Posts tagged Bennington

I'm considering applying to Bennington as a transfer student for the Spring '15 semester. I'm on the "older" side (I'll be 24 by then), and I've already completed half of a writing degree at the University of Michigan. Are there rules about having alcohol in the houses? (I'm not an alcoholic, but I am a writer, and I'm legal, so yeah). I have a dog whom I absolutely cannot leave at home - can he come with me to Bennington? Are there off-campus housing options that might be more dog-friendly? — Asked by Anonymous

You’re in luck! If you come in when you are over 24 then you are allowed to live off-campus automatically. So, find an apartment near North Bennington that allows dogs and I can guarantee that having a dog will mean that you have lots of students who want to be your friend (myself included). 

There are rules for alcohol in the housing. If you’re over 21 then you’re allowed to have and consume alcohol in your room as long as everyone else around you is of legal age. 

Hope that helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to email me.


Do you have any advice for freshman in their first couple of weeks at Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

Sarah and Glennis say:

Don’t be afraid to be very social. There’s no need to fear — go to all the events you’re a bit nervous about, spend lots of time getting to know your house, make some friends you feel comfortable with and go to things together. Open mic nights, dance parties, tea parties, coffee hour, whatever it is…

My advice is:

Feel free to take apart all your assumptions. No need to hang on to old paradigms if they don’t fit, or inhibitions that just aren’t relevant anymore. It’s a time to try things that scare you a little, and also learn what you do and don’t like. And if you don’t like it, feel free to try something else — party scene not your favorite? Invite your neighbors over to talk about your house community. 

Above all, have lots of fun. I found that I learned a lot about myself in my first weeks here (okay, all four years are full of discovery and doubt and finding out new things, but especially first term), and that’s a great adventure. So I recommend bringing your love of adventure, because the real unknown that you are discovering is yourself. 


Sylvia M. ‘16

I'm an incoming freshman who just received her course schedule.... it seems strangely empty? two days I only have one class... should I try to add classes or will it be challenging enough? Thank you! — Asked by Anonymous

Do you have 14-16 credits? 

If so, you will be plenty busy. Trust me. 

If not, we will figure it out when you get here. If you still have questions get in contact with Kate Child from Academic Services. 

In my experience, it’s not about how many hours you spend in class that makes your schedule challenging. 


I'm really interested in working on the farm on campus. How can I get involved once I'm at Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

Oh, yes. There is a farm, and it’s the love of my life. When you get here there will be a student involvement fair with a bunch of clubs at tables telling you what we do and inviting you to be a part of it. The Bennington Sustainable Food Project (BSFP for short) is the student organization that runs the student farm on campus. You can find us at the involvement fair, for sure. Also, every Sunday at 1pm we have a work party down on the farm, and a bunch of us students get together to take care of all those lovely plants. Also just feel free to come find me or Sam Lawson and we can introduce you to the lovely Purple carrot farm! Sam and I are keeping it all alive and thriving this summer. You can follow us at, and also see some pictures of it here

Happy trails,

Sylvia M. ‘16

Hey, is there a playwriting program at Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

Glad you asked. I wrote a thing about undergraduate playwriting degrees during an internship and it was heavily informed by my experience at Bennington, so it might be useful.

It’s helpful to remember that Bennington doesn’t have any pre-designed “programs” — instead, with some help, you get to navigate your own way through our award-deserving curriculum. And, yes, it supports an interest in playwriting.

My approach has been to work with Sherry Kramer (playwright, goddess), Kathleen Dimmick (dramaturg, director), Peter Jones (education researcher) and Ron Cohen (social psychologist) and dabble in literature. Sherry’s classes give me my much-needed creative outlet. Kathleen has taught me the greats: from Sophocles to Pinter. Peter teaches “discourse analysis” and “conversation analysis” which gave me another angle to think about dialogue. And Ron is just the best. I’ve learned about social issues (and how to research them) in his classes which helps with tackling difficult content.

But you should tackle it however you want!!

Alan ‘15

P.S. Go read Sherry’s play “David’s Red-Haired Death” immediately. There is no one better to study playwriting with. I’m convinced!

Some advice for packing clothes for college? Bring a ton, pack sparingly? Should we expect vast influxes of T-shirts and such or should we plan on packing a fair amount of clothing? On that note--what time are we gonna have to break out the sweaters and jackets? Thnk. — Asked by Anonymous


Solid advice from our correspondent in Chicago. I echo her sentiment. 

Don’t pack much. Really. Truly. Please for everyone’s sake pack as few clothes as possible. I wouldn’t expect a vast influx of t-shirts, but please don’t overpack! On the sweaters and jackets, it really depends - maybe late September, maybe October, definitely by November. You will feel it when the time comes. 

Do, however, bring lots of lamps! Most rooms don’t have an overhead light so lamps are essential. That being said, our local Home Depot, Goodwill, Sears, and Walmart (all located very close to campus) have an amazing selection of lamps that you can buy upon your arrival at Bennington.

Also, a friendly PSA from your local firefighter: Christmas lights are a fire hazard. 

-Glennis & Emily

Can you actually find a job after spending nearly $200,000 for a degree? If so, what type of job? — Asked by Anonymous

Nothing’s guaranteed! 


But I would say that with the Field Work Term and a Bennington education, most students here graduate with a sense of self-advocacy (and at least 4 FWTs’ worth of job hunting/work experience) that seriously helps with the job hunt (it’s all about the interview!) as well as a network of both past employers and other professionals (even your teachers!) to call on.

Students also aren’t paying $200,000 during their time here. A large percentage (90%) of students receive both need-based and merit-based aid ($36,660 a year, on average!)


This isn’t the 80’s, pal!

Kagan ‘16

(Submitted by Rohail, class of 2017)

Back in April 2014, I was all set to do my summer internship for a Silicon Valley startup. It was a dream come true: summer in California, living with a bunch of tech geeks for three months, and getting paid a boat load of money on top of that - all as a freshman. However, that deal fell apart at the last moment. It was devastating. I went from a potential summer in the Valley back home to the 100+ degrees humid summers of Karachi, Pakistan. I was almost on the verge of wasting my entire summer but something stopped me from doing so: I realised I was a Bennington student.

Yesterday, my - or rather my startup’s first mobile game, Orbee, was released on the App Store with an overwhelmingly positive response and I couldn’t be happier. When I say being a Bennington student stopped me from wasting my summer I truly mean it. And this goes out to all the incoming freshmen who may be having their doubts about coming here: don’t. You are coming to a place which instills in you the need to create, to build, to innovate. It’s not just a place where you stay seven months a year for four years. You remain a Bennington student whether you are on or off campus and these values remain with you.

In one year at Bennington, I have learnt more than I ever thought I could in this timeframe. I can honestly say I would not have been able to accomplish the app without Andrew Cencini’s Operating Systems course (though it is not at all about making apps), or Robert Ransick’s Physical Computing course (again, not remotely about app development). This just goes to show that a Bennington course is not limited to it’s syllabus and it’s not even close to a read-ten-chapters-give-your-final-get-an-A system. If you’ve ever brainstormed ideas, written them down on post-its, as notes on your phone, all to be accomplished at some point, then Bennington is the place you actually start executing them.

Anyway, this was my $0.02 for the incoming class. Here’s to a great new academic year!

Shameless plug: you can find the aforementioned app here

-Rohail ‘17

Nice, downloading now.

Thanks, Rohail!

semper games

kagan ‘16

Hey all! 

As Glennis said earlier, Sam and I are hard at work on the farm — I split my time on campus between admissions and the farm. (Free time is for hanging laundry and baking bread.) And it’s so much fun!

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you about my pride and joy: the student farm. We’re called the Purple Carrot Farm and you can follow us at We’re entirely student-run, organic, no pesticides, and remarkably local. We sell to the dining hall and student center, so if you come to eat lunch and try some salad, you’ll be eating some of our lovely veggies. We also sell produce from a little cart every Friday from 3:30-4:30 at the flag pole beside the admissions office, so stop by if you want to chat or want a tasty snack.

During the term there is a dedicated group of students who come to work, play, laugh, make music, and work some more on the farm every Sunday afternoon. We all plan the season together, work to integrate our farm into the campus life and curriculum, and talk about farm life. This summer it’s just me and Sam, with some cameo appearances from friends and a groundhog who really likes kale. 

Please feel free to stop by and visit the Purple Carrot Farm any day of the week! We would love to see you there. 

Happy Summer to all,

Sylvia M. ‘16

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League

Not posting this to put these schools down…I have many friends at them who are receiving wonderful educations…but I’ve been pondering a lot this summer about what a college education is really for, and how Bennington can help support that need.  So often on tour, I get strange looks about lack of grades, lack of pre-conceived requirements, the size, etc…but these are all qualities of Bennington that (in my opinion) are put in place in order to help teach “to the soul.”  When my parents asked me why I was so set on going to Bennington, I remember saying, "At any other school, I could learn to be a better student.  But I’m already an incredible student…I don’t need to prove that to myself.  I need to learn how to be a person.”  What do you think?  

It’s a national conversation, and you’re a part of it.

— Parke ‘15

Is there actual coffee during Coffee Hour? — Asked by Anonymous

it depends. Each house does their own thing. The way it has worked in the two houses that I have lived in is that we take turns bringing sustenance to coffee hour. We’ve had everything from nachos to cookies to tic-tacs. One time, fellow intern, Chernoh, made Grape Kool-Aid. 

Hey, there really aren’t any rules when it comes to this stuff, so if you want to serve coffee at coffee hour, do it. 




We’re Selling! Every Friday from 3:30-4:30 by the flagpole. This week we got eggplant, we got beet green, we got kale, we got basil, we got mint, we got spinach, we got swiss chard, we got pineapples (not really). SPECIAL BONUS: come watch/help us braid garlic (not for sale this week).

Intern Sylvia second life as a farmer on the student farm. Also featuring farmer Sam, Sylvia’s partner in uh er… veggies?
If you’re around, stop by!


We’re Selling! Every Friday from 3:30-4:30 by the flagpole. This week we got eggplant, we got beet green, we got kale, we got basil, we got mint, we got spinach, we got swiss chard, we got pineapples (not really). SPECIAL BONUS: come watch/help us braid garlic (not for sale this week).

Intern Sylvia second life as a farmer on the student farm. Also featuring farmer Sam, Sylvia’s partner in uh er… veggies?

If you’re around, stop by!


New work by recently graduated intern, Ben Redmond. The video is a collaboration with Sarah Fetterman, another recent graduate, and it is a piece that she made while she was here. Check it out. 

Yay collaboration.


Is it true that there is no grading system, as in most educational institutions? — Asked by Anonymous

Nope! We just posted a post about this last week (actually, it’s still on the front page). We do have grades and most students choose to take them. I’ve taken them every term.  In addition to grades we receive a narrative evaluation for each class. 

I like grades because I’ve always had them and I have an exact measure of my performance. But, it’s not always all about measuring up to others which is why the evaluations are great. They are usually a paragraph or two of critical feedback of how I did in the class. I find the evaluations extremely helpful and often very on point as to where I struggled or what I could do to improve as well as where I did well. 

Hope that clears the air. 


What should I wear on a visit? — Asked by Anonymous

Whatever you feel is appropriate.


Best of luck,

Sylvia M. ‘16