Sophomore Seminar (TASS)

Sophomore Seminar (TASS)

What is TASS?

This summer, 56 intellectually curious high school sophomores (“rising juniors”) will participate in one of four challenging six-week college-level seminars on topics related to critical Black and ethnic studies. The seminars will be held at Cornell University and the University of Michigan.

Telluride works with university faculty to create exciting courses designed to inspire young people to explore the histories, politics and cultural experiences of people of African descent and a variety of other topics. Because we believe that students should have the opportunity to pursue their ideals, we cover all the program costs, including tuition, books, room and board, field trips, and facilities fees.

What do TASSers do?

If you participate in TASS, you will attend a three-hour seminar each day, which will typically include discussions, small-group work, lectures by faculty, and other activities. You will be expected to prepare for class and write several papers during the summer. Outside seminar, you will present a topic of your choice in the public speaking program and hear lectures from guest professors visiting the TASS house. Writing workshops, field trips, and frequent cultural activities round out the summer. You will also enjoy the company and intellectual stimulation of other talented students.

Who teaches TASS?

Two accomplished university scholars, frequently from the host institutions (Cornell University or the University of Michigan), lead each seminar. All of our faculty are very enthusiastic about the program and the opportunity it gives them to work with talented high school students; indeed, many rank the TASS as one of their most rewarding experiences.

In addition to the faculty, there will be two factotums assigned to each program; they are college students, many of whom attended TASS themselves. The factotums live with the students, working with them on their critical reading and writing skills and helping them create a tightly knit intellectual and social community in which the students aid each other in their academic work.


What will I get out of TASS?

At the TASS, you will develop the skills you’ll need to thrive in a college-level environment. You will improve your reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as you explore your interests in and out of the seminar. There are no grades assigned by the program, and no college credits are given.

TASS Is Completely Free!

We believe so strongly in the value of the TASS experience that we cover all of the program costs—tuition, books, room and board, and field trips—in order to eliminate all financial barriers for you to participate. If you need, we can help pay for all or part of your travel costs to and from the program. We recognize that you may be expected to work a job, take care of younger siblings, and shoulder all sorts of other responsibilities over the summer to help your family: we can cover these expenses, too. Thanks to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation,we have more funding than ever before to make attending TASS financially possible for everyone. We want the brightest minds at TASS and we won’t let finances be a barrier for you this summer.  
Funding support for the Telluride Association’s Summer Programs is provided by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. (


The programs are made possible in part by the bequest of Frank Monaghan in honor of Elmer M. “Johnny” Johnson and George Lincoln Burr. Johnny Johnson joined Telluride Association in 1915 and later served as Chancellor of Telluride Association from 1930-1960. George Burr was a Cornell librarian from 1890-1922 and variously a Cornell professor of ancient, medieval, and modern history. He lived at Telluride House as a faculty fellow from 1915-1938.