Pre-College Vermont


Join a community of motivated and intellectually curious students for one or both sessions of our Pre-College Vermont program at Castleton University. Choose one seminar per session and take part in engaging discussions and hands-on projects that allow you to explore new interests or dig deeper into existing passions. Get a taste of college life as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of Putney Pre-College faculty and students.

Call us for more information: 802.387.5000

High School

Grades 9–12

Session 1

June 26-July 8, 2022

Session 2

July 10-July 22, 2022



Attend both sessions & save $1,000! ($800 tuition discount + waived application fee for second session)

High School Seminars

Safety in a Time of COVID-19

Since Putney’s founding 71 years ago, we have approached each participant’s summer experience with the same attention to safety and security that we give our own children. This summer is no exception. Please read our FAQ to learn more about Putney’s 2022 programs, our refund policy, and our successes in offering programs in this new travel environment.

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Our Castleton Campus

Castleton’s rural nature and collegiate environment make this campus the ideal place to host a Pre-College summer experience—one where students can truly stretch their legs and expand their social and academic horizons. A wide range of facilities, available for our exclusive use, give a true taste of college life, and access to the surrounding Green Mountains provides ample extracurricular activities.

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Choose a seminar and dive deep into a subject that inspires you, from Film & Video to Farm to Table, Fashion Design to Entrepreneurship. Putney seminars combine experiential learning and global perspective, and are intentionally designed not to be like school, where learning is classroom-centered and text heavy. Instead, Putney Pre-College students learn by doing. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.

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Afternoons & Evenings

Take a yoga class, play frisbee, or go for a bike ride through the quintessentially New England village of Castleton to get ice cream. Compete in an “Iron Chef”-style cook-off, dive into discussions of climate change and food security, or learn a new dance with your friends. Visit an organic farm, go for a swim in a nearby lake, or hike to a scenic view in the forested mountains outside of town.

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“Our daughter said the seminars blew her mind and that she learned SO much more than she expected. Totally engaging and useful. And we can’t wait to see how this new knowledge and perspective applies to her classes when she returns to school and beyond.”

— Kirsten & Michael Beckwith, Kentfield, CA


Putney Pre-College Vermont brings together motivated and like-minded high school students to grow intellectually and personally as they immerse themselves in a subject, learn from inspiring instructors and guest speakers, prepare for college, and make lasting friendships along the way.

Accommodations & Meals

At Castleton University, we stay in undergraduate residence halls in the center of campus. Rooms are spacious singles and doubles with shared bathroom facilities. Dorms are equipped with several social common areas, as well as laundry facilities. Staff and instructors reside on the dormitory floors with students. Each day we take our meals in the campus dining hall, with the occasional lunch in town or picnic on a field trip.


Find a community of like-minded peers, invested in personal and intellectual growth. Like you, they are curious about the world and eager to have a positive impact on it. Everyone attends Community Meeting each evening, where the group shares ideas, successes, and goals, and sets plans for the coming day. Become part of a community that supports and nurtures your interests, and make lasting friendships along the way.

Guest Speakers

Gain inspiration from the experiences and perspectives of industry leaders and professionals. Guest speakers bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights. Whether a politician or a local entrepreneur, each speaker structures their workshop or lecture to relate to the seminars and their area of expertise.


In addition to your in-depth seminar, explore other interests and topics in elective workshops offered by instructors and students alike. Tap into the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities of your peers and instructors to expand your Pre-College experience, learning on topics ranging from sustainability and renewable energy to landscape photography.


Choose a seminar from a wide variety of fascinating topics. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Castleton University is an ideal environment to take learning into your own hands, consider your college major, and learn from inspiring, expert instructors.

High School Seminars

Program Structure

High school and middle school sessions operate independently, residing in different dorms and using different parts of campus, but are structured similarly. Each day features a combination of seminars, hands-on activities and elective workshops, lab time, guest speakers, community meeting, and unstructured time for socializing and reflection.

After breakfast, depending on the day, seminar learning may start in classrooms, labs, or meeting spaces on campus. After lunch, seminars continue. Afternoons and evenings offer opportunities for students to explore interests beyond their seminar topic in elective workshops, take part in fun extracurricular activities, or work on their independent projects.

After dinner, students and instructors from all seminars convene for evening activities, which include a nightly community meeting. On the final days of the program, students focus on their independent projects, which they then present to the Pre-College community.

Day in the Life

Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day at Castleton.

Daily schedule

8 AM • Breakfast in the campus dining hall
9 AM • Seminars meet in classrooms, labs, studios, or outdoors
11AM • Lunch and free time
1PM • Seminars continue the day’s activities
3PM • Afternoon activities, workshops, extracurriculars
5PM • Dinner with your group
7PM • Community meeting
8PM • Evening programming, speakers, or activities

Outcomes & Final Projects

The Pre-College Vermont program at Castleton University is designed to immerse students intellectually in their chosen seminar topic as they prepare academically and socially for the college experience. Over the course of their two-week Pre-College seminar, each student develops a final project based on their particular interests, which they present to peers and instructors at the end of the program. Display your photography in a pop-up gallery, present a business plan from your Entrepreneurship seminar, or conduct a reading of your script for a film short.