Applying to Military School

Applying to military school is different than public school, but is similar to applying to some private schools. Get tips on applying to military school, seeking out a good military school, and things you should know prior to applying to military school.

As for any private school, applying to military school is a multi-step process in which attention to detail is important. Ideally, the application process is geared to both provide the school with sufficient information to gain insight into the potential student, as well as to allow the student and her family to determine if the military school is a good fit for her particular needs and gifts. This article provides an overview of some important considerations in applying to military school, plus some hints and tips.

Prepare Before Applying to Military School

Because military schools seek academically capable students of good character and intergrity who can function with self-discipline in a structured environment and become leaders, the preparation for applying to military school actually begins with a students record, behavior, and choices made well before the actual application process begins. Knowing in advance that application is likely to require not only an academic transcript but also a character questionnaire may pave a smoother path to the a successful application than if this comes as a surprise.

Also important to consider before applying to military school in the twenty-first century is the fact that your daughter may be Googled as part of the application process. This is a good opportunity, if one has not emerged previously, for a discussion of what should be public and private in online dealings, and for parents checking that their daughter’s use of FaceBook, MySpace, or any other social network sites is both appropriate in content and appropriately private.

Seeking a Good Fit Before Applying to Military School

It’s not a bad idea to start by examining and even writing down what qualities are being sought in a military school before beginning to apply. The second thing to do is read the descriptions of the schools very carefully. This is important because not all military schools accept girls and because military schools are not all of the same kind. Important distinctions to make before applying to military school include:

  • boarding vs. day schools
  • co-educational vs. girls only schools
  • schools with an explicit college preparatory bent
  • schools with an explicit military preparatory bent
  • schools with a religious affiliation vs. secular schools
  • schools that are equipped to handle students with learning disabilities vs. schools that are not
  • schools that are designed as therapeutic environments vs. schools that are designed as educational environments only
  • the location of the school (closer to or farther from home)
  • grades offered and availability of a post-graduate year
  • sports offered

Financial aid applications are considered by most schools to be a separate application process, even though for many families, the existence or absence of a scholarship is a material consideration before applying to miliatary school. But checking the costs and the availability funding, either in scholarships, grants, loans, or other forms, is an important part of the broader application process.

Also, be sure to check information about a school on the site of the military school itself, not just referral sites, as information can change as well as be given incorrectly. See the article “Private Military Schools” for more information.

Information Flows Both Ways When Applying to Military School

Through the application process, the school attempts to learn about the prospective student and her family. Usually a military school will encourage a visit and an in-person interview, and this is a good idea for helping a girl and her family obtain a really good sense of the environment and the day-to-day life at the school. It is particularly important if it is a boarding school. If a visit is not possible, the school may offer a phone or web interview when applying to military school.

Three things to keep in mind about applying to military school:

  • First, particularly if a visit is not possible, make sure to seek out and use to the fullest extent possible any videos, blogs, or other material, either in information packets or available through the school’s website, that helps reveal the atmosphere, approach, and qualities of the school before applying to military school.
  • Second, each interaction with a live person, visit, or viewing of material about the school is an opportunity for the girl and her family to gather information and  - when a person is involved - ask questions to clarify anything that is unclear, of concern, or simply things about which one feels curious. The more information you can get before applying to military school, the better.
  • Reviewing as much material from the military school as possible and talking to as many people as seems appropriate will potentially be quite useful when it comes to filling out the application, not only because it will allow ruling out schools that aren’t a good match, but also because it will the application to be written with an audience in mind. It’s much easier to write an essay that will be read by the admissions director when you’ve actually met and/or spoken with him or her.

Other Elements of the Application Process

The student’s application or questionnaire is an important part of the process, but may be a challenging writing task, not least because it may be unlike any kind of writing the student has previously done. In this document, a girl is expected to tell the truth about what are likely to be some rather personal questions, or questions that may have perfectly valid answers, but be difficult to address (e.g., what do you dislike in your current school). The school may allow typing or may require a handwritten response when applying to military school.

The school may offer an online application process, and if so, this is something a parent may wish to oversee in order to assure that the quick and easy nature of online interaction does not interfere with a girl’s thoughtful and considered response to questions that will in some measure decide her future. It can be too easy to fill in blanks that one ought to stop and consider for days or weeks. 

Many parents, especially if their child is still in middle school, are apt to have questions about how much it is legitimate to guide their daughter’s responses. Seeking information either from a girl’s current guidance counselor, or the school to which she is applying, about how much and what kind of parental input is acceptable can help a parent know how to guide a daughter through this process appropriately. In any case, it is good to encourage the use of rough drafts and word-processing the response before applying to military school, in order to check grammar and spelling before writing or typing it (if this is required) or before entering it into an online form.

The Checklist for Applying to Military School

Most schools offer a checklist of what needs to be done and when, including the interview, forms to be filled out by the girl who is applying and others, a physical if required, etc. This is a useful tool, to which you can add any items that you feel are important, such as a visit, extra recommendations, etc.

Related Article: Reasons to Choose Girls Schools >>