Marlboro College is a gem of a school-a private liberal arts college of 300 students located in rural Marlboro, Vermont. The college was established in 1946 by Walter Hendricks, who set out to create a school in which students played an active role in shaping their academic and community atmosphere. The school operates on these principles to this day and requires its students to be active and engaged participants in their education.
With just 47 faculty members and a 6:1 faculty to student ratio, Marlboro offers a very intimate academic and social atmosphere. While many schools require students to follow a set curriculum of general education courses, Marlboro allows students to design a personal course of study based on their individual interests and passions. Marlboro offers classes in 36 subjects in four main categories: Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. Every Marlboro student is required to complete a Plan of Concentration which they begin working on at the beginning of junior year. The “Plan,” as it is more commonly known, is an individually designed course of study that requires faculty approval and often covers a variety of subjects. This unique academic experience allows students to be actively engaged in their educational journey every step of the way.
One of the most notable aspects of student life is the Town Meeting, a monthly assembly that is the center of community life and a place to discuss a wide range of college issues. All students, faculty, and staff members are allowed to participate and have an equal vote. Members of the Marlboro community have a strong influence in administrative decisions, allowing students to have an important say in their college government. In the past several years the school has made a significant effort to expand the art and music departments, adding a new performing arts center with a 125-seat auditorium, an electronic music lab, practice rooms with baby grand pianos and a 5,000 square foot dance studio. Although the campus does not have any official sports teams, students have the opportunity to participate in many outdoor activities through the Outdoor and Recreation Program. Marlboro offers a variety of seasonal outdoor activities including kayaking, whitewater outings, caving, climbing, and backpacking, as well as a fair number of organized sports.
One of the most unique aspects of Marlboro’s admissions process is that it does not require SAT/ ACT scores or take into account a student’s GPA. While students can submit these, it is not a requirement for the application process. Marlboro is most interested in admitting well-rounded students who are self-motivated, have a deep passion for learning, and a desire to be active contributors on campus. The admissions team accepts 80% of students who apply each year, so students have a high chance of earning a spot in the school and being eligible to receive financial scholarships offered by the school. While a small, rural college is not for everyone, Marlboro will appeal to students who are looking for a unique educational experience that encourages them to be independent, self-sufficient, and follow a non-traditional course of study.