Short Essay

In order for the selection committee to gain a better understanding of who you are and why you are interested in the Adirondack Semester, please answer the following four questions. You should address each of the questions separately and thoughtfully. Complete your essays and send them by e:mail to

1. How will the Adirondack Semester further your academic interests? Have you had prior course work or other experience that is relevant? If not (and we do not require prior course work or other experiences) why are you academically interested in this program?

2. Prior significant experience in the outdoors is not a prerequisite for participating in the Adirondack Semester. However, a well thought out and deep desire to spend four months immersed in nature is. Please explain the roots and evolution of your interest in the natural world. Your response should include how and when you first came to spend time in nature and how your views of the natural world have developed since that time. Include details of experiences where appropriate.

3. Former Adirondack Semester students consistently report that among the most memorable, rewarding and challenging aspects of the semester is living in a tight-knit and isolated community of 14. Living in our community takes work. You'll spend about 10 hours a week cooking, cleaning, doing chores and discussing community issues in addition to classes, homework and other activities. Living in community also takes tolerance, honesty, optimism and patience. Describe your experiences with communal living, whether they were at a summer camp, growing up with siblings, or in your dorm. What lessons did you learn that may be helpful for the Adirondack Semester? What challenges do you anticipate? What strategies will you use to handle them?

4. What do you hope get out of your experience on the Adirondack Semester? How will you contribute to the experience and to the group?