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This College Will Give You Class Credit for Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Virginia News Hiking Backpacking
by Eben Diskin Nov 20, 2019

If sitting on a chair for four years to earn a college degree makes you antsy, know that there are options out there to get you out of the classroom and moving. Emory & Henry College in Virginia is offering any college students around the world the chance to earn college credit while hiking the famous Appalachian Trail. Stretching 2,190 miles through 14 states, hiking the trail is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what makes conquering it worthy of college credit.

The initiative is part of the college’s outdoor program called “Semester-A-Trail.” Students who enroll complete a wilderness first aid course, as well as other outdoors training with Emory & Henry College before they set off on the trail. They are provided with backpacking gear, footwear, and an on-trail hiking budget.

You don’t have to be an outdoors student to participate, however; all you need is an academic goal that will be achieved thanks to the hike. For example, Sadie Burton, a creative communications major at Emory & Henry, took on the challenge with the goal to film a documentary and put together a photography art show. She hiked 400 miles of the trail.

And don’t worry — even if you’re not currently a student at Emory & Henry College, you’re welcome to transfer there for a semester while earning your trail credits. Tilghman Moyer, a transfer phenology student from Temple University, completed the thru-hike in five months and studied plant and animal life cycles along the way in collaboration with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

To learn more about the program, check out Emory & Henry’s website and watch the video below.

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