Tapped In: The Bennington Blog

Sep 30

Fitting In

Many prospective students post on the blog or send us emails along the lines of:

Um what If I’m not cool enough/what if nobody likes me/no seriously I’m REALLY weird/help friends how do I do that/help social pressure/gahhhhh

Well, I’m here to alleviate your fears.  This stuffed uterus had THE MOST reason to worry about not fitting in at Bennington, and she fits in just fine. Not to mention she raises awareness about gender and feminism on campus.  Below are some images of her having a great time being accepted, considered cool, and not judged on campus.

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Gotta do some hw brb

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Gettin’ a lil’ first aid from campo

imageWho knows…you may even meet the president…

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Anonymous said: Does Bennington take in to consideration an upwards grade trend when considering admission? I did not do that well in 9th and 10th grade- I had health issues so I put less effort in to my school work. I went from a 3.5 GPA in 10th grade to a 4.0 GPA in 11th, and also took a more solid workload that year (and in 10th all of my B's were in core classes!)... I LOVE to learn and I desperately want to go to a school where I will have the opportunity to get a great education,and I think that is...

Better upwards than downwards, am i right??

but for real, health issues are a perfectly valid excuse for this sort of thing. 3.5->4.0 doesn’t sound too extreme, but if you’re concerned at all, just make sure you’re in communication with your counselor so that they know what the story is. 

This goes for any concerns, grades or otherwise! talk to your counselor! they know that things are literally changing all the time and that some things are just beyond our control! We’re all humans here! 

we must maintain the balance

kagan16

Anonymous said: How feasible is it to be granted an assistant animal for stress and depression? A cat would really help...

I reached out to the Dean’s Office on this one, and the answer I got back was that requests for disability-related companion animals - other than service dogs - are handled on a case-by-case basis.  The required information you must submit to the school in requesting an accommodation can be viewed here. I do know of one student previously who had a cat for an anxiety disorder, but it’s really between you and the Dean’s Office.

-Ray ‘15

Sep 29

Anonymous said: I read that Bennington doesn't finance any part of FWT including housing, and that the grants they offer are very small. My mom went here for a year, and she spent her FWT recruiting for the school, so they paid for everything, but I feel that this system would give a steep advantage to well-off students in terms of the opportunities they are able to pursue. Thoughts?

Field Work Term is designed to be an experiment in self-sufficiency. The Office of the FWT is a resource for you at all times — they can help you design a FWT that works for you (tailored to your specific strengths and needs). That might look like finding a paid internship, or living with a recent alum, or  a volunteer position with meals and board, or even working here on campus.  A lot (not all) of first-year students do their first FWTs at home. 

While being well-off does make certain aspects easier, part of what is important about FWT is the independence of finding and applying for your own job, setting up a 7-week housing situation (apartment, house, couch-surfing, etc.), and working that experience into your education. We often stick together — Bennington students will help each other find housing all over the place, and often live together to off-set costs and explore the area together. 

Sure, money can help you in many situations. But given the skills that the FWT is designed to develop, the most competent graduates are those who have worked through the whole process with a mix of self-reliance and collaboration with friends. It’s how many post-grads live in the years after Bennington as well. So don’t be afraid of finances getting in the way of you having a great FWT! Chances are that you will graduate with some awesome job-finding and apartment-hunting skills, a set of great friends to work and live with, and a whole series of job leads from your four years worth of internships. 

-Alex and Sylvia ‘16

Anonymous said: So I was accepted into Bennington, I love this school so much, but I didn't want to commit right away to a four year college. Will I be accepted again if I apply in let's say a year or two?

While there are no guarantees, I encourage you to apply again. There are a lot of students who have taken gap years before coming here and also while they were studying. It’s all good — go have some life experiences! Travel, or meet people, learn a new language and do something outrageous or thought-provoking. Then you can tell us what’s happened since we’ve seen you last. We wish you many adventures out there. It’s important that you are discovering what you want and you are going for it (that is, in a way, what Bennington is about). 

Happy Trails,

Sylvia M. ‘16

Anonymous said: Hi! I'm applying early action and am very excited (Bennington is my first choice). Is it possible for me to attach an art portfolio? If so, where and what are the parameters?

Yes, it’s 100% possible! Actually, we just launched something called the “dimensional application” - which you can learn more about here. Through this application, you can upload any work that you feel reflects you as a person & what you’re passionate about. There aren’t any “parameters” to what you attach - just put thought into selecting work that you feel demonstrates who you are and how you could thrive here at Bennington.

If don’t choose to participate in the dimensional application and decide to apply via Common App, you will receive an email inviting you to access your personal application status page, where you can upload a portfolio. Again, there are no limitations there - you can attach any documents/files/images you would like to.

!!! you do you !!!

Nila ‘17

Sep 28

Taste of the Townhouse

Chocolate, avocado, coconut, vegan/gluten free mousse!

Yum!

-Selina ‘15

Sep 27

Anonymous said: Is it better to have an interview on campus as opposed to when the rep visits your school? Like does it look better for you? ( I have already done the tour and the info session and visited campus twice)

Glad you asked.  Here’s the rundown: if you live in the southeastern states or Montana, it’s crucial that you interview in person; those counselors place a lot of weight on it.  If you live elsewhere and have more than six freckles on your left arm, a school-visit interview is your best bet, and if fewer than six freckles, a phone interview.  It you have exactly six freckles or if you do not have a left arm, you must interview via Skype.  Unless you live in the southeastern US or Montana.

No, but really, whatever.  We don’t measure people’s commitment to getting into Bennington via some sick metric of how much they’re willing to drive/fly to see us.  We do encourage people to visit so that they can really see the school, but if you’ve already done that, then it is 120% up to you how you interview.

-Ray ‘15

Anonymous said: In regards to transferring in, how important are the letters of recommendation? I've been in and out of my current university for several years due to a family illness, so it's been unrealistic for me to build strong relationships with many professors. I am positive that I can get one very strong recommendation, but finding a second will probably require teeth-pulling.

Letters of recommendation are certainly something we place weight on, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.  Go ahead and get that one that you know you can, and then maybe expand your frame.  There are other people in your life, I’m sure, who can speak to your character and competence — bosses and coworkers, scoutmasters/other volunteer-y stuff, friends of the family, etc.  Your teachers from high school might also be good sources.  Get together one or two of those, and include them in your supplement.  Or don’t.  I can’t give you any guarantees of what will or won’t make you application look best to Bennington; I can only say that we understand difficult circumstances, and… well, this is corny, but if you find yourself unable to dig a tunnel, build a bridge instead.  We’re all about getting at what’s important in unconventional ways.  

-Ray ‘15

Anonymous said: Hi! Could you explain Bennington’s Dimensional Application a little bit? I've started the Common App, but want to learn more about the dimensional application before I decide to continue my application that way!

It is deceptively simple.

You know you better than we do, so we aren’t going to design a checklist for you. If we frame the conversation, you might not be able to put your best foot forward: maybe your transcript just isn’t the best way for us to get to know you. Maybe it is. You decide.

So, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to help us see in you….

The capacity to       
       design an inquiry, create and revise work
       find, analyze, and use resources
       apply your understanding to new situations and connect your work to broader contexts
Inventiveness
Dexterity with words and with numbers, so as to communicate your ideas and take in those of others
Intrinsic motivation
The wherewithal to continue when things are hard, when they don’t make any sense 
A tolerance for ambiguity
A facility for collaboration
Aesthetic sensibility and cultural sensitivity
Self-direction, self-reflection, self-restraint

What materials will convey that?

It is hard to do. But high school me would do it because it is an opportunity to have an enriching application experience that’s hopefully kind of fun and not just a drag. Having said that; do what you are comfortable with — we are going to get to know you through the content of your application, not by your choice of application. And you still have the opportunity to include all of this miscellaneous stuff on the common app supplement as well.

That’s a student’s take.
The more official one is here.

Alan ‘15

Sep 26

This is happens when a broom breaks in the sculpture studios - - The Quick Sweep 5000 - - a late night collaboration between my fellow studio mates, Cian and Maren, and myself. 
-Glennis

This is happens when a broom breaks in the sculpture studios - - The Quick Sweep 5000 - - a late night collaboration between my fellow studio mates, Cian and Maren, and myself. 

-Glennis

Anonymous said: Hello. I just read that Bennington is starting there own Dimensional Application. I am applying to transfer to Bennington Fall 2015 and have already started the Common App. Is it best to do the Dimensional or common app?

Hey Anon! 

Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. At this moment we do not accept Dimensional Applications from transfer students. It’s the first year (yay!) of the DA and we’re still working out the kinks. Hopefully, next year we can open the option to more students. 

I know right now you’re probably all:

But remember you can always upload pieces of work to your Bennington application page after you have sent in the Common App. Though it’s not as open and crazy amazing as the DA, there are still a lot of opportunities to strut your creative, Bennington worthy stuff within the confines of the Common App. 

What that means for you is that you get to keep chugging through the Common App. But remember:

Good luck!

Arden J. ‘16 

Sep 25

Anonymous said: Are interviews supposed to happen before or after you submit the application?

Not a huge deal either way. It depends more on when you and your counselor can schedule one, so if that happens before you submit your app, that’s ok. If it happens after, also ok!

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kagan16

Sep 24

Part of our new Wednesday morning series.

Part of our new Wednesday morning series.

Sep 23

Anonymous said: hey friends are space heaters allowed in the dorms

Sort of, sometimes!  You can have one if it’s got an emergency shutoff feature when tipped over and one of those heating-element guard doodads.  Also everything you plug in in the dorms has to be 1000 watts or less.  All of the rooms do have radiators that you can crank up, though, so you probably won’t need a space heater.

Cheers,

Ray ‘15