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Bennington College

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Before deciding to attend Bennington, it should beUndecided
Before deciding to attend Bennington, it should be understood that the fact that it is a small college does not necessarily mean that you will be treated as an individual. The most glaring failure of the college is the administration at all levels -- unfriendly, impersonal, sometimes outright hostile for petty and unprofessional reasons, ineffectual, and for the most part unconcerned with the experiences of students attending the college. Aside from that, the "plan process" and "Field Work Term" are both disorganized and largely hit or miss, in part the fault of hulking administrative impotence, and in part because most students simply do not care, or seem to notice that they are in college. Classroom discussion is encouraged yet often poorly moderated and therefore useless, and intellectual stimulation of any kind is often in short supply, either from peers, extra-curricular activities or campus-sponsored events. The faculty is the single brightspot, but constant shifts in every department make it difficult to form lasting academic relationships. Also, from a purely social standpoint, students are unforgivably "cliquey" and often ridiculously vapid, whether from the rich drug-user set, or the pervasive socially outcast anime fanbase.
Male -- Class 2000
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Bennington is a lotBrightCommunications
Bennington is a lot like a tightly administered business, if the hierarchy is fond of you, all will be well. Although if you generate any sort of dissent towards anything, they will oust you in a fashion similar to a government coup.
2nd Year Male -- Class 2007
Useful Schoolwork: A, Surrounding City: F
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Bennington College's main claim to fame is thatQuite BrightMusic - Performance
Bennington College's main claim to fame is that its students are intimately involved with the construction of their education, and when I was first touring the campus I was lead to believe that the students had a hand in the administration as well. Sadly the former is often hijacked by pseudo-tenured professors who end up controlling what you do MORE than is reasonable, and the latter is growing more and more distant as the administration increasingly makes decisions and then only tells the students body of this after the fact (for example, in spring 2007, the administration completely changed the class registration process, only to change it after the summer).

Bennington is a place that attracts everyone who really doesn't fit in anywhere else, whether it be from insufferable arrogance regarding their work and the OBVIOUS inferiority of everyone else's, or never quite coming out of their shell in high school and suddenly discovering that quite a few people on campus are genuinely interested in what you have to say, including the professors, who can end up being as close to you as you new group of friends.

And as for the professors; most of them are wonderfully good at their job, and often enough their love of the subject drives all their students higher and further. Having said that, since I have been here a number of well-loved professors whom everyone spoke well of have been fired, only to be replaced by the student's forth or fifth choice, or more often than not, the department is simply left understaffed. The only people on campus who seem unconcerned by the lack of tenure are the ones in charge, and their modes of thinking regarding the students range from apathetic to sadistic. We do get one consolation however, the office of student life seems to be run by someone who is bipolar, so at least half the time we feel wanted. The students here end up having to fend for themselves in a way entirely inappropriate way for a private institution. For example, meals have gotten progressively worse over my two years, as things like "Chicken Cacciatore" or "Flank Steak" are only good if made using good ingredients, and Chinese night is still around even though it is the only diner that does not have a line at peak hours, and causes a shortage of Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Bread. The meal situation often causes students to wander around the sandwich bar with hopeless expressions on their faces only to leave for cheesy fries at the snack bar. It would be acceptable if the pricey meal plan were optional, but like so many other things, we don't get a choice.Despite all of the shortcomings of this 46,000 a year college, there are a number of positive points that lie in places people usually fail to mention. The Health department is the most friendly place on campus, with staff that remind you of that aunt that brings you a blanket every time you sit outside, and the guy in charge makes an effort to remember your name, and usually gets it by the third visit. Actually, most of the positive points come from places that the administration cannot directly control.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2009
Scholastic Success: A+, Surrounding City: D
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