If you are a Pennsylvania parent or student looking to find an educational environment that follows a military theme, you have several excellent options. In fact, many out-of-state students choose to attend Pennsylvania’s well-known and respected institutions.
In addition to dedicated public and private schools, you will find both secondary and college level programs that provide excellent Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and full ROTC programs.
Valley Forge Military Academy
If you are interested in one of the most comprehensive military-themed educations available in the United States, you owe it to yourself to check out Valley Forge Military Academy & College. With the Academy’s establishment in 1928 and the college in 1932, this institution offers a unique combination of a middle school, high school, and college.
From Sixth Grade to an Army Commission
The entire program at VFMAC allows a student to start school in the sixth grade. Moreover, if they choose, cadets can go on to the special college ROTC program and achieve a commission in the U.S. Army after completing the sophomore year.
Located just outside Philadelphia in Wayne, PA, VFMAC provides both commuting and boarding options for its students. Valley Forge Military Academy is an independent, private, college preparatory school for boys in grades 6-12. This school provides a highly regarded course of instruction in college preparatory academics with a fully credentialed faculty.
Additionally, the school supports a competitive PIAA athletics program, and is known for its individual attention to each cadet’s needs. The environment provided for cadets is focused on character and leadership development while allowing no compromise in achieving individual academic success.
The President Dr. Stacey Sauchuk is quoted with stating, ‘The education at the Academy builds minds and character, providing a solid, education alternative that prepares young men for college.’ The success of this effort is shown by the fact that more than 95% of Academy graduates go on to college after completing high school.
The VFMC program provides a co-educational, fully accredited education via the private and respected two-year college curriculum. VFMC is noted for its disciplined and motivated young women and men who choose to strive to succeed in an environment of high standards. The academic curriculum allows cadets to earn an AA, AS, or ABA degree.
Supporting these stellar students is an equally motivated and extraordinarily dedicated staff who are each experts in their fields. Academic and military successes are recognized with awards and participation in national honor societies.
Admissions and Tuition
Parents and students find that VFMAC is unusually committed to making a fine education affordable. There are numerous programs for scholarships and tuition assistance, and the investment in the secondary education plays a role in securing both private and government scholarships. Also, several VFMA graduates are accepted to federal service academies each year.
Carson Long Military Institute
When it comes to tradition as a military school, Carson Long Military Institute has no peer in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1836 as a secondary school, the institution committed to a military academy environment in 1919. Today it is a military-themed college prep school for boys in grades 6 through 12.
The campus covers nearly 60 acres and boasts nine modern buildings. The school is known for its success in combining high standards in academics, leadership development, competitive athletics, and multiple constructive social activities. These are all provided in a military-themed environment with the goal of developing ‘well-rounded individuals with strong bodies and sound minds.‘ The school’s reputation specifically supports that it is a place that only motivated and committed students should consider.
The school employs an Army JROTC program to ensure its cadets receive the finest in military experiences. In fact, Carson Long has the only US Army JROTC program that has earned the “Honor Unit with Distinction” in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Cadets wear uniforms during their activities and participate in a number of military ceremonies, drills and activities throughout the year.
Admissions and Tuition Aid to Support Diversity and Opportunity
Students desiring to attend Carson Long Military Academy have three enrollment options that include:
- 7-Day Boarding Students, Domestic and International
- 5-Day Boarding Students, Domestic
- Day Student, Domestic
The entire admissions process is designed to be handled online. Additionally, Carson Long provides a number of tuition aid options to help ensure that every qualified prospective student has an opportunity to attend the school.
Philadelphia Military Academy
There are two public schools in Philadelphia (out of a total of 55) that provide a military-oriented environment for college preparatory studies. The Philadelphia Military Academies at Elverson and Leeds are coed schools for students in grades 9 through 12. There is ongoing discussion about the merging of the two schools into one academy at Elverson. If you are a parent wanting to explore a military-themed education for your student, check with the Philadelphia school system for the current status and options.
Diversity is a Reality at Philadelphia Military Academy
The student body at Leeds is comprised of approximately 40% females. The diverse student body is 96% minority and has a 35% participation in the school’s advanced placement courses. The school is ranked as a Bronze Award school by the US News annual study.
At Elverson, the national rank is also Bronze, with a 62/38 male-female ratio. The student body is also 96% minority. The school is known for its state-of-the art fitness center and strong robotics and chess programs.
The academies use the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp programs to provide a military environment, reinforced by the wearing of Army JROTC and ROTC uniforms. Students must commit to participate in a summer orientation program and to abide by the JROTC Creed before being accepted into the school.
A Challenging Mission and Rankings
According to the mission established by the leaders of Philadelphia Military Academy, the school, ”¦is committed to promoting academic excellence through sound educational principles and practices conjoined with leadership education training and character building.’
Both academies have the mission of providing a disciplined environment to assist with inner-city students who face challenging circumstances. Partly due to this, the schools face significant hurdles. According to the rankings of Great Schools, the Philadelphia Military Academy at Elverson gains only a ranking of 4 out of 10, and a community ranking of 3 out of a possible 5 stars. The comparable academy at Leeds ranks 3 out of 10, but garners a community ranking of 4 out of 5.
However, compared to the overall Philadelphia public school system, both schools are known for their high college acceptance rate for seniors (90%) and high percentage of graduates who are successful in pursuing their college degrees. The schools have several AP courses, including English and composition.
Both military academies follow the same admittance process as for all Philadelphia public schools. However, any prospective applicant for the military academy must submit to an interview (without parents) and agree to the special JROTC requirements. As a parent you will find the school has a number of resources to provide the answers you may have concerning these schools or other options.
It is also worth remembering that successful participation in JROTC can help a student earn full four-year scholarships to top-level colleges and universities through ROTC programs. This participation also increases the chances for receiving an appointment to an all-expenses paid federal service academy such as West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs.
Other Types of Military-Oriented Education
Pennsylvania is located in the heart of an area with a number of other military school options, including boarding schools for 6 to 12 grades. If you are a parent open to such options, you can find information on these schools on our website. Additional military environments are found in secondary schools (JROTC) and in colleges and universities that ROTC programs. In fact, the Villanova Dauntless Battalion is one of the nation’s most respected ROTC units.