There are around 50 Military Schools across the United States; a relatively small amount given the size of the country, which may account for the common misconceptions attached to the subject. A few of these misconceptions are that the schools only teach ‘military stuff’, or are only for troubled students, or that all students from military school go on to a career in military service. But in many cases, the complete opposite is true.
According to About Education, rather than being for troubled students, Military schools are actually highly selective, giving them the ability to set their own admission requirements. This is true of both Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) and New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). At NMMI the admission process includes an online admission application, submission of official transcripts, an admission exam, and a compulsory campus visit, while R-MA requires personal essays, two recommendations and an interview from potential students. R-MA’s admission page even comes with the warning: ‘candidates who do not plan to attend a school of higher education or who cannot function within an environment of high standards and an Honor Code are discouraged from applying’. Evidently, they only take the best, and set extremely high academic standards.
While the key focus is academic, military schools also tend to offer world-class sporting facilities. NMMI boasts nine separate athletic facilities on campus, including a ballpark, football field, tennis courts, golf course and athletic centre. The Godfrey Athletic Center, also home of the Sport Medicine offices even houses an indoor pool. R-MA’s Athletic Facilities are equally impressive. The school boasts two gyms, six full-size athletic fields, an all-weather track, a football stadium, indoor pool and five tennis courts. With impressive sports facilities such as these, military schools have a lot to offer any young student with a passion for and interest in sport.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about military school is that graduates go straight into service. While many do pursue careers in the military, it often happens later in life, and most military schools offer college preparatory courses as part of their curriculum to ensure students get places in top colleges and universities. Over 95 percent of students from both R-MA and NMMI get accepted into top universities and colleges, going on to achieve success at degree level, and both schools have a clear focus on this university pathway at the heart of their curriculum. Due to an expectance that all their students are and will continue to work at being the best they can possibly be, as well as a focus on higher education, NMMI graduates prove successful in every field of endeavour, be it business, industry, public service, education, the professions, or careers the military.
Similarly, a solid foundation in knowledge, leadership and character development has seen the Class of 2016 from R-MA earn $5.1 million in college merit scholarships, and graduates from the school are now enrolled in the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Wake Forest, Penn State and many other top institutions.
With consistently high college and university acceptance rates for military school graduates, as well as an evident focus on quality education and aspirations for students to continue into higher education, perhaps it’s time we start looking at military schools from a new perspective.
Read on to find out more about U.S. military schools offering graduate pathways to the nation’s top colleges and Universities.
Settled in a 135-acre campus in the Shenandoah Valley, Randolph-Macon Academy is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and the AdvancED –SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). With a traditional college-prep program, the academy seeks to prepare young people for success at university level, and 100 percent of graduates are accepted to college or university every year.
Randolph-Macon’s mission is to educate and inspire young men and women for success in every facet of life, and work to ensure each student is self-reliant, respected and recognized as a unique individual, embraced by the family environment. They achieve this with class sizes averaging 13-17 students, individual tutorial sessions, and over 25 sports teams for students to get involved with, providing recreation on top of a quality, all-round education.
The academy also offers an Advanced Placement Program, giving students the opportunity to earn credit, advanced placement, or both at more than 2,900 universities and colleges worldwide.
NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUTE
The New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) offers Associate Degrees in Arts or Science and is currently the only State-supported, nationally accredited, co-educational military boarding school in the U.S. Founded on the principles of ‘Duty, Honor and Achievement,’ NMMI provides excellence in academics, character development, physical fitness and practical, leadership opportunities.
The students comprise the Corps of Cadets and exercise the responsibility of leading the units within the Corps; a kind of ‘leadership laboratory’ which sets NMMI apart from other academic institutions.
The Franklin Student Assistance Center (SAC) is also extremely beneficial to NMMI students. In 1985, NMMI instituted a centralized, state-of-the-art high school system to address the issues of proper college selection, counselling and mentoring. Students now have access to professional advisors who offer academic, career and personal counselling. The SAC also works closely with the teaching faculty, supporting students by teaching good study habits, proper behaviour and overall academic growth to help them achieve their personal and academic goals.
Founded in 1894 Culver Academy started life with the aim of: ‘thoroughly preparing young men for the best colleges, scientific schools and businesses of America,’ and since becoming coeducational in 1971, Culver Girls Academy was founded for the purpose of ‘encouraging young women to attain the highest degree of self-development.’ Today those two separate missions have merged into one, and Culver promises the education needed to be a leader and a responsible citizen by focusing on the development of individual interests and talents, while helping students move beyond self-imposed limitations.
With 99 percent of students going on to start at four year colleges, Culver has a pretty high success rate, aided no doubt by the fact that 87 percent of its faculty members have Master’s degrees. On top of this, there’s a 9:1 student to teacher ratio with typical class sizes of 14 students, and the school receives an endowment of over $387 million to give their students the best education possible.
MISSOURI MILITARY ACADEMY
Located on 288-acres in Mexico, Missouri, the school offers four residence halls, an academic complex, gymnasium, four athletic fields and over 100-acres of outdoor space. Boasting a long history of graduate success, Missouri Military Academy has been preparing young men for college and life since 1889.
With graduates receiving 100 percent college acceptance rates each year, the Academy offers a 360 Degree Education experience with five main areas of focus: Academic Excellence, Character Development, Personal Motivation, Physical Development, and Leadership. Whilst supporting boys and young men grades 7-12 the Academy also offers a postgraduate gap year program, giving them the opportunity to earn credits while maximizing college acceptance opportunities.
On top of this, the College Placement Office at Missouri Military employs a full time staff member to help students along the path to success. This includes professional, personal attention in regards to stressful college applications, scholarship guidance, test preparation and exposure to colleges and universities, giving students a clearer idea of which type of school will best meet their needs after graduation.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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