Since 1965, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has been the preeminent leader in wilderness education. Since then, NOLS has established comprehensive leadership, wilderness medicine, and risk management programs. Offering intensive backcountry expeditions across the globe, NOLS challenges students to realize their full potential as leaders and create memories of a lifetime. If you haven’t been on a NOLS course, you probably know someone who has, and you’ve probably heard a story or two from their time in the field. But what don’t you know about America’s favorite outdoor school? Get the inside scoop before taking the plunge on the semester of a lifetime.
1. NOLS offers hundreds of courses a year, in 16 locations spread over eight countries.
Expedition courses range in length from seven to 135 days!
2. NOLS alumni go on to do some pretty rad stuff.
Notable grads include Anderson Cooper, actress Kristen Wiig, Black Diamond Equipment founder Peter Metcalf, photographer/climber Jimmy Chin, and John F. Kennedy Jr. The NOLS alumni network is a worldwide community that includes benefits like discounts and career services.
3. NOLS courses offer customized experiences.
The school offers programs designed specifically for the needs of your organization, team, or group. From weekend urban adventures to month-long backcountry excursions, NOLS will work with you to help you get the most out of their programming.
4. No phones, no drones.
NOLS enforces a strict technology-free policy for students in the field. Instructors carry Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) or satellite phones to use in emergencies, but students themselves are encouraged to disconnect entirely.
5. You can earn course credit for a NOLS semester.
High schools and universities nationwide recognize NOLS as a valuable educational experience and accept University of Utah credit for outdoor courses. Talk about majoring in mountains!
6. NOLS is for everyone.
Extensive financial aid and scholarships are available, including over $1.9 million awarded annually in need-based financial aid.
It’s not too late to sign up for NOLS Spring 2019 semester courses! Check out some of our favorites, like a Semester in Baja, Patagonia, or the Rockies.
Feature Image courtesy of Ari Bruns.