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.

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The Outdoor Academy Admissions


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.

Applications for the FALL 2018 and SPRING 2019 semesters are now being accepted.

*** Space is still available in the SPRING 2018 semester and applications are being received on a rolling basis.  If interested in applying, we encourage you to contact the Admissions office to discuss your application timeline and confirm availability.

Application Due Dates for Priority Deadline

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

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

Apply Online (*preferred)

Complete and submit our online APPLICATION FORM by following this link to SchoolDoc.  Once you complete the initial application in SchoolDoc, you will receive an email from SchoolDoc.  Please follow the link and instructions in the  email to complete The Outdoor Academy Application on SchoolDoc. Once you click “submit” upon completion of the online form, you will be instructed on how to finish the remainder of the application.  The remaining components of the application will include: Completed essay questions, a creative submission, school transcripts, two teacher recommendations, and a graded writing sample from your History or English class.  You will be instructed to either upload, forward, or mail the remaining application pieces.  Your application will be reviewed once all components of your application are received in the Admissions office.

Submit our online Application Form


Apply by Mail (*links below will be available soon)

Download and print the following:

  1. Application Form
  2. Application Essay Questions
  3. Two Teacher Letters of Recommendation

Prepare and obtain the following:

  1.  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.)\
  2. Graded Writing Assignment from your English or History class.
  3. School Transcripts from the past two years of school.
  4. Two Teacher Recommendations.  Send the teachers a link to this online form OR download the print ready form here and deliver it  to your teachers for completion.  

Mail all application components to: 

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


Once your application is complete, the Admissions Director will be in touch with you to schedule a short  interview.  If you have any questions, please call the Admissions Director at 828-877-4349 or email


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.