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The Outdoor Academy

Admissions Director:
Admissions Email:

Katie Rowlett

Picture a classroom without walls, a math teacher who paddles whitewater, art class at the blacksmithing forge, and a student body filled with the 27 best friends you could imagine. This is The Outdoor Academy, a semester high school in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Brevard and Asheville, North Carolina.

Built upon our four cornerstones of Intellect, Craft, Environment, and Community, OA is a fully-accredited semester boarding school that has offered motivated 10th and 11th grade students a distinctive high school experience since 1995.

Intellect: There are no desks at The Outdoor Academy. Instead, our 182-acre campus becomes our classroom. At OA, your classes will all be taught at the honors level, but more importantly, they will be hands-on and experiential. You'll find yourself dashing through the woods to uncover a bed of mushrooms during Environmental Science and debating news articles with your History class while sitting on the lake dock. You’ll share your own passions or learn about others’ perspectives, direct class discussion topics, and explore your own research interests alongside your teachers.

Environment and Craft: Additionally, you’ll spend over a quarter of your semester backpacking, whitewater canoeing, and climbing throughout Pisgah National Forest and beyond. You'll work on developing leadership skills on the trail, while also connecting with the environment of our temperate rainforest. Our hands-on Appalachian Craft curriculum is another way of connecting with this place by learning traditional skills like blacksmithing, woodcarving, and quilting.

Community: With a maximum of 28 students each semester, the OA community is tight knit and filled with opportunities for independence and growth. This shows up everywhere from sharing space in the dorms, sharing thoughts in Community Meeting, and sharing meals in the Sun Lodge Dining Hall.

Fast Facts
Year Founded:
Grades Offered:
Program Requirements:

Pisgah Forest, North Carolina




Application, tuition deposit

Application Deadline(s):

February 15th, April 30th, rolling admissions

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