So far I've heard amazing things about life at Bard. The atmosphere seems really cool, not to mention the awesome professors and the student body seems like its made up of diverse, intellegent people. Can anyone offer more insight into life at Bard. I was also wondering how the isolated surrounding affects the life there!
wilners, you are a parent? That's not terribly helpful or knowledgeable advice. I'm a parent, too, so I can't speak to what it's like to be a student at Bard. But I know six students at Bard at various grade levels (none of whom are gay, but that is neither here nor there) who love the place with a passion. All are really great, friendly, happy kids. No emo, no hipster attitude. Just really nice, smart, creative kids. But I have no experience other than that.
My friend has a daughter who attends Bard (and loves it!) and she said that the students talk about issues and ideas outside of class, and not just about how drunk they got the night before. Based on just a very superficial impression on how students dressed (we've visited twice), it is a school where kids can feel comfortable being who they are, whether that means being a male in tight, zebra striped stretch pants or someone who sees clothes as just something to put on in the morning.
I was bothered by the flippant reply by Wilners - so I asked my son, a freshman, to describe the students at Bard. He said the best word to describe all the students is "passionate."
My son said everyone at Bard has something interesting about them. There is nobody boring. And, yes, eccentricity is the norm.
Are there gay students? Of course. Is that something most students pay any attention to in identifying each other? No. But if you're a homophobe, don't go to Bard.
My son said the main personality problem of the students at Bard is arrogance, but not stupidity. 95% of the conversations are about literature, art, philosophy and music. He feels its like living in an artist's colony.
He did say if it's important to be in a city, then, certainly, don't go there. But he doesn't have enough time in the day to do all things he'd like to.
Wow so far it seems Bard is just like I imagined it to be; amazing! I am anything but a homophobe and love discussing art, philosophy, and music. I cant wait to visit Bard. Thanks for sharing all of your insight!
Location: Westchester, New York --> Bard College '13
Life at Bard is pretty awesome. There's a pretty big party scene, but it's definitely atypical (as all things Bard are). Kids drink and do drugs, but it's not usually just to drink and do drugs. The average Bard kid who does either of these things will for instance:
Smoke a joint while playing chess, all the while talking about the ideas brought up in class in which one or both of the kids are analyzing a book by Nietzsche.
(However, it's also easy to be substance-free. There's a very "no-pressure" vibe).
Music is extremely prominent. At any given moment I hear people practicing various instruments throughout campus.
Is the campus isolated? Yes. But there are a lot of parties off campus in the surrounding towns like Tivoli and Red Hook (which are very easy to get to because of the shuttle). It's also fairly easy to get to the Rhinecliff Amtrak station (you just have to find someone with a car--most people would be willing to drive you there because it's only 15 minutes) and the Poughkeepsie train station to take MetroNorth to the city (although shuttles only go there on weekends and it's about 20-40 minutes from campus depending on traffic and whether you go through the roads through the towns of Duchess County or on the Taconic).
Despite its isolation and its small size, I never have a dull moment and often can't find time to fit everything in. I have also rarely felt the itching desire to go off campus.
D is a soph at Bard and I would describe her experience as "intense." In her circle of friends, some drink/drug and others don't, no issue with either choice. All are interested in making the world a better place...which in her case has landed her in New Orleans over the break working with elementary school children. All have different intellectual interests, which they talk about with one another, all are very creative in unique ways, all are really interesting people to talk to.
She did mention that she couldn't find any McCain supporters on campus last year. :-)