Military schools in Colorado are conveniently located to many historic bases and landmarks.
The Centennial State is also home to the United States Air Force Academy, one of the three primary federal services academies in the nation.
Furthermore, military prep schools in Colorado can help students prepare for an opportunity at the U.S. Air Force Academy or other prestigious post-secondary institutions.
There are many benefits to attending military school as the academics are generally more challenging while cadets receive training and participate in ROTC.
Continue reading to learn about the best military schools in Colorado based on reputation, academics, student-to-faculty ratio, college placement, and extracurricular activities.
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#1 – U.S. Air Force Academy
- Location: 2304 Cadet Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80840
- Founded: 1954
- Grades: Undergraduate
- # of Students: 4,000
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 7:1
- Official Website: https://www.usafa.af.mil/
The United States Air Force Academy is clearly the best among the military schools in Colorado.
It is the most recent of the three primary federal service academies as USAF established the campus in Colorado Springs in 1954.
The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) is the primary federal service academy west of the Mississippi River with the other two located on the east coast (West Point and Annapolis).
In addition to preparing cadets for United States Air Force officer commissioning, the academy also trains officers for the newly developed Space Force branch.
The military academy is located less than an hour south of Denver along the scenic front range of Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The gorgeous campus covers an extensive 18,455 acres and is adjacent to multiple notorious government locations including Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.
Additionally, the Air Force Academy campus is not far from the previous headquarters of NORAD which was stationed inside Cheyenne Mountain.
Cadets get the privileged opportunity of studying at one of the most beautiful campuses in the world with a high elevation of over 7,250 feet.
The campus is famous for many prized landmarks including the USAF Cadet Chapel and Terazzo.
The chapel is considered one of the most prominent examples of modern American architecture and supports worshipers of all beliefs.
Air Academy High School
SIDE NOTE: Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs is the only high school in the United States that is built on a military academy. While it’s technically not a military school/boarding school its close proximity to the Air Force Academy makes it worthwhile to consider for K-12 education. Learn more about the Air Academy by visiting its official website.
The United States Air Force Academy is open to citizens of the United States between the ages 17-23.
Applicants must be of good moral character, unmarried, and with no dependents.
Moreover, students need to receive a nomination generally from a member of the U.S. Congress to receive serious consideration.
For this reason, most high school students that are interested in attending the Air Force Academy begin meeting qualifications their freshmen or sophomore year.
The admissions process is extremely lengthy which is why getting started planning early is imperative to increase your chances of acceptance.
Furthermore, considering attending a military prep school in Colorado (like the ones listed below) can go a long way towards getting noticed by the academy.
The first class at the United States Air Force Academy admitted slightly over 300 students.
Today, the enrollment sizes are much smaller as the average class begins with approximately 1,200 students.
By graduation, a little over 1,000 cadets will have survived military training and the challenging curriculum.
Since the U.S. Air Force Academy is a military institution, applicants are also expected to meet basic physical fitness standards.
Cadets generally excel academically at the Air Force Academy with intimate, small class sizes that only have a 7:1 student to faculty ratio.
A significant portion of the faculty is composed of active-duty USAF officers along with accomplished civilian professors.
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The U.S. Air Force Academy is an accredited 4-year university that offers bachelor’s degrees in multiple subjects.
Cadets can focus on the basic sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities, or inter-disciplinary studies.
Nonetheless, all graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree and progress to earn commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force.
The academic program provides an extensive core curriculum which demands a well rounded education regardless of the individual specialty of each cadet.
The Air Force Academy engineering programs are especially accomplished and traditionally rank among the best in the nation.
Students get rare opportunities to learn through the Aeronautics Research Center and the Consolidated Education and Training Facility (CETF).
The USAF Academy consistently receives more federal funds for research ($60 million a year) compared to other undergraduate programs which presents cadets with an edge over other students.
Additionally, cadets have the flexibility to participate in inter-service or international exchange programs.
Graduates of the Air Force Academy in Colorado receive a Bachelor of Science degree and get commissioned as second lieutenants in the USAF.
Cadets must fulfill their service obligation following graduation in order to receive a tuition-free education.
The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is one of the most competitive schools in the nation in terms of admission.
In fact, the prestigious military academy generally accepts less than 1,200 students for each incoming class and approximately 20% will fail to graduate.
Cadets receive their tuition at the Air Force Academy at absolutely no cost.
Additionally, the federal government covers room, board, and books along with a monthly stipend.
Students do not owe a single dollar so long as they graduate and fulfill the service obligations following their time at the academy.
Cadets make this declaration on the first day of the second year of studies with a pledge to serve for ___ of years in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force.
The commitment is generally 5 years for active-duty troops and 3 years for the reserves.
However, the service obligation length may vary depending on the USAF Specialty Code of the graduate.
Along with maintaining passing grades, cadets must also adhere to a strict USAF Honor Code.
The military school prides itself on the motto “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do”.
Furthermore, cadets have 4 pillars of excellence they must follow which include military training, academics, athletics, and character development.
The Air Force Academy is structured to keep cadets busy at all hours of the day.
For this reason, cadets spend hours participating in drills and military training to prepare for life in the United States Air Force.
Moreover, the broad academic course load introduces cadets to a well-rounded education where they can become diverse and multi-cultured.
Physical education is important at the academy where cadets are required to participate in either intercollegiate or intramural athletics.
Cadets also are expected to join in on character development and leadership exercises.
The Cadet Area features an impressive selection of extracurricular activities.
Falcon Stadium is one of the biggest draws on campus as its home to the NCAA Division I football program which competes in the Mountain West conference.
Every year, the Falcons clash on the gridiron with the other two services academies (Army and Navy) for the annual battle for the Commander-in-Chief trophy.
Winning the trophy serves as a source of pride for the military academy and presents it with bragging rights for the next year.
Related Article – How To Get Into The Air Force Academy
#2 – Colorado Military Academy
- Location: 360 Command View, Colorado Springs, CO 80915
- Founded: 1906
- Grades: K-12
- # of Students: 580
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 15:3
- Official Website: https://www.coloradomilitaryacademy.org/
Colorado Military Academy (CMA) is one of the leading prep schools in the state.
It is clear to see why it consistently ranks among one of the best military schools in Colorado based on reputation and legacy.
The military school which is in the same city as the acclaimed Air Force Academy, has been in existence for more than a century.
Colorado Military Academy, like most military institutions, stands by its reputation when it comes to challenging students academically while developing leadership skills.
Colorado STEM Program
The school which accepts students in all grade levels (K-12) is well recognized for its STEM program.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum are designed to challenge students in fields of study that will remain relevant for future generations.
STEM learning enables students to develop their skills in variety of hands-on settings with designated computer/science labs.
Colorado Military Academy prepares cadets for the leading universities in the country (including the Air Force Academy) along with tomorrow’s careers.
The rigorous and high-tech curriculum focuses on the sciences (technology, engineering, math, etc.) that students will need to master in post-secondary education.
Additionally, the development of strong leaders of characters makes Colorado Military Academy a highly sought after school.
Military leadership development training is offered through the faculty, 9 out of 10 members of which are retired military veterans or have an affiliation with the U.S. Armed Forces.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Colorado Military Academy (CMA) is a public charter school.
As a result, there is no additional cost in terms of tuition to attend Colorado Military Academy.
Nonetheless, you do need to meet eligibility criteria to apply and the military school is competitive.
Colorado Military Academy has a total enrollment of less than 600 students to maintain small class sizes (15:3 student to teacher ratio).
For this reason, the popular military school in Colorado encourages applicants to focus on earning stellar grades as well as participate in community service and extracurricular activities.
Cadets at Colorado Military Academy are required to war uniforms and follow a strict code of conduct.
The military school demands high academic growth and performance by enforcing its discipline policies.
There are many students that participate in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program which is modeled after the military training format.
Colorado Military Academy is conveniently located next to legendary Peterson Air Force Base which supports the institution through a variety of interactive and participatory programs.
As a result, you would struggle to find a better military school in Colorado based on the tuition-free enrollment.
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#3 – Colorado Timberline Academy
- Location: 454 Academy Dr, Durango, CO 81301
- Founded: 1975
- Grades: 9-12
- # of Students: 50
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 4:1
- Official Website: https://www.ctaedu.org/
Colorado Timberline Academy lives up to its title as the campus is situated in gorgeous Durango, Colorado.
The non-traditional college preparatory school presents students with a couple of options for attendance: A) boarding school or B) day student program.
The Colorado Timberline Academy boarding school consistently ranks among the best military schools in Colorado.
The military academy accepts male and female students for the grade levels 9-12.
However, the enrollment is severely capped as Colorado Timberline Academy has less than 50 full-time students.
As a result, the classroom sizes are incredibly small with an average student to teacher ratio of 4:1.
The extremely low student to faculty ratio is highly desirable among parents that want to provide their child with plenty of one-on-one interaction.
Colorado Timberline Academy is dedicated to changing the lives of students that have experienced difficulties in a previous high school setting.
For this reason, Colorado Timberline Academy is more like a traditional military reform/disciplinary school compared to Colorado Military Academy (CMA) which is a public charter school.
Each military school in Colorado has its advantages and disadvantages.
Colorado Timberline Academy prioritizes accepting students that come from troubled backgrounds or have a juvenile record.
The military school seeks to prepare students academically and socially for the challenges they face in the real world.
The diverse curriculum is unique in that students get the opportunity to explore nature through a variety of outdoor programs.
Colorado Timberline Academy takes advantage of its amazing location and quick access to the Rocky Mountains.
Cadets that attend Colorado Timberline Academy often turn their life around as they learn to improve personal responsibility and accountability as well as teamwork and respect for each other.
The sports activity program involves every student at CTA with the opportunity to ski, snowboard, mountain bike, hike, camp, rock climb, and kayak.
Additionally, students can choose between a variety of electives like graphic design, drama, ceramics, photography, or blacksmithing.
The structured day keeps students busy and out of trouble while starting to develop good study habits and acquiring new skills.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Colorado Timberline Academy is a co-ed boarding school in Durango, Colorado.
Students also have the option of saving money and commuting to the campus.
The boarding school is one of the leading military schools in Colorado based on reputation and heritage.
The academy has nearly a half-century of history and success in transforming lives.
It seeks to enroll students that desire a deeper connection with their peers, faculty, as well as the environment.
Nature is fundamental to everything students do at Colorado Timberline Academy as cadets develop a deeper appreciation for it.
The San Juan Mountains greets boarding students with outdoor activities for all seasons in the diverse landscape.
Consequently, the military school in Colorado delivers a diverse curriculum with the freedom to explore creative and personal interests.
Furthermore, the institution has a strong track record in helping students earn college placement.
The close-knit community at Timberline Academy maintains very small classes sizes (max per class is 8 students).
Those that are interested in attending Colorado Timberline Academy are encouraged to submit an initial inquiry form through the official website.
Colorado Timberline Academy welcomes visitors and encourages students to tour the boarding school prior to considering enrollment.
After touring the facilities, those that are still interested need to complete an application.
According to the official website, tuition rates for the 2020-21 school year were 36,000 for boarding students.
Meanwhile, students that elect to commute Colorado Timberline Academy save $9,000 – $10,000 per year.
The tuition costs include class supplies and activity fees, as well as an annual ski/snowboard pass.
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