The Bennington College student body may be small in number, but don’t let that fool you! It’s not a sleepy campus. The campus vibe is vibrant. Bennington students have active voices and take ownership of their education.
Bennington College is home to 660 undergraduate students and is situated in the foothills of southern Vermont. A long, winding road leads to the 440-acre campus. The campus itself has a rural country feel, and there is a mix of understated low-rise and barnlike buildings. The music department is housed in a gorgeous, stone mansion that is set on a hill overlooking the campus. Overall, the architecture blends well into the picturesque, natural landscape of Vermont’s Green Mountain region.
There are no majors or minors in the traditional sense at Bennington. Students design their own education through the PLAN process. Students must articulate their area of academic interest and then independently work with faculty to design their own interdisciplinary education. There are no core curriculum or general requirements. Admissions Counselor, Liam Dailey, told me that, “Bennington students are passionate, curious and have a willingness to explore a range of disciplines and embrace diversity of thought.” The majority of students are interested in the arts and social sciences.
Unique to Bennington is its four-year, required Field Work Term. All students participate in a seven-week field experience during January and February. This is a time designated for students to explore their vocational interests domestically and/or abroad. The college does not place students. Instead, students work closely with faculty, staff and alumni to find field experiences that match their academic interests. Students have access to a database with over 8,000 intern/job opportunities. Students are required to clock at least 210 hours per term.
Overall, students I saw or spoke with were not cookie cutter on any level. Each student had a unique style in dress and thought. In general, students here love the outdoors and all Vermont has to offer: hiking, snow boarding, skiing, biking and fishing, etc. Most students are politically and environmentally aware. Students are encouraged to have an active voice and get involved on campus and in the local community.
Over ninety-percent of students live on campus. On-campus housing options are not traditional dorms. Instead, students are housed in intimate, colonial-style homes that are equipped with a common room and kitchen. Some upperclassmen live in townhouses in downtown
Admissions and Financial Aid
Bennington accepts the Common Application and is test optional. Twenty-five percent of students admitted in 2014 were international students. All applicants are considered for merit aid. Admissions encourages all students to interview on campus, off campus or through SKYPE. Bennington does not always meet full demonstrated need.
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