If you want to become an commissioned officer in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve, but you aren’t interested in West Point, OCS, R.O.T.C., or the traditional commissioning route, you should consider attending one of our nation’s four military junior colleges. Doing so is a great way to fast start your military career.
What are Military Junior Colleges?
In case you aren’t familiar with military junior colleges, here’s a simple definition I found on Wikipedia:
A military junior college (MJC) is a military-style junior college in the United States and one of the three major categories of the Army ROTC schools that allows cadets to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army reserve components in two years, instead of the usual four, through the Early Commissioning Program (ECP). They also offer Service Academy preparatory programs that allow qualified students to earn an appointment to the U.S. Service Academies upon their successful completion of this demanding one-year program at a MJC.
The four military junior colleges in the United States are Valley Forge Military Academy, New Mexico Military Institute, Marion Military Institute, and Georgia Military College. These institutes serve as high schools and junior colleges (in some cases), and let cadets get commissioned in just two years (in most cases).
In the paragraphs below, I will educate you about these four military junior colleges.
Valley Forge Military Academy
Valley Forge Military Academy is a boarding school and military junior college in Wayne, Pennsylvania. This school hosts approximately 600 cadets. It dates back to 1928 and has a very proud history. The school first accepted female students in 2006. The mission, vision, and philosophy statement you see below were taken from their website.
To develop individuals to be fully prepared for the responsibilities and challenges of being citizen leaders. We produce graduates who are strong in mind, body and soul.
To be a shining beacon, calling young people from around the world to achieve their full intellectual, physical, moral and leadership potential.
To develop the whole person within an integrated academic and military environment. Our tightly structured and supervised cadet-led community helps to inculcate a deep, enduring commitment to responsible and informed citizenship in a democratic society.
New Mexico Military Institute
New Mexico Military Institute is a co-ed institute that offers grades 9 through 14. The school is a high school and military junior college. It was founded in 1891. It is a state supported educational institution located in Roswell, New Mexico. The school commissions 30 to 40 cadets each year and sends another 75 to 125 students to the major military academies.
New Mexico Military Institute is a globally recognized, secondary and post-secondary learning institution for young men and women that instills excellence in leadership, academics, and physical development within a structured environment empowering students to thrive in a dynamic world.
To educate, train, and prepare young men and women to be leaders capable of critical thinking and sound analysis, leaders who possess uncompromising character, and leaders able to meet challenging physical demands.
You can visit their website to learn more.
Marion Military Institute
Marion Military Institute is the official state military college of Alabama. It was founded in 1842 and assumed its current name in 1887. It is a military preparatory high school and junior college.
Marion Military Institute is one of only four military junior colleges in the United States and a member of the Alabama Community College System. Students from all over the nation attend MMI to establish a strong foundation for future study and to take advantage of its leadership development opportunities. About 40 percent of MMI’s cadets will pursue a civilian career and will enroll in the college’s Leadership Education Program (LEP). Others are working toward receiving an appointment to one of the five U.S. Service Academies and are in the Service Academy Program (SAP). Unique to the four military junior colleges is the Early Commissioning Program (ECP), which provides an avenue for qualified students to earn a commission as a Second Lieutenant after receiving their associate’s degree to serve in either the National Guard or the U.S. Army Reserve. ~ Source
Georgia Military College
The Georgia Military College is a military junior college, high school, and middle school in Milledgeville, Georgia. It host students in sixth through twelfth grade, in addition to the college students. In all, there are about 5,000 students and 150 faculty members.
The mission of Georgia Military College (GMC) is to produce educated citizens and contributing leaders of society in an environment conducive to the development of the intellect and character of its students, regardless of location or method of delivery. College students are offered a liberal arts-based, two-year undergraduate curriculum designed to support student attainment of an associate degree and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Students with an associate of applied science degree are offered a curriculum designed to support student attainment of a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. For selected college students who enroll in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and preparatory school (k-12) students in the Junior ROTC program, GMC includes a leadership development and education component. ~ College website
Wentworth Military Academy (defunct)
Wentworth Military Academy was founded in 1880 and has approximately 1,500 students. It is located in Lexington, Missouri. It is a high school and military junior college. Initially an all male college, females were allowed to enroll in 1993. They offer a 2-year commissioning program, a 4-year commissioning program, and a Falcon Scholarship (partnership with the Air Force Academy). UPDATE: Sadly the school closed in 2017.
Should You Enroll in a Military Junior College?
If any of these military junior colleges interest you, you should do your research and visit each school’s website to learn more. Make a list of questions and find the answers. It might be in your best interest to interview some former graduates and current students to get an inside perspective.
Early Commissioning Programs are popular at military junior colleges. These programs allow graduating students to commission as officers in the Army Reserves, allowing them to receive the benefits of being an officer in the Army while completing their bachelor’s degree. Students participating in an Early Commissioning Program have a service obligation of either serving eight years in the Reserves or National Guard, or four years of active duty. ~ College Vine
Attending a military junior college is not for everyone. It can be expensive and the experience is much different than the traditional college route. But I must admit that these institutions do produce many fine Army Officers and military leaders. In addition, the schools offer intense academics, a focus on physical fitness, structure, routine, and lots of discipline. Some students thrive in this type of environment while others hate it. Ultimately, you must decide what is best for you.
What are your thoughts about the military junior colleges? If you attended one of these colleges, I would love to hear from you. What was your experience like? When did you attend? Which school did you attend? Leave a comment below to share your story with the rest of our community. I look forward to hearing from you.
- Army Early Commissioning Program
- Top Army ROTC Programs
- My Clarkson ROTC Experience
- Army JROTC: How it Works
- Why I Resigned My Army Commission
If you’re considering ROTC, OCS, or military junior colleges, I highly recommend the book you see below. Just click on the image to visit Amazon.