Where is the Mountain School?
Vershire is a tiny town in central Vermont. There are miles of uninterrupted forest stretching in every direction, and it is a 30 minute drive to Hanover, NH (the closest sizeable town).
How much does a semester at the Mountain School cost?
Anywhere between zero and $30,960—depending on your family’s needs and ability to pay.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, the Mountain School is generous with financial aid. Admissions are need-blind (the school considers all applications equally, regardless of financial need), and the school provides all the financial help that a family qualifies for. The Mountain School uses the same financial aid formula as most other high schools and colleges use to calculate a family’s need.
What is the daily schedule?
Classes are in the morning after 8:00 breakfast and in the late afternoon before supper. An afternoon session of farm work, activities and hikes happens after lunch. There is study time and free time in the evening. Here's an example of a typical day.
What about technology? Does the Mountain School have cell phone coverage?
There is no cell phone coverage. There is wireless internet in the academic building, but not in the dorms. Many students bring laptops, and the school has some available for loan.
How many dorms do you have at the Mountain School?
We have 5 small dorms that house 5 to 12 students: Miles, Tobold, Derby, Underwood, and Conard. The five dormitories are divided into single sex groups. Each dorm has two dorm parents who live within the dorm and interact regularly with the students. See our map of campus.
What do the students do on weekends?
Hang out, relax, go for a hike, play music, etc. On Saturday night, we do whatever activity the group decides to do. There have been talent shows, bonfires, improvisational theater, dances, movie nights – basically whatever the group decides. On Sundays we have a sleep-in, and some students volunteer to cook brunch for the school.
Am I allowed to go home on weekends or host visitors?
Yes. The Mountain School does not have any closed weekends. You are welcome to go away on weekends or to host a friend or family member. Most tend to stay on campus during the weekends.
This is junior year. How will the Mountain School help me get into college?
The Mountain School will help you get to know yourself better—your gifts, interests, and passions—so that you understand which colleges you want to apply to. The program can also help distinguish you from other college applicants. In the fall, an experienced college counselor talks with students as a group and with seniors individually. In the spring, a team of experienced college counselors consults individually with students.
The colleges most frequently attended by Mountain School graduates in the last seven years are Brown, Yale, Middlebury, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Oberlin, and Colorado College.
“The Mountain School students who have come to Yale have made outstanding contributions to the university’s academic and social life. They bring to the table a strong work ethic honed in both classes and on afternoon work crews and a sense of the vital importance of community in an intellectual and residential environment.”
–Chris Murphy, Former Associate Director of Admissions, Yale University
"The Mountain School is so much more than a unique semester program. It is a grounding space and launching pad for young people who are enhancing their potential to make life-long constructive difference. There are few places that can do it better."
–Katie Fretwell, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Amherst College
What courses are offered?
English and Environmental Science are required, and you choose three more classes for a total of five. Class offerings include: Math (from Alg II to BC Calc), French, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, U.S. History, Humanities, Studio Art, Physics, and Chemistry (spring only). For detailed course descriptions and a curriculum guide, click here.
Are the classes A.P.?
All of our classes are Honors and we offer several A.P. courses. Mountain School students often take A.P. exams in the following subjects: English, U.S. History, Spanish, French, Latin, and Calculus. Students also can take the S.A.T. and the A.C.T. (especially spring semester).
How hard is the academic work?
The work is challenging and meaningful. It is interesting and relevant to your life. There is a considerable amount of reading and writing. The teachers strive to make the workload manageable and to help the students succeed.
How do the academic credits match up with my school?
All Mountain School classes will count for credit (mostly Honors and AP credit) at your school. Math, science, history, and language courses here are designed to keep you up to date (or even ahead) of your classes at home. You will need to plan ahead to make sure you have the right course sequence. The Mountain School is happy to help with this.
Is the Mountain School racially diverse?
Many students of color have attended the Mountain School and loved it. The diversity of the group varies from semester to semester. Currently, our student body is about 38% students of color. We can put you in touch with some graduates who will let you know what it was like.
Can I play sports at the Mountain School?
Many students here are athletes and want to stay in shape. We don’t have official athletic teams, but students often organize basketball or frisbee games, do pull-ups in the dorm, run on our trail network, etc. We also have a workout room with weights and two stationary bikes. Disciplined athletes can stay fit here, and Mountain School grads have gone on to play sports in college and professionally.
Can I bring a musical instrument?
Yes, definitely bring it. The Mountain School attracts a lot of musicians. There are plenty of opportunities to play music alone or in groups.
What if I don’t have any experience in the outdoors?
Many Mountain School graduates came to the school with minimal experience outside the city, and they thrived. Mountain School students are not all outdoorsy. They are all interested in learning, open to new challenges and experiences, and willing to allow themselves to be known by the group.
How many students apply to the Mountain School each year?
Last year we received 225 applications. We can enroll 90 students each year (45 per semester).
Which years/semesters should be on my transcript?
The transcript should include all grades earned in high school, including the first semester/trimester of the current year (10th or 11th grade).
Which teachers should I ask for recommendations? What if I want to send an extra recommendation?
We require two recommendations from teachers that taught you in academic courses in high school (eg. English, history, math, science, foreign language, arts). Those recommendations can be requested and managed through our online portal—learn more here.
Occasionally students have asked to send a third recommendation from an advisor, coach, etc. Although we prefer to receive only two recommendations, if you feel very strongly that a third should be submitted, you can email us and we will provide you with instructions (firstname.lastname@example.org). One extra recommendation is the maximum we will accept.
What are the dates for the 2019/2020 academic year?
Fall 2019 semester: Saturday, August 24, 2019 to Saturday, December 14, 2019
There is a long weekend in October and a Thanksgiving recess.
Spring 2020 semester: Saturday, February 1, 2020 to Saturday, May 30, 2020 (subject to change)
There is a 2 week spring vacation in March.
Using Ravenna, it’s only letting me indicate “Fall 2019” but I prefer spring. Is there a way to indicate a preference for the spring semester?
There is an option for Spring 2020 once you get into our actual application. In order to access our application you have to sign up for Ravenna (create a login etc) and their default is to say Fall 2019. Once you have created a login and are able to access our application specifically, you'll see the option for fall only, spring only, either or a preference for one of the two.
Why am I on the waitlist?
This was a very competitive year for Mountain School admissions. We’ve seen an increase in applications over the past few years, with remarkable strength and diversity in the application pool as well. Our overall acceptance rate is usually 30-40%, and is even more competitive in overrepresented parts of our applicant pool (eg. for girls and students from New York City). This leads to the difficult reality that we could not admit many students who we know would thrive at the Mountain School.
How many students are usually admitted from the waitlist?
Our use of the wait list is determined by the response we receive from admitted students so it varies from year to year and is difficult to predict. We over-enroll each semester so it is always possible that we will not use the wait list at all. In a typical year, we admit a handful of students from the waitlist.
Is the wait list ranked?
No. Because of our desire for a balanced group each semester, we wait to see which students decline before reviewing all wait list candidates to determine who would be the best fit for the open place(s).
If I’m on the waitlist, should I submit additional information?
The only information that can be helpful is a sense of whether you are still truly interested in the Mountain School. If so, you can send a short email to email@example.com to reaffirm your interest. Please do not submit additional recommendations or other information.