few others I just can't remember but almost everyone is from a city.
The stereotypes about students are absolutely false. Every person at Bennington is a completely unique individual with vastly different backgrounds. There are definitely groups of people who could be seen as hippies and there is a fair amount of rich kids but classifying every student at Bennington into one group would be impossible unless you were to go as broad as they are all college students. As far as the education at Bennington, it is very different from what I remember in high school. I've finished two years now and only had one actual test.
One cool thing about Bennington is that professors actually know you by name and, with the exception of a few, prefer to be called by their names as opposed to Professor. Class participation has been a part of every class I've taken whether it's a lit discussion, a sculpture critique or just figuring out which note sounds good against the bass in a music class. The academic requirements are very different depending on the department that you are in. A few of the departments have junior and senior reviews that require you to share the work you have done with a panel of professors in order for them to make sure you are on track in terms of your progress in whatever field you are being reviewed in. Other departments do something a little closer to required core classes. Music, for instance, has the rule of 2's which means that in your time at Bennington you have to take 2 theory, 2 composition and 2 history classes to meet basic graduation requirements for music. This might sound like a lot, or if you've read anything about Bennington it might sound like a breaking from Bennington's 'no requirements' tradition but its really not. The classes in theory, composition and history at Bennington are interesting enough that I had already had half the requirements done before I found out that they existed.
If you're awake at 2AM on a tuesday at Bennington, it's either the beginning of the term and you don't have class on wednesday, your are doing work, or you're about to get yourself into a lot of trouble for doing something stupid. Bennington has a few traditional events such as PigFest which happens only in the spring and consists of a bunch of bands playing while a pig gets roasted, SunFest which is a lot like PigStock except no pig, Rollerama which happens every term and is a night of rollerskating and music and candy, and certain house parties like Saint Kilpat's or Bacchenal.
Some of the stereotypes I remember hearing when I was thinking about Bennington were that everyone was a hippie or that everyone was rich. The school itself had only one and that was that there is a very different style of learning at Bennington.
Bennington is concerned with providing the environment for students to truly make the change in the world they want to see or...
Bennington is concerned with providing the environment for students to truly make the change in the world they want to see or be. The president and administration are working very hard to make sure that the students are fluent in current events, and can be apart of the "bigger picture" outside of the college world during Field Work Term and in the classroom.
Out of the mold, completely. Collectively, we bend, torn, cement, burn, reshape, unassemble, drop, kick, rebuild and improve the mold everyday. No matter who you are at Bennington, no matter if you party or look like this, or talk like that...everyone is completely into their work, others' work, and making a difference.
The only stereotype that doesn't fit is the "hippy" one. There are few hippy types at Bennington, especially compared to hipsters and artsy, out of the box people.
Bennington is a place where you can delve into academics exactly how you want to without many restrictions. It is a place where you are immediately submerged into your work in hands-on and project sort of way as opposed to taking exams and intro courses before you can actually get your feet wet. You dive in. It takes a certain type of person to attend Bennington, discipline themselves in their education and be willing to motivate themselves--and be motivated to spend the time it takes to make masterpieces of our work.
Social can get frustrating at times. The school is isolated and the closest city is about an hour away. There are a lot of traditional parties throughout term that can be fun for some. However one's social life at Bennington does not have to depend on partying. There is always something to do, it's just a matter of finding out when and where it is on campus.
hippy, hipster, indie, nerdy, artsy, weird, liberal, progressive, independent, accepting, activists, motivated
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