Marion Military Info

Discussion in 'Service Academy Preparatory Schools' started by cgadreamer, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. cgadreamer

    cgadreamer 5-Year Member

    Dec 16, 2009
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    We drove to Marion Military Institute this past weekend. There are two things you should know. There is ONE hotel in Marion;therefore, if you don't have a reservation ahead of time do not assume one will be available. There are two (2) fast food restaurants: Subway and Hardee's. If you are arriving late at night, you may want to get something to eat before arriving in Marion.
    The college is basically the only thing there. Industries appear pretty much gone and most of the "old downtown" area is empty. Needless to say, there would be few distractions in Marion.
    The athletic facilities are very nice. Indoor swimming pool, wrestling and weight room (which I understand has more coming soon), tennis courts, softball field, and beautiful baseball field.
    Dorms (barracks)are just that...barracks. Room with metal bunk beds, 2 desks. Doors are metal, lockable, with a handle. Heating and air appear to be controlled by one thermostat for entire building. Saw a lot of windows open... From the street, the college is impressive looking. Very stately looking with front gating. Once you drive in, there is a huge concrete area. This is a no frills place. It appears to have its purpose, which is to have a military based, regimented, college education.
    It was the weekend, so many students were gone. According to our guide, the school currently has about 450 students. He said most go home on the weekends, if they live close enough to have somewhere to go. There is one cafeteria on site. Some said the food was good, some said it wasn't. Had the opportunity to speak with 3 different students in depth about their experience. One was very positive and spoke very highly about the program there. One said it was okay and that he tries to remember he is there for a purpose (SA prep). The third one was very vocal about how much he hated it and is dying to leave. After lengthy conversation, determined he wanted to go because he as of yet has not passed the Army Fitness test, so he can't get his monthly stipend.
    All in all, if one goes there because they are on ROTC, Early commissioning program, service academy prep and they truly have an end goal of being a military officer...I would think success is yours for the taking. However, if a person does not have that end goal....I think they would lose their mind at this school. It definitely would not be for most...henceforth, 450 students.
    It appears from most stats I have seen, the success rate for the service academy prep program is very high. The early commissioning program is a great opportunity for those who attain to become an officer in the army (2 years).
    Hopefully, this maybe will give a little insight to those who wonder. Obviously, if a potential cadet is being sent there for SAP, it is what it is and it is where you may go. If you are not going for SAP or ECP, you may want to go visit the school and be sure it is what you want. My son visited to work out and meet the baseball coaches. He wants to go there if he doesn't get into the CGA and it works out for him financially. He has been accepted and we are just waiting on CGA decision and AROTC March boards before making a decision.
    tatika likes this.
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom 10-Year Member

    Jul 9, 2006
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    This is a quite accurate representation of Marion Military Institute.

    A couple of additional comments:
    Selma is not far - about 20 miles. There is a Comfort Inn there that is pretty good. A lot of parents also stay up in Birmingham.
    Religious Services - there are a couple of churches in Marion. There are more in Selma and the closest Catholic Church is in Selma. My daughter went to Selma for Mass and never had a problem finding a ride.

    Cars - Some SAP Cadets will have cars, most who come from far away will not. Most of the other cadets have cars and finding a ride was never a problem.

    Cadets - there are 3 different programs: SAP, ECP and Basic.
    SAP - service academy prep. Most are sponsored but a few are not.
    ECP - Early commissioning program. These are ROTC kids who go to MMI for two years, commission in the reserves and then complete their education. Commonly a self sponsored SAP cadet is also ECP.
    Basic - these are students who are not in ROTC at all. There are a number of kids who go just for the military junior college experience. Many are minorities and many have parents who are alums.

    Diversity - MMI is diverse both racially and geographically. It is now a public college in Alabama and most of the Basic and ECP kids are local and many are Black or Hispanic. The SAP kids come from across the country - the vast majority are white.
    I am not making a judgement here - it is just how it is.

    Graduates from MMI do get into some pretty good schools. Some of my daughter's classmates ended up at schools like Texas A&M, Auburn and Alabama. Their credits transfer nicely.
    Education - the SAP cadets take separate courses that are tailor-made for them. As an SAP cadets you wont get any electives.
    Attitudes - they run the gamut. It is a Military Junior College and it's common for kids to hate it one week and like it the next. It is serious culture shock for a lot of SAP cadets. Cadets who get in trouble tend to hate it ;)
    The cadets tend to form close, close friendships. SAP cadets with each other and also with some basic and ecp cadets.
    Food - decidedly "Southern".
    Weekends - alot of kids go to T-Town. Tuscaloosa - home of the University of Alabama. I think it is the nearest movie theater.
    Facilities - Since it became public (about 4-5 years ago) a lot of money has gone into improvements. I think some of the barracks are now air conditioned. They are otherwise primitive, but liveable.
    People - the folks who run the college make the college. In the SAP program Col Lewis is fantastic. He truly cares for these kids and works hard to help them make it through.

    For anyone considering or offered a prep slot at MMI - it is only one year. It goes by quickly and the friendship bonds are tight.
    haleym and tatika like this.

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