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About Fork Union Military Academy

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate, develop, and inspire young men in a college preparatory, Christian, military environment. Cadets build character, learn leadership, independence, confidence, responsibility, and discipline in a setting that encourages mental, physical, and spiritual growth.

What is Fork Union Military Academy?

Fork Union Military Academy is one of the nation's premier college preparatory boarding military schools for boys in grades 7-12 and postgraduate located in Fork Union, Virginia.

We offer high quality academics and athletics within a structure built around discipline, leadership development, and Christian values.

Fork Union Military Academy develops the body, mind and spirit of each young man. As a private school, in contrast to the limitations that public schools face, we can take this holistic approach to best prepare a young man for his future.

A System That Works

As a private school,

  • we can structure our curriculum (such as our unique One Subject Plan) to meet the needs of our students.
  • we can preserve our single-sex environment to remove social distractions that come with a coeducational school.
  • we can acknowledge and honor the Christian values that provide the moral compass for our daily lives.

As a boarding school,

  • we can facilitate profound and long-lasting change in the life of a young man.
  • structure and discipline become the norms of his life, not merely the constraints he must put up with for the relatively few hours of his school day.
  • responsibility and respect for others are lessons learned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Fork Union Military Academy - not just between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.

What's special about Fork Union Military Academy?

What can families find here that they might not find elsewhere?

There are several things that set our school apart from other public and private schools. Some of these factors can be found at some other schools, but Fork Union Military Academy is the only school to combine all of these elements in the way that we do here:

We are a college prep school.

Most young men come to Fork Union Military Academy in search of a place where they can perform up to their full potential— a place where they can excel in both the classroom and the athletic field. These students find what young men have been seeking here since 1898: a challenging educational experience in a safe, structured environment where distractions are few and where every aspect of student life encourages academic achievement and personal growth.

We are a small school.

With a typical annual enrollment of 350-400 students, Fork Union Military Academy is a small school. Although we can house up to 500 boarding students, we usually accept and enroll fewer than that and maintain a lower student:teacher ration and keep our class sizes small.

One of the many "reforms" that public schools have implemented to try to improve their academic outcomes is restructuring schools—especially high schools—into smaller "learning communities" of perhaps 600 to 900 students. Perhaps you live in an area of large school districts where the high schools have 1,000 students or even more. It is very easy for a student to get lost in that kind of large school. The National Education Association points to a number of benefits of small schools, and they hope—without current research evidence, as they admit—that subdividing a big school into these smaller "learning communities" might end up providing the same benefits as those of genuine small schools. The specific benefits that research shows small schools to provide, and that the NEA cites,  include:

  • raised student achievement
  • greater student visibility
  • better student-teacher interaction
  • teachers better able to identify individual student talents
  • teachers better able to identify unique student needs
  • teachers better able to support differing learning styles
  • elevated teacher satisfaction
  • improved school climate

While small schools alone are not the solution, they can prove to be a useful platform for improved student achievement.
—National Education Association

We are a boys school.

The benefits of a single-sex educational environment have been well-documented by research over the years, and it can generally be argued that boys and girls each perform better in single gender educational environments, although often for different reasons. 

  • Boys and girls learn in different ways, and often at different speeds.
  • As a boys school, we can focus on the needs of young men and guide their development in mind, body, and spirit.
  • We can remove the social stresses that boys may find in co-educational school environments
  • We can remove the distractions of a co-educational environment and help our young men focus on achievement
We are a Christian school.

Fork Union Military Academy was founded in 1898 by Dr. William Hatcher, a prominent Baptist minister. Christian values and biblical principles continue to undergird the entire program of Fork Union Military Academy.

Our cadets are expected to conduct themselves with kindness and respect. This expectation is reinforced and clarified in the chapel services and student assemblies held during the week and on Sunday mornings.
Our goal is to provide young men a framework within which they may apply themselves toward achieving their academic potential while growing as men of character and integrity.

While the Academy is proud of our affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, our student body reflects the broad diversity of religious belief found in our world.

About 20% of our cadets are Baptist, another 20% are Catholic, approximately 20% are of another Christian denomination, nearly 20% are of another religious faith such as Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim, and about 20% do not specify any religious affiliation.

We are a military school.

The goal of the military system at Fork Union Military Academy is not to turn young men into soldiers. Indeed, we have no affiliation with any branch of the armed forces. Rather, our goal is simply to use the best aspects of the military system to teach young men the value of being responsible for their actions, of doing on their own the work that needs to be done, and of working with others toward a common purpose.

We have identified a set of broadly agreed upon positive military courtesies, such as...

  • respect for authority
  • punctuality
  • self-discipline
  • accountability
  • personal and corporate hygiene

...and we have superimposed these values on our living and learning environment—in the classroom, the locker room, the dining room, and the dorm room.

At Fork Union Military Academy, our cadets are expected to tuck in their shirts, to say “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am”, to stand when a lady enters, and to open doors for others. Our cadets learn to look others in the eye, address others with respect, and speak with confidence. Our cadets are taught to “sweep in the corners”—that is, they are expected to pay attention to detail, to be accountable for their actions, and to set high standards for themselves and others.

We are not a “boot camp” program, nor do we cater to troubled teens in need of a therapeutic school environment. We are an “independent military school” and do not offer the JROTC model. There is no training in military tactics, techniques, or doctrine.

Our environment of structure and discipline helps to limit distractions and encourage students to focus on achievement in academics, athletics, and personal growth.

We are a championship school.

Fork Union Military Academy has achieved a national reputation in athletics, usually sending thirty to sixty athletes from our high school and postgraduate teams to NCAA Division I college programs on athletic scholarships each year.

We field 21 athletic teams in 10 different sports each year.

There is a longstanding tradition of excellence in the athletic programs of Fork Union Military Academy. Our school has produced:

  • 56 State Championships
  • 5 Olympians
  • 2 Heisman Trophy Winners
  • 12 NFL First-Round Draft Picks
  • More than 80 NFL football players
  • At least 6 NBA basketball players
  • Dozens of professional baseball players
  • Multiple track & field National Champions
  • Over a dozen Swimming & Diving Champions

Few other schools can match the length, depth, and breadth of Fork Union Military Academy’s athletics program.

We offer the unique One Subject Plan academic curriculum.

There is one final element that you won't find anywhere else...

Fork Union Military Academy follows a unique curriculum schedule. It is called the One Subject Plan.

Instead of juggling 4 to 6 classes every day, or following a "block schedule," our students take one subject at a time.

The year is divided into five grading periods of about 7 weeks each. Each grading period, the student takes one class. He is with that one teacher all day, every day, for about 7 weeks.

The ultimate in individual attention

In a typical public school, a teacher is responsible for teaching 80 to 150 different students every day in several different classes.

At Fork Union Military Academy, a teacher has only one classroom of students (usually about 10 to 17 students) each day, every day, for seven weeks.

This enables the teacher to get to know each student as an individual, and enables each student to concentrate fully on each subject. There are no more nights of deciding "should I do my math homework or my writing assignment first?" or jumping the mind back and forth between geometry and grammar.

Concentration goes up, learning goes up, and grades go up.


Download our white paper "About the One Subject Plan"

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