Frequently Asked Questions, August Wilderness | Earlham College

Frequently Asked Questions

Mike Neimoyer, Outdoor and Environmental Education assistant, exploring Petra, Jordan.

The dates are July 29 - August 17, 2017. The cost ($1,895*) covers tuition, food, transportation, all group equipment, and instruction.

Three credits are earned (CIL 110) 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.

Some suggestions for helpful exercises:

Confirm your enrollment in August Wilderness by paying the $200 deposit.

Applications are received on a rolling basis, and positions are filled first-come, first-served. The earlier you turn in your application and deposit the better the chance of being placed on your first choice program.

Occasionally, students are wait-listed on their first choice and may be placed on their second choice. While every effort is made to place students in their first choice program, high enrollment can leave late applicants without a position on either program.

The course fee (less your $200 deposit) will be charged to your Earlham account on confirmation of your acceptance. Any financial aid awarded will be credited to your account.

If you decide to withdraw from August Wilderness prior to June 23, your deposit will transfer to your Earlham account and can be used for any future Earlham College-related expense. Your deposit becomes non-refundable on or after June 23. If you decide to withdraw from August Wilderness after this date, you will forfeit your deposit.

Trip cancellation requests must be received in writing to the August Wilderness office: There are NO REFUNDS for the course fee after June 30 each year.


We offer need-based scholarships to all qualified students. The award is calculated through the financial aid office using your FAFSA and, at its maximum, accounts for a 33% reduction in program tuition. August Wilderness scholarships do not affect a student's financial package from the College.

The deadline for financial aid applications is May 15 each year. Award announcements will sent out approximately two weeks after the deadline. 

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 have their cell phones on registration day, we ask that students not take cell phones (or tablets, e-readers, etc.) with them on course for several reasons. First, they detract from the intention and atmosphere of the trip.  We encourage students to be inclusive, participating, and present, not on phones or screens.  Second, they will not work in most of the areas we will be traveling through. Finally, staff members will have satellite phones with them in the case of emergency.

We will offer a shuttle service to campus from the Dayton airport only. Shuttle times vary but are typically run from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday. We do not recommend flying in on arrival day due to the risk of a flight cancellation prohibiting a student from making the trip. We have a special group rate at the Quaker Hill Conference Center (765/962-5741) for students arriving on Friday and will shuttle them to campus on Saturday for Arrival Day.

You can. Students will have the opportunity to store their belongings in secure storage on Arrival Day. The program will end on Thursday 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 in earnest.  Family/friends may come to campus for the program's closing on the Thursday morning, and can also bring their student's items then.

Registration will take place on Saturday, July 29, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). During the registration time, there will be instructors and administrators present for introductions and last-minute questions with parents.  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 11:30 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 course areas. 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 16 and will camp on a farm near campus. The following morning (Thurs., Aug. 17) students will arrive back on campus and will complete a gear clean-up and program wrap-up. A final closing ceremony will be held at approximately 11:30 am on the Heart at the center of campus (family and friends are invited).  After the closing ceremony, students are free to settle into their rooms and begin their college journey on campus! Friday is the start of New Student Orientation, for which all new students will be present.

The 20-day program breaks down to approximately three travel days to and from the activity site, two logistics days at either end of the trip, and 12-13 days actually in the wilderness. 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 Senior year students and an accompanying Faculty member. Watch this video to meet some of this year's instructors and check out their bios on the Meet the Instructors page.


For the safety of all participants involved, students and faculty alike, all off-campus programs require that participants be current on all vaccinations. There are no exceptions granted, and no waivers allowed for August Wilderness. If you have not had vaccinations, you will need to start.

All of our student instructors have been hired based on criteria of leadership (backcountry and frontcountry), experience, judgment, character and completion of instructor trainings. Instructors will have completed Outdoor Trip Leadership, an Advanced Field Practicum, and a Wilderness First Responder course (facilitated by SOLO Wilderness Medicine School, a leader in wilderness medicine education), in addition to other supplementary backcountry experiences and trainings.

While faculty instructors are not required to have WFR training, many are certified and have other life experiences that contribute to their judgment 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 in the area. (These devices cannot be used to put parents in contact with their child during the trip.)

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

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