Institutional News

Bennington College to Enroll Largest Incoming Class in its History

This fall, Bennington College will welcome over 250 first-year students and 18 transfer students. This entering class will be the largest in the College’s history.

Bennington College campus

Students reported that Bennington’s appeal stemmed from historical strengths of the College—including the self-directed academics of the Plan, annual Field Work Term internship opportunities, and access to world-class faculty mentors. Bennington has also been very successful at handling the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As a leading institution in the liberal arts, Bennington has attracted a hugely diverse student body, with over 15% of the Class of 2025 coming from outside of the United States (from 24 different countries). About 20% of the class of 2025 are domestic BIPOC students, 18% are the first in their family to attend college, and 25% are Pell recipients.

The class of 2025 also includes a diverse array of 15 United World College Davis Scholars, hailing from 7 UWC campuses around the world from Armenia to India to Tanzania, and representing 11 countries including Congo, Ireland, Libya, Malawi, Peru, Russia, and Spain. 

Building upon Bennington’s partnership with KIPP—the largest public charter school network in the US, which has a particular focus on serving low-income communities—three KIPP Scholars will also join the Class of 2025. Students come from KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School (Lynn, MA); KIPP Generations Collegiate (Houston, TX); and KIPP Northeast College Preparatory (Houston, TX). 

With this incoming class, Bennington continues its commitment to making higher education accessible and affordable, as well as fostering an inclusive environment for students from diverse backgrounds. 

Students and families have been increasingly drawn to the value of a Bennington education. This year saw a record number of applications—over 1,700—reflecting a 25% growth from the previous year’s admissions cycle and continuing Bennington’s recent application success. During the last 5 years, from Fall 2017 to Fall 2021, Bennington received the highest number of applications in the College’s history.

Navigating Studies During COVID-19

The College’s shift to a hybrid model of learning for the 2020-21 academic year allowed current students to reap the benefits of a Bennington education while maintaining the safety of the entire community. 

Bennington’s collaboration with public health, community, and higher education partners, as well as rigorous quarantining and preventative testing standards, allowed interested students to safely return to campus by Fall 2020. Students were involved in creating and supporting the College’s protocol. There have been no campus-wide COVID-19 outbreaks to date. 

Courses for the 2020-21 academic year were offered in a hybrid format to accommodate students both on-and off-campus. These courses often transcended online lectures to embrace intriguing forms like mail art and letter writing. Responding to student interest, Bennington continued to offer “pop-up” courses throughout the year, on topics from exploring the era of COVID-19 to examining Belarus and democracies around the world