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A New Adventure at Semester Schools

Adventure ProgramsSometimes we need a little change in the normal path of our lives. Going out and doing something different than what you had planned can always be an exciting adventure. That's why a gap year adventure program may be just what you're looking for during your all-important high school experience. With small class sizes and an emphasis on both academics and life experiences, high school students get to enjoy a semester away from their traditional high school experience. Really!

There are many programs at semester schools that you may pursue -- you just have to do the research first! Semester schools come in many shapes and sizes, and each one is unique in its offerings of adventure and academics! Explore a few of them here...

A Semester Away Provides a Much-Needed Change of Scenery
Take a half year (or even a full one!) to explore a different part of the country or another country entirely at a semester school. You'll get to experience the culture of a place that's different than your own home. Even if this different location is in the same country, you'll find that different cities have different customs and cultural opportunities to offer... just the ticket when a change of scenery is needed!

High school juniors and seniors can take a break with a semester at CITYterm. This program, held in New York City, gives students the option to take a variety of electives to pursue some of their interests. And, with the pulse of New York City at the fingertips of CITYterm students, many say they have the experience of a lifetime.

If you opt for a semester away abroad, consider The Island School, which gives high school students a chance to study in the Bahamas. You'll live internationally, face a variety of adventure challenges like kayaking and free-diving, and learn more about biological and cultural subjects exclusive to this tropical paradise. The 14-week program gives students a traditional for-credit education, outdoor experiences, and weekly community service projects.

Out in the Wilderness
If you're adventurous, there are a number of semester schools you'll love. Those outdoorsy types who enjoy being close to nature can quench their thirst for a new experience in a Wilderness Program. Here, you'll be exposed to exciting academics, and will also be challenged by an entirely new place and way of living.

Eagle's Nest Foundation (ENF) gives high school sophomore (and some junior) students the opportunity to complete outdoor activities throughout the forests of North Carolina. From whitewater paddling to trekking through hiking trails to rock climbing, students get to harness their adventure side out in the wilderness. They also get an education that is focused around Appalachian history, among other common high school subjects, all for credit.

Farm Country
In farm-type semester school programs, students work closely with others to harvest their own crops to power what's needed in the school's dining halls. Students work on the farm, completing chores and bonding with other students. They learn a lot about a different lifestyle to which they may not be accustomed.

The Mountain School (Vershire, VT) is a good example of a farming-type semester school. Using food grown on their very own campus, the Mountain School brings their entire mission full circle to connect the hard work, dedication, and education of its students. With just 45 high school-age kids in the program each semester, students get individualized attention, get to know the campus well, and learn to love the outdoors through farm jobs and everyday chores.

Summer Semester
Keep your brain fresh throughout the year with a summer semester school program. While it's nice to think about lounging around all summer long (especially after a grueling year of high school curriculum), a summer semester program can give you a great way to pursue something you're interested in learning more about (and it looks great on your college application!).

The Chewonki Foundation (Wiscasset, ME) provides high school students with a variety of programs, depending on their needs. Summer camp at Chewonki gives both boys and girls the drive to tackle the wilderness and other outdoor experiences. Chewonki also has fall and spring semester credit programs and day trip programs that are more short-term.

There are a variety of semester school programs available to high school students. Most include a rigorous academic curriculum and specialized programs that combine months of learning into the short summer semester, but are often organized in such a way that you're having so much fun, you forget you're also getting smarter!

No matter what type of semester school program most appeals to you, they are a great option to consider because they can help you better your character, prepare you for college, and allow you to take a break that's productive, unique, and memorable. Plus, once you emerge from a semester school experience, you're guaranteed to have a new network of friends and have gained some great life-learning memories.

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