Frequently Asked Questions

About GALS

When will GALS 2020 be held?

GALS 2020 will have multiple locations, each with their own program dates. GALS NM/TX will be held June 14-20, 2020 with a pre-hike and Q&A meeting on May 16 and student presentations on June 20.

Is GALS free?

Yes, GALS is free for all participants.

What are the age requirements for GALS?

GALS participants should be currently in 9-12th grade.

How many students are on each trip?

Each trip consists of 8-12 students and 4 instructors.

Do I need previous science experience?

No previous science experiences are necessary. You just need to come with a desire to learn about the science of the environment surrounding you.

What is backpacking?

Backpacking is hiking with all the gear that you need to camp on your back. You will pack your clothes, food (about 4 days worth), toiletries, tent, stove, and all other gear that you need in the backpack that you carry around. For our trips, you can expect your backpack to weigh about 35-40 lbs. It may feel heavy at first, but you will get used to it and learn to carry it like a champ.

Do I need previous hiking or backpacking experience?

No previous hiking or backpacking experience is necessary. We will teach you all the skills that you need. You just need to come with a willingness to learn the outdoor skills.

What if I don't have any backpacking gear?

Don't let this stop you from applying. We can lend you all the gear that you will need for GALS so that you don't need to buy anything.

How can I train for the physical challenges of GALS?

You should try to engage in cardio exercise about 3 times a week for the few months leading up to GALS. We suggest running, biking, hiking, and long walks around your neighborhood.

Application Criteria

I have never done anything like GALS. Should I apply?

Yes! GALS wants to provide hands-on, outdoor science opportunities to people who haven't had them. If you haven't done anything like GALS but it sounds up your alley, apply!

Will my GPA affect my acceptance into GALS?

No, we do not take GPA into account when deciding who to accept for GALS. Selection is based upon motivation, interest for science, and a team spirit.

I don't have good grades in my science classes. Is this a good program for me?

Yes! If you are excited about the idea of doing hands-on science out in the woods, then this is the program for you and it doesn't matter to us what grades you receive in the classroom. We believe that the best way to learn is to do, and the best place to learn about science is outside and with your sleeves rolled up!

Do I need to be from the specific state where the program is offered to apply?

No, but keep in mind that you must be able to travel to and from the meeting location for the start and end of the program and that preference will be given to students from the state where the program is located.

My parents may not be able to drive me to and from the meeting location for the program. Are there any other options for me?

Yes, if there is need, GALS may be able to arrange pick-up for participants prior to the start of the program. Please contact us directly to discuss your particular situation.

Can my parents be reimbursed for driving me to the meeting location?

Yes, we can reimburse parents for the cost of gas for transportation to and from the meeting location. Please contact us directly to discuss the steps for getting a gas reimbursement. You will then be responsible for following-up with the necessary information for us to process the reimbursement.

Application Process

When are applications due?

Applications will be due April 15.

What if I don't have access to a computer to complete the online application?

If you do not have access to the online application, please let us know. We are happy to provide you with a hard-copy of the application questions, and you can submit the application by mailing it in.

Who should be my "potential recommender"?

Adults that know you well and have seen you in an academic, leadership, or outdoor environment. This could mean a science teacher, an English teacher, a soccer coach, a camp director, a boss at your job, etc. We want to be able to contact someone who knows you well and can answer questions about why you would learn and grow from a program like GALS. When you decide whom to name, you should ask them in person or over email if they are willing to act as a potential recommender for you. Provide them with information about the program, why you want to do it, and why you are a good fit for it. We will only contact recommenders if we feel that we need to get a better sense of who you are after reading you application.

Do you accept late applications?

No, we do not accept late applications. GALS applications open in March and closes April 15. We suggest submitting the application a few days before they are due in case of technological issues or unforeseen circumstances that might arise.

When do I find out if I was accepted?

We will email your application status by April 30. We are working hard to expand our program, but unfortunately we may not be accept everyone who applies. If you are not accepted this year, we encourage you to apply again next year, and to see if there are other science opportunities available in your area.

I have other questions that are not answered here. How can I get an answer?

If you have questions about GALS southern NM and west TX, send an e-mail to, and we will answer your questions.

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