Military School — A military school is definitely not a place for lazy, rowdy, undisciplined young people. In fact, military schools are known for their very stringent admissions process where only the cream of the crop are admitted; students who not just perform well in school but also show great leadership potential.
Parents may sometimes wonder what goes on in these schools, and whether their portrayal in movies and TV shows are fair and accurate. There is a huge distinction between boot camps and military schools, and probably the confusion comes from that. Military academies are a lot like regular boarding schools except that they follow and highlight military tradition.
Students live in a very organized and orderly environment. The schedules are structured and students are expected to follow this structure, going to class as early as 7:30 AM and finishing up at around 4:30 PM, then going to after school programs and monitored study halls. Students are given plenty of time for themselves, but the rigorous structure of their academic and extracurricular activities keep them focused on the right things.
Contrary to public belief, students in these schools are not cloistered and kept away from the outside world. Students can call their parents and friends at designated times. Most of them already provide internet access in certain parts of the school.
Parents and friends are also often invited to watch games, performances, and other school activities that are open to visitors. Parents can certainly reach their children, and children can contact home. Some schools are strict about allowing students to bring their mobile phones to class, though.
During weekends, students can also go out with their friends into the surrounding community. They can go to church, go home, see a movie, go bowling, or enjoy other outdoor activities with friends. Military schools also often use a discipline system where good behavior is rewarded by additional privileges such as extra time to stay out a bit later during weekends.
Students are also expected not just to pick up after themselves but also to make it a point to keep their living quarters and their belongings in an orderly condition. Students are given the responsibility of looking after the cleanliness of their quarters. This additional responsibility on top of rigorous academic, athletic, and arts programs help students become more driven towards excellence and to have a personal sense of high standards.
Not all kinds of teens will flourish in military schools, it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s not just the admissions process, but also the rigid structure that students live by everyday in boarding school. Some students may flourish better in a less structured environment. For example, students who have an aptitude for visual arts and music may find a more family-like environment to be suitable to their learning style.
Troubled teens who need help getting back on the right track may need something else that these schools may not be able to provide. If your teen has an unhealthy disregard for authority, gets into constant trouble, is acting out, or has started abusing substances, it may be better to explore other options available such as therapeutic boarding schools.