Military Schools for Troubled Teens

Jennifer L. Betts
Contributor: Stacy Zeiger
Military Walking On Street

Military schools for teens are a cross between boot camps and boarding schools. The discipline is strict and controlled, and a strong emphasis is placed on education. Students, also called cadets, are put through military exercises and rigorous military training.

Military Schools for Teen Boys

These schools typically cater to boys who lack discipline or structure in their daily lives. Check out a few schools available for your troubled teen boy.

Army and Navy Academy

Army and Navy Academy, located in Carlsbad, CA, was founded in 1910 and has a rich history of providing a structured education for its students. Students face high expectations and follow a rigorous schedule that includes daily room inspections, athletics, rigorous coursework, dedicated study and counseling time. With a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio, students receive personalized instruction in the classroom and have the opportunity to take multiple AP courses and creative courses in art and music. The Leadership Education Training (LET) program prepares cadets to develop leadership skills. The school is open to boys in seventh through 12th grade. Yearly tuition is approximately $41,500 for boarding school with additional costs for books and uniforms.

Marine Military Academy

This Harlingen, TX military academy caters to boys in eighth through 12th grade. With more than 50 years of experience, the school has a proven record of providing successful education for its students. In addition to taking classes with an 11 to 1 student-teacher ratio, students have the opportunity to participate in individual and team sports and receive training related to time management and critical thinking. Tuition for Marine Military Academy is around $41,000 a year which includes tuition, room and board, and military-style uniforms.

Fork Union Military Academy

Located in Fork Union, VA, Fork Union Military Academy offers a military school focused on developing Christian values and leadership skills in boys from sixth through 12th grade. Along with a rigorous academic curriculum, cadets have the opportunity to participate in Bible study groups, intramural and team sports or participate in one of the school's many extracurricular activities, including the debate, chess, woodworking and film, and video clubs. Tuition is approximately $38,090 a year, and multiple financial assistance options are available. Additionally, this school offers a student-teacher ratio of 10:1.

Missouri Military Academy

At Missouri Military Academy, located in Mexico, MO, 100 percent of graduates attend college. The school focuses on academics, self-discipline and character development while challenging cadets to reach their potential. Young men in sixth grade through 12th grade are eligible to enroll in the academy which has provided education to students from all 50 states and over 30 different countries. Tuition, room and board and other fees fall lower end of military schools at just under $38,000 a year.

Coed Military Schools for Teens

These schools cater their program to accommodate girls as well as boys. Some of these schools have a separate section for the girls where they take a more nurturing approach in education and activities.

Oak Ridge Military Academy

Oak Ridge Military Academy caters to girls and boys in grades seven through twelve. The school is located in Oak Ridge, NC and was founded in 1852, making it the oldest military school in the United States. While the school is coed, boys and girls participate in separate programs. Academically, the school offers a 5 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Cadets may also participate in JROTC and a variety of athletic programs outside of the classroom. Tuition and fees cost approximately $32,000 a year.

Culver Academy

Culver Academy, located in Culver, IN, is grouped into two different schools: Culver Military Academy and Culver Girls Academy. Both academies focus on rigorous curriculum, discipline, and leadership, but the girls' academy takes a more nurturing approach than the style of the all-male military academy. As cadets, students are given the opportunity to take on leadership positions and demonstrate skills to earn ranks and be promoted within the school's structure. Cadets also face daily room inspections and are required to participate in daily athletic activity. Tuition and fees cost about $49,700 a year along with an additional $1,200 to 2,300 for uniforms.

Massanutten Military Academy

Located in Woodstock, VA, Massanutten Military Academy was established in 1899 and educates boys and girls in grades seven through twelve. Students have the opportunity to earn a standard high school diploma or a college preparatory diploma. They may also participate in the school's JROTC program to earn high school credit. Aside from the academic curriculum, students have multiple athletic and artistic opportunities available to them. Tuition costs approximately $29,000 a year, with an additional $3,000 required for books and uniforms. Returning students pay a discounted rate.

Teen Military School Curriculum

cadets in blue uniforms

In most cases, military schools are not linked to any of the U.S. Armed Forces. They are strictly pre-collegiate schools and serve only middle- and high-school students. An adolescent receives a challenging education - similar to a gifted program at a public high school - but in a very structured atmosphere. Many have strong athletic programs while others are geared at preparing students to further their education at a military academy. Physical activities required include:

  • Marching
  • Survival skills
  • Obstacle courses
  • Military-style parades

How Military Schools Work

Parents that are looking for military schools for their troubled youth are typically at their wit's end. Their children are exhibiting behaviors that are hurting the family or could land them in legal trouble. Military schools help these kids by offering teens structure, discipline, motivation, and quality education.

Structure and Discipline

Military schools typically base their programs off the tactics that are used in the military to train new recruits. Cadets must follow a tried and true schedule through their day that includes classes, drills, and physical activities. In addition to dressing the same, these kids will build comradery with one another as they complete their tasks. Learning to work in a structured and disciplined environment can open a new world to rebellious, defiant teens.

Motivation

Within a military school structure, teens are given tasks to complete as a team and individual. The completion of these goals is rewarded. This working toward a specific goal helps teens with behavior problems to find the motivation they may have been lacking.

Quality Education

Most of these schools offer a low student-teacher ratio and high college acceptance rates along with quality educational classes. This coupled with the respect and character building that kids learn prepares kids for college. This could mean that a teen that might have dropped out of public school now has a chance to get a bachelor's degree.

Pros and Cons of Military School

If you are considering military school for your troubled youth, it's important to look at the different pros and cons. First, explore the different pros for military school.

  • Offers a scheduled routine
  • Strict discipline
  • Low student-teacher ratios
  • Offers physical activities
  • Offer participation in JROTC programs
  • Available for all genders
  • Open to international students
  • Camaraderie can help with mental issues

Along with the pros, there also are cons. Explore how military school might not always be beneficial to every troubled youth.

  • Might increase risk factors for those with mental illness
  • Counseling support isn't specialized for some troubled students
  • Daily schedule might be too stressful
  • Strict discipline removes personal expression

Find a Military School for Teens

To learn more about military schools or discover more military school options, the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States offers advice on how to choose a military school and offers a comprehensive list of potential military schools for your child. Keep in mind that military school may not be the option for all children. Look at your child's individual needs before deciding whether the structure and rigor of a military school will provide the help and support your teen needs or if a treatment center or other type of boarding school will be a better option.

Military Schools for Troubled Teens