The consensus in class seemed to be that Montessori education was greatly limited to elementary schools. Not wanting to interrupt the debate which was forming, I figured this would be a better forum to share my experience with Montessori education. Many of my friends attended Montessori schools and had an obvious advantage over the rest of our peers. Admittedly biased, I watched as my friends obtained perfect scores in class and on all the standardized tests, admiring how they simultaneously created active student groups that focused on community service, environmentalism, and political awareness. When it was time for applying to colleges they all turned to one place: New College.

New College (some information below) is mocked as the hippie school, but I always saw it as so much more. It was the place I wanted to go, but knew I would never survive.  I wanted the grades, the structure and, most of all, to even become a teacher. Those who were accepted to New College, the “cream of the crop,” went on to create tailored academic plans according to their own interests and followed their research around the United States, into the Amazon, and even Tibet. What I want to know is, why isn’t this model utilized more productively by other institutions? Also, do some of the issues discussed in class about elementary-age students having problems transitioning into public school apply here…but perhaps to a professional or higher-education setting?

About the school structure:

“Academic life at New College is designed to promote depth in thinking, free exchange of ideas and highly individualized interaction with faculty. ”

“Working directly with professors, you will map your own intellectual journey. There is no rigid core curriculum required of all students.   That doesn’t mean there are no prerequisites or requirements, but to a remarkable degree you’ll choose what to study based on your own academic goals.”

“At the end of each semester, you’ll receive a narrative evaluation, written by the instructor, for each course you complete. Unlike letter grades, these evaluations provide detailed feedback on your specific strengths and weaknesses.”

“Instead of simply measuring you against your peers as traditional grading systems do, our system looks at your work in terms of your own abilities and experience, as well as your professor’s expectations.”