Before Your Course
Here’s what you can expect from the admission process for your NOLS Expedition.
- Find your course online and click on the Apply Now button, or give us a call! We'll ask you for some quick contact information and a $65.00 application fee. Once you’ve paid your fee, your space on the expedition is reserved, if there’s space available.
- Look for an email with a link to your NOLS Dashboard. Click on the link before it expires.
- Your NOLS Dashboard will be your hub of information while preparing for your course. You’ll find your course information, required documents, and tuition deadlines here as well as your Admission Officer’s contact information.
- Don't forget to check out the deadlines—we'll be asking you for your non-refundable tuition deposit and NOLS health form within 21 days of receiving your application. Your Admission Officer wants to help you make this adventure possible, so do contact us with all of your questions.
- Send in all of your required documents by the due dates and we’ll do our best to review them as soon as possible. We’ll be in touch with any questions.
- Students must adhere to deadlines set out by their Dashboard and/or Admission Officer for submitting enrollment forms and tuition. If a deadline passes, and an extension has not been granted by the Expedition Admissions Office prior to the passing of the deadline, enrollment will be cancelled, and the spot on the expedition will be released to another applicant. Please note that extensions are rarely granted.
NOLS EXPEDITION ADMISSION POLICIES
Final acceptance to your course is contingent upon the receipt and review of the required materials, which you can find online on your course Dashboard.
The health and well-being of our students and staff and the effective education of our students are important to us. The wilderness environments NOLS courses live in and travel through are remote, dynamic, and physically and emotionally challenging. These environments, along with the educational activities conducted and the living and traveling conditions encountered, require each student to be fully committed to and capable of working hard, taking responsibility for him or herself, and working effectively in the group to achieve the goals of the course.
Our student health review process helps us support students’ health and safety and determine whether a current condition is appropriate at NOLS. It’s important that students provide accurate and honest health information so we can learn of conditions that our instructors need to know about. Our admissions staff may need to further discuss health issues with the student, their parent, or their health care provider. NOLS reserves the right to deny admission to anyone that NOLS, in its sole discretion, believes is unable to meet the physical, psychological, cognitive, social, or safety demands of our courses.
You can learn more about our admission criteria by contacting the Admission Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOLS EXPEDITION TUITION DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS
Your health form and your non-refundable tuition deposit are due 21 days after we receive your application. The remaining tuition is due 75 days before your course begins. You can find information about all required forms and due dates on the personalized checklist of your online course Dashboard.
NOLS EXPEDITION CANCELLATION POLICIES
For all semester and academic year courses in any location as well as all courses in India, if you cancel or leave for any reason:
- Between 30 and 60 days prior to the course start date, NOLS will retain 25 percent of the course tuition
- Between 15 and 29 days prior to the course start date, NOLS will retain 50 percent of the course tuition
- Less than 15 days prior to the course start date or after the course has begun, there will be no refunds
For all other courses, including Leave No Trace courses, if you cancel or leave for any reason we will retain the non-refundable deposit or the following percentage of tuition, whichever is greater:
- Between 15 and 29 days prior to the course start date, NOLS will retain 25 percent of the course tuition
- Between 8 and 14 days prior to the course start date, NOLS will retain 50 percent of the course tuition
- Less than 8 days prior to the course start date or after the course has begun, there will be no refunds
If NOLS cancels your enrollment due to you missing your deadlines, all cancellation policies above apply.
NOLS EXPEDITION TRANSFER POLICIES
For all semester and academic year courses in any location as well as all courses in India, if you transfer from one course to another:
- More than 60 days prior to the course start date, there will be a $25 processing charge
- 60 days or less prior to the course start date, regular cancellation policies will apply
For all other courses, if you transfer:
- 30 or more days prior to the course start date, there will be a $25 processing charge
- 29 days or less prior to the course start date, regular cancellation policies apply
RISK MANAGEMENT AT NOLS
At NOLS, we embrace the physical and emotional challenge of the natural environment to attain our learning objectives.
Wilderness adventure involves hazards: rock fall, quickly-flowing rivers, and steep terrain can pose a risk to even the most experienced outdoor leader. Activities ranging from simple day hikes to climbing glaciers can, due to the unpredictable forces of nature or an error in judgment, become dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Students transport their own gear, sleep outdoors—possibly in mixed gender tent groups—prepare their own meals, and are expected to care for themselves in weather conditions that can be extreme. Each student plays an important role in the success of a NOLS course. Good physical conditioning and a positive mental attitude are essential. Should unforeseen circumstances arise, such as weather, permit restrictions, unusual situations, risk management concerns, or if NOLS deems it necessary, NOLS reserves the right to make changes to course activities, curriculum and area locations.
On all NOLS courses students will be independent (unaccompanied by instructors) at various times. This will include time in and around camp such as while cooking or performing camp chores. Instructors may allow students to travel away from camp, and on many courses students have the opportunity to travel without instructors for one or more days. Students also often have independent unsupervised time, usually in town, before and after their course starts or between sections of semesters.
Our courses are expeditions that travel through remote areas, which can create complex situations should an emergency arise. It is not uncommon to be days from medical help, but NOLS instructors are trained in wilderness first aid and backed by comprehensive wilderness emergency response and evacuation systems. Instructors carry first aid kits that include some specific medications for treating sick or injured students in remote locations. Many of the medical incidents that might occur are simple and often treated in the field. For more serious incidents or when a student is evacuated for a medical reason, they will be taken to a medical facility for evaluation or treatment.
Instructors carry satellite telephones, radios, or other electronic communication devices on each course to use in the event of life-threatening emergencies, but this does not guarantee communication from the field to our support bases. Portable telephone and radio signals may be subject to interference caused by terrain, atmospheric conditions, and other variables and may not always work.
We are committed to promoting the physical and emotional well-being of all students and we are proud of our excellent record managing the risks of wilderness travel, but it is important you understand that there are risks. Some adventure programs say that they can guarantee your safety. NOLS does not. The risk of injury, even serious injury or death, is always present in the outdoor environment. Indeed, much of the value of a NOLS course lies in learning how to identify hazards and adapt behavior to strive to avoid injury or illness. We feel that the risks are manageable and that no organization is better equipped to manage them than NOLS.
Learn more about risk management at NOLS here.
POSITIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
We aim to create a positive learning environment. Each person’s values and beliefs affect the entire group, and we work to ensure that everyone is treated with respect.
On your course, you can expect the following:
- Freedom from discrimination of any kind and a learning environment free from physical or verbal harassment.
- Real challenges and meaningful experiences. We will try to inform you of anticipated curriculum and risks. At the same time, it must be understood that unanticipated situations may dictate that more attention is given to some elements of the course and others might receive minimal or no attention.
- Thoughtful, honest, and timely comments concerning your performance and abilities.
- Well-trained and qualified instructors.
NOLS expects the following of you:
- To follow the field practices and policies described in pre-course information, course orientation, and as taught by instructors throughout the course, and to be responsible for your own well-being and for contributing to the well-being of the group.
- To participate fully in the expedition—take part in classes, camp chores, activities, discussions, leadership, conflict resolution, and the building of an inclusive course culture.
- Be inclusive by being warm and curious, and demonstrating respect for those aspects of a person’s identity as outlined in our equal opportunity statement.
- To be courteous to local residents and merchants and take time to learn about and respect local customs and culture.
Issues, such as personal conflicts with fellow students or instructors, should be addressed promptly. If the issue arises with a fellow student, first, we recommend trying to work out the conflict with that student if you feel comfortable doing so. If the issue persists or if you need assistance, bring it up with one of your instructors and ask them to assist in resolving the conflict. Your instructors are always available to assist in resolving a conflict.
If the conflict continues or you are in conflict with one of your instructors, then address the issue with another instructor or the individual conducting your course debrief when you return to the NOLS campus. They will be able to address the issue personally or pass it to the appropriate representative at NOLS’ headquarters in Lander, Wyoming.
ESSENTIAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
A qualified student is one that meets the Essential Eligibility Criteria for the course type they are applying for. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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