Minicourses come in many styles, but all have as their goal the enrichment of students’ lives and expansion of their awareness in the world. Each course challenges students in a variety of ways through environmental stewardship, community service, academic and/or artistic enrichment, and wilderness skills and living experiences. The following definition of minicourse received the approval of the faculty in June 1992:
Minicourse is a time when students and faculty can immerse themselves in an activity of broad educational value to a degree that is not possible during the school year. The experience should enable students, as far as possible, to learn through first-hand experience and thus arrive at the end of the course with new insights, sympathies, skills and knowledge. A major part of the experience is the social awareness fostered by working closely with a small group of like-minded people within the atmosphere of a “project.” The intensity and time involved create the opportunity for wide-ranging discussion and co-operation between members of the group. Students’ judgment and initiative should be employed whenever possible in order to build feelings of competence and responsibility. If possible, time for reflection and contemplation should be built into the schedule. In any case, the course should challenge the students physically, intellectually and spiritually, in varying combinations, and should not be open to the charge that it is a “vacation,” no different from something that a student might enjoy as part of an ordinary family holiday. No Marin Academy student with significant financial need will be barred from taking any Minicourse for financial reasons.