The Plan Term-by-Term

At Bennington you design your own course of study and work, taking full advantage of the College’s resources both inside and outside the classroom. You identify one or more areas of interest that spark your intellectual curiosity and provide a foundation for your academic and field work, and you pursue that work with ongoing guidance from your faculty. This is your Plan.

A successful Plan demonstrates that you have developed, in increasingly sophisticated ways, several fundamental capacities: to construct a course of inquiry; to perform research; to make your own work; to engage with others; and to communicate your work to the world. Each of these capacities intertwines with, and builds on, the others.

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The Plan

At Bennington your course of study is as individual as you are, and as diverse as your interests.

First Year

Your first year is one of grounding and exploration. You take a variety of courses, explore new subjects, and begin to build an education around your interests.

First-year plan requirements:

  • Ongoing advising sessions with your faculty advisor.

  • First-Year Reflection Essay: You reflect on your transition to Bennington and articulate your academic interests.

Second and Third Years

The second and third years allow you 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 your faculty advisor.

  • Plan Proposal Essay: You detail the questions and objectives that are central to your Plan.

  • Plan Committee Meeting: You discuss your Plan Proposal with your faculty Plan committee.

Third-year plan requirements:

  • Ongoing advising sessions with your faculty advisor.

  • Plan Progress and Advanced Work Essay: You evaluate your success and progress in implementing your Plan, and propose the curricular structure for your next year.

  • Plan Committee Meeting: You present your Plan progress to your Plan committee, who determines whether you have made satisfactory progress in your Plan and advises you as to how to move forward for the following year.

The Fourth Year

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

Fourth-year plan requirements:

  • Ongoing advising sessions with your faculty advisor.

  • Senior Reflection Essay: You review your Bennington education and finalize your projects and work.