- What Is a Military School?
- History of Military Schools
- Daily Life at Military School
- Military School Discipline
- Why Military Schools?
- Who Are They For?
- Who Are They Not For?
- Alternatives to Military Schools
- Is Your Teen in Trouble?
- Military School Lingo
- Military Prep Schools
- Helpful Resources
- Articles on Teen Issues
Military Prep Schools
There are about a dozen privately owned and operated military secondary schools in the United States. These schools have superior reputations for their college-preparatory curricula. They serve students in grades 8 through 12, although some offer elementary, middle school and junior college programs. Some of them have day programs and summer camps. Eight of them are in southern states, and half are co-educational.
Most of these academies date to the late 18th century and boost alumni who went on to have distinguished careers in business and the military. These schools have a long and selective admissions process that requires testing and interviews. Students must demonstrate an interest and enthusiasm for military training, high intelligence, and academic achievement. Many of their current students are sons and daughters of alumni.
These academies should not be confused with military schools that cater to troubled teens. Top college-prep military schools do not admit troubled teens with histories of alcohol and drug abuse, running away, disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder, and problems such as disrespect for authority and family conflicts.
Since today's military has become increasingly high-tech, college-prep military schools often have superior programs in science, mathematics, technology, and pre-engineering. Students may also study military history, tactics and strategy. Students attend small classes taught by teachers with advanced degrees in their subjects. The emphasis of the program is on academics, and there may be set hours not only for classes but also for studying and one-on-one tutoring.
Weekdays usually follow a strict hour-by-hour structure with regular times for class, meals, exercise, study and sleep. There are usually superior extracurricular activities and sports. Some schools offer fencing, SCUBA and sailing, horseback riding, and flight instruction along with the more typical high school activities such as theater, basketball, football, yearbook, etc. Students might have the opportunity to travel and study in Europe or South America.
Weekends are usually less structured, although some schools require students to attend chapel on Sundays. Students are often allowed to have video games, computers and other electronic devices in their rooms. They may go home on weekends or go into town for movies and cultural events.
The vast majority of graduates enter college. Many gain admittance to highly selective private universities, and some enter the Armed Services academies at West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs. As part of their college-prep emphasis, these schools have counselors who guide students through the admission processes, scholarship searches and required college testing.
Besides academics and extracurricular activities, college-prep military academies train students in leadership and character within a military model. Students may be organized into companies, battalions and platoons. Some operate under a demerit system for small rule infractions but maintain a zero-tolerance policy for cheating, alcohol, drugs, or theft. Students wear uniforms and participate in military traditions such as keeping their rooms clean, taking care of their uniforms and shoes, passing inspections, participating in formations and marching tours, handling weapons, and learning military decorum. They are required to remain courteous at all times and to obey their superior officers. The emphasis is on proper decorum as well as physical fitness.
Fast Facts About Adolescents
Despite impressive declines over the past decade, the United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the Western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually.