Posts tagged Admissions

I've heard Bennington is really isolated, does this effect students negatively or is it okay? — Asked by Anonymous

The honest answer to this question is both. Existing on top of a hill above a little town can cause a feeling of claustrophobia. With this, it’s the same thing that makes our school unique, and I find that the lack of opportunity outside the campus contributes to the opportunities inside the campus. For example, because most people live on campus, we are able to have strong house communities - where freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all live together and there’s no segregation between classes. The seclusion inspires all kinds of on-campus events and social gatherings, in which people really have the ability to bring their ideas to the Bennington community and can to make them happen. Also, for those that want to experience other communities from time to time, there are many towns to visit nearby - Williamstown, Manchester, Albany - and it’s about a 3 hour trip to NYC. Basically, your experience here is what you make it!

Nila ‘17

P.S. the seclusion is what gives us this crazy beautiful view!!image

Why does Bennington have to be so perfect? :) — Asked by Anonymous

imageOh….purrrrrrrfect you say?????????????

I'm a senior in high school looking around for colleges to attend for creative writing. I'm curious to know what it takes to get into Bennington. — Asked by Anonymous

Well…what does it take to be an engaged and fulfilled writer?

Let’s see…

1. Willingness to be wrong
2. Acceptance of failure
3. Not just theorizing about the craft, but DOING IT as much as possible
4. Learning from your elders and peers (and strangers)
5. Reading all the time/soaking up information/just plain lovin it
6. Practice! Trying out mimetics/mimicking styles
7. Taking care of yourself so you aren’t dead (hard to write if you are dead)
8. Pushing the limits of what has been done before you (this means learning and knowing what has come before you)
9. Engaging in a literary culture (going to events, hearing authors speak, etc.)
10. Also not writing! You are so much more than one thing!

If you are committed to living this list, then you probably have what it takes to get into Bennington. I’d be happy to talk to you more about it, since it’s what I’m striving towards as well….lemme tell you…it aint no walk in the park(e).

— Parke ‘15

is the bennington admissions staff big on recommendations? — Asked by Anonymous

he’ll yeah! we’re so big on recommendations that we require two of them! they’re so cool because we like to get the scoop the whole scoop and nothing but the scoop on you! of course it’s cool to hear what you have to say about yourself, but sometimes we wanna know what other people have to say about you (as a student, no less!)

go get those RECS


I'm so excited to visit soon! Anything you recommend I ask or do while on the bennington tour? — Asked by Anonymous

We’re so excited to meet you! Before arriving, make sure to check out this fantastic list of really important and helpful questions compiled by Alan. Also, ask your tour guide about Jennings ghost stories and climb for candy.

It’s important to know that the tour is an individualized experience. Mostly likely it will just be you and your tour guide plus any parents, friends, or buddies you bring along. So…. ask lots of questions! Inquire, share stories, tell us what you’re up or about an experience you’ve had that’s shifted your understanding of yourself. 

Can’t wait to get to know you!

-Selina ‘15

What is the drama application process like? Other than the common app and supplement is there an audition and what is that like? — Asked by Anonymous

The drama application process is the same as all our other application processes because we only have one application process.

Basically, you’ll get an email after you submit the Common App stuff telling you how to access your Bennington supplement page, which is where you’ll upload whatever you want us to see—stuff like acting reels, portfolios, etc… So we don’t have any formal application auditions. If you want to be in a drama production once you get here, there are auditions for those, but nothing before then. 



Hello. I am currently starting the school application and was wondering if there was anything you recommend I need to do to increase my chances of acceptance? Thx — Asked by Anonymous

Show us who you are! Be honest, be open, and remember that we will look at everything you send us with attention and enthusiasm. So don’t be shy, pack that application with anything and everything that would help us get to know YOU! The good, the bad, the odd and absurd, the hilarious, the everything. Let loose baby.


Rachael ‘15

How many people from Bennington (the city) apply to Bennington (the college)? — Asked by Anonymous

That is a fabulous question indeed. We currently have no students from the town of Bennington, but we do have a handful of students from the surrounding area; Shaftsbury, Arlington, etc., as well as from farther north - places like Burlington and the most glorious and beautiful Northeast Kingdom. (NEK! NEK! NEK!)

We love Vermonters here at Bennington. Myself in particular, probably with a bit too much gusto… Always looking more applicants!


Vermont strong.

Rachael ‘15

I’m so excited to learn so much again
overheard in admissions
I am currently working on college essays and I want to write about how my mom illegally works since she doesn't have a work visa (she is a Canadian citizen) because we would not have enough money, otherwise. Is this wise? Or should I try to find something else to write about? This is a big part of my life, and so I'm finding it difficult to not write about it. — Asked by Anonymous

While I can see how this would make for a compelling essay, discretion might be the better part of valor in this case.  It’s a tricky thing.  Bennington is not interested in turning your mom in to the feds, nor in penalizing you for your family status.  But depending on the essay itself and how it is received wherever you send it, there could be some risk, either to your mother or to your chances of getting into schools.  I can’t quantify those risks for you.  I just genuinely don’t know what your family might come up against if you put that information on the internet and send it to a bunch of strangers, or how it might be received by colleges.  Once it’s out there, you have no control over how it will be read or by whom.

If it’s essential to you that this aspect of your life is heard, if you need for people to know this about you, consider interviews.  Bennington strongly encourages our applicants to have personal interviews with us, and just generally speaking… in a closed room, with a person you can see and feel out, you can open yourself to the admissions counselors who feel right and be selective about disclosure with the ones where something seems off.  Just be careful, and best of luck to you and your family.

-Ray ‘15

I filled every extracurricular option on the common app and I have a lot of leadership. However, in an earlier post you said quality over quantity and that admissions could tell if you're lying. What if you were just a REALLY busy person? Also, does admissions account for the rigor of your high school, not just the courses? Like, do they notice if it has a high usnwp/huff post ranking? And if so, does it help your application? — Asked by Anonymous

Cool! In contrast, I barely had extracurriculars because I’m introverted and didn’t like the school I was at. On my free time I was listening to free college lectures online like “existentialism in film and literature” and “American literature since world war two.” These lead me to read Kierkegaard and Nabokov, Pynchon and Nietzsche before I even got to college. I also filled a lot of time working at the local library to make money. I love film and watched over 200 of the 1001 movies you must see before you die before college, which ranged from French New-Wave to Hollywood classics and some wonderful trashy B-movies (I’m now up to 400). I also became enthused about politics and made it a point to watch Democracy Now every day, educate myself through documentaries and listen to NPR.

None of this showed up on my application and no other college bothered to learn this about me, but these are the things that have helped me in college the most! So, you’re right, we don’t play the college games your high school is likely telling you we do. We don’t want to know you by the numbers. We want to see you at your best, whether or not you’ve been preparing yourself for college ‘by the book’ or not. That very well could mean learning about your very, very, busy nature.

In my opinion, these “success” games are anxiety-provoking, not entirely fulfilling and misleading ways to look at people. It is great that you are so active! What have you learned from that? What have you taken away? That’s what I want to hear about.

Alan ‘15

Does Bennington do any productions of musicals? — Asked by Anonymous

Yup. It seems we are drifting more and more that way. We did the song cycle Myths and Hymns a few terms ago, and are doing Don Giovanni in the spring. Additionally, the student production this term is [title of show]. The theater courses don’t have the same emphasis on musical theater that you might find at a conservatory, but opportunities pop up here and there to dabble. And of course, vocal performance and such is available to all students through the music course offerings.

Alan ‘15

What's the gap year policy for applicants? — Asked by Anonymous

You can defer up to one year while still keeping any financial aid/scholarship packages no problem (unless your financial situation changes, in which case the aid may change a bit). It’s just a box you check on your intent to enroll form. 

If you’re thinking about a gap year, I strongly recommend getting in touch with Sarah, our counselor in charge of gap year stuff at

gap wisely.


When reviewing my application, will the committee also take time to read my writing portfolio? Because that is a big part of understanding me as person, and understanding my writing. Do they usually do interviews also? — Asked by Anonymous

The committee will read your portfolio, yes, because they want to get to know you as a person.  The supplement, to which you can upload portfolios of any kind and pretty much anything else you want us to see, is a very important part of the Bennington application.  Interviews, too, are strongly encouraged, and can be conducted in person, or over the phone, via Skype, etc. if you can’t make it here for a visit.

-Ray ‘15

I’ve never been a fan girl of a social theorist before, but I just pre-ordered her new book
overheard in admissions, re: Willful Subjects by Sarah Ahmed