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HMI Summer Term
How does the HMI Summer Term differ from the HMI Semester?
The HMI Summer Term is five-weeks long versus the 17-week long HMI Semester. During both programs students go on extended wilderness expeditions in the Rocky Mountains near Leadville. Summer Term students participate in two 10-day expeditions (for a total of 20 wilderness days), while the Semester students partake in 2-3 expeditions (for a total of 35 wilderness days). Academic enrichment and intellectual curiosity are a part of every HMI program. While Semester students participate in 5-6 academic classes designed to match the content of their sending schools, the Summer Term field classes take place almost exclusively outside of the classroom and help students stay intellectually engaged over the course of the summer.
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. In addition, HMI is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education. Credit for the Summer Term can be granted at the discretion of the students sending school.
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 addiction, severe mental health challenges, etc.
What ages are eligible to attend the HMI Summer Term?
Students apply to the HMI Summer Term as current freshman, sophomores, and juniors. Our youngest Summer Term students arrive at age 14 and our oldest students arrive at age 17.
What is the cost?
For the current HMI Summer Term 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 Summer Term. 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 Summer Term. 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 home-cooked meals that are prepared each day in our kitchen. Meals are prepared by student cook crews that are supervised by our Kitchen Manager or other HMI staff.
For breakfast we often serve toasted bagels, scrambled eggs, pancakes, french toast, or hot cereal. Cold cereal is always an option. Lunch may be sandwiches, soup, quesadillas, tacos or chili and cornbread. A fully stocked salad bar is always available. Dinner 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.
We can easily accommodate vegetarians and students with mild dietary restrictions and food allergies. Students with severe food allergy or dietary restriction should know that, while we do our best to use clean kitchen utensils and cookware to prepare food, we cannot guarantee zero cross-contamination. Our gluten-free options are made and cooked in the same facility and ovens as our regular, gluten-containing food items. We cannot guarantee (without fundamentally changing the nature of our program) that food items prepared at HMI are 100% free of gluten (or other allergens) as there is always a possibility of trace amounts crossing over from other kitchen areas.
Before applying, please be in touch with the HMI Admissions office to discuss any severe allergies or dietary restrictions.
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.
What did Summer Term alumni love about their HMI experience?!
“I found the best thing about Summer Term was the fullness of everyday. I deeply enjoyed spending most of every day outside experiencing new things with my peers who grew to become my best friends over the course of the summer.”
“The community that we created, all of the adventures we had, and things we learned together.”
“I really enjoyed hiking off trail through beautiful meadows during expedition.”
“I loved the community that was fostered and also the way I was pushed out of my comfort zone both in regards to expeditions and academics.”
“The students are all awesome people and the instructors here are all so qualified and have such a great appreciation for nature. I personally loved the expeditions so much.”
“The best thing about the program was the combination of on campus and expedition time. I thought that each class we had on campus and in the backcountry was meaningful.”
What is a typical day like on campus during the Summer Term?
Sample Day on Campus
7:10 Wake up to 6 different alarms
7:15 Meet for morning exercise: a run on nearby trails or a yoga class
7:45 Breakfast for all! Pancakes, cereal, yogurt, juice, and tea
8:30 Morning chores: watering the flowers, sweeping the mudroom, or helping with dishes in the kitchen
9:00 – 2:00 Activities: Rock climbing or fly fishing
12:00 Lunch: sandwiches, trail mix and fruit
2:30 Sense of Place Class: learn about Leadville’s environmental and human history through project-based field classes
5:30 A little free time to relax or help with the final dinner prep
6:00 Sit down to a delicious dinner of lasagna, fresh garlic bread, and salad
6:30 Dinner clean up and free time
7:30 Evening activity: Square Dance, Talent Show, Bonfire
9:15 Free time: hang out, brush teeth, make phone calls
9:45 In cabins- staff visit each cabin to check everybody in
10:00 Cabin lights out
*Note – these foods are just a sample of the many and varied meals we eat at HMI. See the FAQ about dietary restrictions for more information.
What is a typical day like on the backpacking trip?
Sample Day on Backpacking Trip
7:00 Wake up to birds chirping and the sun rising
7:15 Prepare a breakfast of cheesy hashbrowns with your tent mates and pack your backpack for the day
9:00 Meet with your instructors and go over the route for the day, play a game, stretch and get ready to hike!
12:00 Stop for a quick snack on trail
2:30 Arrive at your next campsite, explode your backpack and set up camp
4:00 Gather in a spot with a great view for a fun class about your leadership style or to learn about the geologic history of the area
5:00 Prepare a dinner of gado-gado pasta with your tent mates
7:00 Meet up with everyone for games, circle, and watch for shooting stars
9:00 Head back to your tent and hang out, get ready for bed! You have another big day ahead of you tomorrow!
What are the academics like during the Summer Term?
Through our two field classes, Developing a Sense of Place in the Rockies and Practices & Principles (P&P), students’ develop a sense of place for the Rocky Mountains and Leadville, enhance their leadership skills, and consider their environmental ethic.
In the Environmental Science section of the Sense of Place class students will study the impacts of mining on the east side of Leadville, where gold was discovered and mined starting in 1860. Students in this class will work with the Colorado Mountain College Natural Resource Department to understand the impacts of mining and will participate in a project to help mitigate these impacts on our water system. In the Humanities section of the class, students will learn about the human history of Leadville in Douglass City (at 11,000′), a “ghost town” where men and women were stationed to build a railroad in the 1880’s. They will then turn their attention to the modern day and interview local “Leadvillains” in a Humans of Leadville project.
In P&P, students will gain self awareness to become more aware of their strengths as a leader. They will practice their skills on expedition, on campus, and while out on activities. Classes are experiential, engaging, and place-based. There is no homework or evening study hall.
How do I find out more?
Contact the HMI Admissions Office at email@example.com or (719) 486-8200 x1. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!