The hostel provides accommodation for thirty Year 13 students wishing to attend Mount Aspiring College to take advantage of the outdoor pursuits and lifeskills programme.
The hostel is a well organised, supervised environment where students co-operate and learn to live together in self-contained villas of six in a simulated flatting situation. The hostel is co-educational, but each villa is segregated.
Life skills are taught at the hostel and overseen by the hostel manager and assistant manager.
Students share responsibility for budgeting, shopping and cooking within each of the flats on a roster basis. The hostel staff assist the students with planning, monitoring progress and assessing the final results.
Outdoor pursuits is a major focus of the hostel programme and in addition to taking the college Outdoor Pursuits course hostel students are also involved in an outdoor pursuits programme on Sundays. To take fullest advantage of the one year programme students should come with a good general level of fitness and an interest in developing their outdoor skills.
At the beginning of each year a three-day orientation programme is held for hostel students. Along with outdoor activities, it includes:
The orientation programme is a key factor in preparing students for the outdoor pursuits programme and the hostel lifeskills programme.
The hostel manager lives on site and is responsible for the supervision of the lifeskills programme, the welfare of students, and maintenance of the hostel rules. Discipline is based on a concept of self-discipline and responsibility, but at the same time hostel operating and non-negotiable rules are essential. Group counselling will be undertaken to ensure students fully appreciate this concept, as breaches of the rules are unacceptable.
The hostel manager is supported by an assistant manager who also lives on site and is on duty at the weekends and some evenings, and an outdoor pursuits supervisor who co-ordinates the Sunday programme. In addition a member of senior staff from the college has overall responsibility for the hostel and its integration with the college.
The hostel seeks to encourage students to learn through carefully guided experiences - ones which are meaningful and impact upon them forever.
The safe and controlled challenges of the outdoor pursuits programme provide an excellent physical balance to the demands of the college programme.
The hostel programme will assist young people to make the transition from home to taking care of themselves. This goal can be reached while completing a full academic course.
It is expected that the experience gained in Wanaka will be character building and will successfully prepare students for their next stage of development.
Entry to the hostel is by application and students are selected based on merit from the pool of applicants. There is no advantage to early application but the complete application must be received by the closing date, otherwise it may not be considered.
When selecting students for the hostel the panel is looking for good all round students who will make a positive contribution towards college and hostel life. A student’s performance and involvement at their current school (as demonstrated by school reports and references) is taken as a good indicator of how they will contribute towards Mount Aspiring College. Prior experience in outdoor pursuits is not necessary but a good level of fitness and an interest in the outdoors is helpful.
An interview is now a compulsory part of the selection process, and interviews are generally scheduled in Auckland and Wellington in July or early August each year. In addition an open day is held on the last Friday of the July school holidays each year which include a guided tour of the college and the hostel plus an individual interview with a member of senior staff. Information about the booking system for interviews can be found here.
The boarding fees in 2015 are $16,450, which includes the hostel Sunday outdoor programme but does not include any course related school fees.
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