Military Colleges: The Ultimate Guide

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Many students choose to enter the military before attending college, but did you know that you can actually get military training while you pursue your college degree? There is a range of military colleges to choose from and plenty of options for anyone who wants to join the military while also meeting their higher education goals. 

We’ll dive into the specifics of military college and help you find the perfect fit! There is a lot to learn about this topic, and we can teach you everything you need to know here.

What is a Military College?

Military colleges are similar to traditional colleges. You pursue academic programs, join clubs, go to sporting events, socialize with your peers, and participate in extracurricular activities that interest you. However, your traditional college experience is enhanced with military training. 
At most military colleges, by enrolling, you are making a commitment to serve in the military after you graduate. This creates a career path for you after you leave school, but you will be pursuing your education with the expectation that you will go into the military afterward.

What Type of Military Colleges Can You Apply to?

Again, there are a range of military colleges to choose from. We’ll discuss the different types of military colleges below. Read over each option carefully to see which type of school is right for you.

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Service Academies 

Service academies are some of the most desirable options for students interested in a military career. A U.S. Service Academy degree is very prestigious and all but required for individuals hoping to advance into the upper echelons of their branch’s officer core. Simply applying will require sponsorship from a lawmaker in your state. Additionally, these are free to attend. Because these institutions require you to commit to military service after you graduate, your tuition and other living expenses will be fully taken care of. 

These schools are highly attractive to people who want to cut back on costs and get a stellar education. Each of the service academies represents a branch of the military. The current service academies include:

  • U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY
  • U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD
  • U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY

These schools are highly selective and only accept a handful of the country’s top students. Their acceptance rates are 20% and below. The US Naval Academy, for instance, only accepts 8% of applicants. 

The combination of challenging academics and life skills training at U.S. Service Academies prepares graduates to succeed in whatever career they choose. Service requirements will differ depending on the school you choose, but you have some options. At a minimum, however, graduates will have to serve five years in the military after getting their degree.

Senior Military Colleges

If you don’t have the academic record to get into a service academy, senior military colleges are your next best option. These schools’ requirements are less strict than the Service Academies’, and you won’t need someone to nominate you for a position. 

Attending a senior military colleges is similar to participating in the ROTC while in college, except that, at a senior military college, you will have a much more involved and immersive military lifestyle. Keep in mind, also, that, because these schools have no service requirements, your tuition fees and other costs won’t be covered. You can still get ROTC scholarships, though, so look into them as an option.

Because you don’t necessarily have to join the military after graduating from these schools, senior military colleges could be a better fit for students wanting to keep their career options open. Still, going to a senior military college can help you get a leg up in your career inside or outside the military.

Military schools to consider in this category include:

  • Texas A&M
  • Norwich University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • The Citadel
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of North Georgia,
  • Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin College

Military Junior College 

Another military college option is military junior colleges. These programs offer students a two-year option. If you want to fast-track your military career, getting an associate’s degree might be preferable to pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree. You’ll have fewer options job-wise, but it can still be a great path for people interested in the military (and you can always finish your degree later, with financial assistance through the G.I. Bill. 

Like Senior military colleges, Military Junior Colleges don’t have service requirements, but most students join ROTC programs, which offer students additional military training opportunities that come with military commitments. Many graduating students also enroll as officers in the Army Reserve by joining the Early Commissioning Program, which does have a service requirement.  

There are four main military junior colleges:

  • Valley Forge Military Academy and College
  • Marion Military Institute
  • New Mexico Military Institute
  • Georgia Military College

How Do You Apply to Military Colleges?

Applying to a military college requires a few different steps compared to applying to a traditional college, and application processes differ from military college to military college, as well. In general, though, you’ll need to meet these basic requirements:

  • You need a high school diploma.
  • You need to be unmarried and not have dependents.
  • You need to pass their fitness and health exam.
  • You have to be between the ages of 17-24 (though this requirement differs depending on the school).

Once you meet those basic requirements, look into each institution’s specific requirements. You might, for example, have to interview with a local army representative or be involved in other military programs for youths. Make sure you have good grades, a range of extracurriculars, good test scores, and show some athletic prowess through sports or other activities. 

For military academies, your academic and extracurricular record needs to be especially strong. You want to show that you are hardworking and can hold leadership positions. And, you will need to be sponsored by 1) your federal congressional representative, 2) both of your state senators, or 3) the Vice President of the United States.

Senior military colleges are a little less competitive. As long as you meet the GPA and testing thresholds you should be fine. Also make sure you meet the height, weight, health, and fitness requirements. 

Military junior colleges are the easiest to get into. Your academics don’t need to be as good as for senior military colleges. But, make sure you meet the minimum GPA and test scores and can pass your fitness and health tests. If you are applying to Early Commision Programs, you might need to have stronger academics. 

Should You Apply to a Military College?

Military colleges are full of amazing benefits. Not only can you plan your career and guarantee a path forward for yourself in the armed forces, but you can really cut back costs and get an amazing education while you train for your military service. This schooling option isn’t for everyone, but if you have any serious interest in being a member of the military, consider looking into the schools we mentioned today!

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