Do you want to join a traveling circus?

Bennington College is a small school with a large part-time teaching faculty that is mostly (though not exclusively) dedicated to the arts. Bennington champions its no-major, no-requirement Plan academic model and highlights that most of its courses change term to term, driven by student interest. That's why I make the comparison to a traveling circus: there's a lot to do and a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but it's not going to stick around for long.

Bennington's model is a gift for a student who craves variety and gets easily bored. It's especially good for students who want to combine fine/performing arts with a liberal arts bent -- think: arts and culture, arts and social activism. But it can also pose a challenge for a student who wants to study something in-depth and isn't quite ready for the circus to move to a new town.

What’s to like about Bennington?

I talk to a lot of intense, spirited, and unusual (I hesitate to use the word "quirky") students who would find a home at Bennington. The use of the word "home" is quasi-intentional here -- the college emphasizes its cozy and community-oriented home-style dorms.

Let me also point out that there's a Math Club for "fun and recreational math" as well as an active Cosplay Club and two (2) drag clubs.

Bennington is test-optional and invites students to apply either through Common Application or a portfolio-based and Bennington-specific
Dimensional Application. I'll also point out that Bennington is one of a growing number of schools that offers Early Decision, Early Action, and Early Decision II decision plans.

Future applicants, please note: each of these plans is distinctive and comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. The only thing they all have in common is that they use the word "Early."

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A version of this article originally appeared in the College Spotlight newsletter.  Subscribe to read more about Bennington and other colleges.  

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© 2022 Amy Estersohn

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