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Reviewed Aug. 4, 2022
I'm 17, and I have been at RMA for 6 years. Do not hesitate to reach me at **. I encourage you to as I think you are making a mistake sending your son here or to any military school for that matter. I'll preface this by debunking the deceptive marketing, this is not an academically rigorous school, this is not a school with many facilities, this is by no means an effective college prep school. What this is is a melding of military culture (a culture meant to break down one's identity) and a high school (an institution meant to expose teenagers to different experiences whether social, academic or extra curricular) and together these two elements interfere with each other.
First the social aspect is very very sanctioned. There is no sitting with anyone outside your group in the cafeteria and when you ask politely to do so you are belittled. I was told by a faculty member that the conversations I was having with my friends were unimportant anyways and proceeded to punish me for sitting in an area that wasn't my assigned one. And this type of belittlement is too common here, and really wears on you when you have lived here out of state for 5-6 years. The academics here are pretty easy, and that is quickly obvious when you take dual enrollment and have to backtrack in order to do the most basic assignments (so much for college prep) and there are few AP offerings. Not to mention the comp sci department is nonexistent.
The extracurriculars here are pretty bad unless you do JROTC, which I think is incredibly flawed and only leads to more undue stress on the student and teaches nothing about leadership. Most "cadet leaders" are domineering jerks who follow the lead of the administration and continue the belittlement. It's institutionalized hazing. All in all, riverside is a school with few offerings in and out of the classroom and a terrible social scene. Not to mention that the lack of girls really makes you feel like you're missing something and you will not know how to properly treat a woman, especially if you're there since 6th grade.
This is a school that strips adolescents of their identity and motivation by forcing along their schedule and doesn't encourage one to take initiative since you always have someone telling you what to do. And they take this flawed model and aggressively market it to 6th graders without considering the harm that this environment could cause to children so young. This place is a joke, I went in a socially awkward 7th grader, and came out a senior resentful of authority, cynical and without friends in my hometown. Friends don't let friends send their kids to military institutions or the military for that matter. Good parents don't send their kid away to these psychopaths. This hasn't helped my relationship with my parents at all. And if you want to talk more in depth and anonymously please use this email.
Reviewed July 13, 2022
I attended RMA, in 1974-75 (7th grade) and then again in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade; graduating in 1980. The Academy is like any other school experience; you get what you give. Is this school for everyone; no of course not. Does the program insist on following instructions and discipline administered, Yes. It challenges young men like no public school possibly can in terms of managing one's time, development of critical thinking and it is done under the model of a military environment.
Upon graduating I went into the early commissioning program (ROTC) at UT Chattanooga, and was commissioned at the end of my sophomore yr, while only 19 years old. I went on to complete a master's degree and retired from the Army reserve with 25 yrs of service as a field grade officer. The school has toned down its approach significantly since the 70s, 80s and 90s.. If your child can't hack it now; they're in for real trouble when they get out into the real world. Academics are still of excellent quality and the program is fine for college prep. Is it the same school I attended? Some say Yes and others say No. It is however a great place for young men to have the opportunity to excel and distinguish themselves.
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Reviewed March 5, 2021
Attended Riverside Military Academy from the 8th grade through 12th grade. Riverside definitely made me a better mature and honest person. The JROTC program is there and designed to keep you busy with responsibilities. Cadets need to get on the program and I guarantee you he would become a proud Riverside Alumni.
Reviewed Feb. 23, 2021
I have read so many negative reviews, I need to speak up. I graduated in the 70's from Riverside. 8th - 12th grade. It was a tough school but the best thing that could have happened to me. I left there more advanced educationally and maturity than any others my age from public school. The leadership, academics, and physical fitness far outclassed public schools. I qualified for a military 4 year scholarship that I never could have obtained in public school. I read all the negative reviews and see spoiled children mostly whining. Is it tough - yes. Difficult being from home - yes. Best overall education - yes. I have recently returned to the school and I can answer about the smoking, hazing and Drugs that it is super exaggerated. Protection, there are so many new cameras on campus that pretty well eliminates any hazing. Also in this covid environment the students are in the safest place in the world right now bar none.
Reviewed July 9, 2020
This review is based for people trying to decide if they want to send their kid to RMA. In short, if it's for problems with drugs violence or any behavioral issues, congratulations, you spent 40k to make your kid worse. I'd say 80 percent of the kids there are in for drugs, the other 20% is 5% fighting, 14% grades, and 1% by choice, so basically it's sending your kid to hang out with more people of his same issue, and hoping he'll get better. Odds are your kid will get hazed on their roc cycle, bullied, targeted for being gay if they are (let me make this clear if your kid's gay, don't send him here unless you want him leaving traumatized and depressed, or you don't wanna pick him up from the mental hospital). If your kid is anything other than Caucasian odds are he will hear racist comments, or be targeted by staff of the school for his race.
You may send your kid for failing a class or 2, and he'll come out like me with way more drug issues than the ones from before, before I got sent to rma, I had vaped a handful of times and smoked weed twice with no intentions of trying it again bc I got violently sick the second time. After riverside prescription pills and weed was my go to. Pills are easily the most used drug at rma, they give out prescriptions to any kid who is prescribed them and then they are distributed for money or other substances, ** and ** (depression meds and adhd meds) are the most common. And even if your kid doesn't do anything bad odds are he'll be pressured or forced to one day. I've seen it happen first hand to a kid who went in having never done anything at all, and I mean anything, and watched him forced to hit a vape by another cadet bigger than him.
Now that we got a *few* of the cons out of the way (excluding mental health and the process of taking stuff away and giving it back so many times that the kid stops caring if he has it or not and a few other issues) let's talk about if your kid is the right type to go and do well, if your kid is motivated, OK with having 90% of his creature comforts taken away, unfair student leadership, won't fold to peer pressure, will work everything by the book and is OK with being an outcast just for trying, then your kid maybe a 1% deal where he will do well and thrive, much to the cost of how he is treated by everyone else.
If your kid wants to go and is like what I stated above, send him, bring him home every moment you can, help him get out of the bs parades and closed weekends, and help him in anyway to make it easier for him bc I can promise if he's doing everything by the book he's getting bullied and people are trying to make him quit.
The school itself isn't the worst, the TAC officers are all trying to help (varying degrees of success @sargent **) and in the end it's us, the cadets that make it so bad, but your one kid won't help, odds are he'll get eaten and spit out worse. And if you're about to get sent, try your best to stop it, show your parents all the reviews and offer other options. If you can't stop them, relax and get ready for a hard year, but as soon as it's over it's better, it won't be the end of the world, just sucks for however long you're there for, get close with leadership, and tacs, don't let anyone make you give them anything or they won't stop, get the wifi passwords, and make friends with old boys who have been there for a while, they can teach you the ropes.
Get ready to meet a new weird kind of people, it's gonna take a while to understand them until your one of them. But in the end it's what you make of it, my advice, don't make yourself stand out or be a crazy try hard, get everything required done, pass classes, and stay outta trouble, make friends in high places who can help make life easier, don't try to sell anything on campus and focus on getting home or getting your phone. And if you're a parents trying to decide if it's right for your son who got caught with weed in public school, don't send 'em here, we'll just glorify it and make them worse and send em back to you a worse person than before, save yourself the bill and try to help them in other ways. I'd also like to include a video that you can find under guy jumps on other guys arm *painful* on YouTube, it's as bad as it sounds and what goes on in the school.
Reviewed April 9, 2020
We decided to send our son to Riverside Military Academy and was mistake of our life. Our son received drugs from other students, mistreated. Poor leadership and staff at this school. We do not recommend this school and one should look for other better options for positive environment.
Reviewed May 9, 2019
After 4 years at RMA my son is graduating as honor student with leadership skills and maturity beyond his years. Beautiful facilities, dedicated staff, awesome teachers and parent group! We'll miss it!
Reviewed May 8, 2019
I graduated as the valedictorian from RMA in 2002. I enrolled during January of my sophomore year, and is common for many students, the first 6 months was a difficult transition period. I didn’t want to conform to the institutional rules, and was occasionally spending my free time marching the quad. Eventually I realized that I wasn’t going to win anything by fighting the system, so I learned to get along with it. I became a crew captain and played varsity soccer, was the president of the literary society, National Honor and Horton Society member, played concert and drum line percussion and a member of the Rangers program. Along with 6 AP classes and student leadership (honor council and a company commander my senior year), these activities kept me active and productive. Most of my teachers were excellent, I had a caring college counselor, and I developed some close friendships. The structure of the program was an aid in all of this, to be sure.
However, all my success at RMA did not prepare me to enter college. I attended an elite public school on a 4 year ROTC scholarship, but was quickly distracted and had developed no real skills of self-discipline outside of the RMA rules and systems. It was a journey through the wilderness for me, and I eventually did develop some of the skills to succeed in the “real world”. So here’s the critique: The environment at RMA is very artificial. There are surely some good order and discipline you can instill and carry with you through that experience, but I found it to also be a bit of a hindrance towards developing the maturity I needed. I will not be sending my children to RMA, but at the same time, I do not regret some of the great experiences and opportunities that opened up for me in part because of what RMA has to offer.
Reviewed March 14, 2019
Other Riverside student cadets are the strongest negative of the school. Older cadets abuse younger cadets. It is the school's ethos. That is, the administration of the school has the antiquated attitude that peer discipline is the most effective discipline which leaves the older cadets to control the younger cadets. The administration of the school has had this warped philosophy since the founding of the school more than a hundred years ago. Gen. Sandy Beaver instilled it during his 50 years as owner and director. Successor superintendents, presidents, administration personnel and staff are chosen on a strong basis that they accept this readily and adhere to it always.
The abuse of cadets as school policy and practice includes the ongoing pattern of sexual abuse which is just never ending at RMA. Sexual abuse is almost always done by older cadet boys against younger and newer cadet boys. Perps are the bigger boys against smaller boys. Admin dismisses the abuse, keeps knowledge of it on campus, saying boys will be boys. Admin says boys will fight and so what. The school believes that sexual abuse too will toughen up small and weaker boys as needed by them. This is demented and deranged. I taught there for one year then out. I'd advised the academic dean after the first semester that I'd leave and I did, at the conclusion of the academic year. The one thing the boys did acquire during their miserable existence at RMA was to solder on despite all the hell and high water they were thrown into by the admin and the older cadet boys. Faculty are helpless against this.
Faculty are the positive influence at the school, both to one another and to the cadets. This is true generally. The military cadre staff retired from the armed forces are obligated to the school for their position so the officers and NCO retired go along with the administration to get along with them. Most of the mare also true believers in discipline for the sake of discipline. Faculty are in contrast and in general the only presence at RMA that can protect a student cadet boy who is achieving. Be assured here that Admin doesn't care about the boy in the least bit.
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2018
This school has been such a blessing to my son and family. I have NOTHING but good things to say about this academy. If you are looking for a school that will make a difference in your child's life and contemplating about if you should send them to RMA, Please do! My son came here in AUG 2018, had taken the SAT in May 2018 at previous school getting a 740 Score. After being at RMA, for less than a full 2 months (enrolled in SAT PREP at the school) taking the SAT on 10/6/2018, he has a score of 1130!!! YES 1130! They have helped him tremendously. Keeping him busy and focused! He now has a real plan. He can now do better and greater things. His SAT prep teacher suggests he takes the test again and get an even higher score. I am beyond grateful and satisfied that I chose to send him here. If you have any questions of me, PLEASE feel free to ask. THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE.
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