Five weeks of backpacking and writing workshops in Colorado

During the HMI Summer Term, rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from across the country engage in a unique summer experience in the Rocky Mountains. They discover their best selves over two backpacking trips, exploring the reaches of their potential and how to lead others. Through a series of writing workshops, students find their voices, improve their prose, and gain experience with college-level writing, finally producing a polished essay that can be used for college applications or as a compelling personal statement

5 weeks in Leadville, Colorado

Two 10-day backpacking expeditions 

Writing workshops & seminars

On two 10-day backpacking expeditions, students learn how to travel and thrive in the rugged wilderness of Colorado. Leadership and communication theory are central to the mission of HMI; in addition to wilderness skills, students practice leadership skills and learn how to collaborate and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. They leave the Summer Term with the tools to thrive in high school classes, on sports teams, and as leaders in extracurricular activities.  

On campus students dive into the art of the personal essay, receiving coaching and feedback from seasoned writing professionals. Each student will have the chance to turn their wilderness experiences into a reflective personal essay that can be used as a Common Application® college essay or personal statement. 

Who should apply?

  • High school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors interested in spending the summer at HMI. 
  • 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 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.
HMI Summer Term provided an amazing opportunity for our son to grow and see a part of the country he had yet to experience. He came home a noticeably more self-confident and capable young man then when he left. Hiking and wilderness exploration at the level he experienced at HMI is simply not possible where we live in the Midwest, and it was a one-of-a-kind experience for our son. The writing seminar gave our son a great head-start on college application essay writing and real jump start on his senior year. Most importantly, our son had a fantastic time and couldn't say enough great things about the program, the staff, and his classmates. We can't thank HMI and its incredible staff enough for making the summer one our son will remember for a lifetime.
Derek Kaesgen
HMI Summer Term Parent

What high schools do Summer Term students attend?

Summer Term 2022 Dates

Sunday, June 26 – Friday, July 29, 2022