Identify individual student values and goals to help them thrive, dream big, and succeed in college and beyond.

Beyond College Prep

The Steamboat Mountain School’s academic program aims to prepare students to succeed in college by offering challenging courses where critical thinking is paramount. Students are taught to think independently, collaborate effectively with their peers. Students will be pushed to grow academically through challenge in order to develop independent learning, time management skills, and academic discipline. Throughout their time at SMS, students will complete meaningful work that includes extensive writing across all disciplines, diligent research projects, investigative laboratory work, comprehensive exams, and public presentations. For seniors, a year-long capstone project provides a culminating intellectual experience in a student’s area of interest. For their capstone projects, students explore a subject of their choice and design and implement a project around that subject. 

. . . But true “College Prep” goes beyond academics. In addition to solid academic skills, colleges are looking for students who are resilient, flexible, and who demonstrate empathy. They are looking for good people who contribute to their communities and care. Through our outdoor program, GS adventures, community service, residential program, and high-level dedication to winter sports, our students learn to persevere while facing adversity. They learn the importance of place, and they appreciate different viewpoints and are able to see the world through the eyes of others. These are all essential “college prep” skills. Our students experience the world first-hand and are thus able to see their place in it. They strive to be a positive influence on their place and their communities. 


Though we begin having conversations about future goals, including college and career possibilities, with our underclassmen, the college process at SMS begins in earnest junior year. 

Juniors meet weekly as a class with a faculty advisor to learn about potential options, identify goals, and prepare to represent their strengths and interests as strongly as possible on their college applications. Juniors will have a minimum of one individual meeting with the College Counselor to discuss personal goals and begin creating an application list. The college counselor helps to develop an initial list of schools based off of that conversation and the student is asked to research those schools along with additional schools in order to develop a final list for senior year. 

Seniors meet weekly as a class to discuss the nuts-and-bolts of applying to college. In addition to finalizing the list (if needed), we work to craft strong, competitive, well-rounded applications. Additionally, we provide coaching and feedback on the writing portions of the application, paying particular attention to the Essay. This work happens together as a group as well as through individual meetings with the college counselor and other faculty. The college counselor will help the student strategize their application process if needed.  

“Providing the right balance of one-on-one meetings and independent work, not only supports them through the application process, but prepares them for the work they will have once they get there.”

Erin Davis, Director of College Guidance


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Matriculation in bold

Alfred University
Augustana College
Bates College
Baylor University
Bentley University
Boston College
Champlain College
Chapman University
Clarkson College
Colby College
Colby-Sawyer College
Colorado College
Colorado Mesa University
Colorado Mountain College
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Columbia College Chicago
Cornell College
Culinary Institute of America
Dartmouth College
Drexel University
Emory University
Fort Lewis College
Franklin University Switzerland
George Washington University
Gonzaga University
Hampshire College
Harvard College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Illinois Wesleyan University
Indiana Institute of Technology
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel
Keene State College
Lewis and Clark College
Lipscomb University
Loyola University Chicago
McGill University
Miami University – Oxford
Michigan State University
Middlebury College
Montana State University
New York Institute of Technology
Northern Vermont University
The Naropa University
Oberlin College
Pepperdine University
Quest University Canada
Reed College
Regis University
Saint Michael’s College
Savannah College of Art and Design
Southern New Hampshire University
St. Lawrence University
St. John’s College, Santa Fe
St. Olaf College
Texas Christian University
United States Coast Guard Academy
United States Military Academy at West Point
University of Arizona
University of British Columbia
University of Central Arkansas
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
University of Denver
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Maine
University of Melbourne
University of New Hampshire
University of New Mexico
University of Oregon
University of Puget Sound
University of San Diego
University of Southern California
University of Utah
University of Vermont
University of Washington, Seattle
Wake Forest University
Western Colorado University
Westminster College
Willamette University
William Jewell College
Williams College