Posts tagged ardenj

So, I am really averse to the people I go to high school with. And, I live in a city that I really hate (mostly because I hate cities). As a result, I have spent much of high school wallowing through the day to day, and I feel like my last four years and my application-- barring my writing where I try to express some of these grievances-- just comes off like a rich private school kid. Bennington looks like utopia, but I'm worried I'm not "self-defined" enough to fit in. What can you tell me? — Asked by Anonymous

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

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 

Hi! if I haven't heard anything from the school by now regarding the waitlist decision, does it mean my chance is over? — Asked by Anonymous

Hey Anon! 

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

do you pick up students at the airport or something like that? — Asked by Anonymous

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 

Is there anyone studying international relations or something related to it? If yes, which subjects would you advise me to take? — Asked by Anonymous

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 

I couldn't find any courses that actually *teach* a second language at Bennington. Is this just for the Fall, or does Bennington just not teach foreign language, period? I wanted to continue French and start learning Italian. Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

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

Arden J. ‘16

How does Bennington compare to other schools price-wise (either tuition or total cost)? Is it (one of) the most expensive in the US? — Asked by Anonymous

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:

  • Tuition: $46,048
  • Room: $7,328
  • Board: $6,324

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

As someone who has Bennington as her top choice, I am a bit worried about my current transcript. While I have a 4.0 GPA this year (junior) and a 3.6 overall, I worry about the lack of rigor (only one honors course.. no AP). What type of HS transcript is common for a successful applicant? — Asked by Anonymous

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. 

What kind of equipment is in the house kitchens? Like, are we trusted with stoves? I'm mostly just trying to figure out which recipes to bring with me this fall — Asked by Anonymous

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. 

Here and here are some pictures of our kitchens. 

Have fun cooking!

Arden J. ‘16 and Nick ‘14


Hey! What is Pre-O? — Asked by Anonymous

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 … 

Maybe this is a bit of a sensitive topic, but sexual assault on college campuses have been in the news a lot recently. I'm not going to ask about how safe you guys feel on campus, but rather: what is Bennington doing to address this issue? Would you say the school is doing enough? Is it earning its reputation as a highly progressive school? Sorry if that sounds a bit accusatory or whatever. I don't mean it like that, I'm just trying to be clear. — Asked by Anonymous

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:

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.

Hi guys, so I'm an accepted student and I'm suddenly running into some last minute doubts about a few things. 1. Is there plenty of "people type" diversity? 2. The male specimen is a good specimen. Are there enough of the beard sprouters hangin around, cause I grow weary with just my own kind. 3. Is the town cool? You know, for us youthies? 4. Also, are the work term's room and board etc... included in one's tuition? — Asked by Anonymous

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. 


Here is a post (and another) about favorite spots in town. It’s small but has cool restaurants, shops, and places to go if you want to get off campus. 

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 

Are there any heroin problems at the college, or just in the town of Bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

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

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We can’t wait to see you in the Fall :)

Alana = Bennington!
Stop sitting on that bench and come join the fun!

Behind the scenes, behind the sleeves of a goofy video from Thursday morning shift! Enjoy!

-Alana and Arden

Part one of Bennington Now and Then (My other series Bennington Then and Now)

So Bennington is finally getting into the swing of things again after the third world recession. We just got a huge surprise winter storm of 3 inches, the first in more than 20 years (the last snow storm was in 2129)! Everyone was out making these little balls of snow and throwing them at each other! 

Students keep asking about what an average day is like here at Bennington so we in the office decided to write about what our Friday was like.

Alysse: On Friday I had a meeting with my adviser about my plan revision. My plan is in post-post-post-post-modern history and performance art.

Kiki: I had my favorite class “Tornado Air Square” which is a joint class with biology professor Cameron Li and visiting dance faculty member Martha Billard.

Aiden: I went to the talk in the CAPA symposium, “International Theory in the 22nd Century”.

Cara: On Friday night I went to the student band Hitchcock Hunchback at 10:00. It was one of the first performances in the newly renovated Commons! Then I went to Franklin, where they hosted the house party themed “Droid vs. Druid.”

Marco is on tour but eir presented in Dickinson on eir FWT where ey worked with NYC city authorities to devise an accurate flooding system for the canals.

So that’s a Friday here at Bennington!

- Arden J., Time Traveler Extraordinaire