Embark on a life of significance

At Trailhead, you’ll explore how faith can guide your future as you attend college, pursue a career, and seek to make a difference in the world. In a two-week residency and yearlong mentorship, discover some of the ways that faith, education, and work can be united in a life of significance.

Residency at Westmont: June 26-July 8, 2017

Year of Mentorship: June 2017-May 2018

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores through seniors

Our Vision

Life can seem like a treadmill. We see it as a trail.

College preparation often feels like a process of hoop-jumping that leaves us exhausted and unfulfilled. But the future can be a journey of exploration. At Trailhead, we chart the territory ahead with curiosity, creativity, and openness to God’s surprising and delightful call on our lives.

We sometimes feel alone. But we can journey together.

Our culture encourages us to think about life as solitary and competitive. But God’s call is to the church, and not just to individuals. At Trailhead, we can be ourselves in community as we discover, worship and serve together.

We often feel lost and unprepared. But we have guides and equipment for living.

The future’s a place we’ve never been—it can be intimidating. But as we seek God’s call, we grow in knowledge and gain mentors who are further along the trail. At Trailhead, we acquire the tools, experiences, and relationships we’ll need to persevere in pursuit of God’s call.

The Program

In a two-week residency and yearlong mentorship, join a community of scholars, pastors, and other professionals in exploring God's call to a meaningful life.


Share two weeks of learning, reflection, and service at Westmont College and in the Santa Barbara area.

  • Discover new ways of thinking about faith, school, and career as you consider how the Christian message might be relevant to your academic interests and concerns for the world.
  • Engage world-class faculty from Westmont College and Fuller Seminary. 2017 teaching themes include creation care, fear and risk, immigration, and decision-making in the midst of doubt.
  • Visit sites in the Santa Barbara area that reveal pressing needs in our social and natural world.
  • Be inspired by entrepreneurs, non-profit professionals, pastors and other community partners—faithful disciples living out their callings to combat poverty, end environmental degradation, promote social justice, and more.
  • Be empowered to discern and follow God's call, gaining practical tools for understanding yourself and your vocation.
  • Join us for this year's Trailhead residency, June 26 to July 8, 2017.

Participants: Pre-arrival Details


Through two mentoring relationships—one with Trailhead faculty and one with an adult in your home congregation—begin building a community of support as you embark on your journey.

  • In online small-group gatherings, enjoy a year of ongoing interaction with Trailhead faculty, who will help you think through how the program can inform your next steps. Reconnect with your friends as you resume conversations, check in, and continue to tune in to God’s call.
  • In regular meetings with an adult mentor from your home congregation, consider how the lessons of the Trailhead experience are playing out in your church and community.

For Churches

Westmont College, Fuller Seminary, and the Lilly Endowment are committed to cultivating a new generation of Christian servant leaders by partnering with churches to support and extend your work with youth. Find out more about how your church can be involved by downloading our Church Partnership Packet.

Church Partnership Packet

How to Apply

How to Apply

  • All applications must come through a pastoral sponsor, who nominates students to attend Trailhead. Pastors, please download our Church Partnership Packet to learn more about the nomination process, or email us directly at trailhead@westmont.edu.
  • Through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, we’re able to offer the Trailhead experience for a subsidized cost of $1,000 per student. We recommend that, when possible, congregations share this cost with families—through support-raising, direct scholarships, or other means—as a mutual investment in the vocational development of their young people.
  • Trailhead offers a limited number of scholarships to families and congregations with exceptional need. Please inquire at trailhead@westmont.edu.

Church Partnership Packet

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates?

Trailhead participants arrive the afternoon of Monday, June 26, and depart the morning of Saturday, July 8.

Who can apply?

Students graduating from high school in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are eligible to apply.

Participants: Pre-arrival Details

How much does Trailhead cost?

The cost for 2017 is $1,000, which covers all activities and meals on campus; students are responsible for travel to and from Trailhead. Limited financial aid is available for students with exceptional need.

How and when can I apply?

We ask that all applications come through a pastoral sponsor, who can nominate students via this website. If you need help identifying a pastoral sponsor, please contact us. We’ll offer admission on a rolling basis until the program is full.

Where will students live?

Students will live in Van Kampen Residence Hall, located in the heart of Westmont’s mountainous campus. A professional resident director will oversee undergraduate resident assistants who live in Van Kampen with students.