‘Regular’ school is not for everyone. Some students just can not flourish when they are required to work like an essay writer, having to work in an almost purely academic manner. With this in mind, in the leagues of alternative education systems, military education definitely has its attractions for those seeking a different way of learning.
Military education has some misconceptions, primarily the one that the military is only suited to those who ‘need discipline’, aka, juvenile delinquents and troublemakers. However, scaring kids and young adults into being straight is a rather antiquated perspective on the modern military education system.
Today, military schooling is certainly challenging, but it also incorporates a more wholesome and vitalizing trend. Students are encouraged to push themselves – much as they are in good ‘regular’ schools – but they do so with a mentality of service and duty.
Army schools are renowned for their character-building qualities and, in order to succeed at military school, students must develop positive traits and skills. These include self-discipline as well as bravery, intuition, and confidence (among many others).
The staff at military schools have usually spent their careers in extremely demanding and challenging environments, so being around these individuals provides excellent role-models with buckets of real-world experience.
Working with such staff members can open the mind of a young adult – they can draw on the experiences of their mentors and improve their decision making, as well as learn the repercussions of bad judgement in the most serious of ways. Students who have a lack of respect will be confronted with people who have risked their life and limb, and that is hard to ignore.
Working as a Team is Essential
In public schools students are mostly being taken care of on the intellectual level. While each student at a military educational institute has to look out for themselves, they also have to learn to watch out for others. The connections built in this environment are long-lasting. They present a path and models for the future, where students will be able to take their experience into the workplace, or even progress into the military itself in some form.
This teamwork mentality is fostered by practicing every single day. Students live together, if at a boarding school, and must work as a cohesive unit in order to succeed. In practice, this means students have to achieve regular daily goals: maintaining their living space to a high standard and working with each other on academic as well as physical challenges, for example.
An offshoot of this type of learning is that leadership skills are engendered by the student body. In public schools, leadership is frequently concentrated into a small number of students, either through student government or societies. In contrast in military education everyone has to step up – it is a flatter hierarchy of sorts, which is an interesting contrast to the rest of the military structure.
A Path to Higher Education?
The GI Bill is a well-known aspect of military service; it allows members of the military to attain higher education at a vastly reduced cost, or even at zero cost for some. Before this stage however, it is possible to earn College Credit while studying at a military college.
Military Scholarships are available at numerous colleges in the United States. For example, UMass Amherst offers a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship which can be worth more than $100,000. This eliminates the prohibitively high cost of studying and allows students from all socio-economic backgrounds to better themselves without being saddled with crippling debt.
These scholarships are not based on financial need however; they are assigned based on merit. So students need to embody the philosophies of the military in order to succeed and win a scholarship. Merit is not just demonstrated academically though; a commitment to extracurricular activities and clubs goes a long way in developing a strong application.
Getting Acquainted with Structure
Although some students may have initial concerns regarding military-style authority, structure, or discipline, the military is a fantastic place for students and young people to learn the benefits of not kicking back too hard against authority, as well as the success enhancing qualities of time management.
These traits are instilled in students through several aspects of the military education system. There is supervision not present in typical schools, so supervisors will set firm boundaries with scalable punishments for misbehaviour not witnessed in regular schools or other youth organisations.
The consistency of the application of these rules and structures is what sets military education apart from public education. There is a commitment and the time and space to do so. It is challenging, but the rewards are great.
Overall, military education provides students with an environment that challenges them. Students do not have to be troublemakers in order to attend military schools. They are often students who thrive in situations which are not represented in public education. Physicality, mental development, discipline, and duty are the key criteria of military school students’ development, and we can all agree these are solid qualities to factor in.