College Counseling & Matriculation List

As a college-preparatory school, VMS devotes significant time, effort, and resources to help each student find a good, heartfelt fit in college. Our full-time college counselor, who is a former college admissions officer, is dedicated to providing the support needed to ensure that each student finds the right place to pursue their interests, fuel their passions and grow as a person.

VMS graduates have flourished at colleges and universities across the country, from Stanford to MIT. They’ve attended art/design schools, women’s colleges, flight school, and the U.S. Naval Academy. They’ve gone to urban universities and rural colleges of all sizes, Ivy League schools, schools close to home in Colorado, as well as schools abroad. One hundred percent of VMS graduates have been admitted to a four-year college, which, by the way, is a requirement for graduation and another way that we set the bar high.

College counseling begins in ninth grade, when students are introduced to the significance of their academic record and look at the “big picture” of what lies ahead during the next four years.

In tenth grade, the discussion focuses on exploring options and looking at all the variables in the college search process. Students also have the opportunity to travel and compare a variety of schools—public vs. private, urban vs. rural, big vs. small, research vs. liberal arts—in order to gain a sense of what life is like on the different campuses. In addition, students are encouraged to hone skills and further develop personal interests in and out of school.

Eleventh graders, in formal weekly meetings, look inward in order to understand themselves and their goals, and discussions focus on interviewing, taking standardized tests, creating resumes, writing personal essays, and demonstrating leadership, in order to convey an authentic picture of themselves. Working one-on-one with our college counselor, they establish their initial college list, and learn strategies for effectively and efficiently researching colleges in order to later focus their search. In addition, students and parents gain access to Naviance, a web-based college counseling resource, and learn how to utilize its many tools that assist with the college search and college application submission. Juniors also participate in the Common Application Bootcamp and the "Kitchen Table Voice" college essay writing retreat before the start of senior year. During senior year, students finalize their college search and apply to their final list colleges. 

The result is young adults with a number of options from which to choose, who are comfortable, confident, and prepared to excel in college.

Download the VMS College Profile

College Counseling Philosophy

The college counseling program at Vail Mountain School is based firmly on the principle that discovering “good matches” between students and post-secondary institutions is fundamental to the college admission process. The program’s foundation is the concept that students are most likely to succeed at colleges most closely aligned with his/her individual capabilities and interests. Working in concert with both students and their families, a primary goal is to identify a number of appropriate matches for each student and to provide support and assistance in the application and decision-making processes. It is Vail Mountain School’s driving philosophy that the colleges best suited for our students are the ones that will nurture their academic and social maturation.

Adhering to the multiple deadlines inherent in the college admission process is a significant responsibility that we expect our students to manage, with the college counseling office providing the necessary support. The counseling office will inform, guide, advise, suggest, facilitate, recommend, and refer. In the end, it is the student’s decision where to apply, what to write in essays, and who to ask for recommendations. Students are responsible for submitting applications, registering for tests on time, requesting teacher recommendations, and completing their portion of application forms. The school will be diligent about keeping students informed of deadlines and reminding them of important dates, but we will not assume responsibility for completion of our students’ applications–nor should parents. To do so would limit the developmental progression that is so critical to the college admission process.

The college counseling office will urge the adults (parents, counselors, teachers, coaches) in a student’s life to provide an atmosphere that allows each to find a unique voice through the course of the college search. Consistent, open, and honest communication between counselors, students, and parents is crucial to a rewarding and ultimately successful college search. We recommend parental input as long as the student remains in the ‘driver’s seat.’ The parent role is one of encouragement. Along with the counselor, parents represent the supporting cast as sounding boards and advice-givers.

When aiding students in creating a college list, the college counseling office will be straightforward and honest in our assessment of their chances for admission, as anything else would be a disservice. We want our students to have accurate information when making decisions. Likewise, parents should serve as voices of reason and reality in their expectations and financial capability to afford college. Students who are most comfortable with the college process are those who comprehend their abilities and needs and, subsequently, are able to find schools that fit those needs. These students have researched their lists well, asked the tough questions, and, as a result, have found a school they can truly embrace. Students who listen to their hearts and their heads, and let insight guide them, not college rankings, will be happiest. 

For Visiting College Representatives

We welcome your visit to Vail Mountain School!  Click HERE to schedule your visit via SCIOR. While you are in the beautiful Vail Valley, we hope you will enjoy all our area has to offer. Here are some suggestions!
Big Bear Bistro – a hello to Vidette (VMS alumnae mama)

  • Gourmet sandwiches and salads

Vendetta’s Pizza – where you’ll find faculty and staff enjoying a beer and a slice after Ski Friday. 
  • Pizza and Italian dishes

 Pepi’s - a taste of Austria brought to you by a founding Vail local and former Austrian Ski Team member – Pepi Gramshammer.
  • Classic Austrian/German cuisine (Bratwurst, Weiner Schnitzel)

 Yeti’s Grind – for a good cup of coffee!


 Vail Village –  stroll with optional stop at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (yep, President and Mrs. Gerald Ford were long-time residents and patrons of Vail)

  Gore Creek Trail – walk, bike, snowshoe along the Vail Golf Course and the Gore Creek with optional stop at Vail Memorial Park
 Booth Falls Trail – 3.9 miles to water fall (Trailhead is behind VMS)

Other Activities:
Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame – a ski lesson (without needing skis or snow)
Wild Bills – find a hat to go with your personality (and cowboy boots)!

College Enrollment

The following is a list of schools at which VMS students have enrolled over the past 5 years (2015-19):
  • American University
  • Baldwin Wallace
  • University Bard College
  • Bard College - Berlin
  • Bates College (2)
  • Boston University (2)
  • Bowdoin College
  • Bucknell University
  • Buena Vista
  • University California
  • Lutheran University
  • Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo (3)
  • Chapman University (3)
  • Clark University
  • Colby College (3)
  • Colgate University
  • College of Charleston
  • Colorado College (2)
  • Colorado Mesa University (2)
  • Colorado School of Mines (2)
  • Colorado State University (4)
  • Connecticut College
  • Cornell College
  • Dartmouth College (6)
  • Elon University (2)
  • Emory University-Oxford
  • Endicott College
  • FIDM – Los Angeles
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • Full Sail University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (2)
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Ithaca College
  • ITESO - Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Lehigh University
  • Loyola University - Chicago
  • Loyola University - New Orleans
  • McGill University
  • Miami University - Oxford
  • Montana State University - Bozeman (4)
  • The New School (2)
  • New York University (3)
  • Northeastern University (2)
  • Northwestern University
  • Occidental College
  • Ohio State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Pacific University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Regis University (3)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic University
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Richmond, The American Int’l University - London
  • Rocky Mountain College
  • Saint Michael’s College
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Scripps College
  • Southern Methodist University (2)
  • St. Edward’s University
  • St. Olaf College (2)
  • Stanford University
  • Suffolk University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University (2)
  • Texas A&M University
  • Trinity College
  • Union College (2)
  • Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara
  • University of Arizona
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California - Berkeley (3)
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado - Boulder (27)
  • University of Denver (8)
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • University of Miami
  • University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • University of Nebraska - Omaha
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Puget Sound (3)
  • University of San Diego
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Southern California (5)
  • University of Texas - Austin
  • University of Wyoming
  • Wake Forest University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Western Washington
  • University Wheaton
  • College Williams College (3)

Contact the College Counseling Office

Marisa Ferrara
Director of College Counseling
Telephone: 970-476-3850 ext. 111