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    Alzar School: High School Semesters & Gap Programs

    Alzar School: High School Semesters & Gap Programs


    • Listing Type: Private Schools
    • Residency: Residential
    • Type: Private, Semester
    • Grades Offered: 10th, 11th, 12th, PG
    • Country: United States
    • High School Admission Test: SSAT, Not Required
    • Affiliation: Semester Schools Network
    • CEEB: 130096
    • Enrollment: $42
    • Percent Boarding: $100
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships
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    Alzar School and Gap brings students to the intersection of leadership training, cultural exchange and outdoor adventure.  We offer a semester school for motivated 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students and gap programs for high school graduates looking for adventure.  Explore wild places in Idaho and Patagonia!

    We offer programs for students looking to become leaders, whether that is through a gap program or a semester of high school with us.  We are committed to the work of bringing diverse, equitable, and inclusiving communities together.  We are a 501c3 nonprofit that has been offering programs since 2004.  Read more about our semesters and gap programs below.


    High School Semesters

    In an Alzar School semester, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students tackle all of their traditional classes from their sending schools.  All students will take one semester credit for math, science, history, English, Spanish, as well as semester elective credits in leadership and physical education.

    Students regularly set foot in our outdoor classrooms.  Our Idaho campus is located on the North Fork of the Payette River, 2 miles downstream of the world-class Kellys Whitewater Park and 7 miles upstream of the Class II-III Cabarton Section.  Our expeditions take students down some of the USA's best rivers (like the Wild & Scenic Salmon River).  Students will also spend an extended period of time in Patagonia, Chile where they will backpack, kayak, raft, and more.

    While at Alzar School, students participate in extended expeditions multiple times each semester.  Dont worry: our students have a variety of skill levels, and everyone is welcomed and challenged. Students can be beginners or an experts... there are opportunities for everyone.  Alzar School teachers will help students build the basics or take existing skills to the next level.

    Each semester at Alzar School features an extended trip to Patagonia, Chile (about six weeks in-country).  Fall semesters head down in early November and stay through the end of the semester in mid-December.  Spring semesters meet in the US at an international airport (typically Atlanta) in late January and head directly to Chile, staying until mid-March. During our time in South America, students will immerse themselves in Spanish. They eat authentic food, learn about the local cultures, and enjoy our lakeside campus at Base Patagonia.

    One of the highlights of attending a semester at the Alzar School is when students develop leadership projects they are passionate about.  During the semester on campus, each student identifies an issue they want to tackle as a leader, then designs a solution. Upon the completion of the semester at Alzar School, students can recruit friends, family, and classmates to help them complete the project.  And, Alzar Schools teachers will support those efforts along the way.


    Gap Programs

    Alzar Gap offers adventures that inspire high school graduates and help shape their educational journey.  We provide tangible leadership training in world class destinations.  If you are seeking something more from your traditional university experience and are excited to learn more about yourself, gain a broader world view, and make authentic connections with diverse people in wild and untamed parts of the world, then Alzar Gap could offer your next step.

    Have you ever wondered why you should take a gap year?  Read more here.

    We offer three different types of gap programs:


    Western Whitewater

    Spend your summer or fall kayaking and rafting some of the best whitewater on the planet, while learning valuable outdoor and leadership skills.  


    Wild & Scenic

    Gain outdoor industry recognized certifications and training while skiing, rafting, kayaking and backpacking through the wild and scenic American West.


    Patagonia Exchange

    Find your place in a diverse and globalized world through cultural exchange, outdoor adventure and leadership training in Patagonia.

    Reviews (2)

    • Best Semester Ever
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on 08/02/2021 by Charlotte D

      Before coming to Alzar, I was hoping to get a sense of independence from my family and the routine that I live at home. I wanted to hone my leadership skills, make lasting friendships and apply my backpacking skills. I also wanted to explore the brand new realms of spanish and kayaking. At Alzar, I learned that I am able to broaden my definition of a leader from just being someone that people liked, and who knew the plan. I am now able to define many other types of leadership other than my own, and work with people to understand where my assets work best. I hope to be a better leader in my own home, communicating and being fair to my siblings, and also doing a good job of helping my parents around the house. Anyone is lucky to experience a semester at this special place.

    • Fantastic Programs All Around
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on 27/01/2021 by Abe T

      Alzar is a fantastic opportunity for young people of all ability levels to spend time with a uniquely motivated group of peers exploring the world and developing their leadership skills. From designated leadership experiences in the front and backcountry geared towards building confidence to tailored challenges in outdoor and social settings, the programs are geared towards and inspired by suggestions from students. The new Gap programs capitalize on the best aspects of the semester school and provide students with the ability to step out of their comfort zones in their chosen interests. Beyond its beautiful campuses and resources, the strongest component of an Alzar experience is the people. Beginning with a team of faculty who are uniquely qualified and motivated to inspiring and leading young students and continuing to a dedicated administrative team with extensive experience, the Alzar staff is out of this world. While everyone comes from a different background, students in the program are all there to learn and explore, which makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable.


    • "Everyone, no matter their background, should have the opportunity to experience the outdoors in the way the Alzar School provides. Not only do you gain perspective by living on expedition, but you get to marvel in the beautiful places you visit with your best friends while still being in school."

      - Sam, student - August 21, 2019
    • “I came into Alzar School not sure about what I wanted from life or from my academic studies. I think my learning experience at Alzar School is to this day one of the most powerful academic experiences I’ve had.”

      - Elena, student - January 1, 2014
    • “I expect that Alzar School itself helped in my college applications, but I know that what I had to say about the unparalleled growth, broader perspective, and deeper understanding of life I learned at Alzar School was a true differentiator.”

      - Isaac, student - May 15, 2015
    • “Scott has said many times, point blank, that this was the best experience in his life. You can read about something, you can see something, or you can live something — and the impact of living something is ten-fold greater.”

      - Laura, parent - March 12, 2007