Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College

Bard College at Simon's Rock English Summer Language Intensive

The Bard College at Simon’s Rock English Summer Language Intensive (BESLI) is a new three-week, 4-credit intensive course in academic English for international high school students.

The goal of the program, which stresses fluency in reading, writing, and speaking, is to prepare pre-college students for courses in English at American institutions. The Intensive English language program allows students to:

  • improve their mastery of spoken and written English.
  • enjoy the benefits of an innovative program with proven achievement in the teaching of English as a Second Language.
  • study with dedicated, college level faculty who are committed to a just, sustainable and compassionate global community.

Satisfactory completion of the program provides students with 4 credits transferrable to Bard College at Simon’s Rock or Bard College in Annandale, NY.

This specialized English language intensive, modeled on Bard College’s Language & Thinking Program, established in 1981, cultivates proficiency in English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, with a particular focus on critical thinking and public speaking. Its instructors hold advanced degrees from prestigious American institutions who have trained in Bard’s innovative approach to interdisciplinary inquiry and the teaching of writing and critical thinking. Instructors provide exceptional English instruction that promotes habits of clear articulation and fluid expression in writing and speaking. Films, lectures, cultural trips, and museum outings augment classroom learning.  

Pre-college students work on a variety of projects in writing and other formats, and meet throughout the day in small classes limited to 12-15 students and in one-on-one conferences with faculty. Participants will reside on the campus of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. During the program, BESLI students will have the opportunity to interact with other American students in summer programs at both Simon’s Rock and at Bard College’s Annandale campus, immersing themselves in the English language and American cultural norms. The BESLI program also includes intercultural excursions in the region: orchestral concerts, visits to historical estates and a presidential library, an excursion to New York City, and to other venues.

Community life, on the Simon’s Rock campus, in the town of Great Barrington and the Berkshire Region, and Bard’s Annandale campus, is vibrant, with world-class performing arts venues; continuous and varied student activities. Numerous cultural and recreational opportunities are also found in the surrounding historic Hudson River Valley. New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, are both easily accessible.


BESLI participants must be between the ages of 14-18 with Intermediate or Advanced Intermediate fluency in written and spoken English.

To Apply

Students must present an academic record including at least two years of English instruction, along with evidence of a minimum TOEFL score of 90, a minimum IELTS score of 6, or a Cambridge Testing Service score of A (Advanced).  We also recommend that applicants complete an online ESL Diagnostic to be scheduled during the application process. [link to be provided]

Dates for the 2020 BESLI: July 6 - 27.

Until May 1, 2020 – $6,695.00

After June 1, 2020 – $6,995.00

Price includes housing, food, all materials, and organized local excursions.


For further information, please email us at or complete this form: