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Choosing a Military School – Is it the Best Option for Your Child?
An alternative to public schools, military academies have a long history of success in the United States. Essentially private boarding schools that specialize in military-based educations, there are a number of different types from which to choose. Some academies are operated by the government, and applicants must submit a recommendation from their Congressmen – these schools supply commissioned officers to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The Coast Guard Academy is also a federal program, but admission is based on a regular college application.
Reasons to Choose a Military School
Children of career military families usually find military school a comfortable, familiar environment. If they’re interested in entering the military on graduation, there’s no better school choice than a military academy. Many parents, however, choose military schools for children in need of discipline. There’s a misconception that military schools are harsh, cruel institutions where students are punished incessantly to keep them in line. In reality, military schools provide a safe, healthy atmosphere for children, troubled or otherwise.
The students, called “cadets,” follow strict rules designed to reinforce strong codes of ethics. The type of institution you choose for your child and their preferred field of study will, naturally, influence their experience. Students in the federally-administered academies will prepare for military service along with pursuing a degree. Students at private academies will find that the focus is more on their studies than on military training.
Types of study
Cadets at most military schools pursue regular bachelor's degree programs in addition to courses in military science. They provide the same type of training you can get at a military academy. The school days are rigorously scheduled, with cadets following a military-style chain of command. Military school students may major in traditional arts and science studies, engineering and even law. Among the courses of study are:
The schools’ core curriculum includes English, mathematics, physics, geography, foreign languages, chemistry and other sciences, in order to provide cadets with a general education and a high level of competence in oral and written skills. Your schedule as a cadet will be highly structured to reinforce the priority of academic excellence and self-development.
Picking a school
Whatever state you live in, there’s likely a good military school within a few hundred miles. But the choice of school shouldn’t be made on geographic convenience alone – different schools specialize in different courses of study, so sit down with your students and discuss what their goals are. If your child wants training in engineering, schools like the Worcester Polytechnic Institute or the Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center are ideal, as they specialize in engineering. If your student intends on a career in the military, there are many Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs to choose from, which will provide them with officer training, and each branch of the military has their own academies.
Choosing a military school is about a lot more than finding a tough-as-nails environment to send your troubled teen. These academies train cadets to be strong-minded, ethical individuals, and provide them with an education that will serve them well, whether they go on to serve in the military or pursue jobs in the private sector.