Bard College at Simon's Rock?

I'm going to be a sophomore in high school this fall and I'm considering applying to Bard College at Simon's Rock "The Early College". I'd like for someone who is currently going to this school or who went to this school to tell me what the school is really like, how it works, and what the classes are like. I've been to the website and it's very informative but I'd like to hear about it from someone who's been there and experienced it.

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Hi, it’s great to hear from a student interested in Simon’s Rock! I am currently a student going into my senior year here. What is it like? Well, it’s not like anything else. It is very small, only about 400-450 students, and it is in the middle of the woods in the Berkshires. This means that while it is very beautiful, it is also somewhat isolated if you happen to be used to city life. For me, I really got an idea about what Simon’s Rock is like when I left it this past year. For my junior year, I did a study abroad program in Germany with a large group of other students (mostly American). As we spent more time with each other, we talked about our different colleges and universities. In talking, I began to realize just how different Simon’s Rock is. Many of my friends frequented lectures full of hundreds of other students where the professor couldn’t possibly know their name. Others skipped or slacked off because the teachers wouldn’t know they weren’t there anyway. Although not all of their classes were like that, many were. I started to realize how lucky we are at Simon’s Rock. Staff and students are on a mandatory first name basis, and class sizes rarely exceed 20-25 (the majority resting at about 12). This means that if you are in a class, you have to participate; otherwise it will be obvious that you have not prepared. For me, the classes have always been hands-on and engaging, even the ones that I am required to take. The only exception to that was my math class. I am a literature major and math has just never worked in my brain. But I really fell in love with Mycology, the study of fungi, and Ceramics, which was one of the most challenging classes I have ever taken here. Although I gravitate towards Lit, being here has made me realize that I have many and varied interests. With that said, I find that the Lit classes here are particularly strong. Generally they follow a similar format: 12-15 students sit down at a large table with their instructor and talk about literature. Simon’s Rock classes are primarily discussion-based, and I personally learn really well this way. You have to not only think about how you feel, but be receptive to how other people feel about a topic and be willing to hear them out.

    Sometimes I feel like whenever anyone asks me about Simon’s Rock, the first thing I talk about are the classes. For me anyway, this is because when I am here homework consumes a large portion of my daily existence. If you do decide to come here, be prepared for a very real college course load. Although Simon’s Rock is a somewhat alternative place, it is still very much a college, and you do have to really work hard. Besides the academics though, Simon’s Rock has a lot going on. There are numerous clubs, including very relaxed sports teams, and anything else from an a cappella group to the anime club. If you have an interest that isn’t covered by an already-existing club, you can make your own! There is also normally some live music, or some other student event (dance parties, etc.) every weekend also to get a break from the studying. Yes, it can get pretty claustrophobic here, especially in the wintertime when we are kind of stuck on campus in the bubble that is a 400-person student body, so be prepared to get at least mildly stir-crazy before the year is out. However, you will experience a level of support in your academics and your life here that is hard to find anywhere else.

    I hope that that answers your questions! If you have any more please feel free to ask.

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