Summer School

Summer school at an armed forces academy may help you decide if military school is the right educational experience for your son. Learn more about testing the military school idea with a summer school program, as well as other summer school options.

As parents consider the type of education that is best for their son, they may consider military school without being absolutely sure that it is the right choice. Summer school can offer a way to explore a military school environment for a short period of time to see if it is, in fact, a good fit. Alternatively, it can provide the opportunity to sample other types of alternative schools that may be a good option for this child at this time or to provide him with a direct introduction to one of the US Armed Forces Service Academies.

Testing the Military School Idea With a Summer School Experience

If you and your son want more information before choosing a military school for term-time, a summer school program can serve as an introduction. Be aware that the programs offered by military schools in the summer vary from a school-type experience to camp experience.  Some schools use the summer to orient incoming students for the fall, while others welcome anyone who fit the age requirements and any other eligibility restrictions. Generally, the summer school experience follows the gender limitations of the school: that is, a school that accepts only boys during term-time is likely to accept only boys during the summer.

Military schools that sponsor a summer school program include Lyman Ward Military Academy in Alabama; St. Catherine’s Military Academy in California; Riverside Military Academy in Georgia; St. John’s Military School in Kansas; Missouri Military Academy in Missouri; Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina; Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania; Camden Military Academy in South Carolina; Marine Military Academy in Texas; Fork Union Military Academy and Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia; and St. John’s Northwester Military Academy in Wisconsin.

Other Types of Summer School Programs

If you think that testing another type of alternative school is a good course of action, you might want to look into any number of summer school opportunities, including those offered by colleges. This can be particularly useful if your son is uncertain about his direction in life. Summer school programs offered by colleges help give a teen a picture of what awaits him, just a few years in the future. This hands-on experience can help to motivate a teen by making the future more real and concrete. It may also raise interest for a teen who is bored in school, or help create an aspiration or goal for the bright but unfocused student.

Summer Service Academy Opportunities

Another type of summer experience that is related to, but not exactly like military school is participation in one (or more) of the short introductory programs offered by the Service Academies. The Army, Navy, and Air Force use the summer to provide introductory experiences to students who might seek appointment. Programs are a week or less in length, and allow students to explore different aspects of Academy life.

• United States Military Academy

The Summer Leadership Seminar at West Point is a weeklong program offered to high school students who have completed their junior year. Young men can see cadet life for themselves as they visit an academic class and participate in fitness training and intramurals. There is also an Engineering & Construction camp - see the Air Force entry for a further description.

• United States Naval Academy

The Summer Seminar at Annapolis is a weeklong program offered to high school students who have completed their junior year.  Young men get to participate in a college level academic program, supervised by Naval and Marine officers, but run by Midshipmen.

Summer Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Program is a six-day summer school program sponsored by the Naval Academy, that also introduces students to Washington, D.C. Aimed at students in grades 7 through 9 who have a gift in the featured subjects, the program introduces them to new technology as it explains science and engineering careers available in the Armed Forces. There is also an Engineering & Construction camp - see the Air Force entry for a further description.

• United States Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy teams up with the Society of American Military Engineers to offer SAME/USAFA Engineering and Construction Camp each summer, a weeklong program for students who have completed their first year of high school and who have manifested an interest in a career in architecture, engineering, or a related field. The summer school camp centers around planned activities, which are conducted as team competitions.

Summer Seminar is a five-day program for students who have finished their third year of high school and are considering life as a cadet. Attendees go to classes, physical training, inspection, and take a practice fitness exam, all under the guidance of a mentor.

Falcon Sports Camp is a 3 to 5 day Air Force experience for students 8 to 18 years of age. The academy head coaches offer training in net sports, such as tennis and volleyball; ball sports, such as baseball, basketball, football, golf, and soccer; as well as diving and swimming, cheerleading, cross country and track and field, fencing gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling.

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