Are you ready for an Unschool Adventures trip? Have you already applied, and you’re wondering how to present your best face during our interview? Here are a few tips.
How to Know if You’re Ready for One of Our Trips
Most Unschool Adventures trip are long (4-12+ weeks) sleep-away experiences, and we want to make sure that you have previous experience being away from the comforts of home and family before you join one of our adventures. We think of these as “stepping stones” towards a longer and more intensive Unschool Adventures program.
Ideally, we’d love for you to have been away from home for one-third the duration of the program you’re applying to. That means for a 6-week program, we’re hoping you’ll have done something away from home for 2+ weeks before joining our program. That’s a solid indicator that you can handle the rigors of a 6-week program.
Of course, we understand that it’s not always easy to find a multi-week program for teens…perhaps that’s why you’re applying to an Unschool Adventures program in the first place! Regardless, we believe that previous experience makes a huge difference. An Unschool Adventures trip should not be your first time away from home.
You can obtain prior experience by going to a sleep-away summer camp (like Not Back to School Camp), traveling solo to visit people across the country, doing an extended camping or backpacking trip with friends, taking a road trip… the possibilities are endless.
No matter how you do it, get as much previous sleep-away experience as you can before applying for an Unschool Adventures trip, and emphasize these experiences in both your written application and Skype interview. Lack of previous experience is the most common reason for not getting accepted to an Unschool Adventures trip.
Fill Out the Application Yourself
Unschool Adventures is for self-directed teenagers who are ready for higher levels of freedom and responsibility in their lives. If you take the time and effort to fill out the online application yourself, reply to our emails promptly (within 24 hours), and do the interview on your own (instead of having a parent in the room). All this tells us that you’re taking ownership for this experience.
Before the Interview
In the 15 minutes before your interview, review the trip webpage. Know the basic details. Convince us that you know what you’re getting yourself into, not just signing up for some trip that a friend or parent recommended to you.
We want to hear you without distraction, so find a quiet environment that has strong wifi and use earbuds/headphones is possible. Be completely set up at least 5 minutes early.
There’s no better way of displaying initiative and passion than to ask a few smart, genuine questions about the trip you’re applying for. Ask yourself: What isn’t clear on the webpage? What details or policies would you like clarified before committing to the program? Who are other participants? What will day-to-day life be like? There are many good questions you might ask us.
We want you to be excited to join this program beyond “it seems cool.” Show us that you really want to join this specific trip, not just any old teen travel program. We don’t care if your mom originally found the trip—we want YOU to be the enthusiastic, motivated, and organized person who ultimately makes it happen!
After the Interview
Here’s what happens after the interview:
- We’ll either make you an offer of enrollment—or explain why we didn’t. (The most common reason for not receiving an offer is lack of previous time spent away from home. Read more here.) The offer will include all necessary paperwork and payment instructions.
- To secure your spot on the trip, print and sign the paperwork and send it with the security deposit within 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you’re still invited, but your spot is no longer protected and can be taken by another applicant.
- The remainder of the trip fee is typically due 3 months prior to trip departure.
Have More Questions?
Look how excited they are! (Writing Retreat 2013)