When you saw your son for the first time, you knew at that moment you would do anything for him. When he first entered your life, you spent your time reading reviews and asking opinions about the safest strollers and cribs.
Now, it is time to start researching the best place for your son to grow from a boy into a young man.
As parents, all that we want in this world is for our sons to grow up into responsible, caring, hard-working men. If you are reading this article, it probably means that you have begun considering military school for your son. We at Fork Union Military Academy want you to know that we take your interest in a military academy very seriously and will be here for you to help answer all your questions about such a new environment for your son.
Why Military School?
There is one big question that you need to be answered: Why should I send my son to a military school?
You have many options for where to send your son for his education, so the decision to send your son to a military school like Fork Union will take much thought and prayer. There are a few reasons why a military school could be right for your family, especially a military school like Fork Union.
#1) Structure and Discipline
The first reason why a military school like Fork Union might be right for your son is perhaps the most important.
Cadets at Fork Union Military Academy adhere to a consistent, thought-out, and well-implemented daily schedule that ensures that with time, they will grow accustomed to the responsibilities of being an adult. Cadets wake up at the same time every school day, clean their rooms, dress in uniform, go to breakfast together, gather outside to raise the flag, and have their uniforms inspected, all in time to arrive at class by 8 AM.
Throughout their days, cadets get used to living by a regular schedule, and we often hear from alumni that learning how to be disciplined with time management sets them apart from their classmates and coworkers in college and beyond.
In an unstructured and undisciplined world, Fork Union stands alone in providing the kind of environment where good boys will grow into good men with the necessary life skills for success.
#2) Peer Pressure
The second reason why a military school like Fork Union might be right for your family is that most common forms of negative peer pressure are reduced.
A recent report had some startling data to report: only 10% of high school students said that they had never given into peer pressure at some point during their schooling. The students who took the survey admitted that they bullied other students just because their friends did. Unstructured social environments go down a slippery slope that leads to dangerous decision-making that will hold your son back from the opportunities that only come around during high school.
Researchers within the last ten years have noticed startling increases in the levels of dangerous, impulsive behavior amid teenage boys Many teens unfortunately often do not understand the potential consequences of these actions. This behavior can jeopardize a teen's chances of going to college, or worse.
The average teenager spends more than half of the time he is awake at school, and even more time with the friends he makes there. At a boarding school, your son is around those influences all day and night for much of the year.
Experts agree that during the teenage years, a young man's friends are the strongest contributors to the way that he sees the world around him and how he chooses to contribute to it. Try as we might, there is very little control that parents have over their kids' closest friends at school; we simply cannot be there to protect them, and most schools do not offer the kind of support and reinforcement necessary to help young people make the best decisions.
Many parents raise questions with us such as "isn't military school just for troubled teens?" They have concerns that their son might be exposed to negative influences. The truth is that there are some military-style schools that cater to this type of student, accepting and admitting young men who need a "boot camp" type of experience to "turn them around." If you search on Google for "military schools for troubled teens" you will see ads from schools like this at the top of the search results page. But you will not see any ads from Fork Union Military Academy listed. That is not who we are.
Fork Union Military Academy is the kind of college preparatory school that outstanding young men aspire to attend, where they can achieve their best-not a "boot camp" style school, but more like a high school version of the Military Academy at West Point.
At Fork Union Military Academy, our enrollment process includes many steps that pass through multiple members of our staff and faculty community, all to make sure that each applicant will contribute positive attributes to our student body: the Corps of Cadets. We have found that parents tend to take a deep sigh of relief once we can demonstrate how Fork Union Military Academy defies the stereotypes that plague military schools. Fork Union implements the very best aspects of the United States Military Academies; we provoke attention to detail in our cadets, a sense of honor, personal integrity at all times, and robust self-discipline. Whether your son is slipping up in the small details of everyday life or wants to be a part of a community of brothers who will help him see the world differently, Fork Union is dedicated to each young man's spiritual, academic, and physical development above all else.
The staff and faculty at Fork Union all share one common goal: we want you to rest easy knowing that the young men surrounding your son are high-quality influences and that the school he attends is proactive about maintaining integrity in the student body.
#3) Elimination of Distractions
The third reason why you should consider enrolling your son at a military school is that it could significantly enhance his academic performance by eliminating common distractions.
One of the largest sources of distraction for young men comes from their cell phones. This next fact may surprise you. According to a report from ABC News, the average teenager spends 7 hours and 22 minutes per day on screens. This time does not include schoolwork; that startling number is just the time that teenagers spend on pure entertainment. There are simply not enough hours in the day for a student to devote himself to classes at school, homework assignments after school, and eight hours of sleep every night if he is using his phone over fifty hours per week. Most boarding schools allow students to keep and use their phones at will, undermining their students' academic performance. At Fork Union Military Academy, students are not permitted to have a cellphone. Our cadets benefit academically from the structured environment at Fork Union, and on top of just grades, the elimination of cellphones can even help to improve young men's overall mental health by cutting off the constant negative feed of content from certain social media platforms and news sites.
One of Fork Union's most beneficial learning programs is our mandatory corps-wide Call to Quarters (CQ), a proctored time that cadets must use for homework every school night. Cadets spend two hours every evening doing their homework, and if they finish early during this time, they keep working on other various schoolwork until CQ ends. Our alumni often reach out to us once they reach college to report on what a help it was to have CQ while at Fork Union. Although they may have wished they could have spent their weeknight evenings relaxing with friends instead of working, our past cadets tell us that the distraction-free environment at our school and the mandatory nightly study time helped to ingrain a sense of academic responsibility that lasted beyond the gates of our campus.
The fourth reason why you should consider sending your son to a military school like Fork Union is that he will be in an environment where diversity can flourish.
According to Boarding School Review, Fork Union Military Academy ranks in the top thirty nation-wide among private boarding high schools for the levels of ethnic and racial diversity among the student body.
Our military tradition allows boys from all walks of life to come together and share a common purpose and circumstance, living and growing together in respect, integrity, faith, character, and discipline under the direction of our dedicated staff and faculty, many of whom served in the United States Armed Forces. Being in a place where many different world views and experiences merge is incredibly beneficial for our cadets.
Today's college students and professionals are expected to know how to handle cultural differences, and the sad reality is that most schools remain relatively homogeneous concerning diversity. As useful as the internet may be for reading about other cultures, something is amazing about watching cadets from Texas share in Lunar New Year with our Vietnamese students. This simply is not an option that many other private schools can afford their families.
Micah Giszack is an alumnus of Fork Union Military Academy and works with the Academy in marketing and admissions.
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