As with most things, Culver is a mixed bag. After 4 years, this is what I observed.
1. Rock star teachers. Astronomy by a NASA scientist, humanities by worldly scholars...
2. Harkness discussions are powerful! My son appreciates other’s points of view, speaks clearly and objectively evaluates information.
3. Terrific alumni network. The post-grad connection is STRONG!
4. Beautiful facilities. The campus is breathtaking!
5. Some athletics are AMAZING! Hockey, lacrosse, tennis, crew... The facilities rival any.
6. Strong religious life program, for all faiths and philosophies.
7. Lake Max!
1. The military program is antiquated, encourages bullying and treats boys badly. When one reports bullying, the leaders blame the victim & promote the bully. There are better leadership training structures.
2. The boys dorms are abysmal. Old facilities, group showers, filthy rooms, poor cellular, zero disabled facilities, absence of adults overnight & a “boys will be boys” attitude.
3. It’s in the middle of nowhere, far from an airport or city. Getting there is expensive & time consuming.
4. Extreme wealth dominates. Like us, most parents are of above average means & donate accordingly. But the subset of extreme wealth dominates. Sports, special events, graduation, etc.
5. Introverts are NOT valued. If you are <100% extroverted, Culver is not a good fit. Introverts feel inferior, blamed for not confronting others & may not enjoy the absence of privacy.
So, that’s my honest recount of what we experienced. Would we do it again? Maybe. My adult child feels pride in his Culver alumni status. He is a thriving college student who appreciates independence, understands not everyone is playing with the same advantages and loves people from different backgrounds. But his high school experience may have been more positive at a more balanced school.
Students are encouraged to take their turns at leadership roles, and there is a TREMENDOUS amount of mentoring. The honor code is impressed upon all students, and there atmosphere is very good at Culver.
D attended for 4 years and loved every moment. She partook in the equine program, speech, orchestra,and more. She was admitted to a top university with help and guidance for the professional college advising staff.
Bullying, as reported by other posters? Hmm. Anyone confirmed of bullying - and Culver's history is testament to the fact that is does not matter who the offender is, who their family is, or how much money they have - and bullying will result in on-the-spot expulsion.
Kids will be kids anywhere, regardless of school, but Culver has a demonstrated zero tolerance policy.
Let me also add something else: a 14 or 15 year-old needs to be prepared for private school life. Some are just NOT ready.
Our D in 9th grade was very short, very, very petite, sweet-natured, with a child's face and voice, but she was emotionally ready and incredibly excited at the prospect go attending.
By the middle of the first year she was in full stride with COUNTLESS good friends, and by sophomore year she was handling all of her own decisions; which classes to sign up for, when and where to go shopping with friends, which clubs to join, weekend trips to take, roommates to sign up for for the next year, she was in 100% full independent mode.
If you question whether your child will not only be CAPABLE of making those decisions, but really LOOKING FORWARD to making all of his or her own decisions, then keep them at home for a while. There are plenty of Culver students that would relate that their younger or older siblings really didn't want the all responsibility. They want parents involved in the details of their lives, picking up after them, socializing with the family, etc. And that is good.
If your kid is a clinger - and there is NOTHING ABNORMAL OR WRONG about that, then you need to consider if private school is the right place for them.
As to remarks that the dorms are 'unsupervised at night', that is simply not the case. Dorm moms and counselors keep a close eye on the girls, and they go through the rooms at night especially during study time. They know what goes on, believe me.
AGAIN, if your child needs the security of a constant adult presence around them, then they just may not be ready. Don't push it.
I need potential parents and students to listen up. I am currently attending Culver for my second year now and I have never experienced such a great disappointment. There is so much they do not tell you about what actually goes on when the parents leave and adults turn their backs (as they always do because the wealthy and legacy families have them wrapped around their fingers). There are numerous students who have developed depression, anxiety, and panic attacks due to the overly competitive nature of the school and toxic environment they are forced into every day. A large number of scholarship kids could actually afford to come here out of pocket (it's all about who you know) or didn't deserve it in the first place. They may have looked enticing on paper but in person they are the most ungrateful, spiteful, and immature children I have ever met. You think the facilities are nice? Sure they are, but they're run by a bunch of petty buffoons we refer to as "faculty". That does not go for everyone, but many of the educators here are still in high school themselves (mentally) or, again, got their job because they know someone. The adults could care less about the welfare of the students. I have gone to my counselor with several issues, some of which still prevail today, that were simply shrugged off as I was told to "Ignore it" or "Let it pass". That doesn't work so well when you are terrorized daily by your roommate. I know I am not the only one. There are students that have left for this exact reason or just bullying in general. The girls' side is especially brutal and I have spent most of my nights either alone, sobbing, or home because I simply cannot stand to be at this school. Please, do not let the beautiful campus fool you. Pretty is as pretty does. The internal turmoil and lies are extremely prevalent. The education you receive is not exemplary(mediocre at best) and EVERYTHING is corrupt. Do not send your children here and do not bother visiting. I am deeply sorry for the girls I gave a tour to last year that are currently attending because they are being harassed and beaten down just like I am right now. Show this to everyone you know because, if not, someone will either hurt themselves or hurt other people if things do not change. It is a cesspool of a place.
Culver Military Academy has been an excellent experience for my eldest son. My youngest son will be a freshman next year.
With regard to the parent review submitted 4/14/2015, I politely disagree with her assessment. My son is in the honors program (and he is American born and raised). He has achieved honor roll (gold A) and a 4.0 in "honors" classes and will have the opportunity to be in AP classes (according to his advisor). Also, this is a military school and I believe the expectations of the school were provided with great detail prior to attending the school. Finally, please review Culver's matriculation reports for the last 5 years. They are available on Culver's website. The top 10% of students are attending STEM and or tier 1 schools e.g., USMA, University of Chicago, Notre Dame, Princeton, University of Michigan....
Culver is beautiful, with impressive facilities & several strong teachers. But I cannot recommend it for the following reasons: 1. It is dominated by gifted international students who are academically years ahead of all American students in STEM classes. They consume the limited AP class openings and the American kids can't earn a spot. Check the matriculation statistics. Few American kids graduating from Culver are getting into top STEM schools as many are not allowed to take advanced classes in high school. In hindsight, my children's college applications would have been more impressive (GPA, class rank, AP classes) had they gone elsewhere. Kids who were top performing in American schools are competing for the second quartile at Culver. 2. There is a pervasive problem of bullying in the military leadership system. Domineering, aggressive kids are promoted with actual authority over their more tolerant, gentler peers creating an environment that is ideal for bullying. If your child is non-aggressive, this is not a welcoming environment. There are many positives, but these two negatives are show stoppers for me.