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Frequently Asked Questions

Program

Are you a college?

No. We replace the traditional room and board and extracurriculars that colleges provide with something more connected and intentional in a beautiful natural setting. You’ll stay enrolled at your current school and study remotely from one of our campuses. Our small groups and personalized mentorship will help you learn more than on campus or in your parents’ basement. Once per week, we’ll run optional workshops on skills that schools don’t teach and small group trips that take advantage of the outdoor recreation close to our campuses.

What if I’m not in an online degree program?

Contact us and we’ll help you navigate your current college’s distance learning requirements or connect you with the right program.

We're also working with applicants in remote gap year, internship, or other experiential education programs. Let us know in your application if this is the case for you. We can help!

How much free time will I have?

This isn’t a gap year. We know that 15 credits or remote work will take up a lot of your time. To us that means you'll be living and working on your own schedule, opting in and out of weekly workshops, trips, and community events based on your workload.

During an average week, there will be about 15 hours of APB trips, workshops, and community events, and you'll get to choose what fits.

We’ll check in with you each week in order to: help you set academic, professional, and personal goals; connect you with a professional mentor that matches your interests; learn how we can better support you; and ask for feedback about what's working and what's not. We want to make sure you find balance and that the workshops and trips that you're most interested in are aligned with your schedule.

We'll also make time each week for small group meetings to reflect on what we're learning about online learning and about our community.

Here's an example schedule a student might make for the first week of October.

Who can apply?

You must be 18-30 years old at the start of your APB experience.

Most of our applicants are enrolled in associate, bachelor, or graduate degree programs. We are also working with applicants in remote internships, gap years, and other experiential education programs. Let us know in your application if your education or work for the fall is a little different, and we'll talk about what we can do to make it work.

You must have health insurance at the beginning of the semester. If you are uninsured, we can help. Please contact us for more details.

How does the application process work?

We want to make sure A Place Beyond is a good fit for you and for us. Because of our interests and values, we get an wonderful pool of applicants with diverse interests and projects who value community, nature, balance, and growth. We let most people in.

After a participant applies, we schedule a Welcome Call with one of our current participants or instructors, and, based on mutual assessment of fit, a $350 nonrefundable deposit saves your spot. We'll need a few more forms and afull payment before you arrive on campus, but you can stop worrying about your school's spring plan — or lack of one.

Are we going to be distancing and wearing masks on campus? What are you doing to mitigate the risk of Covid-19?

Living in a small, intentional community will also allow us to keep people healthy and live a more normal life despite the risk of Covid-19. We’ll test everyone upon arrival, provide support and seclusion for those that test positive, and, once we receive the green light from the local health authority, we’ll treat our cohort as a stable bubble.  

We'll use same-day results tests and a tracing system to mitigate the risk of covid-19. At the end of the semester, participants will quarantine together as one collective family unit in order to go home with the confidence that they are keeping their older relatives safe.

We take the risks of Covid-19 very seriously, and we’re working with the local health authority of each of our campuses to implement best practices.

Read more about our Covid-19 considerations here.

Can I use 529 funds or loans to pay for A Place Beyond?

A 529 plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. In many plans and in most cases, you can pay for room and board from a provider other than your enrolled university and receive reimbursement from the plan you are enrolled in. Reach out to your 529 provider to see what restrictions they have in reimbursing room and board costs while enrolled in a university.

Likewise, you can use public and private loans to cover your living expenses up to the amount of your college’s estimated cost of attendance figures (room + board + student fees + transportation + misc) provided by your college’s financial aid office.

Who are the Instructors and what do they do?

We have an amazing team of educators. APB was started by teachers, and collectively we have experience in schools, camps, mountain guiding, the arts, and more. See our team page to read a few bios.

Our Instructors facilitate a positive learning environment and culture, and invite participants to take over that work as the semester progresses. Most importantly, our Instructors work with each participant each week to set and accomplish academic, professional, and personal goals. Our Instructors also lead about one workshop per week on skills like personal finance, carpentry, or gardening and take small groups of participants on guided outdoor field trips and community service projects.

Sounds like a dream job? We're still hiring, and we’d love to work with you! Send a cover letter and resume to jobs@aplacebeyond.com.

What kind of medical training do the instructors have?

Many of our instructors hold a Wilderness First Responder certification. All of our sites are within 20 minutes of a clinic and 1 hour of a hospital.

Can I stay for a whole year?

We’ve designed the APB experience to adapt to our participants needs and interests, and we know that the practice of learning skills like empathy, communication, and collaboration are life-long pursuits. Our program will provide more value to any student that attends multiple semesters.

Are there guest speakers? Do they come to campus?

We want to give participants a window into the lives of professionals at every level of career. Some of these speakers are part of our professional mentor network, and some are professional speakers or workshop facilitators. Each one will be picked to align with participant interest and to provide a broader perspective on our world. This fall, many of our guest speakers will be online, but those that do come in person will be live-streamed to all other campuses.

Who are the professional mentors and how does that program work?

We have been fortunate to receive the commitment of dozens of many wonderful professionals, friends, and organizations to connect and mentor our cohort of participants. We vet and approach each mentor, and we see it as a way of expanding our community. This program will provide a meaningful bridge for participants between their academic and professional lives. Our instructors will work with each participant to find a mentor in an industry aligned with that participant’s interest. We let our participants and mentors take it from there, but check in on both to make sure the connection remains useful and interesting.

What does APB cost?

Our Spring Semester runs from mid January to early May (site dependent) and costs $9,990.

What does the cost cover?

The cost covers room and board and all official programming that our program staff facilitate. This includes transportation to and from the airport for participants who fly, trips, use of the site facilities, snacks, and workshops.

When is the deadline to apply?

Because we're still so new, we're not too sure what to expect. We've gotten a fair amount of interest for the spring even before releasing any of our options. To start, we're reserving spots for folks that are currently on site with us in the Bradshaw Mountains (45) and folks who were admitted but asked to defer their spot to the spring (19).

We've set a deadline for them of Nov. 7 to put down deposits and for new applicants to submit applications. We don’t yet know how many will be staying or how many new applicants we’ll receive, so, while there’s a possibility of later deadlines, there are none on the calendar.

If you are a new applicant and you know this is the place for you, we encourage you to tell us so when you apply. We’ll prioritize your application and help you secure your spot before Nov. 7. If you are still waiting to hear about school plans, we still encourage you to apply in case you miss the application deadline.

Campuses

Will there be good internet?

We have vetted each campus to make sure the bandwidth can withstand 60 people on Zoom all the time. That means fiber, expansive wifi, and lots of space to spread out.

Are there printers on campus?

Yes — printing is free.

What kind of food will be available?

Our campuses provide 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. This is good food prepared by a professional food service. We believe that good food is important. We can accommodate most dietary restrictions, please contact us about your particular needs. We’ll also have refrigerators and storage for students to put their own food.

What are the sleeping situations like? The classrooms? The dining spaces?

Participants sleep in groups of 2s, or 3s in cabins built for 15, so there’s plenty of space to spread out. All rooms have dressers and tables.

Participants have access to breakout rooms, meeting spaces, classrooms that differ from site to site, but all are fully furnished and comfortable.

The dining spaces at each of our sites are large and beautiful. Regulations around food service are changing, and at our Bradshaw Mountain campus, we are using a mix of individual plating and to-go containers by individual food service staff who are tested each week with our students.

Will I get free rein to use the zipline, climbing wall, swimming pool at these sites?

Students will get to use most of the facilities any time they'd like. Features like ziplines and swimming pools will be available at set times in coordination with our partner camps' staff.

Are these sites safe?

Yes, these campuses are secluded and secure, and in a small community like ours, everyone will know everyone. Our staff will have wilderness first responder certifications for medical emergencies, and each campus is within an hour of a hospital.

We screen each instructor and participant to make sure our community is not just an interesting and motivated cohort, but a safe one. We act swiftly in opposition to harassment of any kind.

We train our staff and work with our partner sites in order to maintain a safe and healthy living and learning environment. We facilitate workshops on consent, anti-racism, anti-harassment, and positive group culture formation with participants and staff. We require accountability from all participants and staff.

I’m a camp or retreat center. Can I partner with you?

Am I going to be super isolated and far away from everything?

Our sites are all within an hour and a half of a major airport. Most are within 30 minutes of a Costco. And each is even closer to a beautiful small town.

Can I drink on campus?

Our campuses allow adults over 21 to drink on the property. If you are under 21 and you drink on the property, you will be asked to leave. If you are over 21 and you distribute alcohol to someone underage, you will be asked to leave.

We want to keep wonderful relationships with our partner camps. It’s a part of our commitment to building and maintaining strong communities.

Can I leave the campus?

Yes, but with a special Covid-19 twist. Working with local health authorities, epidemiologists, we categorize low-, medium-, and high- risk off-campus activities and use them to guide our community conversation.

We use the prevalence of Covid-19 cases in the local area to inform the frequency and destinations of our off-campus travel. We take a few weeks to get into our bubble and dial in our systems before giving medium-risk activities the green light.

We always follow the local health authorities ordinances. If local health authorities impose a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, we restrict our movements only to our campus. These campuses on their own still have a lot to offer.

If participants willfully subvert this protocol, they will be asked to leave. We will work with participants who repeatedly unintentionally violate this protocol in order to keep our community safe. These policies allow us to operate, and we care about maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency with our local health authorities.

I’m vegan. Can you accommodate me?

We can. Please reach out to us early if you have a rare dietary restriction so we can begin planning ahead.

Are these campuses rustic and dusty?

No! We talked to and visited over 25 sites to find just a few that lived up to our requirements. These are beautiful, well-maintained sites, and the staff that manage and provide their upkeep are proud of their work.

Are these campuses ADA accessible?

Most of our campuses have ADA accessible buildings. Please reach out to us to determine which campus is right for you.

How do I get there?

You can purchase flights, and we’ll pick you up at the airport, or you can drive directly in your car. You can keep your car on campus. Once you’ve been accepted, we’ll send you detailed logistics about where and when to arrive.

Can I bring my dog?

Due to the fragile nature of the ecosystems around our sites, participants cannot bring dogs. This is very sad for all of us. If you have a service animal, please reach out to us as you apply.

Can I visit my child?

Yes! But you must remain physically distant during the visit. If a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order comes into effect, visits will be suspended.

Can I go away for Spring Break?

Yes, but, depending on the activities and exposure risk, participants must physically distance from the group until they’ve been tested 6-10 days after they return.