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 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.

Spring 2021 applications are still being accepted and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Students generally apply for the following school year semesters during the Fall or early Spring of their freshman or sophomore years.

  • Our initial application deadline for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters is February 15, 2020.
  • Applications will remain available after February 15, 2020 and will be processed on a rolling basis. When the semester fills, we will continue to accept applications and those accepted will be placed on a waiting list.

*For those applying for financial aid, we encourage students to complete their enrollment application by the initial deadline of February 15, 2020.

Apply Online

Complete and submit our online APPLICATION by following this link to SchoolDoc.  Once you click “submit” upon completion of the online form, you will be instructed on how to finish the remainder of the application. You will be instructed to either upload, forward, or mail the remaining application pieces (see details below).

Submit our online Application Form

Please call the Admissions office at 828-877-4349 to request a paper copy of the application if preferred.

Completed Applications will require the following information:

      1. Application Form
      2. Student Short Essay Questions
      3. 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.)
      4. Graded Writing Assignment from your English or History class.
      5. School Transcripts from the past two years of school.
      6. 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.
      7. Parent/Guardian Questions

If preferred, you may 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 alum of OA 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.