The Summer Programs Application and Review Committee (SPARC) oversees the application process for TASS. We use a holistic review process to select finalists who we believe will contribute the most to their TASS, and who will gain the most out of it. We are looking for curious, thoughtful, brilliant, and compassionate students to compose diverse and eclectic communities devoted to academic, social, and personal growth. All high school sophomores are eligible to apply for TASS. We particularly encourage applications from African American students, other students of color, and any student with an interest in exploring critical Black and ethnic studies. Prior academic experience is not required.
We believe that test scores and transcripts are of limited use in identifying successful TASSers. Far more important to our decision are the essays written for the application. These essays give applicants a chance to characterize themselves and to demonstrate their independence of thought, curiosity, and concern for social and political issues. With a large sample of your best work, we will be able to make our decision based upon who you really are, not just your grades. These essays are by far the most important part of the application, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to complete them. The most successful applicants write multiple drafts, refining their ideas and prose. You are welcome to discuss the essays with friends, teachers, or parents, but the writing and ideas should be your own.
The students whose personal and intellectual abilities make them excellent TASS participants do not necessarily have a sophisticated educational background. We try to evaluate the accomplishments of all applicants in light of their circumstances. In this way we hope to ensure geographic, economic, and racial diversity. Because TASS is an experience in community living as well as in intellectual growth, we try to select students who seem concerned for the welfare of others and who are flexible enough to enjoy the challenge of interacting with people whose perspectives and experiences vary enormously.
The application process is more rigorous than most college admissions procedures, and each application is given serious, thorough attention. Completed applications are due in early January. Each application is evaluated by two or more of our trained readers, including current college students who have participated in Telluride programs and alumni of our summer programs. Promising candidates are interviewed in March or April by regional representatives of Telluride Association. If you are selected for an interview, you will need to request a transcript and letter of evaluation immediately following notification from Telluride Association in March. You will also be asked to submit an additional essay you wrote for school. (Further instructions will be given at that time.) In late April, using all the accumulated information about each candidate, SPARC makes the final selection of participants and alternates.
Applications for 2021 will be available this fall.
Every year, we rely on teachers, counselors, coaches, and friends to nominate promising students. Nominators are a way for us to reach applicants who may never have heard of our programs. Nominations are not part of your application, and you don’t need to have been nominated to apply. (If you are a teacher/counselor/coach/mentor, and want to nominate a promising student, please click here.)
To request more information, please contact us.
Telluride Association does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability.
Applicants who plagiarize all or part of their application will not be considered for admission to the program and will have their applications returned to them. Telluride Association and its officers may also, at its own discretion, contact the staff of these students’ respective schools in order to notify them of any instance of plagiarism.
Telluride Association occasionally shares applicants’ names and addresses with our partner institutions for the purpose of informing them of scholarship and other opportunities.
It is the policy of Telluride Association not to grant any special consideration, positive or negative, to students who apply to summer programs when those students have a parent or sibling who has participated in or been employed by a TA program. Immediate family members of current TASS faculty are ineligible to apply.