Newbie question about prep schools

Buckeyefan

New Member
I am new here and have lots of questions about the prep schools (SAPS). Here is my situation: my son is a junior in high school. After seeing him put in little effort in school and doing poorly (despite us spending lots of money on tutors and organization coaches) for his 9th and 10th grade years and also due to some attitude problems at home, we made the tough decision to send our son to a military high school this year. This was against my son's wishes and he went unwillingly. Fast forward to today- two months later and he is doing great. His grades are fantastic and he is starting to get involved, and according to his TAC he is following the rules and progressing that way as well (really developing the whole man!). He has also made friends and generally I think he is happy, even though he would NEVER admit it to us at this point. I anticipate he will stay for his senior year as well (hoping it is by his choice). Anyway, this has all got me thinking about college. I am very interested in having him go to a Senior Military College (SMC)but also want to have some other options as well, so that is why I am here on this forum. Can you all tell me a little bit about the SAPS? Are they only for kids that intend to go into a service academy? If my son, for whatever reason, doesn't get into or go to a SMC could he start at a SAPS and after two years transfer to either a SMC or a regular college? Is it kind of like a community college in that way? And do SAPS have the same military structure as SMC and SA? Like PT and structured days and required study halls? Having seen what this environment is doing for my son in HS, I really believe it would be best for him to go to a college (even if just for a couple years) that helps him be self disciplined and helps him to manage his time. Thanks in advance!
 

RoyOrbison

NWP '17, USAFA '22
Buckeyefan, before I try and shed some light on your question about the prep schools, it is absolutely necessary your son makes his own life decisions in the service academy process. If he doesn't want to be an officer in the United States military, then there is no point forcing him to attend the academies or prep school. However, should your son willingly choose to serve, here's some information. There are three types of prep schools. 1. The academy sanctioned prep schools. For example USAFAPS, NAPS etc. Typically these are used to prepare athletes who may not be academically qualified for the academies, but an extra year will help. The next two can be attended as either a free agent or as a foundation scholar (Falcon foundation, Naval Academy foundation etc) 2. Civilian prep schools. These schools prepare you mentally, academically and physically for the academies, but are not associated with the military. They do not do drill or wear any sort of military dress. Example is Northwestern Prep in California (I currently attend here)
3. Military Prep schools. Associated with a variety of programs, some use ROTC while other are run by retired military. Drill and military dress is utilized and the academy lifestyle is instilled. Hope this helps and good luck! If you have any questions about NWP or the foundation scholarships I am more than willing to answer them!
 

Billberna

Member
Hi, Buckeyefan. I can answer some of your question. You already got some good answers. The SAPS are associated with the service academies, but you cannot apply to them directly. You are only referred to them by the respective service academy if, after applying, the service academy admissions office determines that your son/daughter would benefit from them for one year before entering the service academy. Succeeding in a SAPS really boosts your chances of gaining an appointment in the following year - but of course, as Roy said above - ONLY if he wants to serve as a military officer.

Also, don't forget about military junior colleges. Two that come to mind are Marion Military Institute, in Marion, Alabama and New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM. You can complete an associates degree at either of those colleges and then transfer your credits to a four year university. Two college years in a military setting might be just what your son needs to mature some more and be ready to take on any other type of college from that point on. Best of luck as you decide.
 

jl123

Member
I am new here and have lots of questions about the prep schools (SAPS). Here is my situation: my son is a junior in high school. After seeing him put in little effort in school and doing poorly (despite us spending lots of money on tutors and organization coaches) for his 9th and 10th grade years and also due to some attitude problems at home, we made the tough decision to send our son to a military high school this year. This was against my son's wishes and he went unwillingly. Fast forward to today- two months later and he is doing great. His grades are fantastic and he is starting to get involved, and according to his TAC he is following the rules and progressing that way as well (really developing the whole man!). He has also made friends and generally I think he is happy, even though he would NEVER admit it to us at this point. I anticipate he will stay for his senior year as well (hoping it is by his choice). Anyway, this has all got me thinking about college. I am very interested in having him go to a Senior Military College (SMC)but also want to have some other options as well, so that is why I am here on this forum. Can you all tell me a little bit about the SAPS? Are they only for kids that intend to go into a service academy? If my son, for whatever reason, doesn't get into or go to a SMC could he start at a SAPS and after two years transfer to either a SMC or a regular college? Is it kind of like a community college in that way? And do SAPS have the same military structure as SMC and SA? Like PT and structured days and required study halls? Having seen what this environment is doing for my son in HS, I really believe it would be best for him to go to a college (even if just for a couple years) that helps him be self disciplined and helps him to manage his time. Thanks in advance!
USMAPS - United States Military Academy Prep School is for applicants to USMA that do not qualify for admission academically, but are desirable candidates otherwise. The majority of these slots go to enlisted soldiers and recruited athletes, but do include others especially if they are from an underrepresented category.

If your son is not set on a military career (or even if he is), another venue to make up for a rough start in high school is to consider boarding school for a PG year. If you can afford the tuition or get enough financial aid, they provide excellent preparation for college. Many people have heard of the most exclusive ones like Exeter and Andover, but there are dozens of others that are excellent.
 

Buckeyefan

New Member
Thanks everyone and that helps a lot. So I think a Military junior college may be what my son needs if he doesn't go straight to a senior military college or regular college. He is not interested in serving and we don't need the SA for financial assistance as we plan on paying for college. So based on the info looks like junior military college that he could transfer credits to is what I am looking into. I just want something with a military environment and structure to help him with self discipline but don't want the required service afterward. Thanks!
 

AuxNoob

CGA Admissions Partner
5-Year Member
The Coast Guard Academy uses three SAP schools. One is NAPS, and is only available through the military. They also use Georgia Military College and Marion Military Institute. My son was a sponsored prep to MMI. The school is well run, and the curriculum follows that of the service academies. There were several "self-preps" at MMI who paid their own way in hopes of getting an appointment. They tend to do well from MMI. I can't speak to GMC from personal experience, but the cadets who went on the CGA did well. That said, these are colleges, and the students can get into trouble they might not in a high school level military academy. Check out their websites for details on their programs.
 

AuxNoob

CGA Admissions Partner
5-Year Member
My understanding is that NAPS is for Navy and Coast Guard Cadet Candidates referred from the respective service academy. You cannot apply to "self-prep" at NAPS. If I am wrong, I hope someone will correct me.
 

MidCakePa

Member
To attend NAPS, one must apply to USNA. Should USNA determine that the candidate requires further academic development — but is otherwise a highly desirable candidate with strong officer potential — then he/she may be offered a spot at NAPS.
 
OP, what military school does/did your son attend? I'm looking into how military structure affects learning. It seems that most military schools really do, as you said, "develop the whole person." A shame that military charter schools aren't widespread yet, seeing as many children who might benefit from attending can't due to financial reasons.
 

cns3700

Member
I realize this is an old thread, but have a question regarding NAPS. Can one apply to the NAPS or is the NAPS only for the service academies to refer cadet candidates to?

Thanks.
My son currently attends NAPs and was assigned there by the Coast Guard Academy for a year of prep school. The Coast Guard does not have a prep school so they send their CGAS (prep program) kids to three different schools. NAPs has 19 coasties there this year. The majority of kids at NAPs are Naval Academy prepsters. You can not apply to NAPs. It’s a direct appointment from either Naval Academy or Coast Guard and you are notified during admissions process if this will be an option for you.
 

Alaskan

Member
To attend NAPS, one must apply to USNA. Should USNA determine that the candidate requires further academic development — but is otherwise a highly desirable candidate with strong officer potential — then he/she may be offered a spot at NAPS.
Or apply to USCGA and be offered a spot at NAPS through the scholars program.
 

Survivor

New Member
I realize this is an old thread, but have a question regarding NAPS. Can one apply to the NAPS or is the NAPS only for the service academies to refer cadet candidates to?

Thanks.
My son currently attends NAPs and was assigned there by the Coast Guard Academy for a year of prep school. The Coast Guard does not have a prep school so they send their CGAS (prep program) kids to three different schools. NAPs has 19 coasties there this year. The majority of kids at NAPs are Naval Academy prepsters. You can not apply to NAPs. It’s a direct appointment from either Naval Academy or Coast Guard and you are notified during admissions process if this will be an option for you.
 

Survivor

New Member
A few ???. My son just received a conditional appt to CGAS and i’m wondering the following since your son is already half way through.
When they do the 3 weeks in the summer, how long is the break typically after the summer program and the official start of the school year?

What has been the hardest part for your son at NAPS so far?

What sport is any does he play?

Did you visit your son? How many times? How does that work? If he is an athlete, did you go to games and can you take them out to dinner or is it mandatory that they returnright to NAPs when a game is over? I’m trying to understand ‘how military’ or how lenient the ‘leave’ policy is. While I suspect one can’t leave any weekend, what if you have an important winter weekend that was planned?
 

cns3700

Member
A few ???. My son just received a conditional appt to CGAS and i’m wondering the following since your son is already half way through.
When they do the 3 weeks in the summer, how long is the break typically after the summer program and the official start of the school year?

What has been the hardest part for your son at NAPS so far?

What sport is any does he play?

Did you visit your son? How many times? How does that work? If he is an athlete, did you go to games and can you take them out to dinner or is it mandatory that they returnright to NAPs when a game is over? I’m trying to understand ‘how military’ or how lenient the ‘leave’ policy is. While I suspect one can’t leave any weekend, what if you have an important winter weekend that was planned?
@Survivor - Your son will report to the Coast Guard Academy first to get sworn in and do orientation (a version of swan summer.) GMI & MMI kids stay the entire three weeks before reporting to their preps but NAPS kids only stay for one week before they have to leave and get sworn in at NAPS. They then do three weeks of INDOC and it ends with NITRO on Saturday. School started the following Wednesday. They are pretty busy during those days getting setup for school and handling all their other requirements. Also it’s their first time experiencing a little freedom.

One hard part for him was the transition from CGA to Naps. The first week is an extremely hard transition and then when you just feel like you are “getting it,” you transition to NAPs and have to start all over again. Orientation and INDOC is physical and mental. You will hear their ups and downs in the letters you receive but you also hear them working through it. Most of the kids struggle during this transition. Other than that, I would just say from a personal observation that they love their breaks. They are “on” all the time since they live on a military base. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just be off duty.

As a parent, you never really know when liberty is. They build up to weekends but it just depends. They may have duty. If they get in trouble or their platoon gets in trouble their liberty gets cancelled. They may have on base liberty. My son only came home during holiday liberty. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break liberties are announced. Some people go home if they live close.

I visited Labor Day weekend and he was able to go to dinner with me a couple times. I also visited parents weekend and he was able to stay with me off base during set times. You can go to any of their events. Sometimes they can meet you after or the next day. The coaches are pretty good about understanding how far families have traveled. If they have liberty you can visit but they are pretty busy on weekends trying to get homework done. I’m scheduled for more visits this winter.

Transition to military life for us was understanding that we are on a need to know basis, things change and we are probably the last to know, rules are set, we find out information last minute but everyone has our young men/women’s backs. As far as a special family event, your son can apply for special leave but it’s not guaranteed.
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to PM me. It’s been a wonderful experience!
 

Shaka

Member
Are there athletic teams at the civilian prep schools? USMA talking to my son about potentially attending one.
 
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