Pre-College Summer Programs

Marlboro College’s Pre-College Summer Programs offer young adults the opportunity to study with Marlboro College faculty members (ranked #1 in 2014 by Princeton Review), and to build relationships with a group of other students passionate about learning, in the classroom and out. Each program offers an introduction to college-level academic work, combined with hands-on exploration. Evenings provide time for fun group activities ranging from collective 'zine design to ice cream at the Chelsea Royal. Space is limited to 12 participants per programs, creating vibrant communities with room for every voice.

Complete application and information will be available by December 1st. 

A complete application consists of a Statement of Interest Essay (emailed to and an online application.

Applications for Summer 2015 are due by June 5th, 2015.

Summer 2014 Sessions Dates

The Program


Ariel Brooks, Marlboro College director of non-degree programs, is happy to answer questions and can be reached at: 802-451-7118 or

2014 Session I: June 29-July 5

Philosophy in the Wilderness

Faculty Member: William Edelglass, philosophy

Marlboro College philosophy professor and long-time wilderness guide, William Edelglass, will take students on a physical and theoretical exploration of the environment. During this week-long canoe and hiking trip, students will explore nature, both literally and through philosophy and environmental art. We will focus particular attention on humans in the community of life, and our relations with nonhuman animals, plants, ecosystems, and what it might mean to live well in our home places. Students will also learn how to eat well and be safe and comfortable in the wilderness, how to paddle canoes, and enjoy the pleasures of solo time on the shores of a remote lake.

2014 Session III: July 13 - 19

DNA: Barcode of Life

Faculty Member: Todd Smith, chemistry

A trained naturalist can often identify animals from the signs they leave behind, like feathers, hair, or scat, but sometimes they need help from a molecular biologist. Just like the “universal product code” used at the grocery store, DNA provides scientists with a kind of “barcode of life.” An organism’s DNA contains details about its evolutionary relationship with other organisms. In this workshop we will identify species by collecting samples, extracting DNA, and amplifying a section of the DNA using the polymerase chain reaction. We will begin with an introduction to basic molecular genetics, then develop lab skills through extensive hands-on laboratory activities. Finally, we will apply these skills as we use DNA barcoding for the identification of our samples.

Risky Representations

Faculty Member: Kate Merrill, photography

In today’s social media frenzy, where people post images of everything from their breakfast to their most reckless moments, are representations of the self risky? Are photographs capable of defining who you are, or are they clues to who you might want to become? In 20 images, students will produce a portfolio that investigates the value of self-representation and will explore the ways in which we can reimagine ourselves. Together we will explore the mechanics of digital photography, from conception to printing. Alongside of the photographic process, students will experiment with visual narrative through various processes that may include text, mark making, and the photograph as object.

2014 Session V: July 27 - Aug 2

Green Mountain Ecology

Faculty Member: Jaime Tanner, biology

How do we observe and understand the natural world around us? During this course we will traipse through streams, walk in the woods, climb mountains, and stroll through meadows while observing the relationships of these environments to the species we find within them. We will use field guides and dichotomous keys to identify local species, and will address questions about ecological relationships by applying the same tools and methods used by ecologists. Students will learn ecology through hands-on research, from developing hypotheses and predictions to a final presentation at the end of the week. Finally, we will explore creative forms of observation through different forms of writing.   

Poetry on the Peaks

Faculty Member: Kyhl Lyndgaard, writing

Did you know Henry David Thoreau climbed Mount Wantastiquet while visiting Brattleboro? Have you ever read the fire lookout tower poetry of Gary Snyder while in a fire lookout tower? We’ll add our own voices and footsteps to a variety of local peaks, writing poetry and creative nonfiction while taking forays to local mountains. Throughout the week, we’ll hike through readings that engage with the very mountains we’ll be climbing, penned by writers who have explored the same trails before us. Then we will expand our own writing horizons, trying our hand at creative writing based on experiential, place-based exercises that are informed by the ecology of our surroundings.     


2014 Session II: July 6-12

Ways of Knowing

Faculty Member: William Edelglass, philosophy

What is knowledge, and how do we get it? How might eating, sleeping, reading, writing and singing be considered ways of knowing? Through participating in a range of activities such as meditation, yoga, cooking a meal, taking a walk in the woods, chocolate tasting, singing, reading short religious and philosophical texts, and writing, we will explore the nature of knowledge and the ways in which we come to know. Together, we will challenge conventional ideas of what it means to know and how one acquires knowledge. In addition to focusing on the relationship between head and heart, reason and imagination, we will pay special attention to the place and role of the body in the acquisition of knowledge.

2014 Session IV: July 20-26

Finding the Key

Faculty Member: Matt Ollis, mathematics

Do you wish you knew the math to design your own Suduku, or to solve a Rubik's cube? Do you wonder where Lewis Carroll was going with the statement, “None of the unnoticed things, met with at sea, are mermaids?” Perhaps you think you’ve got what it takes to find the elusive treasure on a daylong, team expedition? Join math professor Matt Ollis for an exploration of puzzles of all sorts, and the math that makes them work. We will spend our days solving a variety of puzzles from across the globe—using math and techniques for problem solving—and creating our own. Whether you have been a math whiz all your life or you are looking for your inner Pythagoras, you will enjoy new challenges to puzzle over.

Building Social Movements

Faculty Member (guest): Angela Berkfield, director, ACT for Social Justice

What is a social movement? What does it take to create and sustain one? And what are some key social movements from the past and present that we can learn from? Working with Angela Berkfield from ACT for Social Justice, as well as other local leaders, students will examine ways that social movements have shifted power to the people and advanced human rights. We’ll talk about what’s needed to support some of the most marginalized voices and groups to exercise their voice and rights. And we’ll consider the vital role that young people play in social movements. Come prepared to hear from people involved in dynamic social movements of our time. Make sure to pack your passion and energy and ideas – we’ll work together to add our voices to the movements that inspire us.