Orientation & Colloquium at Prescott College

Orientation? What does it involve?

All incoming Prescott College students are required to participate in New Student Orientation at the beginning of their first semester. Please see the Program Schedule for exact dates, times, and duration of events. During Orientation you will receive information and experience activities designed to guide you through your specific program. You will also have the opportunity to meet with faculty. Orientation is a time during which students and faculty from diverse cultures, different areas of study and expertise allows you to build friendships, exchange ideas and develop cohorts or informal networks to support you through the distance learning journey. Students typically come away from Orientation inspired, energized and ready for their next phase of independent scholarship.


Orientation & Colloquium Schedules


Resident Undergraduate Programs

New home, Community and Academic Career

Each fall, nearly two hundred new Prescott College students find themselves in “the classroom,” the breathtaking, sometimes raw, always diverse terrains and environments of the Southwest.

The first class you take as an on-campus Prescott College student is a block class aimed to orient you to the unique culture and education offered at Prescott College. The first few days are spent on campus registering for classes, meeting staff, students and faculty, and touring the campus. But then, you will split into small groups for 21 days of transformative activities. You will receive 4 academic credits upon successful completion of orientation. New Prescott students are introduced to the natural environment of the southwest, learn about themselves and each other and experience the educational philosophies of Prescott College during Orientation, the most revered of the College’s traditions, thus beginning the journey of developing the relationships with their new home, community and academic career.

Prescott College is committed to a very unique and intense orientation experience for all of our incoming students. For over 45 years, students have been introduced to the college, to the Southwest, and to our community by spending three weeks in the wilderness. The remote setting and challenging physical curriculum creates the venue for some very important learning. Time and time again, Orientation proves to be a life changing, positive experience.

You will finish Orientation capable of challenging yourself intellectually, emotionally, and socially. You will be better prepared to manage time, present work verbally in front of a group, and create a written portfolio that is wholly academic, creative, and personal. All of these benchmarks achieved over the course of three-weeks in Orientation expose you to what will be asked of you in classes. During Orientation you and your peers grow to be a tight family unit. You learn to take care of each other and to have fun together. When starting this new chapter of life, Orientation can help you feel that you are doing the right thing, in the right place, with the right people.

With our long history of wilderness-based Orientations, you can rest assured that our backpacking routes are achievable, our staff of outdoor education leaders are well-trained as guides and educators, and our extensive risk management and safety practices are very well vetted. New Student Orientation is an exceptional start to college.

Regardless of the type of Orientation you are engaged in, successful completion of this intensive field experience requires a high degree of commitment. You should plan on blocking out this time for exclusive focus on your education. If you have any further questions please contact Cecil Goodman, orientation coordinator and adventure education instructor at 928-350-2305 or cgoodman@prescott.edu.

Desert, Mountain, and Canyon Expedition Orientation

also known as Wilderness Orientation, is carried out within the context of a three-week backpacking expedition. You will develop a sense of place and make connections to the Southwest through rigorous back country travel, map and wilderness navigation, and studying the ecology and natural history of your route. Our students become functional and valuable members of the community by learning interpersonal communication, flexibility, commitments, and most importantly, compassion and respect for others and themselves. Through individual research projects, a solo experience, leadership training, and service projects, you will participate fully in this interdisciplinary liberal arts course. This course satisfies the requirements for field and wilderness prerequisites. Available for spring and fall orientations.

Base Camp Orientation: Natural and Cultural Borders

is carried out within the context of multiple mini expeditions. Students will develop a sense of place and make connections to the Southwest through field trips exploring ecological, political and cultural boundaries. Our students become functional members of the community by learning interpersonal communication, flexibility, commitments and most importantly compassion and respect for others and themselves. Through individual research projects, a solo experience, leadership training and service projects you will participate fully in this interdisciplinary liberal arts course. This course satisfies the requirements of a field prerequisite, but not a wilderness prerequisite. Available for fall orientations only.

Community-Based Orientation

is intended to orient new students to the colleges' unique educational philosophy, structure, and community. Through individual research projects, service learning opportunities, day hikes, overnight field trips, a solo experience, students will develop a sense of place and make connections to the southwest, one another, and Prescott College. Students become functioning members of an invaluable community by learning interpersonal communication, flexibility, commitment, and most importantly, compassion and respect for others and one's self. This course is based in Prescott with frequent field trips and some overnights. This course does not satisfy the requirements for a field or wilderness prerequisite. Enrollment dependent on Orientation Coordinator approval. Available for spring and fall orientations.