Adventure awaits...

Our application process includes three steps:

1.Written Application

Someone writing in their journal

Four short essay questions & general info.  See below to apply.

Be real and yourself. Relax. Have fun with it.

Takes 20-30 minutes to complete.

2. Virtual Interview

Couple holding a baby on top of a mountain

Get to know each other & ask questions.

Takes about 30 minutes.

Happens in January 2025 for applications received by then.  If there are still spots, we will interview later applicants as arranged.  

3. Physical Challenge


Timed six mile hike with a 30 pound pack.

Gives you feedback about your physical readiness, & if needed, time to improve.

Complete within two weeks after interviewing.*

Financial Questions.

Are there scholarships? 

Sometimes.  We strive to make our programs as affordable as possible.  Any money we receive above the base rate due to our sliding scale will either go towards scholarships or the ability to run with fewer numbers.    

What is the Payment schedule?

A deposit of $2000 is due within two weeks of acceptance along with your paperwork.  This is non-refundable unless we are the ones who cancel the program.  The remaining tuition amount is due six weeks before the start of the program.  

How does your sliding scale work? 

We operate on a trust basis and will ask you what you intend to pay after we accept you.  If you are paying the tuition as a young person or your family is below median income, you pay on the lower end of the scale.  If your family is paying and well above the median income than you pay on the upper end.  

How much money should I bring with me for personal expenses during the program? And what about the option of travel after the program?

Personal expenses during the program are highly variable.  Those who live simply and don't buy lots of junk food can easily get by on less than $100 for the semester, but there are those who choose to spend more than that by going out on days off and so forth.  After the program, if you choose to stay in Mexico and travel, the key is to have the money you need on a bank card that works at an ATM machine.  Those who travel simply can normally get by on about $200 week plus any airplane or Spanish school expenses. 

Finding the right gap year program is a big commitment. We want to support you as you make this decision.

Feel free to reach out to us:

You can call us: (970)275-1166

You can text us: (970)275-1166

Our past participants are also willing to chat.

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Ready to apply? Fill out our application below.

Application Tips:

We recommend you use this Google Doc to compose your answers and then paste them into the application form.

Use the 'save and continue' button at the bottom of the form if you need to finish later.

Alternately you can print the full application and mail it to us:

The High Desert Center
39091 Pitkin Rd
Paonia, CO 81428

You can also make a video with your essay responses and email it to us:

We are here to support you through the application process.

We look forward to getting to know you!