“Working Hands, Working Minds.” This is the motto at Sterling College, an incredibly unique and intimate school of 125 students located in rural Craftsbury Common, Vermont, making it one of our absolute favorites. The curriculum is dedicated solely to the advancement of Environmental Stewardship, which refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. The school was founded in 1958 as a college prep school for boys. When the school faced potential closure in the mid 70’s, a small number of faculty came together and created the model of learning that would go on to become Sterling College.
The school has been accredited as a 4-year college since 1997 and is one of only seven federally recognized work colleges in the nation. What’s a work college, you ask? They are distinctive liberal arts colleges that promote the purposeful integration of work, learning, and service.The school offers five majors total:Bachelor of Arts degrees in Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Outdoor Education, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Food Systems, and a sixth option for students to design their own major. The school also has minors in Sustainable Food Systems, Draft Horse Management (the first of its kind in the nation), Natural History, and Climate Justice.
Students at Sterling get to experience truly hands on learning environment with typically 10 or fewer students per class. While there are more traditional laboratory classes and seminars, many of the classes take place in outdoor teaching facilities which include a managed woodlot, a challenge course, a 30 feet climbing tower, managed gardens, and a working livestock farm with two solar powered barns.Students are given the opportunity to intimately engage with nature and consider humanity’s relationship to the environment. They take on rigorous intellectual and physical challenges as they tackle issues like climate change, agricultural sustainability, food security and social justice.
While a great deal is expected from Sterling students, there is also plenty of room for play and student life in this tight knit community. From yoga to music nights to organized dances, to the Mountain and Trail Running Team (which competes in regional events ranging from 5k trail runs to 50-mile ultra marathons!) students make things happen at this school!
The admissions team accepts 94% 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. Sterling College takes the whole student into account during the application process and welcomes applicants who have not followed a traditional high school path or did not thrive as well as they had hoped to academically. For those students who are deeply passionate about the environment and becoming agents of change for future generations, Sterling College is a wonderful place to become a much-needed environmental steward for our planet.
For more information, visit http://www.sterlingcollege.edu