Pre-College Summer Programs

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During the Pre-College Program at Marlboro, you will explore interdisciplinary interests, gain new perspective, and meet passionate people. Aimed at rising juniors and seniors (ages 15-18), this experience allows you to get a taste of liberal arts education and to discover what college learning is all about. College credit available.


Liberal Arts at Marlboro. 
Marlboro Pre-College students will experience a challenging college-level academic course, as well as gain exposure to other academic disciplines, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and residential college life. Class size is intentionally small, capped at 8-12 students, to create a learning community with room for every voice. 

College ready tool kit.
All participants will attend our College Prep Seminar. Our goal is to equip students with information and questions that will help them navigate their college search. Potential topics include: campus life, the admission process, financial aid, and writing your college essay.

Life in Vermont.
A full evening program will give students the option to explore Marlboro and surrounding towns. Supervised group outings may include hiking and swimming, local cheese and ice cream shops, art museums, baseball games, bonfires, or even the circus!


  • Session A: July 2 - July 8 (application materials due before June 17th)
    • Cartography (Math, Geography)
    • Philosophy and Science of Happiness (Philosophy, Psychology)*FULL
  • Session B: July 9 - July 15 (application materials due before June 24th)
    • Changemaker Week: Social Innovation  *3 SPOTS LEFT!
      If you have an unquenchable curiosity that inspires you to create, innovate, lead, and discover, the future needs you. Join us for a week focused on positive change. Learn from professionals, take classes with experts, and get the skills to make an impact.
  • Session C: July 16 - July 22 (application materials due before July 1)
    • Finding your Public Voice (Political Science, Contemplative Studies, Writing)*FULL
    • DIY Chemistry (Coding, Chemistry)
  • Session D: July 23 - July 29 (application materials due before July 8)
    • Interpreting Landscape (Visual Arts, Ecology)
    • Playwriting (Writing, Performing Arts)
    • Documentary Filmmaking (Film, Video) *3 SPOTS LEFT!

Apply Now!

More Information


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

2017 Session A: July 2–July 8

Cartography 101: You Are Here

Subjects: Math, Geography, History
Instructor: Matt Ollis
One-week course: July 2 – July 8
Possible college credits: 1 

Ever try to determine your latitude and longitude from the position of the sun? In this course, you will experiment with creating and interpreting maps using mathematics and geography. Beginning with the history of map making, analyzing what medieval and other historical maps tell us about the worldviews at the time, how data is represented (and misrepresented) on modern maps, and some of the mathematical choices involved in map design, we will work with primitive tools such as pencil and paper as well as GIS platforms to create a variety of actual maps over the course of the week. No prior knowledge or skills assumed.

Science of Happiness

Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology
Instructor: William Edelglass
One-week course: July 2 – July 8
Possible college credits: 1

What is happiness, and what makes us happy? Combining research and philosophical texts with work in the social psychology of happiness, students will read, discuss, and experiment with practices that lead to happiness. Throughout the week, activities will engage students to look inward through gratitude journaling and mindfulness, as well as outward through a collaborative community project. You will develop a better understanding of what makes you happy and how you can cultivate happiness in your daily life.

2016 Session B: July 9–July 15

Changemaker Week: Social Innovation 

Subjects: Business, Social Innovation, Community Engagement
Instructor: Travis Hellstrom
One-week course: July 9 – July 15
Possible college credits: 1 

If you have an unquenchable curiosity that inspires you to create, innovate, lead, and discover, the future needs you. Join us for a week focused on positive change. In this class we will look at the significant influences in your life and the influence you wish to have on others and on the world. We will explore the core values that make you who you are, the type of change you wish to see in the world and different ways you would like to pursue making that change using human-centered design, social innovation, team building, and self-reflection tools. We will explore these concepts on the beautiful campus of Marlboro, in the classroom, on hikes in the woods, paddling on the water and sitting around the campfire together.

2017 Session C: July 16 - July 22

DIY CHemistry Gadgets

Subjects: Chemistry, Technology
Instructor: Todd Smith
One-week course: July 16 – July 22
Possible college credits: 1

Chemistry labs can be full of fancy instruments. But what’s inside those machines, and how do they work? In this course we’ll find out when we build our own simple instruments and use them to perform some standard laboratory analyses. For example, we’ll use a Lego spectrophotometer to measure phosphorous—an essential plant nutrient—in soil samples, and an Arduino—a small, inexpensive computer—to measure temperature and find the “heat of reaction” for a chemical reaction. To understand our instruments we’ll need to discuss underlying chemistry concepts, as well as principles of electronics and some simple programming. Together we will weave together classroom discussion, instrument design and construction, sample collection, and laboratory analysis.

FINDING Your Public Voice

Subjects: Contemplative Studies, Political Science, Writing
Instructors: Amer Latif, Meg Mott
One-week course: July 16 – July 22
Possible college credits: 1

Great speakers combine passion and logic, poetry and prose. Their words seem to flow effortlessly across their lips as if they were born knowing what they had to say. But even great speakers, it turns out, often surprise themselves by the power of their own words. This class combines contemplative practices, like meditation and chanting, with practice debates. Students will learn to work in deeper registers, to control the pacing of an argument, and to hit a home run through an apt metaphor. By the end of the week, you will not only know how to use passion and logic effectively, you will also know how to flood the room with your presence.

2017 Session D: July 23–July 29

Interpreting Landscape

Subjects: Visual Art, Ecology
Instructors: Cathy Osman, Jenny Ramstetter
One-week course: July 23 – July 29
Possible college credits: 1

Let’s take a closer look at the land beneath our feet. In this collaborative Visual Art and Ecology dialogue, students will begin to locate how careful observation, critical reading, and the simple act of being present to a geographic place can inform a more deliberate understanding of ecological systems and the intricacies of the physical landscape. The group will investigate different sites, including local wetlands, farmlands, Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, and the lands of Marlboro College. Our class time will be balanced between visual art and ecology, utilizing drawing and painting to hone our observational skills that will in return strengthen our analytical skills. Our view and analysis of the places we visit will include both the large-scale landscape and the smaller scale of its inhabitants and their interrelationships. We will draw and paint and make ecological inquiries while balancing freedom of expression, careful observation, curiosity, and scientific method.

Documentary Filmmaking

Subjects: Film Studies, Video, Writing
Instructor: Bess O’Brien
One-week course: July 23 – July 29
Possible college credits: 1

Award-winning filmmaker, Bess O’Brien, will work by breaking the class into small groups of 2 or 3 students to make films that take us inside a place, idea, real-life character, or social issue. Spend the week using your knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and collaborative spirit to make a film worth watching. Students will come up with ideas and plan a shoot—and work with cameras, microphones, and editing software to craft a final short documentary. 



Subjects: Writing, Performing Arts
Instructor: Jay Craven
One-week course: July 23 – July 29
Possible college credits: 1

Have a flare for the dramatic? Join award-winning filmmaker and Marlboro College professor Jay Craven and use your passion to write your own original 10 minute play. Students will brainstorm ideas and then choose one for your own play.  You’ll invent a world on stage, conjure fabulous multi-dimensional characters, set in motion dramatic action, and let loose with unforgettable dialogue. The rest is easy. We’ll plan a staged reading for the end of the week, to share with other students. Bring an idea—or cook it up on the spot.