FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
For High School Students
Learn what the ancient and Judeo-Christian traditions can teach us about contemporary biomedical ethics, sexual morality, marriage and family, and the relationship between faith and reason.
The Witherspoon Institute welcomes high school applicants who are serious about their studies, eager to pursue the truth, and willing to reflect upon their beliefs. No prior exposure to the study of philosophy is necessary, just the willingness to read the assigned texts, to learn from Witherspoon’s professors, and to dialogue with peers. Rising juniors and seniors in high school and rising freshmen in college are all eligible to participate in either the men’s or women’s Moral Life and Classical Tradition Seminar, and in our new online high school seminars, first launched in Fall 2020.
Applications for the summer Moral Life and Classical Tradition seminars are due in February.
See our current online seminar offerings with their application deadlines here.
Princeton alum Jose Perez-Benzo recalls his experience at MLCT:
[…] In the Spring of 2012, at my brother’s insistence, I found myself applying to the Moral Life and Classical Tradition Seminar, and I received an eagerly awaited acceptance letter. I was thrilled to have the chance to be a student on a campus where I had only been a tourist.
That summer, reading Plato’s dialogues for the first time in preparation for MLCT proved transformative. Plato was unlike any author I had ever read. Every other author’s thoughts seemed pretty clear to me; I would just pick up a book, read it cover to cover, and move on to the next one. But Plato always hid his thoughts behind Socrates and a dozen other characters. I hated him for it, but not nearly as much as I hated Socrates. Like many a bookish teenager before me, I thought I had all of the answers, but through ceaseless questioning Socrates skewered any such pretensions, both in his interlocutors and, increasingly, in me. When I finally read the Apology from beginning to end on a New York subway ride, I wasn’t sure whether I would have voted to kill Socrates. The gadfly of Athens had pricked my conscience, exposing my intellectual pride.
Since the readings had left such a deep impression on me, I eagerly awaited what surprises the seminar had in store. I was not disappointed. Princeton in June possesses something of that country club atmosphere that F. Scott Fitzgerald described so well, but more than the place it was the people that struck me. […] At MLCT, my teachers were a Protestant, a Catholic, and a Jew, and the students came from a variety of Christian backgrounds. These confessional differences, far from causing contention, led to fruitful debate. I found myself having to defend positions I had merely assumed to be true, marshalling arguments and responding to thoughtful objections.