San Marcos Academy
San Marcos Academy (SMA) is a co-educational college preparatory school affiliated with Texas Baptists. It is not specifically a military school, but it offers JROTC options. The school received its charter from the state of Texas in 1907 and opened to an enrollment of 200 students in 1908, making it one of the oldest boarding schools in Texas. Today, SMA enrolls nearly 300 students in grades 7 – 12. Located in Texas hill country, SMA is situated near Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio, Texas.
San Marcos Baptist Academy offers small class sizes in order to maximize personal instruction while minimizing distractions. High achieving students are encouraged to take Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as regular AP courses. In addition, San Marcos Baptist Academy offers on-campus dual enrollment in a variety of Hardin-Simmons University courses. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Texas Private School Accrediting Commission (TEPSAC), the Accrediting Commission of the Texas Association of Baptist Schools (ACTABS) and the Texas Education Agency for private schools (TEA).
SMA’s mission is to “Educate young men and women within a nurturing community based upon Christian values.” This is consistent with the founder, Dr. J.M. Carroll’s vision that southwest Texas needed a Baptist school.
Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC)
In 1917, SMA was granted a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) unit and became affiliated with the United States military. From that time until 2004, all male students in grades 9–12 were enrolled in JROTC and middle school boys were also required to participate in a corps of cadets. Girls were allowed to participate on a voluntary basis. Beginning in 2004, participation in JROTC became voluntary, although American male students are still required to enroll for one semester. Despite this change, the JROTC program continues to be the largest organization on campus, with enthusiastic participation from boys and girls as well as international students. Today, the United States Army recognizes SMA as an Honor Unit with Distinction. Athletics are also important to SMA, whose mascot is the bears and whose colors are forest green and purple, referencing the mountain laurel common to the Texas hill country. Sports offered include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country and track, equestrian, football, golf, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
To be admitted to the school, students must submit an application, medical history and two teacher recommendations as well as official transcripts and an application fee. Before acceptance, the student must schedule a personal interview in conjunction with a campus visit. Most, but not all, students board at the school. Annual tuition ranges from about $9,500 for day students to $30,600 for boarding students with an acceptance rate of about 80 percent.