Resident Undergraduate Orientation
Building Community and Connection
Each fall and spring, all new Prescott College students find themselves on Orientation as they begin the unique journey of developing relationships with their new home, community and academic career. For over 50 years, new students at Prescott College have built transformative connections to the college, their environment, and each other. Orientation gives students the opportunity to build foundational communities that help to sustain them throughout their academic journey at Prescott College.
Orientation is the first class you take as a resident undergraduate Prescott College student. It is a 4 credit block course aimed to orient you to the unique culture and education offered at Prescott College. Regardless of area of study or credits completed, all incoming Prescott College students are introduced to the natural and cultural environments of the Southwest, learn about themselves and the greater community, and experience the educational philosophies of Prescott College during Orientation. The first few days of Orientation are spent on campus registering for classes, meeting staff, students and faculty, and preparing for the course. Students then split into small groups for their individual Orientation courses.
Check out this NYTimes Opinion piece by Frank Bruni on the freshman experience, mental health, and the positive outcomes of Orientation programs for new students.
Orientation Course Choices
Wilderness Orientation: Desert Mountain and Canyon Expedition
Students can choose to enroll in Wilderness Orientation: a three-week backpacking expedition in the remote desert mountains and canyons of Arizona. Students develop a sense of place and make connections to the Southwest through rigorous backcountry travel, map and wilderness navigation, and by studying the natural and cultural history of their route. Students become functional and valuable members of the community through curriculum that focuses on interpersonal communication, group process, and most importantly, compassion and respect for others and themselves. Through individual research projects, a solo experience, leadership training, and service projects, students participate fully in this interdisciplinary Liberal Arts course. Additionally, Wilderness Orientation satisfies the foundational field prerequisite that students will need for field-based courses. With our history as a pioneer of outdoor orientation programming since 1968, you can rest assured that our backpacking routes are achievable and accessible, our staff of outdoor education instructors are experienced guides and adventure educators, and our extensive risk management and safety practices are well vetted. Enrollment is dependent on Orientation Director approval.
Resident Undergraduate Orientation Schedule: Fall 2019
Resident Undergraduate Orientation Schedule: Fall 2019
Students can also choose to enroll in Community-Based Orientation. This Orientation course is intended to orient new students to the college’s unique educational philosophy, structure, and community in a non-wilderness or expeditionary format. Instead, through the context of, individual research projects, service learning opportunities, day hikes, field trips, and a possible solo experience, students develop a sense of place and explore the ecological, political, and cultural histories of their new home. By building connections to the Southwest, one another, and Prescott College, students strive to become functioning members of an invaluable community while learning interpersonal communication and leadership skills, and most importantly, compassion and respect for others and one's self. To help accommodate those students with physical, familial, medical, or other needs, this course is based in Prescott with frequent field trips and possible extended field-based overnights. Please note however, that this course does not satisfy the requirements for a field prerequisite required for many field courses at Prescott College. Enrollment is dependent on Orientation Director approval.
Regardless of the type of Orientation you are engaged in, successful completion of this intensive experience requires a high degree of commitment. You should plan on blocking out this time for exclusive focus on your education.
If you choose to enroll in Community Based Orientation you will have the choice to enroll if space is available in the following 2 CBO sections. To enroll, please fill out the Orientation Application.
Community Based Orientation: Explorations
This section of Community Based Orientation is an exploration of Community via interdisciplinary lenses, including ecological, artistic, community, and critical theory frameworks. Each week the student group will adopt a different disciplinary lens to delve deep into the study of community and form a comprehensive understanding of how individuals can fit into a larger story or stories. For example, one week students may adopt a natural history perspective to investigate surrounding ecological communities. Another week, they may examine the diverse cultural communities that make up a place using a critical cultural lens. Or, students may use an aesthetic framework to explore and share stories of their personal communities. As in other sections of Orientation, student learning activities will include readings, discussions, student delivered presentations, group projects, community building activities, field trips, and a student-built learning portfolio. This course is based in Prescott.
Community Based Orientation: Connections
This section of Community-Based Orientation focuses on community connections and cultural humility. This course introduces students to the Yavapai-Apache people while working with UNITY, a group of young people within the Verde Valley Yavapai-Apache tribe, to develop a project that they identify as critical to their community. Coursework will aid students in learning how to analyze and investigate the relationships and consequences of knowledge and power, including topics such as the decolonization of education, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and cross-cultural learning. As in other sections of Orientation, student learning activities will include readings, discussions, student delivered presentations, group projects, community building activities, field trips, and a student-built learning portfolio. This course is based in Prescott.
Parents, Family, and Friends
You can follow orientation updates if you would like to stay on top of alerts and current photos during your student's orientation experience!
Check out the links below to find out more about gear, see gear videos, fill out required paperwork, and get all your Orientation and enrollment questions answered.