The Senior Program provides bright students from all around the world the opportunity to hone their critical and analytical thinking skills and intellectual risk-taking. Advanced reading selections, Formal Discussion Groups, and seminars led by experienced collegiate faculty help lead students to their own best thinking. The program delivers the best possible preparation for the SAT critical thinking section. Senior program attendees also meet with college professors and students from top universities to discuss college choices and experiences. Successfully completing a program of this caliber is an honor to note on college applications. Each student will receive a Certificate of Completion. In addition, an individual evaluation letter is sent to each student and their nominating educator to provide insight into their personal and academic accomplishments. The Great Books Summer Program will is a positive academic influence for all of its attendees.
Students in the Senior Program will read such texts as Seneca's On the Happy Life, Emerson's Nature, Homer's Odyssey, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Borges' Everything and Nothing and more. All reading materials are provided to students upon arrival at camp. No advance reading is required; we prefer that students do the reading together on campus. While we are a reading and literature program, we take care to choose selections and excerpts that can be digested during the reading period in the day to provide rich content for our lectures and discussion.
For students who are interested in discussing ideas and who also wish to focus on their writing, we now offer Writer's Workshop at Amherst College. This can be taken as a stand-alone session or as a part of a multi-week Great Books experience.
Students who take part in multi-week programs get to experience two, three or even four times the academics and fun at Great Books. Each week has a unique, thematic curriculum to engage and challenge the students to begin answering enduring philosophical questions like, "What is the good life? What do I owe my neighbors? What must we do in the face of injustice?" In addition to the enhanced educational and social opportunities afforded by a longer program, students in multi-week programs take part in off-campus excursions on the weekend. Some past excursions have included The Winchester Mystery House, The Exploratorium and Fisherman's Wharf, MASS MoCA and a day in Boston featuring a Harvard tour and a cruise of the bay on a tall ship.
Students in the Senior Program are housed by age and gender within our dormitories. They are assigned to pods which are comprised of 6-8 students along with one college-aged Program Assistant. These counselors live on the hall with the students and are involved in all aspects of the student's day. While the students are allowed a sense of independence, counselors are present at all activities. Academically, Program Assistants facilitate the reading and initial approach to the texts for lecture, and they provide an adult presence to help the students transition to their time on campus. Socially, they help student's connect with each other and to take advantage of the opportunities.
At Great Books, we are committed to providing a fun and engaging environment. There is plenty of opportunity each day for students to interact with each other outside their classes where they can play field games, take a supervised trip to explore the campus and nearby shops, swim in the pool or go fountain hopping. We understand that even the most intellectually curious students need time to play and make friends so we make certain that there is time every evening for social events. Some activities that our students take part in are theater games, pod trivia night, a dance and the final day art elective performances. While some students come with a friend, the vast majority come alone so we make sure to help them make connections with other students
|9:15 a.m.||Seminar One: Shakespeare's Hamlet|
|10:00 a.m.||Snack Break|
Seminar Two: Emily Dickinson poems
|11:15 a.m.||Discussion Groups|
|1:00 p.m.||Literature Elective (i.e. Chekhov, Kafka, Plato, etc.)|
|2:00 p.m.||Applied Arts Elective (Art, Music, Theatre and Creative Writing)|
|4:00 p.m.||Free Time/Pool time|
|6:15 p.m.||Reading Time|
|7:00 p.m.||Ice Cream Social|
|10:30 p.m.||Pod Reading|
|11:00 p.m.||Lights Out|
Could your dreams fuel your day-to-day life? Great Books Co-Founder Dr. Ilan Stavans opened this discussion during his summer session, "In Dreams Begin Responsibility.” Learn about his work with and appreciation for Great Books students.
Emma from TX, Third Year Camper
Emma from TX says coming to Great Books Summer Program was “one of the best decisions I ever made.” Learn why this three-year camper calls Great Books her “second home” and how it has helped improve both her writing and critical thinking skills.