New Mexico is criminally underappreciated when families begin looking for the best military prep schools in the nation.
The state is home to one of the best prep academies in New Mexico Military Institute.
Meanwhile, New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy serves as a military-structured reform school administered by the National Guard.
These institutions have helped replace Bataan Military Academy, which unfortunately closed its doors for good in 2016.
Learn more about the best military schools in New Mexico based on reputation, academics, college placement, and other factors.
Related Article: Top 15 Military Colleges in the United States
Table of Contents
#1. New Mexico Military Institute
- Location: 101 W College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201
- Founded: 1891
- Grades: 9-12/Post Graduate
- # of Students: 374
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 5:1
- Official Website: https://www.nmmi.edu/
New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) is a public school in Roswell, New Mexico.
The institution also doubles as a military junior college.
New Mexico Military Institute has the strongest reputation in the state as its doors have been opened more than 130 years.
It is the only state-supported military college in the western United States.
New Mexico Military Institute operates under the guidance of the State of New Mexico, which designates a Board of Regents to manage the military school.
The military school in New Mexico is one of the largest in the nation as it enrolls close to 1,000 cadets for junior college and high school each year.
The institute is capable of having a larger enrollment since the school is financed by the state and has many private donors.
In fact, New Mexico Military Institute sports one of the most accomplished alumni networks of any military prep school in the United States.
The notable alumni include several military leaders that have served at the senior level along with successful business people and politicians.
Academics at New Mexico Military Institute are extraordinarily challenging and the norm is to have several cadets phase out as the school year progresses along.
The campus is separated between the middle school and high school (secondary schools) and the junior college.
New Mexico Military Institute grants standard high school diplomas along with advanced degrees.
Furthermore, graduates of the high school are encouraged to enroll in the junior college where they may pursue an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree.
Leadership training is part of the curriculum for cadets at the college level while high school students have many opportunities to contribute and grow.
Additionally, the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) are available to cadets.
Cadets who are enrolled in the college equivalent (ROTC) may receive a commission in the U.S. Army through the 2-year Early Commissioning Program.
New Mexico Military Institute also supports commissioning for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard through the Service Academy Preparatory Program.
Students who are interested in attending one of the federal service academies have a rare opportunity to shine at NMMI, where West Point and Annapolis often take notice of emerging cadets.
New Mexico Military Institute graduates have gone on to have tremendous success in a variety of endeavors from business to public service, education to military.
Nearly all cadets advance to some type of post-secondary education with prized institutions like Penn State, Stanford, Cornell, and the University of Colorado also taking notice.
New Mexico Military Institute expects each cadet to maintain the qualities of honor, integrity, and responsibility during their time on campus.
The campus in Roswell is busy during the incoming months of the first semester.
The military school in New Mexico accepts nearly 1,000 cadets though there is a decline in enrollment over the course of the year because of the challenging curriculum.
There are many who attend New Mexico Military Institute with the intent to serve in the Army JROTC (high school) or Army ROTC (junior college).
All in all, the ROTC program generally commissions approximately 30 cadets each year for the U.S. Army as second lieutenants.
Furthermore, an additional 100 cadets graduate from NMMI and progress to 1 of the 5 primary U.S. Service academies.
The area that now serves as the legendary campus was originally donated to the school by a local rancher.
The main barracks at the military school in New Mexico are named after the rancher, James J. Hagerman.
There are many comparisons between the NMMI campus and Virginia Military Institute given the Gothic Revival style architecture.
The entire campus is a designated area on the National Register of Historic Places.
Those who attend New Mexico Military Institute get to live and study in a beautiful location.
Students are organized into a Corps of Cadets which follows an organization structure of a cavalry regiment with a Headquarters Troop that comprises the Marching Band.
The regiment consists of 3 squadrons with 4-5 troops in each squadron.
Cadets are also structured into classes and leadership positions are granted based on merit.
New Mexico Military Institute observes a standard military prep school environment as cadets live on campus and eat meals together.
The purpose of military schools is not only to discipline and instill leadership, but also to develop camaraderie and teamwork skills.
Cadets with high ranking organize and lead classes, meals, military and physical conditioning, and all other activities “on post”.
New Mexico Military Institute organizes its rank structure and many of its philosophies based upon the Virginia Military Institute.
The ranking and position within a squadron determine the privileges and authority of the cadet.
Peers are expected to enforce rules of “tours” and “demerits” for rule-breakers or cadets who are failing to meet NMMI standards of academic performance.
Students who are interested in attending New Mexico Military Institute should realize that leaving post and visiting friends and family is infrequent.
The military academy generally authorizes outside trips on weekends, holidays, or during family visits.
Average Tuition / Boarding
“The West Point of the West” offers a spectacular education and experience that rivals all the prestigious prep schools on the East Coast.
The military school in New Mexico offers a rich history and tradition unlike any other prep school in the country.
New Mexico Military Institute prepares tomorrow’s leaders through its leadership preparation and character development.
Of course, the academics are also very stellar and help you get noticed by federal service academies and the Ivy League.
New Mexico Military Institute remains the only state-supported coed college preparatory high school and junior college in the United States.
The admissions process depends on whether you are enrolling in high school or junior college.
Once you know which part of the campus you would like to attend, it’s time to review the steps to admission.
The military institution has strict admissions standards even though it accepts a large number of applicants.
Nonetheless, the competition is fierce as students apply from all over the country as well as from more than 30 foreign countries.
There is a financial incentive for residents in the area to apply as New Mexico residents receive a variety of financial aid assistance and scholarships since the institution is state-operated.
The tuition rates vary on multiple factors yet on average, in-state cadets spend way less (under $7,000 per semester) at New Mexico Military Institute compared to the private prep schools on the East Coast.
Related Article: 17 Scholarships For Military Children, Spouses, and Veterans
#2. New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy
- Location: 131 Earl Cummings Loop, Roswell, NM 88203
- Founded: N/A
- Grades: 10-12
- # of Students: N/A
- Student / Teacher Ratio: N/A
- Official Website: https://www.nmyca.net/
New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy is also located in Roswell, New Mexico (home of NMMI).
It serves as a quality substitute to New Mexico Military Institute yet is sharply different in many regards.
For starters, the New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy is more of a reform school than a prep school.
It’s a 17.5-month program that begins with a demanding 22-week military residential phase in Roswell.
The military school is managed by the New Mexico National Guard and has been successful at turning around the lives of at-risk youth.
Once cadets complete the initial 22-week residential phase, they transition back into the communities where they previously struggled.
Cadets often return to families with a renewed sense of self-esteem, confidence, respect for authority, and discipline.
The New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy helps support families during this transition by remaining with students remotely for a year as they offer mentoring support.
The purpose of the mentoring phase is to maintain positivity and direction in the lives of struggling teens.
New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy is half military boarding school and half youth mentorship program.
It’s not for everyone, yet can assist high school dropouts with earning a GED and getting back on the right track.
Cadets may earn college credits while studying at New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy.
Additionally, a vocational training program is available through nearby Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.
Average Tuition / Boarding
The New Mexico National Guard Youth Challenge Academy provides the education, character development, and leadership to succeed.
It specifically targets high school dropouts between the ages of 16-18 that badly need mentoring and direction in life.
The purpose of the program is to provide education and life skills necessary to become productive citizens.
Families that have someone in mind for the New Mexico Youth Challenge Academy should watch the orientation video to see if the military school is the right fit.
Secondly, an application is needed for consideration.
Lastly, applicants must attend one of the New Mexico Youth Academy orientations, which are held throughout the state.
The orientation prepares cadets for living on campus and the strict expectations of the academy.
Related Article: Best Military Schools for Girls
#3. Bataan Military Academy (2006-2016)
- Location: 8001 Mountain Rd Pl NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110
- Founded: 2006
- Grades: 9-12
- # of Students: 140
- Student / Teacher Ratio: N/A
- Official Website: N/A
Unfortunately, Bataan Military Academy folded in 2016 because of financial concerns.
It was a tuition-free coed military school in New Mexico prior to its demise.
The military school was available to high school students and featured its own Navy Junior Reserve Officer Corps (JROTC).
Students who are looking for a substitute in the area should consider New Mexico Military Institute.
Additionally, there are other schools in the state that are not designated prep schools yet support local JROTC units.
Related Article: Does The National Guard Pay For College?
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