Frequently Asked Questions
How old do I have to be to take a course?
We offer courses for teens and adults. Age requirements vary based on the course or program.
What is your cancellation and transfer policy?
You can find this information on our policies page.
If I'm placed on a waitlist, what are my chances of getting on an Expedition?
While we want to accept everyone on our courses, NOLS' commitment to excellent student-to-instructor ratios, permitting limits for the sensitive areas where we operate, and other operating restrictions mean we cannot always accommodate every person on their desired course.
If you are interested in joining up to two additional waitlists (for being on a total of three waitlists), please reach out to your Admissions Officer. Their contact information is available on your NOLS Dashboard.
It's important to know that NOLS waitlists are not necessarily first come, first served. We will prioritize placing waitlisted individuals on a course based on their activity during the admissions process (for example, completing required forms), and considerations for best rounding out a course roster. This can be completed by following the steps on your Dashboard and communicating with your Admissions Officer.
Do I need to have prior experience camping or the outdoors?
Most of our courses do not require any prior experience. However, we do suggest a level of physical fitness based on the anticipated demands of the course. For more info, check our fitness guidelines.
When will I be able to contact my family on a course?
NOLS students may be in electronic communication with friends and family before and after the course, not during (exceptions made for semester and year courses). Some courses have the option of sending letters in and out during re-supplies of food and gear; ask your admission officer if this is a possibility and what the process might be.
Can I purchase tuition protection and travel insurance for my course?
NOLS works with MDM Group to provide optional Tuition Protection and Travel Insurance coverage for our students. Please visit the dedicated webpage to learn more about available options and costs. Plans are provided by Aon Affinity. To reach a Plan Administrator, email or call 800-797-2297.
What does travel protection and travel insurance cover?
- Injuries before or during your course that prevent you from being able to participate in the course
- Illnesses occurring before or during your course that prevent you from being able to participate in the course
- With some policies, expenses related to cancelled travel reservations such as airlines, hotels, etc. due to the above injury or illness.
What doesn’t tuition protection and travel insurance cover?
- Situations when NOLS cancels the course
- Voluntarily choosing to leave your NOLS course
- Being expelled from or asked to leave your NOLS course
- Being unable to participate in your NOLS course due to a preexisting condition
For a comprehensive list, please refer to the general exclusions section of your plan document.
Does NOLS accept AmeriCorps education awards for course payment?
Yes! Find more information about AmeriCorps award policies on our financial aid page.
Is NOLS approved for Veterans Benefits?
Yes! Learn more about veteran benefits on our financial aid page.
Can I get a scholarship for my NOLS course?
Yes! We have numerous scholarships for our programs and courses. Find out how to apply on our financial aid page.
Can I get academic credit?
You can earn credit from your course or training for high school, college, and a variety of continuing education programs. Though we’re different than a traditional academic program, we are recognized for teaching outdoor education, leadership, wilderness medicine, risk management, and conservation.
What do you eat on NOLS Expeditions? Can I still remain a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free during the course?
Each NOLS rations department is a little different, but we are prepared to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free students, and students with food allergies. It's important to make sure that any dietary needs or preferences are noted on your health form, and that your admissions officer is aware of them. Don't hesitate to bring it up if you think we might have missed it, because we can only accommodate food preferences that we know about!
Will I have my cell phone?
Students are not allowed any electronics on NOLS courses (no cell phones, ipods, etc.) Course instructors will carry the means to contact emergency personnel should the need arise.
What kind of job can I get from taking a NOLS course?
While the skills learned on NOLS courses are most applicable to jobs in the outdoor industry, the leadership, interpersonal, and self-reliance skills that a student gains while on a NOLS course are applicable in any field or facet of life.
In addition, the NOLS Jobsnetwork is available to connect job-seeking alumni with outdoor, conservation and educational employers.
When should I book my travel for my course?
As soon as possible, please complete your student health form and submit these documents to your student Dashboard (link to Dashboard login page). Once NOLS clears it, you can start booking travel for your course.