Admissions Considerations

Thank you for considering applying to Milton Hershey School. We value your decision in enhancing your education and future. Each year, Milton Hershey School receives far more applications from individuals who meet the minimum qualifications for admission than the School can accept.

In accordance with the Milton Hershey School’s Equal Opportunity Policy, the School admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed, disability, or any other status protected under applicable federal or Pennsylvania law, to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.

Minimum Qualifications for Admission

To be considered for enrollment, the child must:

  • Come from a family of lower income.
  • Be 4-15 years old at the time of enrollment.
  • Have the ability to learn.
  • Be free of serious behavioral problems that are likely to disrupt life in the classroom or student home life at MHS.
  • Be able to participate and benefit from the school’s program.

While MHS believes all children deserve the very best education, the School is not right for every child, even if he or she meets the minimum requirements for age and family income.  For example, some children are not likely to adjust and do well in the School’s unique student home life environment, or have past behavioral problems that are likely to be disruptive.  Other children may be receiving, and may continue to need, services that are beyond what the School provides as part of its program.

How does MHS define “lower income”?

As a charitable trust, MHS is required to periodically review this criteria. Currently the applicants’ total household income may not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and half of the applicants admitted are at or below the FPL. When calculating income and household size, MHS considers all related persons residing in the household (e.g., grandparents, aunts, uncles, stepparents), and non-cash benefits are not considered.

The methods used to calculate income and household size correlate with U.S. Census definitions.

What is the reason for the age restriction?

The minimum and maximum age at enrollment (i.e., the date a student is enrolled by arriving at MHS to begin classes, not the date the student is accepted for enrollment) is set in the Deed of Trust. This applies to both initial enrollment and to applications for re-enrollment.

How does MHS define “the ability to learn”?

To be eligible for admission, children must attain a score of 80 or higher on an I.Q. test. In addition, applicants must have demonstrated capacity to learn within the parameters of MHS academic programs, with or without reasonable accommodations.

What does it mean to “Be free of serious behavioral problems that are likely to disrupt life in the classroom or student home life at MHS”?

MHS has a unique environment, including group home living with 8-12 other students, houseparents and sometimes their children. There are strong expectations for conduct, behavior and responsibilities in the student homes and on-campus, as well as in the classroom. Applicants are assessed individually for a wide range of behaviors, with consideration given to the severity, when it occurred, interventions and other factors.

What does it mean to “Be able to participate and benefit from the MHS program”?

As a private institution, Milton Hershey School does not have all programs and accommodations as a public school. The MHS program also includes extra-curricular and year-round activities and a  home life program. If a child has academic or other needs or services that MHS does not provide, or is unable or unwilling to meet behavioral or other expectations in all aspects, including home life, then the child cannot participate and benefit from the MHS program.

Additional Considerations In Admissions Decisions

Even if an applicant meets the minimum qualifications, admission is not guaranteed. Milton Hershey School examines a number of factors in making decisions regarding recruitment, selection for interview, and admission. One of the most important factors is need, as measured by a scale for parental availability with the highest score given to children who do not have either biological parent available to care for them. Milton Hershey School also considers applicants’ interest and motivation, personal character, special talent or skills, leadership abilities (such as resilience, teamwork, persistence) and contribution to the diversity of the student body (see the MHS diversity statement). In addition, the School limits enrollment by grade and sex, based on available housing. Many factors are considered and no one factor is determinative.

Although current students come from many states, in accordance with the School’s Deed of Trust, children from the tri-county area, and children from the rest of Pennsylvania—particularly those from rural backgrounds—are given some preference during the admissions process.

When Can You Enroll?

The largest enrollment period is in August, September and January. The school enrolls smaller numbers of children in other months of the year. Questions? The MHS Admissions department is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have any questions please contact the Admissions team at (800) 322-3248 or mhs-admissions@mhs-pa.org.

 

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