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First Year

A year of grounding and exploration. Students take a variety of courses, sample new disciplines, and begin to build an education around their academic interests.

First-year plan requirements

  • Ongoing advising sessions with faculty advisor.
  • First-Year Reflection Essay: Students submit an essay that describes their transition to Bennington and articulates their academic interests.

Middle Two Years

The second and third years allow students to dive into a particular discipline, a cluster of disciplines, or a question, discovering the power and limitations of immersion.

Second-year plan requirements

  • Ongoing advising sessions with faculty advisor.
  • Plan Proposal Essay: Students submit an essay that details the questions and objectives that are central to their Plan.
  • Plan Committee Meeting: Students present their Plan Proposal before a faculty panel for discussion.

Third-year plan requirements

  • Ongoing advising sessions with faculty advisor and Plan Committee.
  • Plan Progress and Advanced Work Essay: Students evaluate their success and progress in implementing their Plans and propose their curricular structure for the next year.
  • Plan Committee Meeting: Students present their Plan progress; the faculty determine whether the student has satisfactorily completed their Plan so far and consider clearance for the student to continue as proposed for the following year.

The Fourth Year

The final year is an opening outward, when students explore how their own work relates to others' and how their deepening understanding of a subject or craft might matter to the rest of the world. Some students also choose to conclude their work at Bennington with a senior project or thesis paper.

Fourth-year plan requirements

  • Ongoing advising sessions with faculty advisor.
  • Senior Reflection Essay: Students look back over the entirety of their Bennington education and forward to their next steps for life after graduation. *The Plan Process is designed to be flexible and accommodate the individual needs of transfer students