The Journey to Bennington: A Welcome for Families

Happy summer, new Bennington families! Now is the time to check in with your student to make sure they are on track for arrival.

Page Contents


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Arrival and Orientation

  • International Students: August 26, 1:00–5:00 pm
  • Domestic Students: August 29th
    • Surname A-L: 9:30–11:00 am
    • Surname M-Z: 10:00–11:30 am

Orientation check-in is at the Lower Student Center, where your student will pick up their student ID card, room key, and orientation folder, among other items. Your student can then head to their house and unload their personal belongings.

Please note that there is a program designed specifically for families and caregivers in the afternoon in which you are invited to participate.

All new students are required to attend the 6-day New Student Orientation starting August 29. Please reach out to Student Life if you have any questions about arrival and orientation. The New Student Orientation Schedule will be updated with more details as we approach new students' arrival.

Accommodations and Housing

Disability Accommodation Requests (If Applicable)

To make a request for an academic, residential, dining, or housing accommodation, students must complete the Request For Disability Accommodations under the appropriate sections in StarRez student portal (requires Bennington email to access) by June 15. For more information, please visit the Accommodations and Support and Student Health Center webpages.

Student Housing

Living independently among peers is one of the most important elements of college life. Generally at Bennington, first-year students are paired up and assigned double rooms in our residential houses. Each house has a mix of class years so that new students can develop relationships with each other and upper-class students. Additionally, house communities have two House Chairs (returning students who coordinate weekly gatherings to build community and promote communication among housemates). To learn more, visit our Housing website. Please remind your student to complete the Housing questionnaire in StarRez by June 15. 


Understanding Course Selection

At Bennington, we strive to create a balanced, challenging, and interesting schedule for your students. Since we prioritize a breadth of experiences within courses in the first year, your student may not be placed in all of their top choices. When they meet with their faculty advisor in late August, they can review their course list and discuss any potential changes they would like to make during the Add/Drop period: a period of time before the start of the term when students can make changes to their schedules.

First-Year Forum co-leaders, faculty advisors, and staff at Bennington will give students all the information they need to navigate Add/Drop. By the time the term is in full swing, your student will have a schedule that will serve their needs, fit their interests, and expand their horizons. Visit our First Year at Bennington webpage for more information. 

How Grading Works

Bennington grades academic performance a little differently than most schools. At Bennington, all students receive a narrative evaluation—a written summary of their progress, appraisal of their work, and suggestions for future development. At the end of each term, students receive a grade of Pass, Marginal Pass, or Fail for each course. 

At the beginning of each term, students can also request to receive letter grades (A, A-, B+, etc.) for most of their classes with the exceptions of First-Year Forum and Visual Arts Lecture Series. If it is possible that your student will apply to a post-graduate professional program (law school, medical school, etc.) or to graduate school, we suggest they consider requesting letter grades for at least four terms during their time at Bennington to establish a numeric Grade Point Average (GPA). Additionally, if your student receives a scholarship or grant that requires a GPA, they should request letter grades through our online request form. If your student has any questions about this process, they should contact the Registrar's Office when they arrive on campus.

Whether or not your student requests letter grades, rest assured that Bennington’s narrative evaluation is a meaningful metric for students who are applying to graduate school or for a scholarship or grant. This type of evaluation has the advantage of painting a full and clear picture of students’ strengths and capabilities.

Student Employment

The Student Employment Program at Bennington College is designed to assist students meet educational expenses through meaningful employment. 

First-year students who have received Federal Work Study or a campus work allotment in their financial aid package and wish to work on campus will be assigned positions in Dining Services. Students without Federal Work Study or a work allotment can apply for available campus jobs through Handshake, Bennington College’s online career management and recruiting platform, after the start of the fall term.

Find more information about Student Employment via the Career Development and Field Work Term Office’s LinkTree.

Inquiries about student employment can be directed to via e-mail. Questions about individual aid packages should be directed to the Financial Aid Office. In order to hold a job on campus, students will need to fill out the I-9, W-4, and W-4VT forms upon hire.

**Please be sure your student brings their original, unexpired ID as described on page three of the I-9 form when they come to campus. Photocopies of IDs will not be accepted.**

Career Development and Field Work Term

The Career Development and Field Work Term Office assists students explore and define their personal career goals while developing the skills and confidence necessary to succeed. Field Work Term at Bennington College stands as a hallmark initiative designed to complement and enrich students’ classroom learning through immersive experiences. At the start of the fall term, students will receive introductory information about Field Work Term planning from the Career Development and Field Work Term Office and through First-Year-Forum. To learn more about Field Work Term, early planning, and to access a comprehensive directory of resources, visit the Career Development and Field Work Term Office’s LinkTree. Inquiries about Field Work Term can be directed to via e-mail.  

Financial Aid and Billing

Financial Aid

If your student has been offered financial aid and/or loans, they will need to log into their My Financial Aid page to accept or decline the funds. They should also check the Required Documents tab to ensure it says “received” next to all the required documents, so we can transfer the expected financial aid to your student’s bill. If you see “not received” next to any document, please complete and submit that item. Accepted student aid will be disbursed to the student account after the Add/Drop period has ended, during the third week of classes. If you have any other questions, please contact  

Student Billing

Student Billing statements for Fall 2024 will be mailed out in the second week of June. An information packet will accompany the statement providing payment plan information, payment information, and important deadline dates. The first payment plan due date is July 1. Students may access a copy of their billing statement on the College’s website Populi. Additional information regarding billing and payment plans may be found online at Student Billing.

Summer hours are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. Student Billing questions can be directed to

Health and Wellbeing

Student Health Center

The Bennington College Health Center provides students with direct and preventative health care, psychological and psychiatric care, health counseling, and education. The Health Center staff includes an RN/medical case manager, a family nurse practitioner, counselors, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and the Director of Integrative Wellness.

The Health Center operates like a private medical practice; we charge usual and customary fees, which are billed to students’ health insurance. Learn more about health and wellbeing at Bennington.

Health Forms and Insurance

Health forms are due on August 1. According to Vermont State law and College policy,  students need to meet certain health-related requirements before they arrive at Bennington College. 

Carrying health insurance is mandatory for all students, and Proof of Health Insurance must be submitted to the College by August 1. This will be done online in the health center’s patient portal as part of the health forms. It’s important to make sure the insurance information is complete and correct to avoid billing problems and to facilitate smooth medication refills and referrals, if needed. As you consider the best option, please know that students living away from home and who are living in a new environment tend to use health and counseling and psychological services more often. We urge you to speak with your student about prioritizing their health and wellbeing during their time at Bennington and utilizing various campus resources. 

Whether you decide to have your student continue on their current insurance plan or to purchase a new one, it is important to understand what your policy does and doesn’t cover when your student is away from home. The best way to find out what your insurance will cover is to call the customer service number on your insurance card and speak directly to a representative. 

Be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Is Bennington College Corporation (not the individual doctors or therapists) in-network? When calling, reference NPI #1063851350
  • Is Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (our local hospital) in-network?
  • What percentage of fees will be covered?
  • Will I be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance?
  • How much will I have to pay for medicine? Can I use a mail-order pharmacy and are there discounts for doing so?
  • What services are excluded?

Health Insurance for International Students

Please note that all international students residing on campus must purchase the IFS Secure Plus Plan and show proof of coverage by August 1 for coverage starting August 15. With this plan, most campus services will have no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance (see additional info under the Sign Up for Health Insurance tab). If you have any questions or concerns regarding the policy, please email If an international student does not show proof of purchase of the IFS Secure Plus Plan by August 1, the College will purchase a policy on the student’s behalf, add the cost of the insurance premium to their Bennington account, and charge a $100 administrative fee.

You should not purchase the IFS Secure Plus health insurance plan until you have received your F-1 student visa. If you have not received your F-1 student visa by August 1, please email

Health Insurance Change of Coverage for Domestic Students

Domestic students who need to change their coverage have a 30-day window when they move to campus (called a “qualifying event”) to make policy changes. 

You can find more information, along with recommended health insurance options, on the Student Health Insurance page. Please take a careful look at the information included there. If you have further questions, please email

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A diversity of ideas, experiences, and backgrounds is one of the aspects that makes Bennington such a dynamic place. We work to foster an environment where every student feels at home on campus, which includes the critical work of our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The Office provides one-on-one support to students, educates staff and faculty, and offers courses to students on inclusion and equity. Students and their families are always welcome to reach out.

Supporting Your Student

The start of college is a significant adjustment for students and their families. Below are a few tips to help your student’s transition to college life:

1. Encourage Your Student to Ask For Help

Whether your student is feeling homesick, struggling with a class, or trying to make new friends, remind them that they can reach out for help. Encourage your student to meet with an advisor in Academic Services, a faculty member, or a Student Life staff member if you think it would be useful.

One of the essential student resources is Bennington’s Student Health Center, a space that provides students with direct and preventive primary health care, counseling and psychological care, and health education by a team of a physician, nurse practitioners, social workers, and public health educator. You can visit our website to see information on hours, making appointments, range of services, referrals, and payments.

In an effort to expand students’ access to mental and medical health care, Bennington College encourages students to access TimelyCare, a telehealth program that gives students access to free, 24/7/365 access to virtual medical and mental health care from anywhere in the United States. Find more information on the Student Health Center webpage.

2. Emphasize Balance

Balancing competing interests in college can be a challenge. Help your student understand that being actively engaged in life outside of the classroom (and even off campus) is an important part of their college experience. We offer a variety of co-curricular experiences, including clubs and organizations, recreation programs, community partnerships and volunteer opportunities, and many other programming and leadership opportunities.

3. Empower Your Student with Information

Does your student know how to access their funds or how to get hold of their primary care provider(s)? Do they have their health insurance card? Equipping your students with important personal information will ensure that they feel empowered to make decisions on their own when they need to.

4. Remind Your Student to Take Care of Themselves

Getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, and staying active are all important behaviors that can reduce stress, regulate mood, and improve focus in the classroom.

5. Stay in Contact With the College

If at any point your student is struggling with the transition to Bennington, you may want to speak with Kate Child, Associate Dean for Academic Services. Please be aware that Bennington students must complete a Contact and Other Information Form, indicating that they are a dependent, in order for us to share information with their parents or guardians. If they are independent or they don’t submit a form, we cannot share information. For more information, read about the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In case of an emergency, you can reach out to Campus Safety 24 hours a day by calling 802-447-4250.

Fall Weekend 2024

Fall Weekend is an opportunity for you to visit your student and enjoy the Bennington experience together. You can sample the many intellectual, artistic, cultural, and recreational experiences on campus and in the community. This year, Fall Weekend will take place October 4-6.  

photo of students at Roz's Cafe