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Bard College at Simon's Rock Reviews

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  • 06/10/2015

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 1 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    The campus has a complete campus involvement policy as it relates to the safety of the students, faculty and staff. If we see a problem, like a car or person they haven't seen before on campus, you can call or go to security and they will fix the problem as quickly as they can.

    Greek Life

    Non existent. The school is too small and we like to focus on our academics

    Clubs and Activities

    There are tons of existing clubs and activities on campus and if you cannot find a club that fits you and you can find three other students and an advisor for it, make your own.

    Great for these types of students

    -Students who are bored with high school and want more out of their education -Open minded students who are willing to accept a challenge -Future engineers and other math and science related fields -Musicians, artists or those who want to peruse other liberal arts professions

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    The facilities are all pretty nice for a school as small as ours. There's a swing next to the admissions office hanging from a large tree that you can always find people using when the weather is nice. There is upperclassmen housing about a mile up a hill from the rest of campus. This is also where the Provost has his house. Just past the upper campus, as we like to call it, there is a lake that lots of students like to go to.

    Bang for the buck

    It's really expensive, but there are tons of scholarships and aid that the school offers if you do, in fact, need it. The financial aid office is very understanding of the fact that families generally were not expecting students to be going to college for another two years usually, so they do what they can to split the aid throughout the students.

    What to do for fun

    There's a ton of activities going on all the time

    Food and Dining

    Food options are pretty varied in the dining hall. Although the hours are a little strange and there are gaps in the day where there is nowhere to find food on the campus, students figure it out.

    Dorm Life

    There are always activities going on in the evenings. From movie screenings, craft projects, things involving food, etc. So if you need a study break, it isn't difficult to find something to do. Also, there are at least 2 peer advocates (PA's) in each dorm who will be mentors and bridges between administration, the student life office and students, as well as 2 adult Residence Directors to ensure the safety of the students.

    Academic Rigor

    There will be lots of long nights of studying. There will be a lot expected of you, but there are tutors for every class offered and your professors have office hours that you can take advantage of and ask as many questions as you would like.

    Tips for prospective students

    Be true to yourself, but don't be closed minded. Simon's Rock is a liberal arts school and students have a plethora of different opinions on things. Don't be afraid to ask questions and have discussions with people. Also, be ready to speak in class, a lot! Teachers will call on you and ask what you think about the material, so be prepared. Its a little daunting at first, but you get the hang of it rather quickly.

    In three sentences

    Simon's Rock is a very small, community oriented school with discussion based learning and small classes. Teachers are very considerate and the campus has great tools in place to make sure that your academic transition from high school to college is smooth. Honestly, the food could be better, but the dining hall staff do indeed try :)

  • 02/16/2014

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    3 out of 3 people found this review useful. 2 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Burning of thesises (for the seniors) and any unwanted papers (for any other years) at the very end of the year.

    What to do for fun

    There isn't much since GB is in the middle of no where, but there are shuttles into town and there are events basically every weekend.

    Food and Dining

    Not great, but has a variety of options-- gluten free and vegan/vegetarian options are available, but not plentiful.

    Dorm Life

    There are activities to do in the dorms, and each freshman dorm has its pros and cons.

    Academic Rigor

    The classes are incredibly hard, but extremely worth it.

    Tips for prospective students

    Don't take a large course load you're first semester expecting you won't drop a class.

    In three sentences

    Even though it is the most stress a person can endure, any amount of time at this school is worth it. The professors are incredible and have so much wisdom to share. The community of students also makes every class a unique experience.

  • 10/26/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 3 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    the campus is very safe. this is one of the only places where i've felt most comfortable walking around at night. the security staff is comprised of nice people, and the student body is so small that you should recognize most persons on campus.

    Greek Life

    there is no greek life.

    Clubs and Activities

    there are several clubs and activities throughout the year put on predominantly by the student life staff. any student can also start their own club pretty easily, and put on their own events. community council can provide funds to make that happen as well.

    Great for these types of students

    students who are motivated and independent, and who are either tired of high school or want to take a leap ahead into college should consider simon's rock. many of our students were valedictorians who weren't satisfied with the teach-to-test ap & ib courses offered at their high schools. others were starting to lose interest in learning at schools where their peers weren't engaging in the work and were uninterested in discussing. i would recommend looking into the school and figuring out your reason and if it is the right fit.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    i think this school has so many quirky little traditions and strange locations, that i would recommend you visit yourself and learn about them. this is a school full of wonderfully bizarre, smart, and caring people.

    Bang for the buck

    simon's rock is very expensive at sticker price, but almost no one pays that. the school does their best to offer the typical federal aid, institutional aid, and merit scholarships. put your best foot forward on the applications to be considered for merit scholarships. there are also jobs available on campus, etc. in the end, the value can be seen. students who work hard here leave with strong writing skills, critical engagement, multi-disciplinary understanding, and for those who stay for the ba, thesis experience. simon's rock prepares students incredibly to be strong academically, and gives them ample opportunity to develop themselves personally.

    What to do for fun

    there are upwards of four hundred events every year. so, even if it isn't necessarily something you like, there is usually something to do. there will be lots of recurring events during the year like late night breakfast, rock the community, parents weekend, social justice and inclusion week, mayfest, dolliver drag, spring formal, and several others. there will also be low engagement game nights, open mics, things like that, as well as high engagement lectures, workshops, and campus conversations. hanging out with friends is always great, too.

    Food and Dining

    like any other school, the food fluctuates in quality. any given day, there are staples in the buffet that you can stick to, but there are also lots of fun dishes to try. like most other departments, the dining hall staff are also extremely kind, and they accommodate gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian diets. there are also some days when the food is incredible, and some days when the staff does cute themes and decorates the dining hall.

    Dorm Life

    the first year dorms are the oldest on campus. in many ways, it shows. in many other ways, you will find that the community in the dorms and tangible, that the experience can be as positive as you're willing to make it, that the people who live in the dorm to support you can be your biggest allies, and that... honestly... the housing isn't that bad. this clearly isn't a five star experience, but you have the resources to make your space, hang out with people, and laundry is free.

    Academic Rigor

    as an undergraduate institution, we actually offer an academic program more rigorous that several top tier institutions. more importantly, the faculty care immensely about the students and want to see us succeed. there are many more support systems in place as well (compared to a traditional college).

    Tips for prospective students

    really commit yourself to the applications and think of them as a first assignment. when you arrive, be willing to consider new ideas, and expect to restructure your approach to academics.

    In three sentences

    simon's rock offers a strong academic program with a quirky and varied student body. people come here for a challenge, stay for the professors, and leave with the skills to be competitive students and citizens. there is a lot of learning and growing the community could do, and i've enjoyed going through that process with my peers these past years.

  • 06/27/2013

    Reviewer is A past student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 4 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Clubs and Activities

    There are quite a few unique clubs and activities, and you can start a club for just about anything that you can get a few people together for and an adult who's willing to be the advisor. Do be advised that not all of the clubs listed in their admissions info still exist -- I tried to join a club just to find out it didn't exist, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing because then I had the experience of creating and leading the club, which was not only fun but adds to the resume.

    Great for these types of students

    If you love to learn and you love to work really hard, this is a good place for you. But if you only want to take particular classes, maybe not - as I said earlier there are particular departments that are much stronger than others.

    What to do for fun

    I like to do the traditional sorts of fun things, if you want to put it that way - I like the movies, bowling, and people-watching. There is a small movie-theatre in town and a small bowling alley. There is plenty of high-end shopping for such a small town. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot to do that's not really expensive, and as a freshmen getting to those things is difficult unless you very quickly make friends with the upperclassmen who have cars. There is a shuttle service to the two sides of town that runs every half an hour but only seats 6 students at a time so can be a pain sometimes.

    Food and Dining

    The dining hall food usually tastes pretty good, sometimes they get a little adventurous. Personally I'm a plain-and-simple person when it comes to food, I don't like too many spices or extra flavors, etc, so sometimes I found it to be a little overdone, but if you like food that way then great. I'm vegetarian and they do offer great vegetarian and vegan options at all three meals on the weekdays and both meals on the weekends. The snack bar is great, they have plenty of options and can make things for the most part however you like it. I would definitely recommend keeping food in your room unless you can handle two to three meals and day and a snack in the evening on a daily basis - personally I need to eat more often than that and there are vending machines in ONE spot on campus, and they're not always well-stocked, so getting food between dining hall/snack bar hours can be pretty difficult without a car.

    Dorm Life

    I only attended Simon's Rock for my freshmen year, and then transferred, which means that I only got to live in the freshmen dorms. From what I can tell, if you stay more than a year the dorm quality significantly improved. I lived in the co-ed freshmen dorm, probably the nicest of the three freshmen houses. The initial roommate matching process doesn't always go very smoothly, the form is pretty simple (just asks if you smoke, if you're neat/messy, if you're a morning bird/night owl), although it does for some, and they WILL work with you to make sure you end up in a situation that is at least mostly comfortable. Additionally the Residence Directors are all fabulous, I can speak for most of them because although my dorm only had one it is truly a close-knit community and I interacted with most of them fairly often. It can be frustrating to live in the dorms, but of course that is expected anywhere.

    Academic Rigor

    My first semester was a piece of cake - 15 credits, 4 100-level classes and 1 200-level modular class. I got 8 hours of sleep a night and had plenty of time for a social life. BUT my second semester was a nightmare - only 17 credits but I moved up to 1 300-level course, 3 200-level courses, and only 1 100-level course. I made sure not to plan my next semester with at least two 100-levels. Even in the first semester when my work was a piece of cake, the professors really make you think about things, it's not the cookie-cutter memorization and regurgitation of high school, and many of the professors will treat you like grad school students even though you're only a 16-year-old undergraduate. They're all SUPER nice, however, and most want to work with you to help you succeed so if you're not afraid to ask for help, you can definitely get it.

    Tips for prospective students

    If you at all have the possibility, pay a visit before you enroll. Make sure that you fit in with the current students and if you visit on a Discovery Day that you fit in with the other prospective students; Simon's Rock attracts a very unique bunch and it can be overwhelming if, like me, you're not very outgoing.

    In three sentences

    Simon's Rock is truly the most unique place I have ever seen, but it is only a good fit for some. Most students have an extremely outgoing personality and can be very imposing, so shy personalities don't fit in well. Additionally some major programs are much stronger than others - theater, math/science, and literature are, in my opinion, the most well-supported and largest majors there.

  • 06/16/2013

    Reviewer is A past student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 5 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Greek Life

    There are no sororities/fraternities.

    Bang for the buck

    Simon's Rock is a really expensive school and has its pros and cons. It isn't for everyone but it does give out a lot of scholarships. Most students transfer after one or two years because students get an Associates Degree after two years and can transfer into another college as a junior.

    What to do for fun

    There is always a lot of campus events and there is a dance every Saturday which students DJ and people get pretty into it. There are a bunch of clubs and you can always start your own club or make your own event on campus.

    Food and Dining

    People complain a lot about the dining hall but the food is always edible and there are vegetarian and vegan options.

    Dorm Life

    Freshmen dorms aren't too great but it's typical dorm life as there would be at any other school.

    Academic Rigor

    The course level and work load at Simon's Rock is comparable to Ivy League schools. It's pretty tough.

    Tips for prospective students

    You have to be well prepared to attend college because it will not be as easy as high school. Everyone at Simon's Rock did great in school so don't be disappointed if your grades aren't as good as they were before. Try to maintain a balance and stay focused.

    In three sentences

    Simon's Rock is a great place for high school students who are ready to attend college one or two years early. The professors are wonderful and there is a unique, small community at the rock.

  • 03/02/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 6 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    security is always on call, and the dorm buildings are accessible only by id card. guests must be registered.

    Greek Life

    there is none.

    Clubs and Activities

    there are so many! they're always hosting events and are the powerhouse of campus life.

    Great for these types of students

    anybody who's looking for a small school with very personalized programs.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    suit tuesday - it's pretty self-explanatory. we wear suits on tuesdays.

    Bang for the buck

    the best part about it is getting out of high school a couple years early. it definitely saves lots of money if you're in private schools. the kids are also pretty great and diverse. everybody fits in somewhere, and for the most part in multiple somewheres.

    What to do for fun

    there are many, many on-campus events, including guest speakers; movie screenings; concerts; festivals; and dances (which are held pretty much weekly). besides that, there's always the town, which is small but great if you know where to go.

    Food and Dining

    the dining hall food is very hit and miss. many people live on pizza, which is generally considered the most consistently good food on campus. they have many events with special food for the occasion. on discovery days and parents weekends, the food is great - they go all out! otherwise, the snack bar is a popular place to eat between 7 and 11 pm.

    Dorm Life

    the tri-dorms (all freshmen live here) are a bit grody - those who get into kendrick (the newest, cleanest of the three; also co-ed) are very lucky. meanwhile crosby and dolliver (female dorm and male dorm, respectively) are outdated. the heating/lighting/space/etc. is all sufficient, though.the rest of the dorms are very nice.

    Academic Rigor

    some weeks it's easy to become stressed with the amount of readings, worksheets, papers, etc. we sometimes have, but i always make it through alright and with time for extracurricular activities and downtime.

    Tips for prospective students

    don't stress out! the people in admissions are very sweet and honestly do their best to accomodate you. most of the school does.the workload sounds scary, but it's not as bad as you're anticipaiting.

    In three sentences

    the teachers are great; the administration is for the most part very good. student life on campus is very active. great barrington consists essentially of main street and a few small streets adjoining to it, and can sometimes be boring.

  • 06/05/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    4 out of 4 people found this review useful. 7 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Simon's Rock is a community of very unique individuals. We all come from different experiences, but we all share that drive that gives us a desire to begin college early. We are quirky, and erratic, but also determined and ambitious.

    Tips for prospective students

    Just be yourself! Simon's Rock admissions process is known for not placing complete emphasis on the numbers; they want to know you for who you are. Don't feel intimated by other applicants who may seem to be more qualified than you because we each bring our own uniqueness to the table. Show it!

    Bang for the buck

    Simon's Rock is admittedly quite expensive, however they try to give you what they can so that you can attend. Whether or not it will be worth the money is ultimately up to you and what you make out of the community at Simon's Rock. There are a plethora of opportunities for you to take advantage of, but if you choose not to utilize them, that is your decision.

    Am enjoying being here

    Simon's Rock is a bit like the island of misfit toys. Many of the students who come here left high school because they were more motivated and engaged than their peers, so a lot of people make very special connections with both students and faculty. However, it is college and with that comes a lot of stress and adjustment. Ultimately, it is up to you to make your experience at Simon's Rock enjoyable.

    Am learning a lot

    Studying the sciences at Simon's Rock can be a bit tricky, since it is very small and is known for its liberal arts. However, although not many classes are offered continuously, the classes that given are very challenging and the professors are helpful. The classes are super small and it's easy to get to personally know your class and professor. Upper level classes in the BA program are offered as tutorials.

  • 06/02/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    3 out of 3 people found this review useful. 8 of 8

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Liberal Arts, a few types of science majors, and philosophy.

    Tips for prospective students

    If you plan on staying four years, ignore the following. TAKE ALL OF YOUR PREREQS BUT CALC. If you have to take calc, wait until you transfer because it isn't 100% that it'll transfer.

    Bang for the buck

    It's way too overpriced.

    Am enjoying being here

    The people here are AMAZING. I've meet some of my favorite people. The only down side is... unless you have a car... you are stuck on this campus. Going into town can only satisfy you needs for about a week. And don't get me started about when it snows...

    Am learning a lot

    Depending on your major, you'll either have plethora of classes, or will only be able to complete you prereqs. It sometimes sucks because a class might not be offered a certain semester or every other year and if you plan on transferring you'll have to wait.