Going to college is a transition, and can sometimes be stressful for students, and for parents.  We here at Outdoor Odyssey understand this stress, and we want to provide your son or daughter with the best possible start to their time here at Cornell.  Outdoor Odyssey is the largest pre orientation program Cornell has for incoming students.  Odyssey is a student run organization that will provide your son or daughter with a smooth and meaningful transition to this next phase in their lives. 

The benefits of Odyssey are numerous, and we hope that by looking at the Odyssey web page you will begin to get an idea of how beneficial and meaningful participation in Odyssey can be. 

Below are some comments from parents of past participants, if we can help at all please do not hesitate to contact us at coe.odyssey@gmail.com


"Outdoor Odyssey provided an exciting and challenging start to my daughter’s Cornell experience.  She loved being outside and making new friends – getting a jumpstart on freshman orientation.  It was so meaningful that she went on to lead Outdoor Odyssey trips in subsequent years." 


" ... I just wanted to say that not only did our daughter absolutely love it but we did as well!. The organization , communication, staffing and program etc.  was superb.   I have two daughters at Cornell and I wish that my oldest had had this experience as a freshman.  The trip made the transition from home to college so much easier.  Initially I thought that the dates given were too close to the orientation day, however; when we arrived at orientation with her all settled into Cornell and welcoming us to her dorm, I was so pleased.   She introduced us to her new friends from the program. Fabulous!"


"My son ... attended Outdoor Odyssey this year and it was awesome! My husband and I met him at Cornell to move him in after he had returned.  He was very excited about his experience and we were excited for him.  As we were walking with him through campus he passed several students he had spent the week with. They greeted each other as if they had known each other for more than just a week.   While I was trying to unpack him in his dorm room, he was receiving texts to meet friends and play Frisbee and to go to the gym. It was a lot easier leaving him there because he seemed to be settled in. I can not say enough good things about Outdoor Odyssey.  Thank you for the great experience."


"Having the opportunity to meet other Cornell students and freshmen in a fun, relaxed situation really did make Stephen feel much more confident about attending a school so far from home.  He really liked his group and his guides, and he got to explore the beautiful area where (we all hope) he will be spending his next four years.  When I met him after the trip for the student and parent orientations, I could tell that he was already happy at Cornell and that he had made some great friends.  That made it much easier for me to leave my child in Ithaca and return home."


"... a big thank you for giving our daughter the opportunity to go on the Outdoor Odyssey Canoe trip in August. She had a great experience - so good that she took kayaking lessons when she returned and recently she told me she wants to be a "tour leader" ( I can't remember the exact name of the role) next year.   We are so pleased that the experience was so positive for her."


"Our son ... was a transfer from UVM. Doing his odyssey (in the Gunks) with other transfers was absolutely fantastic because it allowed him to connect and make great new friends who were in his same position, got him off to tremendous start as a new sophomore at Cornell, could not have been better!"

Ironically, just as [he] was heading out for his odyssey, I was hiking the VT Long Trail with one of [his] brothers, and on our last night on trail we sheltered with another one of your Odyssey groups on their first night on the trail before hitting Camel’s Hump, a great group with great guides!

Thank you so much for a terrific program."


"... I have two kids now that have gone through Outdoor Odyssey, one in 2010 and one in 2012.   We live in Colorado so for both of my kids, they did not know anyone else from our area going to Cornell.  This was a fantastic way for them to meet fellow students, see some of the area, and find mentors who could guide them through this transition and set their minds at ease."


"Both of my students went on 4 day backpacking trips and both loved their experiences and the groups they were with.  I remember when my daughter was moving in, several people came up to her because she had an Outdoor Odyssey shirt on and asked her about her trip and where she was from.  This happened all weekend long.  She instantly had a group of friends to hang out with and felt welcomed on campus as everyone just seemed so friendly.  Students she met on her trip popped into her dorm room to say hi and texted her about gatherings during O week."


"Based on her positive experiences, we encouraged our son to go on an Odyssey trip as well.  His experience was even better.  He loved the trip and met a group of students that he thoroughly enjoys and with whom he has developed strong friendships.  They still get together and in fact, were all hanging out last night.  He absolutely loved the experience so much so that he applied to be a guide next year.  Additionally, [he] has been able to bring his roommate along to his Odyssey get togethers so his roommate is now part of the group as well.  They still get together with the leaders of their trip and as a group.  They regularly all go climbing together, hiking, skating, etc.  I see pictures of them together all the time on Facebook.  You can just see how much they enjoy being together and I have a feeling these will be lifelong friendships."


"I was really worried that my son was going to be so far away with no group of friends as he is not as natural at making new friends as his sister.  He has transitioned to Cornell far better than I ever thought possible and this is due in large part to his participation in Outdoor Odyssey.  This is a fabulous program and I wish more students would take advantage of the opportunity because it really makes the transition to Cornell so easy."


"Thanks for such a tremendous experience. My son started Cornell with a fantastic bonding experience. This gave him immediate good friends and helped to calm those Freshman nerves. Thanks!!"