Frequently Asked Questions, August Wilderness | Earlham College Skip to Content

Frequently Asked Questions

The dates are July 28 - August 16, 2018. The course fee ($1,900*) covers tuition, food, transportation, all group equipment, and instruction.

Three credits are earned toward overall graduation requirements (however, no general education/distribution requirements are met).

*course fee maybe subject to change

Absolutely not! In fact the vast majority of students who participate in August Wilderness have little to no experience on a trip of this type. We design the route and activities to ensure that everyone can feel successful on the program. However, we do ask that students adopt some kind of exercise regime in the months leading up to the trip. Those who arrive in a good state of fitness tend to adapt to the trips' physical demands more quickly.

Click here for some suggested strength exercises.

Apply via the online form and confirm your enrollment in August Wilderness by paying the $250 deposit.

Applications are open from March 1, 2018 to June 1, 2018, and positions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to meeting application criteria. The earlier you turn in your application and deposit, the better the chance of baing accepted for the program.

If high enrollment means that no places are available, you may choose to be put on a waitlist, or to be considered for one of our other pre-orientation programs.

We offer need-based scholarships to qualified students. The award is calculated through the financial aid office using your FAFSA and, at its maximum, accounts for a $600 reduction in program tuition. August Wilderness scholarships do not affect a student's financial package from the College.

You can apply for financial aid via the application form. Your application must be received by the June 1, 2018 deadline to be considered. Award announcements will be sent out approximately two weeks after the deadline. 

Once you are confirmed and we have received your paperwork, the course fee (less your $250 deposit) will automatically be charged to your Earlham account. Your deposit of $250 and any financial aid awarded will appear as an account credit.

If you decide to withdraw from August Wilderness prior to June 30, 2018, your deposit will be available in your Earlham account for any future Earlham College-related expense. Your deposit becomes non-refundable after June 30, 2018, i.e. if you decide to withdraw from August Wilderness after this date, you will forfeit the deposit.

If you cancel between July 1-15, 2018, you are responsible for 50% of the course fee. There are no refunds for the course fee after July 15 each year. Trip cancellation requests must be received in writing to the August Wilderness office:


All common group gear (backpacks, cooking equipment, tents, sleeping bags, etc.) is provided by the program. Students need only provide their own clothing and personal camping supplies (see your enrollment packet for a full gear list).  

While students may bring their cell phones on registration day, we ask that you do not bring cell phones or other electronic media devices (tablets, e-readers, etc.) in the field with you. Cameras are permitted. We encourage students to be inclusive, participating, and present, and believe that phones and screens detract from the intention of the trip. In addition these expensive pieces of equipment are often fragile with limited capabilities in the backcountry. Staff members will have access to communication devices throughout the trip in case of emergency.

We offer a shuttle service to Richmond on Friday 27 July from Dayton airport only. The shuttle will run to coordinate with the flight information that you provide during the application process, so please keep us updated if your itinerary changes.

Do not risk flying in on arrival day (Saturday 28 July) due to the risk of flight cancellation or delays.

We have a special group rate at the Quaker Hill Conference Center (+1 765-962-5741) for students arriving on Friday 27 July, and a free shuttle will pick you up at 10am on Saturday 28 July to bring you to campus in time for registration.

Students will have the opportunity to store their belongings in secure storage on Arrival Day. The program will end on Friday, August 17, 2018, at noon, the day before New Student Orientation begins, and students will have time to retrieve their items, move into their dorm rooms, and settle in before activities begin.  Family/friends may come to campus for the program's closing on Friday at 11:30 a.m., and may choose to bring student's items then.

Registration will take place on Saturday, July 28, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). During the registration time, instructors and administrators will be present for introductions and last-minute questions. Students will have time to place items for the rest of the semester in storage during that time. An opening ceremony in the campus Meetinghouse commences at 11:15 am, and family and friends are welcome to attend. Students are "on course" at lunch-time (approximately 12 noon).
Arrival -day _2014


Mountain _vanrideGroups on all courses will travel by 12-passenger van to the course area. We will use the travel time to get to know each other, while completing some introductory classes and activities (interspersed by inevitable naps!). We will stay at state park and roadside campgrounds en route to the course areas. Instructors are trained and certified to drive these vans and follow a strict driving protocol.

Gear _cleanStudents will return to Indiana on the evening of August 14, 2018, and will camp on a farm near campus for two nights, having time to reacclimitize to the Midwest and learn what outdoor opportunities there are in and around Richmond. On the morning of Thursday, August 16, students will be able to move into their fall dorm rooms. A final closing ceremony will be held at approximately 11:30 a.m., on Friday, August 17, on The Heart at the center of campus (family and friends are invited).

The 19 day program breaks down to approximately half a day of orientation at start of the trip, 3 travel days to and from the activity site, 11 full days in the wilderness, and 1.5 days re-orientation back in Richmond. Students usually take showers after exiting the field and starting the journey back to Earlham. During the wilderness component, "bird baths" using water from lakes and streams help keep you reasonably clean, and instructors will teach you how to maintain a healthy standard of hygiene.

The facilitators of your wilderness experience and introduction to Earlham will be two trained student leaders and an accompanying Earlham staff member. Watch this video to meet this year's instructors.


For the safety of all participants involved, students and faculty alike, all off-campus programs require that participants be current on all vaccinations, and supply documentation of these with their health record. There are no exceptions granted, and no waivers allowed for August Wilderness. If you have not had vaccinations, please arrange these as soon as possible.

All of our student instructors have been hired based on completion of skills trainings, previous leadership experience, maturity, and character. Instructors must have completed Outdoor Trip Leadership, an Advanced Field Practicum, Earlham passenger van certification, and a full Wilderness First Responder course (facilitated by SOLO Wilderness Medicine School) to qualify for consideration as an August Wilderness leader.

Accompanying adult staff have varying levels of outdoor leadership training, but bring life experience and group management skills that contribute to judgment and decision-making in safety-related situations. Additionally, all instructor teams carry emergency communication devices that allow them to reach out-of-field emergency contacts and emergency services.

Have more August Wilderness questions?  Email or call 765-983-1367

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