Posts tagged bennington

I have some specific goals in mind for my first year at Bennington, and in order to fulfill those requirements while also having enough breadth to my curriculum I'm considering adding extra credits, possibly all the way up to 20. Is this actually doable? I know it's not recommended, but how insane would it be? — Asked by Anonymous

This is do-able only if you don’t plan on making any friends or ever doing laundry.

Or eating. 

Firstly, you can technically only take 18 credits your first term. Unless your goal is saving the world and the only way to do it is taking 20 credits, it will probably be pretty hard to convince your advisor on that one.  

Breadth in your course schedule is great, but depth of study is also required. Taking that many credits (especially in your first term), leaves little time to actually devote yourself to each subject that you are studying.

Additionally I will say that in the past I have packed challenging and time consuming classes into my schedule and looking back, I wish I had waited to take these classes until I had the time and capacity to delve into the classes deeper. Sometimes I simply was not ready to take the classes or handle the course load that I had signed up for.

Wait a little bit. At least until after your first term. You will be busy with plenty of things both in and outside the classroom room. Trust me.

You’re welcome,


Is it possible to get into medical school upon graduation from Bennington having had a concentration in Biology, Chemistry (or any of the sciences) ? Thanks in advance and hope you're having a great summer. — Asked by Anonymous

Dear potential-doc anon,

Oooh yess! Glad you inquired. Depending on the requirements for the medical program you are interested in, you would most likely need to take courses in more than one area of science. The plan process looks different for every student, and it’s possible to craft a plan that also serves as a pre-med track.

It actually happens here on a fairly regularly basis. All of the courses you would need to apply for med school are offered here and you would work with your plan committee to develop a timeline for taking those. Undergrads actually follow a similar trajectory as our postbac premed students (more info on that program here).

We also have a specific pre-med advisor who you will work with over your time here to make sure you are on track with requirements. If you would like to get in touch with her, her name is Janet Foley and her email is I would definitely encourage you to send any questions about pre-med her way!

BTW, I’d love to hear about your interest in medicine (western or otherwise). My email is

- Julia ‘15

This could be you!!!

Is it easy to play video games with other students over the local area network? Video games. — Asked by Anonymous

I’ve had to contact IT to open up ports for different things like to play Elder Scrolls Online this spring and to use Nintendo WFC on my 3DS, but other than having to do that, super easy. You just have to email the IT help desk and they’ll let you know what they need and how you can find it.


semper games

kagan ‘16

do you receive grades in the conventional sense? is there a standard 0-4.o scale? — Asked by Anonymous

You can opt for grades (you need about 2 years’ worth to establish a GPA) but if you don’t, it’ll be pass/fail.

either way, you get a written evaluation at the end of term for each class by the teacher, and those can be really valuable. They’ll talk about your work in class, what can be improved upon, everything. And again, you get that with letter grades or with pass/fail.

with both the written evaluations and the option to take grades or not, you’ll be unstoppable!!


kagan ‘16

My analytical essay is in a word document. It doesn't have any teacher comments on it, even though it was graded. Do the teacher comments and grade need to be on the essay when I upload it for my application? — Asked by Anonymous

If you can find the graded copy and scan it, that would be ideal, but if you only have the paper, that’s fine too!


The most important thing is that it’s an academic essay and not a personal one. It’s how the counselors are able to see your ability to present and back up an argument, cite sources, etc. 

semper games

kagan ‘16

How do most students access birth control (like the pill) through campus or the surrounding area? I know the health plan covers it financially but how and where do people go to fill prescriptions, get prescriptions renewed, etc? — Asked by Anonymous

You can get some brands on campus and beyond that there are a lot of pharmacies in the area. I personally recommend Hannaford because Ken, one of the pharmacists is fantastic. But there are also pharmacies at Price Chopper, CVS, and Rite-Aid. 


Do you know if students are allowed to knit in class? It really helps me focus. — Asked by Anonymous

I would imagine it depends on the teacher and the class. I’ve never seen anyone do it, but I’m sure it happens and I’m sure you could do it. I would ask each teacher beforehand. 

What are you currently working on? I’m a huge knitter and trying to bust through my stash so I don’t have to keep moving it around every 3 months…

Happy knitting!


Picture from the band, Phox (fresh from the Newport Folk Festival),  who played at the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington on Saturday night. Upstate Rubdown opened for them and the Phantom Food Truck opened for everything. It was delicious and the music was great. Bonus was seeing three faculty members there (all super cool ones, of course)
Another great night in North Bennington!

Picture from the band, Phox (fresh from the Newport Folk Festival),  who played at the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington on Saturday night. Upstate Rubdown opened for them and the Phantom Food Truck opened for everything. It was delicious and the music was great. Bonus was seeing three faculty members there (all super cool ones, of course)

Another great night in North 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