Join us this summer!
@Oxford. Amherst. Stanford. Dublin.

Parent Resources

Welcome to the parents’ section of the Great Books Summer Program website! 

If you're already a Great Books family, have requested a brochure, made an inquiry or started an application, you already have an account.  You may go to the login to the Parent Dashboard here

Here to learn more about Great Books?  This is your place to learn important information about sending your child to an academic summer program and how to ensure you and your child have a fantastic summer camp experience!

There is no experience quite like the Great Books Summer Program. We work to create a thoughtful, open community of learners where ideas and individuals are celebrated. We are delighted to welcome your child to join us at Amherst College, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Oxford University, the University of Edinburgh, Beijing, or a Tall Ship Adventure this summer to live the life of the mind.

The information below is to help you to become more familiar with our program and to answer any questions about safety and communication so that you can feel comfortable as you transfer the care of your children to camp staff for the coming weeks. You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Parents here.

As always, please feel free to call or email us if there is anything that you would like to discuss about Great Books and your child.


The staff at the Great Books Summer Program is a carefully selected group of educators and support personnel who share a love of learning and young people. We strive to create a community based on mutual respect and open communication. Our staff to student ratio is about 1:6 with a dedicated Program Assistant assigned to groups of 6 – 8 students who are paired by age and gender. Our faculty members are gifted and well-known in their fields of study. They excel at designing curriculum to engage and challenge students. Our Program Assistants are hand-picked young people from top colleges and universities to provide our students with a warm and supportive mentor to help them grow socially and academically.

Communication Guidelines

It is important for students who attend Great Books to connect with our camp community. To encourage that connection, we limit the amount of time that students are allowed to use cell phones. While we are in class and activities, students may not use their cell phones for making calls, surfing the web or texting. There is time each day for students to connect with their families. To minimize the possibility of homesickness (see below) we ask that calls with families take place during afternoon free time. A schedule will be provided to you so that you know the optimal time to speak with your child. In case of emergency, please contact the Camp Director whose number will be provided to you prior to the start of camp.


The majority of meals are provided by campus food service in the cafeteria. These facilities provide nutritious and bountiful food choices for our campers. As they are managed by the school, the cafeterias are also equipped for campers with food allergies and special dietary needs.


Campers at Great Books reside on campus, in dormitories at Amherst College, Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Edinburgh, and University of Oxford. Students are housed by age and gender. Typical room configuration is a double, though there are some singles and the occasional triple. Boys and girls are housed in separate buildings or on different floors. Program Assistants live in proximity to their “pod” (group of students) to provide round the clock supervision and care. Rooms are equipped with twin beds, dressers and a desk. Please note that while we do provide linens, you are welcome to send them along with your child for a nice touch of home.

Safety and Supervision

At Great Books Summer Program, we take the safety and security of your children very seriously. Nationwide background checks are done on all staff members and everyone is carefully interviewed and screened before employment. We maintain low student to staff ratios so that we can a provide a high quality experience to each camper. While we work to create an exciting introduction to the college experience, at no time are students permitted the full freedoms of college life. All planned activities, classes and excursions are chaperoned and supervised by adult staff.


Homesickness is not unusual, even with older children, and parents can minimize the chances it will occur for their children with communication tools and camp support. While some children may experience initial homesickness, most feel much better within a day or two. If you can handle their temporary discomfort, they will probably be able to manage it, too. Homesickness may be more pronounced if the family went through a recent loss or stressful period. Please let us know if there are any such situations that we should be aware of. Homesickness, while uncomfortable, usually leads to making a child feel competent when they successfully overcome it. Remember that while your child is at Great Books Summer Program, we are a team and we are here to help you and your child work through the transition and adjustment to camp life.


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