The Outdoor Academy is not just a semester school. It is a community of engaged learners eager to discuss environmental philosophy or a moving passage from Cold Mountain. It is a classroom of students who have chosen adventure over routine and challenge over comfort. It is a 180-acre learning lab in one of the most bio-diverse regions in the country. It is a team of faculty dedicated to helping you learn and grow into your best self. It is a family of life-long friends and traditions much larger than any of us alone. The Outdoor Academy is not just a semester school. It may be the best semester of your life.

Bookmark and Share

The Outdoor Academy Admissions


We are now accepting applications for the FALL 2017 and SPRING 2018 semesters on a rolling admissions basis. If interested in applying, we encourage you to contact the Admissions office to confirm availability.

The Outdoor Academy admits highly motivated sophomores and select freshmen and juniors. We seek enthusiastic learners looking to step out of their comfort zone and embrace their independence. Students admitted to The Outdoor Academy have demonstrated a commitment to high academic standards, responsibility, and are interested in learning new ways to live and work with others in a small community-centered environment. No previous wilderness or outdoor experience is required, however students at OA will be living in rustic settings and wilderness environments. We welcome students from all private, public, charter, and homeschool networks.

Application Due Dates for Priority Deadline

  • Early Application Deadline for Eagle’s Nest Campers: December 15th
    • Admissions decisions will be made by March 31st for those meeting the priority deadline.

*For those applying for financial aid, we encourage students to complete their application by the PRIORITY DEADLINE.

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Application Process


Submit our online Application Form



Complete the remaining application components:

  • Application Questions
    1.) Why do you wish to attend The Outdoor Academy and what do you hope to gain from the experience?
    2.)  What book has made an impression on you and how?
    3.)  What is one thing you want to accomplish in your life and why?
    4.)  Describe a challenge in your past and how you overcame it.
    5.)  List any extracurricular activities in which you are involved including volunteer work or community service. Which ones are the most important to you and why?
  •  Creative Presentation
    Submit an original work of poetry, collage, visual art, CD, or video that shares your hobbies, interests, skills, and talents. (Submissions should fit in a 9 x 12 envelope and videos should not exceed 5 minutes. Please submit any videos on a CD or thumb drive, not just a YouTube link.)
  • Graded Writing Assignment from your English or History class.
  • School Transcripts from the past two years of school.
  • 2 Teacher Letters of Recommendation
  • Financial Aid Application (see Expenses and Financial Aid page)


Mail all application components to: 

The Outdoor Academy
Admissions Department
43 Hart Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

OA-Step-4-IconThe Admissions Director will be in touch with you to schedule a short  interview.


Member Schools

If you are a student from one of our 7 Member Schools: Albuquerque Academy, Bolles Day School, Greensboro Day School, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Hume-Fogg High School, The Lovett School, University School of Nashville, you may apply directly to The Outdoor Academy for financial aid beyond what you may be receiving at your home school.

The arrangement we have with most of our Member Schools is that any financial aid awarded by the school will come with the student to The Outdoor Academy. Any aid from The Outdoor Academy is supplemental. Most Member Schools will only allow an allotted number of students to study away each year, so please check with your adviser about this. We strongly encourage applicants to check with their school  about any changes to their tuition policies before applying to OA.

Admissions Events

We host  alumni events, presentations, and local gatherings all over the country. Please check  The Outdoor Academy Calendar to see if there is an event happening in your area! You can also contact the Admissions Department if you would like to meet with them directly while on the road.

If you are an OA alumni, and would like to organize an event in your area or presentation at your school just let us know! Our Admissions team will help you host, organize, advertise, and prepare. We’re also happy to send you promotional posters and brochures from OA to put up in your town. Just send us an email and we’ll get a package out to you right away.

Visiting Campus

In addition to two Open Houses every semester, we welcome families to visit campus anytime that works best for them! This is truly the best way to get a “feel” for OA , so contact our Admissions Director to coordinate a time to visit campus, take a tour, and sit in on classes.


Click for the OA Viewbook


A Member of the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools.