Culver Academies - Review #8

Read more details about Culver Academies on their 2019-20 profile page.
Culver Academies
5

About the Author:

College EnrolledUniversity of Notre Dame
Home Town, State St. Joseph, MI
Years Attended Boarding School4
Activities During Boarding SchoolAthletics: Football (4 years, senior captain), Lacrosse (4 years), Hockey (2 years), Wrestling (1 year). Leadership System: Cadet Club President, Regimental Adjutant, Unit Commander, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Mess, 1st Sergeant, Color Guard, Four Gun Drill (XO).

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
At Culver, a student has the opportunity to have a great education in a beautiful setting while participating in top notch extracurriculars and sporting teams. I feel many boarding schools might offer similar things. However, Culver sets itself apart in through its dedication to leadership learning and character development. There are few schools that I know of that do such a fantastic job in developing all parts of the person, the mind, body and spirit. Through the boy's military system or the girl's prefect system, students have the opportunity to have real responsibilities that help them develop the leadership skills that are so necessary to success in life.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Without a doubt, my Culver experience made me a much better person than if I was a student at my local high school, especially in areas of leadership and character. I learned to be assertive and confident. I learned how to make decisions properly by gathering all relevant information, analyzing outcomes, and implementing solutions through real world experiences rather than classroom experiments. I learned the importance of friendship and what it meant to be a good friend. I learned how to exist in a team and how to lead a team. I learned right from wrong and when it was ok to push the envelope and when it was time to firmly say no. Lastly, I know that I achieved a lot of things at Culver and won a few awards - but that is all meaningless compared to the friends I made and embarking on the Culver experience with them.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I think if anything, you have to go into a boarding school experience with an open mind, especially at Culver. It is important to be humble and learn from those who came before you. More than anything, while homesickness is natural, I would bet that anyone who leaves after a few weeks or month will regret.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people and the relationships that you build with them. Everyone at Culver, form students, coaches, teachers, or administrative faculty exist in a great community. I know that the relationships I have from Culver will be more lasting than anything I have developed at college.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Take the time to get to know your teachers, coaches, and counselors - they are so important to making your experience memorable. Focus on the friends that you can make - they will make the Culver experience. Don't try and buck the system - there's a reason that so many Culver grads are successful, speak lovingly of the place, and donate their personal resources to make sure others can have the Culver Experience. While there are going to be times where you hate Culver, especially at 6:50 in the morning during BRC in near freezing weather and there will be times where you think and talk negatively about the school, I think everyone realizes how being at Culver made them a better person. I will always remember hearing my football coach reading emails from recent grads speaking about how much they miss Culver and Culver people, even from the ones I thought did not like their experience.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The teachers display a real commitment to the student's development. This extends beyond the subject they teach, though not discounting the wealth of teaching ability and knowledge of subject matter in the faculty at Culver. But more than classroom learning, I felt teachers really took an interest into my well-being, both inside and outside the classroom. One advantage to the boarding school environment is that you can interact with teachers after school and in the community. It is not uncommon for teachers to invite students or classes over for dinner and discussion. When I go back to campus, I always make a point to visit or have a meal with my favorite teachers. Developing personal lifelong relationships with the faculty was one of the most important parts of my experience at Culver.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Culver athletic programs are some of the best in the midwest and country, especially in sports such as Hockey and Lacrosse. The facilities for athletic teams are really second to none in prep schools - and I have driven through or toured many comparable schools. Beyond the facilities, I felt that Culver coaches really took the opportunity to use sports as a tool to further develop teamwork and leadership. Going back to previous points, I again think that Culver coaches took the time to develop personal relationships with their athletes. I still keep in touch with many today.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
While I did not participate in Visual Arts, Music, and Theatre, the programs were very visible, especially with the new facilities that have been recently added. One unique initiative of Culver is the concert series, in which homework would be canceled for a night and students required to attend a type of performance during the night study period. These professional performances involved all different types of art, theatre, and music, from the Ballet to the music of Buddhist Monks to opera. I believe the goal was to expose all students to different types of arts to both inspire interest or at the least, teach the appreciation of the arts.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The distinguishing factor of Culver is the leadership program - the boy's military leadership structure or the girl's prefect system. While Culver began as a military institution, now the military is used as a tool to teach leadership rather than a ROTC-type training program. Though we have graduates who attend military schools (and do well there - the Regimental Commander from 2008 is now the top cadet at West Point), there is not an emphasis on tactics, etc. Instead, the military system teaches leadership. You enter as a bright-eyed plebe, focusing on following and developing personal discipline. By a sophomore and junior year, cadets are given smaller responsibilities, such as being a squad leader and accountable for the well-being and performance of six to eight peers. By the first class year, cadet's have the opportunity to command a company of fifty or even larger units such as a battalion or regiment. I cannot think of many high schoolers who can tell colleges that they were personally responsible for the well-being, morale, and overall performance of fifty of their peers or that they were tasked with helping new cadets adjust to the boarding school life. To list what the leadership system taught me would take hours - I am without a doubt a better person for it.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I would not trade life in the Barracks for my room at home for anything. Generally the barracks are in good condition and are kept clean by the cadets themselves. Especially now, unit lounges have amenities such as big screen TVs and video game systems and more. Nearly every room is a double and after random selections Freshman year, students have their choice of roommate and room. The unit counselors serve as rector type individuals, available for students needs, while the student leadership itself also plays a large role in maintaining a positive morale and dorm life. The unit structure develops such a community setting - my memories will always be about living with my best friends and late night hangouts.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is adequate, though certainly not a mother's cooking. However, it is better than some college facilities I have experienced and I know there is a concerted effort to provide students with the right types of food and best food possible when cooking for 750+ people. Supplementing the dining hall is the Shack, which is a popular hangout area that serves pizza, burgers, etc. And, if students are in need for a real fix, several restaurants in town deliver to campus. Student's are required to eat with their units during breakfast periods, one lunch period and one dinner period a week. I rather enjoyed these opportunities to have everyone around at one time to socialize.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Culver is set on Lake Max and could not be in a more beautiful setting. Especially during the warm months, it is nice to walk through the woods to town and eat Papa's on the park right on the lakeside. There are several restaurants in town, perhaps more than a normal town the size of Culver would have and all are delicious. There is a very picturesque small town feel with a quaint Main Street complete with a one screen movie theatre and popular coffee spot.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The best way to describe social life at Culver is living with your best friends. Perhaps because Culver is so unique, students really develop lifelong relationships. Some high school students might scoff at the curfew or lack of raging parties, but I think many will remember fondly Saturday nights chilling on the Battery steps or piling into one kids room after closing to watch a movie until the early morning. Then there are lazy Sunday's basking in the sun on the field or tossing around a football for hours. By senior year, I will always remember spending nights at Beason Hall, savoring every last second I had with my best friends before graduation.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
6:30 AMWake Up
6:45 AMBRC formation/Breakfast
7:30 AMPI - room inspection
8:00 AMClasses Begin
3:00 PMClasses End
3:45 PMSports Practice
6:30 PMDinner
7:30 PMCQ - Study Hall
9:30 PMEnd of CQ/Free Time
10:30 AMTaps
Weekend
8:00 AMWake Up
8:45 AMChurch Services
10:15 AMBrunch
11:30 AMPI - Room Inspection
12:30 AMParade
2:00 PMSpend time on the Field or in Town
6:00 PMDinner
7:30 PMCQ - Study Hall
9:30 PMEnd of CQ/Free Time
10:15 PMTaps
Read more details about Culver Academies on their 2019-20 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Culver Academies Alumni #1
    Class of 2017
    5 Stars  
    Rowan University
    Culver's leadership development programs make it unique among boarding schools. Students are required to enroll in leadership development classes and participate in the leadership system. For boys this takes the form of the military system. . .
  • Culver Academies Alumni #2
    Class of 2014
    5 Stars  
    Butler University
    We focused a lot on leadership. It was a military school for the boys and an english prefect system for the girls. We had leadership classes and in addition to our academics and sports, we. . .
  • Culver Academies Alumni #3
    Class of 2012
    5 Stars  
    Tulane University
    One unique aspect of Culver is the fantastic leadership program. The academics and athletics are great, but the leadership is what sets Culver apart from other schools. The boys' leadership system is military while the. . .
  • Show more reviews (16 reviews)
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