Applying to the Top Military Colleges in the United States

There are several military schools located throughout the United States. Some of these military colleges are specifically for training members of tomorrow’s military while others are hybrid military/civilian institutions. At those military schools, students can choose to go into the military after graduation.

Top 6 Best Military Schools & Colleges

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Military Schools & Colleges

Students who graduate from top military colleges or military friendly colleges leave with highly respected degrees and excellent training. We’ve rounded up a list of senior military colleges and military friendly schools to consider for your higher education.

AdvisoryHQ’s List of Top 6 Best Military Colleges

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that military school)

Top 6 Best Military Schools | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Military Schools

Highlighted Features

Norwich UniversityFirst ROTC
The CitadelSubject Area Tutoring
U.S. Coast Guard AcademyFull scholarship for every student
U.S. Merchant Marine AcademyU.S. Coast Guard License
Valley Forge Military Academy and CollegePlebe System
Virginia Military InstituteStudent Governance

Table: Top 6 Military Schools | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Benefits of Attending a Military School

Military colleges offer a lot for students. In addition to U.S. military colleges providing a quality education, military schools offer physical training, a sense of discipline, character development, and more.

Best Military Schools & Colleges

Source: Pexels

Leadership skills are also cultivated at military friendly colleges so that graduates go on to become valuable members of the public or private sector. There are US military colleges specifically designed for students to go into the military, and there are other institutions that provide civilian higher education as well. These institutions are known as senior military colleges.

There are also top military colleges that offer free tuition. In these cases, recipients are required to dedicate a certain amount of time to the U.S. military after graduation.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Military Schools

Below, please find the detailed review of each card on our list of top military colleges. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these military colleges to score so high in our selection ranking.

Norwich University Review

Norwich University is one of the senior military colleges in the United States. It is located in Vermont.

As one of the senior military colleges, Norwich University does not exclusively train people to enter the military. It offers a rigorous military lifestyle combined with strong academics. Graduating from one of these U.S. military colleges is a huge advantage even for those who wish to enter the private sector.

Norwich is home of the first Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). This military college services all four branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force).

Cadets can also pursue a career in the U.S. Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, by entering a special program called Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS) or by going to the Officer Candidate School after graduating.

The Corps of Cadets puts students at Norwich, one of the top military friendly schools, puts students through the kinds of tasks and challenges that develop their character and resiliency. The program is progressive building upon the lessons of the previous years.

The intensive scheduling of the program trains cadets to learn how to manage time. It’s an unavoidable lesson at any military schools since they have to wake up before sunset for physical training before heading to their classes. Those who wish to excel will need to learn how to manage their time effectively.

As one of the military friendly colleges, the campus integrates civilian and cadet students for classes, in extracurricular activities, and more. The biggest different is that civilian students are not required to participate in physical training.

There are several extracurricular activities available to students including twenty varsity sports, club sports, and over 80 clubs and organizations. Facilities available to students at Norwich, one of the best military colleges, has several facilities available to students including:

  • Two gymnasiums
  • Lacrosse, football, rugby, baseball, and softball playing fields
  • Weight and aerobic exercise rooms
  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Hockey rink
  • Climbing wall
  • Wrestling facility
  • Indoor tennis courts

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The Citadel Review

The Citadel is one of the best military colleges in the U.S. It is also one of the senior military colleges. It is located in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Corps of Cadets makes up the Citadel’s group of undergraduates and consists of about 2,300 students. About 1,000 students attend The Citadel Graduate College, which provides both undergraduate, graduates, and professional studies for civilians. As one of the military colleges in U.S. The Citadel offers a traditional military living and learning environment.

One of the recognizable names among U.S. military colleges, The Citadel offers 20 undergraduate programs, 27 Masters programs, and 24 graduate certificate programs. There is a student faculty ratio of 2:1, which makes for an attentive, personalized experience for students who get to attend a school where they do not feel like a number.

The average undergraduate class size is 21 and the average graduate class size is 13.

Cadet Academic Support Services

To maintain its status as one of the best military colleges, The Citadel has to ensure that it does not let any students fall behind. This is why this is one of the military colleges in U.S. with an Academic Support Center.

The Center was originally created in 1984 to address the failures rates in English 101. In the years since, the Center has grown to not only provide academic support beyond English, but to also support students who need help adjusting to the social transition into life at The Citadel, one of the top military colleges in U.S.

The Learning Strategies program at The Citadel, one of the best military colleges in U.S., pairs students with a professional student and helps students develop vital student life skills including note taking, time management, and anxiety reduction techniques for test taking.

As one of the best colleges for military, The Citadel is strategic with the support services it offers students. The Subject Area Tutoring program offered by the ASC has tutors that are usually employed in their industry, so students get a combination of theoretical and academic advice as well as practical advice.

Specific services the Academic Support Center provides include:

  • Academic Coaching
  • Athletic Academic Success
  • Freshman Success Program
  • Math Lab
  • Subject Area Tutoring
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Writing Lab

There are several activities organized for cadets, so that they can have a well-rounded experience while they are at The Citadel, one of the best colleges for military learning methods. This includes both events and organizations like:

  • Accounting Club
  • Chinese Club
  • Cyber Defense Club
  • English Club
  • Ethics Bowl Team
  • French Club
  • Museum Committee
  • Physics Club
  • The Brigadier Newspaper
  • Pep Rallies

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U.S. Coast Guard Academy Review

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a Federal Service Academy and one of the best military colleges in the country. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is one of the best U.S. military colleges that educates tomorrow’s maritime military leaders.

The leaders this military school produces provide vital services for the U.S. maritime military including rescue operations, natural resource protection, management of maritime traffic and commerce, and more.

Like other top military colleges, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy offers four-year bachelor’s degrees with a full scholarship for each student. Each student is required to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard for five years.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, one of the best colleges for military, is made up of students not just from the United States but from around the world as well. (These international students do their mandatory military service in their country of origin’s military service.)

The Academy’s Corps of Cadets is a regiment made up of eight companies: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, and Hotel.

The Cadet Experience

The “Cadet Experience” at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, one of the top military colleges in the United States, emphasizes three key aspects that are meant to produce graduates with character the information they need to excel in their subject area. They are:

  • Challenging: There are no easy majors, each program is rigorous (whether it’s in the liberal arts or engineering) and the expectation is that every cadet completes the program in four years.
  • Physical: Physical activity and exertion is part of everyday life at the Academy as it is at all the best military schools. Being in excellent shape is an important part of being in the U.S. Coast Guard so preparing for future work is vital to cadet’s education at the Academy.
  • Military: Naturally, the experience at this school is different from the experience students have in civilian university environments.


The U.S. Coast Guard Academy provides several extracurricular opportunities for its students. There are academic and professional clubs, honors societies, diversity and fellowship organizations, music and drama clubs, pride groups, and varied sports and activities.

Some of these clubs include:

  • Amateur Radio
  • Aviation Club
  • Fight Team
  • Mock Trial Club
  • Model United Nations
  • Asian Pacific American Council
  • International Council
  • Women’s Leadership Council
  • Concert Band
  • Regimental Marching Band

United States Cost Guard Academy Military Friendly Colleges

Source: Wikipedia

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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Review

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is one of the Federal Service Academies. It is located in New York and is one of the best military schools in the country. This military school produces licensed Merchant Marine officers. Merchant marine officers provide a vital service for commercial and military transport during war and in peacetime.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is known for its rigorous program. Its undergraduate program requires more credits than any other Academy, supporting its status as one of the top military colleges.

In addition to the intense academic coursework students at the Academy are required to complete, students also obtain hands-on experience by working aboard a commercial vessel for a year.

By the end of their time at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, students receive a:

  • Bachelor of Science degree
  • U.S. Coast Guard license
  • An officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces

For their mandatory five years of service, graduates of this school, one of the top military colleges in the U.S., can either provide five years of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or spend five years in the U.S. maritime industry as well as spending eight years as part of the armed forces’ reserve unit.

The U.S. merchant fleet plays a vital role for the U.S. economy. The U.S. Merchant Marine is also a vital source of support during wartime or national emergencies by delivering troops and military supplies and equipment.

Valley Forge Military Academy and College Review

Valley Forge Military Academy and College is both a high school academy and a military junior college. It is located in Pennsylvania. For this review, we’ll be focusing on what this military school has to offer as a college.

The school’s five cornerstones are: Academic Excellence, Personal Motivation, Character Development, Physical Development, and Leadership.

Valley Forge is one of the top military friendly colleges in the country, and it offers different program options for students: the Corps of Cadets, a Commuter School option, or the Early Commissioning Program through ROTC. Our focus is on the Corps of Cadets.

The Corps of Cadets emphasizes discipline and perseverance for overcoming challenges, much like other top military colleges in the country. Students who enter the Corps of Cadets are expected to adopt and internalize the core values detailed in the Mission Statement, the Cadet Resolution, and the Honor Code.

The Plebe System

Incoming students to Valley Forge, one of the top military friendly colleges in the country, are called “plebes” until they go through specific training called the Plebe System. It serves as a way to transition into cadet life and adjust to the concepts of duty and team cohesiveness that underpin Valley Forge.

Plebes become cadets on Recognition Day when they join the Corps of Cadets.

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Virginia Military Institute Review

The Virginia Military Institute is one of the top military friendly schools in the United States. It is also one of the senior military colleges, and it is located in Virginia. It is a four year undergraduate college with the goal of preparing graduates to become disciplined, dedicated public servants.

Cadet Life

Students at this top military school learn cooperation and governance by living under the same roof with their classmates. Room furnishing are limited to essential equipment and up to six cadets can share up to one room, although there is also a minimum of two. There are daily inspection and each cadet is responsible for contributing to the cleanliness of the room.

The types of personal items cadets can have in their room is determined by their class. For instance, first class cadets can have civilian clothes in their rooms.

Attending one of the top military colleges is a social experience as well. There are events hosted throughout the year for cadets including movie nights, Homecoming Hop, Trick or Treat in the Barracks, and more.

The military school on the basis of 24/7 military life by emphasizing “punctuality, order discipline, courtesy, and respect for authority”.

Cadet Life and Governance

Students at Virginia Military Institute, one of the top senior military colleges in the U.S., are heavily involved in governance at the school. This includes involvement in the Corps of Cadets, the Honor Court, and the Class System.

This military school runs on an honor system and cadets are taken at their word. Exams are not proctored and statements given by cadets in any situation are not doubted. To protect the school’s honor, any alleged violations are handled in the Virginia Military Institute’s Honor Court. An acquittal results in all records related to the case being destroyed. If a cadet is found guilty, they are dishonorably dismissed.

Conclusion – Top 6 Best Military Schools

There are several choices for students who wish to attend military school. Students leave with an education that emphasizes critical thinking, discipline, perseverance, and focus. This is the kind of character development that not only leads to great service men and women but to excellent leaders in industry, too.

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