Sterling College does one thing. And we do it like nobody else. We educate stewards of the environment.
This is Sterling’s student/faculty ratio. Your professors will know you, challenge you, guide you.
Sterling College is a private, environmental college focused on the human relationship with the natural world and a place where what you do every day really matters.
Because we know that the most critical issues of our time involve our climate, soil, water, food, energy, and wilderness, Sterling offers environmentally focused bachelor’s degrees in only five areas—Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Food Systems, and Outdoor Education—or a program you design yourself—to equip you for lives and careers that live up to your values.
Use your “Outside Voice!”
Our community and classes are small, tight, and intense. They will invite you to share, risk, lead, learn, and grow.
And trust that we will know your name. Everyone is on a first-name basis here. You can be sure that you will receive the tools, guidance, and support you need to become your finest self.
The Sterling College Work Ethic
Everybody has a job at Sterling.
Sterling College is one of only seven federally recognized Work Colleges in the country, the only one in New England. This means you offset part of your tuition—and get career experience—by working a part-time job on the Sterling College farm caring for livestock and our fields, preparing amazing meals in the kitchen, making Sterling’s own maple syrup, mentoring students in the community, and more.
All this hard work leads to something: valuable job skills and new understanding for the kind of work you find meaningful. Plus, your résumé will thank you.
Interested to talk to a current student about their work life at Sterling?
Why choose Sterling College?
- Because we are committed to offering a revolutionary and authentic education that explores the nexus between humanity and nature.
- Because we still marvel at watching the sun cast shadows on winter’s first snow, or hearing the song of the Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus, outside the dining hall, or watching a student rock climb for the first time.
- Because we will help you take on new challenges with grit and grace and confidence.
- Because we will help you build the foundations for your dreams, whether you want to work in the green economy, start an organic farm business, or write better agriculture policy for our nation.
Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into the adventure of your life.
The Sterling College Story
Sterling College was one of the first colleges in the world to focus exclusively on educating and training environmental stewards—people who love, work in, and actively care for the environment.
Founded in 1958 as a boarding school, Sterling College evolved into a one- and then two-year experiential college program in rural resource management, looking at the complex relationships between agriculture, conservation, and education. We were locavores before there was even a name for it.
Today, Sterling College is an accredited four-year institution and America’s leading voice in Environmental Stewardship, educating students from all over the world in the science, philosophy, and skills of environmental sustainability. We offer five environmentally focused undergraduate majors and a self-designed major in the context of an ecology-inspired education. Our mission is to prepare coming generations in the “whys” and “hows” of personal and professional environmental stewardship.
Sterling is also proud to serve as a beacon for environmental education and campus sustainability. Sterling College was one of the first colleges in the country to have a farm. We were the third college in the nation, and the first in Vermont, to divest our endowment from fossil fuel investments, and we have received a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of our sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Your First-Year Experience
You are going to need an axe.
Specifically an 18-inch Snow & Nealley Kindling Axe.
The axe is a rite of passage at Sterling College. You will receive it when you complete your orientation course, “A Sense of Place,” as your official welcome to the Sterling community.
You will use this axe to split firewood, fell trees, and survive—actually, thrive—on your four-day winter camping Expedition. And you will take it with you when you graduate as your symbol of lifelong environmental stewardship.
Read more about how you’ll spend your first year at Sterling.