You’ll be signing up for courses over the summer at the same time as the rest of the incoming class (Freshmen & Transfers all together), which, if memory serves, happens sometime between mid-May and June. The actual date is a mystery and is somewhat predicated upon factoring in who’s all actually coming as part of the class, which classes have openings, etc. (work with us here)
As far as spots saved for transfers in 4000-levels, I think that has a little bit more to do with the individual professors. While I’m not 100% sure if they are required by the school to save a certain number of spots (if any), what I can tell you with certainty is that the entirety of 4000-level registration is based around conversation with the faculty whose classes you’re interested in. If there’s a particular class that looks enticing to you, it never hurts to shoot the professor an email explaining your interest/background in the topic at hand, and once you arrive on campus you can just march straight to their office in person and explain why you think you should be in their classes. They love hearing from students who are interested, can bring something new to the table, and can offer fresh perspectives within the class setting and on project work.
Hope that helps!
Every Bennington student has a Greenwall story. It’s the registration event that takes place in Greenwall Auditorium where you can add or drop classes for the upcoming term. It can be stressful but if you just take a deep breath and realize that your life doesn’t depend on securing the perfect schedule you’ll be fine. Teachers are very reasonable and if there’s a class you really want you can always get on the wait list and keep showing up until they let you in. Michael’s looking nervous but really don’t freak out!
-Selina and Michael ‘15
The summer before your first term you’ll sign up for courses and list some backups in case your top choices are over enrolled. Then the dean’s office puts together your schedule. It is exciting!
This term Maliha and Selina are trying to solve the impossible. That’s right, we said it. Our class looks at the historical, philosophical, and psychological aspects of conflict management, particularly in regards to intractable conflicts. In addition to readings - on the themes of visual mapping, non-violent resistance, psychological trauma, the nature of violence and conflicts, and the nature of intractability - we also engage in periodic mediation role-plays to hone our negotiation skills. The big projects of the term include individual comprehensive case studies on an intractable conflict somewhere in the world as well as a collective overhaul of the EPA’s communication system with our professor Susan Sgorbati.
If you had to pick an intractable conflict anywhere in the world, what would it be? What does intractability mean to you? How would you go about solving it? Comment below if you have thoughts.
Some of the intractable conflicts we are working with include the case of natural gas exportation in Bolivia and post financial crisis class action lawsuits. Also of grave importance to us is the magic cookie bar shortage in the dining hall.
-Maliha ‘14 and Selina ‘15
Incoming freshman pick their classes for the upcoming semester the summer before they get here (around mid-July). This is one of my favorite favorite parts of The Plan Process because the only real guidelines for choosing classes are to 1) read the entire curriculum beforehand 2) try to make sure there are no time conflicts in the classes you choose. And this is the most exciting part: we don’t have general ed. requirements, so you choose classes that first year according to what you love to do and what inspires you! You’re encouraged to take a wide range of classes, so maybe you try something new, and step out of your comfort zone a little bit.
Hope this helps!
With Bennington’s Plan Process you won’t have any college required courses. Along with your Plan committee you’ll decide what classes you believe you should take as a history focus. I guarantee you that you will step out of the box a bit and take some classes in unexpected disciplines but it will be YOUR decision.
One would think, being in my final year at Bennington, I would be well prepared for that tricky moment when I realize that THERE IS A CLASS IN THE CURRICULUM THAT I DID NOT KNOW EXISTED AND IT IS HAPPENING IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AND I AM NOT IN THAT CLASS AND I SHOULD BE. Yeah. Well. I wasn’t prepared and today, just moments ago actually, it happened. I found out about this class:
Thankfully though, there is still time.
Enjoy your Tuesdays. Research classes taught at Bennington and get to know the faculty. You’ll fall in love over and over again.
The word from Student Life is sometime in mid-July, barring any sorta delays. So, probably not for at least another week or two. Just a heads-up, though: in Admissions, I/we only know as much about housing/roommates/classes as the incoming freshmen do, so we will probably never be a great resource to ask about things like that.
Your best bet (assuming that you’re an incoming freshman) for that kind of information is either to ask around on the Class of 2016 Facebook group or call the office of Student Life at (802)-440-4330. I’d say give it another couple of weeks before you start making phone calls though - it’ll all be worth it, I promise.
This varies a whole bunch from class to class and discipline to discipline, so I’m teaming up with science mogul Evan to try to get an accurate answer.
A lot of classes here don’t assign textbooks at all. Readings will be online available to be printed out, or a photo copied packet will be available in the Bookstore for $5.
On the other hand, when classes do assign textbooks, they cost normal textbook prices, so Evan has tragically had to pay well over $100 at times for books. We think textbooks are most often assigned in science classes though, and even then, probably in less than half of them, so it should be rare that you have to buy more than one of those books per term.
More often classes work with primary sources, so you just have to buy “normal” books.
For example, in my Lit class last term, I think I spent about $40 for two novels, and all the other readings were in a packet in the bookstore for $5. That’s only one class, but a lot of classes, especially on the arts side of things, don’t make you purchase books at all.
I surveyed other interns in the office (and a few I pestered on Facebook) and here is what I found (we limited our selections to classes offered this fall that are open to first year students, i.e. nothing advanced):
Forests: An Introduction to Ecology and Evolution with Kerry Woods
Ben ‘13: “Any class where you get to go on weekly field trips with ecology professor Kerry Woods will change your life.”
Ezra ’13 adds: “It was the class that kick started my interest in ecology - it’s really well-constructed; students learn to ask rigorous questions ABOUT science as well as becoming comfortable with scientific literature. Also, the labs are phenomenal!”
Fundamentals of Spatial Thinking and Making with Jon Isherwood.
Amira ‘12: You’re exposed to working with so many different materials, including clay, wood, metal. But the really great part is that even though its an introductory class, you’re still required to call upon a personal aesthetic to complete assignments. So even though it’s assignment based and everyone is working on a common project, you’re able to incorporate your own artistic vision.”
Electronic Music: Creativity and Sound with Randall Neal
Ezra ‘13: ”This class gets you listening to everything as music – the huge revelation of the early experimenters in tape and processed sound is that music is “organized sound,” not just of instruments and voices, but also of machines, animals, and artificial noise. You listen to lots of classic and contemporary electronic music, learn the basics of pro-tools and recording, and make two larger pieces. It’s a great class to take from the get-go if you’re interested in any of the arts, because it improves your ability to listen with open ears and gives you a chance to pursue your own aesthetic and ideas through the projects.”
First-Year Dance Intensive with Terry Creach
Julia ‘15: “It was great because there were definitely a lot of freshman in it but there were also students from a lot of different years who were exploring dance for the first time; so it was low-pressure in that you weren’t expected to be an expert at anything coming in, but at the same time you were treated with the same respect as as a more advanced dance student (I took it with Susan Sgorbati, but I’m sure Terry Creach is the same). I think it’s a good way to find out if Bennington-style modern dance is something that you want to continue with.”
Social Psychology with Ron Cohen
Ellie ‘13: This is an amazing introduction to social psychology, the study of individual behavior within a social context. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, through practice and readings, how to conduct social psychological research, even in your very first term at Bennington. It also will completely change the way you look and think about the world around you!
An Introduction to the Art of Sound Design with Julie Last and Scott Lehrer
Insiyah ‘12: Its a really great introduction to different ways of thinking about sound and it’s also a nice class to have if you’re thinking about video, theater, or visual arts, because a lot of people use this as an opportunity to design sound for visual work. It’s great because you get a lot of technical experience but you also do all this reading that helps you build your conceptual ideas about sound.”
Introduction to Pure Mathematics with Andrew McIntyre
Evan ’13: “What is important is that Andrew teaches math in a way that no one else does. You learn to look at an equation or a problem and break down what each part of the numbers is doing. Andrew asks you to consider what the equation is supposed to be doing; what it does at time-initial; what it does at time-infinity; and if all of that makes sense. Not only does he change the way you think about math, but the way you think about math, I’ve found, has a profound bearing on the ways you think about problem-solving and numbers themselves.
Philosophical Reasoning with Paul Voice
Akhurapa ’14: “It is unique among philosophy classes here in that it provides a survey of different topics in western philosophy (ethics, epistemology, meaning of life etc)
It serves as a great introduction to western philosophy and allows students to develop their skills writing social science essays and formulating and developing arguments/analysis. Bonus points because Paul is great!”
Insider Perspectives on the French-Speaking World with Stephen Shapiro
Fizza ’13: “Firstly, an introductory language class would be just great across the board - language classes here are broad in a way that no matter where we land in terms of our medium (visual arts, science, social science) we will find them contributing to our work. Also, Stephen is wonderful: helpful and fun as a teacher. His classes are entertaining and he really knows how to teach the foreign tongue. He is really broad and will be especially supportive if you are really motivated or are interested in something wild - he is teaching some kids Latin.
The Journey III: The 1860s with Eileen Scully
Jan ’14: “From the fact that this survey history course requires you to keep a ‘substantial personal journal, writing weekly letters to fictive friends and family,’ you might deduce (correctly) that Eileen is an unconventional history teacher. Her classes are the most open-ended of any I’ve had at Bennington, with almost unlimited possibilities for projects - a few years ago, one student put on a puppet show about Russian history for her final. I dislike this word, but I would call her classes “emergent” - they begin like a blank slate and gradually, Eileen and the students negotiate the terms of the class and what they want to get out of it. And she’s genuinely brilliant but she, more than any other professor I’ve had here, avoids imposing: her classes are all genuinely different because they all develop in an organic way. Take this course if you want to find new ways of thinking about and experiencing history but also if you want a classroom experience that will make you consider deeply what it means to be and learn as a Bennington student.”
The Actor’s Instrument with Kirk Jackson or Jenny Rohn
Sarah ’12: It’s really an amazing way to either dip your toes in or review the basics. It covers a lot of different techniques and exercises and both Kirk and Jenny are great!
We offer Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Italian.
The cool thing about foreign language classes at Bennington is that when you read the course descriptions (or, obviously, take the classes) you realize that they are actually about literature, culture, history, film, philosophy, anthropology, politics, art, identity, etc.
You can see some of the past course offerings in foreign languages by checking out this link!