Posts tagged college

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League

Not posting this to put these schools down…I have many friends at them who are receiving wonderful educations…but I’ve been pondering a lot this summer about what a college education is really for, and how Bennington can help support that need.  So often on tour, I get strange looks about lack of grades, lack of pre-conceived requirements, the size, etc…but these are all qualities of Bennington that (in my opinion) are put in place in order to help teach “to the soul.”  When my parents asked me why I was so set on going to Bennington, I remember saying, "At any other school, I could learn to be a better student.  But I’m already an incredible student…I don’t need to prove that to myself.  I need to learn how to be a person.”  What do you think?  

It’s a national conversation, and you’re a part of it.

— Parke ‘15

the abc’s of evaluations at bennington

So at Bennington we have the option of requesting traditional letter grades for any and/or all courses, or to take our classes on a pass/fail basis. What accompanies both of these options are extensive narrative evaluations from our teachers which include strengths, weaknesses, progress, things to keep in mind looking forward, in class performance, etc. These evaluations are personal and encapsulate your performance in a way that is forward thinking, building on your time in class as a way to talk about your work as a whole and what to keep in mind as it progresses. Over half of us (54% to be exact) take letter grades each term. So really the decision is just about what works for you as a student.

This past term was my first requesting letter grades. I found the evaluations I received from faculty to be so fair and on-point, that I couldn’t see the use of a letter grade in their presence. But as I look towards the end of my four years here graduate school is certainly on the table, and while the evaluations I’ve received are an essential part of my transcript, a GPA is something that the schools I’m looking at ask for.

While my experience has only been with a term of grades so far, I have friends who’ve been requesting them from the get-go and friends who haven’t felt the need to request them at all. So once again, it’s all about what meets your needs as a student.

- Sarah ‘15

I’ve always taken grades and I find that incredibly fulfilling to get a letter grade and an evaluation which helps me understand why I got what I did and how I could improve in the future. 


Hello! Is there an accepted students facebook page for 2018? And also, what's the dealio for if you are flying to school. What's the shuttle system what date should I book my flight for? — Asked by Anonymous

Hello there,
the angel from my nightmare,
the shadow in the background of the morgue

Yes yes there is an accepted students Facebook page! Email Mr. Evan Braun at so that you can have access to that virtual space of interests and potential friends.

There is also a shuttle system in place that the school offers for everybody coming to the school! You should have received information regarding those dates in a “Countdown To Bennington” email, or something in that vein. REGARDLESS, we are all about solutions here, so email Student Life ( or call them at 802-440-4330.

It is so hot out I LOVE it I might fall in love or something I am SO happy!

~Carlos ‘14

I have an opportunity to take Psychology my senior year instead of Government/Economics... Would bennington have an issue with me not taking Gov/Econ? I know some schools really want it and others don't mind either way... I've also taken Hon. World Cultures, World History and American History, if that Makes any difference. — Asked by Anonymous

Why would a college that is basically offering you to create and develop your own academic trajectory, require for you to have taken X, Y, Z courses? We don’t even require you to send in SAT/ACT scores.

Sounds a little silly right? 

I’d say take whatever you’re drawn to your last year! It’s your last year in high school and you should gravitate towards what you think will benefit your personal growth and not your chances of getting into a college. Plus, I think it’s pretty easy to tell when someone talks about something they’re not completely into or invested in. 

~Doug ‘16~

#finals- Sarah ‘15

- Sarah ‘15

would you say you are composed? — Asked by Anonymous

I mean…you are asking in the midst of finals.  It’s hard to be composed when you’re throwing together a show for Directing I, looking at the last week of ‘wet work’ in ceramics, putting those last few touches on that twenty-page lit. paper, and thinking about packing your room into boxes for the summer.  But…God…we try to keep our composure.

And…God…does it make this video all the more enjoyable.

- Jeremy ‘16

I have committed to Bennington, but now I am experiencing sticker-shock as well as general anxiety as I read more information on websites like Forbes and Princeton review. Do you have any advice as a seasoned Bennington student? — Asked by Anonymous


Don’t worry about it. Just don’t. Life advice time from two seniors, two well-cooked, seasoned, Bennington students: 

"I don’t think you should worry at all about the price of college in that way. At least don’t just see the price tag, and not factor in the fact that there’s financial aid in the mix. A school that seems more expensive than others, might not really be when you consider average size of aid packages, and what the real cost of college is.” 
~Liam ‘14

"WOAH. You gotta stop worrying about stuff like that! No regrets! Things cost money! This school does an excellent job of giving aid to those who need it (like me!). I wanted to go to Bennington. I wanted to stay at Bennington. I appealed my financial aid package every year I’ve been here, because I wanted more aid! These things work themselves out, but like most things in life, they are sacrifices that can be necessary to the fulfillment of individual desires! Or whatever!”
~Carlos ‘14

Does Verizon work in the Bennington area? Also, because of the small size, does it get clique-y? My high school is bigger than Bennington, and that is an issue here. — Asked by Anonymous

As a Verizon user myself, I’m going to tell you that Verizon is probably the worst carrier to have here and that you should, if you can (and if your relationship to your cell-phone is of utmost priority), switch to another carrier like AT&T. 

To answer your second question: 

I’d say that cliques, in their most stereotypical and segregated sense, don’t exist here. I think our individualized structure also lends itself to a collaborative and fluid community. At the same time, I think it’s simply natural for people to gather and form closely-knit groups of friends within the larger community. Our community is small and so I think that these groups become more visible, but I’d have to say that in my own experience I’ve yet to have an issue interacting with others whether it be in the context of work, class or social life. 

~Doug ‘16~

Does Bennington have gender neutral rooms? — Asked by Anonymous

It is your room, gender it however you want! Who are we to tell you if your room is male, female or outside that binary; or if you are, for that matter.

The one exception is bathrooms in academic and non-academic buildings; they have the typical male/female divide you’d expect. Bathrooms in residential spaces are ungendered. For some of us it is an adjustment, but I really think it subtly creates an ethos of equality — this is coming from a sociolinguistics student particularly interested in gender and sexuality. Reading papers about talk in all-female and all-male groups is really eye-opening, and forcing that divide to exist structurally I think has some unanticipated effects…especially in residential, social spaces. And I love that my female neighbor lets me borrow her toothpaste.

I have a feeling you are asking about house rooms though. Mark any gender-related thoughts anywhere in your application and student life will be mindful of them when placing you. Self identify! — even if there isn’t a slot for it — and talk about what that would mean for your ideal roommate: are you looking for someone open-minded? or someone who has the same identity (subquestion: same sex or same gender)?

Having said all that, note that unless you mark otherwise, Student Life will assume that you would like to be placed with someone of the same biological sex. Still, all our houses are co-ed.

Yikes this stuff gets complicated. Good thing you are going to a school where we will get to know you specifically instead of imposing a convenient label upon you.

Alan ‘15

// Some nostalgia //


Seeing as it’s May 1st and you guys are making the BIG decision, I felt that it’d be fitting to share a little, sentimental moment I had yesterday that makes me think about you, the incoming, Fall 2014 class :)

Last night I was sifting through a storage container that I keep in my closet. I was…

This is a bit out of the realm of Bennington-related questions, but do you have any advice on procrastination? — Asked by Anonymous

I’ve been procrastinating from answering this question for half an hour. Also I’m on Level 17 of Relic Quest so I don’t know if I can help you.

Here’s what some other (less productively-challenged) Wednesday afternoon shifters have to say:

"Change environments"

"Find the right music to listen to"


"Just jump in" 

"Don’t stack your train cars"

"Alternate between doing homework and episodes of Desperate Housewives"

"keep your shoes on"

Hope that helps.

-Eliana ‘15

Hello there!! I too am a Freshman coming to Bennington in the fall and I was also wondering about the housing. Will we be able to choose which house we get put into for example the Colonials, Barnes, Woo or do we get placed according to the housing selection form. Thank you!!! :)) — Asked by Anonymous

awesome! you must be so so so excited! 

Just yesterday I answered a similar question about housing, so take a look! 

p.s. on that same housing questionnaire that you’ll be getting soon, there’s a space for you to specify your preference…but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get your choice ! 

See ya in the fall! 

~Doug ‘16~

Hi! I loved Bennington on the tour, but I'm concerned about the small size of Bennington and the subsequently limited course list. Have any of you ever noticed a lack of course variety or felt inhibited by the small size of the school? For example, my mom pointed out that no art history courses are offered; Is that a temporary thing? Is there a way to get a course created by working with the right professor? — Asked by Anonymous

hey anon,

I guess I’ll start off by saying that I understand your concern about Bennington’s small campus and student body size. In fact I’d have to be honest it’s one of the things that I love and also one of the things that frustrates me a lot about being here. This small community is beautiful and its small size has allowed me to form intense bonds with faculty and friends but at the same time, I’m from L.A. and I do tend to get somewhat cabin-feverish a couple times a term. 

That being said, Bennington’s size has no influence over the variety of classes that are offered each term, and I’m pretty confident that most Bennington students would agree with me. I have yet to come across a curriculum of classes that I don’t feel like I’m drowning in! The variety and the breadth of classes can actually be quite overwhelming, especially when you realize that your favorite classes take place at the same time or when it feels like half of the school population wants to take that one class (lol). 

I study Visual Arts and have taken Art History courses here - art history plays an important role in contextualizing and informing my thoughts and ideas. While it may seem that there are a small number of art history courses, not one VA class at Bennington would be complete without directly studying the history of the course’s medium. Many art classes involve writing, reading, and in-class study in addition to an intensive studio practice. There’s surely exposure outside of art history courses. 

To answer that last question about “getting a course created” : that to me sounds like starting a small “tutorial” with a teacher in any given discipline here. If you have a clear inquiry, have been in dialogue with a teacher here and maybe have other friends or students on board with that same inquiry or interest, there’s nothing stopping you from creating one. 

Hope that answers your question! 

~Doug ‘16~

Is there any bathtub in the dorms xD — Asked by Anonymous

Yes. There is.

It may not be like this:


but it won’t be like this either:


And if you’re lucky and here on the right day in May you might see something like this:


-Eliana ‘15


If you’ve been through the application process this year we’ve asked a lot about your interests and the work that you make. So, I figured we should return the favor.

Here at Bennington it’s Long Weekend which means that us students are taking a much deserved break for a few days. Please take this as an invitation to follow in our footsteps. Put down that financial aid document you’ve been thumbing through and relax to the sweet sounds of Hart - a musical project created by two current Bennington sophomores.

(Oh and nodding to the last post I should mention that both members of Hart are indeed bois). 

-Eliana ‘15