What exactly is Deep Springs?
Deep Springs College is an accredited two-year full-scholarship liberal arts college with between 24 and 30 students, located on a cattle-ranch and alfalfa farm in the high desert of eastern California. The school, founded by L.L. Nunn in 1917 on the three pillars of labor, self-governance, and academics, aims to prepare its students for lives of service to humanity. More information can be found HERE.
Can I visit Deep Springs?
Deep Springs does not have an admissions staff which provides tours or information to uninvited visitors. For this reason, every unsolicited visit represents a distraction of time and energy for our busy students, staff, and faculty. We try to limit the number of campus visits in order to ensure the best possible atmosphere for our focus on education. For this reason, and because the second-round interview will allow promising applicants to visit campus anyway, we discourage students and families from visiting campus before their application process.
Who will actually read my application?
Each first-round application is read by 4 members of the Deep Springs community, as facilitated by the Applications Committee(ApCom). Second-round applications are read by ApCom (about a dozen individuals), which also conducts interviews and makes the final decisions. ApCom is chaired by a student and made up predominantly of students.
Is there a tuition fee of any kind?
Deep Springs is fully committed to ensuring that all selected applicants who wish to attend are not burdened by financial considerations. For this reason, all students receive a full scholarship valued at over $50,000, which includes tuition, room, and board. Students are expected to provide a small damage deposit and to pay for their own books, travel, medical insurance and incidental expenses. In cases of demonstrated financial need, these costs too can be covered by scholarship. The Dean consults with admitted students to ensure that all expenses are met.
How many students do you accept? How many students make it to the second round of the applications process?
We receive between 180 and 250 applications each year. Of these, about 45 of the most promising are selected for the second round application and interview. From these second-round applicants, 15 are invited to enroll and 10 are placed on a wait-list. Our goal is to ultimately have an incoming class of 14 students.
Is there an age limit?
We do not consider applicants over the age of 23 at the time of application, nor students who have already completed a four-year degree.
Is there a testing or GPA cutoff?
We do not practice a cutoff of any kind. However, the academic program at Deep Springs is very rigorous and students should be able to show their ability to perform consistently at a high academic level.
What is my application being judged on?
Beyond grades or test scores, competitive applicants should be able to demonstrate curiosity, an ability to reflect upon themselves, a strong work ethic and good communication skills. All of these traits are necessary to succeed in the Three Pillars of our educational program: academics, labor, and self-governance. It is also important that an applicant be interested in pursuing a life of service to humanity after Deep Springs, and that they have a sense of how the college would help them achieve this goal. There is no single type of student that we look for, nor any single criteria that we use in making decisions. Instead, we try to get as complete a view as possible of each applicant before deciding if they are a good “fit” for Deep Springs and if Deep Springs is a good “fit” for them.
What are you looking for in essays?
Like the rest of your application, we will read your essays to gain a better sense of the way you think and approach the world. This is an opportunity to show us what really matters to you, where you’ve come from, and how you think. We do value creativity and strong writing skills, but what we’re really looking for is a good understanding of who YOU are and why you want to attend Deep Springs.
What if I’ve never been on a farm nor practiced self-governance?
An integral part of the pedagogy at Deep Springs is learning how to learn, learning how to succeed in situations unfamiliar and intimidating. Most students arrive at the college without ever having done farm or ranch work and possessing limited – if any – experience in self-governance. Your background is far less important than your enthusiasm and work ethic in new situations.
Does Deep Springs College practice affirmative action?
We firmly believe that diversity within higher education is important and valuable, especially in the small, tight-knit community that is Deep Springs. Diversity comes in many forms, and we hope to evaluate each student not only on their potential contributions to the community but also their potential growth. We do not practice quotas of any kind, but always keep in mind the socioeconomic background of each applicant while reading applications.
Do you accept transfer applications?
Yes. Although Deep Springs does not accept credits for advanced standing or award bachelor’s degrees, we are more than happy to read applications from students of a variety of educational backgrounds. We will require transcripts from both your secondary school and your most recent place of higher education as well as standardized testing scores.
Do you accept international applicants?
If I’m accepted, when do I begin classes?
Deep Springs operates year-round, with academic coursework beginning in early July and finishing in late June of the next calendar year. If accepted, you can expect to spend two solid years at Deep Springs, with periodic week-long breaks and one 7-week term off. You can get a sense of our typical schedule by looking at the academic calendar.