Hargrave: A 360° Academic Experience
Image courtesy of Hargrave Military Academy

Located in Chatham, Virginia, Hargrave Military Academy  has been supporting young men and boys into adulthood since 1909. Through its Independent Military Program, Hargrave is able to offer comprehensive leadership training that targets both individual development and academic success. This means students not only work on building academic knowledge and experience, but also develop character and leadership. To put this into perspective, the parent of a former student said: “My son’s life did a complete 360.  Thank you for the standards, faith-based background and the wonderful mentors who care.”

So what exactly is it that sets the Hargrave education apart?

The How to Study Program

The How to Study Program is unique to Hargrave, and is one of the things that sets the institution apart from other High Schools or Military Academies. The program adds a lot of value to the overall Hargrave experience, and it is therefore a requirement for all Cadets, even those just attending summer school, to complete the program.

The program is split into eight topics which have been judged by Hargrave staff as most crucial for academic success:

  1. Getting organized, which focusses on clearing away unnecessary personal clutter and working on time management.
  2. The Student Planner, where every student receives a daily planner and is instructed in how to use it most effectively as an organizational and planning aid.
  3. SQ3R, a method of study which students are encouraged to practice: S=Survey, Q=Question and 3R= read, recite, and review.
  4. Memory Skills, where students are taught techniques like mnemonics to improve their ability to remember lists, key facts and names, and thereby improve their overall test performance.
  5. Time Management – A Study Budget, where students become accustomed to studying a particular subject at a particular time and make studying a habit.
  6. Note-Taking Skills, where students are taught specific ways to improve their note-taking (and how to review those notes later).
  7. Textbook Reading Skills, where students are shown the best methods of tackling different reading assignments for different subjects.
  8. Test-Taking Skills, focussing on how to prepare for different types of exams.
  9. Listening Skills, which emphasizes the importance of good listening and improves students’ overall awareness.
  10. Student’s Role and Responsibility, which stresses the importance of a positive attitude and personal goals for increased student success rates and thereby promotes self-esteem and self-confidence.

Staff carefully monitor students’ progress and any who do not successfully complete the How to Study Program are required to retake the course. Through focus on the topics above Hargrave students soon break any bad study habits and form good ones, improving their results, sense of achievement and thereby the enjoyment they get from study.

The Center for Leadership and Ethics

The Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Ethics provides Hargrave Cadets with a structured education in leadership. One of Hargrave’s four pillars is Character Development, and since 1909 strong moral character and a strong code of ethics are traits increasingly recognized among Hargrave students. The Center for Leadership and Ethics is a crucial part of that process, guiding students throughout their education:

  • Firstly, in Middle School leadership is taught with Character and Character Development as the main theme.
  • In their freshman year Cadets are taught good Followership Skills before assuming leadership positions.
  • During their sophomore year Cadets have the opportunity to enrol in a formal Leadership and Ethics class. The course is 18-weeks in length and includes an investigation into the foundations of leadership.
  • As seniors, Cadets are able to attend Officer Candidate School to prepare them for roles of greater responsibility within the Corps of Cadets.

This focus on both leadership and developing good character means Cadets graduate from Hargrave with enviable leadership traits, including a desire to make a difference, to promote change, the ability to build community, the ability to take action when required, the ability to create vision, as well as understanding and seeking responsibility to make sound ethical decisions.

Any cadets who complete all the requirements of the Colin Powell Leadership Program earn the Colin Powell Leadership Medal and a certificate in Leadership Studies to go alongside their Hargrave Military Academy Diploma. To earn the medal they need to:

  • Successfully complete Leadership I (with a C or above)
  • Hold a leadership position for the entire academic year
  • Accumulate 100 leadership points

Those who achieve the qualification are recognised not only at Hargrave, but wherever they choose to continue to study or work as someone with great character and leadership skills.


Another of Hargrave’s four pillars is Athletics and Fitness, and the Academy has a lot to offer anyone with a keen interest in sports and well-being. The Academy offers 13 varsity sports including track, tennis, and baseball, as well as speech and debate for those more interested in exercising their mental abilities. There is also a particular focus on Basketball where Hargrave students tend to excel; they recently won against South Kent in their National Elite 8 match, and Braxton Beverley has received a full scholarship to attend Ohio State University next season due to his great performance in basketball at Hargrave, including the highest single-game score of 70 points.

Image courtesy of Hargrave Military Academy

On top of that, Hargrave also has a 50-meter, heated, indoor pool which is equipped with one three meter and two one meter diving boards. Hargrave Aquatics is a member of USA Swimming Inc, the national body for amateur swimming in the United States, and the team routinely competes in meets in Virginia and North Carolina.

The facilities, range of sports on offer, and connections that Hargrave has put their students in a brilliant position whether they are interested in competing, studying physical fitness and well-being, or being part of a sports club to blow off steam in their free time.

With a keen focus on academics, character development and athletics Hargrave Academy is a perfect place for spiritual growth, and is still providing young men with the truly well-rounded educational experience it has offered since 1909.

Follow Hargrave Military Academy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

4 US military schools unleashing children’s full potential

4 US Military Academies offering outstanding graduate pathways