Military Boarding Schools in the U.S.

military boarding schools

Many think military boarding schools are strict reform schools packed with troubled, delinquent teens. While some schools like this exist designed for troubled you, U.S. military schools are not like this. 

The reality is military boarding schools are founded on strong academic curriculums and a commitment to discipline and excellence. Students in military schools are taught to value and respect authority and be the best they can be in academics, athletics, service opportunities, and in their communities.

Many successful people have attended private military boarding schools in their youth, including race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and renowned filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. The lessons teens learn at boarding schools go far beyond the classroom as they prepare to become strong leaders and engaged, active members of their communities.

Some graduates of military boarding schools will seek to enter one of the elite military academies, such as West Point, the Air Force Academy, etc.

Military boarding schools for boys have become increasingly popular for parents in recent years. But despite the surge in popularity, military boarding schools are still somewhat mysterious to many parents.

We’ll detail what military boarding schools are, including how they differ from service academies and military junior colleges.

What are Military Boarding Schools?

military boarding schools

Military boarding schools offer several benefits for teenage boys in middle and high school, mainly in academics. Students are pushed to strive for excellence in their classes, which gives them a leg up when they apply for college.

Boarding schools have a rigorous curriculum and high academic standards, so it helps students perform better in college. At military boarding schools, students also devote much time to service and community projects. This teaches them the rewards of helping others and instills character and a sense of responsibility to their local and larger communities.

By some estimates, there are about 66 military boarding schools in the U.S., and most serve students in grades 9 through 12. However, many of these schools also include junior high students in grades six, seven, and eight. Very few boarding schools enroll students in grades below this. Most boarding schools are residential, meaning students live on campus.

Integral parts of military boarding schools are respect and character building. Dedicated and experienced staff members serve as role models to students, teaching them problem-solving skills and how to navigate life’s challenges.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of military boarding schools is preparing students for the academic rigors of college. We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth emphasizing. Ninety percent of boarding school grads say they felt “very well prepared” for college, compared to less than 40% of public-school graduates, according to a survey by The Association of Boarding Schools.

Military boarding schools are also different than military academies, senior military colleges, and military junior colleges. The biggest difference is that military schools serve students typically in high school grades.

The U.S. has five military service academies, each dedicated to a different Armed Forces branch. Service academies are very prestigious and challenging to gain acceptance to, and following graduation, students are required to serve a minimum of five years in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Upon graduating from a military boarding school, students can apply and try to enroll in one of the five military service academies, but it’s not required. Boarding school graduates could just as easily apply to a public or private university.

Military Boarding Schools Do and Don’t Do

military boarding schools

Military boarding schools offer numerous benefits, but they’re not a good fit for every student. The advantages of boarding schools are providing a structured, conservative environment where young men seek camaraderie with their fellow students and learn about their unique strengths.

It’s easy and perhaps a bit cliché to think that boarding schools are rigid places, because most have very supportive environments that help young men set their own boundaries and expectations. One of the main goals of boarding schools is to help students become more self-reliant and self-disciplined.

Military boarding schools provide a structured atmosphere, but they’re not the same as therapeutic boarding schools designed for students with behavioral or learning challenges. Therapeutic boarding schools like this do exist, and they cater to troubled teens trying to get back on the right track.

The main difference between therapeutic and military boarding schools is that therapeutic ones provide counseling for teens who need it, along with addiction recovery resources. Military schools aren’t designed to handle teens who need psychiatric care; in most cases, they’ll end up expelling troubled students. Therapeutic boarding schools can also specialize in areas where teens struggle the most, such as ADHD or drug addiction.

The Path to Success

military boarding schools

Military boarding schools offer many unique benefits to young men but can also be expensive. The average military boarding school tuition cost is $36,000 per year, according to Boarding School Review. This is slightly lower than the average tuition of $46,750 for an average private boarding school in the U.S.

The high costs shouldn’t be a deterrent to parents, though. Boarding schools offer flexible payment plans, financial aid, scholarships, and other ways to lessen the financial burden.

Many military boarding schools also have selective admissions. The idea that anybody can get admitted to one isn’t accurate, as military schools set their own admissions requirements. Typically, boarding schools look for ambitious students eager to succeed in life.

Attendance at military boarding schools can set students on the path to success, which is why they are growing in popularity. The alumni from military schools in the U.S. are filled with distinguished graduates who have achieved great success in almost any profession or endeavor, not just in military service. It’s one reason why military boarding schools are a great option that parents are looking into more and more these days.

Stay tuned to Empire Resume’s blog for more helpful insights on Military-to-Civilian life, including articles like Veteran Recruiting, Creating a Military to Civilian Resume, and Why Veterans Make Good Employees.

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.

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