We urge you to really think about what it is about cities that bothers or discomforts you because Bennington, VT is really almost the complete opposite of an urban area. Doug is from Los Angeles, CA and while he also felt like he wanted a different experience in geography and landscape, he’s become aware of many things he took for granted about living in a city, as well as the things he misses, that he now seek in cities close by like NYC. Bennington may very well be a “utopia” or a dream for you because despite it not being a city, there are beautiful things to discover about this environment.
We get a lot of questions like this one on the blog. “Because I’m X I don’t think I’ll fit in at Bennington.” The honest answer is that we have never met a prospective student passionate about Bennington that will not fit in here. In terms of self-definition, we’re not sure what you mean by that, but I think Bennington is a process of self-definition. We design our majors, so if you come here than you can work on your passions, your interests and what defines you. Lots of students come in with ideas of what exactly they want to do, and then they totally rediscover themselves and change their minds. No one comes in or leaves Bennington 100% self-defined. People define themselves throughout their lives and complete self-definition would allow no room for growth.
For now remember that here at Bennington, the admissions staff is really interested in who you are, what you’ve done, and how well you fit into the Bennington community. So don’t worry too much about one part of your application, take advantage of your strengths, share your story, set up an interview (optional), submit additional works you’ve done (if possible), and just make yourself stand out in whatever way possible. The truth is, there is no defined formula into which we plug our applicants and see what the outcome may be, each and every student is looked at individually, and all aspects of the admissions process are fully weighed and considered.
That being said, of course Bennington is competitive and grades are an important part of the application, but also don’t forget that sometimes the story behind those grades is relevant. The admissions staff will look at everything you submit and will by no means compare you with other applicants (because that’s really not the point). So like Chernoh says to all applicants, just apply and worry about the outcome afterwards. Don’t undervalue any part of the application, give it your best shot. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel if you walk far enough.
Hope this helps!
Chernoh, Doug, Varney, Maddy and Arden
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 email@example.com.
The waitlist decisions are being release on June 1st. So you’ll have the final decision in a little more than a week!
Arden J. ‘16
Yes we do pick students up the airport. We have a college shuttle system that will pick you up at the Albany airport. Here is the schedule for the end of this term to give you an idea of how often they go to the airport.
Another option for all your proceeding trips is Bennington Ride Share. This is a facebook group where students post when/where they need a ride and carpool together.
Either way, you will not be stuck at the airport for long. Though while you’re there maybe you’ll meet a nice dame or fella. Who knows.
- Arden J. ‘16
Yes, there are people studying international relations! For example, Michael Thompson, who works in the admissions office, is studying conflict resolution and is currently abroad at the Arava Institute for Peace in Israel.
With the plan process you can study whatever interests you about international relations. Do you enjoy learning about other cultures? Maybe look at this course. Do you want to work with conflict resolution? This course may be helpful. Want to learn another language? Here are our language courses.
Personally I would suggest a wide range of subjects. I think some courses in the Social Sciences would be necessary, I also think languages and CAPA classes would help. I would definitely suggest going abroad for a term or during Field Work Term. But it really depends on what your focus is within international relations.
I know we say this a lot on this blog but you do you.
Arden J. ‘16
We have a lot of courses that teach a second language! You can continue French and start learning Italian. I think you might have been confused by the description of our language classes and that’s okay. It can be confusing!
All of our language classes are subject based. In addition to learning grammar, structure, pronunciation etc. you will also be learning about an interesting subject. I have taken two French classes here at Bennington and both have been film classes. We watched, wrote and discussed French films and the class was conducted entirely in French.
For a more concrete example see below. Oh look, this looks like an art history course focusing on France BUT WAIT it is actually a French language course. The first red circle indicates what type of class it is, FRE stands for French (CHI for Chinese, JPN for Japanese, ITA for Italian, SPA for Spanish). That is one way you can tell it’s a language course. All 2,000 levels are introductory courses, they don’t require any prior knowledge. As Alan says, you don’t even have to know how to say “Bonjour”. Another way of knowing it’s a language course is the second red circle. This tells you what level the course it at. After four years of high school French, intermediate-low is the level that I took my first term. So this may be the level that you’re currently at.
Hope this clears up some of your confusion. If you have any more questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Arden J. ‘16
First off, Bennington is not in the top 25 most expensive colleges in the US (Hollah). We also have pretty good range of economic diversity compared to other 4-year private institutions. About 20% of our campus has a Pell Grant (a need based grant to low-income under graduate students) which is pretty good for a private college.
This is the ticket price of Bennington College:
But before you start freaking out I want you to look at this helpful graph.
See net cost? See how far below the ticket price it is? Bennington follows those trends. We give a lot of merit and need-based aid. In 2012-2013 more than 90% of first-year students received a grant or scholarship. We are also pretty good at negotiating aid after the initial award. I know that the majority of my friends negotiated their aid and this support continues every year.
In conclusion, don’t let the ticket price scare you. Apply, look at your financial award, negotiate if needed and then you can decide if Bennington is out of your price range.
Arden J. ‘16
There isn’t really a “common” transcript. Here at Bennington we look at every aspect of a person, not just their GPA or extra-curriculars. We look at each individual as an individual. We aren’t comparing them to some mythical ideal Bennington student.
I know that must be really frustrating for a high school student to hear that. Everyone is telling you that you need to be a certain kind of student to go to a certain type of school. But at Bennington that’s just not true.
We are trusted with stoves, ovens, microwaves, refrigerators, our educational trajectory, etc. Each house has a full kitchen with all your kitcheny things. The size, dishware etc. changes from house to house but you can cook pretty comfortably in all of them.
As far as cooking equipment goes, there’s usually a few spatulas and pans in each kitchen at the beginning of the term. Houses often use parts of their budgets to purchase a few items to round out their set (Paris-Borden’s house chairs bought a deep-frier and a Keurig machine, generating wild outbursts of adulation from their
subjects housemates). If you’re planning on Mastering the Art of French Cooking while you’re on campus, however, we’d suggest finding your own set of cookware to use.
Arden: Thus far in my Bennnington career I have used the kitchens to make the following: cookies, cupcakes, apple pie, pesto, pasta, curry + vegetables + rice, ramen, soup, home made guacamole and salsa, crepes and more!
Nick: Recipe attack: I’m making these bad boys the moment I have time (i.e. finish college).
Remember to let the oil warm up before you add the garlic. Oh, and substituting one separated egg yolk for a full egg will make pasta carbonara infinitely more delectable.
So really bring all your recipes, they shouldn’t take up much room and in result you get yumminess.
Have fun cooking!
Arden J. ‘16 and Nick ‘14
What is Pre-O you say? Well, let me tell you about the magical experience which is the Pre-Orientation Trip. This is an optional trip you can take before Orientation starts in the fall. You get to campus 4 days early and then spend 4 days and 3 nights hiking or canoeing depending on what trip you want. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new freshman (you’ll be in a group of about 10), hang out with some super cool, good-looking upper classmen and have a really wonderful, awesome trip in the great outdoors.
I might be a little biased because not only did I have an AMAZING time on my own Pre-O trip, I’m going to be a trip leader this year. So basically y’all should do it so you can spend time with me. But seriously …
There is a “Sexual Harassment Policy Review Committee” looking at rewriting and updating the current policy to be most applicable to Bennington’s campus. However, there are already a lot of policies in place that attempt to keep the entire campus safe. Here is a link to the student handbook:http://www.bennington.edu/docs/default-source/docs-student-life/StudentHandbook.pdf?sfvrsn=6
We decided to answer this question because one of our close friends is one of the Sexual Harassment Advisors. There are students, faculty and staff members that act as resources for questions, concerns or worry about any sexual harassment or assault issue. They can act as a “first step”, counselor and advocate depending on what you need. We are also looking to expand on these positions and create a more comprehensive student wellness advocate.
1. I don’t know what “people type” is. We have mostly humans here, with a few fish, squirrels, octopuses and deer. Personally I’m hoping for some cyborgs in the future but unfortunately we don’t have any yet. Or do we? But really, here are some good descriptions of diversity at Bennington
2. We do have men here, so yes there are indeed some beard sprouters. Below are some lovely beards on some lovely faculty members: Kerry Woods, Stephen Higa, and Ron Cohen.
3. For the first day of May the town of Bennington is kind of cool.
4. Field Work Term’s room, board etc. are not part of tuition. Tuition is for the 28 weeks you are here on campus just like any other college. However, don’t freak out! There are options. You can: live at home, live with a friend/family member/friend’s parent, your internship may give you board (that happened to me this year!) or apply for some of our super duper awesome Field Work Term Grants that help you with travel expenses, room and board. So never fear! There are a lot of options to have a wonderful, affordable, and even profitable (if you are Alan Dupont) Field Work Term.
In conclusion, its okay to have doubts. I know I did when I was making my decision. In the end don’t let the small things overwhelm the important things: the community, the academics etc. I would suggest imagining the person you will be in four years after attending the respective colleges. Choose the college where you think you will become the person you want to be.
Hope that assuages some of your doubts,
Arden J. ‘16
From being on campus and talking with Campus Safety officers I can pretty assuredly say no. Like any campus, there are drugs, however unlike other campuses you will never feel pressure to drink or smoke and they aren’t necessary to have a good time or fit in with the social scene here on campus.
Our Campus Safety Officers are beautiful people who really care about our safety and are available 24/7 365 days a year. Part of this is working to keep drugs like heroine, cocaine etc. off our campus.
Additionally, students have recently formed the Bennington Substance Support group on campus. This club is focused on creating productive dialogue on drugs and alcohol and creating healthy sober spaces.
In all honesty, the most prevalent addictions on campus are probably nicotine, caffeine and work.
On the issue of heroin in town, here is a response to the New York Times article by students of Mount Anthony High School here in Bennington.
Arden J. ‘16