Frequently Asked Questions
What are the classes like?
Woolman Semester students live the program; it is fully integrated into campus life from the reading material and projects to films, field trips, service work, guest speakers, and even the food served at mealtime. The classes often use a discussion format and activities to demonstrate specific topics of study, with an occasional lecture when appropriate. Each core class has project class each week for research, workshops, field studies, guest speakers, or personal/group project time. The entire curriculum is geared to an early college level reading pace and writing assignments are common in all the courses. The low student-teacher ratio makes it possible for teachers to work one-on-one with students to maximize personal growth and achievement. Homework time is scheduled Sunday through Thursday nights. Personal, peer, and staff reviews are ongoing as staff members are available for tutoring every weeknight. Staff live right next door and can be found if they are needed.
Where do students and teachers live?
A circle of 8 cabins on the edge of central campus becomes home to Woolman students for 16 weeks. The cabins accommodate up to 3 students each in bunk beds. Alongside a small sofa and a wood stove are shared shelves for books and/or stereos and desk-space. Community interns live in separate cabins in the circle and full-time faculty live in neighboring homes adjacent to the cabin area.
What qualities do you look for in prospective students?
We are looking for juniors, seniors, and gap year students who are excited to study the topics of peace, justice, and sustainability. Students are admitted based on a demonstration of self-discipline, high personal expectations, initiative, perseverance, and independence. Students who come to the Woolman Semester are often seeking meaning and purpose in their education and are willing to be challenged to that end.
Where do Woolman students come from?
Each semester approximately a third of our student body comes from California, another third from the midwest, and the final third from the East coast. We have students from private, private, charter, and home school settings.
What about free time?
The 16-week semester is full of activism, academics and personal engagement. Our students tell us that they have never worked so hard or loved working so much. This means that there is little free time during the Woolman Semester. We assume that students are choosing the Woolman Semester because they want the intense, powerful experience of engaging in meaningful work while living in a small community setting in the woods. Free time is available on weekends.
Can students leave on weekends or have family or friends visit?
We work hard to build a strong, interdependent community each semester, and to that end, ask that students plan to stay on campus without visitors for the first six weeks of the program. During vacations, we require that students leave campus either to go to their family home or to the home of a friend or classmate. We encourage family members and friends to visit campus during times when it works with the semester schedule. We have a guest house where family and friends can stay during their visits.
Are scholarships and/or financial aid available?
Financial Aid and additional scholarship funds are available to all qualified students. Our financial aid formula determines the amount that we expect families to pay. In the event that families believe they are unable to pay that amount, we will brainstorm with students and parents to help them obtain other sources of funding. Our financial aid program and flexible payment plans are available to make the cost affordable to all. Call 530-273-3183 ext. 24 or see our page Tution and Financial Aid for instructions.
How will my Woolman credits transfer back to my high school?
You and your sending school will receive a transcript from the Woolman Semester after you graduate. Our program is fully accredited and our courses have been approved by the UC a-g system as follows: Peace Studies yields one semester of English credit; Environmental Science yields one semester of science credit; Global Issues yields one semester of social studies credit and has often been accepted for Economics and Government credits; Math yiels one semester of math credit; Spanish yields one semester of language credit. Art and Non-Violent Communication are pass/fail elecives and students will have the option of taking other electives which change each semester. During those elective blocks, students may take any course that they need to stay abreast of graduation requirements. Additionally, students recieve 60 hours of community service credit.
Can I still take the PSAT, SAT, SAT II's, ACT or AP tests during my time at the Woolman semester?
Yes, each semester we ask all the students who are in need of these tests to sign up on the dates that work best with that semester's schedule. We will transport students to the test site if it is not a test that we can administer on campus.
Who are the Quakers?
Our program is named for John Woolman, an 18th century Quaker abolitionist. Quakerism was founded in mid-1600. Friends, as Quakers are more formally known, were active in the early years of colonial America. Quakers are known to "walk their talk" as they are guided by the values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship of the earth. Quakers believe that there is a divine spark in every person and that each person can access the divine as they seek truth. Consequently, Quaker education also trusts that each person brings a piece of the truth to any discussion so there is a real sense of equality in Woolman classes. This leads teachers to offer open-ended questions for an engaging dialogue where assumptions are questioned, critical thinking is expected, and viewpoints are required to be substantiated. For more information about Quakerism, please visit The Quaker Information Center.
What is a Quaker Meeting like?
Quakers view each individual as capable of connecting to the divine. A Quaker Meeting is set in a period of quiet reflection during which one or more participants may share a verbal message for the group to ponder in silence. People of all religious backgrounds, or none, have found themselves comfortable in this setting.