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A gorgeous campus with a dedicated faculty, and an active social scene. Some call it a bubble, and it really is. If tight com...
A gorgeous campus with a dedicated faculty, and an active social scene. Some call it a bubble, and it really is. If tight community and intensive, self-driven work is what you're into, Bennington is the place to be.
As with all stereotypes, all of these hit the mark on some people, but the campus is made up of people from all walks of life, not just the hippie-yuppie-rich-kid crowd.
Classes are small, and always engaging. Not a single course goes by without bringing in information from every other discipline. Classes are full of involved students who are not afraid to have their voice heard, and will tell the teacher if the class is not going in the desired direction.
We're called a party school, but only if you're into that.
Hippies, Yuppies, Rich Kids, Scenesters,
The best thing about Bennington? The list would go on for days. I guess it's important to highlight just the people that surr...
The best thing about Bennington? The list would go on for days. I guess it's important to highlight just the people that surround you everyday. You will be inspired not only by your professors but by your peers. Everyone is always excited about some new project they are working on and someone is always available to help. PROFESSORS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! and they want you to be just as excited as they are all the time. I think it's good that prospective students (AND THEIR PARENTS) know that they are getting all that they are paying for education wise. Campus is beautiful- there is nothing else I can say, you just have to see it. Every house really does have it's own personality, and if you are not placed in the right house upon arrival, you WILL eventually find the place that you belong, there is a place for everyone. Bennington is a crazy collection of the most driven and inspired people in the country. If you have chosen to attend or are contemplating, just know that you will be surrounded by people who WANT to work, and if you are not driven... you WILL stick out like a soar thumb.
Bennington is probably one of the most accepting schools in the country. The numbers don't say much for racial diversity, but there has also never been any problems with any race. Very accepting of LGBT individuals. basically, no matter who you are, as long as your a good person on the inside you will be accepted with no questions asked. The residence of the houses usually become very close and the community of every house is very tight. If your placed in the right house for you, as I was, it will become your second home, and you will have another family at school. Most students are from NYC, VT, MA, or CA - but I couldn't tell you why.
We know how to have a good time.
50% of the stereotypes you will here will be true. No, we are not all "Hippies", in fact you will find very few "Hippies" (depending on how you define "Hippie"). You will very rarely see someone topless, and it is an extremely rare occasion when someone is fully nude. The college used to allow students to be nude on campus if it was not disrupting anyone else, however they have recently changed the rule, and nudity is no longer allowed on campus (after a conflict with an orientation leader who wanted to be nude while introducing freshman to the school in the Fall). Bennington is a very expensive school and so most of the people who attend are "well-off" and you will run into some snobs however once you get to know the right people you find out that they know, just like you, that there is and will always be more to life than money, and everyone will agree that its 50 grand being well spent. At Bennington, you can choose to be labeled a "Burn out" or pot smoker or you can not, people are not going to judge you if you aren't and you will not be ostracized either way.
Professors who I have never had know my name. I had a class this past semester called "Varied Vessels; Diverse Dishes", a ceramics course taught by Aysha Peltz, an amazing potter herself. My least favorite course: "Extreme Weather", I only say this because it was at 8 am and was one of the more lecture orientated courses I have taken, however, you could tell that Joe, my professor loved the topic and was excited to educate us every morning. Students are very competitive (more so the visual and performing arts) but I think everyone should be, you will learn more from someone who wants to be the best than from someone who is just settling.
Really all I will tell you is bring your dress-up clothes because we do a lot of theme parties (I.E. sombreros, togas, cowboy boots, a red jump-suit- and if you don't already own these articles of clothing you can usually find them pretty cheap at the good-will in town).
Hippies, Nudist, Snobs, Burn Outs
I love the size of Bennington. Small enough to recognize almost everyone's face and large enough not to know them all by name...
I love the size of Bennington. Small enough to recognize almost everyone's face and large enough not to know them all by name. The curriculum is amazing and diverse and the Plan process is one of a kind. It is you taking charge and deciding what the heck you want to study and learning to articulate what it is that makes you tick.
A diverse and interesting crowd.
I am in the Dance program which is amazing at Bennington. The class curriculum changes a lot every term and the faculty has a wide range of experience in the dance world which is really important. It is really this way with every department and because at Bennington the teachers are currently working in their field their perspective into their field is very up to date and interesting.
You can be a hermit or a party girl or go between and be happy at Bennington. There is no expectation or silly image-up keep. Bennington is all about where you are at right at that moment.
Hippy or hipsters. That is what everyone thinks Bennington is all about. Not so. There is a huge variety, and it does include the two categories listed above, but is not so exclusive. And it is this variety that makes Bennington such an interesting place to be.
Bennington College is like Hogwarts. The house you live in has a definite personality and relationship to the community and ...
Bennington College is like Hogwarts. The house you live in has a definite personality and relationship to the community and you generally become more familiar with them and when drama insues (it always does) you'll find your house grows to be like a family. You either love here or you hate it here. Even when you love it, it's like an old married couple kind of love, where you're constantly making snide, bitter remarks about the Dining Hall food. Speaking of Dining Hall, this becomes a huge part of your life. You are required to pay for the Dining Hall for all your meals. Breakfast, Lunch Dinner. Its a favorite point of common grievance between students. The food is often exotic, bad, and bland. Our Dining Hall often makes meat-eaters into vegetarians. And yes. There are many meat-eaters at Bennington College. The Adminstration is not well-liked. They have made many decisions recently that have filtered out some of the Bennington stand-bys. The book store guy that used to be a porn-star who was always there for advice had his position terminated. Our own beloved security guards who give how-to-fix-your-car classes on the side and who will take care of you and who are more concerned about you not dying that about busting you are having their positions placed in jeopardy. And while they are firing the people that we love, they are putting in a swimming pool. We don't understand. Nobody understands. Everybody blames and hates the admistration. I say Hogwarts because you are not just signing up for a school here, you are signing up for a world. You learn from everybody, from the sculpture tech, from your fellow students, from your faculty advisors. There's not a lot of university brand school pride. But there is a lot of passion. This is not a place for the weak because the bubble will drive you insane. You have to have passion to survive here.
Bennington is mostly white kids. Some are rich, some have middle class parents, some (like me) cannot afford it and are living with hefty lones. There is definitely a focus on being weird and atraditonal. If a girl wears heels all the time and looks like every other "pretty" girl looks across America she will be frowned upon. I feel like there are a lot of stereotypes that run rampagnt. Bennington is supposed to be this badass place to people that do CRAZY things, smoking, drinking CRAZY stuff. But really, I think it's a school same as any school is.
Bennington is full of flaky people it will make you feel flaky, uncentered, depressed, lonely and unsure of the path you should take. But it sparkles like the underside of a clam shell and once you decide that no, Bennington College, I am a bigger person than you, then you can use it like somebody would use a plow and make your education and begin your life. Your education at Bennington will never be ordinary and unlike classes that force you to cram and follow a textbook, you will be all over the place with all kinds of proffessors (I have taken African Dance, physics, Metalshop and Italian) learn all kinds of things (I know how to stage combat, I know how to roll my hips and weld with acetalyne and I can tell you all about torque, 16th century counterpoint and what an idiolect is). If you do choose Bennington, be fucking prepared. Its a wild, wild place.
There's a nice air at Bennington where anything can happen. It's interesting because there can be a lot of negative attitudes and skepticism but at the same time, I would feel perfectly comfortable wearing a feather boa to go eat dinner. Bennington is a place that stresses a lot of people because it can be very intense. There's a constant drive to do something cool, for your work to be out of the box. This leads to some general silliness and an upper crust of people. Some people compare it to high school but it's only that way if you actually let yourself care about it. I only know one person that has peed out of a window and interpretative dances are not accepted as a plan essay anymore. And there is a feeling that art can change the world that what we are doing, what our work is, is important. As far as the Bennington girl is, I have seen a lot of drama happen, but really, Bennington girls are great, at least the ones I've known. While the social climate can be trying, at the same time you are surrounded by passionate, driven people that go a small country college in the middle of the Vermont wilderness often away from homes, families, boyfriends, plunged into a curriculum of hardcore difficult things that expect crazy things from you, and you either deal or wilt under the pressure. Bennington girls are definitely dynamic, and when blowing off the pressures of the day, do sometimes get a little wild. And don't wear shirts. Not all Bennington boys are sluts but there is a definite advantage to being male in going to Bennington. They are just as great as the girls.
The faculty has small classes so that you get close with them, especially those within your discipline. Classes vary. Sometimes they are like apprenticeships, other times they can be discussions on material. The Music Department is great. All the teachers are active in their field professionally so they are all composers and do gigs and some are even rockstars. Finals are never typical finals. This time around I had to built a maraca out of aluminum to go on the end of a pencil, compose a four-part canonic piece, die as Juliet in her final death scene and learn a song on fiddle by ear. What I do always sounds like complete b.s. to everyone else but to you it means so much, it means a thousand moments of confidence building, aconventional, scary learning that you have to invest a lot into. There are slackers here but really to survive and moreoever, to actually get something to get out of it, YOU are your backbone, nobody else. You decide the direction of your work, how much you study, what you want out of your classes. There's no grades, but it makes it that much more intense. You have to learn for yourself and fight for yourself. A Bennington Education is foofy imaginary creature up in the air that hangs up there till you grab it down and make it your own. There is a mention in your plan essays about what you want to do with your life and what you want your life work to be but it's not big. It's what you want. You're paying the big bucks after all.
I was in CAB, the Community Activities Board last term. I hosted Karaoke and Open Mic. We're a community that has inside jokes and people can get Bennington famous. You will know a lot of people by name and reputation before you ever get a chance to introduction yourselves. Really, we're all just kids looking to have a good time. There's definitely a bubble that makes you forget the context of your existence after awhile. My best friends lived in the same house as me. You get to be very close with the people in your house. Each house is almost like a fraternity/sororities kind of. There are not of a lot of things going on, and you are pretty sequestered in the wilderness. CAB brought in bands and other entertaining things as well as play movies. There's always a lot of Student work and people are always supportive of it. If you go to Bennington you will know ALL about modern dance and become kind of an connosieur. The dating scene is not existent. There's a lot of hooking up, a lot of drunken ramblings. I don't drink but my friends all do. A good time at Bennington is getting trashed and singing horrible pop/rap songs. There are house parties about every weekend where they hook up big speakers and crank "AWW SKEET MOTHERFUCKAAAH OH SKEET SKEET GOD DAMN!" so that the whole campus can feel it. Sometimes your fellow students will become your entertainment because of the entanglements they get themselves into. But really, the social scene is the same as the academic scene. Bennington, like life, is what you make of it. You can go follow the stream of partiers and get trashed, or like the first time I realized that my best friend was my best friend, you can spend a minute at the Bingham porch party and instead run away from your drunk friends and go watch the stars on the abandoned basketball court and run around causing various mischief.
The Bennington Student won't just dye their hair blue they will walk around in moomoos, wifebeaters, various Salvation Army clothing, pirate hats, missmatched earrings, mismatched socks, arrays of flannels, blue triangles drawn on their faces. Whoever is stranger, more passionate is cooler here. Yes a Bennington kid would pee out of a window to save water, Yes, a Bennington kid would have an interpretative dance instead of their plan of education. They do crappy paintings and expect them to change the world. There are several Bennington archetypes that exist beyond this. There's the Bennington girl, wild, promiscous, sometimes clingy, who the locals know on sight. She is forced with a maddening ratio of 1 boy to like every six girls, and thus develops standards that are very low and self-esteem that can be even lower. She often will walk around without a shirt on at parties. The stereotype of Bennington boys is that they are all sluts and will go whatever they can get. He will never be worthy of the girl and that they are very cocky because they get them anyways. Bennington boys are also not manly at all and usually miss that "grit" that makes a man a man.
The best thing about Bennington is the support. Everyone is so support of each other. We all work really hard and it's exci...
The best thing about Bennington is the support. Everyone is so support of each other. We all work really hard and it's exciting to see what your friends have been working on while you were holed up in your room or studio. That sense of support and community extends beyond the student body and into the faculty and staff. It is common to see professors from every department at plays, concerts, art openings, and readings; supporting their students.
In classes students can be seen wearing a variety of fashions from vintage tees and skinny jeans to Birkenstocks and flowing skirts. As a whole Bennington students are a motley crew. But people without intense passion and work ethic won't make it past first term. Students who come to Bennington based solely on the lack of tests and grades will definitely feel out of place.
Bennington has its tough moments when you want to quit. But they are fleeting and sticking it out through the rough times make you appreciate the good times even more. For me the thing that made me stay when the going got tough was the walk home from VAPA after an all nighter in the costume shop. Campus is quiet and still and I could really appreciate the beauty of the place. If I could do it over again I wouldn't change a thing. I discovered so much about myself and learned so much from Bennington.
To some extent the stereotypes about Bennington and its students are true. But despite the lack of tests, grades, and structure Bennington is more work than anyone outside of "the bubble" can ever understand.
Academics at Bennington aren't about getting grades and getting a job. We spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week learning and working. Most students refer to their current project/homework as their "work", the way a professional artist, writer, designer, scientist, etc would. Everyone is excited about the work they are doing and want to discuss it with friends. Personally, I have amazing relationships with my professors. They are amazing. I've spent time with several teachers outside of the classroom. Many of them open up their homes to students and host dinners/bar-b-cues/parties for their students. It may sound gratuitous but I've loved every class I've taken during my time at Bennington.
At 2am on a Tuesday most Bennington students can be found working. Take a walk through VAPA at any time of night and you'll find students working in the printmaking studio, costume shop, any one of the theater/dance spaces. We're a work hard, play hard kind of campus. From Sunday to Wednesday everyone is working themselves to the bone. But Thursday to Saturday everyone lets of some steam. There isn't much to do off campus but we more than make up for it on campus. Every weekend there are a zillion different events to choose from, including concerts (past acts include: the River City Rebels, Architecture in Helsinki, the Spinto Band, Joanna Newsom, Thao Nyugen, Matt & Kim, ManMan, Xiu Xiu), plays (directed by students and faculty), art shows, readings, and lectures. We don't have fraternities/sororities but our dorms are a lot like frat houses. Our dorms are houses with kitchens and living rooms. Each house has its own personality and community. Almost no one locks their door and most people welcome visits from friends and housemates. We meet as a house every Sunday night for Coffee Hour where we discuss upcoming events, campus news, and house issues.
People tend to think that Bennington students are weird hippies and hipsters who major in things like "under water basketweaving" and "movement". People also tend to think that the lack of tests, grades, and a defined structure make Bennington more like a summer camp than a real college.
Nice small size, very close knit community. Everyone knows everyone else. People either don't know about Bennington, think it...
Nice small size, very close knit community. Everyone knows everyone else. People either don't know about Bennington, think it's a good school, or say "Hey, isn't that the school where everyone is naked all the time?" I spent most of my time in my house Booth, VAPA, or Dickenson. Not really much of a college-town relationship but everyone I met in the town was really nice, I had a few townie friends. The administration was ok, didn't really bother me much, kind of suck-ups. The new student center was a big controversy. Too modern, not like Bennington at all. No school pride of any sports sort of sense, no teams. But I believe we are proud of our community, as much as we bitch about it. EVERYTHING is unusual about Benn. I'll always remember nights spend in Dickenson. People most often complain about the food (which isn't all that bad just gets old after four years), the student center, and having too much work (but we'd all be bored and sad if we didn't have our work).
The only student that would feel out of place at Benn is the one who wants to just follow a curriculum blindly and get a degree. Students wear whatever they want, or don't want for that matter. All types of students at Benn exist and they all interact. Most students are from parts of the US but we have an ok out of country pop. Most students are at least middle class but, anyone who want to pay off student loans for the rest of their life can go to Benn. Some people are politically active most just let the "Bennington bubble" consume then and have no idea what is going on in the outside world. Basically everyone is left.
All student and profs are on first name basis. You will often find students baby-sitting teachers kids or pet and having lunch together. My favorite classes are with Betsy Sherman, an amazing woman, even if you don't like science. My least favorite class? None really, I loved everything I took, for the most part and it was all my choice taking it. Students never study, but they are almost always working on class/their focus stuff. Class participation is HUGE. No competition. Chemistry of color. Arts department has some problems with plan stuff but science and music are just amazing. No academic requirement, you design your education, it's great but harder then it sounds. Learning for your own sake is always the most important, process over product.
No real clubs, groups, or teams. People just hang out and do things that way. No one ever locks their door, you can enter any building at any time of the night/day. All campus events like concerts and theater performed by other students are VERY well attended. Everyone knows about your life: who you date, who you hang out with, everything. Traditional events : midnight breakfast, rollerama, bowlerama, midnight movies things like that hosted by CAB. There is the opportunity to party every weekend but who knows how many people religiously do every time. NO fraternities or sororities!!! But you might call the houses kind of make shift ones aka Canifeld army. You can always find something to do that doesn't involve drinking or drugs, dance parties, events, hanging out. Not much going on off campus.
Very artsy and hippie close bond to one another like family
Social action. I want it to exist. I want people to stop rolling their eyes at it.
Social action. I want it to exist. I want people to stop rolling their eyes at it.
We aren't that diverse color-wise or international-wise. Most people start dressing very similar. Most people smoke. Most people don't say "Hallo" or smile and nod when you pass them walking. Most people are wonderful when you get to know them. I think most students are upper-middle class or so, some of us cling onto financial aid with our lives/educations. The majority don't pay attention to politics, or vote, I think, and I've heard so many people say "It doesn't affect me" when talking about politics. Or racism. Or sexism. Or...the list goes on. I think with their education they comes an ignorance. I'm sure I'm ignorant too. There is a lot of gossip.
My love of Bennington is greater than my qualms with it. But I do have qualms. No where is perfect, but Bennington is just about Perfect for me. I love the plan process. I love my teachers. I have found some form of community. It will build me up and break me down. And sometimes I'll feel alone, and sometimes I'll miss stranger and the anonymous feeling of being surrounded by them, and sometimes I'll wish I could take a break, but I like it, I love it, I do. Oh Bennington I WILL marry you!
Partially. Hippies care more about the environment than anyone seems to at Bennington (as we've been even having trouble getting recycling off the ground.) The college is beautiful, the students are artsy...the girls can be desperate...the ratio isn't in their favor...it is small...and then there are those days when it feels like this big family, and it's wonderful.
I love every class I have taken. I have been inspired, pushed, challenged, intrigued, overworked, used, abused and transformed. I value the teachers so much. They keep me sane.
I'm involved in the Environmental Initiatives Comity. We started the recycle program in Spring 2007 (my first term) and have been trying to compost on and off, get the campus garden up and running again (I did a lot of work on that) planning Earth Day...etc. I never locked my door. It was usually wide open. I have had a camera stolen from me. a cheap, broken camera...it was the memory stick I miss, it had photos from FWT in Guatemala that I hadn't put onto my computer yet. some guests speakers are well attended, but often not...the theater is far more popular...and put as a top priority over guest speakers most the time...even video showings are, I think. Some people date, some don't, many think that dating is for middle schoolers...I think that dating on Bennington campus can be a recipe for disaster. I wasn't expecting as much partying as there is...though we aren't a top party school or anything...just a lot more people getting drunk and doing stupid things then I had hoped for. Drink to get drunk is a college thing and Bennington has it. I go off campus to contra dance. I do my work at the coffee shop in town. I go on hikes. It is beautiful. There are more stars visible than I ever remember seeing. The bowling alley is a must. They have carpet on the floors and the walls, it glows in the dark.
Hippies. Hipsters. Post Modernists. Artsy. The college is known as a beautiful campus. Bennington girls are known to be in need of a man...or two. What is it they say? The odds are good and the goods are odd? It's a snow globe. It's small.
Bennington sports a student body of less than 700, and an impressive student/faculty ratio, so one has to one wonder: What's...
Bennington sports a student body of less than 700, and an impressive student/faculty ratio, so one has to one wonder: What's the catch? Situated miles from town on acres of idyllic Vermont hills, the campus is self contained and self maintaining (kind of like a well designed fishtank). Life at Bennington is rarely dull, with performances starting within a few weeks of the start of term, projects to work on, official themed House parties nearly every weekend, and events sponsored in various locations around campus. In fact, with everything available to students, it's hard to determine just why students are so focused on one another's lives and dramas. The easiest way to steer clear of this is, of course, not to date anyone and not to sleep with anyone. But let's get real. This is college, and you came for the sex as much as you came for the classes. As my favorite teacher once told me, "You're living in a fishbowl, kid." Welcome to Bennington.
Bennies are a varried lot, though we all pretty much know one when we see one. No, that doesn't mean we all like each other, or necessarily understand each others' reasons for coming here, but for one reason or another, we all spot the Benny qualities in eachother (and in others we know and meet). We tend to be liberal-minded, though not always. We tend to have a strong sense of civic responsibility. But not always. We seek connections between our various disciplines and in our social lives; connections that are deeply forged on common interests and rigorous self-driven learning. Bennington students are active, interested, astute, opinionated, and tend toward the verbose. We tend to be unsatisfied with doing one thing well, and strive, instead, for excellence, creativity, invention, and achievement in many fields of interest. We are explorers, risk-takers, thrill-seekers. Though we all get our kicks via our own idiom, we ceaselessly seek fulfillment and growth through new experiences. Of course, for some, this means casual sex, drugs, and alcohol, while others get their thrills in the rock wall. The common denomonator seems to be the understanding of what we are at Bennington, and perhaps in our lives, here to do. OK, that, and gossip.
Bennington College is like the death of a phoenix: glorious and intense and fiery and passionate. And it will burn you. For the Bennington Education to work properly, you have to be broken down. You must have every assumption, every desire, every understanding, every love you have ever felt questioned and doubted and stripped away. This insistent questioning will come from your faculty, your peers, your parents (who don't understand the Process you're embroiled in) and yourself. You will have to learn to defend the very foundations of your worldview, and you will have to learn when not to. Bennington is like bootcamp for life: it breaks you down, utterly, and rebuilds you stronger, more able to face the world. Like bootcamp, it is a journey. Many won't make it though (about a third of my class didn't), and few will remain really close friends after. But, like bootcamp, there is camraderie in surviving together; your classmates and fellow graduates will alwas relate to you in a way no one else can. Unlike bootcamp, though, Bennington does not rebuild you in its image; it rebuilds you in your own. One more thing: Don't come into Bennington expecting an honest administration. Bennington lies and spins the truth just as much as any school (maybe more). Because they demand such integrity from us, we expect better. I never got over that, and I don't know anyone who did. But maybe, with advanced warning, you'll be the first.
Not really. Bennington students tend to be driven and self-motivated, but we don't all make art; many Bennies are interested in Math, Computer-science, Law, and other less traditionally "creative" fields. There traditionally has been a group of students who flaunt the lack of nudity restrictions, but they are far from the majority. Many of us eat meat, and we even have a few republicans. There are probably more lesbians, gay men, transpeople, and anyone who falls into the "alternative lifestyle" category at Bennington because the campus community is pretty accepting. But guys seeking girls still have better luck than girls seeking girls.
Addressing academics at Bennington requires the explanation of two seemingly simple words that, when combined, strike fear into the hearts of graduates and students alike: PLAN PROCESS. (*cue dramatic music*) If you are interested in Bennington College, you already know that you are interested in "designing your own education." Or do you? If you are interested in designing a math-free education, a music-only education, a never-write-another-essay education, FORGET ABOUT IT. BENNINGTON COLLEGE HAS A CURRICULUM AND AN AGENDA, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER SCHOOL. Perhaps more valuable than figuring out whether a school is an academic fit, figure out if it is a philisophical fit. Bennington College believes that its students should be richly. liberally educated. President Coleman believes that it is no longer enough to educate students as future thinkers, but as future and current world citizens. As such, a Bennington education emphasizes breadth AND depth, as well as interdisciplinary thinking and problem-solving. Students are expected to contextualize their educations, and be prepared to defend them. The Plan Process is the means to that end. Through the plan process, students clarify, question, contexualize, and eventually defend their educational choices. Unfortunately, the process is far from perfect and far from smooth. Few students experience the perfect balance of questioning, clarifying, defending, and contextualizing, and considering one's educational future is at stake, the fall-out can be scary, painful, frustrating, or simply ineffectual. The balance is that, having come through it, students can withstand anything, with confidence in their choices and desires.
Parties are very popular at Bennington. The most famous is the October First party (Formerly banned as the "dress to get raped" party, later vetoed as the "dress to get laid" party), which is themed entirely on the premise that it is unacceptable for upperclassmen (though what we mean by that is a trifle unclear) to bed freshmen until October first. Or whatever friday is closest to that date. When any of the lawn houses have parties, they are loud, long, hot, dark, nearly-naked, and very drunk. The themes are usually designed to give a new twist to getting drunk and dancing, though the efficacy of this approach is questionable. Other activities include dramatic, dance, and musical productions, visiting, local, and student bands, and numerous Outing-club trips. Drama productions are well attended, as are dance performances. The music department is somewhat more isolated.
We are all artistic. We all run around naked. We are all vegan hippies. We all smoke pot. We're all lesbians.
Bennington is a place that selects you. You have to want to live and breath your studies. You have to want to be very invol...
Bennington is a place that selects you. You have to want to live and breath your studies. You have to want to be very involved and self driven to push your limits of how you learn and what you learn. If you want this you will flourish at Bennington. I love all of the different kinds of student work that I have seen during my first year at Bennington. For example, there are always student productions to see... for example, one night I saw this great animation/sound/opera piece. We all sat in the dark in the corner of a black box. Wonderful electronic sounds played on either side of us as we watched a beautifully done animation. Interspersed within the electronic music was a singer. One light would turn on to light her face as she sang from a balcony. It was really beautiful. That is just one example of the many completely student driven performances that happen all the time. There is really a lot of creative energy at Bennington.
I have meet very cool and interesting people at Bennington. Everyone is very much their own person. There are lots of people who don't shave or wear deodorant... its a very natural place. There are people from all over the US and some from abroad. Geographically Bennington is very diverse, in other most other respects, it is not diverse at all.
If you are self driven and want to be immersed in your studies Bennington is great! It is a place that chooses you, so you really have to want it... but if you do there is so much to get out of the Bennington experience. It is a very special, magical place.
Not at all. Yes, there are very many crunch, hippyish type people, but I have not experienced any crazy drugs. Everyone I know is very much their own person and very excited about their studies. I love the energy of Bennington. Everyone is very immersed in their work, but also immersed in other's work... people are always sharing their work/studies/projects. It makes it a very innovative and exciting place.
One of the major parts that I love about Bennington is that for me there isn't a very big difference between academics and play at Bennington. I feel that lots of things that I go to for fun are parts of other people's studies. For example, I went to see a reading of a play that was written and produced by a friend for her senior project. It was a really fun night! I don't know if I could pick my favorite class. For me everything just ends up fitting together. Example: This semester I took a lit class where we read writers diaries along with their work... then I took a documentary video class, a Spanish II that was not only a Spanish class but also a Spanish film study class (we watched movies in Spanish and learned how to discuss them in Spanish.) and I took an electronic music class. I ended up being very inspired by Virginia Woolf and a paper I wrote about memory for that class. I took that idea and created a sound piece on memory which I then used as the soundtrack for my documentary on memory. Talking about movies in Spanish also added to how I viewed movies and helped with how I thought about making my movie. So for me, I love when everything fits together like that. Also, Professors are very easy to meet with. They always have office hours and if you can't make an office hour you can set up an individual meeting. I recommend taking full advantage of being able to talk one on one with professors because it is a great way to learn and push yourself to think even more. They always offer a viewpoint that I didn't think about before meeting with them individually.
There are not very many groups/clubs... although there are a few. As for teams, there are close to no sports. There is a coed soccer team, but that is it. All of the dorms are open and most people leave their doors open too. The living set up is great. Everyone lives in a house with about 20-30 people. There are common rooms in every house with great sofas and fireplaces which we light in the winter. It is fun to hang out and study in front of the fire when it is snowing in Vermont! There are dance parties almost every weekend and always people to just hang out with. There are no fraternities/sororities. There is lots to do if you don't drink. You can just hang out or go to one of the many shows that are always happening on campus. There really isn't much to do off campus. There is a sweet coffee shop that I study in.
People seem to think that Bennington is filled with a bunch of hippy-type people on crazy drugs.
Okay, so the coolest thing about Bennignton is going to be the students. The students are what makes it all worthwhile. Becau...
Okay, so the coolest thing about Bennignton is going to be the students. The students are what makes it all worthwhile. Because they will do amazing things. I've been astonished time and again by what my colleagues were doing.
Shapely. Ba-dah-dah. The campus has a very strong LGBT population. Some of my female friends freshman year graduated as males. They're accepted, which is no surprise for how liberal the place is. My freshmen year there were demonstrations to support campus nudity. Basically, very very liberal types. Unfortunately the racial diversity is low, which surprised me. That and we're all on financial aid. Bennington is notoriously expensive, but almost nobody pays the whole thing. We all have loans to comiserate over.
Final note. The ratio. The old joke is that the campus has a cycle. This is, kinda, true. There are three females for each male, and quite a bit of estrogen. This can be a wonderful thing if you're into females.
Not really. Granted, there are some who fit the bill. But they're not the majority.
The classes are great. The professors are great. I majored in Teaching, History and Philosophy. I've had classes with every social science professor and teaching professor. I enjoyed at least one class with each. The classes are small, and discussion based, so you don't get the Peanuts "wah wah wah wah wah-wah" from some guy in a lecture hall. Of course this means you have to study and do the reading. Participation is huge. We don't have tests, so your papers, if you go into the social sciences like I did, will be worth quite a bit. Also - no grades. You'll get written evaluations on everything, which will tell you candidly what was good or bad about your work. You'll get to know your professors well. It's weirdly rigorous at Bennington. I feel as though the courseload wasn't horrendous, but the material was difficult. I never had to pull an all-nighter, but then again I was satisfied getting Bs. (You can get grades, and the school reccomends doing so. I had to so as to be eligible for Grad school.)
It's rural. But that doesn't really matter since there's so much going on around campus. There's always a show, a concert, a gallery opening. screening, recital or something. There are dance parties too, every weekend. But if you're not into partying or theater, dance, music, and art, the place might be claustrophobic. Or you could just head over to the campus bar (assuming you're 21).
We're all a bunch of hippies. We're all kinda crazy, a bunch of swishy artist types who talkin cliches and smoke cloves.
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