Bennington Early College Program

The Bennington Early College Program is a new suite of offerings for high school, gap year, and college students, extending the College’s student-directed, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to education to remote learners anywhere in the world. These one-credit courses, led by Bennington’s distinguished faculty, are designed for students who want to get a head start on their college experience, or for students already in college elsewhere who want to sample coursework available at Bennington. 

Courses will be one-month intensives for one credit each. Courses may be taken individually or as a series, for students who desire a more in-depth experience. Courses will be offered in three tracks: 

collage of three bennington books - the goldfinch, the omnivore's dilemma, and mary oliver

Writing and Literature

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, creative criticism, and literary studies taught by award-winning faculty in Bennington’s graduate and undergraduate writing and literature programs—programs which have produced notable alumni including Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, Kiran Desai, Jonathan Lethem, Michael Pollan, Safiya Sinclair, Anaïs Duplan, Anne Waldman, Mary Ruefle, and more.

climate march on bennington campus

Social and Environmental Justice

Examine the most pressing issues of our time, including racial and social justice, climate change, and economic inequality. Courses are taught by Bennington’s teacher-practitioner faculty who are scholars, activists, politicians, social scientists, and scientists. Today, Bennington College students and faculty are at the forefront of movements focused on plastics reduction, PFOA mitigation, and climate justice.

student working at vermont statehouse

Politics, Power, and Society

Learn how we create, engage, and change our political systems with courses in political science, anthropology, socio-linguistics, and more. Bennington students, faculty, and alumni are changemakers at a global scale. They have served in the United Nations, been key players in civil rights legislation, advocated for global public health, and more.

Deadlines

Please register no later than one week before the first day of the class you'd like to take. See below for dates. 

Pricing

  • Courses are priced at $600 per course, and fees are reimbursed for students who choose to come to Bennington. Vermont high school juniors and seniors may use a dual enrollment voucher in lieu of payment.
  • If a Bennington Early College Program student later applies to attend Bennington as an undergraduate, they will be reimbursed $300. The balance will be reimbursed if the student enrolls at Bennington. 
Meet Your Mentors

PLUS-COURSES

Curriculum

August

Literature
and Writing
 
The
Scriptorium:
Love

September

Literature
and Writing
 
Fiction: Beginnings & Endings
Social and Environmental Justice
Performing Power and Local Government

October and November 

ENDANGEREDL

Politics, Power, and Society
Endangered Languages: Threats, Extinction, Survival?
Taught by  Thomas Leddy-Cecere
10:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-3:00 pm | August 9-13

Experts predict that 40-80% of the world's languages will lose their last speakers and disappear in the next hundred years, setting the stage for a 21st century "extinction event" unlike any other in the half million year history of human language. What are the forces driving us toward such an future, and how can we understand its impacts on speakers of endangered languages and in the broader world? What, if anything, can be done to avert this outcome and the harm it stands to cause? Together, we will explore these questions and their intersections with social justice, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and work collectively to identify paths forward for the survival of global language diversity and the human experience it expresses.

SCRIPTORIUML

Literature and Writing 
The Scriptorium: Love
Taught by  Camille Guthrie
10:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-3:00 pm | August 9-13

This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” serves as a class for writers interested in improving their academic essay-writing skills and trying out college-level writing practices. We will first learn about the seven kinds of love, and our readings may include the following: Plato, Ovid, Sappho, Roland Barthes, Shakespeare, Clarice Lispector, Octavia Butler, Cathy Park Hong. We will write low-stakes personal and critical responses every day; do close readings of the texts; learn from the style of each writer; engage in collaborative activities; and work on developing persuasive thesis statements. Our learning goals include practicing to write with complexity, imagination, and clarity, as we read model examples of form and content on the theme of Love.

FICTIONBE

Literature and Writing 
Fiction: Beginnings & Endings
Taught by Monica Ferrell
Wednesdays 4:30-6:30 pm EST | September 8, 15, 22, 29 

A reader enters a piece of fiction the way a detective enters a crime scene: sifting the sentences for clues, testing each new detail in order to assess whether it will prove meaningful. In this course, we’ll investigate how writers make maximal use of the opening pages of their stories and novels by breaking down key passages to discover the way a narrative’s seeds have been planted in the work of authors such as Knut Hamsun, Carmen Maria Machado, Robert Musil, and ZZ Packer. Similarly, we’ll pay close attention to how novels and stories end, how they mirror or echo their openings to create resonance, and how they employ sensory description or a final revelation to provide a sense of closure. We will also experiment with writing a series of beginnings and develop one into a brief short story, which we will workshop together as a group.

PERFORMINGP

Social and Environmental Justice
Performing Power and Local Government
Taught by Aaron Landsman
6:00-8:00 pm | September 20, 23, 27, 30 and October 4, 7, 14. 

Through this course, students attend local government meetings, speak with elected officials, activists and other players in cities, research the histories and philosophies of democracy, and create a short performance (live or online) using transcripts from the meetings we see. The class uses principles of theater to help you see yourselves in positions and spaces of real political power - spaces to which you may not have ready access. It includes readings from Plato to contemporary philosophers, from influential sociologist Erving Goffman to modern-day theater artists and activists. Ideal for students who want to investigate how power works, how it says it works, and how it might change. This course in particular will appeal to students who are interested in politics, theater and the ways they shape each other.

READINGO

Literature and Writing 
Fiction: Reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Taught by Manuel Gonzales
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 pm EST | October 13, 20, 27, and November 3

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude is a seminal, pivotal, magical, enduring work of tragicomedy and beauty, and we're going to do what we can to take it apart, look under the hood, kick the tires, and test drive the work to see what makes it so special, what makes it function as well as it does, and why it has affected readers emotionally and intellectually since its publication. Students in the course should begin reading the novel prior to the first session of class so we can hit the ground running. Over the four classes, we'll also explore the history of magical realism, the political context in which Marquez was writing, and the influences Marquez was drawing from and the influence his work had on subsequent writers.

SERIOUSN

Literature and Writing 
Nonfiction: Serious Noticing: How to Turn What We See into What We Write
Taught by  Marie Mockett
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 pm EST | November 9, 16, 30, and December 7, 2021 (skipping Thanksgiving Week)

"What do writers do when they seriously notice the world?" the critic James Wood asks. Perhaps, he suggests, they do no less than "rescue the life of things from their death." In this class, we will investigate what it means to seriously notice the world, and try to learn how to notice it better. We will ask: when we are looking at a person, place or thing, what are we even seeing in the first place? The heart of nonfiction involves the translation of our personal vision into a story rooted in fact. The depth of our writing depends on many things, including a facility with language and metaphor; but it also depends on how deeply we can see into the world around us, and perceive layers.  We will look at essays which examine the nature of seeing, and study how other writers use their personal lens to keenly examine a range of issues. The ability to see well--to pay attention--can be brought to bear on writing involving travel, race, gender, religion,class, pain and joy. We will challenge ourselves to get rid of received opinions and the pre-existing tropes we have been taught as part of an effort to liberate our imaginations and voices, so we can produce the most original and accurate writing possible.