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Bard offers a unique experience: The faculty is top-notch and easily accessible, the campus is spread out (600 acres) but comfortable, and the people are great. Our academics give you a structure but encourage exploration, and our seminar-style classes (we don't offer lecture classes) encourage participation and critical thinking. I wish that smoking weren't as prevalent, but that's been my biggest complaint.
The school is small, but it's good. There are certainly "cliques", which some complain about, and people may seem anti social at first, but don't let this fool you. Your average Bard kid may be a shoe gazer, but ask a question, start a conversation, and you should be able to find a lot of cool kids around. There are a lot of good concerts, mostly bands you've never heard of, and these are excellent times to meet other people with your tastes, start a band, or just drink a beer and chat with a stranger. With a few notable exceptions, the College and its faculty are really chill. Security will let you drink a beer in the open, but they might take a handle of whiskey away. They'll bust you for smoking in your room, but if you want to smoke a joint outside, they won't say anything. So many people smoke, but there's very little pressure to do so. In terms of a college town, this is a bubble. Campus is sweet, but some of the local towns are rather unfriendly towards Bard kids. The most frequent complaints are probably the food (which really is terrible, despite its large offering of vegetarian and vegan foods) and the cold. California kids (of which we have an abundance of) are normally ecstatic with the first snow, and miserable by the second. The winter can be really depressing, but it always leads to stronger bonds within dorms. Which, incidentally, is the reason that spring and fall are so much fun. Those are the times when you walk around the beautiful campus (the forests around here are amazing) and try and make new friends. Those are good times.
I transfered from bard and it was the best decision I have ever made, despite being the hardest. there are some incredible minds at bard and most of them are suffocated in the midst of a descent into a hard partying, mind altering journey through their time at school. i was frustrated and anxious most of the time i was there. the administration largely chose to ignore these problems. this school is in the middle of nowhere with long winters and a small student population. it was a lot like being at a summer camp but never leaving and constantly being consumed by some chemical or another. i met the most amazing people i have ever met in my life while at bard and i also felt like i was in hell. bard is not for the faint of heart.
1) The best thing about Bard is the small class sizes. I have had classes with as few as three students in them. Professors are highly accessible. 2) The one thing I'd change would be the weather. The winters are dreadful. The administration cleverly arranges our semesters such that we are on break for the majority of January, but it still snows through March. 3) Academically speaking, Bard's size is ideal. By senior year, though, it can begin to feel a bit claustrophobic socially. There is no one to date because, inevitably, one of your closest friends has dated everyone else. I probably know the penis size of 40% of the males, just by word of mouth. 4) When I tell people I go to Bard, they usually think I mean Barnard and ask how I like going to a single-sex school. In the rare event that they have actually heard of Bard, they make some comment about our left-leaning reputation. Within my field of photography, though, Bard is highly respected. We arguably have the best undergraduate fine art photography program in the nation. 5) I am in my final semester, live off-campus, and am only attending Bard part-time. I therefore do not spend very much time on campus. 6) This is a little tricky to explain. The entirety of Annandale-on-Hudson IS Bard College. However, Annadale-on-Hudson is technically a village subsumed within Red Hook. Other "villages" of Red Hook, some of which function as separate towns, are Barrytown, Village of Red Hook, Village of Tivoli, Upper Red Hook, and Kerleys Corners. This is all explained clearly on Wikipedia. The two closest villages are Tivoli and Red Hook. Bard offers a free shuttle to and from these areas on the hour, and the distance is bike-able (perhaps even walkable; I've certainly done it once or twice). Tivoli is certainly a college town. Its residents are almost exclusively students and professors. There are a few bars and restaurants, a book store, a park, and a killer bakery. Red Hook caters to students, in that it has bookstores, coffee shops, etc, though it is mostly a rural/suburban town for farmers. Generally students party in Tivoli, but buy their groceries in Red Hook. 7) I generally feel supported by the school's administration. The big cheeses genuinely care about and stand by the students. The security, dining, and janitorial staffs are much loved. The offices that focus on paperwork, though, could be more student-friendly and organized (post office, student accounts, financial aid, etc). 8) Four years ago, the administration closed The Old Gym, our chief entertainment venue. They claimed that the building had been condemned, though its closure did too coincidentally fall after a scandalous, alcohol-fueled party held there. After much dialog, the administration has reopened the Old Gym as an alcohol-free performance space, and is currently in the process of opening up another facility (some random storage barn). 9) Of course there is a lot of school pride. At a school this small, there has to be. 10) Everything is unusual about Bard. 11) The photography department brought in Judith Joy Ross one year as a speaker. She was phenomenal. It was absolutely unforgettable. The one-hour lecture for which she was scheduled stretch through two and a half. 12) The most frequent student complaint is about the dining facilities. However, I would much rather be at a school with stellar professors and crappy food than one with crappy professors and stellar food.
ironic pseudonym Senior
The best thing about Bard, it's beautiful. If you come to a school like this, bring rainboots, snow boots, and a smile. Summer to Fall will blow your mind with how pretty the campus is, but come winter, you'll curse those unpaved roads (save a Bard student, add drainage!!!). It's a small community where you do eventually know everyone. Be prepared for some cabin-fever, but it's nothing a dash to the nearest apple orchard/vineyard can't heal. For an isolated school, there are plenty of places within reach if you or a lucky friend have a car. Housing is pretty decent, the rooms are usually pretty spacious and there is space to spread out in common areas and kitchens. Bard works hard to have something going on all the time from trivia nights to movies in the student center theater. And if there isn't a band playing at smog (the student run concert 'hall'), then you must be the last kid on campus before a break! Bard's administration will probably leave you a little flustered if you are a rigid time monger, the popular phrase is 'bard time' and everyone seems to follow it. I've waited over an hour for a scheduled meeting with a dean of students more than once. They just get so involved with the student their with, all else leaves their mind. You could say they are really invested in making sure you're complaints/needs are heard, though it can sometimes be a drag if you aren't the one behind the closed door! Students have the most complaints across the board about food services and maintenance. Broken washers and dryers dot the sad land and eat quarters for breakfast. Heaters and air-conditioners are always on the fritz and the vending machines vend when they feel like it. But you live and you learn, Bard sure takes the high-maintenance out of a person.
Winnie SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo