Military schools in Pennsylvania are in short supply after the legendary Carson Long Military Academy closed its doors in 2018.
However, the state remains home to the highly reputable Valley Forge Military Academy and College.
Valley Forge Military Academy has replaced Carson Long Academy as the leading military school in Pennsylvania.
It has a difficult legacy to meet as Carson Long was considered one of the finest boarding schools in the nation for decades.
There are many advantages to enrolling in a military prep school or college as the academics, leadership, and military training are generally unparalleled.
Learn more about the best military schools in Pennsylvania that remain in operation:
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#1. Valley Forge Military Academy and College
- Location: 1001 Eagle Road, Wayne, PA 19087
- Founded: 1928
- Grades: 7-12 / Postgraduate
- # of Students: 305
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 8:1
- Official Website: https://www.vfmac.edu/
Valley Forge Military Academy and College (VFMAC) is a private school in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
The military school is divided into 3 campuses: middle school (grades 7-8), high school (9-12), and junior college (first 2 years of college).
Students have the option of living on campus at each school which has its advantages and disadvantages.
The independent boarding school follows a traditional discipline structure of a military school that aligns with U.S. Army traditions.
While its a traditional military school in many regards, the high school portion primary serves as a college preparatory institution.
Therefore, students at these grade levels are encouraged to focus on student leadership first and foremost.
The faculty at Valley Forge Military Academy and College is almost entirely current or retired military.
High school graduates have several alternatives as they may enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces or progress to a 4-year university.
On the other hand, students have the ability to remain at VFMAC for the first 2 years of their undergraduate.
It enables cadets to complete most of their core requirements in a familiar setting before applying for competitive schools like in the Ivy League.
Valley Forge Military Academy has graduated one Rhodes Scholar recipient and its college placement success within the state is outstanding.
VFMAC Corps of Cadets
Valley Forge Military Academy and College has an established tradition with the British Monarchy.
Consequently, the military institution observes traditions from both the U.S. Army and British Forces of the past.
The American military academy model has produced several notable military leaders including British Army Garrison Sergeant Major William ‘Billy” Mott.
The Valley Forge Corps of Cadets is entirely ran by the student population.
Furthermore, it is the only military organization within the United States that observes British rank, drill, customs, and ceremonies.
For this reason, your experience at Valley Forge Military Academy is very unique given the British influence on the curriculum.
The military academy requires every cadet to pass a board to officially become a member of the Corps of Cadets.
The Corps of Cadets maintains the only traditional mounted battalion of a single cavalry troop and artillery battery.
Valley Forge uniforms also take on British influences including Cadet Senior NCOs which carry a military pace stick.
The junior college portion of the academy serves as the only private military junior college in the country.
It is mandatory that all cadets of the junior college become members and participate regularly in the Corps of Cadets.
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Valley Forge Military Academy has a long-running history as the school first opened its doors in 1928.
The institution expanded into a military junior college in the 1930s when the Corps of Cadets was developed to include British influence and traditions.
Valley Forge Military Academy and College was once all-male yet has admitted female cadets to the junior college since 2005.
While cadets were once required to live on campus as part of their obligations, it is no longer mandatory and the day program can save you money in tuition (more information, below).
Valley Forge Military Academy maintains a relatively small enrollment with approximately 300 students.
The enrollment has varied substantially over the last decade ranging from nearly 500 students in 2011 to half that amount for the 2017-18 school year.
Valley Forge Military Academy began accepting cadets from nearby Carson Long Military Academy after it folded at the end of the 2018 school year.
The military academy was renowned and once represented the oldest operating private military and boarding school in the nation.
As a result, Valley Forge has embraced some of the practices from Carson Long Academy yet remains exclusive in many other regards.
The academics at Valley Forge Military Academy are extremely demanding and challenging.
Nonetheless, the rigorous curriculum equips you for the real world and also helps you get noticed by prized colleges like the ones available in the Ivy League.
Cadets have a full day’s worth of activities at Valley Forge Academy where the day begins with “First Call” and concludes with a 2-hour study hall.
Cadets with good grades and performance reviews are permitted to leave for home on select weekends if they are boarding students.
There is never a down moment at Valley Forge Military Academy and College as a wide range of extracurricular activities are available to cadets.
The Character Education program is an important part of a cadet’s lifestyle with mandatory religious services each week at The Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion..
While portions of the service are fundamentally Christian, the majority of the service is non-sectarian in practice as the address usually revolves around building character and leadership.
The Valley Forge Military Academy Regimental Band is highly recognized and renowned.
The college band travels across the country and has also performed shows in Europe.
Moreover, Valley Forge Military Academy features a variety of athletics including unusual school sports like equestrian and rifle drill.
Traditional varsity sports like football, basketball, golf, and rugby are also offered at Valley Forge Academy.
Cadets are required to participate in an organized sport either at the intramural, club, or varsity level.
However, the military junior college portion of the academy recently discontinued all of its varsity sports in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The film “Taps” (which included a young Sean Penn and Tom Cruise) was largely filmed on the campus of Valley Forge Military Academy and presents a fictional account of attending military prep school.
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Valley Forge Military Academy and College represents the only private military junior college in the nation.
Consequently, admission into the military prep academy or junior college is competitive.
VFMAC is the only junior military college that caters to every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, contributing to the high level of interest for the institution.
Additionally, the military school has been in operation for nearly a century which adds to its prestige.
Nonetheless, Valley forge Military Academy seeks to keep the institution affordable for children of all ages that come from a variety of backgrounds.
In recent years, the military school changed its policy which now allows cadets to attend as “day students”, thus reducing the costs with no need for room and board.
Valley Forge Military Academy alumni includes an impressive list of professional athletes, entertainers, businessmen, and distinguished military leaders.
J.D. Salinger, author of the famous book “Catcher in the Rye”, attended the military school.
Former U.S. Navy Commander Paul E. Galanti and Major General of the U.S. Army Walter T. Lord both attended Valley Forge as youngsters.
Tuition is not extremely affordable at Valley Forge Military Academy and College which places an emphasis on securing financial aid.
The middle and high school boarding rates stand at $37,975 for a full-year of education (2020-21 school year).
Families have the option of sending their son to the school mid-year which reduces the price of admission to $23,975.
These tuition rates also include room, board, uniforms, laundry, and personal supplies.
Cadets are expected to budget extra for textbooks and personal allowance.
Valley Forge Military Academy offers a variety of payment plans with an Early Pay Discount that grants you 5% off the final bill.
Additionally, Valley Forge Military Academy financial aid department can help students locate grants and scholarships.
Lastly, Sallie Mae is a great starting point for seeking a private loan with reasonable interest rates.
The school does consider need-based tuition assistance after a personal review.
You should contact the military school in Pennsylvania for more information at (610) 989-1200.
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#2. Linden Hall School for Girls
- Location: 212 E Main St, Lititz, PA 17543
- Founded: 1746
- Grades: 6-12
- # of Students: 195
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 6:1
- Official Website: https://www.lindenhall.org/
Linden Hall School for Girls is unconventional in many regards.
For starters, military schools are generally more selective toward male cadets, not female cadets.
Consequently, Linden Hall School is one of the more sought after destinations in the country for female students that are seeking a military model for their academics.
The independent military school provides girls between the grades 6-12 with world-class academics.
Linden Hall School for Girls accepts cadets for both the day program and boarding school.
It has outstanding history as the school impressively dates back to 1746.
For this reason, it is the oldest girls boarding school in continuous operation in the United States.
The original school was established in the mid-18th century, 30 years before the Declaration of Independence.
The intention of the original building was to establish a chapel, schoolhouse, and parsonage under one roof.
Linden School for Girls once supported a junior college, however, the higher learning opportunity has not been in existence since the 1960s.
While the institution was founded upon Christian principles, it is now considered nonsectarian.
Therefore, the weekly chapel services incorporate readings and teachings from many different philosophies and religions.
The purpose of Linden Hall School for Girls is to prepare teens for college.
As a result, the academics are challenging with plenty of opportunities to stand out on a college application through extracurricular activities and community service driven projects.
Linden Hall School for Girls has one of the finest equestrian programs in the nation.
Furthermore, the varsity athletics are competitive in many other sports and students may excel in others through a local connection with Warwick High School.
The aviation program is incredibly popular yet is only available in the upper school.
The cadets that attend the program and successfully complete requirements earn a pilot’s license at the conclusion of the term.
Linden Hall School for Girls is one of the most desirable prep schools that is exclusive to females in the nation.
The historic school has an outstanding legacy that traces back more than 250 years.
The “All-Girl Advantage” at Linden Hall School for Girls is real as cadets are more likely to succeed in challenging studies such as STEM.
Moreover, girls that attend Linden Hall School are twice as likely to earn a PhD than students from surrounding schools.
Linden Hall School for Girls has a diverse student population that includes cadets from numerous U.S. states along with many different countries.
The military school for girls in Pennsylvania has a terrific college placement rate (100%) and low 6:1 student to faculty ratio.
Students receive thorough personal attention needed to excel in STEM and other demanding academics.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Every cadet must cover tuition costs yet room and board is optional for those that wish to live on campus.
The annual boarding tuition costs include instruction, room and board, laundry services, as well as access to any athletic or extracurricular activity.
Meanwhile, the day student tuition covers academics yet excludes room, board, and laundry.
Day students spend on average $24,740 to attend Linden Hall School for Girls each year.
Boarding students spend $51,450 per year for 5-day access while 7-day, full-time residents average $59,670.
Fortunately, there are many forms of financial aid available to help finance the expensive tuition, room, and board.
Learn more about merit scholarships and other types of tuition assistance by contacting Linden Hall School for Girls directly at (717) 626-8512.
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#3. MMI Prep School
- Location: 54 Centre St, Freeland, PA 18224
- Founded: 1879
- Grades: 6-12
- # of Students: 215
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 8:1
- Official Website: https://www.mmiprep.org/
MMI Preparatory School is another independent, non-sectarian military school in Pennsylvania.
The college preparatory school welcomes male and female students between the grades 6-12.
Students generally refer to the military school in Pennsylvania as “MMI” which is short for Mining and Mechanical Institute.
The military school has a stellar reputation and history as it has been in operation for nearly 150 years.
As the name suggests, MMI Prep School was originally designed as a vocational school for aspiring miners and mechanics.
The program was modeled after the “Steigerschulen” in Germany which were some of the first training schools in Europe.
MMI Prep School in Pennsylvania has accepted female cadets since the 1970s, and also expanded in that decade to become available to 7th and 8th grade students.
The academics at MMI Prep School are extensive as every course offered through the school maintains an Honors distinction.
Additionally, MMI Prep School supports numerous Advanced Placement courses as well as a wide variety of electives.
While the institution primary focuses on college preparation through a military learning structure, its athletics programs are generally competitive.
In fact, MMI Prep School is the first and only independent school in Pennsylvania to win a state basketball championship.
The campus cut the ribbon on a new sports complex in 2011 that features soccer and baseball fields.
Average Tuition / Boarding
MMI Prep School in Pennsylvania has a terrific reputation at sending graduates to college (95% placement rate).
There is costs to attend MMI Prep School, however, many cadets continue with the long tradition on campus of working to support high education concepts.
The original students at MMI Prep School were known for doing landscaping and other chores to assist with the construction and maintenance of the campus.
For this reason, MMI Prep School honors the attitude that one has to work hard to pay for their education.
Moreover, MMI Prep School offers a substantial amount in tuition assistance for a military school of its size.
According to the military school, more than half of MMI students receive some type of financial aid.
The average need-based award was $8,000 for the 2020-2021 school year.
Tuition rates are flat for this school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixth grade students spend $13,900 on their education while the remaining students (grades 7-12) average $15,770 per year.
While tuition is expensive at MMI, it’s actually far more reasonable compared to many military prep schools.
Furthermore, making a financial sacrifice now can reward you later as the 2020 graduating class (only 28 students) received more than $7.6 million in scholarships for college.
MMI Prep School recommends that interested students and families contact the institution for more information at (570) 636-1108.
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#4. Philadelphia Military Academy
- Location: 2118 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
- Founded: 2005
- Grades: 9-12
- # of Students: 305
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 20:1
- Official Website: https://pma.philasd.org/
Philadelphia Military Academy (PMA) exists in the northern portion of the metropolis.
It hasn’t been around all that long (founded in 2005) yet Philadelphia Military Academy is quickly establishing a tradition of being one of the premier military schools in Pennsylvania.
The military school currently exists at Elverson High School in the Templeton neighborhood of North Philadelphia.
The first class accepted 157 9th grade cadets and remains relatively small with a student enrollment of approximately 300.
Classroom sizes are not as small as most military prep schools (20:1 student to faculty ratio) yet the curriculum is still very demanding.
Philadelphia Military Academy expects every student that attends the institution to participate in JROTC.
Consequently, cadets wear uniforms every day to class and are expected to observe military courtesy.
Cadets must address their instructors by “sir” or “ma’am” among other expectations.
However, there is no military service obligation required for cadets once they graduate from Philadelphia Military Academy.
The military school in Pennsylvania sports an outstanding track record with college placement (100%).
Philadelphia Military Academy has earned the bronze medal from U.S. News National School Rankings (2016) along with the Pennsylvania Title One Distinguished School.
It has established partnerships with Harrisburg University and Community College of Philadelphia for AP and Honors courses.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Philadelphia Military Academy accepts high school students between the grades 9-12.
The academic program is committed to transforming lives with the support and partnership of parents, educators, and the community.
The military structured learning environment has proven very successful in disciplining and educating the brightest minds in the country.
Philadelphia Military Academy urges cadets to actively engage in community service programs where they develop an appreciation for civic duty.
Furthermore, these opportunities enable cadets to build leadership and management skills necessary for the real world.
The academics at Philadelphia Military Academy are rigorous and designed to prepare cadets for college or technical training that converts directly to the workforce.
Even better, Philadelphia Military Academy does not charge tuition like most military schools in Pennsylvania.
The military school is supported by the city public school system and admission is based on a student interview.
Students are encouraged to schedule an interview and begin preparing for the meeting as many applicants seek admission each year.
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#5. Carson Long Military Academy (1836-2018)
Carson Long Military Academy shut its doors down in 2018.
It was a sad day for military schools in Pennsylvania as it was previously the oldest boarding school still in operation at the time.
Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University, and University of Scranton are public universities in Pennsylvania yet support ROTC programs on campus.
Contact the university for more details about its military school/program.
NOTE: Check back with OMK in the future as we consistently update our articles to provide the latest information regarding military schools in Pennsylvania.
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