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Boarding School Vs. Military School

by Jen Saunders

Most military schools are also boarding schools as students live on campus, but not all boarding schools function within a military curriculum. Boarding schools offer many benefits that distinctive military boarding schools and non-military boarding institutions share. For example, both help establish greater independence in students by removing them from the dependencies of home. But in many instances there are some differences that make one boarding option better than the other for certain students with various goals.

Academics

Like any other type of school, military schools and boarding schools can excel or be subpar in academics as all institutes vary. According to "U.S News & World Report," boarding schools, including military, generally offer better academics. The best boarding schools offer college-level courses in nearly every discipline. They also offer more options for extra curricular activities. Two of the highest ranked boarding schools are Fork Union Military Academy and Trinity School -- a non-military boarding school located in New York. Both institutes have skilled faculty with advanced degrees. As nearly every boarding school is a private institution, academics tend to be more rigorous than most public schools. Furthermore, because most government-run military schools prepare students for an optional military career, academic excellence is stressed.

Values

While every school has its own core values, military and boarding schools tend to place greater emphasis on values by injecting them into the students' daily lives. Depending on the boarding school, students may be expected to follow a system of values dictated by a religion, a political viewpoint or a certain philosophy while military schools embrace the same values enlisted men and women follow in the various branches of the armed forces. For example, military schools like Valley Forge stress structure and discipline in students who perform military-type activities such as parades, while boarding schools like George School stress the Quaker principals of inclusiveness, kindness, integrity and simplicity.

Scheduling

Non-military boarding academic institutions and military schools have similar schedules and rules. Both school types not only run on scheduled academic curricula, they also have wake-up times, meal times, assemblies and curfews. Military school websites typically show how the administration functions to instill punctuality, self-discipline and accountability in their students. A strict schedule provides the foundation for developing these traits. Non-military boarding schools also have firm schedules for meal times, classes, assemblies and curfews. Both boarding and military schools are highly regimented and try to teach their students to adhere to schedules; various schools have different rules such as "lights out" or mandatory study hall.

Career Planning

Government-run military schools prepare students for an optional career in the armed forces while public military schools and non-military boarding schools prepare students for college. While some military schools prepare cadets for a military career, Hargrave Military Academy prepares students for a successful college experience by pairing them with an instructor to help ready them for a collegiate life. As for religious boarding schools, some may prepare students for a career in working for the church. While military and boarding schools are different in many regards, most share the common goal of molding their students into successful graduates to enter a career that proudly represents the school's legacy, mission and values.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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