Bard College Simon's Rock
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Bard College Simon's Rock - Comments and Student Experiences |
Below is how I feel about the school. I came here because I wanted to graduate two years early and I felt ready. Nobody is ready for college at sixteen (even if you think so), and it is a very big and stressful adjustment.
Pros: Amazing academics, the professors have time to really get to know you and genuinely care, the few friends i've made have been great.
These are very big pros and do not need much more explaining.
Cons: My biggest cons are the people, location, and administration
people- this place is very cliquey. Group dynamics in these cliques are not healthy and get pretty toxic. The people here also think they are extremely intelligent just because they got into college two years early (80%+ acceptance rate) when in reality they're privileged idiots. Also, most people are either druggies or the kind that play dungeons and dragons. The student body is also very liberal and does not respect republican views. I am liberal, but it upsets me when people's arguments are automatically disregarded due to the fact that they are conservative.
location- this place is in the middle of nowhere. The town consists of old people and heroin addicts. There is absolutely nothing to do on the weekends and it can feel extremely isolating. There are not many job opportunities, internships, or school organizations to join.
administration- the school spends more money on trying to look good to the outside world than to catering to the student's needs. For example, the first year dorms are disgusting. There is little to no phone reception or internet, toilets are always clogged, no lighting, lack of singles for people with serious needs, the hallways smell terrible, etc. Money could have been spent on this but instead, administration used it on useless shelves and tables in public areas to make the place look nice on tours. The administration is also insensitive about serious topics such as rape and depression. If you get put yourself in danger and it gets serious, they will want to get you off their hands as fast as possible so they won't have to deal with it. Also, last year there was a rapist here that they let stay because they were paying full tuition.
That doesn't negate the academics, faculty members, beauty of the campus, and the actually very immense opportunities that open up to you (in correlation with how well you do. If someone does well here, they shouldn't have many issues transferring, as the school helps students do that by offering GED, SAT, and ACT).
I don't think I've had a perfect experience here. However, most of my issues are interpersonal (whether with students or staff/faculty/admin), and to say those issues only exist at Simon's Rock would be incredibly unfair to the school.
It isn't like this place is a black hole. I've had a lot of fun since I've gotten here, both in and out of the classroom. When I want to be challenged, I'm pushed, and when I want to ride low, I'm still challenged. That's why I came here, and that's why I'm considering staying.
Students can come here at 17 and while they may not, at the moment of their arrival, be prepared to take on what they will for the next for years, they have opportunities (and take those opportunities) to grow. Students have come here at 14 and 15 and been incredibly successful, and hundreds of students have come here at 16 and been incredibly successful. To say that someone is unprepared for college because of their age is inaccurate, even as we recognize that most do not show up thoroughly matured on their first day. However, that is part of the experience. People don't mature because they're 18 and living in a dorm with other people who can vote and smoke, they mature when they face the legitimate issues of adulthood and life, when they discuss philosophical problems and have the initiative to contemplate themselves. We do that here.
This is also generally an incredibly opportunity that not many have knowledge of or access to. I was not doing well in high school: my ability to motivate myself was sub par at best, and no one, not my teachers or the administration, attempted to push me. Coming here put me in an environment where most people appreciated what they were learning, and knew they were learning because they were interested. While the people here were supportive and helped me do that, it was also my responsibility to be in an accepting mindset. Don't come here expecting to hate it because all you will do is ignore any positive experiences you have and erase the constructive experiences that so many people have had here.
If you are sitting in high school and either under-worked and hoping for more, overworked in an nonconstructive way, and hoping for something actually beneficial to you, or just generally wanting to get a head start on your life, look into Simon's Rock. Come with an open mind, , a preparation to be challenged (and an expectation that the challenge will be *gradual,* you won't drown in the first quarter), and come with an understanding of *how things work at other schools, because many complaints about Simon's Rock are inherent to the collegiate experience and attributing them solely to SRC is unfair to the school and to your own experiences.*It really is a great school, the BA programs are great, the travel abroad/away opportunities are great, the graduate and post grad paths that open to you are great. There really is a lot about this school that is great. We aren't perfect, but I'm not looking to be coddled in an artificial bubble during my undergraduate career. This is real.
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