From The School
The first two years at Marlboro are designed to give students the opportunity to study broadly in many different courses and areas. With the approval of their faculty advisor, students choose their own course schedules incorporating course work from all four areas of the curriculum: arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The one requirement every student must meet within their first three semesters is the Clear Writing Program. When a student moves from the sophomore to the junior year, it is referred to as going "on Plan."
The Plan of Concentration is what sets Marlboro's curriculum apart from other colleges and is Marlboro's alternative to traditional majors. Plans are often interdisciplinary and self-designed with faculty sponsors. In the junior year, Plan students spend time strengthening their knowledge in the particular areas of study on which they are focusing. In the senior year, students complete a great deal of independent study and research. Throughout the whole process of working on their Plan, students benefit from the close academic sponsorship they receive from faculty members.
Ultimately, evaluators from outside the college who are considered experts in their field are also included in the final assessment of a student's "Plan of Concentration".
The World Studies Program (WSP) integrates the best traditions of liberal arts learning and international studies with a six-to-eight-month working internship in a foreign culture. Students use their experiences abroad in their Plan of Concentration work. Students in the WSP design and carry out their internships in numerous fields, including photojournalism, business, education, relief work, development, anthropology, and scientific research, to name just a few. Graduates of the program have been accepted to many prestigious graduate schools, and more than two-thirds of the program's graduates now work or study in international fields. The World Studies Program operates in conjunction with the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, about 15 miles away from Marlboro's campus.
Teeny tiny Marlboro College in Vermont offers a “self-driven, free, and intimate academic climate” with a “rustic feel.” With an average class size of just ten students, the school is all about creating a serious academic setting “where students are on equal footing with teachers and decide their own academic paths.” “I dictate my own academics at Marlboro; I have the freedom to seriously study most anything,” says one student. Marlboro’s unique academic system, the Plan, is “incredibly exciting”; through this curriculum, students “can focus right in, very specifically, on the particular books or ideas that interest them most.” The “incredibly sharp-witted and compassionate” faculty members at Marlboro “have strong personalities,” and relationships with professors are “really intimate (in a good way).” “By the end of a class—provided you participate—they know you well, and you know them well,” says a student. There’s definitely “a relaxed, humorous atmosphere that manages to coexist with the intense academics, somehow.” Discussions can run deep, and “there are few classes here in which the professor talks more than the students do.” There are also more than 200 tutorials at Marlboro, which are typically reserved for juniors and seniors; most are one-on-one, and depend on students taking charge of a subject, preparing for and leading a weekly meeting with the faculty member and completing a piece of research or production. In addition, there is a “town-meeting-style community government” in place and “lots of energy from staff going into projects outside the classroom.” Though no student lacks for attention or academic assistance, some admit that resources can be spread thin in some areas, including the “limited in number” professors; accessible as they are, some subject areas only have one professor, which means that “if you don’t get along with the professor in your department you can either suck it up, or choose a different major.” However, all of the “ingenious” professors are “great and really flexible. They just want to help.” Grades, “while something that happen,” are not considered important—instead the work students produce “is for our own pleasure and pride.”