Posts tagged admissions

I just got my ACT scores back- 26 composite. Am I doomed for admission to Bennington? In my defense, I was bit by a spider before taking the test so I didn't feel that well during it! lol! — Asked by Anonymous

You know who else had some difficulty after a spider bite? This guy!imageAnd 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

What was the admission process like for you guys? Did you have an interview or a ton of recommendations? How important was your SAT/ACT score and stuff? — Asked by Anonymous

Well, Julia and I just told eachother our admissions stories and they were actually surprisingly similar. Both of us found Bennington sort of by accident in the Fiske Guide, both of us were the younger sibling in a pair of sisters close in age, and so had watched our older sisters make the decision before us, and there was a lot of serendipity, chance and expectations turned on their head involved in both of our processes.

The SAT and ACT were a sort of terrifying time for me, but they went fine in general. When I asked Lauren Magrath, director of Admissions and great person that she is, she told me that the office really doesn’t mind whether or not you include your scores in the packet. The number itself says little to nothing about you as a person, and you as a person are what we care about. So add them if you think they are important, and don’t if you don’t want to. I hated quantitative evaluations in high school and so I didn’t send mine in. 

Recommendations… I had a bunch, because I accidentally asked too many of my teachers to help out. I think the office here asks for two. If you really want to send more, (or accidentally send more, as was the case with me) you are totally welcome to send them on in. 

The admissions process overall is a kind of magical one, I think (I’m clearly partial to it — I chose to work here at admissions because I think it’s so cool). It’s a fascinating, occasionally stressful and nerve-wracking, and generally transformative experience. You almost never get exactly what you expect, you get to learn a lot about yourself as you begin to think about what you want and need in the way of your education, and you get to spend time imagining all the people you might become four years down the road. It’s hard, yes, and the work of applying can be a lot, but it’s such a great opportunity for reflection and adventure. I hope you have a great time with it!

Good luck,


Bennington College: Kalopsia: Rachael Meyers, "Educational Microaggression"


Part of an event we had this spring called “Kalopsia”. This was an effort to address some specific issues of race on campus from some of us non-white folk!

It went fabulously, was received beautifully, and marked a time of progress for Bennington. Here is my section of the talk, where I discuss the hidden problems of studying literature at Bennington - but this really applies to most liberal arts colleges and the US education system in general. More recordings of the other magnificent speakers shall be up on the youtube channel shortly! Stay tuned!

Please take note - the faculty and administration have been massively receptive and wonderful. President Mariko was our final speaker for the event, and gave us her full support. We may have our issues, but we’re moving forward, HOO-RAH!

Rachael ‘15

So, uhm, do you guys have any recommendations as far as winter coats go? I'm a southern belle with no idea where the hell to even begin looking. — Asked by Anonymous





North Face.

Rachael ‘15

(A true-north Vermonter)

Questions, Questions

Hello everyone! 

Our shift has spent today answering some questions on the blog and we wanted to create a helpful guide to understanding where you should ask your questions. 

To Incoming students: Use the facebook page! It’s not just to get to know other incoming first years, it is there to act as a resource. All the interns and counselors who have facebook are part of that group. Your facebook questions will receive a more immediate answer than the tumblr. 

Personal questions: We get asked a lot of really personal questions on this blog. We understand the urge to stay anonymous and talking to people on the phone or email can be scary. Personal questions are great on a one-on-one basis. Call us or email an intern and we can give you a much better answer than if we answered an anonymous tumblr post. 

Repeat Questions: We get a lot of repeat questions and we intentionally answer these questions to provide multiple narratives. Usually there are several really amazing posts already written about that subject. For example, I typed in “social life” and got all these wonderful posts! This can be a good first step before asking a question. After seeing other answers it can help define what your own specific question is.  

All questions: CALL US! We love to talk to students. Whether it is a simple yes/no or a question that requires a more in-depth response we would love to hear from you in person. Call us at (802) 440 -4312 and toll free at (800) 833-6845.

We love your questions but looking for a right platform can give you a more immediate and thorough response.

Arden J. ‘16 and Alana C. ‘15 

PS: Are you an incoming student and not part of the facebook group? Email 

Ok so this really has nothing to do with Bennington- though Bennington is my first choice so maybe it does, but I need someone cool to tell me what to do- because I am torn! So I need a vote- World Religions or Honors Philosophy & Ethics for my next school year? — Asked by Anonymous

Lucky for you, I am a cool person.

You should take World Religions. You said it first so you obviously care about it more.

Okay, now that I told you that, are you disappointed? If so, take philosophy.

Listen to your gut.

Not me, just because I’m cool.

My adviser is cool and I don’t listen to her.

That’s what Bennington is about. If it was a Fleetwood Mac song, it would be Go Your Own Way.

But it would be covered by Lissie because it is edgy.

Alan ‘15

So I have a really awkward question. I'm working on filling out the housing questionnaire, and there's something i'm not quite sure of. See, I smoke weed semi-regularly (about once or twice a week), but I don't smoke cigarettes. I'd prefer not to live in a dorm that constantly reeks of tobacco/be exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke, but at the same time I want to respect my roommate and make sure they're comfortable with my habit. So, what would you recommend I fill in on my questionnaire? — Asked by Anonymous

Well, well, well.

We appreciate your honesty. (Like actually, though.) Phun Phact: The consumption of marijuana, or Cannabis sativaCannabis sativa formaindicaCannabis ruderalisis an illegal action. It is also against College law to smoke or have anything on fire in a house, except for logs in a fireplace. So, the baseline of this answer is: You are not allowed, by US law, to smoke weed and you are not allowed, by Bennington College rule, to smoke ~anything~ inside of doors. There are some hefty fines for doing that. $250I’m partially inclined to leave it at that - to let you know the consequences. As for your consideration of your future roommate’s comfort, you already have a Bennington community mentality, as every house is a courtesy house here, in that issues are resolved through conversation and agreement (aka being a good communicative person), not telling-on and people. Leave illicit activity off of your questionnaire - save personal matters for the person you will live with. The administration will not be sharing the air in your bedroom, but they (and Campus Safety) have the right (and responsibility) to inspect it if something seems….um…fishy. Once here, you will have plenty of time to sit down and talk at length about how you want to share your space. Most importantly: be open, be honest, be well, be safe


If you have further questions, shoot me a message on my blog or at

I hope this helps and that I didn’t harsh ur mellow. ;)

-Ben ‘14

DISCLOSURE: This post/blog does not promote the use of Cannabis sativaCannabis sativa formaindicaCannabis ruderalis.

I got into Bennington (yay!) with a generous financial aid package. Though my package was significant, it only made my attendance *slightly* more feasible instead of impossible. Basically, I am able to afford Bennington but it is a stretch. I'm worried that when FWT comes around, it will push the cost from ~just manageable~ to ~over the edge~ Are there any FWTs that offer room and board? I know FWT differs with every student, but on average how much does it set students back financially? Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

There are all kinds of options for affordable FWT’s. For one thing, students can always get a job near home to avoid rent. For another thing, students tend to team up in terms of housing in the major cities like NY, San Fran, Boston, LA, etc. There are also lots of alumns and parents of students who are willing to house Bennington students over FWT! Then there is the FWT grant - I’ve personally been saved by the FWT grant. You can apply for the grant and get a little bit of help with things like rent, groceries, transportation, etc., which means you might not get set back financially at all, if you plan it well!

Do not despair! 

Rachael ‘15

Will you please include transfer students on the class map this summer? Puh-puh-puh-please? — Asked by Anonymous





Rachael ‘15

(ps. will pass along your request!)

Is there any course on entrepreneurship in Benn? — Asked by Anonymous


Also, you can start a business during FWT (Jan2-Feb20) instead of doing an internship, which is something I think more people should take advantage of! If I wouldn’t lose all my money due to poor business sense I would definitely do that. Wait…. maybe I should take a business class….

(Info about the entrepreneurship option for FWT, bottom of page 1!!!:

Rachael ‘15

I heard there's some kind of collaboration between Bennington college & Williams College. What's that about? — Asked by Anonymous

Yes! Students from Bennington can take classes at Williams, and Williams students can take classes at Bennington. 

I’m hoping to take my first Williams class this fall, I cannot wait! The class is called “Complexion Complexities,” and it’s about colorism and skin color. So pumped.

Will keep you updated!

Rachael ‘15

What is the relationship of the student body to the administration? — Asked by Anonymous

If I had to describe it in facebook jargon I would say “it’s complicated.” But like with your middle school boy or girlfriend, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

The administration invites student input into many different aspects of the college. We have House Chairs who facilitate communication between students and various parts of the administration…but Student Life especially. SEPC (Student Educational Policies Committee) has two representatives from each discipline in conversation with academic services. Other little committees pop up here and there, but I would say those are the main two. I’ll also say the admissions interns have a bigger say in admissions stuff than you’d think (but not THAT big) (still I’m so gracious, don’t fire me!).

We also have groups like (Be)nnington(Well)ness, SWAG (sexual wellness awareness group) and the GSMA (gay and sexual minority alliance) which are groups of empowered students who organize events to open a dialogue with the administration. Many members of the administration, for example, were sighted recently at an event centered around racial diversity on campus. Mariko — our president! — even wrapped up the evening with a story of her own.

The whole student body also gets invitations to talk with Mariko about things as pointed as sustainability or as broad as ~the future of Bennington College~

So, here’s the deal. Some students thrive in these roles, others neglect their duties. The amount of effort those students put into making their constituents (?) feel heard is up to them.

But we also get so so so overzealous about what we want the school to be. Here’s my philosophy: I’m entitled to having my Bennington be what I want it to be, but I don’t get to say what your Bennington will be. I can pick my own courses, I can’t decide how the plan process should function. We are a campus of self-driven, critical thinkers that are going to complain about everything…but sometimes we forget out limits.

Alan ‘15

So umm I'm an international student studying at another college, and I just recently fell in love with Bennington, I wanted to transfer here but most colleges don't offer financial aid for to internationals for the spring semester, do you guys? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey there, 

Happy to hear that you’ve fallen in love with Bennington :)

To answer your question: 

We do offer financial aid to international students, based on merit + need, just like every other applicant. Know that you even though you want to transfer in the spring term, you’ll be considered equally as much as the students coming in the fall. 

If you have further questions, I’d recommend you shoot an email to Nick Forcier, our admissions councilor in the office who handles international student applications, at »> 

Good luck!

~Doug ‘16~ 

so when should we int. students give in the int. certificate of finances? — Asked by Anonymous

First of all, I’d take a look at Chernoh’s response to another, related certificate of finances + I-20 question.

There really isn’t a specific due date but you should try to turn this in ASAP, as you cannot make a visa appointment until it is submitted. Keep in mind that you can make visa appointments within 120 days (4 months) of the “start” date (the day you are allowed to move into campus houses, Aug. 26th). This means that you can make appointments as soon as the certificate of finances is submitted but your appointments will be scheduled for dates after May 26th. 

In addition, you will receive info regarding a payment plan sometime this month. 

Hope this helps! 

~Doug ‘16~

On this Episode of Let’s Get Real (with Parke!): THE TOUR

An article on the subject of admissions college touring, and its role in decision-making for prospective students recently came out in the Washington Post…and let’s just say…it’s been raising a lot of heat and attention here in the Admissions Office. Here at Bennington, we are committed to giving applicants a transparent and full view of what it is like to be a student here — so, I felt in order to further demonstrate that to you, I would open up the question of this article to you all and give you an inside look at what we’re thinking about here.

The article is entitled “College tour de farce: 5 ways not to sell your school.” Here’s the link to it, if you’d like to take a look:

I find this title particularly intriguing, in that it highlights the concept that the colleges are trying to “sell themselves” to students. I can’t speak for anyplace else, but I can tell you that here, we aren’t under any impression that Bennington is for everyone. In fact, we know the opposite to be true — I promise you that we truly, deeply, from the bottom of our collective hive-mind-heart (what does that even mean? going with it) are not trying to sell this school to you. We get excited about Bennington, we get nerdy about it, we want to share the campus and the students and the ideology, we want you to see what it could like to be here, we want to open you up to the ideas that circulate this place every day, but we aren’t trying to sell you anything. If we did try, we would most likely be awful at it, so we don’t bother. If Bennington is the right fit for you, you’ll feel it intuitively…and that sense of “this is just right” is not something that can be bought or sold — you have to find it on your own, and we want to help.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, and I hope it’ll get you thinking about all of your admissions experiences as you travel the country looking for the right fit: Bennington admissions interns (just like Bennington students) are gifted with a lot of trust. And part of that trust revolves around the tour — we aren’t given a script, aren’t indoctrinated on what we’re supposed to say. We get in groups and talk about the college, discuss what is important to us, what key facts we should hit (probably bringing up the Plan and the FWT would be a good idea, huh?), but most importantly grapple with our own way of bringing our personal experience of Bennington to life. We want to translate Bennington to you — honestly, from the heart, and as accurately as possible. This doesn’t just extend to tours, however…this trust touches everything we do here in the office, and it’s part of why it’s so amazing to work here. I mean, it’s pretty crazy that I was given the license to respond to this article in a public way through the blog — that no one is rapping my wrist, or telling me what to say, or trying to cover up the bad publicity by burying it or ignoring it. We, as students, are encouraged and empowered to be open about these sorts of things here — parse them, discuss them, throw up ideas, and learn how to progress and get better at what we do.

So. Here’s the thing. Sometimes we mess up. Yep. (Once I directed a parent towards what I thought was a bathroom but was actually a janitor’s closet. Er…sorry…Dad…) We are students at various points in the process of learning how to be the best admissions officers we can be. There are points on tour when each and every one of us thinks, “ooof…I probably shouldn’t have put it that way” or “did I describe that well enough?” or “does this family hate me? Is there something in my teeth?” Trust me, we are often just as nervous and self-conscious as you might be, because we want to connect…and connecting can be scary.

I was sad to see in the article that Henneberger didn’t bring up the fact that Bennington is committed to giving one-on-one tours. Despite her negative experience, I feel this does set us apart from other institutions. You only get a few hours to be here when you visit, and in those hours, we want to give you the most Bennington-ian experience possible, which means we have got to approach you on a personal level. Each and every tour, a student makes it their mission to really get to know the student they are spending the next hour and a half with — to engage in their interests, to open them up to self-reflection (namely, to maybe plant the seed that would start the sprout of their Bennington education).

We are honored and thrilled that we are your first stop. At least, I know I am. And I can tell you that, even if you right from the get-go decide that Bennington is in fact just a cold, deserted, middle-of-nowhere, ideologically homogenous, condom-cabinet toting liberal arts college with a ticket price that knocks your socks off, I STILL want to get to know you, I still want to share the merits as well as the disadvantages of this place with you, because maybe I can help to give you a real enough sense of this college that it will help you make your decision when it comes to the others. I understand we are, for some, an extreme choice. But we’re also a real choice, and a possible choice, and I just wanna talk to you because I love you! Ok, a bit much? But honestly, we love you here. We want to be real, and open, and in dialogue, which are all the attributes of Bennington that exist when it functions at its best level.

So here are some questions we ask ourselves every day in the office, and I’d be happy to share them with you:

1. How can we utilize the trust we are given by the office in order to both have a learning experience as interns, come to understand our own version of Bennington and relay it in a useful and engaging way, while still ensuring that we wont fall off the mark too far? How much should be “scripted,” or “unscripted?”

2. How do we tailor our tours to the individuals who come and visit without making it seem like we’re trying to “cater” to them?

3. Without a script, how does one tour when one is disillusioned with Bennington? In a bad mood? How much of “ourselves” do we show without it being too much or over the top?

4. How do we balance relaying the fundamental, philosophical principles of Bennington with the more practical side of college life (buildings, meal plan, hours, transportation) in order to give a well-rounded view of this place?

5. How do we dispel generalizations and prejudices about Bennington that are just plain wrong without seeming rude or defensive? How do we meet these preconceived notions with compassion and interest, as opposed to simply taking offense?

6. How do we create metaphors that help link the spaces and experiences on campus to the greater ideas that drive this college? How do we engage students that are totally lost and confused and freaked out with a college that (at many times) asks you to be lost and confused in order to get at a greater truth within yourself?

We grapple and grapple here because we care. Working in the Admissions Office is a transformative experience for the students here, and we want your visits to be transformative as well. I’m very sorry to see that this was not the case for Ms. Henneberger and her daughter. At our best, we aspire to inspire, but it doesn’t always happen. But we want to keep moving forward, not come at criticism from a place of defense. How do you think the college admissions process could be better improved? What do you wish you could see at a college?

Best wishes,

— Parke ‘15