Sterling College

Craftsbury Common, VT
student ratio
total students
$21,700 | $21,700
in-state | out-of-state tuition
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
Moderately Difficult
admission difficulty
Average test scores for all first-year students that were accepted and enrolled.
sat math
sat reading
sat writing
act composite


The College

Sterling College is a small and progressive liberal arts college in northern Vermont. The college's small size, its environmental focus, and its commitment to grassroots sustainability all make the college unique. Sterling College knows that the most rewarding learning is hands-on learning. Whether offered on campus in a laboratory or seminar room, on the side of a mountain, or in a barn or pasture, classes at Sterling are small and foster experiential learning and deep inquiry through close relationships between faculty members and students.

Sterling College removes the barriers between living one's life and learning. It is for the student who wants to commit to becoming an environmental steward and looks forward to the rigor and challenge of working with both hands and mind.


Sterling College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in ecology, environmental humanities, outdoor education, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable food systems. Students can also choose to design their own majors, and some examples include "Agroecology," "Environmental Justice," "Conservation Education," and "International Agriculture and Business."

The typical class size at Sterling is 10, and the student-to-faculty member ratio is 7 to 1. Sterling's faculty is composed of 17 full-time members and 17 part-time members. Eighty-five percent of the professors hold advanced degrees. All new students, accompanied by 5 to 6 faculty members, take part in Winter Expedition, a 4-day, 3-night trek along the ridge of the nearby Lowell Mountain Range. Expedition is a 48 year tradition at Sterling College.

Authentic Sustainability

Sterling was among the very first colleges in the United States to link the liberal arts to ecology, outdoor education, environmental humanities, and sustainable agriculture. Sterling believes that the wellbeing of humanity depends on small, interconnected communities, committed to conscientious practices in agriculture and energy use, and in stewardship of the air, soil, and water.

In 2013, Sterling College became the 3rd college in the US, and the first college in Vermont, to announce its intention to divest its endowment from fossil fuels.


Students are part of the daily work of the college. Regardless of financial need, all students work on campus, whether in the kitchen, on the farm, in the woodshop, or elsewhere. Sterling College is one of only 7 colleges recognized by the federal government as a Work College -- a college where student work is an integral and mandatory part of the educational process, as opposed to being an appended requirement. Sterling is also the only Work College in the northeast.

A highlight of the Sterling education is a 10-week, 6-credit internship anywhere in the world. Internships in agriculture, cross-cultural education, ecotourism, environmental education, hydrology, land and resource management, outdoor education and leadership, and wildlife rehabilitation and research are popular options.


At Sterling, students, faculty members, and staff members not only live together, they work to create community together. Sterling College strives to be an educational community in which people of all backgrounds and identities feel at home, where differences are embraced, and where individuals take responsibility for furthering the dignity of all.

Sterling is small, and will remain so by design. It is the only college in the nation where the entire community of students and faculty members sit together each week for community meeting. Everyone is on a first name basis, including the president, deans, and faculty members.

Community life is informal. Sterling College students aren't as interested in the kind of structured events and clubs found on most campuses -- they're more likely to enjoy a long weekend of hiking, a lively evening of contra dancing, caring for beehives with friends, snowshoeing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, or sitting by a bonfire at the college's lean-tos above the Black River. However, there are three athletic teams on campus: Nordic skiing, mountain and trail running, and shooting sports.

Location and Campus

Sterling's rural location is one of the college's most prized characteristics. The campus boasts 130 acres, with an additional 300 acres of boreal research forest. The campus has 16 residential, administrative, and classroom buildings. Facilities include a woodshop, a darkroom, 2 computer rooms and an environmental science computer lab, 2 greenhouses, and the Brown Library. Outdoor teaching facilities include a challenge course with a climbing wall, a managed wood lot, recreation and nature trails, large organic gardens, and a diverse livestock farm with solar- and wind-powered barns. Students spend about 40% of their class time outside the traditional classroom setting.

This region of Vermont is known as the "Northeast Kingdom," and is an international destination for outdoor sports and adventure. There are 4 ski areas within 45 minutes of the college. When city life beckons, however, Burlington is about an hour or so away.

Location & Contact

PO Box 72
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827-0072

Ms.Lynne Birdsall

Director of Admissions

Phone: 802-586-7711 ext. 135
Fax: 802-586-2596

Request More Info

Majors & Degrees

Degrees Offered
  • Agriculture
    • Agriculture
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Plant Sciences Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Biological/life sciences
    • Conservation Biology
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Ecology
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Education
    • Education Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Natural resources/environmental science
    • Environmental Studies
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Forestry Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Natural Resources and Conservation Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Natural Resources Management and Policy Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Parks and recreation
    • Parks, Recreation and Leisure
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.


90% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied53
    • Accepted48
    • Acceptance Rate90%
    • Enrolled95
    • Female Applicants30
    • Females Accepted27
    • Female Acceptance Rate90%
    • Male Applicants23
    • Males Accepted21
    • Male Acceptance Rate91%
  • Applying
    • Application Fee
    • Required for All Essay or personal statement
      Transcript of high school record
      Letter(s) of recommendation
    • Required for Some
    • Average high school GPA for first-year freshman
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Application Closing Notification Date Rolling Admissions
    • Fall freshmen Yes
    • Out-of-state Fall freshmen Not Reported
    • Early decision plan Not Reported
    • Other early decision plan Not Reported
    • Transfer Yes
  • Test Scores Accepted
    • Test Average School Accepted 25th Percentile* 75th Percentile*
    • * 25th and 75th percentile is the score that 25/75 percent of students score at or below.

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
    • In-state tuition *$21,700
    • Out-of-state tuition *$21,700
    • In-district tuitionN/A
    • * Tuition costs are based on a full academic year typically extending from September to June.
  • Fees
    • Full-time student fees$400.00
    • Room and board *$8,796.00
    • Room only *$4,006.00
    • * Room and board charges vary according to board plan selected (i.e., 12-meal plan, 19-meal plan, etc.) and student level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Other Payment Considerations
    • Guaranteed tuition plan offeredNo
    • Tuition pre-payment planNo
    • Tuition payment plans offeredNot Reported
    • Student groups that qualify for full or partial waiver of tuitionEmployees or children of employees

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Undergraduate Students95
    • Male Student Percentage48%
    • Female Student Percentage52%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino2.11%
    • Black or African American1.05%
    • White or Caucasian76.84%
    • American Indian or Alaska NativeNot Reported
    • Asian1.05%
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific IslanderNot Reported
    • Two or more races5.26%
    • Unknown13.68%
  • Other Student Statistics
    • International BreakoutNot Reported
    • Out-of-state Students79% out-of-state student

Campus Life

  • Housing
    • College-owned housing available Yes
    • Housing Requirements Not Reported
    • Housing options Coed housing
    • Percentage of undergraduate students who live in college-owned housing 72%
  • Student Activities
    • Student-run campus newspaper No
    • Drama / theater group Yes
    • Student-run radio station No
    • Student-run television station No
    • Marching band No
    • Choral groups Yes
  • Student Services
    • Legal services No
    • Health clinic Yes
    • Personal / psychological counseling Yes
    • Women's center No
  • Student Organizations
    • Greek fraternities No
    • Greek sororities No
    • Local fraternities No
    • Local sororities No
    • Other organizations Not Reported
    • Most popular organizations Outing Club, Timbersports Team, Student Union, Art Club, Musical Groups
  • Campus Security and Safety
    • 24-hour emergency telephone / alarm services Not Reported
    • 24-hour patrols by trained officers Not Reported
    • Students patrols Not Reported
    • Late-night transport / escort services Not Reported
    • Electronically-operated dormitory entrances Not Reported
    • Other 24-hour pager


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty17
    • Full-time Percentage59%
    • Part-time Percentage41%
    • Female Percentage47%
    • Male Percentage53%
    • Student:Faculty Ratio6:1 or 100 students to 17 faculty




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