College Placement

Marine Military Academy College Placement

What does MMA College Placement do?

Ms. Robin Farris

college placementPreparation for college and the college admission process begins when cadets enter in August.  By the time the cadets  head off to pursue their future, I want to be sure they are academically and socially prepared for the challenges that will come their way. This is a highly individualized process and I work to make sure that the boys keep as many options as possible open until it comes time to narrow down to a smaller list of selected schools. My goal is to help cadets find the right fit. I am available to cadets to help in their college search; planning visits, preparing for interviews, reading and editing essays, recommendations, general hand-holding, pats on the back and confidence building!  That’s what the College Placement Room and I am here for and am eager to do!

Do all MMA cadets utilize College Placement? At what age should a student apply to college?

college placementI encourage all cadets to become frequent visitors to the College Placement Room.  That includes our 8th and 9th graders.  The more familiar they are with the College Placement Room and with me, the less threatening the whole college admission process will be when they are seniors. The College Placement Room is available to cadets throughout the day. It contains a wealth of information on colleges and universities. Books and DVDs are available for cadets to use in the College Placement Room as well as to check-out for use after class hour. Most applications are available online using computers in the College Placement Room, as well as information on scholarship programs. You will also find: financial aid information, SAT and ACT registration packets, college exploration websites, information on the Common Application, and many other useful resources. The College Placement Room is also home to our visiting college representatives, such as University of Notre Dame, The University of Texas, Texas A&M.  Additionally, service academies, such as the United States Naval Academy and West Point and ROTC scholarship representatives make regular visits to the College Placement Room .  Juniors and seniors are invited to attend to gather information regarding a school or program, as well as to meet the representatives.  Cadets begin to apply to the college of their choice the fall semester of their senior year.

Are the guidelines used by MMA College Placement applicable to other junior high and high school students? What do colleges look for on a college application?

All colleges and universities are looking for the same requirements, such as GPA, class rank, SAT/ACT scores, leadership ability, extra-curricular activities, etc.  Our cadets are no different than other high school students, only that they live here at MMA during the school year.

Does MMA host PSAT and SAT/ACT exams?  If so, are those exams open to others besides MMA cadets?

The Marine Military Academy is a testing center for the SAT/ACT exams, which are open to the public.  We administer the PSAT in October, but only for our cadets.  We test during their first CP and test 8th  through 11th graders.  We feel the more times a young man can take a timed standardized practice test, the better he will perform during the actual SAT, which is usually taken during their junior and/or senior year.  Additionally, the PSAT is used by National Merit and other scholarship agencies.

What are the most important factors a student needs to pay attention to to get universities to consider enrolling the student?

college placementI feel that course selection is one of the most important factors a cadet needs to consider in order to be accepted to the college of his choice.  Colleges want to know that the applicant is “college ready” when he steps on to their campus.  A cadet needs to take the most rigorous courses available to him as admission decisions for most colleges are usually based on the quality of academic preparation in high school.  In addition, admission officers at competitive colleges look beyond GPA and test scores and evaluate the pattern of course work, the level of classes (Honors and AP), sequence of academic courses and the senior year schedule.  Admission officers are very aware of “senior slide”.

 Does application to service academies differ from application to universities?  If so, in what way(s)?

Applying to one of the United States service academies is different in that (a) the application is available the spring semester of the cadet’s junior year – as opposed to traditional colleges and universities applications, which are typically available in the Fall of the applicants senior year; (b) a cadet is required to apply for a nomination from their Congressman and/or Senator and the Vice President; (c) a physical fitness test must be passed in order to be admissible to an academy; (d) if accepted, tuition is covered by the United States military; (e) after graduation, a cadet is an officer in the military and must serve a determined length of time in active duty.  The United State Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination and is very difficult to get in.  Applying to any of the service academies is extremely competitive.

Are there web sites that explain how to get in to a good university?

One of the most comprehensive web sites I recommend to cadets to use is  This web site offers career assessments, college major matching, college information, financial aid information, SAT practice tests and information for parents and guardians.  is a virtual “one-stop” college exploration & application web site and is extremely user friendly.  In addition to Mystudentedge, a cadet can google just about any question concerning college exploration and admissions and thousands of web sites will pop up for his exploration.

How about university listings and ratings?

Well, one of the most important things I tell cadets is to be sure and choose a college environment and philosophy that reflects his individual needs (a good fit school) and not the “latest greatest name-brand, number one in the latest newsmagazine” college or university.  The majority of successful men and women have graduated from colleges and university most people have hardly ever heard of.

Are there guide books that explain how to apply for college?

Bookstores are filled guidebooks on college placement, as well as essay writing handbooks, SAT/ACT workbooks, financial aid handbooks, career choice handbooks….  You can find books on every aspect of admission, including campus visits, college interviews, and general advice on the entire process. A few of my favorites are Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right CollegeColleges that Change Lives- 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different,  Looking Beyond the Ivies- Finding the College That’s Right for You.

Why do you enjoy working with students who are applying to colleges?

Each cadet brings to me their own desires, goals, wishes, needs, etc and being able to help them pull them all together to find just the right fit for them gives me great pleasure.  I am their biggest cheerleader!  When a cadet gets a letter of acceptance and I put their name on one of our posters posted outside  the College Placement Office, I don’t know who is more excited, the cadet or me!

Learn More About College Placement at the Marine Military Academy

college placement

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Robin Farris has served as the college placement counselor at MMA for almost 8 years, previously serving MMA as the Public Affairs Officer.   Mrs. Farris is a member of NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counseling) TACAC – (Texas Association of College Admissions Counseling) SACAC (Southern Association of College Admissions Counseling).  She has traveled extensively across the United States visiting college campuses, learning about their programs and admissions policies, as well as networking with other counselors and admissions officers in order to introduce the cadets to college campuses they might not be familiar with.