Apply to the Outer Coast Year

Outer Coast Year 2020–21

The Outer Coast Year offers a diverse cohort of up to 20 Alaskan, Lower 48, and international high school graduates a transformative educational experience in Sitka, Alaska founded on the belief that students should have agency and ownership of every aspect of their academic and personal lives and the responsibility to positively affect the communities to which they belong.

Over the course of two four-month semesters, students immerse themselves in fast-paced, intellectually rigorous academic coursework; engage in work-based service and meaningful labor in Sitka; and practice self-governance of key aspects of the Outer Coast experience. Through small seminars, close-knit residential living, and involvement in the wider Sitka community, Outer Coast Year students will learn how to identify, analyze, and address the challenges — both big and small — that face the world today.

Program Dates:

Fall Semester: Monday, August 31st – Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Spring Semester: Tuesday, January 19th – Saturday, May 8th, 2021


High school graduates or GED holders are eligible to apply for the fall semester, spring semester, or both. We are looking for students who want to develop their critical thinking, listening, and communication skills while engaging with the communities around them, both big and small. Students do not need to be nominated to apply.


The Outer Coast Year is hosted at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus, located on the former Sheldon Jackson Campus at G̱eiy Ta.aan, a beautifully forested, 160-acre National Historic Landmark.


The historic Sheldon Jackson campus. Photo Credit: Berett Wilber


During each semester, students will participate in two consecutive, seven-week, intellectually rigorous courses that introduce students to engaging, discussion-based learning. In small seminars, students must engage fully with the material, the faculty, and their peers. Students may have the option to receive grades and academic credit for their coursework.


Fall Semester (2020)

Date Event
August 31 Arrival
September 1 – 4 Orientation
September 7 – October 22 Term 1
October 23 – November 1 Fall Break
November 2 Mid-semester Reflection
November 3 – December 18 Term 2
    November 26 – 27 No class
December 19 Departure

Spring Semester (2021)

Date Event
January 19 Arrival
January 20 – 22 Orientation
January 25 – March 11           Term 3
March 12 – 21 Spring Break
March 22 Mid-semester Reflection
March 23 – May 7 Term 4
May 8 Departure

Program Overview:

For more details on the Outer Coast Year, please see the Program Overview. The Program Overview and website will be updated as faculty and course descriptions are announced.