Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the High Sierra Semester take place?
The High Sierra Semester is located at Emerald Cove Camp in Bass Lake, California, an hour north of Fresno and 25 minutes from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park.
Who can participate in the High Sierra Semester?
The program is open to all APU undergraduate students. No specific major is required to attend.
Are there leadership opportunities available at High Sierra?
Yes. Each semester, five student leaders are selected to serve on the Student Leadership Team. This team meets once a week with the student life coordinator and interns to help plan and organize activities and events for students. For more information about these positions, please contact a High Sierra student representative or the student life coordinator.
What sort of recreational opportunities are available?
Recreational options include water skiing, wakeboarding, mountain biking, road biking, ropes course, half pipe, all-terrain skateboarding, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and much more.
How does the academic structure differ from that of the main campus?
At High Sierra, the Humanities are the focus of the academic curriculum. The program is a concurrent study of the great works in fields such as history, literature, philosophy, art, and often biblical studies. Each course during the fall semester will start at the beginning of recorded history and progress through the Renaissance, while the spring semester will begin study from the Renaissance through present time. A bi-weekly Plenary class is co-taught by the professors in an attempt to bring together all disciplines into a coherent perspective on the time periods being studied. In addition to the Humanities, elective courses are offered in Ceramics, Recreation, and Leadership.
I’m an Honors student; can I take Honors-level classes?
Yes. Most of the HUM classes can be taken either at a 200, 300, or Honors level.
When do the semesters begin and end?
Students leave the Azusa campus on the Sunday before classes begin, and return to the main campus the Thursday of finals week.
What is the cost?
The cost for tuition, room, and board is the same as on the Azusa campus. There is an additional cost of $200 for the weekend in San Francisco. If the student is taking more than 17 units or an independent study, the same additional fees will apply as they would on the Azusa campus.
Is there opportunity for financial aid?
High Sierra is a Group 1 program, which allows APU students to apply their FULL financial aid toward a study abroad semester, including ALL federal, state, and institutional (APU) aid. APU Scholarships requiring on-campus participation are not included. Contact Rhonda Moreno in the One Stop (Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center), or Carrie Ullmer in the Center for Global Learning and Engagement if you have any questions.
How many units may I take at the High Sierra Semester?
Students may take 12–17 units while at the High Sierra Semester.
What courses will be offered at the High Sierra campus?
See the Courses Offered page for a listing of the courses that are typically offered during the fall and spring semesters. For the most up-to-date list of courses, email Katie Burns, High Sierra interim director.
Are independent studies available?
Students may take independent study courses while attending the High Sierra Semester. This will be arranged by the student with either an on-site instructor or with an instructor on the main campus in Azusa. The study must be arranged prior to the student's arrival at the High Sierra campus.
Are there work opportunities?
Yes. A few students are hired each semester to wash dishes, help prepare meals, clean bathrooms, work on computer-related issues, assist with the ceramics class, and drive the APU vans (California Class B driver’s license required). All students are hired for these positions after arrival (with the exception of van drivers who need to get their license beforehand).
What are the library arrangements at the High Sierra Semester?
Technologically, library access will be the same as it is on the main campus, including access to databases and many online texts. A small collection of hard-copy books that relate to the topics studied during the semester will be available for your use.
What are the computer arrangements at the High Sierra Semester?
The campus is equipped with wireless internet. There are also four desktop computers and a black and white printer available for general use.
What are the living arrangements?
There are women's and men's dorms with approximately three students in each room. Each room is furnished with a twin-size bed, desk, dresser, and bookshelf for each student.
Can I have people come to visit?
Family and friends are welcome to visit any time during the semester, but we will have a formal visitation weekend for family toward the beginning of the semester. In addition, we will make at least one weekend trip down to the main campus in Azusa during the semester.
Are we allowed to have cars?
In an effort to foster community, personal vehicles are not allowed. The university will supply van transportation for students to go to town for groceries, movies, field trips, etc.
Will my cell phone work?
Verizon has the best reception in the area. However, most major carriers get service in certain areas of Bass Lake.
What is the food like?
The kitchen staff takes good care of us at High Sierra. Most meals are homemade and cereal, fruit, coffee, and leftovers are available 24 hours a day.
What is Leadership Trek?
There is no better environment to teach leadership than in the wilderness. Leadership Trek consists of two experiential learning trips that are directly tied to the required Leadership course (REC 366). These trips are some of the most impacting experiences of the semester for students, faculty, and staff. They provide opportunities for meaningful growth and challenge both personally and relationally. The first trek takes place two weeks into the semester and is typically five or six days of backpacking. The second trek takes place later in the semester and is an opportunity for students to begin putting meaningful closure on their time at High Sierra. On both treks, students are broken up into teams of approximately 8-12 and spend time in some of the most beautiful wilderness in the U.S.
What does the chapel requirement look like at High Sierra?
Three weekly chapel attendances are still required, but the structure looks different at High Sierra. On Monday nights, we meet in small groups for Bible study; Friday mornings, there is an on-campus chapel service; and Sunday mornings, we will provide transportation to local churches in Oakhurst.
Can I still complete service credits while I’m at High Sierra?
High Sierra students will have opportunities throughout the semester to serve on campus and in local churches to receive service credits.
How do I apply?
Visit apu.edu/highsierra/apply/ to download an application.