Did anyone watch 60 Minutes re Deep Springs College?

He himself worked on a forest fire crew. I don’t gather that he was speaking about doing something expensive, just different. He’s advocating getting off the treadmill.


Love the idea of Deep Springs. It’s a bit like a working camp with incredible camp counselors that serve as your professors.

Even the most selective LAC isn’t this discriminating about fit and capability. Of course, it helps when they only get 300 apps. Maybe the 60 Minutes segment will dramatically increase apps.
“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.”

Deep Springs graduates have most commonly finished their degrees at Yale, Brown, Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago and other well regarded universities and colleges. More than half of alumni go on to receive graduate and terminal degrees.

I met a DS grad at a faculty party. Probably the type of student you’d find. Broad interests and loves discussion.

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Jobs like working on a farm or being a rafting guide do actually pay money (and provide accommodation), unlike some elite internships working in media, politics, etc. The objective he’s setting is to find yourself, instead of just focusing on a career.

But no doubt that is an easier choice because Deep Springs is free (and the Utah program is a full ride scholarship) so you don’t have to immediately earn money to pay back college debt. I’m interested that despite not coming from wealthy families, many of D’s cohort want (and feel able) to take time to do that next year rather than immediately rushing off to law school/grad school. It feels like a throw back to an earlier time before college was so expensive and there was pressure to get a return on that investment.


Agree. Take away the free tuition and the number of applications likely will drop dramatically.

Yes, students with lower college costs and/or wealthy parents have more choices if they need to trade off between earning money, finding themselves, and getting the best stepping stone toward future career paths.

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I don’t know if anyone here saw or remembers the news story about the Congressman from New Jersey, Andy Kim, who stayed during the night of January 6 to help with cleaning up the mess. it got a lot of press. He posted yesterday after 60 minutes aired the show, about having attended Deep Springs and what an enormous effect it has had on his life. Basically it said that the school emphasized the idea of service, and this has been the central principle of his life. It was a really impressive piece he wrote. He’s not my Congressman, but I’d be proud if he were, and glad NJ has him to represent us.


Thanks for alerting us to Congressman Kim’s tweets - really thoughtful. I browsed the Deep Springs website last night and the phrase “students are expected to dedicate themselves to lives of service to humanity” appeared in many places. Quite a unique institution, with much to commend. The “labor” aspect, in particular, can be character-shaping - by connecting us to nature and each other (e.g., growing tomatoes, milking cows, cooking for one another) as well as grounding us a bit (e.g., cleaning bathrooms - I don’t know if this is common knowledge but, in Japan, children from kindergarteners to high schoolers, whether attending state or private schools, are expected to clean their own classrooms and bathrooms).


Old but good article (2006) by Dana Goodyear in The New Yorker:

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I did not see the piece on Deep Springs, but if it shows up online I might watch it. Wondering how those of y’all who saw it think Deep Springs compares to the Work Colleges? https://www.workcolleges.org/ Not that they are all alike, but the work aspect is there at all of them.

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Thank you for sharing this information about the 8 colleges of the Work College consortium.

I was only aware of 4 of the 8 work colleges. I think that they are a great option for many students.

Deep Springs College has just a 30 student capacity. The work is labor intensive and appears to be more than is required by the Work Colleges with which I am familiar.

Deep Springs College is a very isolated & only offers a 2 year program. Due to its isolation & small size, it is appropriate that Deep Springs College is just a two year program (although one year might be enough).

In my opinion, Deep Springs College is an extreme option only for the brightest students, while Work Colleges seem to have a more practical, need based mission.

Deep Springs College likes to present itself in a more dramatic fashion than do the 8 Work Colleges. Deep Springs never misses a chance to tout its Ivy League placements, while Work Colleges are helping those with real need by giving a chance to those who might not otherwise be able to attend college–at least at some of the Work Colleges.

Again, @Sweetgum, thank you for sharing this information about the Work Colleges.

They are different things targeted at different applicants. DS is the nichiest of niche schools. The only get 300 or so application per year. As a relative comparison, Berkeley got 112K.

Is there evidence that students at Deep Springs College don’t have need?

Have a look a their mission statement: Mission | Deep Springs College

In particular, this: Deep Springs’ challenging and comprehensive educational program is designed for a few of the most promising students entering college each year. No tuition or fees are levied, but strenuous effort, self-governance, and selfless service to the community are expected of everyone.

They are clearly seeking the best and brightest. You don’t have to like the school, but I see no evidence of them doing anything many other colleges aren’t doing, except DSC is doing it for free. How is that a bad thing?


Students with extremely high standardized test scores & strong performances in academic settings should have many options funded by financial aid at a wide variety of schools.

Also, DSC is not a bad thing. It is just an option for a very small group of individuals.

Yes, but they are clearly looking for the experience. They aren’t going to get that at Harvard. Or maybe they are from donut hole families. We don’t know.

They may or may not get a community driven work experience at Harvard, Bates, or at almost any other college. Some colleges strongly encourage, for example, their students to consider the Peace Corps after graduation. If I recall correctly, Brown University is one example of such a school as is Bates College.

College students do a variety of interesting activities through-out the school year as well as immediately after graduation.

I wish that 60 Minutes do a story on the 8 Work Colleges.


Definitely a good idea. I’d like to hear more about those colleges too.

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Berea College s one of my favorite schools in the nation. It is one of the Work Colleges. Just 1600 students.

All students receive full scholarships & all students must work at least 10 hours per week.

All, or almost all, come from families with household incomes below $30,000 a year.

All Berea College students graduate with two transcripts: An academic transcript & a work transcript.

No tuition is paid or collected. The school must raise at least $5 million in donations each year.

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The bolded sounds a lot like the federally recognized Work Colleges which is why I asked about Deep Springs in comparison to them.

Why can’t they do both? Why malign DS to prop up the Work Colleges? They are different. DS obviously has more interest than they can accommodate, by a very long margin. It may not interest you, and that’s OK. It’s an interesting concept for the 300 or students a year that think it is. That’s it.


The 2006 New Yorker article says that most DS students are from suburban upper middle-class families. I see one grad on LinkedIn who just finished at Stanford with a combined JD/MBA. He went to Yale after DS and was a Staff Cowboy and trustee member.

Back in 2006, they were getting 200 apps and now 300+ while now admitting women.

My guess is that the work and remote aspect is somewhat romanticized while those who are working extensively in high school don’t find working 20 hours a week on a ranch to be very romantic. Comes back to high correlation between high school and test score success and family income.