So at Bennington we have the option of requesting traditional letter grades for any and/or all courses, or to take our classes on a pass/fail basis. What accompanies both of these options are extensive narrative evaluations from our teachers which include strengths, weaknesses, progress, things to keep in mind looking forward, in class performance, etc. These evaluations are personal and encapsulate your performance in a way that is forward thinking, building on your time in class as a way to talk about your work as a whole and what to keep in mind as it progresses. Over half of us (54% to be exact) take letter grades each term. So really the decision is just about what works for you as a student.
This past term was my first requesting letter grades. I found the evaluations I received from faculty to be so fair and on-point, that I couldn’t see the use of a letter grade in their presence. But as I look towards the end of my four years here graduate school is certainly on the table, and while the evaluations I’ve received are an essential part of my transcript, a GPA is something that the schools I’m looking at ask for.
While my experience has only been with a term of grades so far, I have friends who’ve been requesting them from the get-go and friends who haven’t felt the need to request them at all. So once again, it’s all about what meets your needs as a student.
- Sarah ‘15
I’ve always taken grades and I find that incredibly fulfilling to get a letter grade and an evaluation which helps me understand why I got what I did and how I could improve in the future.
You know who else had some difficulty after a spider bite? This guy!And Bennington would totally consider Spiderman as an applicant — just think of the interdisciplinary options! I mean, physics, public action, biology, journalism, costume design, urban planning, it’s all there. Really, numbers don’t count for much with us unless they count for much with you. We don’t even require your scores. We try instead to look at the person you are — your interests, passion, growth, questions, and anything else you want to send our way.
The bottom line is: If you feel that this number 26 reflects who you are as a person, then feel free to send it in. If you do not feel that it reflects who you are as a person, feel no pressure to send it in.
( Also, if you experience side-effects of: an undeniable urge to wear Lycra and practice parkour, a surge of intuition you might call “spider senses,” and the inability to let evil go un-fought in your city, you might want to speak with your doctor, and tell him you’re Spiderman.)
All the best,
Sylvia M. ‘16
After a last minute course change, last term I found myself in “Human Natures” a half biology, half psychology class. The psych half was why I considered it at all. I have respect for the natural sciences, don’t get me wrong. They just drive me insane, but now I know why: scientists misuse their own jargon and make it seem more absolute than it is. Check this out. Scientists are also pretty guilty of misusing these terms; my brother and his wife — both have PhDs in the science — told me they heard these ideas misused regularly. The result is an absolutism that I find off-putting. More importantly, it is misleading. And today, we orient ourselves toward the natural sciences more than any other field. They hold the trump card in political debates.
Evolution’s Rainbow by Joan Roughgarden has become my best friend this summer; she questions the absolutes on behalf of, well, everyone: feminists, queers, humans, lizards. She uses evolution to argue against a model which sees beings as heterosexual males and females, with everyone else being treated as an anomaly. She reworks things once thought of as absolute. In their place, she creates a more accurate frame, which just happens to affirm the value of diversity.
Predictably, I ended up falling in love with biology after understanding it better. Thanks Betsy. And I’m jazzed to have a new angle to approach queer theory from.
Sadly, stupid people exist everywhere. I don’t think you should worry, though because it was his friends that did this. That is not to say that it wasn’t traumatic, but it is in some ways preventable. Don’t hang out with idiots! I bet this gentleman chooses his friends differently now. Learning the hard way is hard.
I also recommend making it clear that you don’t have a sense of humor (I do not mean this as an insult, I am describing myself). This can be difficult because often it encourages people to pull pranks on you, because it is even more cute somehow. Think of Sam the Eagle from the Muppets (my spirit animal). He does not have a sense of humor, yet pulling a prank on him would still be very funny:
The trick is whining. Say someone hides something important to you hold dear like your ice cream. Do not give them any satisfaction. Instead say: “seriously guys I was going to eat that and then sleep. Ugh it has been a long day and I don’t have a sense of humor. I love sleeping and eating and you are getting in the way.” This works. Do not expect positive surprises though, like parties.
There aren’t any rules against it as far as I know, but I wouldn’t recommend bringing anything that big. There isn’t really anywhere you’d be able to store it other than on top of your car or in your room, and I dunno if your roommate would be a fan of that. There are also maybe… two and a half months? that you’d really be able to kayak in decent weather while you’re here.
Enough students bring cars that it’s pretty easy to get a ride to wherever you need to go (within reason!!!!!!) There’s also a rideshare group where people can ask for/offer rides to further away places like NYC and stuff. Someone may even let you BORROW their car as long as you’re a safe driver and not a Rude Dude™
First off, you’ll be considered for $cholarships right off the bat, so you’d find out about that with the acceptance letter.
In terms of other aid, Bennington has a financial aid application in addition to the FAFSA (opens January 1) and CSS (DUE December 10) for you to fill out when you apply with questions similar to the FAFSA, and you’d get an estimated institutional and federal aid award based on the Bennington form and CSS with your letter, so as long as the numbers on your FAFSA and CSS Profile are consistent with what you put on the Bennington application, the aid you recieve in the spring should be the same as the estimate you get with your letter.
(you can check all the financial aid deadlines here)
most likely, you’ll show up and have an info session with one or even two of the admissions counselors where you will be filled in on everything at once! in thirty minutes! Then, you can expect a tour with one of the interns (glennis! sarah? me??) where you can ask all of your questions while we walk around and look at the campus and classrooms and houses, etc. It’ll be a bit quiet since most everyone’s gone for the summer, but also very pretty?
WHAT TO CHECK OUT:
glennis says Lake Paran, like a five minute drive from campus, in North Bennington
sarah says the Village Chocolate Shoppe, in downtown Bennington, on main street (we can give you better directions once you’re here)
michaela says the Park McCullough House in North Bennington, super pretty right now and it’s right next to the Mile Around Woods, hella dece if you feel like going for a walk.
and I’m telling you right now, buddy, eat at Ramunto’s (if you like pizza.) Also in downtown Bennington. If you don’t like pizza, we’ll work together to figure something out when you get here.
there’s always Chili’s!
There isn’t an ice rink in Bennington, there is one about a half hour away in Manchester, VT. However, when it gets cold Lake Paran in North Bennington freezes. No guarantee that there won’t be snow on the ice, but its there for you if you want it. My friend, and fellow intern, Selina is an amazing skater and she has skated outside before.
Also, not on ice, but requires related skills: Roller-rama, our super fun rollerskating event that happens each term. The school gets a ton of roller skates and we roll around Greenwall, one our our performance spaces, for a while. There is a disco ball, candy, and lots of other fun. Selina and the other figure skaters are always the stars of the night.
Hope that helps!
I actually never took calc, and I wasn’t even travelling ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Class-wise, Bennington doesn’t require anything beyond what you need to take in order to graduate high school. Volunteering in Cambodia seems like a pretty legit excuse, so just do what you can.
tell cambodia i said what’s up