A single-semester school in Colorado for high school juniors and seniors

HMI is akin to a college study abroad program, but for high school students. Our students spend a full academic semester on our campus and return to their home schools invigorated about education, experienced in leadership, and more aware of the world around them. 

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48 High School Students

 Three Wilderness Expeditions

Honors and AP-Level Academics 

Students who attend the HMI Semester complete a full course-load of honors and AP-level classes in order to reintegrate smoothly into their home academic environments. They live on our campus surrounded by curious and ambitious peers in sustainable, off-the-grid cabins. Unique to HMI, students spend five weeks of the semester backpacking and skiing in the mountains of Colorado and the canyons of Utah with their teachers and classmates. In their remaining years of high school and beyond, our alumni consider their semester away at HMI one of the most important and formative periods of their lives.

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The HMI Semester is selective; we accept high-achieving, academically-oriented students looking to make the most of their high school experience. Our students come from diverse backgrounds attend public and private schools across the United States and abroad.

Who should apply?

  • High school sophomores and juniors interested in spending a semester at HMI the following year. 
  • High-achieving students–HMI is not a wilderness therapy or rehabilitative school. 
  • No previous outdoor experience is required to participate in HMI–only an interest in spending extended periods of time (10-18 days at a time) outdoors in wilderness settings. We teach our students everything they need to know to fully participate in our outdoor activities.
  • Approximately 30% of our student receive financial aid, and our aid packages can include free or reduced-price outdoor gear rental. Our top financial aid awards include free plane tickets to and from Colorado.

Since 1998 students from hundreds of high schools have attended HMI

See if your high school is listed, or work with your school to be the first student to attend HMI. Click here to view the eight member schools that have a formal relationship with HMI. 

Are you a high school administrator/teacher interested in building a partnership with HMI? Learn how to become an HMI sending school

The Intentional HMI Community

Community is more than just a buzz word at HMI. While many students are drawn to our school for our wilderness program–it is the members of the HMI community who leave the most lasting impact. Students and teachers at HMI interact in far more than in the traditional ways. HMI teachers are backpacking instructors, running partners, and mentors. Our alumni report extraordinarily close relationships with their teachers and peers—ones that helped them take risks, try new things, and learn to be the people they hoped to be. As they return to their sending high schools, our students seek to recreate the most positive elements of the HMI community. They seek out authentic relationships, work to reduce their dependence on technology and social media, and “rise above”  negative adolescent social dynamics. 

This semester-long experience has impacted Isabella's ‘being' almost as much as our parenting of her over the last 17 years. Thank you HMI for providing this independent, safe and transformative experience where she found her own beliefs and ideals, life long friends and probably most importantly, her voice.
HMI Parent

Wilderness Expeditions

The Rocky Mountain backpacking expedition takes place during the fall semester
The backcountry ski expedition takes place during the spring semester

Discover HMI through photos