Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about FOOT?  No problem at all!

1. Deadlines, Forms, and More!

I don’t know if I can afford to do FOOT.

No problem! FOOT offers financial aid so everyone should apply regardless of monetary concerns–just check the box on the application regarding financial aid!

Do I qualify for financial aid?

If you qualify for aid from Yale, you will most likely qualify for aid from FOOT. If you have any questions about aid, feel free to contact

I missed the application deadline! Can I still apply?

YES! Trips do fill up quickly, but we will most likely be able to accommodate you on one of the many FOOT trips. If all trips are full, we will put you on the waiting list and contact you when there is an opening.

Where do I send my scanned med forms?

Please send everything in to:

When are the deadlines to turn in the medical forms?

July 15th!

My med forms are late! Is that okay?

Rest assured you are still eligible to attend FOOT, but please get those forms sent in as soon as you can! We cannot complete your application until we know you have been examined by a doctor and then given final approval by the Yale health services.

Can I receive another set of medical forms and/or equipment list?

Yes! You can download them on the FOOT website forms link.

Can we substitute other medical forms for the FOOT medical forms?

We prefer the FOOT medical forms. If for some odd, out-of-this-world reason you must submit a substitute medical form, make sure that ALL of the questions on the FOOT medical forms are answered PLUS, we need the FOOT Medical Form Part II to be signed by an examining physician that says you are able to participate on FOOT.

I had a physical last year. Do I need to get another physical for FOOT?

Yes. We require all students to have a recent medical exam. Most importantly, the student’s doctor must sign the FOOT Medical Form Part II concerning the student’s ability to participate in a program such as FOOT.

2. Trip Assignments, Withdrawing, and More!

Can I move to another trip?

Trips are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis, so there is slim chance of changing trips. However, if you have a physical reason to change trips (such as a recent knee surgery), we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Please note: ALL trips are amazing! The primary purpose of FOOT is to bond with your fellow classmates, and all trips allow for this!

Can transfer students go on a FOOT trip?

YES, absolutely! Past transfer students have had very positive experiences on FOOT and have even gone on to be leaders! 

Can I be on the same trip as my friend?

Now, why would you want to do that? You have all four years to hang out with your friends, why not spend your time at FOOT meeting new ones?

What if I can no longer attend the FOOT program?

Contact the FOOT summer coordinators and let them know immediately!

Since this does create a logistical nightmare for us, we will have an administrative fee billed to your student account if you drop out after August 1. If you drop out two weeks prior to the trips, you might be fully charged.

3. Equipment, and More!

I didn’t request to rent a backpack and/or sleeping bag earlier on the application form. Can I do so now?

Yes! Contact the FOOT summer coordinators.
*Students who already qualify for financial aid can rent a backpack and/or sleeping bag without charge.

FOOT is too expensive! Do I have to buy ALL that equipment on the list?

No! While on FOOT, you will be sweaty and dirty; it is not the
time to look cool with all new equipment and all new clothes.
As a matter of fact, the most experienced of backpackers know
that ragged, comfortable, and functional items are the most
useful. Don’t buy a new wool sweater! Bring hand-me-downs or
the one that your dad got for his birthday but never wears. No
need to buy nylon straps! Bring rope that is lying around your
garage. No need to buy Nalgene bottles! Empty Gatorade bottles
will do.
The equipment list serves as a comprehensive guideline
for what to bring, but it is possible to substitute items and still
have a successful trip. In addition, feel free to contact us
regarding any equipment you do not have—we may be able to
help brainstorm substitutes or find some extra equipment in New

Suggestions for the most expensive equipment:

  • Rent or borrow a backpack and sleeping bag.
  • Buy an inexpensive sleeping pad at Wal-Mart or Target. Anything that will keep you insulated from the ground while sleeping will do.
  • Buy inexpensive, but comfortable, boots. Find boots on
    clearance, on sale, or at the army-navy store. If you don’t have
    hiking boots, good work boots or strong running sneakers will
    also work! Hiking boots are preferred because they tend to be
    more supportive and waterproof, but either of these options will
    make do. Make sure they are solid enough for climbing rocks,
    supportive for your ankles, and comfortable for your feet. Most
    importantly, break them in! Students who buy new boots
    without breaking them in are guaranteed to have the most
    painful blisters they’ve ever had.

Can I bring my own backpack?

Yes, but make sure it has a frame, either external or internal. Also, make sure the waist belt fits comfortably around your entire waist. Capacity should be at least 55L (65L preferred). And above all else, make sure it is comfortable while completely filled; you will be carrying your backpack with all your clothes and extra group gear, so make sure you’re comfortable!

I rented a backpack. When do I transfer my belongings?

Your FOOT leaders will help you transfer the belongings when you arrive on campus in August, so just bring all your equipment with you in a duffle bag. If you are missing any important items, your FOOT leader will take you shopping (on your expense). Packing backpacks is an art, so please let your FOOT leaders help you out!

How heavy is a backpack?

It depends on how much you bring, how much group gear you are carrying, and how much water you are carrying, but on average, a full backpack can weigh anywhere from 30 to 40 pounds.

That might seem heavy, but we will help you fit the backpack so the weight is distributed evenly. Also, we will show you how to put on something that heavy without hurting your back!

What sizes of backpacks do you have for rent?

The backpacks are fully adjustable, so they can fit a wide range of body sizes, but the general sizing is described below:
Small = 5’5” and below, Medium = 5’6” to 5’10”, Medium-Large = 5’10” and 5’11”, and Large = 6’ and up
Your FOOT leaders will spend time helping you choose and adjust your backpack to make sure it fits correctly.

Does the rental sleeping bag come with a stuff sack?

Yes, but it doesn’t hurt to bring another stuff sack to keep your sleeping bag extra dry and to have another bag available for hanging our food up in bear bags.

4. Arriving in New Haven, Storage, and More!

When and where should I arrive?

We will expect you to arrive as close as possible to 1 pm on August 17 if you are attending the 6-Day program or on August 19 if you are attending the 4-Day program.
 Please check in on Old Campus through Phelps Gate on College Street, where you will meet your FOOT leaders. If flight schedules do not permit an arrival around 1 pm, please refer to the next question.

What if I can’t make it at that time? Are there accommodations on campus?

If you arrive before 1 pm on the day you are supposed to arrive, check-in on Old Campus, then explore the campus with the other early arrivals until it’s time to meet with your FOOT leaders.

If you must arrive later than 1pm on the day you are supposed to arrive, please contact the FOOT summer coordinator to find out if it is okay. We do not begin the program promptly at 1 pm, but we will need time to get your backpack checked and the group organized. If you cannot make it to campus (including transportation from the airport to campus) by 4 pm (at latest!), then you will need to arrive a day early.

If you do arrive a day early, you need to contact the summer coordinators. You can stay in the dorm with the leaders on the Old Campus. See our sheet on Travel to Yale. We need to know approximately when you will arrive.

What is an overnight bag?

An overnight bag is a duffle bag that you will bring with all your FOOT equipment and extra clothes for the first night sleeping on Old Campus. When we leave for the FOOT trips, you will be able to store your overnight bag. 

Please mark your overnight bags clearly with your name and residential college! And please do not store any valuables in your bags!

I really, really, really need to store more than an overnight bag or else I can’t go on FOOT. Is this okay?

If there is absolutely no alternative (or no reasonable alternative) to getting your school things to campus, then please contact the FOOT summer coordinators so that we know you will be bringing extra items.

What is the best way to get to campus from the airport?

Please check the Yale First-Year Handbook or the Yale First-Year website ( for more information on getting to campus. You can also read recommendations here. Whichever airport you arrive at, we do recommend you bring some cash to pay for shuttle services or a taxi to get to campus.

How much cash should I bring?

Bring enough cash for transportation from the airport to campus. If you arrive before 2 pm on the day you are supposed to arrive, please bring enough cash for food and living expenses. After you check-in, we will be providing your meals (actually, you’ll be helping to cook your own meals!) until you arrive back on campus.

5. In the Backcountry, and More!

I had knee surgery recently. Will I be ok to attend FOOT?

The decision is ultimately up to you and your doctor, but we recommend students with sensitive knees to try the Appalachian Trail. Overall, this trip is just as physically exerting as any of the other trips, but the trails are less steep when climbing and descending (but this is made up in longer hikes and more fun with larger groups!).

Keep in mind that you will be carrying a heavy backpack while climbing difficult terrain. If you do decide to stop in the middle of your FOOT trip, we have support crews that will bring you back to campus.

Is there electricity available?

There is no electricity available out in the backcountry.

While on the trip, can I smoke, drink, do non-medical drugs, listen to my mp3 player, or bring a firearm?


What safety precautions are being taken on FOOT trips?

As one of the oldest and best-attended pre-orientation programs at Yale, we regard safety as our highest priority.
All FOOT leaders are trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. While in the backcountry, groups will not be hiking on unmarked trails and will not be far from local rangers. At each stop location, FOOT leaders have detailed descriptions of the quickest evacuation routes. Support crews (FOOT leaders who are not leading trips) will be checking in with all the groups along their hikes. FOOT leaders are also required to carry their mobile phones (which often have service at the top and bottom of mountains) so that they can contact local emergency responders, support crews, and the Yale campus in any case of emergency. FOOT leaders also carry an extensive First Aid bag in which they are trained and knowledgeable in applying to specific circumstances.

If you have any other questions regarding safety on the FOOT trips, please contact the FOOT summer coordinators.

I have special dietary needs. Will this affect my trip?

All food is vegetarian and chosen because it is relatively easy to prepare, won’t go bad during the trip, and provides the energy necessary for days filled with hiking and other outdoor activities.

Eating kosher: we have been able to work this out. Students must have their own cooking gear. Let the summer coordinators know!

6. Returning from FOOT, Parent Info, and More!

When will students arrive back on campus?

The trips are scheduled to return to Old Campus between noon and 2 pm on Friday, August 23.

When should parents arrive on campus? What can they do while they wait for their students to return?

We suggest parents to arrive an hour or two before noon. Parents can pick up their student’s room keys as early as 9 am and can help unload their student’s furniture, boxes, and other belongings. Also, be aware that move-in day is the worst traffic day of the year in New Haven!

How long do parents usually stay on campus to help their students move in?

Many parents stay for the weekend to help with room set-up, driving to Wal-mart, Ikea, etc. Some parents leave by Saturday evening while others stay through Sunday. But remember, as much as your student loves you and as much as they will miss you, most students are excited to meet their new classmates and are generally busy with scheduled activities.

7. Other, and More!

Is FOOT the coolest preorientation program at Yale?


If you’re still finding yourself confused, please feel free to contact us at