MFA in Writing Resources
Your Resource Center for all things residency. Here you'll find guidelines, forms, graduation resources, links to Crossett Library, travel and planning resources, and more.
The Bennington Writing Seminars (BWS) was founded in January 1994 by Liam Rector, working with Bennington College and with a core faculty of writer/teachers. In 2019 the Seminars celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
Bennington College has long been a home to the practitioner/teacher and to writers including Bernard Malamud, Theodore Roethke, W.H. Auden, Mary Oliver, Kenneth Burke, Hortense Calisher, John Gardner, Edward Hoagland, Stanley Kunitz, Ben Bellitt, Nicholas Delbanco, and Stephen Sandy among others.
In the winter of 1996 the Writing Seminars graduated its first class, conferring the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Writing and Literature to twenty students. The poet Donald Hall was the program’s first graduation speaker and continued to be engaged with the Writing Seminars until his death in 2018. We now offer a full scholarship for poets in his name.
Faculty who conduct workshops at Bennington during residency act as mentors to students during periods of correspondence off-campus. At Bennington we place as great an emphasis upon reading as we do upon writing—seeing the two, for the writer, as part of the same intertwining process.
The low-residency format is especially well-suited for the education of the writer. Periods of solitude, in tutorial correspondence with mentors, culminate in residencies at Bennington that are, in effect, intense symposia. The Seminars offer concentrations in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, as well as a dual-genre option to study across disciplines.
In keeping with Bennington's progressive tradition, the course of study in the Seminars is generated largely by the student. Students confer closely with their faculty members to form their own reading lists, and submit original work—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—for critique at regular intervals throughout the term. The tutorial development of student work is at the heart of the Seminars, as it is at the heart of Bennington College and its other programs in drama, dance, music, the visual arts, and in the humanities, languages and sciences.
The Seminars maintains a maximum student-to-faculty ratio of five to one in order to provide individual attention to each student.
THE LOW-RESIDENCY FORMAT
The low-residency format is a response of the literary sensibility to the realities of modern life. It offers considerable freedom to the student, but the student must be self-disciplined and self-reliant.
During the correspondence period students are expected to devote at least 25 hours each week to their writing and reading.
Once accepted into the Seminars in a particular genre (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or in the dual-genre), the student is committed to five residency periods and four correspondence terms. Students who elect and have been approved for the dual-genre option, commit to six residencies and five correspondence terms. Over the course of the correspondence terms, each student will have four (five for dual-genre students) different teachers. We believe strongly that intense exposure to different sensibilities is, in the long run, one of the bounties of the Seminars.
To a student who elects it, we do offer a "the third-term switch." This is a chance to pursue one term of instruction in a second genre. A fiction writer may request to work in nonfiction to explore memoir, say, or essays; a nonfiction writer may request to study with a poet; and so on. Such a request must be approved by the student’s second-term teacher and be reviewed and approved by the Director. We do specify this is only a third-term option, to be taken up once the primary genre track has been firmly established, and before the final term. Work done during a third-term switch may be included in the final thesis/portfolio.
The final term is more or less devoted to completing the required thesis: a portfolio of stories or a novel, or a combination of the two, for the fiction writer; a collection of a nonfiction work for the nonfiction writer; a manuscript of poems for the poet; or a mixed-genre portfolio, for students who have done a third-term genre switch or have completed a dual-genre option, that reflects the course of study. Students will also submit a revised critical essay as part of their thesis and give a reading from their work during their final residency.
The work for which the MFA is awarded must be generated while enrolled in the Seminars.
Sixteen credits are conferred per term, upon successful completion of all required work, and 64 credits are required for the MFA degree, 80 for the dual-genre option.
The Seminars are designed, over four terms and five residencies, to develop a steady engagement with the processes of composition of new work, revision, reading, and critical thinking. The Seminars aim, by stages, to prepare students to bring their work to readers and to the public through a final portfolio/thesis, a final critical essay, and a final reading of a student’s original work.
SUMMARY OF REQUIREMENTS BY TERM
First Term & Second Term (and Third Term for Dual-Genre Students)
- Ongoing original work, including revisions
- 20 to 30 books read
- Selected critical responses to readings
- 10-page essay based on readings
- 4 or 5 packet exchanges (depending on the term) with their teacher, at regular intervals
Third Term (Fourth Term for Dual-Genre Students)
- Ongoing original work, including revisions
- 20 to 30 books read
- Selected critical responses to readings
- 15-page critical essay based on readings
- 4 or 5 packet exchanges with teacher, at regular intervals
Fourth Term (Fifth Term for Dual-Genre Students)
- Ongoing original work directed towards completion of a thesis, critical paper, and reading
- Minimum of 10 books read
- Selected critical responses to readings
- 4 or 5 packet exchanges with teacher, at regular intervals
- Preparation of a formal twenty-minute reading of one's work to be given at the parting residency
- Submission of a thesis to two faculty readers
- Submission of a thesis and critical paper to Crossett Library
Students must also attend two 10-day residency periods each year during the course of study, one in January and one in June, plus a final residency to mark the completion of the course of study. These are high-energy and high-demand sessions and we require full participation. Students must arrive the day before and leave no earlier than after the final scheduled academic event of the residency, being in residence the entire 10 days and planning travel arrangements and other commitments to ensure no break in the 10-day concentration. The residencies are meant to be a retreat from the routines and affiliations of daily life.
DURING RESIDENCY, STUDENTS CAN EXPECT:
- To have work discussed in workshop sessions with other students in the genre or, where the opportunity presents itself, to participate in a mixed-genre workshop. Students will send their work in advance of the workshop, as directed by our mailings, so that students will have ample time to read and fully comment on one another’s work prior to coming to the residencies.
- To confer privately with the new teacher. The purpose of the one-on-one meeting is to discuss the term's project, to develop a reading list, and to explain the format of the critical component of the work. The student is expected to read between 20 and 30 books each term for the first three terms (four terms for dual-genre students), a minimum of 10 books in the last term, and students should arrive at each residency with a first draft of their upcoming term's reading list, to be discussed with their teacher as a part of the contract for that term's work.
- To meet with their teacher from the previous correspondence term, to talk about that term's work, and consider the connection to the work going forward.
- To attend the lectures, Genre Seminars and Master Classes presented and taught by visiting writers and faculty, to attend the nightly readings of visiting writers and faculty, and to take advantage of informal opportunities for exchange throughout the day.
The visiting-writer and faculty lectures are a crucial part of the educational mission of the residency, creating a community of learning for students and faculty alike. Unlike workshops and Master Classes which are primarily centered on matters of craft, visiting-writer and faculty lectures are meant to model the writer at work as they think about literature.
In the Writing Seminars we recognize the inter-relatedness of all literary genres. A fiction writer could never graduate from the Writing Seminars without a grasp of poetry, and no poet can escape the demands and beauties of good prose. The tension between the line and the sentence is a music by which we live, study, and write.
Nearly every night of the residency period, faculty and guests will read from their work. The evening readings are a time for the whole Writing Seminars community to come together; lectures, readings and classes offered during the residency are crucial features of the program, and should be attended by all students. Students also organize a reading series of their own, in which every student is encouraged to participate.
There are also various discussions and panels organized on subjects of pressing interest to all serious writers: publication, reviewing, employment, diversity, censorship, etc. which can be crucial for a writer’s professional and artistic development.
Some useful definitions:
- Lectures take place in Tishman for the whole BWS community. These are (almost always) a written text delivered on a literary, life-of-letters or craft subject. They last about an hour, with a half-hour for questions and discussion.
- Master Classes take place (usually) in the Symposium Room of CAPA, and are for students only (faculty do not attend). Some are literature seminars with reading to be done in advance. Others have been more craft-focused or generative. Handouts—or pre-assigned texts—are usual. These are also 90 minutes with ample time for questions.
THE CORRESPONDENCE EXCHANGES THROUGHOUT EACH TERM
The Writing Seminars has two terms of slightly uneven length. During the shorter spring term beginning in January, students are required to complete four packets of work, though individual teachers may schedule and request five. In the longer term beginning in June, students are required to complete five packets of work.
The packets will consist of written responses to readings and a comprehensive amount of work in the genre as decided between the student and teacher during their one-on-one meeting.
Punctuality between students and teachers in exchanging packets is not only essential, it is integral to the nature of the low-residency educative process itself. Teachers will announce at each residency the deadlines for receiving packets from their students, and teachers will have their responses to packets in student hands no later than 10 days after those deadlines. Most teachers will request to use email as the primary method of exchange of work, and we require that all students and faculty correspond via their Bennington College email account. If corresponding via US mail, students will supply teachers with self-addressed, stamped, priority-post envelopes for the return of their packets. Where teachers elect for speedier mailings for returning packets, teachers are required to take up that expense themselves.
The responses by teachers will be thorough, taking up both detailed matters, writing style, the inner logic of the sequence, etc., and the larger perspectives. However, students should expect each teacher to work differently within a fixed framework of expectations and requirements for each term’s study.
Midterm evaluations by teachers will be written only if they find sufficient concerns regarding the student’s progress. Midterm evaluations are not made part of the student's transcript, but are used to assess strengths and address any problems.
This is a low-residency program—for teachers as well as students—and we believe in the model of one exchange per month for either four or five months. While more frequent contact is generally discouraged, there are always contingencies, and teachers and students are free to make arrangements that are mutually acceptable.
By the same token, students are encouraged to interact with each other throughout the term. We encourage students to create communities—real and virtual—that will outlast their two years in the Seminars.
Our teachers expect to read only work-in-progress, work of the present. Past work, through substantive revision with a teacher, can become work of the present. Only work done in or revised while in the Seminars can be included in the final portfolio/thesis. Reading of other past work is left to the discretion of each teacher.
After the correspondence period the student and the teacher have a final meeting at the following residency. This is the time for both to reflect upon the collaboration, take care of any unfinished business, and consult about the transition and the upcoming project work.
The dual-genre option is a five-term program of study reserved for students who are judged advanced enough in two genres to produce a satisfactory thesis that includes work from both genres. Students will study three terms in the major genre and two terms in the minor genre. Dual-genre students are not required to produce more writing or submit more packets per term than single-genre students.
To be considered for a dual-genre degree, applicants must apply in two different genres. If the applicant’s manuscripts are accepted in both genres, the applicant will study three terms in the major genre (the one they applied in primarily) and two terms in the minor genre, successfully completing 80 graduate-credit hours over five terms.
Dual-genre students will work with three different teachers in the major genre and two different teachers in the minor genre and will attend a total of six residencies. The sequence of study will be: terms 1 and 2: major genre, terms 3 and 4: minor genre, term 5: major genre.
Students who do not initially apply in more than one genre may, by or before their second term, apply to study in a second genre. Application deadlines are September 1 for the upcoming winter term, and March 1 for the upcoming summer term. Though dual-genre students will complete a mandatory five-term course of study, students accepted into this option late in their tenure may be required to complete a longer course of study. The decision to approve or deny students into this option will be made by the Executive Director, Director, and a Faculty Advisory Committee.
Any changes over the course of the dual-genre student’s study, including, in particular, any change in the designation of major and minor genres, may be made only in consultation with the Executive Director, Director, and the student’s immediate and most recent faculty advisors.
Dual-genre students may not submit work in more than one genre per term, with one exception: in the student’s final term, the student must submit for the teacher’s approval a creative portfolio thesis that contains work in both major and minor genres. A faculty second reader will also evaluate the work of the entire thesis.
Page requirement for dual-genre theses: 3/5 of the thesis must be dedicated to the major genre and 2/5 must be dedicated to the minor genre. Manuscript length for prose: 125-150 total pages, which includes 40-50 pages of poetry.
Rules and Policies
Please note: The following rules and policies and all other provisions of these guidelines supersede any previous guidelines. By enrolling in the Writing Seminars, students automatically accept the rules and policies and acknowledge the right of the Writing Seminars to impose penalties and to take disciplinary action.
After each residency, residency evaluations will be sent to students, along with course evaluations at the end of each term. Feedback will be collected via Google Form.
No partial credit can be given for the term's work. Credit will not be awarded if the student has not completed the term's work to the teacher's satisfaction and if they receive a failing grade. Failure of a term results in dismissal from the program.
A student who receives a Marginal Pass for a term if their work was unfinished or was not up to graduate level standards, will be put on Academic Probation in the coming term.
An Incomplete may be considered when extenuating circumstances such as illness or death in the family arise. In such a case, the teacher may, at their discretion, recommend an Incomplete for the term, if material is of insufficient quality, quantity, unacceptably late, or simply not finished. All Incompletes will be reviewed by the Executive Director, the Director, in consultation with the teacher. who will make the final decision to confer the Incomplete and will also define a written plan for completion of work. If work is not completed by the date specified in the plan, the student will be denied credit for the term and will receive a failing grade.
Students who have received a Marginal Pass for the term or are carrying an Incomplete or are on Academic Probation are no longer considered in Good Academic Standing and will be allowed only one subsequent term to get back in good standing.
If a student withdraws from the Seminars during the correspondence term, a letter of withdrawal (an email) must be submitted to email@example.com with a copy to the Director.
Note: A student who withdraws from the Seminars any time before degree completion will be assessed fees according to the schedule in effect and published by the Business Office at the time of withdrawal. (See “Withdrawal” and “Refund” sections.)
If any student's correspondence packet is more than 10 days late, the teacher will notify the Director and firstname.lastname@example.org. Late packets may be cause for dismissal. For students who are receiving federal financial aid or scholarships, late-packet arrivals may jeopardize their eligibility for said aid/scholarship monies.
After midterm but before the residency, students are asked to submit a ranked list of preferences for the next term's teacher. Every effort is made to honor those requests, but this is not always possible. Students who do not receive one of their top preferences one term will be given priority in their requests the following term. It is important to note that we cannot guarantee students will receive their top choice. The program administration assigns faculty for first-term students.
Students cannot change teachers once the term has begun.
In the third-term, as noted, the student is eligible to apply for a one-term genre switch. Notification of the intent to switch must come by either Sept. 1 or March 1 in the term preceding, as stated in the Academic Calendar, and will not be considered after that date.
As previously noted, students who qualify may apply to be accepted into the dual-genre option. Guidelines are detailed above.
The final term is the "thesis term,” a period of concentrated focus during which the student, in consultation with the teacher, completes the portfolio/thesis and the revised critical essay required for graduation. For fiction writers this is a collection of stories or a novel, or a combination of the two, 100 to 120 pages; for nonfiction writers a manuscript of either a collection of essays or a single topic book, 100 to 120 pages; and for poets a manuscript of poems, 48 to 64 pages. For dual-genre students, 3/5 of the thesis must be dedicated to the major genre and 2/5 must be dedicated to the minor genre, 120 to 150 pages of prose for nonfiction and fiction; 40 to 50 pages of poetry.
Any exceptions to the length requirements must be approved in advance by the teacher. The decision of the faculty member is final. Due dates, established by the Seminars, will be strictly observed. A mixed-genre portfolio, dictated by the student's course of study—work done during a third-term switch or done by dual-genre students, of course—will be allowed.
A final panel (consisting of the final term teacher and a second reader) will be established for each student, for approval of the thesis manuscript. The final-term teacher will act as the student’s primary thesis advisor and first reader.
The second reader’s responsibility is to approve (pass or fail) and write an evaluation of the thesis, which will be made a part of the final record; second readers do not meet and confer with students about their thesis and are chosen by the program administration. Students receive short written second-reader feedback from email@example.com after their final residency.
The panel will submit its recommendation for approval to the Director of the Seminars and the Associate Director. The final course credit and graduation eligibility cannot be established until the thesis manuscript has been received and approved.
In addition to the copies submitted to the final-term teacher and second reader, each student will submit one e-file copy of the thesis for archival purposes and one hard copy of the thesis which will be made available for public circulation, to Bennington College’s Crossett Library, during the first five days of the final residency.
Final Critical Essay
During the student’s third term, they will write a 15-page critical essay under the guidance of their faculty mentor for that term. That teacher will advise the student on revisions and will evaluate the essay in the final narrative evaluation for the term. See "Critical Writing Guidelines" below for more information on the critical writing curriculum.
The final essay will be submitted as part of the student’s final third-term packet and the same draft will be submitted as part thesis manuscript to be turned in to the library. There is no final second reader for the critical essay.
At the end of each residency, there will be a graduation ceremony. Graduating students participate in the ceremony during their graduate term residency. Students are encouraged to invite family members and friends to celebrate.
ACADEMIC PROGRESS & ACADEMIC STANDING
Academic progress in the Bennington Writing Seminars is both quantitative and qualitative. Every student’s academic progress is evaluated each term. As a result, students earn a level of academic standing: Good Standing, Academic Probation, or Dismissal.
All students are considered full time. The number of credits earned per academic term is 16. Each term is deemed completed when all work has been received and accepted by a faculty member. A total of 64 credits is needed to fulfill the degree; 80 credits for the dual-genre option.
Once the teacher has written the final narrative evaluation of the term's work and deems the work satisfactory, the credits are conferred. No partial credit can be awarded for an incomplete term.
All students are given access to Populi, the college’s grading portal, and are expected to check it for their grades and evaluations after each term. Questions on how to use the system can be addressed to the Registrar: Carly Rudzinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The narrative evaluations then become part of the student's transcript. For transcript purposes, these evaluations serve as a short portrait of student accomplishments.
The final narrative evaluation includes a qualitative judgment of Pass, comparable to (A-C), Marginal Pass, comparable to (D), or Fail, comparable to (F). To remain in Good Standing, a student should receive a Pass each term. A student who receives a Fail, will receive no credit and faces dismissal from the program. Only one Marginal Pass is allowed during the 4 terms of the program (5 terms for the dual-genre option). A student who receives a Marginal Pass for a term will be put on Academic Probation in the coming term. If a student receives a second Marginal Pass, they will be dismissed from the program.
When requested by an individual student, a letter grade will also be conferred. Such a request must be made in writing before each term begins and be approved by the Associate Director. You may request letter grades via this “Letter Grade Request” form by December 1 for Winter (January) term and by May 1 for Summer (June) term. Under no circumstances will letter grades be reversed once conferred or conferred retroactively, once a student has graduated from the Seminars.
An Incomplete may be considered when extenuating circumstances such as illness or death in the family arise. In such a case, the teacher may, at the teacher's discretion, recommend an Incomplete for the term. All Incompletes will be reviewed by the Director, who will make the final decision to confer the Incomplete and will also define a written plan for completion of work. If work is not satisfactorily completed by the date specified in the plan the student will not receive credit for the term, will have to repeat the term, or may be dismissed from the Seminars. Extensions on Incompletes are not granted.
Causes for dismissal include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to attend workshops
- Late receipt of packets
- Incomplete or insufficient work
- Unsatisfactory work
- Failure to comply with the Guidelines
- Behavior that endangers the health, safety, well-being, or overall community of the Seminars
The Director shall determine whether to dismiss a student and will render their decision in writing to the student. The student may appeal the decision of the Director within one week, in writing, to the Dean of the College. The decision of the Dean of the College is final in all cases.
Faculty members at Bennington are chosen according to the literary merits of their writing and their ability to teach. The faculty lead workshops during the two 10-day residencies in January and June, advise students about their courses of study, correspond with students during the terms between residencies, give public readings of their work, and on occasion offer lectures and Master Classes and Genre Seminars.
Visiting writers conduct lectures and discussions of literature that take place within the ten-day residencies, and give public readings of their work during each residency.
In addition to the faculty, the administration of the Writing Seminars is taken up by Director, an Associate Director, and a Program Coordinator. The Director is responsible for the vision and direction of the Seminars, and for the hiring of faculty and guests. The Associate Director is responsible for implementation of the Seminars on a daily basis, and is responsible for student concerns during the periods of residency and correspondence. The Program Coordinator is in year-round residence at Bennington College, and responsible for communications and business between the Seminars and the College.
Bennington College is governed by its Board of Trustees, who bear legal and fiduciary responsibility for the institution; by the President of the College, who serves at the pleasure of the Trustees; by the Provost and Dean of the College; by the Director of the Seminars, who consults with the College concerning Seminars Guidelines, and is responsible for faculty hiring, evaluation, and dismissal; by the Associate Director, by the Program Coordinator, and by the faculty. Each has a specific role to play, with specific responsibilities.
Within what we have to offer, there is great freedom for students to fashion their own courses of study. The Seminars cannot function as a democracy, but within its hierarchy we plan to maximize the greatest freedom and responsibility possible for its administrators, faculty, students, and staff.
Faculty maintain a basic continuity from term to term, though faculty members do change according to the needs of the program. The visiting writers generally change from residency to residency, although some visiting writers may return.
The entire faculty, as well as a faculty steering committee meets regularly at the beginning of each residency.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Students may begin their studies in the Seminars during either of the 10-day residency sessions in January or June. Admission is limited and competitive.
Students are admitted to the Seminars primarily on the strength of the original manuscript (s) and the essay submitted with the application. Each manuscript is judged according to its literary merit, its promise, and its indication of a student's readiness to study writing and literature on the graduate level.
Although we encourage students to write broadly in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction and criticism, students will be accepted to work in one primary genre, unless they apply for the dual-genre degree option. With the exception of the third-term switch and the dual-genre option, students stay in their chosen genre of focus. The manuscript(s) submitted with the application should be in the genre(s) in which the student intends to concentrate.
Applicants should otherwise provide a two-to-three-page essay on their reading life and their literary influences.
Students who are applying to the Seminars will often have completed some graduate work or attained graduate degrees in various fields; the Seminars may consider awarding up to one semester’s worth of credits earned at an accredited creative writing program that awards MA, MFA, or PhD degree. No more than one semester’s worth of credits will be awarded, no matter how many credits were earned while pursuing a degree in another program. In order to have a transcript reviewed, students must make this request at the time of enrollment in the program. Transcripts will be reviewed by the Program Director in consultation with the College’s Dean of Studies.
Normally a bachelor's degree is required to gain admission, but this requirement can be waived if the quality of the application submitted warrants such an exception.
In addition to the original manuscript(s) and the essay, in admitting students we will give weight to previous education and life experience. We look to see that a prospective student has the ability to work independently, to successfully use the low-residency format, and to benefit from direct criticism within the collaborative nature of the residency periods. Our aim is to help guide students who are very self-motivated and who have already made their compact with the world of writing and reading.
Official transcripts from previous schools attended must also be submitted, along with recommendations from three people familiar with the student's writing and capacity to sustain study independently and collaboratively.
A $70 nonrefundable application fee ($100 for Dual-Genre applicants) is required. This fee cannot be waived.
Financial aid is available in the form of student loans. These funds must be applied for within the deadlines outlined on the application form. We invite interested applicants to call and discuss these matters in detail.
Application deadlines: Currently September 1 for winter term, beginning with the January residency, and March 1 for the summer term, beginning with the June residency.
Students who accept enrollment must make the matriculation deposit by the specified deadline to be considered fully enrolled.
Fees and Billing
A required, non-refundable matriculation deposit of $500 is due upon acceptance into the Seminars. This deposit is nonrefundable and holds the student’s placement in the Seminars. The full amount of the deposit will be applied to the student’s first-term’s tuition.
The Seminars fee for the first four terms (five for the dual-degree option) includes tuition, room and board, and is billed prior to the beginning of each term. In addition, students are billed for their “graduate residency fee” prior to the fifth (or 6th in the case of dual-genre students) and final residency. All fees, including the final residency fee, are due and payable as stated on the bill, by May 15 for the summer term and December 1 for the winter term. Payments not received by the Business Office by the due date will be assessed late payment penalties.
Students who have not paid in full all amounts due and payable to the College, or whose loans are not guaranteed before the first day of classes of the upcoming term and who have not requested and received written authorization from the Business Office, will not be allowed to enroll in the residency, attend workshops, or to occupy or use campus facilities. Such action will not constitute release of the student or the other responsible party from his or her financial obligation to the College.
The primary responsibility for financing an education belongs to the student. Financial aid is available in the form of student loans. To begin the application process, those students who need financial aid fill out and return the financial aid application form at the time they apply to the Seminars. The Financial Aid Office requires the following: the Bennington College Financial Aid Application, a copy of the most recent federal income tax return, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and financial aid transcripts. The student must complete the financial aid process by the deadline determined by the Financial Aid Office and in any event before the start of the residency.
Scholarships are awarded at varying amounts to students on the basis of merit and need and with input from the admissions committee, the Executive Director and the Director. There is no application. Scholarship monies are awarded once during a student’s time here and spread across the terms in which they are enrolled.
All scholarship monies derive from the generosity of Bennington Writing Seminars alumni who give in order that future writers can receive the gift of time, craft, and camaraderie that is a Bennington trademark.
Withdrawal for any reason from the College must be submitted in writing to email@example.com and to the Director. The effective date of withdrawal is the date on which this written notice is received. The enrollment fee is forfeit in the event of a withdrawal.
Students receiving federal aid will have refunds calculated in accordance with federal refund policy. Details are available from the Financial Aid Office.
A student who is not receiving federal financial aid who withdraws from the Seminars any time, from the first day of the term before its completion, will be assessed fees according to the schedule published by the Business Office in effect at the time of withdrawal.
Should a student withdraw for any reason after classes have begun, the calculation of tuition, room, and board will be revised for the term based on the following guidelines:
- Withdrawal on or during the first 5 days of classes. A student withdrawing on or during the first through the fifth calendar day of classes will be charged 25% of the full term charges;
- Withdrawal before the 11th day of classes. A student withdrawing on or during the sixth day through the tenth day of classes will be charged 50% of the full term charges;
- Withdrawal before the 15th day. A student withdrawing on or during the eleventh day through the fourteenth day of classes will be charged 75% of the full term charges;
- After the 14th day. Students will be charged 100% of the full term charges beginning on the fifteenth day of classes.
Students receiving federal aid will have refunds calculated in accordance with the federal refund policy in effect at the time of withdrawal. Details are available from the Financial Aid Office.
Leaves of Absence
Requests for leaves of absence––not to involve more than one term’s absence––from the Seminars, must be received via this form by March 1 for the summer term and September 1 for the winter term. No exceptions. Students may take only one leave of absence during their time in the program.
If a student decides after the deadline to take a leave of absence, she or he may finish the term but will be considered withdrawn at the end of the term, and will be required to reapply to the Seminars with the same status as other applicants seeking admission for the term to which she or he is reapplying.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“Buckley Amendment”) of 1974 guidelines are followed. Student academic records are maintained in the Office of the Dean of the College. Faculty and Administrators may review student records as needed. Students may review their own records.
Transcripts are maintained by the Dean’s Office and may be requested by students by writing to the Dean. There is no charge for transcripts. Transcripts contain the teachers’ final evaluations. No student will be permitted to receive or to direct delivery of an academic transcript to another institution, agency, or individual until all of the student’s financial obligations to the College have been met.
BENNINGTON COLLEGE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Crossett Library, the media center, and the post office will keep regular hours, to be announced before each residency. Sports equipment may be requested through the Meyer Recreation Barn Fitness Center, and the fitness center may be used only when a monitor is on duty.
Writing Seminars students live in single rooms in student houses. Housing is all-gender with shared bathrooms. Bed linens, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided. It is the policy of the College that children and families not be housed in any campus residence hall.
Meals are provided by the College in the Commons dining hall. There are various dietary options available at all meals. There is no reimbursement for meals not taken.
In accordance with Vermont State law, the College is required to provide employees, students, and visitors with clearly stated guidelines on when and where they may smoke. The state policy restricts smoking in all places of public access. The policy has been formulated in recognition of the Surgeon General’s conclusion that: smoking is injurious to health; and involuntary (or second-hand) smoking is a cause of disease in nonsmokers The College has designated its administrative, academic, and other public buildings SMOKE-FREE. Smoking is not permitted inside any of these buildings nor within 30 feet of entryways and exits of all buildings.
Students may park properly registered automobiles in designated lots. Vehicle registration information will be taken at Registration.
Animals on Campus
All animals are prohibited from the campus except those belonging to Bennington College faculty/staff in approved housing.
The use or possession of candles or incense in any campus building is strictly prohibited. Halogen lamps with bulbs that exceed 300 watts are prohibited in student houses and faculty and staff offices.
Hallways and all areas of egress in student houses must be kept clear at all times. Fire screens must be employed whenever fireplaces are in use.
It is strongly suggested that students use power strips in their rooms. Three-way plugs may not be used anywhere in student houses.
Gatherings in student-house living rooms must not exceed the Vermont Fire Code. The maximum number is 80.
Gatherings in student rooms must not exceed the Vermont Fire Code. The maximum number of students in a room is 8, including the occupant of the room.
Bonfires are prohibited without the approval of the Director of Campus Safety. Approval for a bonfire is subject to the safety and environmental conditions as determined by the North Bennington Fire Department and/or the College.
IN THE EVENT OF FIRE:
PULL THE RED, MANUAL FIRE ALARM SWITCH IN THE BUILDING. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE LOCATION OF THESE ALARMS.
EVACUATE THE BUILDING.
CALL SECURITY IMMEDIATELY AT EXT. 210—DAY OR NIGHT. SECURITY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING THE BUILDING AND DETERMINING WHEN OCCUPANTS MAY REENTER.
All student houses are equipped with fire extinguishers, and all the houses have smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in the common areas as well as in all student rooms that are linked to a located-annunciator panel in the Security Booth. Tampering with fire safety apparatus is a serious offense. Vermont law states that “a person who willfully or knowingly tampers with, interferes with, or impairs any public fire apparatus, wire, or associated equipment (including fire extinguishers) shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000 or both.” Students who tamper with such equipment will be subject to College and/or state sanctions, which may include fines, suspension, or expulsion.
Motor Vehicle Regulations
All vehicle and traffic laws promulgated by the State of Vermont are effective on the Bennington College campus as elsewhere in the state. Vehicles in operation must be licensed, registered, insured, equipped, and otherwise legal to operate.
All motor vehicle accidents that occur on campus must be reported promptly to Security. Motorists are reminded that leaving the scene of an accident or failure by a motorist to file a Report of a Motor Vehicle Accident form (available at Security) is a violation of Vermont law.
Security has the responsibility for enforcing motor vehicle rules and regulations. Anyone violating motor vehicle regulations may be prohibited from driving on campus. The College has the authority to ban vehicles from campus.
Fire lanes must be kept clear at all times. Cars parked in fire lanes are subject to towing.
Vehicles must be parked only in areas to which they are assigned. (See Parking Rules and Regulations available at Registration.)
No vehicle shall be operated at a speed above the posted speed on the speed limit signs.
Reckless driving is prohibited. The College defines reckless driving as driving that endangers people, property, or animals. Examples of reckless driving include, but are not limited to, drunk driving, driving at an excessive rate of speed, failure to yield to pedestrians, and driving across lawns.
Writing Seminars Regulations Regarding Alcohol and Parties
Only persons of legal drinking age under Vermont state law (21 years of age) may consume alcoholic beverages on College property. The use of a false ID or falsifying one’s ID is a violation of College policies and state laws.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages must be available at every function where alcoholic beverages are available.
Publicity and posters for College functions may not mention alcohol or imply that it will be available. Publicity and posters are not permitted for private parties that promote or mention alcohol or imply that it will be available.
Admittance to events at which alcohol is served is limited to the College community and invited guests.
With the exception of parties attended by fewer than 8 people (the number in compliance with the fire code) held in individual rooms, alcoholic beverages may not be served at any event on College property except under the auspices of the College’s catering permit through the Director of Food Services, who will determine if Vermont alcohol and beverage control regulations can be enforced.
Kegs of beer or beer balls are prohibited from College residences.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages out-of-doors or possession of an open container of alcoholic beverages out-of-doors on the Bennington campus is prohibited except at registered outdoor parties, which can only be sponsored by the College’s catering service.
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. Alcohol may not be sold directly or indirectly at parties held in individual student rooms.
Summary of Vermont State Laws on Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia
A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana shall be imprisoned for not more than six months and/or fined not more than $500. For selling marijuana, a person may be imprisoned for up to two years and/or fined up to $10,000.
A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing cocaine, heroin, LSD, or any other depressant, stimulant, narcotic, or hallucinogenic drug may be imprisoned for up to one year and/or fined up to $2,000. For selling cocaine or heroin, a person may be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined up to $100,000; for selling any other depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, a person may be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined up to $25,000; for selling LSD or other hallucinogenic drug, a person may be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined up to $25,000.
Bennington College is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination as defined under applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. The College does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV test, or any other legally protected status. Complaints of any type of unlawful discrimination that do not fall within the Sexual Harassment Policy above should be directed to the Director of Human Resources, whose office is located at Barn 102, whose telephone number is 802-440-4423, and whose email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Director of Human Resources also serves as the Title IX Coordinator, and complaints of sex discrimination under Title IX not covered by the Sexual Harassment Policy shall be directed to him or her in writing. The Director of Human Resources shall adjudicate any complaint of unlawful discrimination in a prompt and equitable manner, which will permit the complainant to make a written submission, to respond to any submission by the person complained against, to be given a written decision by the Director of Human Resources, and to take a written appeal to the President, whose decision, which will be rendered in writing, will be final. Except in extraordinary circumstances, such grievance shall be determined by the Director of Human Resources within 60 days of the filing of the complaint.
NOTE: Any complaint determined by the chair of the Sexual Harassment Hearing Committee to fall within the jurisdiction of the Sexual Harassment Policy must be brought pursuant to the Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures.
Because of their potential to damage the bonds of mutual trust and responsibility upon which the Bennington community depends, sexual or dating relationships between faculty and students, as well as between staff and students, are prohibited at all times and in all circumstances except those described immediately below, even if the relationship is consensual and regardless of the age of the student.
Recent Bennington College graduates who are hired in a staff role and who have an existing dating or sexual relationship with a current student may be exempted from this policy if they have no supervisory or functional staff role with the student and where the College, in its sole discretion, determines that such is not a conflict of interest or in conflict with the best interests of the student; however, they must inform both Human Resources and their hiring manager of the existing relationship before they are hired. Failure to abide by this policy will result in discipline of the faculty or staff member, up to and including dismissal from employment at the College.
Possession of dangerous, potentially dangerous, or unauthorized materials such as explosives, firearms, or other weapons (whether or not loaded with ammunition) on College property is strictly prohibited. Employees may not carry such materials onto College property in their vehicles or by other means. The Dean of the College may authorize in writing specific exceptions for job-related activities for faculty and technical staff. The Director of Campus Safety may authorize in writing specific exceptions for job-related activities for other personnel. Violation of this policy will be considered grounds for immediate discharge.
Critical Writing Guidelines
We believe that critical writing—defined, for the purposes of the Writing Seminars, as analytical prose about literature, and sometimes about other art forms—is an integral part not only of a writer’s education, but of their ongoing literary practice. We read to become better writers, we write to become better readers—the two activities are always in conversation; criticism provides the opportunity to turn this inner conversation into a work of literature, an essay written with intelligence and insight, but also with style and voice, those same elusive qualities we pursue and refine in our creative work. In fact, we believe that critical writing can be as “creative” as fiction or poetry in its deployment of precise and intentional language. Critical writing is creative writing, or should be, which is part of why we place such an emphasis on it in the Writing Seminars.
Writing Seminars students submit critical pieces throughout each term in the form of Annotations, which are short, energetic responses to books read; and in three essay-length papers submitted at the end of the first three terms. These pieces constitute opportunities to respond to exemplary writers, tease apart aspects of writerly technique, embrace or reject literary stances, and reach the kinds of understandings about writing that can only come through writing itself. They also provide practice in the argumentative essay, an essential tool in literature and life, and a template for many other literary structures. The practice of critical writing also invites students to find new uses for their literary voice: critical writing should be made of the same materials as creative work: well-wrought prose with a strong sense of authority and even personality. The critical practice strengthens the creative one, and vice versa.
Students’ annotations and essays can and should take many forms, some of which are detailed below, a mix, for the annotations, of informal responses, mini-essays, imitations, and close readings. The longer essays delve deeply into matters of technique, content, and style; they are extended opportunities for discovery and definition.
The Writing Seminars critical writing curriculum is designed to help students:
1) Develop the skills necessary for the writing of effective argumentative essays, including close reading, textual analysis, the effective use of quotations and information from primary and secondary sources, and the development and support of a clear and provable thesis;
2) Become intimately familiar with the work of a number of writers and to keep deepening that familiarity by revisiting some of those writers to reconsider impressions and analyses;
3) Read literary works as writers in order to understand how various technical aspects of writing function and how they might be applied to the student’s own creative writing;
4) Practice the writing of clear prose that could be understood by a general interest reader.
Through the writing of Annotations and three 10- to 15-page essays over the course of the MFA in Writing, students will develop complementary critical and creative writing skills.
Aspects of the Argumentative Essay
Bennington MFA students write argumentative essays, no matter the format, tone, or structure chosen, nor whether they envision a specialized audience or a general interest reader. The goal is to make a claim and convince the reader that it is correct. So, each essay will have a clear thesis statement (the claim), which will be located early in the piece, in the first few paragraphs, in which the writer will set up the stakes and situation of the argument before getting into the main body of the piece, the supporting evidence. This will be material—quotations, and paraphrased and summarized passages—drawn from various sources, works by and about the author under consideration. Most of the piece will consist of examples and arguments about how those examples support your thesis. Countless structures are possible, but most argumentative essays, no matter how unconventional, utilize these elements.
A separate Annotations Guide, with questions and ideas to use as starting points, as well as sample annotations, is made available to all Writing Seminars students.
The Essay Sequence
Students will turn in an essay in the last packet of each of the first three terms. The essay sequence is broadly structured as follows (essays questions and prompts are made available to all students, along with a library of sample essays):
First term, On Technique (10 pages): Students will focus on a single aspect of writerly technique as exemplified in a particular work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry read that term.
Second Term, Author Focused (10 pages): Students begin to delve into the work of a single author, identifying and making an argument about that writer’s literary technique, subject matter, and influence.
Third Term, Single Author, In-Depth Investigation (15 pages): For the final essay, which is written and submitted in the third term and resubmitted with the final creative thesis in the final term, may look in greater depth at the same author as the previous essay, or at another author. Students will examine this writer across several books and in conversation with secondary sources, such as contemporary reviews and scholarship.
- Academic Calendar
- Your Bennington.edu email
- Dual-Genre Option
- Disability Accommodation Request
- Online Lectures, Annotations, Tools, and Resources
- Upload your thesis
- Program Requirements: Term by Term
- Sexual Harassment/Assault Policy
- Shuttle Reservation Form
- Transcript Request: PDF transcripts and paper transcripts
- Campus Directory
General Residency Notes
Please refer to our Info for Residency Participants page for the most recent updates regarding protocols. See below for pre-arrival testing information.
Prior to your arrival, take some time to download the campus map, and familiarize yourself with the surrounding Bennington area. You can also take a virtual campus tour.
The Writing Seminars Office is located on the second floor of Cricket Hill/Literature House (#1 on the campus map).
Housing and Meals
Housing, including restrooms, is all-gender in single dorm rooms in the Bennington College residence halls. Bed linens, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided. It is the policy of the College that children and families not be housed in any campus residence hall. College policy for the MFA in Writing program stipulates no overnight guests. There are also no pets allowed. Once your room is assigned, it cannot be changed.
We will try to house you by class, but cannot guarantee it. Please do not lobby for housing.
Take a look around at the various residential housing (these virtual tours are conducted by undergraduates). Writing Seminars students are typically housed in the Barnes Houses, Woo Houses, and Colonial Houses.
Three meals per day (except on arrival and departure days) are provided by the College in the Commons Dining Hall (#14 on the campus map). There are various dietary options available at all meals. There is no reimbursement for meals not taken.
Campus food staff can accommodate all food allergies and dietary needs. They prepare vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options regularly. Please let them know directly when you arrive for your first meal if you have any outstanding needs.
- Registration: 10:30am-5:00pm, in Commons Lounge — If you will be arriving before 10:30am, we cannot issue keys, so please be patient until registration opens; if you will be arriving after 5:00pm, you can pick up your packet and room key at Campus Safety (a small red building on the left at the main entrance to campus, #12 on the campus map).
- In order to receive your room key, and ID if you are new, you must have paid your tuition in full and uploaded your vaccination/booster information, if you haven't already.
- Parking: Please do not park on the street in front of the residence halls, except to unpack. Please park only in designated student "SP" areas identified on the campus map and do not park on the grass. Parking maps will be available at registration.
- Dinner: 5:30–7:00pm
- Faculty Readings: 7:00pm, in Tishman Lecture Hall
Sunday is a travel day. There are no workshops or academic events on that day. All Writing Seminars community members must be checked out of their dorms by no later than 1:00pm and keys returned to Cricket Hill by no later than 2:00pm, please.
Note: There are no overnight accommodations for faculty and students before Thursday and on the final Sunday night of each residency. There are also no accommodations at any time for pets. Overnight guests are not allowed in the residence halls, nor are babies and children.
How to Get Here (Travel and Shuttle)
Bennington Writing Seminars, Campus Safety, and the Office of Student Life have contracted with Green Mountain Express (GMX) to provide shuttle service to/from our Bennington, Vermont, campus from the Albany, New York, transportation hubs below on the first day of residency and on the last day. Reservations must be made in advance — the deadline is DECEMBER 15, 2023. You MUST reserve a spot by this date in order to ride the shuttle. The GMX shuttle is white and green with “Green Mountain Express” logo -- it will pick up and drop off at the following locations: Albany International Airport, Albany-Rensselaer train station, and Albany Bus Terminal.
While there is no charge for the shuttle, if your plans change, we ask you to please notify Campus Safety (email@example.com; 802-447-4250), so others can be accommodated.
The schedules for January 4 (arrival) and January 14 (departure) are listed below and on the reservation form. TO MAKE A RESERVATION, USE THIS RESERVATION FORM. Shuttles will fill up quickly, so please reserve your spot(s) in advance of the DECEMBER 15 deadline, if possible.
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Departs from Albany to Bennington College
- Departs airport 10:10am
- Departs bus terminal 10:40am
- Departs train station 11:00am
- Arrives campus noon
- Departs airport 1:10pm
- Departs bus terminal 1:40pm
- Departs train station 2:00pm
- Arrives campus 3:00pm
- Departs airport 7:30pm
- Departs bus terminal 8:00pm
- Departs train station 8:20pm
- Arrives campus 9:20pm
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Departs from Bennington College to Albany
- Departs campus 9:15am
- Arrives airport 10:15am
- Arrives bus terminal 10:45am
- Arrives train station 11:05am
- Departs campus 11:15am
- Arrives airport 12:15pm
- Arrives bus terminal 12:45pm
- Arrives train station 1:05pm
- Departs campus 1:15pm
- Arrives airport 2:15pm
- Arrives bus terminal 2:45pm
- Arrives train station 3:05pm
If your plans change unexpectedly or you experience travel delays, please notify Campus Safety by phone (802-447-4250) as soon in advance as you can. If your call is not immediately answered, please leave a detailed message with a callback number. Contacting Campus Safety ensures that the shuttle does not wait unnecessarily, and Campus Safety can provide information on other transportation options (which you can also find below). Non-shuttle travel expenses are your responsibility.
Times listed above for shuttles are subject to change due to unforeseen delays (weather, traffic, etc.), and passengers should be sure to factor such possibilities into their travel plans. The College and GMX are not responsible for missed trains, buses, or planes due to such circumstances.
In the event of a shuttle delay or cancellation due to inclement weather, passengers will be notified at the cellphone number provided by you (the passenger) on the registration form two hours prior to the scheduled pickup time. Bennington College is not responsible for missed trains, buses, or planes due to shuttle delays.
If you have any questions, please contact Campus Safety (firstname.lastname@example.org; 802-447-4250).
Coordinating your own ride
If you need or prefer to coordinate a ride yourself, OR if you are coming in early or late and need a way to get to Bennington, please contact:
- AJ Transportation, 802-442-7129
- BG Stewart, 802-688-7420, email@example.com
- Big John’s Transportation (John Masker), 518-522-2205
- KT Transportation, 518-728-5030
- Reliable Transportation LLC (Thomas Carieri), 802-236-7205, firstname.lastname@example.org
- UBER/LYFT: More reliable FROM Albany TO Bennington, than the other way
- Upstate Green Cab, 518-956-0332
- Yellow Cab, 518-434-2222
The cost of a one-way trip from Albany is typically around $100, excluding gratuity (check details when you call). Carpooling with others in the program — splitting the cost two or more ways — sometimes works out, so we recommend reaching out to your cohort/friends. Confirm the cost of the trip when you make the reservation.
- Vermont TransLines (Albany, Bennington, Burlington, and other destinations), 844-888-7267 or visit vttranslines.com — customer service representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:00am–5:00pm EST.
- Yankee Trails Bus (Bennington to Albany), 518-286-2400 or 800-822-2400 or visit yankeetrails.com/charter/bennington-vt-schedule.
Planning for Residency
The College continues to require COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for all faculty, staff, and students. Everyone is required to remain up to date on their vaccinations per CDC guidance and should complete this form before arriving on campus, if they haven't already. The College continues to monitor the CDC recommendations. The College additionally highly recommends that all participants receive the seasonal influenza vaccine, during flu season.
- If you are a visiting writer to campus, you may email your proof of vaccination to email@example.com—please indicate you will be participating at the residency.
- If you wish to request an exemption from the vaccination based on a medical contraindication or religious reason, email Health Services and your request will be reviewed.
- Please bookmark the Info for Residency Participants page and check back regularly for updates as this policy will be revisited and revised based on CDC guidance.
We ask that you test negative for COVID (a self-administered home antigen test is fine) within at least 48 hours of your arrival to campus. We are relying on the community's shared goal of staying healthy and will not be requiring reporting of tests. We encourage you to bring a few home antigen tests to campus, in case you develop symptoms mirroring those of COVID-19.
Please direct all questions regarding COVID to the college’s COVID Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All rooms are single occupancy, with shared all-gender restrooms, and are modestly furnished with a bed, pillow, dresser, desk, lamp, and chair, plus sheets, blankets, pillows, and two (rather small) towels. That's it. The rooms are basic, nothing fuzzy or fancy.
Each house has a living room and a kitchen: stove, sink, refrigerator, microwave oven, but not many cooking utensils as meals are provided in the Dining Hall. Bathrooms are all-gender and shared.
We will try to house you by class, but cannot guarantee it. Please do not lobby us for special housing. Before the residency begins, we will ask if you have any housing needs due to a documented medical condition. We will then assign rooms accordingly.
It is the policy of the College that children and families not be housed in any campus residence hall. College policy stipulates no overnight guests. There are also no pets allowed. Once your room is assigned, it cannot be changed.
Take a look around at the various residential housing (these tours are conducted by undergraduates). Writing Seminars students are typically housed in Barnes Houses, Woo Houses, and Colonial Houses.
We expect you will live together amicably and work out the issues of communal living. All houses are "quiet" houses after 11:00pm. That said, many students like to hang out in the common areas after that time, so please be generous to each other. There is no smoking allowed in any of the houses.
Coin-operated washers and dryers are located in all residential houses. If you put money on your account, you may also use your Bennington ID card to operate these machines. You may also bring lots of quarters.
What to Bring
- Vaccinations: Before you arrive, ensure you're up to date on vaccines, including the flu vaccine, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
- COVID-19 Protocols: Be sure to check the current guidelines and file your required vaccination/booster card. All those in attendance at the on-campus residency must be vaccinated/boosted. Refer all questions about COVID policy to email@example.com and not to the Bennington Writing Seminars office.
- Ticks & Lyme Disease: In June especially, we recommend bringing an EPA recommended tick repellent. We are in an area known for Lyme ticks and encourage you to check yourself for ticks throughout residency. For information about Lyme, please consult this primer.
- Type of clothing: Informal and varied. Most people opt for comfort. Some like to dress up for the graduation ceremony and reception, some don't. It's your choice.
- Recreation: Walking shoes, hiking boots, yoga mats, tennis rackets, softball or baseball gloves, Frisbee, swimsuits (if you like to swim in a cold lake or town pool), snowshoes (during winter residency). The Office of Student Life Office and Meyer Recreation Barn usually have some equispment for tennis, basketball, volleyball, and softball, among other things.
- Miscellany: To help assure your creature-comfort needs are met, you might want to consider bringing a fan in the summer, a surge protector-combo-extension cord, an extra lamp, an alarm clock, a bathrobe, slippers, a coffee mug, and ground coffee, waffle (egg-crate) mattress cover, etc. Simple toiletries are provided by the College (tiny bars of soap, white flat sheets, a blanket, and very small towels), but you might want to bring your own if you don't like basic institutional issue. Note: Extension cords without built-in surge protection are not allowed in student housing. Candles and incense are also not allowed in the student houses. The College cannot store your supplies or bedding between residencies.
Participants have access community resources if health care is needed.
In the event of a medical emergency: Dial 767 (“SOS”) from any campus phone to reach the Emergency Dispatcher (do not dial 911) or call the Campus Safety Dispatcher at 802-447-4250 (program this into your phone)
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
100 Hospital Drive, Bennington, VT 05201
SVMC EXPRESS CARE
Open seven days a week, ExpressCare at
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center offers care for minor illnesses and injuries.
140 Hospital Drive, Suite #111
Bennington, VT 05201
Insurance: Virtually all health insurance provides coverage for emergencies, but may involve some out-of-pocket expense to you. Coverage may be more limited for non-emergency care, depending on your policy. If you are unsure, call the customer service number on your insurance card, explain what services you think you need, and ask what your policy covers. Also ask for a list of “in-network” healthcare providers in this area.
Respect and Privacy
All residency activities, including master classes, lectures, readings, etc., are for enrolled Bennington Writing Seminars students, faculty, staff, and volunteers only.
- Do not share any content, links, students lists, residency schedules or other information with any outside parties
- Do not copy, remove, or modify any electronic files or share Zoom links or recordings
- Failure to adhere to these rules will result in dismissal
The ATM is located in the north corridor of the Barn and available between 7:00am and midnight.
Library and Bookstore
- The Crossett Library will be open every day throughout the residency (hours will be posted on The HUB). The staff is very helpful. Faculty books are prominently displayed during the residency as are graduating student theses and critical papers which are bound and displayed by the class themselves.
- The Bennington College Bookstore will have Writing Seminars faculty books, any course books faculty recommend, and a good selection of alumni work. You can contact 802-440-4361 for information. Hours will be posted on The HUB).
The computers are located on the third floor in Commons for student use 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Card ID: The Bennington Card
The Bennington Card is the official identification card of Bennington College. It is issued to all members of the College community and is required for identification, access to meals, printing, residential houses, and other essential campus services. It also offers a convenient prepaid spending account for making cashless purchases around campus. The spending account enables you to add funds online to the Bennington Card for purchases with no added costs. Account balances roll over from term-to-term and year-to-year and can be refunded when a student leaves the College.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to create your Bennington ID card in order to gain access to housing and meals. Sign in with your Bennington credentials and upload your headshot here. IT will print your ID cards and you will receive them in your registration packet.
If you lose your ID or if your ID does not work, visit the Help Desk on the Commons third Floor. You can also reach them at 802-440-4476 during business hours, 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it’s after hours and you need access to your room, call Campus Safety’s non-emergency number. Dial x0 from any campus phone or 802-447-4250.
Bennington College sits on 470 acres of rolling meadows and woods, very lovely to walk, and not at all hard to look at. The Meyer Recreation Barn, located below Crossett Library next to Buildings and Grounds, offers a fully equipped exercise facility, including free weights, weight machines, cardiovascular equipment, and a climbing wall. Note: Shoes with black soles are not allowed in the aerobics room (they are fine elsewhere—weight room and cardiovascular area). Hours will be posted on The HUB.
Mail and Packages
The Post Office/Package Department, for packages/parcels, is located in Buildings & Grounds. Office hours for both are Monday-Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm. Daily incoming deliveries occur from USPS, UPS, and FedEx Ground, as well as from DHL and FedEx Express. Package and mail notifications will be sent via email, and must be picked up by you rather than being delivered to you. Outgoing mail and shipments (with prepaid labels) can be sent out from the Post Office/Package Department. If a label is needed, the Post Office can be of assistance.
You may ship things to yourself ahead of residency—clearly label your own name and "Writing Seminars" on the address. The address is Bennington College, One College Drive, Bennington, VT 05201.
For further Post Office assistance, please reach out to Tracy at email@example.com; for further packaging assistance, please contact Cass at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim at email@example.com.
Meals will be served on the second floor of Commons. Meat, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes are offered at most meals. While there is a strong commitment to dietary needs, the kitchen may not be able to accommodate your exact special diet. Please advise dining services if you have any dietary restrictions/allergies and make it a point to talk with the dining services director after you arrive.
In accordance with Vermont State law, the College is required to provide employees, students, and visitors with clearly stated guidelines on when and where they may smoke. The state policy restricts smoking in all places of public access. The policy has been formulated in recognition of the Surgeon General’s conclusion that: smoking is injurious to health; and involuntary (or second-hand) smoking is a cause of disease in nonsmokers The College has designated its administrative, academic, and other public buildings smoke-free. Smoking is not permitted inside any of these buildings nor within 30 feet of entryways and exits of all buildings. Smoking is not allowed in any faculty or guest rooms or residences.
A vending machine is located in the Upcaf stairwell.
On-Campus Locations and Resources
- Bennington Card
- Bennington Review
- Buildings & Grounds
- Campus Safety
- Cricket Hill | Writing Seminars Office
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Financial Aid
- Health Center | Psychological and Health Services
- Meyer Recreation Barn
- Post Office
- Student Life Office
- Usdan Gallery
Social Media: Connect, Comment, Share
Stay up to date on all things Bennington Writing Seminars by connecting with us via social media:
Questions? We can help
Writing Seminars Staff
Megan Culhane Galbraith, MFA '15
Craig Morgan Teicher
Director of Special Projects
Cathy Gee Graney
Mollie Hawkins, MFA '23
Social Media Manager