Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How many students attend HMS?
A. Our maximum capacity is 120 students. Classes start with 15-18 students in the freshman year and can grow to a maximum of 35 students.
Q. Where do HMS students come from?
A. Our current students come from 11 states: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. We also have students from seven foreign countries: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Switzerland.
While roughly 60 percent of our students have attended a Waldorf school in the past, we enroll students from all educational backgrounds — including other independent schools, public schools and home-based education.
Q. To which associations does HMS belong?
A. We are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). We are members of the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America (AWSNA), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the Independent Schools of Northern New England (ISANNE).
Q. Does HMS have a religious affiliation?
A. No, we support and respect religious freedom.
Q. What do High Mowing alumni do after graduation?
A. The vast majority of our students go on to colleges and universities in the United States or abroad. Some take a year to travel or volunteer prior to attending college.
Q. Does High Mowing require a standardized admissions test?
A. No. We rely on Math, English and guidance references, transcripts and the parent and student questionnaires, as well as your personal interview. We will also ask you to take a placement test to help us determine your appropriate level in our Math program.
Q. When is the best time to visit the school?
A. You may tour High Mowing, by appointment, at any time throughout the year. Admissions visits are scheduled in the fall of the 8th grade year for those anticipating grade 9 acceptance.
Transfer students may schedule an admissions visit through February, for immediate placement in the school, as space allows.
Q. How far in advance should I apply?
A. Admissions visits are scheduled in the fall of the student’s 8th grade year for admission to the next year’s Freshman class.
The first round of admissions applications are processed in mid-February and admissions decisions are announced on March 1. Applying prior to February 1 is highly recommended.
If you apply after February 1, we will accept your application on a rolling basis, as space allows. After February 1, the application and acceptance process begins once we receive all necessary documents. At that point, we notify applicants of acceptance or denial within 3 weeks.
Q. When do you announce admissions decisions?
A. All students that apply before February 1 will hear from the admissions office on March 1.
Q. How do I apply for tuition adjustment?
A. You may apply online. If your family demonstrates need, a tuition assistance award will be determined and announced at the time of your acceptance, or shortly thereafter. Visit our tuition adjustment page for more information.
The Classroom Experience
Q. What is a Block Class?
A. These are the first classes of the day and they meet for one and half hours each morning. Block classes treat nine different subjects over the course of the year; each subject is studied for 3 or 4 weeks. Each “Block” focuses on specific areas of study and all students in each grade attend the same Block classes together. Block classes present the core curriculum in History, Literature, Drama, Math and the Sciences.
Q. What is a Track Class?
A. Each student attends four track classes per day. Each class meets for 50 minutes. They are skills-based and are taken in a certain sequence (such as Algebra I and Algebra II). Track classes are comprised of students with similar levels of ability and can include students from different grades. All academic track classes are a year in length. Track classes in the Arts can be taken for one, two, or three trimesters.
Q. What is the average class size?
A. Block classes include all of the students in a particular grade. The average size of a Track class is 10, however some classes are comprised of as few as 5 students, allowing for lively and personalized learning.
Q. Are Honors Classes offered?
A. Some track classes offer an Honors Challenge. Typically, the teacher provides written documentation at the start of these courses, outlining the extra work required to earn “honors” status. This challenge generally entails additional homework and a greater degree of independent work. In addition, the student must earn a grade of B- or above to receive the honors designation on their transcript.
Q. Does HMS offer an English as a Second Language (ESL) program?
A. Yes, there is a full ESL Program. However, we require entering students to have a working ability to speak, write and read English. Our ESL classes are meant to augment vocabulary and to support students at the intermediate level.
Q. What is the student-teacher ratio?
A. 5 to 1.
Q. Is there much homework?
A. We believe that homework should support the classroom experience, not replace it. On average, homework takes about two hours per day.
Q. What is a typical day like?
A. The general schedule for weekdays is below, though Wednesday afternoons are different because of athletic events.
|7:00 – 7:45 a.m.
||Dorms Wake up/Breakfast
|8:00 – 8:15 a.m.
|8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
|8:55 – 10:30 a.m.
|10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
|10:45 – 11:35 a.m.
|11:40 – 12:30 a.m.
|12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
||Lunch & Meetings
|1:30 – 2:20 p.m.
|2:25 – 3:15 p.m.
|3:20 – 3:40 p.m.
|3:45 – 5:00 p.m.
||Optional Period Five
|6:30 - 7:45 p.m.
The Boarding Experience and Student Life
Q. What are the advantages of a boarding school?
A. A key advantage is that one’s social life is centered right here, on campus. This is true for both boarding and day students. It means that friends are close by and available to study, converse or relax with. Lifelong friendships begin at High Mowing.
As a boarding school, High Mowing is a learning community. Here, each student is surrounded by faculty and staff dedicated to their success — in the classroom and outside. The Association for Boarding Schools (TABS) has outlined the many strengths of today's boarding schools.
Q. What are the dorms like? What are my options for roommates?
A. Starting with a desk, a raised twin bed, a dresser, and closet, students fashion their rooms to reflect their own personalities. In each dorm, students gather in the common space hang out, play instruments or enjoy a game of pool. On occasion, there are “internet cafés” in the dorms: students munch on homemade treats and tea or coffee while they study. On Sunday evenings, residents meet together to plan events and discuss dorm matters with the staff. Each wing in the dorm has its own bathroom, with private showers and toilets.
Dorm rooms may be shared or private, depending on a number of factors. Initially, dorm counselors pair roommates with one another. Seniors have their own rooms, unless they choose otherwise.
Q. How many dorm counselors are there and what do they do?
A. Two dorm counselors live in apartments within each dormitory. The dorm counselors are there to facilitate activities and to promote a safe, healthy, home-like environment.
Q. Are HMS students involved in community service?
A. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors are required to perform 15 hours of community service per school year, but many spend considerably more time with individual or group service projects. Service work may entail serving food at a soup kitchen, assisting with admissions visits on campus, teaching young children to knit, blazing trails in a nature preserve, or a range of other activities.
Q. What is the Wilton area like?
A. Wilton, New Hampshire, is a small, charming New England town. High Mowing is located at the top of a hill, offering beatiful views in a rural setting, yet a thriving small-town downtown is within walking distance. Nashua, NH is located 15 miles east and offers all the amenities of a metropolitan area. Peterborough, NH is a few miles to the west and is a thriving arts center. Wilton is ideally situation in that less than two hours drive can find you in Boston, the seacoast, or the mountains. Please see more information on our Local Scene page.