Yes indeed! Some of those that go on to grad school belong to our postbac pre-med program, which is comprised of students who have graduated from other institutions with non-science degrees and are now specifically interested in going to med school. As for undergrads, we have a very comprehensive science curriculum that totally sets you up for entry into med school. You can read the actual curriculum here.
The great thing about being a science student at Bennington is that you’re constantly reading primary scientific literature; designing and conducting your own experiments*; and constantly meeting with the science faculty (who are themselves established scientists). As a biology student, I think the most valuable part of my education at Bennington has been the fact that no part of my studies have been wasted sitting in 200-person lecture halls; doing canned labs; and having to go through TAs to get face-time with faculty - instead, I was able to come here on day one, and immediately was asked to start thinking, working, and living as a scientist.
*Originally I wrote classes here, when I actually meant to say experiments. My bad! Hadn’t had enough coffee.
Bennington is grade-optional, so it’s totally painless to request letter grades if you are looking at grad/med school. That’s what I’ve done every semester here, since I’m looking at going to grad school for behavioral ecology.
In addition to being able to get letter grades/GPA, you also get a narrative evaluation for every class, which is really sweet. Basically it’s a page-long evaluation of your performance in class throughout a semester and it gives the professors a good way of giving you valuable feedback as to how to improve on your performance in following semesters. The narrative evaluation is also part of your transcript, so I imagine having access to that sort of a more granular evaluation would be a boon to grad/med school admissions as well.
Hope this helped!
Great question! I have a close friend Kerri who is currently enrolled in the undergrad pre-med program here at Bennington, so I asked her to send some words of wisdom my way so we could answer this:
“Like everything at Bennington, there is no specific pre-med program to enroll in. Janet Folley is the medical school coordinator and handles all of the things required by the school for a student to apply to medical school, as well as answers all medical school related questions. As an undergraduate you need to take: chemistry 1-4, which consists of two semesters of organic and 2 semesters of inorganic chemistry, Cell biology, a 4000 level [advanced] biology class with a lab, and physics 1 and 2. The beauty of Bennington is that you can take all of these medical school requirements while still concentrating in other areas as well, which is something you cannot traditionaly do in a pre-med program.”
Thank you Kerri! I’d like to point out, just to further illustrate her point, that Kerri is also concentrating in sculpture here whilst she goes through the pre-med process.
And to clarify her beginning statement of “like everything at Bennington”, you can read more about our plan process here, which is the four year program all Bennington students go through to shape and build their own education.
-India K, ‘12