- Summer Term
- Semesters in the American West & Patagonia
- Semester in Patagonia
- Andes Leadership Semester
- For Enrolled HMI Gap Students
- Meet the Gap Faculty
- Request Information
- Apprentice Program
- High Peaks Adventure
- Adult Programs
- Educators Expedition
- Lake County Backpacking Trip
Frequently Asked Questions
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Is HMI a four year high school?
HMI is not a traditional four year school. Students attend for one semester only and then return to to their sending school. Students attend the HMI during their junior year of high school although a small number of seniors participate each semester. For high school graduates, we offer the HMI Gap.
Is HMI an accredited school?
Yes. HMI is accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools, an approved accrediting body of the National Association of Independent Schools. As such, our credits will transfer to any public school or accredited private school. In addition, HMI is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education.
Is HMI a wilderness therapy or rehab program? (Answer: No!)
No! Quite to the contrary, HMI works with high-achieving, college-bound students. HMI is not a program for youth struggling with addition, severe mental health challenges, etc.
What ages are eligible to attend the HMI Semester?
Students apply to the HMI Semester as high school sophomores or juniors in order to attend HMI the following year. Our youngest juniors arrive for the fall semester at age 15 and our oldest seniors arrive for the spring semester at age 18.
What is the cost?
For the current HMI Semester tuition and fees, visit the Dates, Tuition, and Affordability page.
Does HMI offer scholarships or financial aid?
HMI offers need-based financial aid for all programs, including the HMI Semester. We do not offer merit-based scholarships or financial aid, except to students who attend Lake County High School in Leadville. We promise to meet the full demonstrated need of every student we accept into the HMI Semester. That is to say, if accepted, and if you qualify for financial aid, we will offer you a financial aid package that makes HMI affordable for your family. Full financial aid packages can include everything up to plane tickets to/from Colorado and free outdoor gear rental.
For more information about the financial aid application process, visit the Dates, Tuition, and Affordability page.
What is the food like at HMI? What if I am a vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions?
HMI serves healthy homecooked meals that are prepared each day in our kitchen. We can easily accommodate vegetarians and students with mild dietary restrictions and food allergies. If you have a severe food allergy or dietary restriction, please contact us before applying as it may not be possible avoid cross-contamination.
For breakfast we often serve toasted bagels, scrambled eggs, pancakes, muffins, or egg frittatas. Cold cereal is always an option. Lunch (usually cooked by students) may be pesto pasta, pita pizzas, or chili and cornbread. Salad is always available. Dinner (almost always cooked by students) is an opportunity for students to design a meal for the entire community. This may be something as simple as meat and veggie lasagna or as complex as a full Panamanian feast (complete with fried plantains).
While HMI programs are in the field, students cook in 3-4 person tent groups. They are provided a ration of bulk food items and spices, along with recipes for how to cook meals on a single-burner stove.
Do you accept international students? Is international student financial aid available?
Yes, HMI welcomes and accepts international students. HMI is approved by the U.S. State Department to work with international students to obtain temporary F1 student visas. International financial aid may be available on a case-by-case basis. For specific questions about the international student application process, please contact the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 486-8200, x1.
Do you offer gap year programs?
Yes, HMI offers traveling gap semesters for 18-22 year olds looking to take their learning outside of a traditional classroom setting. The fall semester in the American West and Patagonia focuses on rock climbing, wilderness adventure, and conservation. The spring semester in Patagonia emphasizes outdoor adventure and sustainable development. College credit is available. Click here for more information.