Bard College at Simon's Rock
Great Barrington, MA, USA

Reviews

Bard College at Simon's Rock
3.30 Average Rating

Andro

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
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.
Tips for prospective students
Don't take a large course load you're first semester expecting you won't drop a class.
Academic Rigor
The classes are incredibly hard, but extremely worth it.
Dorm Life
There are activities to do in the dorms, and each freshman dorm has its pros and cons.
Food and Dining
Not great, but has a variety of options-- gluten free and vegan/vegetarian options are available, but not plentiful.
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.
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.
Sign in to rate & review

Theresa from Middletown, NY

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
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.
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.
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.
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 meanwhile crosby and dolliver (female dorm and male dorm, respectively) are outdated.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.
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.
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.
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.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
suit tuesday - it's pretty self-explanatory. we wear suits on tuesdays.
Great for these types of students
anybody who's looking for a small school with very personalized programs.
Clubs and Activities
there are so many! they're always hosting events and are the powerhouse of campus life.
Greek Life
there is none.
Campus Safety
security is always on call, and the dorm buildings are accessible only by id card. guests must be registered.
Sign in to rate & review

senior

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Greek Life
there is no greek life.
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.
Sign in to rate & review

Kayla from West Grove, PA

a past student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sign in to rate & review

Similar Colleges