The term “military high school” can be quite self-explanatory. It’s almost the same as a private high school, except that it follows after a military tradition. The purpose of this is to get the best of what military academies have to offer and apply this on high school students in order to help them develop important values such as camaraderie, nationalism, discipline, and responsibility, among others.
These schools have the usual core subjects and extracurricular activities present in traditional high schools, but with additional military-inspired activities. It’s not unusual for high school military schools to have extracurricular activities like riflery, JROTC, marching band and similar activities, or for core subjects to include courses about naval navigation, rocketry, military history, and similar courses.
While some private schools require students to wear uniforms, most military high schools will require students to wear military-inspired uniforms and be called “cadets”. Different school staff will also have military titles, and different parts of the school will have military-inspired names.
You’ll also find some military high schools which focus more on a branch of military service. For example, there are schools that provide extra courses for different military branches like navy, but focus more on aviation. Students can get extra courses in aviation science, have actual on-hands experience flying a plane and get their pilot’s license by the time they graduate in high school.
Going to a military school does not guarantee a slot in military universities or colleges, but it’s a good way to have an edge in terms of knowledge in different parts of the military tradition. Not all students who go to these kinds of high school really plan to pursue a military career, but the fact remains that these schools provide students with excellent education, a structured environment, and the discipline and drive that will help them succeed in the next phase of their academic and personal lives.
Military schools have a great track record for college matriculation as well as developing students who are athletically gifted. Students are not forced to take part in military-inspired extracurricular activities. For example, most schools do not require all students to join JROTC. Students with different interests can still flourish in military schools. After all, when students learn to be responsible for themselves and strive for excellence, they pick up important life skills along the way that are beneficial to any field that they choose.
Students are also not treated like regular cadets in a military training camp. They do go out on weekends, get calls from home, have internet access and are connected to the outside world. They aren’t cloistered and kept from the world outside school. Most of them are actively involved in community service efforts.
The question of whether your child will fit in depends on whether his/her personality and needs can be best served by military schools. If your teen has other needs, like teens with ADHD/ADD, learning differences and disabilities, it’s best to find out if the school has facilities to accommodate and help your child with his/her specific challenges. Not all military high schools will be able to provide this. If your child has a need for intensive therapy and counseling, other alternatives are probably more suited to fit that, such as therapeutic boarding schools.