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Bennington College

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Date: Nov 19 2007
Major: Music - Composition/Theory (This Major's Salary over time)
The only redeeming quality Bennington possesses is (and I guess was) the education. Which is a good thing, right? I mean, that's what higher learning is supposed to be about. It's nice be a well-rounded individual proficient in music theory, audio production (laugh - this was supposed to be my 'moneymaking' skill), clear and concise writing, history. Yes - the professors are all really cool and nice and knowledgeable and approachable and all that, but…now that I'm in the real world with my crappy job which isn't even paying the rent (I'm not even going to mention the looming abyss of loan debt - it thankfully doesn't open until six months after graduation), my sophistication is starting to matter less and less with with each passing day, and this 46,000/year degree in Liberal Arts seems utterly worthless.

The reputation? It's like name-dropping a washed-up celebrity whose car you once had the honor of waxing to some Hollywood execs.

The place is run by a shrewd businesswoman whose main goal as an administrator, it seems, is to squeeze every last drop of money from the students and keep the college out of any situation that carries even a slight whiff of legal or financial trouble (one and the same, really). The 'administration' is a cold organ, disconnected and opaque. Students don't have much of a choice about many important matters - for example, you're not allowed to live off campus no matter what year you are, even though the claustrophobic, isolated, immature social environment is not conducive to getting good work done for many people. The official reason is some shill about a close-knit student community…but I was told frankly by a (former) member of the administration it's for your room & board money. They have many little tricks like that up their sleeves (be prepared to get all sorts of housing fines at the end of term). Students have very little say about the important changes in and unnecessary continuations of policy (for example, the administration recently cha..'improved upon' the registration process without telling anyone about it). Ordinarily, this kind of administrative behavior doesn't surprise me in the least. But it's a blatant affront to the rebellious and open-minded spirit the college was renowned for back in the day when it was slowly but surely descending into the red…

The social scene sucks. I won't dwell on it, but it's quite lame. The dorm-hosted theme parties are really dumb (actually, there isn't anything big enough to resemble a dorm, so they just call dorms houses over there). This wouldn't be a problem, of course, if upperclassmen were allowed to live off campus. But they're not. The security guards get a real kick out of going house-to-house sniffing out any tell-tale odors of illegal substance abuse and listening for clanking bottles or any sound of young people having fun (you're not allowed to have more than 7 people in your dorm room).

Take note, guys! The campus boasts an impressive 7-3 ratio of females to males. The isolated campus, the tense atmosphere, and the grim Vermont weather makes everyone very horny and desperate.

To be honest, it's not all that bad. The mountainous Vermont countryside is beautiful when it blooms, you'll meet some very cool teachers and students along the way, and the Field Work Term, if used properly, will put some hair on your resume so you at least have real credentials when comes time to seek work. If you're serious about your studies, you can all but ignore the social scene and focus on what really matters to you. The facilities are quite good, by the way. But the atmosphere of the place feels more like a summer camp/sanitarium than a college campus, quickly becoming oppressive. Oh - and wait till you taste the food…

Bottom line: you get out of it what you put in. Make sure you have some sense of what you want to do in life and are serious about it before going in, or you'll be wasting money. Always request letter grades - it's nearly impossible to transfer credits to places without this. Stay away from the parties. Distrust the administration. If you can, find a good health-related reason to not buy into the meal plan.

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