BENNINGTON IS AWESOME! It is a place where people can be themselves and pursue a course of study that fits THEIR passions, interests, needs, and what they want to pursue for the rest of their lives! With Bennnington's open curriculum and Plan Process, students are able to create and learn through their own plan of study. For example we have one person pursuing a plan in alien life and another in neuroscience and dance!
Bennington College is a place to grow, to learn, and to become an adult. You almost certainly will be pushed out of your comfort zone, by teachers who want to see you succeed and develop and by fellow students who astound you and motivate you to be the best you can be. The leap into adult life is frightening, but being around so many other people making that leap takes some of the fear out of it, especially since the small student body feels more like family than anything else.
However, Bennington is a school for people who know what they want and are able to reach out and take it. Initiative is key - you won't be coddled. The college encourages students to explore courses and disciplines outside of their intended academic fields, and many students find themselves enthralled in some new subject, a change of heart that is welcomed by the school. But at the core of the learning is the student's own drive to achieve their goals. Students cannot expect to take courses that interest them without a common thread and a core idea behind their studies.
Bennington is an incredibly nurturing and forward thinking school, and a great place to take those first steps into adulthood, but do not be fooled by the lack of majors and their attitude towards SAT scores: Bennington is a tough school.
I'd never go elsewhere except Bennington.
Bennington isn't a good place for students that want to major in fields that unrelated to arts. There aren't any majors therefore, it's very hard to find good classes that make you want to engage and that are related to what you're interested in studying.
Bennington is a wonderful school, but you definitely have to be a certain kind of person to succeed at this school. You have to be ready to commit to your own education and responsible and mature enough to execute your plan. What Bennington lacks in specific course classes and Gen Eds, it definitely makes up for in allowing you to shape and build your own plan/major and the amount of support you have from the faculty to successfully complete a senior work that you can be proud of.
I love Bennington! It has everything you could want in a liberal arts school. It is a very open and accepting community where no one is afraid to be themselves. The style of dress ranges as do the personalities of all the staff and students. The campus is beautiful and the close-knit atmosphere provides a lot of bonding in and out of the classrooms.
Everyone is very welcoming here. There isn't one person that will look at you differently for being who you are or speaking out on what you believe. We not only accept but embrace individuality and everyone is sure to respect one another. The faculty is also not both welcoming to all students but constantly available to assist inside or outside of the classroom. Plus, FWT gets us ready to go out into the real world.
Bennington College is great place for students that want the opportunity to express themselves through a wide array of creative means. The classes are small so professor are an easy resource to use. The public action scene is large as there are many politically active students.
Bennington has been noted time and again by reporters, journalists and it's own student body as the institutional equivalent of diverging from the status quo. Thus I find, as one of their students, that this scholarship application is both appropriate and ironic. They might even be proud to see me writing this.
Having waited so long for the academic freedom and bucolic wonder Bennington had been advertising to me throughout my college search, I must say that my eventual confrontation with it's many facets has been an overall positive experience. The quietude of the campus forces me to narrow in on my goals and inquiries in a way that my densely urban hometown did not. The boasted "small-town-feel" of the surrounding area is, to put it concisely, a combination of heartwarming and lightly maddening. Then again, I come from Los Angeles, so I have resigned to the notion that I can afford to learn some patience.
Academically, Bennington is built around the forming of questions. They can be about your studies, your community, your visions and goals, or even about prodding the depths of the institution itself. I have witnessed this most poignantly in the student union campaigns. Within the population there is a lack of shyness, combined with an abundance of proactivity. It compels one to provide their opinion without hesitance, and the need to conform is negligent, because there is no one viewpoint to ascribe to. Heck, the president of the school even asked us freshmen to revise the commencement statement during orientation week. While it can be unsettling to be allowed so much agency over the path of your own education, that same prospect is equally exciting. I feel myself acting more and more as my own professor, parent and counselor with each passing day.
It must be noted that the rural environment (paired with the small student population) can result in a feeling of social isolation. Sometimes this happens at the right time, and you are reminded of impending deadlines, or forced to confront your priorities. At other times it can feel like you are allowing your relationships to weaken by not actively seeking your friends, since there is often a less of a natural crossing-of-paths. Personally, this has not become a cause for worry, but it may be the deciding factor for a prospective student, depending on their style of social engagement.
I could go into more depth about how the dining hall food is occasionally mediocre (though vastly under-appreciated), or how you might find your professor sitting cross-legged on the floor next to you at an open mic in town (yes-- it is a close knit community). But these are the more trivial of details. Overall, Bennington is a place of constant growth, brimming with opportunity, suspended in a state of awkward growth that is it's own pride and joy.
Furthermore, if this review didn't offer the fullest picture you were hoping for, I might recommend one written by Will Glasher, a local guide who's opinion is naturally the first that pops up on a google search for the college... "Always a great place to walk the dog."
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