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5-Year Member
Jan 29, 2008
I was accepted into the civil prep program and have narrowed my choices of schools down to New Mexico Military Institute and Marion Military Institute. I am not sure which one to choose and I doubt I will be able to visit either of them due to the cost of travel. (Neither are anywhere close to where I live) I was hoping someone who knew the junior colleges could help me compare the two.
To be honest I know nothing about them but what is the criteria for the civil prep program.

Andrew Mitchell
Its a West Point Preparatory scholarship program given by the West Point Assocations of Graduates. Canditates for West Point that are all qualified (medically, academically, physically) but for some reason didnt recieve anappointment are eligible, but they give only a limited number. When you recieve it/choose to accept it you must pick one of four junior colleges, New Mexico Military Institute, Marion Military Institute, Valley Forge, or Georgia Military College. The scholarship is only a partial so I still have to pay for some of it, but I will attend a junior college for one year and then be re-evluated by West Point. Around 90% of those in this program recieve appointment for the next West Point Class. So basically its a prep year before West Point.
My son attended NMMI last year as a USMA civil prep cadet. I cannot compare it to MMI since I don't have experience with that school but Just A Mom has a daughter currently attending MMI, so maybe she can give you some info about that school.

I can tell you about my son's experience at NMMI.

First the good. He said the academics and the professors were excellent. The classes were challenging but prepared him well for USMA. He tells me that the chemistry class at NMMI was harder than the one he is taking at USMA now. His English prof at NMMI taught him a lot and my son still keeps in contact with him. My son also was in band at NMMI. He was able to get some extra scholarship money through band that helped reduce what we had to pay. Another bonus was a trip to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm in CA. The band performed and then had the rest of the day to enjoy the parks. Another good thing is the friends he made. The prep kids from all the academies are very close. One of his best friends at NMMI is now at USNA and he is still good friends with a few of the USMA preps. In fact he is spending spring break with a USMA cadet friend who he met at NMMI.

Now the negative. He basically had two complaints the entire year. First was the food. He got tired of it really fast. He ate off post as often as he could. The other complaint was about the leadership at the school. He felt that the rules were not applied equally to all cadets. He was comfortable with the rules and never got in trouble but he saw situations where cadets were treated differently after breaking the same rule. NMMI needs to be more consistant in applying the rules.

My son learned some good leadership skills at NMMI. Since there is a high school there too, they look to the college cadets for many of the leadership roles. They also expect more from the academy prep kids because they should be squared away. My son ended up as a squad leader about halfway through the year. He had one h.s. kid that was a mess and he was constantly dealing with his issues. He made him follow the rules but he was fair. The kid acted like he hated my son but at the end of the year he thanked him for what he did. My son also saw several good examples of what NOT to do when in a leadership role. Those were good leadership lessons too.

In my opinion either school you choose will have its challenges. When my son was choosing between schools for the civil prep program it came down to location and climate. Basically NMMI was closer to home and the climate appealed to him more than the other choices.

Good luck to you - either way you can succeed!
Caitmarie -

Q. - Is Valley Forge on the list for AOG this year? I know they were working hard to get back on the list and last year they were not on it.

I pretty much will echo WaMom68's post. MMI and NMMI are very similar and both have well known prep programs. They both have been schools that have great success sponsoring kids for foundation prep programs.

My daughter was encouraged to attend MMI by her MALO and WP RAO. I think this year MMI has nearly all the AOG sponsored cadets, except for some recruited athletes.

MMI has been undergoing some big changes - they were a private military school, high school and jr college. In 2006 they became a state school and is now under the umbrella of Alabama community colleges. The high school is phased out, the school has been receiving money from the state and is investing that money in the infrastructure. Most of the building are pre-Civil war so the upgrades are needed.

Location wise -both are located in very rural areas - Roswell NM and Marion AL.
As far as Marion goes - the town is very small. It is about 30 minutes from Selma, 45 mins from Tuscaloosa (home to the U of Alabama) and 80 minutes from Birmingham which is a pretty nice city.

The teachers are MMI are great. They SAP program kids are in class with only SAP kids. They take English, US History, chem and math. If you pass US History with at least a B in BOTH semesters then you will automatically validate plebe US History at West Point.

Food at MMI - fried. They fry everything. It takes some getting used to. I sent lots of care packages.

if you have any other specific questions - please ask!
Yes, valley forge is back on the list, but it wasn't recommended to me being a female. The only things I know about the school is what I read online but according to the people I have personally talked to and even those with the AOG scholarship prep program, Valley forge isn't "female friendly." The female factor wasn't a real concern anyways, I tryied to find the school that will best prepare me and after researching the schools NMMI and MMI seem to have the best programs.. Thats in my opinion though. Also thanks for the heads up with the fried food, that will probably take me some adjusting to.
A family friend who commissioned into the Army after going to NMMI (who, incidentally, is now a Coast Guard pilot) has only said good things to my about it if that helps at all.