Outcomes of a Spiritually Focused Wilderness Orientation Program

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Academic Affairs/TRIO


Higher education often supports new student transition through various orientation programs. Recently a greater focus on student spiritual growth has emerged as an important aspect. The wilderness orientation program in this study is unique because of its length (12–14 days) and its focus on students' spiritual development. The purpose of this study was to understand the students' perceptions of a spiritually focused wilderness orientation program and the influence of their participation in the program during their transition to the college. Data were collected through a post-course essay, the Student Adaptations to College Questionnaire, and a focus group interview. The themes that emerged indicate categories that the students recognized as important: (a) community, (b) developing competence, (c) stewardship, and (d) spiritual growth. These results are helpful in answering some of the questions asked by those involved in traditional student transition programs and those providing wilderness orientation programs.

Publication Title

Journal of Experiential Education