Q: What makes EcoFS different from other field studies?
A: EcoFS has a unique combination of academic rigor and experiential adventure. We take great pride in our educational focus while integrating opportunities to investigate the unique ecosystems of our locations. Students typically remark they learned more in the 21 days on the course than an entire semester at school.
Q: What kind of college students take EcoFS courses and how are they chosen? What % are accepted? Are their prerequisites?
A: We accept students in any year of study and from any major and college or university. The most common majors are Biology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, & Geology. We look for students who are responsible, hard working, and ready to contribute as a valuable member of the class. Our courses contain a wide diversity of student backgrounds which creates a dynamic and stimulating group environment. Typically about 75% of applicants are accepted. EcoFS does not require specific prerequisites to apply to our courses
Q: When and how do I apply?
A: The sooner the better, as we accept qualified students on a rolling basis. We do not have a set deadline and accept applications until courses fill. Go here: EcoFS Application Page to the general application page. You will need to decide which course to apply to, complete the application and pay a $50 application fee. Students can increase their chances by applying to more than one course. Also students are welcome to attend both a Caribbean & Colorado course this summer. Should a course fill we will post an announcement on the application page of the website.
Q. What is the average class size, male-to-female ratio, age range of EcoFS course?
A. Class size of EcoFS courses is limited to around 20 students to ensure a positive learning environment. Typically we have 4-5 staff for each course with a Lead Instructor, a Teaching Assistant, and 2-3 Course Assistants. We usually recieve more female applicants with EcoFS courses consisting of 50-75% female to 25-50% male. Our typical age range is between 18-25 but we often have non-traditional students in their 30's and 40's.
Q: How do I choose the right course for me? What kind of background experience is required?
A: Academically the courses are very similar in content with our focus on scientific observation and analysis of the ecosystem. The main obvious difference is the location and related activities. The Caribbean course involves snorkeling and SCUBA diving & coastal walking in a tropical marine environment. The Colorado course involves more challenging hiking and camping in a mountain environment. Neither course requires specific personal experience to participate as activities are appropriate to any experience level but students must have a willingness to "push their comfort zone".
Q: What are lodging and meals like?
A: For the Caribbean course students choose an accomodation option of beach bungalow rooms or beach tent camping. Meals are buffet brunch at the Beach Club, dinners prepared by a local gourmet chef, and lunch prepared individually at our beach cabana. The Colorado course is at a spectacular & private mountain campground where students sleep in tents and we prepare meals out of our base-camp kitchen.
Q: What if I’m not a college student, or do not need or want the academic credit, can I take an EcoFS course?
A: We accept all applicants over 18 years of age. Any applicant committing to working hard as a student, & completing assignments as credit-seeking students do, can participate in the course. We have many participants who are not pursuing undergraduate academic credit, recently graduated, or do not need the credits to transfer to their degree. For some students the educational experience of an EcoFS course is more important than the credits.
Q: How hard are these courses, both physically and academically?
A: Ecofs courses are challenging because we pack a whole semester of work and experience into 21 days. EcoFS days are very full and academic expectations are high so there is not much vacation like time. Physically our courses are highly active but students in reasonable physical condition and health will do fine. Academically our courses do not require any advance scientific knowledge or skills however students must show strong effort with activities, assignments & apply themselves independently on their individual research project.
Q: What does my tuition (course fees) cover?
A: See costs page for all that is included. Course fees are meant to cover all possible expenses so a student can expect to spend no further money while on course. EcoFS strives for a balance between comfort and affordability and believes our courses are an excellent overall higher education value. We encourage students to shop around for other field courses and when you compare the benefits provided, you will realize that EcoFS is by far the best value.
Caribbean Costs Page
Colorado Costs Page
Q: What are EcoFS cancellation and refund policies?
A: If a student applies and chooses to not take the course they are given a full refund of the application fee. If they are accepted and choose to not take the course they are given a 50% refund of the application fee. If students are accepted and pay the deposit they are eligible for a 50% refund of the deposit fee if we are notified at least 6 weeks prior to the course start date.
Q: What forms of payment does EcoFS accept?
A: We accept all forms of payment for deposit and balance payments. We accept credit cards through Paypal as well as check or money order sent by mail. The $50 application fee due to submit your application must be paid though Paypal. Paypal does offer a six month, no payment, interest free financing that can be applied towards the deposit or balance payment.
Q: Can EcoFS support a gluten-free, lactose-free, food-allergy, vegetarian, vegan, or kosher diet?
A: Absolutely. We strive hard to meet the dietary needs of all students. We know a key to happiness on the course is a well fed student. EcoFS will accomodate any special needs of our students, especially when it comes to food.
Q: How do I prepare for my EcoFS course?
A: Upon acceptance students receive access to the Student Portal of our website and further course preparation information such as logistics, equipment, paperwork etc. There is no special preparation necessary.
Q: What can I do after my course? Can I work for EcoFS?
A: Upon completion of the course students will have a clearer understanding of their career path which might or might not include scientific research. Students are in-line to receive a letter of recommendation from EcoFS for future graduate school, job, intern applications. Exceptional students are often offered jobs on future EcoFS courses as assistants!