Deep Springs College — A Best Kept Secret

Deep Springs College — nestled in a remote valley in the California desert — is one of the most unusual higher-education institutions in the United States. What makes it unique is that students pay no tuition. The liberal arts college is situated on a cattle ranch/alfalfa farm, where students work for their education. The college aims to give students a top-notch education, while including intense contact with work, nature and ideas. During the school term, no one except students is allowed in or out of the college in order to keep distractions from interfering with education. With fewer than 30 students at any given time, the college is one of the smallest institutions of higher education in the United States. Unlike traditional schools, current students select new students. While SAT/ACT scores weigh heavily in the enrollment decision, an applicant’s willingness to participate in chores plays an important role in the selection process. Most students attend the college for two years on a full scholarship valued at more than $50,000 a year. The college employs three long-term professors, and they work right alongside their students. The college has a long history of graduates who went on to continue their education at Yale, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago.