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Guide to the Telluride Summer Seminar

5 minute read

Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Colorado, the Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS) stands as an intellectual haven for exceptional high school juniors. TASS is not just a summer camp; it's transformative educational experiences that bring together bright minds from diverse backgrounds to engage in rigorous discussions, collaborative learning, and personal growth. This article is a guidebook to the Telluride Association Summer Seminar, exploring its history, application process, program structure, and the transformative impact it has on participants.

1. Understanding the Telluride Association

The Telluride Association is a non-profit organization fostering intellectual curiosity and community since its inception in 1911. The TASS is one of its flagship programs designed to provide a unique and challenging educational experience for any high-achieving high school student.

The roots of the TASS can be traced back to the ideals of democratic education and intellectual exploration. Founded to create a space where high school students can engage in deep, meaningful discussions on a wide range of topics, the once-named Telluride Association Summer Program emphasizes the value of collaborative learning, critical thinking, and community building.

2. Who Should Apply?

The TASS is designed for high school juniors who are not only academically gifted but also curious, open-minded, and eager to explore diverse perspectives. The program seeks young students who are passionate about learning, committed to active participation in discussions, and interested in forming connections with like-minded peers. Securing a spot in TASS is a competitive process that values more than just academic achievements. 

The application process typically involves submitting academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays that showcase your passions, curiosity, and ability to engage in thoughtful discourse. The selection committee looks for students who excel academically and demonstrate a genuine passion for learning and an eagerness to contribute to a vibrant community.

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3. How Much Does it Cost? 

There are no program costs as the TASS is completely free for qualified rising juniors.

4. Program Locations and Themes

The TASS takes place at different locations, each with a specific thematic focus. The program dates and locations vary from year to year, offering participants the chance to experience and engage with different environments. Themes may range from literature and philosophy to science and the arts, providing a rich and diverse array of topics for exploration.

5. How Long is the TASS?

The TASS is an intensive six-week residential program that immerses participants in a community of scholars and thinkers. The program is structured around seminars and small-group discussions led by faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. These seminars form the core of the TASS experience, encouraging participants to delve deep into texts, question assumptions, and engage in rigorous debates.

6. Community Living 

Beyond the seminars, the TASS places a strong emphasis on democratic community living. Participants reside together in dormitory-style accommodations, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experience. Community living is an integral aspect of the TASS, providing a supportive environment where a participating high school junior can build lasting friendships, engage in extracurricular activities, and form connections that extend beyond the program.

7. Extracurricular Programs

The TASS recognizes the importance of balance, and while the seminars are intellectually rigorous, there is also time for extracurricular activities and socializing. Participants have the opportunity to engage in various activities such as hiking, cultural events, and group projects that enhance the overall experience and create a well-rounded summer.

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8. Personal Impact and Life After TASS

Participating in the TASS is not just about acquiring knowledge; it's about honing essential skills and perspectives that extend far beyond the academic realm. Alumni often speak of the transformative impact the TASS has had on their intellectual curiosity, critical reading and writing skills, and ability to engage with diverse ideas. The program catalyzes personal growth, fostering a lifelong commitment to learning and community engagement.

The connections formed at the TASS often extend beyond the summer program. Alumni become part of a global network of individuals who share a passion for learning and community building. Many TASS alumni go on to pursue successful careers in academia, research, arts, and various other fields, contributing to the vibrant legacy of the Telluride Association.

9. Tips for Success

If you are considering applying to the TASS, here are some tips to enhance your application and make the most of the experience:

  • Show Genuine Interest:  Express your authentic passion for learning and intellectual exploration in your essays and interviews.

  • The TASS values diversity of thought and background. Embrace the opportunity to engage with perspectives different from your own.

  • Familiarize yourself with the seminar-style format and be prepared to engage in challenging discussions and debates.

  • Be an active participant in seminars, extracurricular activities, and community living. The more you invest in the experience, the more you will gain from it.

Final Thoughts

The Telluride Association Summer Seminar is not just a summer adventure; it's a transformative journey that has the power to shape the way you approach learning and community. If you are a high school junior with a passion for inquiry, a love of discourse, and a curiosity that knows no bounds, the TASS might just be the ideal space for you to thrive.

As you embark on this intellectual odyssey, remember that the TASS is not just about what you learn but also about who you become. It's about fostering a lifelong commitment to curiosity, dialogue, and the pursuit of knowledge in the company of like-minded individuals. So, take a leap, embrace the challenge, and let the Telluride Association Summer Seminar be the canvas upon which your intellectual journey unfolds.

If you’re looking for additional summer opportunities, check out our related guides:

More Information on the Telluride Association: 

  1. Telluride Association - Summer Programs

  2. Telluride Association - Alumni Stories

  3. Telluride Association - FAQs