Admission Process

Our goal is to enroll students who demonstrate social, emotional, and intellectual attributes that will set them up for success and allow them to thrive at Vail Mountain School. We also look for unique interests and personalities that will add to the collective character of our school community. Academic achievement and potential, like-mindedness with the school's program, and enthusiasm for the responsibilities that are shared by all students and families are essential. Below you will find a brief overview of the admission process with pertinent dates.

Upcoming Virtual Open House Events

Contact Admissions


The application process is multi-tiered and includes submitting a formal application, as well as in-person, telephone, or Zoom interviews with the Director of Admission and Division Director. Families learn about the school’s mission and values, programs, facilities, and community. At the same time, the school learns about a family’s reasons for exploring VMS and the goals they have for their child’s education. A tour of the school typically takes place at this point, although it can also be paired with the student visit day which takes place later. (This year, virtual events will replace our in person tours and visit days.)

A complete application for admission consists of:
  • Completed online application. Students applying for grades 6-12 are expected to complete a portion of the application themselves. The application for grades K-5 is completed by parents.
  • 3 years of school records including grades and formal transcripts.
  • Teacher recommendations. Applicants in grades 1-5 submit three, one from their main classroom teacher and two others from other core subject teachers or specialists. Those in grades 6-12 provide recommendations from: an English teacher; a math teacher; and a representative of the school, which can be the principal, an advisor, or counselor. For applicants to kindergarten, there is an observation form to be filled out by their preschool teacher.
  • Current standardized, normed testing such as the IOWA, ERB, Stanford, CSAP, NWEA, etc. 
  • Any testing the applicant has had must be provided. Examples may include WISC, WISPI, Gizell, COGAT, gifted and talented profiles or processing disorder profiles.
  • An in-person visit day where the applicant spends the day at VMS participating in current-grade level classes. (These events are temporarily suspended for the 2020-2021 school year.)  Applicants for kindergarten participate in a Readiness Screening playdate in place of the visit day and a representative of the school will observe the applicant in the familiar learning setting of their preschool if possible. (Kindergarten Screening  events are still tentatively scheduled.)
Click Here to Begin the Application

Campus Tours

Our beautiful campus makes a lasting impression on everyone who visits. In person tours have been temporarily replaced by personal virtual tours of the campus via Zoom, and can be arranged at any time by contacting the admissions office. Even more impressive, and perhaps the best representation of the school, are the interactions with students and faculty that can be seen and felt during a personal visit. Although visit days are on hold, we look forward to inviting you and your student to pop in to a classroom virtually this year! Please contact (970) 477-7164 or

Can't wait? Click below for our  VIRTUAL TOURS:
The Common
College Counseling
Greenhouse, Dining Hall, Field

Visit Day

Participating in a classroom discussion, playing at recess, and meeting our inspiring faculty will help equip a family to make what could be the most important academic decision of a child’s life. Likewise, this visit day is a critical piece of helping a student feel comfortable with becoming a part of a new school community. During the visit, prospective students will spend the day in their current grade paired with a student who will help them get from class to class, take them to lunch and recess, and help the student feel comfortable and welcome, a trademark of the VMS culture.

While in person visit days have been temporarily suspended for the 2020-2021 school year, we are working to create virtual opportunities for prospective students to connect with current students and classes.

Application Review

Each application is reviewed by a committee that is led by the Director of Admission and comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators. Committees begin each evaluation by asking the overarching question, “Does the applicant have the potential to thrive and be happy in this environment?” They consider school records, teacher recommendations, relevant testing data, personal and family interviews, visit day observations, and other aspects of the applicant’s learning profile to determine:
  • Is the applicant ready for us, and are we ready for them?
  • Are they capable of being successful in our learning environment; can we challenge and support them, recognizing their needs as an individual learner?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate strong character and the potential for leadership?
  • Will the family partner with the school in supporting the needs of the student?
In preparation for college and beyond, we strive to create a diverse mix of students in each grade and throughout our school. We define diversity not solely in terms of race and ethnicity, but also gender, learning styles, life experiences, passions, socio-economic factors, and personality. We begin by offering enrollment to students who create this diversity, regardless of any other factors, including whether or not the family has indicated a need for tuition assistance.

Notification of Decision

Applicants are notified by the Director of Admission via telephone, e-mail, or mail with one of the following decisions:
  1. accepted and offered enrollment
  2. accepted and offered a place in the waitpool if the given grade is full
  3. denied admission if the admission committee determines that an applicant is not a good fit for the school

Deadlines for Applications to Grades 1-11

Students come to VMS from many locations and at different times of the year. Whether pursuing a change of local school or a major family relocation, we understand that finding the right school can be the one of the most important decisions a family can make, and that everyone’s circumstances are unique. After the beginning of the school year, applications are accepted for the following school year. In grades 1-11, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. If accepted, enrollment will be offered based on available space. If the given grade is full, candidates will be placed into the waitpool, which is the list of students considered when a vacancy arises. In select circumstances and space permitting, mid-year enrollment may be a possibility.

Deadlines for Application to Kindergarten

Applications for Kindergarten follow a more specific schedule as outlined below. Notifications are sent out mid-February.
  • Kindergarten Application due: Friday, December 18, 2020
  • Kindergarten Readiness Screenings at VMS: Saturday, January 16, 2021; Saturday, January 30, 2021
Families who have missed these deadlines are encouraged to contact the admission office to discuss their situation. We will enroll students as long as space permits.

Waitpools & Mid-Year Enrollments

When space becomes available in a grade with waitpools, or when an opportunity for mid-year enrollment exists, the Admission Director and Division Director evaluate the needs of a given grade and then consider students in the waitpool to determine who should be offered the spot. Admission to Vail Mountain School is based upon a variety of factors without consideration of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. Our waitpool is not a ranked list, but a group of applicants we will consider for enrollment when space becomes available.