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Discussion: Rank of colleges for orienteering in US

in: Orienteering; General

Jun 3, 2018 11:24 PM # 
Hi all, We are in the process of college searching for AJ and trying to rank colleges for orienteering. Has anyone have done it before? Curious......
Jun 3, 2018 11:36 PM # 
Clearly University of Kansas is in the top two.
Jun 4, 2018 12:22 AM # 
What is number 1? I guess University of Alaska?;)
Jun 4, 2018 12:55 AM # 
Jun 4, 2018 1:00 AM # 
Is West Point an option?
It is virtually a blank slate in the US but the good news is that someone with drive can go to his/her pick of universities, start up an orienteering sports club and find available funding from the school's recreation and/or outdoor recreation departments.
If the local orienteering club is on the ball the new school club can probably also find support there for maps, loan of orienteering equipment and car pooling to the big events.
Suggest to this AJ that University of South Florida should be considered and together we'll soon be challenging the cadets for US Intercollegiate supremacy.
Jun 4, 2018 1:03 AM # 
Southern Michigan orienteering club is relatively active, with University of Michigan about 30 min from most maps. There is a growing student group called ARRO (Adventure racing, rogaining, and orienteering) that organizes rides to meets and hosts a campus sprint every year. No official UM-O team, but if someone is motivated to start it I think it would take off.
Jun 4, 2018 1:05 AM # 
Maybe AJ and Siri can start a program together in Bozeman, MT
Jun 4, 2018 1:11 AM # 
U of WA beat West Point 4 years running when Jon was running for USMAOC as a cadet. Lots of maps and events in the area, and generally COC members happy to provide rides to get to the technical and more open maps on the other side of the mountains.

Boston area is fantastic, and lots of options for schools.
Jun 4, 2018 1:15 AM # 
I would say Boston is a good option. Not for college O' clubs, but certainly lots of events and maps, and rides are available. (and a short flight home).
Jun 4, 2018 3:30 AM # 
Dartmouth is really hard to get into but, maybe worth a thought. They have two forest maps plus the campus sprint. Pawtuckaway, Bear Brook, The Harris Center, Moreau State Park are all within about 2 hrs or less and there's other good maps too.

Unfortunately, no active club there on campus
Jun 4, 2018 4:25 AM # 
There are 2 JNT members going to U of Washington next year. I'll be training and making maps at Montana State U if anyone ever comes along :)
Jun 4, 2018 6:32 AM # 
The Williams outing club is supportive of orienteering, when there are orienteers there who want to make it happen, and located not far from lots of New England orienteering. Also has a strong xc team and tons of great trail running straight from campus. Ross, Tory, and I all went there.

Might not be the best option, but certainly not the worst.

Also, has he thought about taking a gap year to train somewhere in Europe? Sweden? Many colleges will let students defer their start by a year. One option the for college orienteering would be to take the gap year, get in a ton of navigation training and high-level competition, a great experience living abroad, and then keep the forest speed by running with an xc team in college. The only caveat is that it would be best to get a great physical base before moving abroad, so they he doesn't just get injured when ramping up the miles/hours.
Jun 4, 2018 12:20 PM # 
Siri, who's headed to UW? Great news!
Jun 4, 2018 1:02 PM # 
Jan Erik Naess:
You can also head to Canada! I'll be studying at the University of Calgary and we have a few really good elite runners plus a solid club up there.

Who knows, maybe its cheaper than studying in the US ;)
Jun 4, 2018 1:56 PM # 
Orienteering is pretty cool, but I'm not sure it makes sense for it to be a major factor in picking a college. Apply to colleges that are a good match educationally, then when it comes time to pick from among the acceptances, if one is in a place with good terrain and an active local club, that's a plus.
Jun 4, 2018 3:41 PM # 
I agree with JJ. There are so few college clubs you're really limiting yourself. If you mean colleges in places with good, active clubs, that's a different story. I think you know what areas have good clubs though!
Jun 4, 2018 3:45 PM # 
With all due respect, I'd claim the opposite. I'm sure having an Ivy League degree opened a few doors early in my career, but that advantage went away pretty quickly. Meanwhile, the fact that I was passionately involved in an extra-curricular activity while at school taught me some really important lessons about balancing life and work that I still benefit from 30 years later.

That said, I don't think there's any need for the school to have an existing club. As mentioned above, as long as there's some decent terrain nearby, you could start your own club. You get some pretty valuable life lessons from that pursuit as well.
Jun 4, 2018 4:07 PM # 
I don't really believe in this "start your own club thing." College kids these days are overworked and exhausted. Starting your own club is a lot of work.

If competing at the highest level is really what you want to prioritise, you need other people to race. New orienteers in a new club can provide you with a whole host of benefits, but not high level racing.

This doesn't leave you with many choices.

Despite saying this, I pretty much agree with JJ. Never regretted my educational choice over orienteering choice.
Jun 4, 2018 6:58 PM # 
If AJ is open to attend university abroad, then Sweden could be a good option. University of Uppsala for example, but also Stockholm, Lund, Gothenburg are all great universities and obviously have fantastic clubs. Language may be less of an issue than you think, depending on what he wants to study. There are international bachelor's programs, see for example
Jun 4, 2018 7:07 PM # 
Any school with running programs at the right level. You won't find a big group of elite orienteers to train with every day at a US college but if you can run on the XC or track teams then at least you can get the right level of physical training in. Pick a school with an active O club nearby and split the year, XC in the fall and O in the spring, or something like that.
Jun 6, 2018 9:57 PM # 
I think Boston area and Quantico are the best options for someone who likes orienteering often. DVOA is great too, but we are having a hard time to find a good computer science college in Quantico area and Philly area.... Top pick for now: Carnegie Mellon ( not good for orienteering I assume) and Harvey Mudd ( LA Area) . I am not sure which is better for orienteering from these 2. Looking at MIT and Olin this summer, possibly RPI, Cornell, he got scholarship to RIT but no interest - too big....
Dartmouth is too cold .... We are looking for not too big, not too cold and not abroad ;)
Jun 7, 2018 5:30 AM # 
Well, then: Mills College.
Jun 7, 2018 12:19 PM # 
RPI would be a good choice (but, I am biased), and would provide the academic rigor in any STEM major. Similar to Carnegie Mellon, but lacking the nice city feel of Pittsburgh (Troy was *not* great, but the countryside is beautiful outside of town). Two of my friends were on the XC team back then. Winters are harsher than DVOA-land for sure. My perspective is dated by about 30 yrs, but we can chat if you will be at the picnic this weekend. This is EMPO country, from what I understand.
Jun 7, 2018 12:50 PM # 
Winters are slightly harsher (5-10 degrees cooler, on average, but not as bad as they were 30-40 years ago). Yes, EMPO territory; a lot of small park maps but a few gems in Thacher, Grafton (recently remapped), and of course, Moreau.
Jun 7, 2018 3:49 PM # 
My more recent friends who went to RPI (last 5-7 years) are extremely unhappy with the way it has been managed over the past ten years or so, to the extent that they no longer view the expense as being worth the increasing fees. They don't think it's the same excellent STEM school it was years ago.
Jun 7, 2018 4:19 PM # 
In what way is RIT "too big" and Cornell not? I was just mentioning to Nathan right before I read this that RIT is only a few miles from Mendon Ponds, and not far from a number of other park maps. Not sure how much interest AJ has in xc skiing (but I've seen him skiing and he's pretty good at it), but they actually groom ski trails at Mendon when there's enough snow.
Jun 7, 2018 4:44 PM # 
RIT has this going for it:
Jun 7, 2018 4:46 PM # 
Boston area has the advantage that you can contribute back by teaching kids to orienteer in our Navigation Games school programs. Be part of growing the sport in the Boston area and building a youth program. You can do that anywhere, of course, but it's nice to have a critical mass of people working together on a project.
Jun 7, 2018 11:12 PM # 
Hard to beat Stanford.

Weather: Great year round
Training: US Team members study and train there. Campus is mapped.
Competition: BAOC holds 30+ days of events per year.
Size: 7000 Undergrads
Education: Not bad.
Jun 8, 2018 4:40 PM # 
If one goes to RIT or U Rochester, link up with the Rochester Orienteering Club. We'd love to help someone start up a competitive college program.

Plus lots of mapped parks nearby, plus a bunch of profs in the club...
Jun 8, 2018 9:00 PM # 
Pink Socks:
U of WA.... COC members happy to provide rides to get to the technical and more open maps on the other side of the mountains.

Unfortunately for most students, the events with the best terrain throughout the region (WA, OR, BC) are usually late April through early September. So unless you're planning on spending some time here over summer break, or going to orienteering races near final exams, you really won't get to see the best stuff we have to offer.

That said, after 30+ years of K-12 orienteering competition with our WIOL league, we will be adding a collegiate category starting in Fall 2018-2019.
Jun 9, 2018 12:07 AM # 
Oh no, says the course consultant...please tell me that’s using the existing WIOL course structure? (Otherwise: Awesome!!!!)
Jun 9, 2018 12:29 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Yes, don't worry.

Collegiate Varsity will be running what the adult leagues are running, and Collegiate JV one of the shorter/easier courses, I don't remember which. We're not expecting a huge amount of college kids running, so it's really a matter of reclassifying the ones we already have from the adult leagues to a collegiate league if they choose.
Jun 9, 2018 12:48 AM # 
Brilliant! Good to see UW getting serious about IC again. Eric Bone, Bill Cusworth, and a third person they always managed to train every year were the reasons why Jon never got to be an IC champ (individual or team). Coming from USMAOC, that's sayin' something.
Jun 10, 2018 3:01 AM # 
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). There is no existing college O' club, but the area is a very active center of OCIN events. Walk directly from campus onto 3 or 4 square km of wooded maps with 14 miles of hiking/running trails. Another several square km map with 35 permanent controls (Hueston Woods) is a 10-15 km bicycle ride away. Many other maps and several permanent courses are within an hour's drive. OCIN has events about 3 weekends a month during most of the school year, and carpooling from Oxford to nearby regional or national meets on most other weekends.
Jun 10, 2018 4:46 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
This issue comes up about once/year, the answer is as always Trondheim and NTNU. :-)

NTNUI is pretty much always in the top 10 (men & women) for the big relays, there are training activities more or less every day and the university is the best in Norway even if you don't orienteer.

The fact that universities in Norway are free (no tuition) is just icing on the cake.

OTOH, it is probably far too late to apply for the upcoming school year, that process should have started in early spring.
Jun 10, 2018 9:56 PM # 
Great resources from all of you... thank you! making a list....
Jun 10, 2018 10:01 PM # 
Ed Despard,can you please email me PDF map of RIT campus - we are heading there for 2 day college carrier program. Would be fun have to have maps. I am taking 4 boys with me to RIT .
Jun 11, 2018 12:29 AM # 
The NTNU website indicates "There are no bachelor programmes taught in English." (There are masters programs in English, though.)
Jun 11, 2018 5:47 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jim, you are right that you need Norwegian in order to do a full 5-year Master study at NTNU, I would suggest a starting year in either an international "Videregående" (high school, more or less, you can do them in English or French afair), then moving to Trondheim.
Jun 11, 2018 7:16 PM # 
Angelica, you can also check with Linda Kohn, who has course files (and probably leftover printed maps) from the Deaf Championships.
Jun 11, 2018 9:41 PM # 
The terrain and maps were great there, and I've met a number of NTHI graduates who orienteer. (Sorry, I still think of it by the old name.)
Jun 12, 2018 7:06 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@Jim, I agree completely re. NTHI vs NTNUI. I was actually present for the annual meeting in the Uni sports club where this was voted in: Since the government had decided that NTH needed to become the "anchor store" for the new university in Trondheim the name was changed to NTNU and we pretty much had to accept that this also meant changing the club name. :-(

There's a few NTH graduates in my immediate family, nearly all of them orienteers:

My two brothers, my youngest brother's wife, my wife and her sister, the sister's husband and his identical twin brother. My father was a student there when I was born and my wife's grandfather was one of the very first students and graduates when NTH first opened.

So naturally, both our kids studied finance in Bergen instead. :-)
Jun 18, 2018 12:49 AM # 
Orienteering has been taught at RIT as a wellness class by Linda Kohn. I would have liked PE in college a lot more if I had orienteering taught by Linda as a choice!

I teach at RIT - it isn’t as big as it seems as the colleges within the university function as smaller academic and social units.

Enjoy colleges & careers!

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