Marlboro College: Wikis


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Marlboro College
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment $30,000,000 (approx. as of 11/14/07)
President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
Staff 41 full-time faculty
Students 311
Location Marlboro, VT, USA
Campus Rural: 360 acres (1.5 km²)
Mascot The Fighting Dead Tree

Marlboro College is a small, coeducational, alternative liberal-arts college in Marlboro, Vermont, USA.



Marlboro College was founded in 1946 by Walter Hendricks for returning World War II veterans on Potash Hill in Marlboro, Vermont. The school's operation was initially financed using money received from the GI Bill. The campus incorporates the buildings of two old farms that once operated on the college site. Marlboro has grown slowly but steadily since its inception, and about 330 students currently attend.

The Marlboro College campus has also been the summer home for more than 50 years to the renowned Marlboro Music Festival.

The Clear Writing Requirement

Freshman students usually take one or more classes designed to boost their writing skills to an acceptable undergraduate level. All Freshman must submit 20 pages (5,000 words) of nonfiction writing to the English Committee by the end of their second semester. If the committee decides that a student's writing skills need more work, they recommend a class to help, and the student must prepare another portfolio, at least 10 pages of which must be new, at the end of the next semester for re-evaluation. In the event that a student fails the writing requirement for three consecutive semesters, the school will ask the student to leave. However, almost all students pass the writing requirement within two semesters.

The Plan of Concentration

Juniors and Seniors focus on developing a Plan of Concentration rather than on heavy coursework. "Plan" is a large self-designed project often involving a special and individualized combination of majors and minors. Juniors and Seniors focus on independent work and increasingly take tutorial classes (one or two students and an instructor). For most students Plan culminates in a written thesis, although art and science students may pursue other projects. However all Plans must include a written portion constituting at least twenty percent of the total plan work. In addition, all plans must include an independent project prepared without direct faculty input, also constituting at least twenty percent of the total plan. Plans that consist entirely of academic writing usually range from one hundred to two hundred pages double-spaced.

The results of this work are defended in an oral examination before two Marlboro professors, and one outside evaluator who has expertise in the student's field of study but is not connected with the college. The presence of the outside evaluator is meant to ensure that the grading process is fair and objective. The final plan is then put on permanent file as a reference work in the college library.


The school was founded on and continues to encourage a tradition of community participation and values. A bi-monthly "town meeting" allows all community members to gather and vote to change the college bylaws. An elected community court dispenses justice when necessary. Different elected committees, consisting of students, faculty and staff, help to hire faculty (or even college presidents) and steer the curriculum, among many other responsibilities.

The school maintains very minimal security measures in order to promote attitudes of trust and responsibility on campus. The library is also open all night and uses a self-checkout honor system to keep track of borrowed materials.

Athletics are also shaped by Marlboro's location, and by Vermont's long winters (the coldest weather coincides with the academic year). Though few organized sports teams exist, the school's "Outdoor Program" promotes nature-oriented activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, canoeing, and hiking.


The Marlboro College campus is located on South Road in the small town of Marlboro, Vermont in the wooded Green Mountains. Marlboro is just off Route 9 which runs east-west across southern Vermont, from Brattleboro ten miles (16 km) to the east to Wilmington and Bennington further to the west. Boston is two and a half hours to the east, Burlington is three and a half hours to the north, and New York City is four hours to the south.

The closest major town is Brattleboro, and students frequently make the 25 minute downhill drive along Route 9 to hang out there at night and on weekends. Brattleboro, like Marlboro college, is liberal in its social life and politics. The town features a well preserved historic main street with a strong gallery scene, boutiques, ethnic and health food, and a historic arthouse movie theater. The similar but much larger AmherstNorthampton area of western Massachusetts is also a favorite hangout but is almost an hour away down Interstate 91.

Social life

Because of its isolation, Marlboro's social life is largely self-contained and centers primarily on small student-organized events or parties. Seniors organize a boisterous party called Cabaret at the end of each semester, which features insulting awards given to students. Open mic nights at the Campus center happen several times a semester. Graduating seniors and professors hold a party at the end of every academic year.


The dining hall and Mather building at Marlboro College

Marlboro's facilities are relatively small because of its size. Many of the buildings including the main classroom building, the dining hall, the admissions building and the administration building are converted farm buildings that predate the college. The campus' historic buildings require a lot of maintenance.[citation needed]

In the last several years the school has added a new performing arts center, a new dormitory called Out-of-the-Way, and a new painting and welding studio. The college also expanded the library, the sculpture studio, and added a new total health center (or THC) and exercise facility to the campus center. These additions made room for the world studies program in the old music building, a new student residence in the old health center, an expansion of the outdoor program into the old exercise room, and athletic space in the old dance studio.


The administration of the school publishes a quarterly magazine, Potash Hill. A student newspaper, The Marlboro Citizen, comes out several times per semester. A student literary magazine comes out on an irregular schedule.


  • An average of 67% of the school's relatively self-selecting applicant pool is accepted. The middle 50% range of SAT I scores (for 2005) was 1040–1310 out of 1600 possible points.
  • 68% of alumni go on to graduate school.[1]
  • 49% of alumni contribute money to the college.[1]
  • Marlboro's World Studies Program has placed students in working internships in some 50 different countries.[2]
  • Marlboro College was ranked #2 in the nation by The Princeton Review for "Best Overall Academic Undergraduate Experience," #2 for "Professors Get High Marks," and #5 for "Classroom Discussions Encouraged."[2]
  • US News & World Report ranked Marlboro 3rd in "Highest Proportion of Classes under 20 (students)."[2]

Famous professors

  • Jerry Levy teaches sociology.

Notable students





  • "It takes someone able to go ahead on (his or her) own to handle this kind of freedom. It is the reliance on student initiative that separates Marlboro education from one-on-one elsewhere."[3] Loren Pope, author of Colleges That Change Lives
  • According to the Princeton Review: "Atypical is typical, but not in an obnoxious way," Marlboro students report, pointing out that "we bathe; some girls even shave!" Notes one student, "Sometimes our nonconformity is manifest in our clothes, be it flashy hipness, dirty hippieness, caps with hoods, or just the standard drag-queen apparel." Students are fond of saying that everyone here "is really bright in some way or another." They "often come from alternative educational institutions—Waldorf schools, home schools, and special high schools of different kinds—so they sort of have that 'I'm not doing it the mainstream way' attitude about them." Most "are quite liberal in their thinking and are encouraged to share their views." Among their ranks are "many bisexual and gay students, but anyone can talk to anyone else. It's very open." Diversity here "is less focused on race than it is on sexuality and socioeconomics, where it truly is diverse. The geography and current demographic seems to be unappealing to some minority groups, which drives the administrators nuts." As one undergrad puts it, "The only segment of student demographics less represented than students of color are students of conformity."[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Quick Facts at the school's official website
  2. ^ a b c Notable facts about Marlboro College at Colleges That Change Lives
  3. ^ Marlboro College profile at Colleges That Change Lives
  4. ^ Princeton Review comments

External links

Coordinates: 42°50′20″N 72°43′54″W / 42.838842°N 72.731681°W / 42.838842; -72.731681


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