Application Forms

Applications will be due Monday, Feb 12, 2024 for admission to the program for the 2024 Fall Semester. 

Applicants are welcome to submit the online application forms (accessed below) whenever they are ready. If you have questions that are not answered on the website or in an in-person formation session, please contact Director Jacob McCoola.

Adirondack Semester Application Process

Participation in the Adirondack Semester is a privilege, and admission to the program is competitive. The Adirondack Semester is similar to an SLU off-campus study abroad program, but unique in many ways. For three months, students live off-campus in a remote setting of the Adirondack Park. Because of its location, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves directly and completely in the natural world, without the many distractions of campus. The setting is rustic, giving students an opportunity to live a materially simple life that precludes cell phones, computers, and running water. The campus consists of canvas structures called yurts, a small timber-framed kitchen, a composting toilet, and a wood-fired sauna. Twelve students live together as a close-knit community supervised by two on-site Assistant Directors and the Director. Students take four 1-credit courses and a 0.5 Modern Outdoor Recreation Ethics course. The academic focus of the program is complemented by wood working classes and an emphasis on building a community fostered through intensive group contact, community facilitation instruction, and shared group tasks. Throughout the semester, students participate in a variety of outdoor pursuits. These include a week-long canoe expedition, six-day backpacking trip as well as activities such as rock climbing and white water rafting.


Students who are not on disciplinary, social or academic probation are eligible to apply for the Adirondack Semester program.  Preference will be given to students who currently hold a grade point average of 2.8 or higher and who are matriculated St. Lawrence University students. In addition, students must be physically capable of participating in the compulsory components of semester programming, which include, but are not limited to, living in a remote outdoor setting affected by shifting environmental conditions that is more than one hour from definitive medical care. Students must be able to hike and/or walk for at least an hour, learn to canoe for at least 20 minutes, and lift up to 40 pounds. Students must also be capable of and committed to working as part of a team, contributing to a safe learning environment for their peers, and participating in the daily chores and tasks required to maintain that community. Program administration may ask for a physician's recommendation for applicants who are experiencing conditions that might inhibit their ability to participate safely in the Adirondack Semester. Admission may be denied to anyone we believe to be unable to meet the physical, emotional, social, or safety demands of our program.

Upon acceptance to the program, students will be asked to complete the free training provided by St. Lawrence University to become a Certified University Driver, and encouraged to attend, as part of the semester, a Wilderness First Aid course sponsored by a recognized provider, (e.g. Wilderness Medical Associates, Wilderness Medicine Institutes, SOLO). 

Admissions Policies and Process:

The application process consists of submission of the application materials and an interview with the selection committee. Most of the materials may be submitted electronically, but please note where paper hard copies are requested. Applications will be judged according to the following criteria: the overall academic record and interests of the candidate, the quality of the essays in the application, the strength of recommendations, and the level of maturity, responsibility, commitment to creating a supportive community and genuine interest the candidate brings to this particular program. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status via email. The twelve applicants selected to attend the semester will be sent an Acceptance Packet via intercampus mail.

Upon acceptance to the program, students will be asked to complete the free training provided by St. Lawrence University to become a Certified University Driver.

Application materials:

Unofficial Transcript
2 Letters of Recommendation from St. Lawrence Faculty*
1 Letter of Recommendation from an Outside the Classroom Recommender (current or previous coach, employer, etc.)*
Short Essays
Health Form

*Please have Letters of Recommendation emailed to

Once you start the Slate form material is not saved until you hit Submit. You cannot return later to complete the form without starting over. Before you begin filling out the Slate Form below, you should have ready to upload:

Unofficial Transcript
Short Essays (see questions below)
Names and e-mails of your recommenders
Name and e-mail of your SLU Advisor

Please submit a PDF the Health Form to Sherrie LaRose at

Short Essays:
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?

Adirondack Semester Application