Bard College - Comments and Student Experiences|
The sciences here are *incredible.* Friends who have gone to more 'prestigious' institutions (Emory, U of R, RIT) come by, see the labs that we work in starting freshman year and take a look at our senior thesis posters, and a number have said how much they wished they knew Bard had a strong science program.
Our faculty... is truly exceptional. My advisor gives me a lot of attention and guidance, and having an opportunity to spend an hour or more a week 1:1 with a PhD who is helping you craft a strong senior thesis is very special to this college. Sure, it's a hallmark of liberal arts institutions to have senior projects, but with the strength of the Bard faculty, the true caring that each of them has for their students, I couldn't recommend this school more highly for any student who is serious about their education. What you might have heard about Bard being a 'hippy colony' is plain and simple not true anymore. The sciences are filled with very, very bright ambitious people that I've really enjoyed taking classes with for the past few years.
I came into Bard 100% pro science, but by exploring some of the humanities offering will be graduating with:
1. an acceptance to medical school in hand,
2. a high quality degree, and
3. a lifelong passion for classical literature, poetry, art and music.
***athletics: I play on a varsity team, and the athletics department has been a great part of my experience at the school. Bard is, and I hope will always be a pro-academic program, and it is very doable being a successful student and an athlete here.
***social life: social life is what you make it. 90% of the time I'm doing homework/labs/athletics on weekends, but there's always something going on, but if you want to sit in the lab or your room and study/work, there's an endless stream of things to learn and explore.
If you're thinking of applying, go for it. Honestly, one of the best decisions I've made is coming here. Couldn't have found a better education anywhere else.
I attended Bard for only my freshman year before I transferred to a college. What? Isn't Bard a college? No, I?d not bestow such an insult on Bard. Bard is an experience, an experience like no other. The college from which I graduated prepared for my career. Bard prepared me for having a *successful* career and, more important, for being successful in living my life.
I can't keep this brief enough to explain the depth and detail supporting these truths. I entered Bard in the Fall of ?77. I was admitted based not on my scholastic HS success, but on the conviction and passion I carried in my love for the visual arts. I was an OK student, and could have attended most any typical college, but I wanted a program that would allow me to focus on what I loved to do while also helping me prepare for a career. Frankly, Bard won't help you with the latter, which is why I left after one year, but if I had to do it all again knowing what I know now, I?d still spend at least one year or more at Bard.
Leon Botstein, in my freshman orientation, espoused one central theme: The time you spend at Bard is learning how to become your own best teacher - for life. Now in my mid-50's, those words have guided me through life. That was a truly profound notion because it wasn't just a generic platitude coming from this young college president - he meant every word of it, with true conviction. You'll read from others that you'll get out of Bard only what you put into it. Again, I?ll wager Leon Botstein is still giving that same spiel to incoming freshman more than 35 years since he laid it on my incoming class, and I am certain he still says it with the same passion now as he did then.
Unless it has changed drastically since I attended, (and I doubt it has), Bard isn't for those that are looking for structure, or for those expecting to be guided through a college experience. You have to be extremely independent, intellectually curious, self-directed, and self starting, else you'll be lost and frustrated and think the place sucks. Yes, the people are beyond eccentric ? and you had better love that as this place isn't for the meek. It is a somewhat isolated place, not just geographically, but intellectually, and experientially. You also better enjoy solo time with yourself, your creativity, and your thoughts. Academics? The professors at Bard are top-notch, but they are not going to spoon-feed you; quite the opposite. They are there as creative and intellectual resources that you either leverage or let waste.
I launched into a successful career in high-tech thanks to an excellent college education and degree I received from Marist just a few miles down-river from Bard. Ironically, the way I gained entry into the high-tech corporate world wasn't as a result of my Marist education, it was though my visual arts skills? something I honed while at Bard. I parlayed that into a high-tech career opportunity by combining what I received from both schools. I attribute my long-term career success in the corporate world to my ability to learn, think, and reason independently ? attributes I leaned in my freshman year at Bard.
I am now starting the 33rd year of my career in high tech. I wasn't recruited from a name-brand college nor had any help or connections. I used my creativity to make an entry point. There I was, in new engineer training with cream of the crop recruits, mostly valedictorians, from the most prestigious schools in the nation. Most of them could run circles around me technically. I was able to compete because I questioned everything ? again, critical thinking that began at Bard. Three decades later I am in a corporate leadership role having had a significant hand and role in creating today's digital world. I now lead many of the people with whom I was recruited and others that followed.
I do not consider my career achievements or material acquisitions as barometers of life success. Success is the joy of waking up every day and having purpose and using my creative talents. I?ve been extremely fortunate to pursue what I love, both professionally and personally. Those pursuits morphed over the years, but I never followed the script. No one that goes to Bard and makes the most of it are the type of person that follows a script. I didn't just take the path less traveled, I made my own path most of the way. That is the most valuable lesson I learned in life, and I learned that at Bard.
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