Impressions Of
Bard College

Academic Experience

Male Political Studies Major C/O 2020

Is there anything the Political Studies department does especially well or especially poorly?
They do a good job of coming up with interesting courses each semester. There’s never a point where I was discouraged while looking at the available courses for Political Studies. One thing they could improve on is thinking about preparing students to understand what they can do with a Political Studies degree. There isn’t a lot of post-graduation talk here.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
The environment is definitely collaborative. During class discussions, we try and build each other’s arguments up. I prefer writing my essays alone, but I’ve never thought of Bard as a competitive space, specifically in the Political Studies Department.

How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They are very accessible. They usually have a certain number of office hours every week. They are very flexible about accommodating to your needs if you can’t meet during their office hours.

Female Written Arts and Human Rights Double Major C/O 2019

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
I have a lot of reading for my majors. I usually have about two essays per class for the whole semester, which isn’t too bad because I never really have tests. The midterm essay is usually 10-15 pages long, and the finals are usually 15-20 pages long.

How accessible are your professors?
They are really accessible. Most professors make a good effort to connect with students, and want them to pass. They make an effort to hold office hours at a time where most students can get to them. They will also set up extra meeting times with students if they can’t make it.

Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
For the most part, they are open to multiple schools of thought. Politically, Bard is on the liberal side of the spectrum and so I’ve heard that people who aren’t on that side often feel they are outsiders here. In most classes, conversations happen when both sides are respectful, regardless of political preferences.

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They do a good job of finding events and speakers outside of the classroom that we can attend. Within the classroom, the professors are very well calculated when they speak and are very understanding of the concept of inclusivity and practice that in the classroom.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re very accessible because they have office hours and they’re always emphasizing how we can come to them. It’s also a small school so almost all of your classes are 30 people or less, so you have a more personal relationship with the professor. Building that relationship is more on the students, the professor is not going to nag the student to have a relationship with them. [98% of classes have 29 students or less.]

Social Opportunities

Female Sociology Major C/O 2022

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Bard?
I like to do small social gatherings with my friends, or maybe every two weeks I’ll go to a party held on campus. The parties are generally hosted by clubs on campus such as Women of Color United or Brothers at Bard. They are usually in a place called Manor Cafe, or there are parties at a place called SMOG. Bands typically come and perform here. SMOG can have events Thursday through Saturday, but at Manor, they are usually on a Friday or a Saturday.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There’s a movie theatre not too far away from campus that I like to go to. Sometimes there will be small events or activities on campus that aren’t parties.

How happy are you with the nightlife options at Bard? Is there anything you would change if you could?
They are pretty good. I’d say that sometimes not a lot of people will show up at the club events.

Female Written Arts and Human Rights Double Major C/O 2019

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Bard?
I haven’t been doing a lot of that this year because I’m working on my senior project, but there are usually on campus parties thrown by the Student Activities Office. Those could often be things like dance parties, which are fun to go to. There are also off-campus house parties thrown by people not affiliated with the Student Activities Office. I enjoy going to those if they are at my friend’s houses. Also, there are usually fun things to do in the campus center on the weekends. The Student Activities Office will turn one of the rooms into an ice skating rink or a bowling alley. There are also two music venues at Bard, so sometimes parties will happen there that are either hosted by clubs, or someone who will pay bands to come. There is always something to do at Bard.

How happy are you with the nightlife options at Bard? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think I’m pretty happy with them. Sometimes I think it would be cool if they had more off-campus trips. Sometimes they have a shuttle that goes to the mall, but it would be cool if there was a shuttle to a bowling alley or other venues near campus.

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Bard?
I don’t really like parties. I like kickbacks or to hang out with a small group of friends, so nightlife isn’t really existent for me because I like the more laidback scene. In terms of weekend activities, I have club events, doing homework, or hanging out with friends and watch movies. The weekend is more about decompressing.

What are some of your favorite events on campus or around town?
There’s an area called SMOG where mini-concerts are held. There are also athletic events, so I’m going to a basketball game soon. There will other events here and there, like the Black History Month Gala that’s coming up or the Women of Color Gala that happened last semester. Spring Fling is also a big one where the whole school gets together during a weekend in May and participates in a three-day carnival-type weekend.

Campus Culture

Female Written Arts and Human Rights Double Major C/O 2019

How did you meet your closest friends?
It was definitely a combination of a lot of things. Freshman orientation at Bard is a little different, it’s called The Language and Thinking Program and lasts for three weeks in August. All the new Bard freshman come and take classes together. They are kind of philosophical classes that aren’t really graded. Because you’re here three weeks early without anyone else on campus besides freshman, you grow really close with your class and the new people you meet. I also think the clubs I’ve joined have been really important to the friendships I’ve built.

How would you describe the student body at Bard?
Bard is kind of a meme of itself. There’s a very Bard vibe, which is kind of grungy and liberal. A lot of students here are pretty wealthy but dress like they’re not. People here are outdoorsy, but a lot of them are also from big cities like New York City and Los Angeles. I feel like when I’m describing these things, it’s important to note that I am not thinking of the athletes. Maybe that says more about the separation between athletes and non-athletes. [Socioeconomically, 28% of students at Bard come from the top 5%.]

Male Economics and Math Double Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the overall social scene at Bard?
You could say the Bard social scene is very artsy. It’s very much so anti-establishment and not conventional. There are a lot of smaller friend groups because it’s a smaller school.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Sexual orientations mix a lot more than different races do. There aren’t that many people of color on this campus. Within that smaller group, there’s a handful that interact among different races, but not all. [13% of students in the Class of 2022 are Hispanic, 8% are African American/Black, 12% are Asian, and 54% are White.]

How do you like the size of Bard in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience? [There are about 1,900 undergraduate students.]
I never really thought about it until I got here, but I think it does play a role because you see the same people all the time. At the same time, the small class sizes are really good, and there’s a lot of support if you need it because the school is so small. I feel that you create more personal relationships with professors and people in general. [98% of classes have 29 students or less.]

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met most of my friends through BEOP, and then I met some people through classes here and there.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It is cliquey. I personally don’t like to be in groups. I have friends from different groups, so for me it’s different. People are really relaxed, but they don’t stray that far away from their group of friends.

How do you like the size of Bard in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience?
I like it. I went to a small high school and middle school so I like the smaller setting. I think it allows for more intimate relationships to develop and that is something I prioritize.

 

Annandale-on-Hudson

Pros of

  • “Bard’s campus is beautiful, and you have the Hudson River nearby. There are always places we can go camping and hiking.”
  • “Because there’s nothing out here, it’s easier to just do your work.”
  • “We have a lot of connections to outside organizations. If you have an idea and want to start a project, it’s easy to get involved in the small community because of its size, and the great network.”
  • “I really like the fact that I can go to Blithewood and see the mouth of the river.”

Cons of

  • “There aren’t a lot of options for ordering food if you don’t want to go to a dining hall or another on-campus option.”
  • “We’re kind of in the middle of nowhere, so we either have to buy a Zipcar, take the shuttle, or Uber or Lyft which cost money.”
  • “The weather can get cold.”
  • “The isolation.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Sociology Major C/O 2022

What is something a prospective Black student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
I would say that if they ever do come across social issues, there are places that can help them. We have The Council for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) which helps with issues like that.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They don’t get to see enough of the dorm life. They only tend to show dorms on South campus, but there are also dorms on Central and North campus as well.

Female Written Arts and Human Rights Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Bard before you entered as a freshman?
Bard is really a place where it’s what you make of it. For example, during freshman year I didn’t do much besides go to class, hang out with my friends, and party. This was fun, but sophomore year my experience was completely different. That’s when I started becoming involved in clubs. I realized Bard was a completely different place when I was really active in the community versus being passive and letting everything happen around me. I wish I had known how different my experience had been if I had jumped into Bard ready to get involved with all the things that were happening.

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The campus is really beautiful in the fall and spring. People will be out and about and you will see people lounging around outside. The winter isn’t a good time to visit because it’s going to be gloomier and there will be snow. Make sure you give yourself a personal tour after the campus explore more of the northern part of campus. Also, make sure to see Blithewood Garden on the south side of campus because the tours don’t take you there.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Bard College

To Attend

  • “The academics are amazing, and you’ll have the chance to study a lot of great things with amazing professors.”
  • “How pretty the campus is.”
  • “It provides a lot of opportunities for you to get involved in the community around Bard. There are lots of opportunities for teaching local kids. You can also join organizations that are either social justice oriented, or community service based.”
  • “If a student isn’t looking for a party school. Bard is catered more toward academics and there isn’t much of a party scene. Also, there is no Greek life.”

To Not Attend

  • “If you’re looking for a huge athletic culture.”
  • “The weather, because it can get bad in the winter.”
  • “If you’re someone who really cares about the social climate, like parties.”
  • “Kline [dining hall] is not the best. People want to eat well while they’re here, but you always have the option to cook.”
Notice: Bard College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Bard College.

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