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Frequently Asked Questions


Who participates in OA?

All incoming students take part in OA, including athletes, transfer and international students.

What does OA cost?

There is no separate fee to participate in OA. All costs are included in your tuition payment and/or financial aid package. Free sleeping bags rentals are available to everyone upon request.

I have never been backpacking/ sailing/ kayaking/ surfing before.  Do I need prior experience to go on these trips?

No prior experience is required. Orientation Adventure trips are designed to be fun and rewarding for participants of all skill levels. You will be undertaking many new experiences at college, and these trips are an excellent place to start. However, please note that students signing up for the more strenuous backpacking adventures should be in excellent physical condition and confident of their performance at high altitudes. Moderate backpackers should also be capable of hiking with a full pack on trails of intermediate difficulty.

When will I be able to sign up for an OA trip?

Trip sign-up will begin May 15.

By when must I sign up?

To receive priority consideration for your top-choice trips, you must sign up by June 1.  All incoming students will be placed on OA trips, but students who sign up after the deadline may face reduced availability for their most preferred trips.

How are trip assignments made?

If you sign up prior to the June 1 deadline, your trip assignment will be made on the basis of your expressed preference and availability.  Once the initial sign-up period is complete, we will randomize the list of currently registered participants and begin making assignments.  Each participant will be assigned to the trip of his or her highest preference that remains available at the time of assignment. If your first-choice trip is full at that time, you will automatically be placed on its waiting list. We will contact you by email when your trip assignment has been made.  

Sign-ups received after the June 1 deadline will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be assigned to your most highly preferred trip that is still available when you register.

The final trip sign-up deadline is July 1.

We will make every effort to honor requests for assignment changes that arise from unforeseen and compelling circumstances not present at the time of initial registration. A leg broken in an accident over the summer would be an example of such a circumstance.

When will I be notified of my trip assignment?

We expect to notify students of their trip assignments on approximately August 1. 

What should I bring with me on the trip?

This depends on the trip in which you will be participating. A detailed packing list for your trip will be sent to you along with your trip assignment and is also available online.

I don’t own a frame pack/sleeping bag, etc.  Do you have gear available for loan?

Yes, we have sleeping bags, pads and frame packs available to you, and we will loan them to you free of charge.

I already own all of the gear I need for my backpacking trip, but would like to use OA's gear for the sake of convenience.  Is this OK?

If you have your own gear, we recommend you use it as it will likely be a better fit for you, and possibly of superior quality. In addition, this will free up our limited stock of gear for other participants.  

Can I move into my room when I arrive on campus?

Yes.  When you check in on Saturday, August 22, you will receive an orientation packet that includes a key to your room. Orientation Adventure Leaders and Sponsors will be available to help you move in.

Can I move into my dorm room before Saturday, August 22?

No. Rooms will not be available for move-in until Saturday morning.


 Please visit Arriving at Pomona for additional information about your student's first days on campus.

Can OA participants be reached by phone during their trips?

While some OA leaders will be carrying cellular phones and/or radios, participants generally will be out of contact with their families for the duration of Orientation Adventure. In the event of an emergency, an OA coordinator or leader will arrange for participants and family members to get in touch with each other. Participants who plan to bring cellular phones along with them should note that certain trip itineraries lie outside cellular coverage areas. Those on backcountry routes should also be mindful of the disturbance mobile phones can cause to both fellow students and other hikers in the area. All cellular phones should be kept off for the duration of your trips.

My son or daughter has a disability/allergy/condition/etc. that may limit his or her ability to participate in OA.  Can necessary accommodations be made?

Yes.  An OA coordinator or OEC staff member would be happy to discuss the matter with you or your student and determine which trip would be the best match and what accommodations can be made.

Still have questions?  Please contact us at and we will be happy to answer them.