Thoughts on Civilian Prep Schools

Discussion in 'Service Academy Preparatory Schools' started by foreigner, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. foreigner

    foreigner New Member

    Jun 26, 2015
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    Hey all!

    I've done a lot of research on schools like MMI, NMMI, NWP, Greystone, etc. and am curious to hear the pros/cons of each school from people on the forums. I'm a class of 2020 hopeful and I'm trying to get my backup plans into place as early as possible, and I've heard a lot of great things about each of these schools. It's not possible to apply for at least a few months, but I'd still love to have a better understanding of each institution.

    For me personally, the portion of my application that is lacking is my academic side. Average GPA and average ACT that I am actively working on improving. How beneficial would performance in a prep school/college go towards making an academic composite more competitive? Is it difficult to get into a prep school without stellar grades? Is it too risky to attend a prep school (as a free agent) that doesn't offer college credit, in your opinion?

    I think right now I'm also favoring Greystone, Northwestern Prep, and New Mexico Military Institute based off what I've already heard from people already. Can anyone who's been there or about to go provide some insight? I'd love to hear about your experiences at each school (or any other prep school)!

    I know some people might view my plans as pessimistic, but understanding how difficult it is to receive an appointment (especially where I live) has encouraged me to have strong backpacks in case I need to pursue the c/o 2021 instead. It's something I can control in this crazy process, and appreciate everyone's insight in helping with those plans!

    Thank you in advance!
  2. jackson1989

    jackson1989 5-Year Member

    Apr 28, 2009
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    I noticed you have not received any feedback on your questions. I will try to offer some insight. My son was a Falcon scholar to MMI, so his risk was low. He was similar to your comments in that he did not have outstanding academic performance in HS. Some things to consider are to really understand where you need to get better (i.e. math, science, english). Each of the SAs has a very rigorous academic program and you need to be well prepared. He felt the year of prep gave him a much stronger academic base. He entered USAFA with a much better understanding of how to study and the level of work required to do well.

    You mention NMMI, this school would give you a chance to "trial run" living in a military atmosphere. He chose MMI for that reason, and because it was a year long program. He considered NWP, but he wanted to stay at his prep school the entire year. He felt it gave him more connection to his classmates and more discipline for himself. That is a question you should honestly ask yourself.

    He had friends at the academy who attended MMI, NMMI and NWP. Almost all of them excelled, so I believe all the programs can be a launch board to success at the academy. I don't think he knew anyone who attended Greystone, but I'm sure they have similar success.

    Apply to the academies you wish to attend, and if you do not get in this year, ask specific questions about what areas you need to improve. That information should help you chose which school is the best fit for you. I know the deadline for MMI was a little later than most schools to allow students who did not get into the academies to apply, and I believe that is true of most of the prep schools. Also be sure to apply for all the ROTC options that you are eligible for and interested in pursuing. Remember it will often come down to finances on which choice you pursue (at least it was also a part of our families decision).

    Best of luck!
    Midwest likes this.
  3. RLTW

    RLTW 5-Year Member

    Dec 18, 2008
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    DS went to MMI a few years back. He just graduated from USMA this year, and still has some great friends from his time at MMI, not only those who went on with him to USMA but also others who chose other paths (some who even came to West Point to see him graduate recently). While at MMI, he was a self-prep dual enrolled in both ROTC and the MMI SAP program. Busy times at school, and not much to do outside of school (not much to do in and about the town anway). He enjoyed his time at MMI, carried forward great friendships. Not to sugar coat it, he felt their technology infrastructure was lack luster (this was 5 years ago) and while he and others were highly motivated he found the instructors both very qualified and highly interested in helping cadets, and yet he was surprised at how many he saw who coasted along and simply assumed they had an appointment “in the bag”... which did not turn out to be the case. So wherever you choose, drive on, not only because it will help you during your time at prep, but because despite everything, USMA is much more academically rigorous with yet another level of time management needed. Just is.

    Bottom line: he enjoyed his time at MMI, and would do it again, just stay focused wherever you go -- it can be easy to be distracted.

  4. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna 5-Year Member

    May 10, 2011
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    I was a Falcon scholar at NWP in the fall of 2012. It's a great program and I attribute a lot of the progress I made during that prep year and the relative success I've had at USAFA to the time I spent there. Give the Durbecks a call or message me if you want to know more about the program. Good luck with whatever you do.
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

    Jan 4, 2011
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    It is what it is, so these schools want paying students (Tuition is between $12,000 to $18,000). They do offer scholarships, but you wont' know how much you will get until you apply. If you are looking at a civil prep program for mostly to get accepted into a SA, you might be better off attending a regular college. Your claimed weakness is academics - so good grades from a college will carry similiar weight as a good grades from a prep school. I don't know how much these schools offer in terms of improving SAT/ACT scores, but nothing prevent you from taking SAT/ACT prep course while attending a college. Some of these prep schools offer you ways to be commissioned, but if you don't get accepted into a SA and don't want the commissioning routes offered, you will have to transfer to a college and restart (also hope that credits will transfer).
    Boozebin likes this.
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 26, 2008
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    I am a graduate of NWP...okay, back when it was in Mound, MN...a few...decades ago. But it did the trick for me!!!

    As a need to really put the pedal to the metal now...working on ALL aspects of the process.

    Trust me, as one who's "been there, done that; twice..." it CAN be done!!! :)

    Check your PM for a link to check out...

    USAFA '83
  7. Druiztx

    Druiztx Member

    Aug 15, 2015
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    Just to echo some of the past comments: To be competitive in your class, you need to have high grades, good SAT/ACT scores, participate in sports-hopefully be selected as a captain, and volunteer in your community.

    If you do not get in, it's not the end of the end. High school is a launching pad for you to do great things in life. I would suggest a good state school and enroll in ROTC of the branch of your choosing.

    I suggest if you want ROTC, to enroll in a school that has different branches of ROTC in case you have wavering thoughts on the branches

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