The Dimensional Application
We invite you to be deeply thoughtful. We invite you to be bold. We invite you to bring your own dimension.
The Dimensional Application is an open-form application which allows first-year students to choose the materials and format that will best demonstrate a readiness for a Bennington education.
From person to person, and throughout one’s lifetime, intellectual and creative capacities are on a continuum of development. They may be demonstrated in any number of ways—which is precisely the opportunity this application presents.
A successful Dimensional Application demonstrates your readiness to meet the demands of a Bennington education including:
♦ The capacity to design an inquiry, to perform research, to create and revise work, to engage with others, and to communicate your work to the world.
♦ Intrinsic motivation: the wherewithal to continue when things are hard
♦ A tolerance for ambiguity and a facility for collaboration
♦ Aesthetic sensibility and cultural sensitivity
Many students ask if they should fill out Bennington’s Dimensional Application instead of the Common Application. While we can’t make that decision for you, we can let you know that the admissions committee at Bennington doesn’t have a preference and there’s not a difference in application acceptance rates for either application. We want you to have a choice in deciding which application best allows you to convey who you are as a student and a community member. If you decide to apply using the Dimensional Application, you can ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are using it to your best advantage.
♦ In the Dimensional Application, am I conveying the parts of myself that are fundamental to who I am as a student, thinker, maker, doer, and/or creator?
♦ Am I sharing work that I’m proud of? This work should be original work created either individually or in collaboration with others. (Please note that work can refer to artwork, activism, scientific research, community involvement, school work, or anything that is work you are excited about and in which you are actively engaged)
♦ Am I communicating the level of agency I have over my work? In other words, am I communicating my role in the work I’m presenting to the admissions committee, as well as sharing my reflections about the work itself?
♦ Does my Dimensional Application speak for me, and put me into context individually and with regard to my community and the world?
If you feel confident with your answers to these four questions, the Dimensional Application is likely a good choice for you. If you don’t, not to worry-- the Common Application offers a more traditional structure in which to share who you are as a prospective student to Bennington. Most students choose to complete the Common Application and doing so will not put you at a disadvantage. As a reminder, you are able to submit supplemental material, including a portfolio, to Bennington through the Common Application.
Request More Info
If you are considering using the Dimensional Application and would like more information, let us know and we will send you a booklet (US addresses only).
International students can download the booklet (PDF).
Ask my counselor
Contact your admissions counselor with any questions or to request an interview. They are available as a resource not only for questions, but also to bounce ideas around throughout the entire application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you offering an alternative application?
One of the most challenging aspects of a Bennington education is making smart, deliberate choices about how to use the resources available to you—your own included—in worlds where there are no givens. We wanted an application that would mirror that experience in some way. At Bennington, students are evaluated both on the quality of thinking they bring to their choices and on the caliber of work they produce. These are rich conditions for an education and we believe they can be powerfully embedded in the college application.
Who should use this application?
Bennington’s Dimensional Application is for first-year students who want to do more than respond to a set of given prompts. It is an opportunity for you to individually curate an application for Bennington, to create a compelling portrait of your academic achievement, and to demonstrate, in your own way, your potential to enrich, and be enriched by, the Bennington community.
What should my application contain?
Applications should demonstrate your academic achievement, writing ability, contributions to the classroom and community, and your capacity to make and revise work. While students may choose to do this in very different ways, standard elements of a college application—portfolios, original research, reflective and analytical writing, transcripts, letters of recommendation—are all acceptable and welcome. Please include a cover letter, artist statement, or table of contents that details your Dimensional Application, the pieces that you included, and how you would like it to be reviewed.
Despite the flexibility of the Dimensional Application, if you are planning to apply for merit or need-based financial aid, it is a federal requirement that we receive a copy of your transcript. Please still consider in your curation how to frame your academic qualifications and experiences to Bennington. Your transcript will not be our primary evaluative tool unless you choose to build your application around it.
How will my application be evaluated?
Applications will be assessed on the quality of the materials submitted; the caliber of thinking behind them; the thoughtful construction and curation of the application itself; and evidence of the applicant’s readiness to advance a range of work at Bennington. Applicants are encouraged to submit work that demonstrates the breadth and depth of their accomplishments while also remaining mindful that the review committee has a finite amount of time to spend with each application. The volume of an application is not indicative of its quality. With this in mind, please make sure to edit your media appropriately. As an example, if you are submitting work in theater or dance, only send clips in which you are featured and not the entire performance.
As part of the admissions process, candidates being considered for admission will be invited to interview with a member of the admissions committee. In some instances the Office of Admissions will request additional information in our effort to assure that a holistic review of the applicant is achieved.
Should I upload materials online or mail them?
We encourage you to submit your Dimensional Application entirely online. However, if you would like to include work whose physicality is critical to its nature, please reference this work in your digital application and then send a single package to Bennington College, Office of Admissions, One College Drive, Bennington, VT 05201. Please include your first and last names and your date of birth. There is no application fee to apply to Bennington College. All materials must be received by the application deadline.
If I apply using the Dimensional Application, will I be considered for financial aid?
Yes. All applicants will be considered for merit and need-based aid. Despite the flexibility of the Dimensional Application, if you are planning to apply for merit or need-based financial aid, it is a federal requirement that we receive a copy of your transcript. Please still consider in your curation how to frame your academic qualifications and experiences to Bennington. Your transcript will not be our primary evaluative tool unless you choose to build your application around it. The standard deadlines for need-based financial aid apply for both the Dimensional Application and the Common Application. For more information and financial aid deadlines, visit our Financial Aid pages.
May transfer students submit a Dimensional Application?
No, the Dimensional Application is currently only available to first-year applicants.
How can I learn more?
Bennington's Application Codes
- SAT code: 3080
- ACT code: 4296
- GRE code: 3080
- Common Application code: 3080
- CSS/Profile code: 3080
- TOEFL code: 3080
- FAFSA code: 003682