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Transitional Living

The Senior Transition

Milton Hershey School’s Transitional Living (TL) program prepares senior students for life after graduation. For our students’ final year at MHS, they move out of their student homes. They spend their 12th-grade year living independently in apartment-style residences on campus.

Preparing for Life

Graduates need to be able to navigate daily responsibilities and solve unexpected problems. The TL program at MHS is designed to create experiential learning opportunities for seniors—with adult oversight—before they graduate. The program encompasses a range of functional areas:

  • Financial literacy
  • Healthy lifestyle habits
  • Community living
  • Social and emotional skill-building

Seniors living in TL are able to build their sense of responsibility, independence, and community. They are challenged to make practical decisions. Every student is required to participate.

Milton Hershey School students and staff work in the kitchen in a Transitional Living apartment.

TL Apartments

MHS supports 52 apartments across 10 TL buildings (five for males and five for females). The physical layout of each building includes:

  • Student apartments (4-6 students per apartment)
  • Supervisory staff apartments
  • A main office
  • A recreation room
  • A laundry room

Each apartment includes a kitchen, common area, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

A group of Milton Hershey School students in Transitional Living meet in a common area.

Living-Learning Communities

The TL program incorporates the concept of living-learning communities (LLCs). We make student TL assignments based on student interests and goals. LLCs are based on the 2020 Vision strategic plan and include the following focus areas:

  • Career Preparation
  • Global Citizenship
  • Health and Wellness
  • Residential Assistant and Leadership
  • STEAM & Sustainability
Read the Strategic Plan
Milton Hershey School Transitional Living staff supervise homes for seniors.

Student Supervision

Transitional Living facilities are supervised by at least two residential education professionals who live in each building. They are responsible for teaching MHS seniors essential life skills. They also serve as role models and mentors, helping students prepare for life as an adult.

Staff schedules rotate. At least one adult is on duty when students are in the building. There are times when both adults are on duty. There is also flex TL staff, delegated to each building as needed.

Programming

Transitional Living exists to teach students the life skills necessary to survive and thrive as self-sufficient adults. We promote healthy lifestyles and work to build a strong sense of community. This support aids students as they bridge the final gap between childhood and adulthood.

In ninth through 11th grade, MHS students learn basic life skills from their houseparents. When they become seniors, TL staff members help them build a deeper foundation. TL staff incorporate weekly curriculum material into the student schedules.

Read more about the specific skills TL programming grooms within students living in this unique and independent environment.

Essential Life Skills

The TL program guides students in developing essential life skills, including:

  • Time management
  • Meal planning
  • Buying and cooking meals
  • Budgeting
  • Maintaining a living space
  • Interpersonal skills
Learn Other Ways MHS Provides for Students' Daily Needs

TL Curriculum

Students assist in guiding TL curriculum, and lessons revolve around:

  • Healthy relationships
  • Stress management
  • Study skills
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Health
  • Wellness
See More Ways MHS Supports Student Health

The Compass Project

The Compass Project, our character and leadership development program, is a school-wide initiative. Each month, Transitional Living staff highlight one social and emotional learning (SEL) theme. They guide seniors through a focused curriculum, including topics such as:

  • Rising above obstacles
  • Maintaining perseverance
  • Growing empathy
  • Developing new perspectives
  • Making healthy decisions
  • Learning how to prioritize
Read about Character Education at MHS

Transitional Living FAQs

Specific questions about how TL works? Reference our Q&A guide for details.

Milton Hershey School seniors and Transitional Living staff meet in an office.

Who participates in this program?

Every MHS senior spends their final year in the Transitional Living program.

Do the students choose their roommates?

We attempt to match students in apartments by their personal interests and habits. Typically, up to six students share a two-bedroom suite.

Can students decorate apartments?

No and Yes. Apartments come fully furnished. Additional furniture items are not allowed. Some wall decorations and additional personal items are permitted if they meet guidelines.

Who is in charge of the suite?

Students are responsible for the cleanliness and orderliness of their suites. All suites are routinely checked by TL adult supervisors for safety and cleanliness.

Do students have a bedtime?

No. However, we do have curfews. Our curfews determine when students must be in the apartment building and/or in their suites.

Can the students have a personal cell phone?

Yes. Students may have a personal cell phone it is not mandatory. The student is solely responsible for any and all cell phone costs/charges. They may lose this privilege at the discretion of the staff.

Do students have a budget?

Yes. Each apartment is given a monthly budget. Student use this money for both food and personal care items.

Where do students purchase food for their meals?

Students purchase food for all of their meals at local grocery stores. They also can purchase personal care items on these shopping trips.

How do students pay for their groceries?

Students use a debit card that is assigned to each suite for shopping.

What transportation is available for Transitional Living students?

Students walk to and from classes and activities at the Spartan Commons area. Regular bus transportation is provided for students participating in sports and activities.

A TL staff member provides transportation for area shopping trips. Students meeting the criteria may be able to use a dedicated TL-program car.

Does the merit system apply to students in the program?

No. There is no merit system. However, there is a level system. Each student will have responsibilities at their apartment building.

How are discipline infractions handled and by whom? Are the consequences the same?

Discipline is handled by the Transitional Living coordinator and the Transitional Living assistant. All students in the TL program are subject to the same discipline guidelines as all other students. Consequences are the same or similar.

What happens if a student does not succeed in the TL program? 

Each situation is addressed on an individual basis. Support is given. No matter the circumstance, a student will not be transferred back to a student home.

Milton Hershey School students attend a meeting as part of the Student Government Association.

A Day in the Life

Seniors have busy, fulfilling days at MHS. Through top-notch academics, personal attention, hands-on learning, and skills for life, our students are prepared for what’s next. Learn more about a student’s day at MHS.

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Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. View full Equal Opportunity Policy.