Simon's Rock | Teen Ink

Simon's Rock MAG

By Anonymous

   Great Barrington, MA: Many intelligent, creative students feel crushed beneath their high school system. They feel themselves inside the vice, their last breaths of academic enthusiasm slowly draining away. Many others find high school simply boring: it no longer challenges them. Either way, a place exists for the advanced student ready to leave high school and attend college early. Unfortunately, many of these individuals will never discover Simon's Rock, a recognized (albeit small) name in liberal arts schools.

I discovered it almost by pure luck. Only the name of its parent school, Bard, attracted my attention in a large telephone book sized college manual. Luckily I did notice it, and I had the opportunity to apply and visit the campus.

The school stressed three things to parents and prospective students when I visited the campus on a Discovery Day. They warned parents about the freedom. They advised (or warned, depending on how you view it) students about academic challenge and pressure. And finally they stressed that all students should contribute to the community. If you don't contribute, you'll probably get bored. Natural beauty only goes so far, after all.

Simon's Rock maintains a low student-to-teacher ratio. This way, you can discuss your thoughts directly with the teachers and other students. Other college campuses might have lecture halls with several hundred students to a single teacher. Aside from the dorms and library, I didn't see a single classroom at Simon's Rock that could fit 175 students.

The students I saw on campus were distinctive. Simon's Rock looked like a socially accepting school, judging by the students. I could see that they basically don't care about pleasing anyone. They care about their work. The faculty advise students to come to Simon's Rock because they are ready for college, and for a challenging liberal arts education.

The buildings seem nice enough, rustic but nothing incredible. If I only saw the buildings and classrooms, I might have wondered about the college. After meeting members of the faculty, students, and attending the complete gamut (including free lunch) of one Discovery Day, I understand.

The school is located in Great Barrington in the Berkshire mountain range of Massachusetts. Outside downtown Great Barrington, civilization disappears. The campus has beautiful scenery. I haven't seen a more exceptional campus in terms of scenic beauty. The students I met liked the school's atmosphere. It's certainly less restrictive than any high school. They smiled as they described it repeatedly as, "challenging." Those two characteristics describe my first impressions of Simon's Rock College: freedom and challenge. Students have more freedom on the campus, and they have a more challenging workload.

Simon's Rock is a community of younger scholars, ready to attend a completely serious liberal arts college. The community places great value on respect without titles, and academic work with serious discussion and consideration of your views. Simon's Rock is no high school intent on pummeling your individual views into a uniform white paste, but it didn't impress me as a way of quitting school and being handed a degree. You have to work for it. f

Reviewed in 1994

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