Adventure awaits...

Our application process includes three steps:

1.Written Application

Someone writing in their journal

Four short essay questions & general info.

Don't worry about grammar or writing a novel. Be yourself. Relax. Have fun with it.

Takes about 20 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 within two weeks of submitting the written app.

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.*

Frequently Asked Questions About the Application Process

*Do I need to do the physical challenge if I am applying to the writing retreat?

No. There are no physical requirement before or during the writing retreat.  

When should I apply?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We do fill up quickly.

How long do I wait to hear if I got in?

Once you complete the three application steps, we will send a decision letter of acceptance within a week.

When is tuition due?

A deposit of $1,000 is due within two weeks of acceptance along with your paperwork. Full tuition is due four weeks before the start of the program.

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!