I am so in to this question. Yes. There are a bunch of different options. Dance technique classes at Bennington are usually only 2 credits (half that of the normal class credit load), so its really easy to tack one on to your schedule without missing out on a a full 16 credits of non-dance classes. We also have campus wide dance parties, which are great for cutting serious rug. You can pretty much bank on one of these every or every other weekend during term.
There are also a few dance-related clubs on campus. The Bennington Movement Collective holds weekly workshops and jams to teach a new dance technique, encourage collaboration, and give students a platform for sharing works-in-progress. They work really hard to attract non-dance concentrations, too, or really anyone interested in movin’ around.
Finally, you can audition to be in student choreographed pieces for any one of the dance performances held during term. Rehearsal commitments vary, but it’s definitely manageable to take on one of those projects in addition to your own coursework.
A dance student at Bennington who just read this post would like to add:
”@prospective student wondering about dancing at Bennington outside of an academic focus, I would add to Claire’s excellent response that the dance faculty sometimes allow students to audit technique courses like ballet or african dance if the student does not wish to take the course for credit. We also occasionally have guest master classes at dance workshop, which is open to all students. Good luck!”
I think students here hold the school to an incredibly high standard and thus have some strong opinions. Personally, I think the language that the school is ‘falling apart’ is melodramatic, but not everyone would agree with me. These posts, I think, speak more to the seriousness of our students than they do to the state of the school. Bennington will always be going through changes because we are always trying to get the school as close as possible to the values that drive it. In a sense, if you join our community, you should be concerned: Bennington students get involved and engage in discussions about these issues. But you shouldn’t be worried.
As for FWT, I would say you are getting a pretty fair portrayal between this blog and some of the articles on the BFP. We all make judgement calls regarding money going into FWT — balancing realism and idealism is a real world lesson, too.
Also, I think it’s important to note that these “burden FWT” articles aren’t reflecting any change in the nature of FWT. Not everyone has 4 amazing FWTs. In fact, I don’t know if anyone has ever had 4 straight FWTs that met every one of his/her expectations. However (and I think that we only realize this after FWT is over), we can always learn something about ourselves and our aspirations during an internship, even if the internship is not great, or even awful.
And I will happily second Alan’s point about “falling apart” being an overstatement. Yes, President Liz Coleman is leaving, but she is staying on for the next 2 years as Director of CAPA, and will definitely continue to have input re: Bennington’s direction well into the future. Apparently, she’s apartment-hunting in North Bennington, but that might just be a rumor. Also, we have no idea what the Office of Student Life will be like without Eva.
As long as Bennington College is full of students, faculty and staff who are invested in nurturing and following the values and ethos of this institution, it will not fall apart.
A link to another current student’s response can be found here.
I know I’m a bit late (it is Feb. 4), but I’m going to answer your question with a question. This was in our inbox a few days ago from a fellow prospective student.
LIARSSSS!!!! It’s January 30 and I just got acceptedddd!!!! I’m sooo happypyy, im on a Crazy Happy High. i have no idea why i used that expression. anyways, im sooo excited and i can’t wait to enter my 4 year relationship with Bennington! I won’t cheat! okay, it’s in all of our best interests if you don’t post this. I just wanted to share how excited i am.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about deferrals, so I just sat down with a counselor here and asked your questions. Rather than make a million tiny posts, here is one super-post. One super-helpful post.
If you were deferred it is probably just because we need some more time with your application. Don’t think we love you less, there’s probably just some circumstance that makes us want a little more time. To give ourselves that time, we move your application over to the regular decision pile and give it another gander. If we want additional materials, we will contact you and ask for them, but otherwise you do not need to worry about providing anything else.
Much of the same stuff applies if you were waitlisted, but I would add this: we do not know the ‘chances of being admitted’ off of the waitlist simply because the statistic changes so much that it wouldn’t even be helpful (sorry). Any waitlisted student will still be eligible for aid and will still receive a package; the fact that you are hearing later than other students will not affect the size of the package, though you will probably looking mostly at need-based aid. If you were waitlsted as an Early Action applicant, you should be hearing any second about this, or you should have already heard. Regular Decision folks can expect to hear the last week of March or First week of April.
Questions like this are a fantastic opportunity to talk with your counselor about your specific case (these things tend to vary person to person) and to express your enthusiasm and interest in the school. We love conversations!
Getting to know people is built in to the school. There are 30-40 people in a house that all get to know one another during coffee hour and just bumping into one another. On top of that, four discussion based classes with an average of 14 people each. In both housing and classes, grades are mixed as are academic areas of study, so you get to know a wide variety of people. You never stop meeting people: I have this one friend who invites me to things and doesn’t tell me that she is inviting anyone else — I picture this intimate day on the town, just the two of us, not realizing she is bringing eight study-buddies along. That is just to say that your friend’s friends become your friends especially at places like the dining hall and library. In terms of meeting other freshmen, pre-o is a great way to get to know people (though it is certainly not necessary) and there are plenty of group activities and such built in to orientation.
First, I’m going to link you to a post that JUST made (so it is probably going to live next to this one making my link completely unnecessary) about International Relations course offerings: link!
But that’s not your question! We graduate from Bennington with a general Liberal Arts degree. Students can complete concentrations within fields and that concentration will appear on your degree. I think the more important answer, though, is that after you write your plan, your plan committee can help you navigate the curriculum to get the courses you need. If you want to go to grad school for international relations, for instance, they can help make sure you’ve got your bases covered while helping you pursue whatever your plan ends up being.
There is a list of past course offerings on our website here that I remember geeking out over when I applied. Our course offerings change, but it can give you a sense of what kind of things to expect.
We have a lot of courses directly pertaining to politics/international relations, like, say, Africa in Global Politics — its a whole section on the link I provided above. But you could also get funky with some psych ((In)justice and Conflict Resolution), anthro (The Anthropology of International Intervention), history (America in the World: Past, Present and Future), philosophy (Global Ethics/Global Justice — I took that!), and political econ (Political Economy of Trade) . Through CAPA, we also have public action classes (Cities and Extending Human Rights to Women/Girls), mediation classes and media studies classes that could also be very relevant. Why stop there? Maybe there is a literature course about cultural interaction (there is — The Writer Abroad) that could give an unconventional perspective.
This is the type of story any student here would preface with the phrase: “So today I had a total Bennington moment.”
This Field Work Term, I set out to write a play with my free time. Basically, my goal is to have a solid draft with a plot that makes sense and characters that have at least begun to be developed. Right now, for me, its more about having a complete work than about having something that is stylistically brilliant. I sent what I’ve got to a few friends for feedback and at the beginning of next term (or whenever I’m comfortable enough with what I’ve written) I am hoping to organize a reading of some sort. I love play-readings and its a great opportunity to get other people’s opinions.
Anyway, my play is about how identity is constructed in the gossipy climate of high school, specifically for gay men. Just as I was losing momentum in my writing, I stumbled across a book — actually, because someone mentioned it on admissions material — that was a sociological study of masculinity in high school. I cannot put it down. It’s called ‘Dude You’re a Fag’ and its by C. J. Pascoe.
My Plan at Bennington is in Linguistics and Drama (more specifically playwriting). The driving question is sort of “How can the role of language in every day life inform art?” and vice versa. I like to think about how people understand one another and interact one another in daily life, how they form ‘meaning’ and how that can be translated onto the stage. Similarly, how does an audience member learn a theme? How can a writer (or director, or actor, or set designer, etc.) communicate those ideas most clearly?
Now, through the most beautifully serendipitous moment, I have a perfect example of how this could work. Through the book, I am learning about how norms were established in one particular high school through the language used by students, teachers and faculty. I am planning on adapting these real life, meaningful moments onto the stage, turning them (hopefully) into literary tools that can further my point. I’ve already started scouring Crossett library for similar books. More importantly, I got my groove back and I can’t wait to keep writing.
If you’re concerned that we will swarm you on commons lawn and beat you with our birkenstocks until you confess your love of tempeh and renounce showers, I can guarantee there will be no hostility. You may receive a glare from one of our more passionate students as you accidentally throw your soda can in the regular trash, but even that seems unlikely. I will warn you though, that if you come here you will probably take on some of our ‘granola’ habits — it’s just what happens when you immerse yourself in another culture.
P.S. Also, I feel like girls here wear floral dresses pretty frequently. Are they supposed to be too mainstream for us?
It is without a doubt a safe environment for gays and lesbians — I would describe sexual orientation here as inconsequential. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an important part of the identities of individuals but its not something that affects the way students are treated by faculty or peers. The Princeton Review ranked us in their top 20 most LGBT friendly colleges and unigo put us at number one. There was a really great post that I’m going to link you to for the second half of your question here. (Queer@Bennington have since changed their name to Queer*) To add my own voice, the ‘chances of finding love’ are difficult to calculate because there are a lot of variables.The biggest one is the size of the school: we are a small school and our queer community is proportional, which can be frustrating. Like anything, its a combination of what it is and what you make of it.
From day one (or maybe day two after a short tutorial with the equipment) in a video class you have access to the all of the video equipment. For Cameras - the Sony HDR-AX2000 are the pretty much the standard for what we use. They are accessible and reliable HD Video Cameras that can capture some really wonderful shots. For editing software we use Final Cut 7. For audio you can edit right in Final Cut, but if you are looking for a more polished sound or to do Foley work we have Pro-Tools. For animation we programs such as Maya and AfterEffects. In the past 4 years Bennington has really transformed the resources available for the video program - I haven’t used them but we also have resources for shooting on film.
I hope this helps!
- Brandon ‘13
Bennington’s housing makes everyone interact with the space — which there is plenty of, fear not — differently. Each house has its own agreement about, say, quiet hours or loud music so your perception of the party scene definitely depends on where you live. There are certainly people here who spend their Friday nights quietly sipping chamomile tea and watching masterpiece theater, but maybe next door there is a large group of people doing the exact opposite of that, which I will leave up to your imagination. There’s no stigma either way and both options (and plenty in between) are equally and abundantly available.