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Deep Springs College

"... one of the most selective and innovative colleges in the world", according the New York Times.

Photo of Izabela Correa

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Deep Springs College is an alternative liberal arts college in Deep Springs, California. The institution currently has a student body size of 26. Each student attends for two years and receives a full scholarship valued at over $50,000 per year. Afterwards, most of them continue their studies at other universities.

In addition to studies, students work a minimum of 20 hours a week either on the ranch and farm attached to the college or in positions related to the college and community. Position titles have historically included cook, irrigator, butcher, groundskeeper, cowboy, "office cowboy," dairy, and feedman. 

Unlike most colleges, students design the curriculum and select the professors. Public speaking and composition are the only two required courses. The curriculum includes introductory courses and specialized courses rarely provided at the freshman and sophomore level at other institutions. Students typically develop their academic interests during one-on-one conversations with their instructors.

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Could the Deep Springs College model be replicated in a big scale?


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Photo of Trevor z Hallstein

I have a few friends who went here. It's a fascinating education.The only thing is, in the context of the cost of college, deep springs to my understanding is able to operate because of the ongoing outside funding and the endowment, so there would be some issues in scaling this approach. It does select for and produce great minds from what I can tell from my small sample size..

Photo of Izabela Correa

Hi Trevor! Thank you very much for your comment. I'm glad to hear that your friends went to Deep Springs College and that you think it's a fascinating education. I agree that it might be difficult to scale the model. But, it would be great to have more similar initiatives. Or at least to analyze some concepts that could be scalable.

Photo of Trevor z Hallstein

There are two more in the works, actually, my deep springs alumni informed me => and The Arete Project, which is explicitly Deep Springsish, but for women:

Photo of Izabela Correa

Hi Trevor! This is great! Thank you for sharing. It seems that these are new initiatives. From what I understood, the Arete Project offers Summer seminars and it started in 2014. The Outer Coast will have the same format than Deep Springs (2-years) and will accept both men and women. The first class will start in 2016.

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