By Michael Madrid
Many parents wonder, "What is military school?" And, "Is it the right choice for my child?" Well, many of you will be shocked to hear this, but military schools may actually be a cut above public schools. Let's check out what military academies have to offer their students and some common misconceptions that steer parents and their children away from this excellent opportunity.

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What Is the Purpose of Military School, Really?

Military boarding schools are pretty similar to your regular public school in that they teach students core subjects such as math, English, history, etc. But, they do something public schools don't: teach students the importance of having good values and strong character. The majority of military schools teach and share core values such as respect, discipline, leadership, accountability, and solidarity. It helps students foster healthy characters and teaches them the skills and emotional intelligence necessary to succeed in any endeavor, whether in or outside the military.

Common Myths About Military Schools

Most myths about military schools revolve around what type of students go to them and whether or not they teach valuable information. Many of these myths have been spurred by false portrayals in the media. Here are a few common misconceptions about military academies:

1. Military School’s for Troubled Youth

This myth is by far the most feared by parents and kids, alike. But, the truth is, military schools don't want to deal with troubled students. In fact, they expect nothing but excellence from their students. Additionally, military academies see themselves as "college preparatory schools" that prepare students for the future. It's a great place to build structure in everyday life, but it's only for students who actually want to be there.

2. Military School Students Only Go Into Military Service

At the end of the day, some students decide to join the military, and some don't. It may seem like a logical step to parents after military school that students enlist in the armed forces, but that's not always the primary goal for graduates. The purpose of military school is to prepare students for college and, afterward, possibly a career in the military. Graduates are not required in any way to join the armed forces.

3. Military Schools Only Teach Military Stuff

Military schools teach students a lot more than military stuff. It's no different than a religious school. The only difference between them is what they focus on primarily. For example, religious schools may focus on theological education, while military schools focus on military history and other related subjects.

4. There Aren't Extra-Curricular Activities

People think students at military school get in formation and march all day, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Military schools offer a variety of extra-curricular activities that students can participate in, such as leisure and competitive sports and clubs.

What's the Main Difference Between Normal School and Military School?

Some of you may be wondering, "What is military school like compared to normal school?" Military schools are different from public schools because they focus on instilling important values like cooperation and discipline. Another difference is the students’ living situation. For many students, it's their first time away from home, so they learn to become self-sufficient by being responsible for their area and course work. The main difference is how military schools instill important values that public schools often don't pay attention to and don't have the resources or ability to teach.

Best Military Schools

Military academies are versatile and come in a wide range of categories. For example, free military schools, private, coed, and boys-only options. If you think a military school could be a good fit for your child, here’s a brief list of the best options.

Fork Union Military Academy

The Fork Union Military Academy is located in Fork Union, VA, 54 miles from Richmond, VA. It's an all-boys college preparatory high school for grades 6 through 12 and doesn't focus on a specific military branch. The overall SAT score of students who attend Fork Union is 1525.

New York Military Academy

The New York Military school is located in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, and is 60 miles from the big city. It's a coed high school for grades 8 through 12 and is affiliated with the U.S. Army. The average SAT score for the student population is 1500.

Hargrave Military Academy

The Hargrave Military Academy is located in Chatham, VA, 56 miles from Roanoke, VA. It's a male-only preparatory school for grades 7 through 12. They have no military branch affiliation, and the overall SAT score for the student population is 1515.

Randolph-Macon Academy

The Randolph-Macon Academy is located in Front Royal, VA, and is 69 miles from Washington, D.C. It's a coed college preparatory school for grades 8 through 12, and the academy is affiliated with the United States Air Force. The overall average SAT score for the student population is 1485. Now that you know what a military school actually is, you can decide if it's the right fit for you and your family. No matter your choice, every military school fosters good character and discipline. It's the perfect place for motivated students who want to prepare for college or a rewarding career in the armed forces.

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