Military Schools: Advantages of Choosing One
Military schools, are they for me? Many parents today are looking into alternatives to public schools for their high school age sons. They are tired of the results being produced by school systems that are overcrowded, faced with an increase in violence and drugs, plagued by under-funding and see the resulting impact on their sons by lowering of grades and a willingness by the system to simply pass along failing students to the next level. The result is students graduating from high school and totally unprepared for the demands of college.
National studies show in increase in dropout rates and the impact this has on future earning and quality of life. As a result the increase in private schools enrollment has continued for the past several years and the establishment of charter schools and alternative schools has also increased. The indication is an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current public school system and more parents looking into alternatives such as military schools.
Military schools have long been a choice for many parents and over the last several decades military schools have taken on a new role, college preparatory institutions. Enrollment standards have increased to where military schools are much more selective than in past years and the so called “problem student” is finding it harder to get accepted to these schools. Military schools are no longer lock down institutions for those students that cannot adapt to the rules and regulation of schools but are becoming more and more the choice for those students wishing to get into the more prestigious colleges and universities. Additionally, the national average for dropout rate indicates that just over 75% of high school freshman graduate (see below chart from National Center for Education Statistics). Even worse is the dropout rate for major US cities which in 2008 was figured at almost 50%.
To begin with understand that military schools are not the best choice for all students. The student’s temperament and willingness to accept a different life style have a large impact on the success of attending a military school. Military schools traditionally enforce rules and regulations to a greater extent than their public counterparts. Infractions of rules at military schools can result in dismissal rather than just a short term suspension and this can be costly to the parents. At the same time military schools traditionally have a much higher graduation rate (some regularly graduate 100%) and a higher acceptance rate to colleges and universities. Military schools routinely have over 90% of graduates accepted and attend college.
Military schools offer a number of additional advantages over public schools that help lead to the higher graduation and college acceptance rates. Student to teacher ratio in military schools is typically lower, military schools have an increased focus on physical fitness with normally all students being required to engage in some sort of physical training.
A study in the Official Research Journal of The American Society of Exercise Physiologists showed that “physical fitness causes academic achievement to improve”. Military schools also recognize that not all students are varsity athletes and they therefore offer a much wider variety of activities, both physical and and cultural for students that are not interested in the normal range of sports. These choices include such activities as rifle and pistol teams, rock climbing, cycling, cyber patriot program, photography, drill team and boxing to name a few. All of these activities serve to increase the physical and mental fitness of the students, impacting on their performance in the classroom. One of the most significant advantages is the involvement of the Junior ROTC Programs offered at military schools.
Military Schools Junior ROTC Programs
Regardless of whether the branch of service represented by a Junior ROTC program is Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps, the underlying purpose is the same: “to instill in students in [United States] secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment” (Title 10, Section 2031 of the United States Code). A key element of all military schools through the Junior ROTC programs is a focus on the leadership training provided to young men and women.
General Colin Powell stated in his autobiography that “Inner-city kids, many from broken homes, found stability and role models in Junior ROTC.” Junior ROTC programs are not designed to serve as a recruiting pool for the military branches however, a small number of students in JROTC programs do enlist directly into the services upon graduation. A much high number of these are from public school JROTC programs than are from private military schools. Although a small number of graduates of private military schools do join the military the bulk of them go on to colleges and universities.
Is an All Boys Military School a Good Choice?
Although there are a number of studies that show overall students perform better in coeducational schools, there are also a number of studies that show in many cases an all boys school is better for young men. The decision on whether all boys military schools are the best choice is one that must be based on the student in question. Some studies show that social pressures are reduced and boys are more willing to express themselves when their fear of looking bad in from of girls is removed. It should be remembered that high school is the time when young boys are becoming young men and can be a difficult time for them as they move into this important period of their life. This is also a period when they are developing physically and the lack of a good fitness program can have an adverse effect for the remainder of their life.
All boys schools normally have a full schedule of events that include young women so that social interaction, necessary during these formative years is included. Students at all boys military schools are free to visit the local community and interact further with young ladies. Sports activities, dances, community service projects all lead to more interaction so that young men at military schools are comfortable in a social setting with women. Lastly, many of the faculty members and staff at all boys military schools are women so students learn how to interact with them daily.
Who is A Military School Best For?
Students that can benefit the most from a military school experience include:
- Students that are academically underachieving
- Students that need more individual attention
- Students that enjoy a close knit, family group environment
- Students that are athletically inclined but have never had the opportunity
- International students that wish to learn of improve their English
- Students needing greater structure and study habits
- Students that need to increase self confidence
The choice of whether or not to send your son to a military school is a difficult and sometimes stressful choice and one of the biggest decisions that many families will ever make. It is a decision that should be made after careful study of all the advantages however, the final decision is one that should be the parent’s and must be an informed one.
To learn more about the benefits of military school read the following:
How Military Schools Motivate Teens to Succeed
The Value of Attending Military School Infographic
Four Reasons To Choose a Military School Education
5 Life Lessons You Learn in Military School
Military Schools: MMA Can Make the Difference.
Unknown Advantages of Military Schools
Advantages Offered by Military Schools
Military School Alternative
Military Schools – They’re Not for Troubled Teens
It’s Not Your Fathers Military Academy
5 Common Myths About Military Schools
Marine Military Academy is an all-boys military boarding school located in Harlingen, Texas. If you think military school might be a good choice for you please contact us and talk with one of our counselors – Ph. 956-423-6006.