A military school or academy is a specialized institution that teaches academics while also preparing candidates for service in the officer corps.
The admittance to military schools is highly sought after due to the prestige. Students receive a top notch education while also getting immersed in a military culture.
There are three types of military schools for boys and girls that exist:
- Pre-School Level Military Institutions
- University Level Institutions
- Military Academy Institutions
In this article, we will examine the Top 15 Military Pre-Schools for Boys and Girls in 2020 based on exclusivity, affordability, and highest SAT scores.
Pre-school level is the equivalent to a middle school or high school where students are preparing for college, or a life in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Jump To A Military School Type
Frequently Asked Questions
Top 5 Military Schools For Boys and Girls – Most Exclusive
What makes a military school “exclusive”? It depends on how selective the military academy is regarding admittance. Schools with notoriously low acceptance rates (a little over half or higher) are considered exclusive because they are very hard to get into.
#1 – New York Military Academy
Location: Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY
Acceptance Rate: 50% – 55%
Description: The New York Military Academy is one of the most prestigious military academy’s in the United States. Located directly on the Hudson River in Cornwall-on-Hudson, notable alumni include current president Donald J. Trump, Francis Ford Coppola, and Judge Albert Tate.
The college prep school is a board school that accepts boys and girls. It is one of the oldest military schools in the United States that previously only admitted male students. It was founded in 1889.
Grades 8-12 attend the institution. Only 100 students attend the school which not only makes it incredibly exclusive. Classrooms are tiny with an average 1:8 teacher to student ratio.
Related Article – Joining The Military After College: How To Do It The “Right” Way
The selective school boasts an average SAT score of 1200. Students average paying over $44,160 per year for tuition and boarding, which is actually substantially lower than the average yearly cost for boarding schools.
Furthermore, more than half of the students in attendance receive some form of financial aid with the average amount in grants $13,000.
The college preparatory school has a 100 percent college placement record. It is also the host to the NYMA Summer Leadership Program.
#2 – Fork Union Military Academy
Location: Fork Union, VA
Acceptance Rate: 55% – 60%
Description: Fork Union Military Academy is located in a small village in central Virginia. The massive campus spans over 1,300 acres. The serenity of the remote campus has led to its popularity, and therefore made it one of the most exclusive in the country.
Famous alumni of the Christian college prep school include Sonny Randle, Plaxico Burress, General John T. Chain Jr., and Charles Edwin Estes.
Fork Union Military Academy is only open to enrollment for male students. It endows a number of scholarships each year to cadets based on various qualifications with an emphasis on leadership, character, and academic performance.
Related Article: Does The National Guard Pay For College?
Grades 7 through 12 are currently admitted. The enrollment is only 330 students. Attendees receive a unique “One-Subject Plan” curriculum in which a single subject is only studied over the duration of seven weeks.
Students at Fork Union have an average SAT score of 1110. Classroom sizes are small due to the exclusiveness. The teacher to student ratio is only 1:8.
Tuition is also reasonable for a boarding school. The yearly average is nearly $33,000, more than $20,000 less than the boarding school nationwide average. Students also receive grants with the average amount of $11,000.
#3 – Missouri Military Academy
Location: Mexico, MO
Acceptance Rate: 60% – 70%
Description: The Missouri Military Academy is located in rural Missouri. The prep school boards all its students and relies on a heavy military tradition as well as focus on academic excellence. The notable alumni from the boarding school include Mr. Dale Dye, Judge William Berry, and Lt. General Jack Fuson.
The Missouri Military Academy is currently exclusive to just boys. It preps students in the grades 7 through 12. Its 360-Degree Education promotes academic excellence, physical development, strong character, personal motivation, and leadership skills.
Graduates have received acceptance to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, including U.S. service academies. Its JROTC program is nationally recognized and honored more than 30 times with the U.S. Army’s highest distinction.
Only 220 male students are currently enrolled at the Missouri Military Academy. The average SAT score at the boarding school is 1148. The average ACT score is 23.
Classroom sizes are small with an average of 14 students and teacher to student ratio of 1:11. Yearly tuition averages $38,000 for boarding, and $9,300 for day students. Approximately 40 percent of students receive financial aid.
Related Article: How To Get Into West Point Military Academy
#4 – Admiral Farragut Academy
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Acceptance Rate: 90%
Description: Admiral Farragut Academy is a private military prep school that allows boys and girls. It provides classroom instruction for grades 8 through 12. The small campus is located in Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The notable alumni of Admiral Farragut Academy include astronauts Alan Shephard and Charles Duke. Actor Lorenzo Lamas also attended the boarding school.
The academy offers signature programs including Naval Science (Military), Aviation, Engineering, Marine Science, Scuba, and AP Capstone. The academy also accredits FCIS, SACS, TABS, SAIS, and NAIS.
While admittance is selective the student body is remarkably diverse. Admiral Farragut Academy reports current attendees comprise more than 27 different countries throughout the world. ESOL classes are also provided for non-English speaking students.
The military prep school has a little over 300 students. The average classroom size is 17, with a teacher to student ratio of 1:15.
The average yearly tuition for students is $48,000 which includes boarding costs. The yearly amount is comparable to the nationwide average of $56,500. International students pay a slightly higher amount at nearly $51,800 per year.
#5 – Camden Military Academy
Location: Camden, SC
Acceptance Rate: 80%
Description: The Camden Military Academy is located in Camden, South Carolina. The institution endorses a motto of “whole man” in terms of its approach to academia. In addition to academics, students are also challenged to grow physically, emotionally, and morally.
The academy is currently only open to male students in the grades 7 through 12. The Camden Military Academy is currently composed of 300 students making it one of the more exclusive military boarding schools in the nation.
The average class size is only 12 students. The teacher to student ratio is 1:7 providing a ton of face-to-face interaction. Students average a score of 1050 on the SAT, and 24 on the ACT. Camden Military Academy accredits SACS, NAIS, and AMSCUS.
Tuition is way down compared to the national average for boarding schools. The average domestic student at Camden Military Academy only pays about $24,000 per year in boarding, less than half the national median.
However, international students do pay substantially more on tuition at $37,000 per year. Additionally, only 30 percent of students receive financial aid and the average grant size ($2,800 per year) is far below the national average.
Top 5 Military Schools For Boys and Girls – Highest SAT Scores
Military prep schools report their average SAT scores each year just like a public high school. While the sample size of military schools are small (usually less than 100 students), it serves as a reflection of what students typically earn on the SAT college prep test.
It should in no way reflect what you can guarantee a child may receive for a test score if he or she gains admittance. However, it is a decent benchmark for average academic performance regarding the 2020 school year.
#1 – St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy
Location: Delafield, WI
Average SAT Score: Over 1500
Description: St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy is a private, Christian military prep school. The co-ed institution is renowned for its high performance on college prep tests like the SAT and ACT.
Famous alumni of St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy include Daniel Gerber, Spencer Tracy, Arthur Wermuth, and Edward Noble.
The military prep school has been in existence since 1884 in rural Wisconsin. Given the high performance on the SAT, students frequently gain admittance to highly prestigious universities and service academies.
Students in attendance are in the grades 7 through 12. The gorgeous 110-acre campus promotes academic focus along with building self-esteem and discipline. It has the motto “work hard, play hard, pray hard”.
The average classroom size is only 12 students. Plenty of one-on-one interaction is provided for both boys and girls. There are currently about 270 students enrolled at the boarding school.
The average SAT score is 1530 based on the year 2020. The median for ACT test performance was 25.
Students average paying $39,000 per year on tuition, well below the national average. International students pay closer to $44,000 a year for boarding and tuition.
Financial aid is available, however, only about one-fourth of students received any assistance in 2020. The average financial aid grant was $8,500. For such a high performing school, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy actually has a very high acceptance rate.
#2 – Riverside Military Academy
Location: Gainesville, GA
Average SAT Score: 1300 – 1350
Description: Riverside Military Academy is located about an hour north of Atlanta on a beautiful, 200+ acre campus. The college prep school offers boarding for students in grades 7 through 12.
The academy was founded in 1907 and features some notable alumni including John Bassett, Judge E.J. Salcines, Ira Middleberg, and Jeffrey Weiner. The alumni is particularly decorated in the field of law.
Riverside Military Academy has some of the highest reported median SAT scores in the country. Last year, the average SAT score for students at the military academy was 1323. However, the ACT median was much more average at only 20.
The JROTC program at the academy is one of the most decorated in the nation. It has been designated as a JROTC Honor Unit with Distinction for over 80 years. It allows up to five cadets to get recommended each year to federal service academies.
Classroom sizes are small at Riverside Military Academy. The teacher to student ratio is 1:12. However, the academy is larger than most in terms of total students. At 550 students it is far bigger than many other prestigious boarding schools.
Tuition and boarding is moderately priced at Riverside Military Academy. The average domestic student pays approximately $38,000 per year. International students spend quite a bit higher at $43,600 per year. However, half of all students to receive financial aid, and the grants are generous at approximately $15,000 or more.
#3 – Massanutten Military Academy
Location: Woodstock, VA
Average SAT Score: 1200 – 1250
Description: The Massanutten Military Academy is located in Woodstock, Virginia. The premier boarding school is open to boys and girls. It prepares students for secondary education in a private setting.
The challenging curriculum provides cadet development with strong academics. Its achievement in high SAT scores has allowed Massanutten Military Academy to get acknowledged as one of the top military schools in the country for decades now.
Massanutten Military Academy is open to grades 5 through 12. The campus is relatively small and only has about 130 students in attendance. Therefore, classrooms are tiny with a teacher to student ratio of only 1:8.
The average SAT test score performance in 2020 is 1230. ACT scores have not been reported.
Tuition is reasonable for a boarding school. Students from the United States average paying $29,000 per year for boarding and tuition. International students average paying $38,000 per year.
Financial assistance is exceptional. The academy reports that 95 percent of students earn some type of financial aid, though the average grant is relatively low at $5,000.
Its reported acceptance rate is 75 percent.
Related Article: How To Get Accepted Into U.S. Air Force Academy
#4 – New York Military Academy
Location: Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY
Average SAT Score: 1200 – 1250
Description: New York Military Academy not only makes our list as one of the most exclusive military schools in the United States for 2020, but also one of the highest achieving.
The academy has some of the most famous alumni of any boarding school in the country with current President Donald Trump and Francis Ford Coppola. Its previous students have performed historically well on SAT and ACT tests.
The average SAT score for New York Military Academy students this past year was 1200 – good for fourth in the country. The co-ed school witnessed high performance for both boys and girls, and offered advanced placement into some of the top universities in the nation.
High academic performance is partly attributed to extremely small class sizes. The average class only has eight students, providing a massive amount of personal interaction and instruction.
The average tuition for New York Military Academy was $44,160 in 2020.
#5 – Fork Union Military Academy
Location: Fork Union, VA
Average SAT Score: 1100 – 1150
Description: Fork Union Military Academy is another extremely exclusive military school that also performs exceptionally well on the SAT. Last year the average score was 1110, good for fifth among military prep schools in the nation.
The male-only military academy has a longstanding tradition of performing very well on college entrance exams, and thus placement into very prestigious universities are common.
Students are well rounded as Fork Union not only focuses on academics, but also leadership and character. Its “One-Subject Plan” curriculum has been notoriously successful in helping mold young minds.
Like New York Military Academy, Fork Union also boasts one of the smallest teacher to student ratios in the country (1:8).
Top 5 Military Schools For Boys and Girls – Least Expensive
Military schools are notoriously expensive in terms of tuition and boarding costs. However, these five military academies defy tradition by offering relatively affordable costs.
#1 – New Mexico Military Institute
Location: Roswell, NM
Description: The New Mexico Military Institute was established in 1891, and is the only state-supported co-ed military college prep boarding school in the United States.
It supports grades 9 through 12. The New Mexico Military Institute is designed to provide military education and training to the youth at affordable prices.
The academy is nationally recognized for its outstanding academic performance, leadership and character development, as well as physical fitness programs.
It awards over $2 million each year in scholarships. The student body is diverse as members are from over 40 states as well as 33 foreign countries as of 2020. A large percentage of students are of color.
College placement is extremely high (98 percent). The small classroom sizes (10:1) help with personal instruction and performance.
Famous alumni include Conrad Hilton, Sam Donaldson, Chuck Roberts, and Owen Wilson. Students have advanced to receive the Medal of Honor in the U.S. Military.
The massive campus spans 300 acres and has a student body of nearly 900 students making it one of the larger military boarding schools in the country. Last year students only paid on average $13,700 for tuition and boarding. International students paid slightly higher. 9 in 10 students receive some type of financial aid with the average grant of $3,000.
#2 – Camden Military Academy
Location: Camden, SC
Description: In addition to being considered one of the Top 5 Most Exclusive Military Schools in America – Camden Military Academy is also inexpensive compared to other boarding schools.
The military academy has a median average of $24,000 per year for domestic students. It is the second lowest of any military prep school in the country though its financial aid could see some improvement.
Last academic year it was reported only 30 percent of students received some type of financial assistance at the highly selective boarding school. And the average financial aid grant for that 30 percent was only $2,800.
International students also pay substantially higher for room and tuition. The average was $37,000 last school year.
However, despite a few flaws Camden Military Academy is still very affordable. It services students grades 7 through 12 and remains selective. Only 300 students attend the prestigious academy.
#3 – Massanutten Military Academy
Location: Woodstock, VA
Description: Massanutten Military Academy is not only one of the highest performing military schools in the United States, but also among the most affordable.
The median average for tuition in 2018-19 was $29,000. While it may seem expensive that figure is actually nearly half of the average cost to attend a boarding school in the United States.
The co-ed school is open to boys and girls grades 6 through 12. Only 130 students attend Massanutten Military Academy.
The reported tuition and boarding rate for this past year was $29,000. As is the norm, international students spent more at approximately $38,000 for the year. Financial assistance is readily available. Almost all students received some type of financial aid this past year with the average grant $5,000.
Related Article: How To Get Into U.S. Naval Academy
#4 – Fork Union Military Academy
Location: Fork Union, VA
Description: Fork Union Military Academy is the only military school to make the cut for top five in hard to get accepted into, high performing in terms of SAT scores, and also affordability. It arguably makes it the finest military prep school in the country as a result.
Fork Union Military Academy performs remarkably well in all key areas of criteria. The male only academy costs quite a bit more than the first three institutions on this list yet at $33,000 is still relatively affordable.
It is far below the national median for boarding schools for both domestic and international students.
The biggest flaw with Fork Union Military Academy is financial assistance. Less than half of all students receive any form of financial aid. However, those that are selected for financial aid receive generous scholarships. The average grant amount for 2020 was $11,000.
#5 – Marine Military Academy
Location: Harlingen, TX
Description: The relatively new institution was founded in the mid-1960s yet has developed a strong reputation for affordability since it opened its doors. Marine Military Academy is located in Harlingen, Texas.
The academy provides more than 50 course offerings at reasonable prices. The median average for tuition and boarding is $35,000 per year. Over 250 male students attend the academy for ages 7 through 12. Classroom size is relatively small with a teacher to student ratio of 1:11.
The biggest knock on Marine Military Academy is its financial assistance. Only a reported 15 percent receive assistance, and the financial aid is not very high. The average financial grant scholarship was just $2,700 per student.
The academy is primarily designed to provide opportunities for those interested in joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Along with honor courses, students may also enroll in Aerospace and Marine Science.
Additionally, 40 acres on-campus is dedicated to Marine Corps physical training. JROTC and organized sports are also offered through the institution.
The Marine Military Academy has an incredibly high acceptance rate of 98 percent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Related Article: American Military Reputation
Are there any free military schools I can send my kid to?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Gaining admittance to a military school is considered a privilege, and one that also costs a lot of money. The most affordable is the New Mexico Military Institute which costs a fraction of most boarding schools in the U.S. and has a very good reputation.
The amount of financial aid options is also stellar. Public education can offer a free alternative to military school through its JROTC program – though it is not a complete military school by any means.
What’s the minimum age to attend military school?
Every military school in the United States has its own acceptance requirements. The norm is between the grades of 6 to 8. So that would place students between the ages of 12 and 15. It does depend on the academy.
In the United States, most regions of it require children between the ages of 6 and 16 to receive a formal education. Parents are allowed to force their child to a military school if they make the demand.
Is there any way I can get financial aid?
Yes, absolutely. All military schools in the United States offer some type of financial assistance. The number of recipients and amount of grant money varies widely based on its endowment, among other factors.
Please consult our Top 5 Most Affordably Military Academies in the U.S. You can also get more information by contacting the institution directly.
Is it a good idea to send troubled youth to a military school?
It depends on personal circumstances. Along with a heightened focus on academics, military schools also develop character and leadership skills.
The academies provide more discipline than your typical public school, which is why some parents decide to send a troubled youth to a military school. Staying in a boarding school can also help with outside distractions or bad influences.
Military prep schools in the United States are gauged on a number of different criteria including cost to attend, types of financial assistance, acceptance rates, college placement rates, and average SAT or ACT scores.
What is military school?
Military schools, often referred to as boarding schools, are military-style schools whose primary purpose is to instill discipline and hard work in an academic setting.
How much does military school cost?
Military school tuition rates are based on the reputation of the school, and its location. The avg. cost of military school is $30,000 - $40,000 per year.
Are there any free military schools?
The only free military schools available are those that are part of the public school system.
What age can you go to military school?
You can attend military school at as young as 6 years old, but the average age is 14 years old.
What happens in military school?
While it varies widely based on the school, in general military schools instill values like respect, discipline, accountability, and leadership through rigorous academic and physical training.