In a typical US school setting, virtually unlimited distractions, temptations, and lures to undesirable habits can keep kids from getting off on the right track in life, both academically and personally. However, the case is different in the military schools for boys in the United States.
Here, students receive structure, discipline, and an atmosphere that allows them to excel and achieve their goals in a nurturing and effective environment. As a parent or guardian looking to send your child or ward to a military school for boys in the US, we’ve got you covered as we rank in the top 10 in the country.
Many parents are looking for alternatives to their child’s high school education. So most parents end up asking the question:
Is a military school the best option for my son?
Military schools generally offer strict discipline, counseling, or self-destructive behavior therapy that may be necessary to get your child back on the right track.
To be more precise, the goal of most military academies and schools is to help young people reach their potential and to be aware and open to their future options.
Military school students are taught to gain the self-confidence to accept challenges and the perseverance to come back again and again without getting discouraged.
There are many benefits you enjoy when you enroll your child in one.
Therefore, this article will shed more light on these benefits and provide vital information on the best military schools for boys in the United States.
Here’s a quick look at what to expect:
What is a Military School?
According to Wikipedia, a military academy or service academy (in the United States) is an educational institution that prepares candidates for service in the officer corps. It normally provides education in a military environment; the exact definition depends on the country in question.
With their rich heritage and bright future, today’s military schools essentially represent a unique educational alternative to conventional college preparatory schools.
In addition to a strong academic foundation, military schools integrate military principles into the curricula. Here, students learn valuable skills that prepare them not only for college but also for lifelong success, all within a safe and nurturing environment.
Military schools, renowned for their prestigious and high-quality education, have a well-deserved reputation for producing independent thinkers, responsible leaders, and engaged citizens.
It is essential to recognize that not all military schools are cut from the same cloth. These institutions, often referred to as military prep schools or military academies, primarily offer a college preparatory curriculum tailored for students in grades 6-12, although primary school military schools, while less common, also exist.
Moreover, while military tradition historically dictated that these schools be exclusively for boys, many have now adopted a coeducational approach, opening their doors to both genders.
Additionally, some military schools incorporate a religious component into their educational framework.
An intriguing fact about military schools should be noted: Contrary to a prevalent misconception, military schools are not intended for troubled teens. Quite the opposite, they uphold a strict stance against disruptive behavior on campus or in the classroom, and they do not admit students who pose disciplinary challenges.
Why Enroll Your Son in a Military School in The US?
US military schools have always been a solid choice for parents, and more recently, military schools have become college preparatory programs as well. Academic standards at these schools have risen, and military schools are even more demanding in selecting applicants than before.
Families who choose military schools do so for a variety of reasons. So whether your goal is to help your child build self-esteem or develop lifelong leadership skills, today’s military schools offer challenges and opportunities for young people.
Furthermore, regardless of the differences that may exist between the military schools, they all share a common imperative.
And that is providing a quality education for the “whole” student.
In military schools, students are held to rigorous academic standards and are thoroughly equipped to meet and surpass these expectations. Furthermore, they receive comprehensive instruction in essential values such as respect, teamwork, and the principles of success that extend beyond the classroom.
A paramount aspect of military school education lies in leadership training and character development, both of which are seamlessly integrated into the academic curriculum. This emphasis on cultivating leadership skills and character is fundamental to the overall educational experience.
Notably, the values instilled in students during their time in military school remain with them throughout their lives, serving as a guiding compass in various aspects of their personal and professional journeys.
In conclusion, whether students attend boarding or day programs, military schools are instrumental in molding young individuals into men of exceptional character who are well-prepared to excel in all facets of life.
Benefits of enrolling your child in a military school in the United States
Here are five important lifelong benefits of enrolling your child in military school.
- Students Learn Leadership Skills: One of the basic ways military boarding schools teach leadership is by modeling it. Here, many adult leaders and instructors have strong military backgrounds and have served as leaders in the United States Armed Forces.
Therefore, these experienced role models mentor students, teaching them the best personal and professional conduct by example.
- Students Have Limits: In military boarding schools, students basically thrive on a structured schedule. Students have assigned times for waking up, eating, class, homework, physical activity, recreation, and lights out.
This routine, in turn, instills time management skills, responsibility, accountability, and motivation within each student and peer group.
- Students Are Taught Discipline: Students here are taught to follow specific rules, which are set to help them achieve their goals. Discipline in military school is not as harsh or punitive as people think. Rather, it focuses on helping each student develop her inner strength by managing her actions and reactions.
- Students have a lot of personal responsibility: Students in military boarding schools learn to take responsibility for themselves in a way that is not normally required in other boarding schools. For example, they must maintain meticulous care of their uniforms, rooms, and personal hygiene and learn to be on time for every class, meal, and training.
- Students learn the value of integrity: Finally, students in military boarding schools operate under a strict code of conduct. In fact, each student is responsible for behaving with respect toward their superiors and classmates.
Why Should I Choose a Military School for Boys in The US?
Enrolling your son in a single-gender military school offers a unique advantage in reducing peer pressure. In such an environment, he can freely express himself without the concerns of potential embarrassment in front of girls, which might be more challenging in a co-educational setting.
Middle school marks a pivotal stage in a young child’s life, characterized by significant physical and emotional development. Placing them in an environment tailored to the specific needs of adolescents can be highly advantageous during this turbulent period.
Who Is the Ideal Candidate for a Military School in the United States?
Military schools are open to all students, but certain individuals can particularly benefit from a military education. These include:
- Students facing academic challenges.
- Students who thrive with hands-on attention and guidance.
- Students who excel in social settings and value teamwork.
- Athletically inclined students looking to combine sports with academics.
- International students seeking to gain a deeper understanding of American culture.
- Students who require a structured environment and disciplined training.
- As in military schools, students with lower self-confidence can help build self-assurance and character.
How Much Does Attending a Military School for Boys in the US Cost?
First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that the expense of attending a military school exceeds that of public schools, and in certain instances, the difference can be quite significant.
To put it in perspective, a military day school program can demand tuition and space fees exceeding $10,000 annually. On the other hand, boarding school costs can range from $15,000 to $25,000, or in some cases, even reach as high as $40,000 per year.
What are the 10 Best Military Schools for Boys in the United States?
In the United States, there are numerous military schools for boys, but for the purpose of this article, we will spotlight the top 10 among them.
To effectively rank these leading military schools, we considered several key factors, including:
Qualifications and Facilities: The qualifications of a coeducational school can significantly influence the level of facilities it offers. This includes considerations of whether the school has low or high-quality installations.
Grade Levels: It is commonly observed that lower-grade students may benefit from more extensive facilities and hands-on resources compared to higher-grade students.
Student Population: This refers to the total number of students enrolled in a military school during one academic year.
Student-to-Teacher Ratio: This metric indicates the ratio of students to teachers, highlighting how many students each teacher is responsible for if the student body is divided among the instructors.
Here are the top 10 best military schools for boys in the United States:
- Valley Forge Military Academy and College
- Military Academy of the Northwest of San Juan
- Massanutten Military Academy
- Fork Union Military Academy
- Marine Military Academy
- Camden Military Academy
- Fishburne Military School
- Army and Navy Academy
- Hargrave Military Academy
- Missouri Military Academy
#1 Valley Forge Military Academy and College, United States
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 10
Valley Forge Military Academy and College comprises three fully accredited schools: a middle school (grades 7-8), a high school (grades 9-12), and a two-year junior military college. Each of these institutions offers both residential and commuting options.
Before delving into the details of these schools, it’s essential to grasp some key facts about Valley Forge:
First and foremost, Valley Forge stands out as one of just five military junior colleges nationwide, providing a direct path to military commissioning after two years of study through the Army Early Commissioning Program. This unique feature allows Valley Forge students to commence their military education at a young age and continue it throughout college.
Secondly, like most military schools, Valley Forge students are integrated into a cadet corps and uphold a stringent code of honor. Annually, Valley Forge admits approximately 280 students who embrace this commitment.
Thirdly, academic excellence is one of the five foundational pillars at Valley Forge. As such, there is a steadfast focus on student success within the classroom.
Moreover, Valley Forge operates as a college preparatory leadership institute, intending to educate, train, and equip students for excellence in college and future career achievements through a rigorous, values-based, goal-focused academic curriculum emphasizing critical thinking, problem-solving, and professionalism.
Prospective students should also know that gaining acceptance to the Academy and the College is highly competitive. Consequently, applicants are expected to possess a record of academic achievement and provide letters of recommendation for the Academy, and SAT or ACT scores are required for college admissions.
Now, let’s provide an overview of the two schools under the Valley Forge umbrella:
Valley Forge Military Academy (VFMA):
Founded in 1928, Valley Forge Military Academy (VFMA) is a private, independent school catering to grades 7-12, offering boarding and day options. Situated in Wayne, PA, VFMA’s picturesque campus is conveniently located just 12 miles from Philadelphia, providing a safe and idyllic suburban environment.
VFMA boasts a long-standing tradition of nurturing personal growth and instilling values that prepare the leaders of tomorrow in fields such as business, the military, and politics. With a rigorous curriculum, a dedicated faculty, small class sizes, and personalized attention, cadets have an environment conducive to academic excellence.
Valley Forge Military College (VFMC):
Established in 1935, Valley Forge Military College (VFMC), also known as the Pennsylvania Military School, operates as a private, coeducational, two-year military high school. VFMC’s mission is to equip educated, responsible, and disciplined young men and women with the skills and motivation necessary to successfully transfer to quality four-year colleges and universities.
VFMC offers programs leading to the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Business Administration, further enhancing the educational opportunities available within the Valley Forge institution.
#2 San Juan Northwest Military Academy, US
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 3
Since its establishment in 1884, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy has played an active role in shaping young adults into outstanding leaders. This private and esteemed co-educational high school primarily focuses on leadership development and college readiness. Approximately 265 students are granted admission to St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy each year.
At St. John’s, students are immersed in a structured education system and must participate in mandatory sports programs. The academy’s highly organized, military-style environment not only molds young individuals but also empowers them to realize their full potential.
Furthermore, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy places a significant emphasis on academic excellence, resulting in challenging coursework that demands students’ diligent study and hard work. The exceptional student-to-teacher ratio of nine-to-one ensures that students receive personalized instruction and assistance in any subject they may struggle with.
In fact, St. John’s Northwestern’s overarching goal is to cultivate responsible citizens who embody core values such as teamwork, integrity, a strong work ethic, honesty, and critical thinking.
As a result, all St. John’s Northwestern graduates depart with a well-defined understanding of the qualities required to succeed in an ever-evolving and demanding global environment.
#3 Massanutten Military Academy (MMA), United States
Teacher Ratio: 12 – 1
grades: 6-12, PG
Established in 1899, Massanutten Military Academy is a co-educational boarding and day school nestled in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Its rich history has consistently assisted students in reaching their full potential.
Massanutten Military Academy employs a holistic educational approach that fosters academic excellence and nurtures well-rounded individuals. The institution strongly emphasizes character development, leadership, and service to empower students to realize their maximum potential.
Here are some intriguing facts about Massanutten Military Academy:
Massanutten Military Academy holds full accreditation through the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS) and Advanced Education, formerly known as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Each year, Massanutten Military Academy welcomes around 120 students into its ranks with a mission to prepare these cadets for success through a structured and high-quality educational experience.
The programs at Massanutten Military Academy are meticulously designed to cultivate respect among cadets, faculty, and staff while fostering the potential within each cadet.
While MMA incorporates a military structure, its primary focus lies in academics. As a cadet, you can expect to receive personalized attention from the dedicated faculty and staff.
Additionally, through various academic and tutoring initiatives, students at Massanutten Military Academy learn the essential skills of focus and independent work.
#4 Fork Union Military Academy, United States
Student to Teacher Ratio: 10:1
grades: 7-12, PG
Founded in 1898, Fork Union Military Academy is a Christian boarding school located in Fork Union, Virginia, known for its military-style, college preparatory approach. Catering to young men in grades 7-12 and postgraduate students, it stands as one of the premier military college preparatory boarding schools in the United States.
At Fork Union Military Academy, a strong emphasis is placed on delivering high-quality academic and athletic programs while instilling core values such as character development, self-discipline, responsibility, leadership development, and Christian principles.
Moreover, FUMA is committed to keeping its tuition fees as affordable as possible, ensuring that the opportunity for a military school education is accessible to a wide range of families.
With a diverse student body comprising approximately 367 individuals from 34 states and 11 countries, Fork Union Military Academy offers a well-rounded educational experience.
Here are some testimonials from Fork Union Military Academy alumni:
1. “Being a Fork Union Military Academy alumnus is a badge of honor. Fork Union is a demanding environment, but it’s also a place where young individuals learn valuable life skills like responsibility, discipline, and the art of following instructions.”
2. “Fork Union Military Academy will truly transform your child’s life. This statement is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. I have no personal agenda in saying this. FUMA is a unique institution that takes the young boys you send and shapes them into honorable men, prepared to exemplify decency and succeed in the world.”
3. “No other school in the nation can take immature boys and mold them into well-rounded men. FUMA’s commitment to the values of Body, Mind, and Spirit is truly remarkable, and they excel in nurturing each of these core aspects.”
#5 Marine Military Academy, USA
Teacher Ratio: 11:1
Established in 1965, the Marine Military Academy is a distinguished private college preparatory academy situated in Harlingen, Texas, USA. This institution offers a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum tailored for boys in grades 7-12, with an additional year of graduate study. It stands as one of the premier military schools for boys.
Since its inception, the Marine Military Academy has been dedicated to guiding young men on their journey to unlock their full potential.
The Marine Military Academy is a versatile institution, providing solutions and opportunities for many children. MMA has a track record of addressing various challenges and guiding children toward a path of achievement.
In fact, the primary objective of the Marine Military Academy is to foster positive academic, physical, and moral growth in every cadet. To achieve this, they maintain a disciplined, distraction-free environment that enables cadets to concentrate on their educational and personal development.
Throughout this transformative journey, cadets learn to take responsibility for their lives and acquire the essential tools for success in college and the broader scope of life.
Moreover, the well-established educational model at MMA empowers young men to attain higher grades, develop exceptional character and maturity, and strategically plan for their short-term and long-term future goals.
#6 Camden Military Academy, USA
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 8
Established in 1958, Camden Military Academy (CMA) stands as a distinguished private, all-male military boarding school located in Camden, South Carolina, United States. It has garnered a reputation as one of the foremost military schools for boys in the United States.
This esteemed institution in South Carolina strongly emphasizes academic and personal achievement. The school’s core mission is to educate and inspire its cadet corps, empowering each cadet to reach their full potential and lay a solid educational foundation for success in college and as responsible and contributing citizens in life.
In essence, the primary vision of Camden Military Academy is to embrace boys with untapped potential and mold them into exceptional men for the future.
CMA provides cadets with an environment that encourages their best efforts, characterized by supportive guidance, close supervision, individualized attention, and small class sizes. The college preparatory curriculum serves as an outstanding framework to facilitate student success.
Moreover, Camden Military Academy places unwavering trust in its cadets. Therefore, the institution’s commitment extends to developing the complete individual, ensuring that each student is academically, emotionally, physically, and morally prepared to confront challenges and seize opportunities beyond their time at the school.
Annually, Camden Military Academy welcomes approximately 300 students into its ranks, further reinforcing its commitment to shaping young men into future leaders.
#7 Fishburne Military School, United States
Grades: 7-12, PG
Founded in 1879 by James A. Fishburne, Fishburne Military School is the oldest and most intimate private military school in Virginia. Proudly situated in the historic downtown area of Waynesboro, Virginia, it ranks among the top-tier military schools for boys in the United States.
Fishburne Military School has earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.
At Fishburne Military School, academic achievement thrives as class sizes shrink. As a testament to this commitment, the school enrolls approximately 175 young men, resulting in an average class size ranging between 8 and 12 students. Smaller class sizes facilitate more personalized instruction and guidance.
Moreover, this all-boys institution offers students the choice of boarding or day attendance options. Beyond its reputable academic offerings, the school boasts various extracurricular activities, including a storied storming team, two drill teams, and over 10 different sports programs.
It is also noteworthy that Fishburne Military School alumni continue to make significant contributions across various sectors, emerging as leaders in virtually all aspects of life.
#8 Army and Navy Academy, United States
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 7
Established in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy is a renowned college preparatory boarding school exclusively for boys in grades 7-12, situated in the scenic locale of Carlsbad, California. It currently stands as one of the premier military schools in the United States, dedicated to preparing students for success in both college and their future endeavors.
At the Army-Navy Academy, students have various adventures and experiences that challenge them to set ambitious goals, pushing them to strive for greater heights.
The institution firmly believes that learning extends far beyond academics. Thus, the boarding school environment is crafted to assist students in realizing their full potential, both within and outside the classroom.
For over a century, the Army and Navy Academy has remained steadfast in its commitment to nurturing traits such as responsibility, accountability, and motivation, delivering a transformative experience for countless young men.
It’s also worth noting that the Academy welcomes approximately 300 students each year, further reinforcing its commitment to shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
#9 Hargrave Military Academy, USA
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 6
Grades: 7-12, PG
Established in 1909, Hargrave Military Academy (HMA) is a distinguished private, all-male military boarding school located in Chatham, Virginia. Hargrave maintains affiliations with the Virginia Baptist General Association, strongly emphasizing Christian values while delivering a comprehensive college and military preparatory program.
Hargrave is an institution where students fortify their faith and cultivate character, leadership skills, and the realization of their full potential.
Fundamentally, Hargrave offers a well-rounded program of university preparatory studies that lays the foundation for lifelong learning.
Additionally, the school upholds a robust military program that provides cadets with organization, structure, routine, a disciplined system, and ample leadership opportunities to challenge and nurture their latent potential.
Hargrave Military Academy has earned accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Council on Accreditation and School Improvement through AdvancED and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that Hargrave Military Academy annually admits approximately 230 students, reaffirming its commitment to shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
#10 Missouri Military Academy, US
Faculty Ratio: 1 – 7
Founded on November 22, 1889, the Missouri Military Academy (MMA) is a distinguished private preparatory school in Mexico, Missouri. It is renowned as a premier college preparatory military boarding school for boys in the United States, catering to students in grades 7-12.
In essence, the Missouri Military Academy has cultivated an ideal environment for boys to mature into the kind of men who evoke pride – responsible husbands, devoted fathers, exemplary citizens, and effective leaders.
The Missouri Military Academy operates four distinct yet closely interconnected programs:
1. High School: Designed for young men in grades 9-12.
2. Middle School: Catering to boys in grades 7-8.
3. Summer Program: Offering camps for children ages 8 to 17.
4. Credit-bearing Summer Academy: Tailored for grades 7-12 students.
However, it’s imperative to underscore that all of these programs share a common purpose: to inspire students to unlock their full potential, foster self-confidence, and nurture the development of academic and life skills that will pave the way for success in college and beyond.
Furthermore, the Missouri Military Academy annually extends admission to approximately 250 students, reaffirming its dedication to shaping young leaders poised for a bright future.
Top 10 US Military Schools for Boys in 2024
A military school is an educational institution that specializes in preparing candidates for service in the officer corps. Its educational environment is typically structured around military principles, although the precise definition can vary from one country to another.
In terms of cost, a military day school program can demand tuition and room fees exceeding $10,000 per year. In contrast, boarding school expenses can range from $15,000 to $25,000 or, in some cases, reach as high as $40,000 per year.
The following is a list of the Top 10 Military Schools for Boys in the United States:
1. Valley Forge Military Academy and College
2. Northwest San Juan Military Academy
3. Massanutten Military Academy
4. Fork Union Military Academy
5. Marine Military Academy
6. Camden Military Academy
7. Fishburne Military School
8. Army and Navy Academy
9. Hargrave Military Academy
10. Missouri Military Academy
These institutions are renowned for their commitment to academic excellence and character development, preparing young men for leadership roles in the military and beyond.
In conclusion, the landscape of U.S. Military Schools for boys is as diverse as it is distinguished. These institutions stand as beacons of academic excellence, character development, and leadership training, molding young men into future leaders in the military and society. From Valley Forge Military Academy and College to Missouri Military Academy, each of these schools offers a unique blend of rigorous education, military discipline, and a commitment to nurturing the potential of every cadet.
While the financial commitment required to attend these institutions can be substantial, the investment in a military school education pays dividends in the form of well-rounded individuals who embody values such as responsibility, discipline, and self-confidence. As we’ve explored the top 10 military schools for boys in the United States, it’s evident that these institutions share a common purpose: to inspire students to reach their full potential, instilling in them the skills and qualities necessary to excel in college and beyond.
In the realm of U.S. Military Schools for boys, excellence is not just an aspiration; it’s a way of life. These academies are shaping the leaders of tomorrow, and their legacy of producing outstanding citizens, husbands, fathers, and leaders continues to shine brightly. Whether you seek a military education for its strong academic foundation, its character-building programs, or its focus on leadership development, these schools are committed to helping young men realize their full potential and make a lasting impact on the world.