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.
You will discover your destiny at Bennington, just don't expect to have ten million boyfriends.
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).
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.
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.
Bizarre, rich and on drugs.
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.