Hey so I'm a lapsed cellist, I played for six years and this past year had some personal issues and didn't continue with it. So I'm afraid to bring it with me to college because I know I won't be up to par to play with any orchestra, but at the same time I would like to ease back into it. Should I bring it or leave it? — Asked by Anonymous

Leave it. Unless you are in a class that has you playing you probably will be too busy with everything else to play. 

I played bassoon in high school and took a class my freshman year. I toted my bassoon around until junior year when I realized I hadn’t played it since my class and I finally took it home. 

I will always advocate for having less things at school. If you need it after FWT or your junior year, bring it then. But, for now, leave it.

-Glennis

Do you guys have a darkroom/any photography programs at all? — Asked by Anonymous

Bennington does indeed have a full complement of film and digital photography facilities, including multiple darkrooms.  For miscellaneous information about photography at Bennington, plus a lot of really cool examples of student work, try our photo tag.  If you go to the second page, there’s a couple of good descriptions of the program from students enrolled in classes.

-Ray ‘15

What is the racial diversity at bennington like? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey!

So racial diversity is very important, and historically it has been a major issue to work out at liberal arts colleges, especially in the northeast. Given that history, we are very intentional about our progress towards a more diverse, educated and aware student, faculty and staff population. The answer is always something like: it’s complicated. Of course it’s complicated! But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t openly talk about it. Bennington’s diversity changes every year, pretty dramatically, given the size of our student body. So an outgoing senior class and an incoming freshman class can totally change what the on-campus look and feel is for that year. But what is most important to me — living, studying and generally being a human here — is that this is considered a majorly important part of who we are as a college, and what we plan on becoming. The determination to push for a more diverse and aware population on campus is basically ubiquitous. It’s on the president’s mind, a common topic in the admissions office, at dinner table conversations, in clubs and student organizations… 

Also, I found the race tag to be helpful, also the diversity tag. There are some similar questions with interesting answers a little ways back into the blog. And of course if you feel that you want to know more, (it’s never as simple as just one question and one answer) please feel free to e-mail me at sylviam@bennington.edu. 

Sylvia M. ‘16

Some music for an August afternoon…

Hey! Some students, Phil and Mackenzie in this case, make music sometimes. This one’s been featured on Stereogum. It’s described as “tonally bizarre” “off-kilter” and I needed to listen to it more than a few times to get a real feel for it. It’s fascinating stuff! Have a listen if you want. 

http://www.stereogum.com/1697931/follies-i-make-sense-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

I am a senior with a strong interest in art. I am planning on applying to Bennington and was wondering if I should include a portfolio. — Asked by Anonymous

oh yes my friend definitely!

After you submit your Common App and Bennington supplement, you should receive an email with instructions on how to access your Application Status Page. This is where you can upload any artwork, sketches, sound files, vids, documents, anything (within a reasonable filesize) for the counselors to see. It’s a little less formal that the usual portfolio, but it’s an awesome way to give us an idea of who you are from the thought process to the finished product. Plus we know a lot of you are doing some pretty cool stuff.

shout out to a lot of you

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I want to learn and play cello but I've no prior experience in it. I don't know staff notation as well, but I do play guitar well. Do you think I can dabble in it provided that I'm determined into it? :) — Asked by Anonymous

oh my friend look at this!!

Most instruments have a beginning class for anyone to dip their feet into and learn the fundamentals. Some of them, like banjo, guitar, and mandolin require students to have their own instrument (a LOT of people here have guitars and to a lesser extent banjos or mandolins that you could borrow,) while other instruments can be borrowed from the school. 

I got back into piano my freshman year and (re)learned sight reading just because it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, but I was in class with people who had never played piano before.

good

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kagan ‘03

Is it possible to be accepted to Bennington without AP's? I have an opportunity to take them, but they cost more at my school that regular courses, which is what is deterring me to taking them. (Note about costs- I attend an online private prep school, not public school) — Asked by Anonymous

hello my friend it is totally possible to be accepted without those AP credits. Some schools don’t even offer AP courses, and Bennington has and will accept students from those schools regardless.

If you think it’s still a concern, the Common App has an additional info section where you can explain any irregularities or issues regarding your application, including AP credits or lack thereof.

kagan ‘07

Very brief question: some colleges don't allow bed-risers. Does Bennington? Just wondrin' :) — Asked by faeyerotiggular

All the bed frames at Bennington are adjustable so you can make your bed as high or as low as you want. No risers necessary!

Your room is your oyster. 

Eliana ‘15

I know you guys have answered questions about schedule concerns but this is a MAJOR concern--... I'm looking to try and drop three of my four classes.. is that possible or no--when I signed up I realized I was taking only classes I was comfortable with (many that I have already taken at a basic level in high school) and I would really like to get out of my comfort zone and take something new... Should I wait until orientation? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey anon.  Big breath in: relax.  Be as this lioness.

There is literally nothing you can do about your schedule until you get here.  Let the future be the future.  We’ve got processes in place; it’s possible to drop as many classes as you need to drop, so long as you’re savvy about replacing them.  It’s awesome that you want to get out of your comfort zone like this, so I’d say go for it.  On the flip side, no Bennington class is going to be like anything you took in high school.  Go for it anyway, though.  It’s a good impulse.  Just — go for it in a few weeks, and let yourself enjoy summer until then.  When you get here, your adviser and various others will support you through whatever changes you need to make.  If you find yourself really stuck, talk to your house chairs.  They’ve navigated add/drop many a time before.  Heck, come find me personally.  I’m pretty good with schedules.  And just keep looking at that lioness.  That lioness has got it all figured out.

-Ray ‘15

I've seen many pictures of some observatory. Does it belong to Bennington? Can students look at the stars through a giant telescope on campus? Love, N. Armstrong — Asked by Anonymous

N.,

Your disguise is flimsy at best, sir.  I’m humbled by your interest in our school and our observatory.  Stickney Observatory does indeed belong to the school, and has more than one giant telescope.  Last year, the astronomy and computer science students teamed up to build and program a radio telescope, and that’s now in our array.  Once the term starts up, there will be a series of public nights, during which anyone is welcome to show up and look at the stars.  Hope to see you there, sir.

-Ray ‘15

Hello! I'm an incoming freshman and I am looking for some advice. I was initially so ecstatic for the roommate assignments however they do not seem so thrilled or communicative and I have begun to feel very anxious about the situation. Do you have any advice on really breaking the ice? Should I just wait it out, maybe it's just difficult through online correspondence? I'm worried we won't get along or that they are disappointed with the assignment... :( — Asked by Anonymous

yo hello I wouldn’t worry too much about communicating before you get here. Sometimes people are just crazy busy during the summer with jobs or camp or being bad at going online.

I remember my first roommate lived Tokyo while I lived New Mexico, so time zones made communication a little slow. And some people are also just not huge on communicating not in person! It’s important to remember that even if there is hella correspondence between you and your roommate before you get here, things are totally different when you meet face to face.

My advice at this point may be to just wait it out. You’ve got, like, a little more than two weeks before you get here and meet in person, so don’t stress! Enjoy the end of summer or something!

kagan ‘09

So,looks like flying in with just a couple of suitcases, and having some stuff shipped from home. Is there a campus post office? Or does stuff get sent to my residence house? What if I get big packages? It'd be cheaper than going shopping for everything I need, Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

Send your packages to [your name], 1 College Drive, Bennington Vt 05201.  Mark on them that you are an incoming freshman, and they’ll be held pending your arrival.  You’ll be able to pick them up whenever from the campus post office; if they’re big, you can probably find someone to lend you a dolly or something.  Or just get a group of friends together to help you haul them; people here are friendly like that.

-Ray ‘15

Hi, college senior here, working on her application. If I skipped a year of school, but it wasn't actually in high school (7th grade) should I include that on my application somewhere? — Asked by faeyerotiggular

Tell us anything you feel is relevant! if it doesn’t fit into the standardized Common App setup (although usually there’s a space for extra notes at the end), then please feel free to let your counselor know if you feel that it is important.

Had I taken a year off in seventh grade, I would have wanted to stowaway on a transatlantic ship of some sort, but probably would have just gone camping, which is cool too. Ray would have just read. Hundreds of books. Eliana would have wanted to be a doctor on a cruise ship (youngest maritime doctor ever!) but is afraid of boats, so some other adventure would have been necessary… I hope you had a great time on your year off, doing whatever derring do you did. 

Happy trails, Sylvia and the Monday Morning Marauders

what options are there for an equine studies field work term? — Asked by Anonymous

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As many as you can imagine, dear anon.  Which is to say, the world is full of horses and people who work with (for?) horses.  You can have a Field Work Term working for any of those people; you just have to get them to agree to it, then put together a good application explaining to the Field Work Term office why you picked those particular horse people.  And find housing near the horses, etc.  But really, the number of equine-related jobs available to you is dependent only on your ability to track down said jobs.  And if you run into trouble, the FWT office will be there to offer support, so that you can become…

-Ray ‘15

[Image description: first image: Spongebob Squarepants, holding a rainbow full of stars between his hands, daring our readers to imagine vast galaxies of Field Work Term possibility.  Second image: a photo of a toy businessman, in suit and tie, with the head of a horse.  The toy’s box said “creepy horse man” but I edited that out and replaced it with “awesome horse dude” because the anon may or many not be a man, and is certainly not creepy.]

Hey! How would you describe the overall feel of Bennington? Are the students generally collaborative or competitive? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey!

This is a hard one. An overall feel? The overall feel of Bennington can be experienced in as many ways as you can imagine. This blog post would be way too long if I tried to tell you everything that makes this place so important for me. Still, I’ll try:

There are the inspiring friends, the classes that make you question paradigms you didn’t even know you had, the mountains and forests, the dinner conversations that can last for hours, the aspects of self-reflection and self-advocacy inherent in an education that you are responsible for creating and executing to its fullest potential… There’s apples every fall and the experience of the field work term, midnight breakfast before finals and the collaboration of students. I could really go on and on, but I recommend you come see it and feel it for yourself. All the students will be back on campus come September, and if you come for a visit I would love to hear how you describe the feel — it’s so particular and so hard to pin down. 

Here’s a blog that my friend runs, where she posts vignettes of our time here. There’s one for every term she’s been at Bennington, plus several about different aspects of life here. 

Maybe that helped, or at least made you confused and interested enough to come visit us and see for yourself.

Sylvia M. ‘16