What is TASP?
A Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) is a free six-week educational experience for high school juniors that offers challenges and rewards rarely encountered in secondary school or even college.
Each program is designed to bring together young people from around the world who share a passion for learning. Telluride students, or TASPers, attend a seminar led by college and university scholars and participate in many other educational and social activities outside the classroom.
Students attend TASPs because they want a personal and intellectual challenge. Telluride Association seeks students from all kinds of educational backgrounds who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and motivation, rather than prior knowledge of the seminar’s subject matter. TASPers participate solely for the pleasure and rewards of learning with other intelligent, highly motivated students of diverse backgrounds. The TASP offers no grades or college credit.
The TASP Seminar
TASP centers on an academic seminar that meets every weekday morning for three hours. Each seminar is led by a team of two faculty members, who are selected for the distinction of their scholarship and the excellence of their teaching. Classes emphasize group discussions rather than lectures. Participants can expect to spend several hours on assigned readings or other preparation for each class, and will complete a number of writing assignments over the six-week seminar. The discussions and essays allow the faculty and students to engage the material in detail and to form a close community of scholars. Students receive written and oral feedback from the faculty, but no grades.
The TASP Community
In addition to the seminar, students participate in a public-speaking program, attend lectures by guest speakers, and hold other social and intellectual activities as a community. Through the guest lectures, the students learn about a range of ideas and academic disciplines, encouraging them to develop broad interests. Recent guest speakers have included a Nobel laureate physicist, a DNA researcher, a lawyer who worked at Guantanamo Bay, a prominent poet, a college president, and an anthropologist.
Life at TASP extends well beyond academic exploration. One of the program’s remarkable features is that the students are responsible for organizing most of their out-of-classroom time through weekly group meetings and on smaller committees. This element of self-government is an essential part of the TASP experience. Students plan all kinds of activities, including group-wide discussions, field games, community service projects, music and theater events, reading groups, and excursions to state parks and art museums. Participants also share responsibility for keeping their environment clean and safe. Between all of the formal events, TASP students always find time for impromptu discussions and parties, movie-going, and pickup sports.
The students at TASP organize and execute their summer with the help of two or three college-age students, called factotums (a Latin term for “those who do everything”). The factotums live with the students and serve as counselors, administrators, and teaching assistants. They attend seminars and other TASP activities and are available to help the students in every way possible. The factotums also present and enforce the rules and policies of the program.
Why Apply for a TASP?
The TASPs seek to bring together students from across the United States and abroad who are not just intelligent but thoughtful, not just motivated but generous with their talents and energies. TASPers have a wide variety of life experiences, and come from many different kinds of backgrounds. TASP has a rigorous selection process and TASPers generally go on to America’s finest colleges. Telluride Association hopes the TASP experience endows its students with a sense of intellectual vitality, interpersonal awareness, and community responsibility that will prepare them for leadership in whatever walk of life they choose.
TASP is one of the most successful and prestigious academic summer programs in the nation. The more than 3,400 living TASP alumni include leaders in politics, journalism, academia, the sciences, education, medicine, business, and the arts. For many, the six-week Telluride Association program was a formative experience in their lives.
TASP is Completely Free!
We believe so strongly in the value of the TASP experience that we cover all the program costs—tuition, books, room and board, and field trips—in order to eliminate all financial barriers for you to participate. If needed, we can also help pay for all of your travel costs to and from the program. We recognize that you may be expected to work a job, take care of younger siblings, and shoulder all sorts of other responsibilities over the summer to help your family. We can cover these expenses, too! Thanks to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, we have more funding than ever before to make attending TASP financially possible for everyone. We want the brightest minds at TASP and we won’t let finances be a barrier for you this summer.
Funding support for the Telluride Association’s Summer Programs is provided by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. (www.jkcf.org)
The programs are made possible in part by the bequest of Frank Monaghan in honor of Elmer M. “Johnny” Johnson and George Lincoln Burr. Johnny Johnson joined Telluride Association in 1915 and later served as Chancellor of Telluride Association from 1930-1960. George Burr was a Cornell librarian from 1890-1922 and variously a Cornell professor of ancient, medieval, and modern history. He lived at Telluride House as a faculty fellow from 1915-1938.