See what students say:


The “three pillars” of a Deep Springs education—“labor, academics, and self-governance”— combine to produce “unparalleled challenges” that run the gamut “from fixing a hay baler in the middle of the night to puzzling over a particularly difficult passage of Hegel.” That’s what those who attend Deep Springs tell us. These unique undergraduates basically run their own school, work the ranch where it is located, and complete a rigorous curriculum, an itinerary that “creates an environment of intense growth and responsibility.” Class work occurs in a seminar format in which “teachers participate similarly to students.” Classes “aren’t so much a transfer of information from professor to student as they are a time for the entire class to push the boundaries of collective thought as far as possible.” Composition and public speaking are the only required courses; all others are chosen by the student body and taught by a faculty of three long-term professors (one each in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) and one to three visiting scholars or artists. The system relies on a commitment to self-determination, which means “how successful Deep Springs is as an institution depends upon the manner in which its students are engaging with its project.” While the size of the school inevitably means that “lab and library facilities are not what they might be,” students tell us that the overall Deep Springs experience compensates for any shortcomings. A student explains: “Mistakes and flaws are seen as pedagogy in action. See a broken fence or heater? Fix it, or learn to fix it. The mechanical skills we pick up during the process of taking responsibility for our livelihood are surely valuable, but the self-confidence and that emerges from learning to do things one never could have thought possible is the essence of a Deep Springer’s education.”

Student Body

“It is impossible to characterize a ‘typical’ student,” students understandably warn, but they add that “we all are hardworking and are committed to a life of service.” Undergrads are also predictably “outdoorsy,” “interested in the arts,” “motivated, and responsible,” as “it takes a unique type of person to even consider Deep Springs, much less succeed and thrive in such an environment.” As one student puts it, “The typical student at Deep Springs is committed to the life of the intellect and committed to finding education in our labor program. Most of the students here believe that a life of service, informed by discourse and labor, is a necessary notion to understand in today’s world.”

Campus Life

At Deep Springs, where “the desert sun rises slowly,” everyday student life is totally unlike other colleges because “no one drinks, everyone helps run the ranch in some way, and no one can be totally self-absorbed (unless he’s out hiking in the desert).” Instead, students immerse themselves in the Deep Springs way. As one student explains, “Life is very intellectual but also in constant relationship to the natural beauty of the desert and the operation of the College’s farm and ranch.” Conversations tend to revolve around “what work needs to be done, what decisions need to be made, [and] which classes are most interesting,” or, as one student puts it, “Sunsets. Hegel. Welding. Jane Austen.” Fun at Deep Springs, where days are “marked by an extreme busyness,” is “self-generated”: “‘Fun’ is hard to come by, and one has to learn how to enjoy people, work, and engagement.” Students do occasionally take a break, however: “Fun just means something a little different...Half-naked dances to Miley Cyrus, fully naked soccer, or fully clothed conversations on anything from Kierkegaard to Kanye West ensure that there really isn’t a dull moment in the Valley.” Also, occasionally “there are ‘boojies’,” a kind of hectic dance party in the Rumpus Room of the dorm, “ or students will “go to the dunes a valley over for a bit of late-night naked surfing down the sand.” Undergrads concede that Deep Springs “life can be intense”: There is “a whirlwind of activity from labor to class to meals to labor again to meetings to a few precious hours of sleep. But where many students would find such a lifestyle stressful and unsustainable, we find it meaningful and valuable” and that keeps undergrads energized and motivated.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Tim Olsen
Chair, Applications Committee

Applications Committee
HC 72 Box 45001
Dyer, NV 89010



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Boarding House
Dairy Barn
Horse Stables
The Upper Reservoir
The Druid
Deep Springs does not offer tours or visits to the general public or to prospective applicants. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a "second round" application process that includes an on-campus interview and visit.

Most Popular Places Off Campus
The Desert (including Death Valley National Park)
Sierra Nevada Mountains
White Mountains
Bishop, California
Loneliest Road in America
There are no other dwellings in or around Deep Springs Valley.

Campus Tours

Campus Tours
Appointment Required:
Average Length:

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Airplane, bus, car. Closest airport is McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Local Accommodations
Hotels and motels in Bishop or Big Pine California.


Applicants: 200
Acceptance Rate: 10%



Tuition & Aid

Student Body

Campus Life

Articles & Advice