Milton Hershey School was founded to enroll qualifying students who demonstrate resilience—just like our founder Milton Hershey. Mr. Hershey’s mission for the school is captured in its Deed of Trust, and many of our admissions criteria are rooted in this legal document.
Admissions Minimum Qualifications
Once you apply to Milton Hershey School, your application could be discontinued at any step in the process, whether because Admissions Minimum Qualifications are not met, additional admissions considerations, or because each year the school receives many more applications from students than it can accept.
To be considered for enrollment, a child must meet the following five criteria:
To meet the requirements of its Deed of Trust, Milton Hershey School reviews the family income of an applicant as part of its admissions criteria. The school considers income as it relates to the Federal Poverty Level and U.S. Census definitions. Non-cash benefits are not considered.
Each family’s situation is different. Please call us for help in determining your student’s financial eligibility for admission.
Milton Hershey School’s Deed of Trust also states the age range of students who may be admitted. A student must be 4 to 15 years old on their enrollment date—the date they arrive and begin classes. This date applies regardless of how many times a student has applied.
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.
Milton Hershey School is a unique learning and living environment. It is centered around group home living with eight to 12 other people who include other students, houseparents, and sometimes their children. There are strong expectations for behavior in the student homes, in the classroom, and across the campus. Serious behavior problems can affect the fundamental nature of this unique program.
Applicants are individually assessed for a wide range of behaviors. Milton Hershey School will assess the circumstances and potential impact of “serious behavioral problems,” defined as behavior that would be likely to disrupt life in the classroom or in the Milton Hershey School student home.
Milton Hershey School is a private school. It does not have the same programs and is not required to provide the same services as a public school.
A child cannot participate in and benefit from the Milton Hershey School program if:
- They require academic or other services MHS does not provide
- They are unable or unwilling to meet behavior expectations
Even if a child meets all the Admissions Minimum Qualifications, Milton Hershey School is not always the right fit for an individual child.
Additional Admissions Considerations
Even if an applicant meets the minimum admissions criteria, MHS still considers a number of additional factors in admissions decisions, in its sole discretion.
Need is one of the most important factors. It is anchored by a scale for parental availability. The highest priority is given to children who do not have a biological parent available to care for them.
To ensure that housing is available for applicants, Milton Hershey School may need to limit enrollment by grade and gender, which will affect admissions decisions.
MHS also considers as positive factors other applicant characteristics, including:
- Interest and motivation
- Personal character
- Special talent or skills
- Leadership abilities (such as resilience, teamwork, persistence)
- Contribution to the school’s commitment to a diverse community
Milton Hershey School students come from many states. However, the Deed of Trust gives preference to children from the tri-county area (Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties). Children from the rest of Pennsylvania are given the next preference. After that, we recruit qualified children from across the United States.
When Can You Enroll?
The largest enrollment period is in August, September, and January. But, we do enroll students year round—apply now! Before submitting an application, consider getting to know us better.
Virtual Campus Tour
Navigate through our scenic campus, getting a closer look at our top-tier facilities, inside classrooms and student homes, and all that MHS has to offer. You can begin by clicking on the icon below.
Equal Opportunity Policy
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.