As one generation succeeds the next, parents increasingly worry about their children's ability to navigate modern life successfully. Academic performance seems to decline even as college admissions standards grow tougher. Employing tutors, encouraging participation in extra-curricular activities and following up with homework are all part of the parental toolbox. Sometimes, even this level of monitoring is insufficient.
Meanwhile, parents also worry about intangible assets like character formation. With all these concerns, it is no surprise that a military school at which a child may board becomes a serious option. Fortunately, there is no shortage of good military schools in Texas.
How Does Military School Help Students?
Many of the highest-ranking commanders in the U.S. Armed Services graduated from a service academy (e.g. West Point or Annapolis) or military college (e.g. the Citadel or Virginia Military Institute). They often point to those years as pivotal in their maturity. Yet similar, though perhaps not as intense, education is available at the high school level.
In Texas and beyond, these schools convey a very structured curriculum, broadly distributed among science, math, engineering, arts, humanities, social sciences and athletics. In addition, they are clear about the values they seek to inculcate in students with the goal of improved character.
They grade according to a strict standard and push students to excel in every area of training. Previously unmotivated pupils often find the inspiration they need at Texas military schools.
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Is Military School for Everyone?
There are some students who underperform in their public schools and are thus pegged as good candidates for military school. This is not always the case. Those who are already highly stressed by their current environment would often collapse under the pressure of the rigid structure, demanding schedule and high expectations of a military high school, particularly in a residential institution.
Boarding schools in Texas for troubled youth offer counseling resources that are often absent from military schools. The long and the short of it is that Texas military schools are an excellent alternative to public schools, but they are not a panacea for every instance of learning difficulty.
Are Texas Military Schools Expensive?
A national survey places military boarding school tuition within a range from $25,000 to $50,000 annually. As of 2022, the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas, for example, costs as much as $46,650 per year. Clearly, some schools can be pricey due to several factors, such as state-of-the-art technology, faculty salaries, boarding accommodations and athletic facilities, to name a few.
Of course, how costly a school is remains relative to a family's capacity to afford it. The good news is that scholarships are available to defray these expenses.
The Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS) is one source of these grants. Scholarships of $1,000 and $500 are given for outstanding leadership skills, as well as relationships to Purple Heart recipients and dependents of military personnel. Some endowments reach up to $15,000. So, while some academies are cost-prohibitive by themselves, there is aid available.
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Free Military Boarding Schools
All of the U.S. service academies are free of charge, though graduates pay the country back with years of service. As far as high schools go, there are some military secondary institutions in the U.S. that are free, but there is one caveat. These are actually components of local public school systems, so free attendance is limited to students who live in those school districts.
However, the Texas National Guard does sponsor the Texas Challenge Academy that incorporates military discipline into a high school curriculum directed toward at-risk youth. Residency is included.
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Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.