New York Military Academy, Cornwall-on-Hudson

A structured environment with a focus on academics and leadership-building

Just as Trinity-Pawling isn’t your “standard” religious-based school, the New York Military Academy likewise shatters old preconceptions of what a military academy education is all about. Parents seeking a school that offers an academic, leadership-building focus in a structured environment might consider a facility such as NYMA — especially if their student shows interest in a future military career. 

“We’re not a behavioral modification school. We truly are college prep,” says Alisa Southwell, director of admissions at the academy. “That old cliché about military academies is outmoded. We call the school a ‘real-life leadership lab’ that incorporates military aspects such as organizational skills, time management, and discipline into everyday life.”
Established in 1889 and located on a 120-acre campus in Cornwall-on-Hudson in Orange County, NYMA underwent major administrative and academic changes during a 2010 restructuring, says Southwell. “As a result, we raised the academic bar, and the results have been rewarding.”

new york military academy students

new york military academy marching bandStudents (left) and members of New York Military Academy’s marching band

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The school, with a 12:1 student/teacher ratio, opened a new computer graphic design lab last November, and is boosting its STEM program — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The school also offers both an SAT and ACT testing site on campus. Cadets come from all over — as far away as Montana in the U.S., and 13 countries worldwide, says Southwell.

The coed academy has a long affiliation with the U.S. Army JROTC, and includes day and boarding students in grades seven through 12. NYMA has been designated an Honor Unit with Distinction by the U.S. Department of the Army; many of its grads attend West Point, and the U.S. Naval and Air Force Academies.

Southwell says she’s seen a shift lately in how some families choose a child’s school. “It used to be that parents were the ones to decide,” she says. “They knew their child needed more discipline or time-management skills or preparation for college, and would take it from there and make a decision.” But in the past few years, she says, “more students are doing the research themselves. They go online, ask friends, investigate, then make suggestions and pull their parents in. The choice of school is more collaborative, which makes the students really eager to take part when they get to school.”

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