Field Work Term Summer Deferral

The timing of Field Work Term(FWT) in winter is designed to provide a bridge of practical experience between the fall and spring academic terms. During this time, students are expected to explore the way that disciplines are practiced and problems addressed in the professional world by both observing and working in a field of interest. This is intended as an experience that the whole Bennington student body embarks on at the same time, supported by faculty insights and feedback in the fall and community debrief in the spring. FWTs often lead to a reprioritizing of spring coursework and a clarifying of academic inquires. As such, summer deferrals are limited to students with special circumstances that prevent them from completing an FWT in the winter or to students pursuing highly-specialized opportunities not available in the winter. (Typically, summer deferrals are not awarded to first-year domestic students or to transfer students completing their first FWT.)

Summer Deferral Application and Eligibility

FWT Summer Deferral Applications are due by October 27, 2017. Applications are reviewed by the FWT director. Due to design of FWT described above and to insufficient resources to operate an open-enrollment summer FWT, summer deferrals are limited to:

  • First-year international students or new transfer international students ineligible to work off-campus in the U.S. during their first nine months of study.
  • Students with significant medical or mental health considerations preventing winter work. (Doctor or therapist note-of-necessity required.)
  • Students with unforeseen circumstances that arise over FWT requiring a summer deferral accommodation. (Determined by the director of FWT.)
  • Students applying for a highly specialized internship program that is otherwise unavailable during FWT and for which there are no comparable winter opportunities. Applicants must demonstrate they have specific and feasible FWT plans that could not be realized during the winter term.

Student Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Deferral

As a new international student, am I automatically granted a summer deferral?

Because international students have F-1 visa restrictions preventing work in the U.S. until after nine months of study, you are guaranteed a summer deferral in your first year if you enter in the fall term. After this, you are only eligible if you meet the general summer deferral requirements outlined above. (You still need to fill out a summer deferral request form, due in mid-October.)

If you are approved to defer your FWT to the summer, you are encouraged to meet with the FWT director to discuss securing a U.S. summer FWT that is in compliance with federal Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements. Similarly, you need to meet with Bennington’s Designated Student Official (DSO), Kate Child, as promptly as possible to secure necessary paperwork in time for the start of the FWT Summer Makeup period.

If I have a medical reason for my deferral request, how will this be considered?

If you can demonstrate via a provider “note of necessity” that you have a medical or mental health condition that makes it unfeasible for you to complete the FWT requirements in the winter, then the director of Field Work Term will consider your documentation and make reasonable efforts to accommodate as needed.

If I’m planning on a summer deferral, how do I address this in the fall FWT Proposal process?

Students applying to defer their FWT to the summer must still submit an FWT proposal form by September 29, 2017 outlining their intended summer work ideas, and meet with their advisor by October 13. Advisor-reviewed FWT proposals will be considered by the FWT Office when reviewing a summer deferral application. If the deferral is accepted and the student’s FWT plan later changes dramatically from the fall proposal, the FWT Office will need to receive faculty advisor approval before finalizing a summer site registration.

If approved for a summer deferral, when do I register?

Registration for the FWT Summer Makeup period is in the first week of May. See FWT Important Dates for more info.

If I’m applying for a summer deferral, can I still be considered for FWT grants?

Yes. FWT grant applications are due in mid-October. There is only one grant cycle per year. Students should clarify their intended summer plans in the grant application. If an award is granted and a summer deferral is approved, a student will receive their grant check after registering their summer site in May. Grant money is determined based on the plans outlined in the application. If an awardee changes their FWT plans, the grant will need to be reconsidered.

Can summer FWT work be “banked” for the upcoming academic year?

Summer FWTs can only count toward the academic requirement in the preceding academic year, not banked for the next year.

If I am a senior and defer my final FWT to the summer, will I graduate on time?

Seniors who defer their final FWT to the summer will receive their diploma the following December once they have completed their final FWT requirement. If no other coursework is needed to graduate, these students will have “in absentia” status in the fall term between their summer FWT make-up and their official December graduation date. In this case, students may petition to walk in the June graduation ceremony prior to completing the final FWT requirement. Students should speak with Academic Services for more information regarding this petition.

If I am an international student and applying for a summer deferral, how do I make sure it aligns with CPT requirements?

International students who defer their FWT to the summer and who are planning to work in the U.S. must meet with the FWT director to discuss securing a summer FWT that is directly connected to their academic work in order for it to be in compliance with CPT requirements. Similarly, students need to meet with Bennington’s designated school official (DSO) in Academic Services promptly as possible to secure necessary paperwork in time for the start of the FWT Summer Makeup period.