If you are seeking information about the Semester-A-Trail program, this page answers commonly asked questions.
Is it possible to attempt a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail?
Yes. There are two options for hikers:
- Option A: The Section Hiker. Springer Mountain to Damascus (470 miles). With the start date in early March, this hike is typically completed by the end of the spring semester in late April.
- Option B: Thru-hiker. At a slightly higher price point, Students enroll in one additional course for the summer term. This provides students the opportunity to attempt a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail.
What is included in the SAT tuition?
- Students in the Semester-A-Trail Program complete a first aid course.
- Students engage in immersive skill-building workshops and training.
- A complete hiking kit is provided that includes top-of-the-line backpacking gear and footwear.
- An on-trail hiking budget is provided.
- Program staff provides on-trail support for hikers.
- While on campus, students enjoy the College’s outdoor program facilities and activities.
How do the academic courses work in conjunction with the hike?
SAT Participants typically enroll in 12 to 15 credit hours.
There are two types of courses:
- Condensed courses with a seven-week course schedule. These courses are100% completed by the departure for the trail experience.
- Project-based courses are begun while students are on campus before the hike and then completed post-hike. Students receive a grade of “In Progress” until final work is completed.
*The academic theme for the Semester-A-Trail is Appalachia. There are three common courses that all SAT participants take: ENGL 328 Nature Writing (3 credits, Project-based), CIVN 350: Stories of Place, Memory, and Justice(3 credits; 7 weeks), and CFOS 301: Long Distance Hiking (3 Credits; 7 week).
- Transfer students have several course options to choose from in addition to the common courses.
- It is possible that courses will fit into the requirements for a transfer student’s major program, but it’s more common that the courses fulfill the requirements for general education courses.
Can I transfer to Emory & Henry from another institution to be a part of this program for one semester?
Yes, students may transfer to Emory & Henry to participate in the SAT. The transfer students are able to complete an array of courses that will transfer back to the student’s institution of origin. Many SAT participants are transfer students.
Do I need to be physically fit to participate in this program?
Long distance hiking is physically demanding, so physical fitness is an important consideration in preparing for the hiking experience. The minimum fitness standard is to be able to jog three miles in 40 minutes or less.
Do I need to have backpacking or backcountry experience?
Backpacking and backcountry experience is recommended. Long distance backpacking is uniquely different from most backpacking experiences, and this program is a developmental program that prepares participants for the journey.
When is the application submission period?
March 1, 2023 to August 1, 2023. Due to the limited number of participant slots available to this program, it is important for applicants to submit applications sooner rather than later.
When should I expect to hear back about my application?
The application process is multi-phased, and applicants should expect to hear back within a month of their initial application submission.
Do I also need to apply to Emory & Henry?
Once SAT students have gone through the first few steps of the SAT application process, the Outdoor Program Staff will refer them to Admissions, where they will go through an abbreviated application process as a special/visiting student. Outdoor Program Staff will guide applicants through this phase of the application.
Where will I live?
SAT students will live in E&H campus housing. SAT students will all live in the same building.
How long will I be able to live there?
Housing through E&H is available from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester. Students will have access to their living space until the end of the semester, regardless of when they embark on the trail. This provides a resource for hikers if they need a break from the trail.
Is this program for first year students?
No. Due to the unique nature of the Semester-A-Trail experience, applicants should have at least a year of college experience.
Are non-college students eligible for the Semester-A-Trail program?
No, this program is exclusively for matriculated students enrolled in a four year undergraduate institution.
Are graduate students eligible for the SAT program?
Currently, we are not accepting any students other than undergraduate students.
Is the Semester-A-Trail a GAP year program?
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