The Freedom Summer Experience

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Our Mission

Drawing inspiration from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, Freedom Summer Collegiate  is working towards educational equity by collaborating with partner programs to bring the nation’s most promising future academics to students who face significant obstacles on the road to college. We recruit, train, and fund doctoral candidates to provide transformative college-level summer seminars to high school students in underserved communities.

Our Vision

Think about the classroom in which your brain was pulsing like a heart. Where discussion, analysis, and ideas came alive and your mind. The seminar that changed your life. Where you realized what learning could be.

In places where college remains a distant opportunity and daily test-taking drills deaden learning, few students imagine that school can be an empowering experience. That it might blow your mind is hard to understand. We want every student to know what this feels like, because a love of learning is essential to success in college and beyond. We bring the experience of excellent college seminars to high school students in some of the most underserved parts of the country. They leave our courses with a taste of the intellectual opportunities available on the best college campuses in the world, all without having to leave their hometowns. 

Each student enrolls in two courses--one in the humanities and one in the sciences. Seminars ask students to rise to the challenge of college level work, but lessons are paced and scaffolded with high school students' grade-level in mind. With the guidance of our teachers, students read complex texts, debate important ideas, analyze critical issues, and interpret real-world data. Through a combination of group work, project-based learning, and individual instruction, students gain the skills necessary for college success. Thinking comes first, but we serve students’ immediate needs, as well, by training teachers to translate that thinking into ACT score increases. The focus is not, however, on skills that boost a few points but those that prepare students to succeed long-term in college and careers. The most important result by far, though, is that students leave our courses inspired to become life-long learners, problem solvers, and agents of positive change in their communities and the world. 

In order to ensure that we are recruiting the most knowledgable, passionate, and qualified teachers possible, we provide fellowships to the nation’s most promising doctoral candidates. With the support of our staff, they develop an exhilarating seminar according to their expertise, a course in which students read and think, debate and analyze, critique and create--a course that offers the very best of what authentic learning can be. Teachers are learners too: Freedom Summer Collegiate is one of the only summer programs in the country that is specifically meant for doctoral students. They gain hands-on experience in course design, lesson planning, classroom management, and high-impact instruction, all skills that will help them stand out in today's increasingly competitive academic job market. 


Why we're here

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Hear from our Fellows...

"This is exactly the kind of experience I wanted."

- monica, harvard university

"I think this experience should be mandatory for all grad students because it forces you to think about your own research in terms of its real educational impact."

- porshé, University of illinois Urbana-champagne


Spend a month teaching in the South

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What Our Fellows Do

  • Design a 4-week course on whatever subject you choose

  • Lead your course in a small discussion seminar in June 2017
  • Work with a traditionally underserved group of students in rural Mississippi or Arkansas
  • Develop as a teacher through this experience, our coaching, and collaboration with other Fellows
  • Enjoy a Delta summer for a month in rural Mississippi or Arkansas
  • Earn a $2,000 stipend for your work

Application Process:

November 21, 2017
Application Available 

Feb. 1, 2018
Application Due

Nov.-Jan.: Rolling Basis
Candidates invited to submit course proposals. 

Feb. 22, 2018
Course Proposals Due

Feb.-March 2018
Candidate Interviews

March 22 2018
Notification of Acceptance & Find out where you're teaching!

Our commitment to diversity in recruiting and selecting applicants:

We are committed to bringing doctoral candidates of different races, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, physical abilities, genders, sexual orientations, political and religious beliefs, universities, and academic disciplines to teach our students. Part of the argument that we’re making to students is that the most rigorous college classrooms are places where they can thrive and succeed. We make that argument when our teachers hold students to the intellectual expectations of the college classrooms at the research universities where they teach and study. When our teachers share the racial or economic background of our students, that argument is made even stronger. Therefore, we place an additional focus on recruiting doctoral candidates of color and from low-income backgrounds.

How to Apply

1. submit an application

  • Personal Information
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  • Optional: Attend an Info Session
    • On your campus or online!


Invitation to Submit a Course Proposal: We'll respond within three weeks of submitting your application with an invitation to submit a course proposal.

Optional: Get Course Feedback // Attend an online course proposal workshop! Receive direct feedback from us on your course!

2. SUBMIT A course proposal

  • Vision for your course
  • Daily Objectives
  • Vision for final project

3. Interviews

  • One interview with a Freedom Summer Collegiate staff member
  • One interview with a staff member at one of our partner programs


May 29 - May 31 : Orientation Conference in Jackson, MS
June 1 : Site Orientation
June 4 - June 29: Teaching Program

Want more information? Fill out the form below so we can contact you:

Name *

All of the courses that our Fellows design and teach will be available for free to download here! If you're applying to be a Fellow, use the "Course Templates" to design your course. 


Where we work


Our Fellows teach at one of four programs inspired by the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools:

Sunflower County Freedom Project

Sunflower, MS

Since 1998, the Sunflower County Freedom Project has been creating a corps of academically capable, socially conscious, mentally disciplined young leaders in Sunflower County. From our LEAD Center in Sunflower, MS, we offer middle and high school students intensive academic enrichment, mentoring, educational travel, physical education, drama performances, and art classes. Six consecutive classes of SCFP students have graduated from Sunflower County high schools and enrolled in colleges around the country. 

Meridian Freedom Project

Meridian, MS

As the first affiliate and expansion site of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, the Meridian Freedom Project opened its doors for its inaugural Freedom Summer for Meridian middle-schoolers in June 2014. Meridian is home to so many bright and creative young leaders, and we are grateful to be able to provide our students year-round with rigorous academics, opportunities for creative expression, health and fitness training, character development, and lots of educational travel.. We provide an  achievement-oriented atmosphere where students feel seen, heard, valued, and free to make choices. Our students are not just the leaders of the future; they are the leaders of today.

Rosedale Freedom Project

Rosedale, MS

Modeled after the successes of the Freedom Schools of the 1960s as well as the success of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, the Rosedale Freedom Project is designed to help students become academically capable, socially conscious leaders in their communities. The RFP uses academic and artistic opportunities to engage the whole student. We provide students with academic support; creative experiences in drama, hip-hop, and creative writing; exposure to new places and knowledge of the past through our civil-rights based trips; and preparation for thriving at four-year colleges and universities. 

J. Austin White Cultural Center

Eudora, AR

Since its founding in 2003, the J. Austin White Cultural Center has provided exposure to music, art, theater, and other activities to the children and youth of Southeast Arkansas. We assist children in finding their hidden strengths and talents, allowing them to grow and flourish into responsible, cultured adults who give back to their community.