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. A more in-depth look at the process is included at the bottom of this page. 

The application process includes the following. In addition, certain grades such as Kindergarten require additional materials, which are outlined in the online application.
  • Online parent application
  • School records, including grade reports and testing for past three years
  • Teacher recommendations
  • A scheduled visit day

Key Admissions Dates

  • Fall Open House: Tuesday, November 7, 2017; 8:30 a.m. - noon
  • Prospective Kindergarten Parent Night: Thursday, November 9, 2017; 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Kindergarten Playdates: Saturday, January 27, 2018; Saturday, February 3, 2018
RSVP for OPEN HOUSE

Campus Tours

Our beautiful campus makes a lasting impression on everyone who visits. Even more impressive, and perhaps the best representation of the school, are the interactions with students and faculty that take place during a personal visit. If you live outside the local community, we can set up a virtual tour through Skype or Facetime. Please contact Director of Admission, Jeremy Thelen, at (970) 477-7164 or admissions@vms.edu to connect with us in person or online.

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 with 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.

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.
  • Parent application due:  Friday, December 22, 2017
  • Teacher recommendation due:  Friday, January 19, 2018
  • Kindergarten readiness playdates at VMS:  Saturday, January 27, 2018; Saturday, February 3, 2018
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.
 

A Detailed Look at the Admission Process

Inquiry
When a family contacts the Office of Admission via telephone, email or in person, this is considered an inquiry, which is the first step in the admission process. Inquiries are received throughout the year and are welcome anytime. Some families contact the school two years before they might consider applying, which is perfectly acceptable as well. An inquiry may be as simple as a one question exchange, or an in-depth conversation and is not a commitment or obligation to apply.

Application Process
The application process is multi-tiered and includes submitting a formal application, as well as in-person or telephone interviews with the Director of Admission. 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.

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 one from their main classroom teacher. 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 additional psycho-educational or psycho-behavioral testing that exists such as the WISC, WISPI, Gizell, COGAT, etc. or either gifted and talented or processing profiles must be provided
  • An in-person visit day where the applicant spends the day at VMS participating in current-grade level classes. Applicants for kindergarten participate in a group 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.
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?
Notification of Decision
Applicants are notified by the Director of Admission via telephone, e-mail or mail  between late February and early March with one of the following decisions:
  1. accepted and offered enrollment
  2. accepted and offered a place in the waitpool if a given grade is full
  3. denied admission if the admission committee determines that an applicant is not a good fit for the school.
Enrollment Process
Enrollment agreements are sent through the mail or e-mail and must be completed and returned with a non-refundable tuition deposit within two weeks, after which the space reserved for the given student will be considered forfeited and may be offered to another applicant.

Once a completed enrollment agreement and deposit are received by the school, the Business Office will create an account and begin correspondence with the family regarding tuition payment options. Tuition may be paid in one of the following ways:
  • One payment due in mid-June
  • Two payments due mid-June and mid-January, each equal to 50% of the net amount due. This payment option includes an interest charge.
  • Nine equal payments due on the 20th of each month beginning June 20. This payment option includes an interest charge.
Final enrollment decisions are made by the Office of Admission, the Registrar’s Office, Division Directors, and the Business Office who work together to determine space available, assess the individual needs of each grade and of the school, and to create and maintain the diverse mix of students that makes our community special.  

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.