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New Student Orientation*

*Please note: International Student Orientation will take place August 23–25.

New Student Orientation (begins August 26) is equal parts landing pad and launch pad. It offers time to get to know the people and places that will be your home and opportunities to dive into the intellectual and imaginative work that will propel your experience forward. Together with your classmates and housemates, your advisor and faculty, you will begin to shape a vibrant and supportive intellectual community. 

Pre-Orientation Trips**

**Please note: Pre-orientation trips are not available for international students.

  • “Outstanding. Beyond amazing. A definite must to meet people and form inseparable friendships to start the new experience!”
  • “You’ll have a serious sense of accomplishment.”
  • “You’ll feel extremely exhausted but proud.”
  • “Wonderful way to start the school year. I know that I am beginning the school year with some awesome people. Thanks for a good start and leaving me with high hopes for the year and beyond.”

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or just want to get to know your new home and classmates a little better, our pre-orientation trips offer you the chance to share a meaningful experience with a small group of your peers. Students travel in groups of 8 to 12—either backpacking, canoeing, or farming. No experience is necessary to participate, and trips are open to both first-year and transfer students. International students participate in a special international student pre-orientation program.

To reserve a spot on a trip, complete the Pre-Orientation Trip Registration by July 4 registration now closed; participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is very limited, so be sure to register early. A fee of $250 covers meals, supplies, equipment, and campsites; you may also rent a sleeping bag and/or wilderness backpack for $20. Fees will be charged to your student bill.

Trip Options

  • Backpacking: Backpackers will journey on one of Vermont’s many stunning wilderness hiking trails, such as the Long, Catamount, or Appalachian Trails. All levels of experience are welcome. Students will hike approximately 3–5 miles each day and will be expected to carry their own belongings in a large wilderness pack throughout the trip. An advanced trip is also available for experienced backpackers (see next bullet).
  • Advanced Backpacking: Intended for experienced hikers, the advanced backpacking group will trek 7–8 miles a day through portions of the Long Trail. Participants should have wilderness experience and must be physically able to complete the journey.
  • Canoeing: Paddlers will travel down one of New England’s many waterways, the Connecticut River. You will paddle several miles a day, and camp at wilderness locations along the river while learning skills necessary for canoeing and backcountry living.
  • Local Farming: Participants will stay on campus and volunteer with the student-run Purple Carrot Farm. They will learn about local agriculture, collaborate with the farm on a few small, day projects, and work closely with members of the Bennington Sustainable Food Project (Bennington’s student-led organization for food culture on campus). Participants will also visit local farms, go on hikes and tubing adventures, sing songs, and cook many great meals together! No farming experience necessary. Students will camp on campus for the duration of the trip.

Arrival Information***

***Please note: Students who arrive before the designated arrival days will be responsible for finding their own accommodations off campus.

  • Arrival for International Students | Saturday, August 20, Sunday, August 21, and Monday, August 22, 9:00 am–4:00 pm
    New International Student Orientation (first-years and transfers) | Tuesday, August 23–Thursday, August 25
  • Arrival for Pre-Orientation Trips (due to pre-orientation trips and International Orientation happening at the same time, international students are unable to register for pre-orientation trips) | Monday, August 22, 9:00 am–noon
    Trips | Tuesday, August 23–Thursday, August 25
  • Check-in for New Students (first-years and transfers) | Friday, August 26, 9:00 am–1:00 pm
    New Student Orientation | begins Friday, August 26, 2:00 pm

Getting to Campus/Transportation

If you will arrive by plane, train, or bus into Albany, New York, and wish to reserve transportation to the Bennington campus, please submit the Transportation Reservation by August 1 or at your earliest convenience. The shuttle runs on the following dates (times and pickup locations to come):

  • Saturday, August 20–Monday, August 22 | international students
  • Monday, August 22 | pre-orientation trip participants
  • Friday, August 26 | all other new students

Shuttle Fee: The following fees include up to two bags; $10 for each additional bag. Before August 1, $35 per person; after August 1, $45 per person. Your shuttle-fee payment is due with your reservation—checks can be mailed to the Office of Student Life, attn: Shuttle Reservations.

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