Pre-College Programs

Life at the Florida Keys Program

A Typical Day

Brown University The Tropical Coast: Florida Keys

Each day is different but the basic schedule begins at 8:00 am and ends at 10:00 pm. Activities include lab work, field observations, classroom discussions, leadership workshops, and time for team-building, recreation and reflection.

Sample day schedule:


Students will be staying in dormitory-style housing at the MarineLab. Students will be housed with 3-12 peers, separated by gender, and will sleep on mattresses in bunk beds. Students should bring a pillow, extra-long twin bed sheets and blanket, or sleeping bag. The facility is air-conditioned.

The MarineLab also houses two on-site classrooms and labs, a recreation center, indoor bathrooms, a cafeteria, and areas to relax or play games during free time.

Brown University The Tropical Coast: Florida Keys

Your fellow students

There are approximately 20-30 students in the program. Students come from all over the U.S. and the world, and range from current 10th-12th graders.


Students can expect three basic meals each day, primarily served in the cafeteria at the MarineLab. We will work with MarineLab staff to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies if we are notified in advance.

Staying safe and comfortable in the field

Our goal is to get to know the environments we visit through formal study and hands-on activities. We believe strongly in experiential education and learning-by-doing.  Please bring a reusable water bottle to fill and use throughout the program. 

The spring weather in Florida can vary greatly. Please check the weather forecast for Key Largo, FL (Zipcode: 33037) before departure and pack accordingly.

Brown University The Tropical Coast: Florida Keys

Our staff lives on site and is available to the students 24 hours a day for support and supervision. The MarineLab campus is also a gated facility. The security gate closes overnight and on the weekends.

Most snorkeling locations are 30-45 min away from MarineLab via boat. Therefore, we will spend at least one hour on a boat almost every day. Students do not need to be skilled swimmers to participate in this program but must be comfortable wearing a life jacket.

Important Considerations for Off-campus Programs 

To facilitate a safe and positive learning experience for each student and the community, we expect students to:

  • Walk or stay outdoors for up to 3 hours at a time (with a few scheduled breaks)
  • Tolerate variable weather conditions (rain, humidity, wind, heat)
  • Sleep in shared areas (e.g. tents, dorm-style accommodations) and use shared bathrooms
  • Self-administer prescription medications that will be collected by program staff (life-saving medications such as an Epi Pen or inhaler will kept on a student’s person at all times)
  • Listen, absorb, and process information outside a classroom setting (e.g. outdoors, cultural sites)
  • Be flexible with schedule changes due to weather or other factors
  • Spend extended periods of time away from mobile phones and portable music players (from several hours to several days, depending on the program)
  • Participate in an immersive, living-learning community with limited personal time
  • Respect and learn from other cultures, traditions, and perspectives
  • Brown University The Tropical Coast: Florida Keys
  • Communicate significant health, safety, and personal concerns to program staff prior to and during the program
  • Please call us and ask to speak to the Program Director if any of these considerations are of concern so we can make sure you have enough information about the particular program, as well as options for case-by-case accommodations, to make an effective decision about participation.

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