Thursday June 20, 2024

Outdoor Action Frosh Trip Program

OVer the past forty years over 18,700 Princeton students, incoming frosh have participated in the OA Frosh Trip program. You can read the information from the previous Frosh Trip to get an idea about next fall's program.

Start your College Adventure with an Outdoor Action Adventure! Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Applications are now open.

Frosh Trip Activities

OA has trips for everyone. Over 715 freshmen from the Class of 2018 have already applied.



The Program
Backpacking trips will hike anywhere from 6–10 miles a day (~5–8 hours). You will hike in one of a number of wilderness areas such as: the plateaus of central Pennsylvania, the crags of the Catskills in New York, the scenic Appalachian Trail in Connecticut, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, or the summits of the Green Mountains in Massachusetts and Vermont. Most Frosh Trips are all-backpacking. (~50 trips)oa
Bike Touring trips will explore back roads on the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage–recreational bike paths in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Participants will bike 30-50 miles per day (~4–8 hours). Each night you will camp along the trail in state parks or private campgrounds. Bikes provided by OA. (2-5 trips) Biking
Backpacking &amp Rock Climbing
Rock Climbing is an adventureBackpacking & Rock Climbing trips trips combine backpacking and one or two days of rock climbing. You will hike from 6–10 miles a day (~5–8 hours) on the Appalachian Trail. 1–2 days will be spent at a climbing site learning basic rock climbing techniques. (6 trips)
Canoeing trips travel anywhere from 8–20 miles per day (~4–8 hours) and range from quiet water canoeing on the lower Delaware River in New Jersey to easy whitewater canoeing on the upper Delaware in New York. Each night you will camp along the river in state parks or private campgrounds. (2 trips) Canoeing on the Delaware River
Backpacking & Canoeing
Backpacking & Canoeing trips combine three days of hiking and three days of canoeing. You will cover anywhere from 6–10 miles hiking a day (~5–8 hours) or 8–15 miles canoeing per day (~4–8 hours). The trips explore the quiet flatwater or easy whitewater on the Delaware River in New York and New Jersey and backpack on the Appalachian Trail. (5 trips) OA group
Base Camp & Community Service
OA groupBase Camp & Community Service trips are an option if you prefer to experience the outdoors while staying in one location. Groups camp out in a state park campground for the week. You will spend several days exploring the park through easy day hikes and two days working on an environmental service project in the park. Bathrooms are available at the campground. (5-10 trips)
Base Camp & Outdoor Adventure
Base Camp & Outdoor Adventure are an option for those who prefer to experience the outdoors while staying in one location. You can try out a range of outdoor activities while staying at a rustic summer camp in northern New Jersey. Your group will get to try different outdoor experiences on the camp property and the nearby Appalachian Trail including day hikes, rappelling, high ropes course, and a trail restoration service project. Participants camp outside and cook outdoors. Bathrooms are available at the camp. (5 trips) OA
Nature & Spirituality
Nature & Spirituality trips bring students of all backgrounds together on easy backpacking trips which explore human interaction with the natural world and how nature is reflected in different spiritual traditions. Students will explore how different religious traditions connect with nature through discussion, nature exploration, meditation and yoga. (1-2 trips) Hiking
Sustainable Farming
FarmingSustainable Farming trips will spend the week at a local organic farm and help with daily work while learning about the importance of local food. From picking vegetables, to baking bread, to planting new crops, you'll experience first-hand the life of a small organic farmer, and learn about how growing and eating locally enhances the environmental health of a community. (2-4 trips)
Mastering Leave No Trace Backpacking Trips
Mastering Leave No Trace Backpacking trips explore the complex ways humans interact with, impact, and preserve remote and delicate wilderness areas. As we hike through some of the most extraordinary landscapes of the Northeast, you’ll learn about conservation and natural history in the wild. Participants will have the opportunity to become Leave No Trace Trainers and develop the skills to teach others about Leave No Trace techniques and principles. (1-2 trips) Hiking

Learn More About Frosh Trip

Find out more about this year's Frosh Trip

The Outdoor Action (OA) Frosh Trip Program is Princeton's oldest and largest preorientation program for incoming freshmen and is a great way to begin college. The OA Frosh Trip is a six-day outdoor trip held the week prior to Orientation Week. Along with hundreds of other freshmen you’ll be in one of over ninety small groups of 8 to 10 freshmen and 2 to 3 OA leaders. OA Leaders are Princeton sophomores through seniors who will help introduce you to life at Princeton. The small OA trips provide a unique opportunity to meet an incredibly diverse group of your classmates from across the U.S. and from around the globe. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the outdoors, this is a special opportunity to try something new and see a different part of the United States. You’ll camp together, hear everyone’s stories, and along the way form friendships that continue back on campus. For many students, the Frosh Trip becomes one of the highlights of their freshmen year and one of the most memorable of their entire four years.

"I had never camped before and I had a fantastic time on the trip. It was a great way to get to know other frosh. It turned out to be just the thing I needed to start my adjustment to Princeton."

 "The trip was a wonderful experience. My group was a conglomerate of very diverse people. Had we all not been thrown together in the wilderness for six days, I probably wouldn’t have met and become friends with them. It was a great way to begin Princeton.'

 "The most important thing that my Frosh Trip gave me was a sense of community. Before I went on the OA trip, I didn’t really feel like I was a part of Princeton yet. However, the trip gave me a sense of belonging and community. It also gave me friends that I still hang out with!"

In addition to making new friendships, participants learn an incredible amount about Princeton from their experienced trip leaders who pursue a full spectrum of academic and extracurricular interests back on campus.

Over the past 39 years, over 17,999 incoming students have started Princeton on this fun-filled week with Outdoor Action, Princeton’s most established preorientation program and one of the country’s largest outdoor orientation programs. Last year 825 incoming freshmen (over 60 percent of the Class of 2016) participated in 98 different trips traveling to areas such as the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey, the Catskills Mountains in New York, and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. OA offers a variety of different trip activities: biking, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, as well as base camp and sustainable farming trips that stay in one location. There are a range of trip activity levels, so you can find a trip that’s right for you.

Most participants have never camped before and no previous outdoor or camping experience is necessary. We’ll teach you all the skills you’ll need to be comfortable in the outdoors and OA can provide any special equipment you will need (e.g., backpack and sleeping bag). The program is open to all members of the Class of 2017 including all incoming international students. Students with special needs or physical disabilities can often be accommodated. Please contact the OA office directly to talk with us about your specific needs so we can help you find an appropriate trip. This year’s trip will take place over Rosh Hashanah. There will be a number of options for Jewish students wishing to observe the holiday.

There is a separate fee for participating in the program to cover all trip expenses (food, transportation during the trip, and equipment). Princeton is committed to making sure that the Frosh Trip Program is available to all members of the Class of 2017. If you are receiving need-based financial aid from the University, your cost for the OA trip is fully subsidized as an addition to your aid package.

Application materials and detailed program information will available online in late May, and the online application will be available on the Web at the end of May. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis based on postmark or Web application date. The application deadline is June 30. Note: The program will fill before that date.

Dates for Frosh Trip 2014 for the Princeton Class of 2018

Application materials will be available online to all incoming students around May 25. Students will need their University NetID and Password to access the online application.

  • Late May 2014 - Information and application materials for the Frosh Trip will go live on the Matriculation Web Site.
  • Around May 25, 2014 - Applications available online through the Outdoor Action Web Site. The trip is filled on a first-come, first-served basis based on postmark or Web application date.
  • June 30, 2014 - Application Deadline. The trip is filled on a first-come, first-served basis based on postmark or Web application date and often fills before June 30.
  • Mid-July 2014 - Acceptance information and equipment list emailed to all accepted participants.
  • Saturday, August 30, 2014 - Arrive at Princeton - students can move into their dorm rooms. The Housing Office will be from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM for students to get their room keys.
  • Saturday, August 30, 2014 - Outdoor Action Check-in at Dillon Gym
  • Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Frosh Trip Departs
  • Friday, September 5, 2014 - 4:00 - 8:00 PM - Frosh Trip groups return to campus
  • Saturday, September 6, 2014 - Freshman Orientation Week Begins

Acceptance Information - to be updated in July

If you've been accepted to the program you'll receive a copy of the Acceptance letter and an Equipment list. If you don't receive either of these by mid-July please check the Who is going on Frosh Trip list to make sure that we received your application.

A first year student talks about her Frosh Trip Experience

I was extremely scared about beginning college and the OA trip really helped to allay most of my fears. I got to become really close with a group of 10 people, all of whom I’ve remained friendly with on campus. In the wilderness atmosphere you get the chance to learn so much about these people who all seemed so strange and different. I learned that all ten of us had the same fears and insecurities about starting college; making new friends, handling schoolwork, becoming small fish in an incredibly large pond. The OA trip really taught me that first impressions mean absolutely nothing, that I should place more faith in my physical abilities (I never thought I could survive a backpacking trip), and interpersonal abilities (I usually consider myself shy and reserved, but my group members didn’t see me that way at all), and that no matter how alone I may feel sometimes, everyone is really feeling just as scared and unsure of themselves as I am.

One of the most valuable aspects of the trip for me was the nightly debriefings. These really gave our group a chance to reflect on the challenges and triumphs of the day and observe how our relationships with each other and with ourselves were changing. Our final night debriefing on the trail, during which we all went around saying things we liked/admired about each other, was especially valuable. So much of your self-view depends on how you think others view you, and hearing positive feedback from the people you’ve opened up and exposed your vulnerabilities to was just so incredible.

The most incredible part of my trip though, had to have been my fearless leaders, Andrew and Erin. I have so much respect for them and for the way they handled themselves throughout the trip. I really feel like we all became good friends with them, we joked around on the trail and genuinely had a good time. But both knew when and how to appropriately assume the role of leaders. They carried far more than their share of weight on the trail, responded to our complaints, motivated us, made sure we ate and drank enough, mediated small disputes that arose....What really amazed me about these two was how they fit perfectly into the dual roles of friend and leader, and could transition effortlessly between the two without compromising either. Erin and Andrew were also invaluable resources for everything we wanted to know about Princeton. They tirelessly fielded all our questions answering honestly and helpfully.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate what an absolutely incredible experience OA was for me. I am so glad I decided to participate in the program. The trip exceeded my highest expectations in every way. Thank you for facilitating such a wonderful program here at Princeton.