Tag Archives: parents

Leaving the Nest

My family’s experience of me at NMMI

By: Cadet Madison McLean

Growing up my mom always told my sister and I we were her little birds, always in her nest and when we were ready, we would have to leave the nest eventually. When I decided I wanted to go to NMMI, I was 15 years old. And I knew I was going to have to leave the nest for the next four years of high school. My parents were excited for me, it was a chance to get a great education and an experience of a life time. And the one rule my dad had for me was once I start NMMI I must finish. I started my first day at a preparatory summer camp for math and then transitioned into RAT week. During that period of time I couldn’t have my cell phone for three weeks. Throughout those three weeks I wrote to my little sister and parents on a weekly basis and it was hard on all of us as a family. My parents mailed me a package of school supplies and items I was running low on, and my dad hid a bag of my favorite candy in the package. Even though I wasn’t at home they still found a way to put a smile on my face.

When I saw my parents for my 21-day ceremony they told me how proud they were of me and I could see they missed me greatly. The first time I could take a furlough home, I sat down with my dad and he told me how much he missed me and that it wasn’t easy for my mom and him to send me to NMMI. But they had to make that sacrifice of not seeing me every day for giving me the best education possible. Every time I went home for a holiday, we always spent time together to make up for not being together often throughout the school years. As years went by and my four years came to a close, I realized I had a stronger relationship with my family, and they were able to accept me leaving my mom’s nest. Attending NMMI was not just an experience for me, but for my parents and sister as well. They were my biggest fans at all my games, my supporters through my academics, and with me every step of the way. If anything, they attended NMMI with me for those four years and we celebrated every moment together.

Financing the Education of Your Dreams

By: Kalith Smith, Director of Admission New Mexico Military Institute

Last year I celebrated the arrival of the entering class of 2016 with a day at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, NM. The Office of Admission had worked hard to bring in the class, but I had my phone forwarded to me just in case. I didn’t expect anything too earth shattering to happen. Then my phone rang. As I helped my kids understand the history that carved out Carlsbad Caverns, the voice on the other end asked a few simple questions, “My nephew was supposed to come to NMMI for matriculation, but we had a funeral. Can he still come? What would he need to have pulled together?” I explained to his Aunt that based on his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all high school seniors should fill out online at fafsa.ed.gov, the student was getting an incredible value. He was receiving aid and scholarships based on his admission, his academic ability and his financial need, but the student did not understand. This student had started his journey to NMMI during an annual trip with the Pinon, Arizona JROTC Cadets to NMMI as part of the Navajo Nation Reservation. But when thinking about NMMI for college—he saw Roswell, NM as a bridge too far. But when his Aunt found out that the pieces for his future—especially financially could come together–he was on the road to NMMI! His family went all out to make sure he didn’t miss the opportunity.

Fast forward to December when his mom and grandmother picked him up for winter break. I had asked to meet them, so he brought them to my office. I saw his Best New Cadet (BNC) Boards and asked if they knew what that meant. These boards are highly prized and point to a rising star in the Corps of Cadets. Once I explained the boards, they were beaming. What had almost ended before it got started had a wonderful end to the first chapter of his story at NMMI. His performance at NMMI brought pride to him, his family and the entire Navajo Nation. His Aunt stepped in at just the right moment, asked just the right questions and made the effort to drive him to Roswell and ensure that he took advantage of this opportunity.

At NMMI, we work very hard to create opportunities for students that cannot be achieved anywhere else. Each accredited institution you are considering will have unique things to offer and you are left to make a decision on which road to choose. However, sometimes students stop themselves before they are able to find out what is possible. This happens all the time when students and families see the initial price tag for education and shy away, not taking the time to go through the process that would allow us to process the file for admission. Once a student is admitted, they are automatically considered for scholarships. At NMMI we don’t only look at your GPA and test score, we are also considering your past behavior, your leadership and any special ability as we award scholarships. In each situation we can’t tell you what you might be eligible for if you don’t complete your application! So, whatever school you are considering move through their process and find out what is possible before you declare it to be impossible. Now is the time, apply online, send in the necessary documents and see what might be possible. My student who almost stopped himself is up for a big promotion in the Corps of Cadets in the fall. He is incredible, but he needed to take a step out of his comfort zone (and he needed a little push from his family) to find out just how incredible he really is!

As Dr. Seuss wrote:

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting! So…get on your way!

Finding the Best School for You

By: LTC Kalith Smith, Director of Admissions

Choosing a school comes with lots of questions and a good deal of pressure. Students who get to a turning point in choosing where to attend often have not prepared for the decision, and it can be so overwhelming that you may not give it more than a passing thought before you return to the ‘normal’ schools that everyone else chooses. For many students ‘normal’ is good enough. For some students, they want to find the best possible place to fit their learning needs. A school that will challenge them to achieve while supporting their development as a whole person. Once you start to think about what school best serves you, the variables are numerous. Let me be clear in my personal bias: I hold the belief that education that is ‘one size fits all’ will never be as beneficial to students as an education that allows students to place into courses based on their ability. Working with students to find the courses that best fit their needs also put them in the best position to know what type of college or university fits those needs and work toward admission to those schools.

Today I read Scott and Borgman’s comic strip, ‘Zits’:


Sometimes students need more than just ‘guidance’ when planning for their education, they need a psychologist! When I first arrived in Roswell in 2006 I came here as a guidance counselor. I had been in the business of college admission for close to a decade and it was time for a change. At NMMI we pride ourselves on our college placement and our support of students through their decision making process. By helping many students through decisions on their future education, I have found that emotions take over if there isn’t a written list. This works wonders to help clarify and somewhat quantify your choice of school or the whole decision can end up being very emotionally driven. There is certainly a part of the equation that is ‘feel’, and that is included here, but that can’t be the whole equation. So, as you go through the decision on where you will spend next term or next year, make a list creating a ranking of your top schools that is what YOU want out of college is not as hard as it seems!

Each of us likes to see things spelled out clearly. We love rankings. However, in school selection, the only rankings that matter is you finding the best possible school for you. So, making your own list is quite personal, but the most important part in school selection.

My list would look something like this:

  1. What do I like to do best?
    1. I enjoy history best out of my subjects in school
    2. I like to make good, long-term relationships
    3. I enjoy music
    4. I love the outdoors
    5. I like to be challenged and learn new things
    6. I like complex ideas and solutions to those complex issues.
  2. What are my strengths?
    1. I work well with others.
    2. I like to plan ahead and make sure everything is in order.
    3. I am a hard worker
  3. What are my weaknesses?
    1. I don’t like it when someone feels they are right all of the time.
    2. I value other’s opinions even if I don’t agree with them
    3. I struggle with math unless I see the purpose

With this list, you begin to see a picture of yourself as a student. Now, it can also be helpful to have your teachers and others who know you come up with a similar list, but be cautious if you aren’t ready to listen to what they have to say, it’s better not to ask.

Once you create your list of important factors, you need a way to rank them. My ranking list suggestion is here for my love of history:

  • School has no history courses=0
  • School offers history courses=1
  • School has a full offering of US and World history=2
  • School has a full offering with other niche classes (Such as art or military history) =3
  • School has a special program or a major in history=4
  • The program at the school has a full offering and opportunities to study abroad and visit locations I learn about=5

This provides me with a way to rank the schools, for my own needs, that I am interested in attending. Once you go through all of your points from your list, then you have a ranking of your schools by point value.

At NMMI we rank very high in the percentage of faculty members who have advanced degrees, meaning that we have a very well qualified faculty, the percentage of students on some form of financial aid, diversity of our student body and the number of advanced courses we offer. Those are our top rankings, but what ranking matters to you? There is no ranking for a leadership program, but that may be important to you. Our Ropes Course is a big part of that, again no rankings. Bottom line is what ranks up there for you!

Once you have a list based on what you would like in your school, look at their value proposition. How much will the education cost at each school and how much can you afford? Schools do have aid packages and scholarships to help, but for this practice let’s assume you will pay the highest price possible based on the schools published costs and discounts. Remember, most schools will not offer any aid until you have gone through the admission process successfully. This ranking might look like this:

  • I can afford this school no matter how much aid they give me =5
  • I can probably afford this school with a little help=4
  • I may be able to afford the school with considerable help=3
  • I may be able to afford the school with substantial help=2
  • I can afford the school if they give me a full ride=1
  • I can’t afford this school even if they pay for everything=0

Once you rank the schools based on your fit from the first equation and your ability to afford the education in the second equation, it’s time to schedule some visits!

Visit the top schools that fit you best and you likely can afford.

Finally, after you conduct your visits, give each school a third ranking based on the visit and how the school fits you. This is a ‘feel’ ranking that does take into account how you feel on the campus. Now, double back to the question of can they support your strengths and weaknesses and fit into your initial criteria and you likely have narrowed down your choice.

Of course, I hope that New Mexico Military Institute is on that short list, but our primary objective is to find students who will be successful here and to help those that aren’t a good fit find a great educational home elsewhere.

Need more information? Feel free to e-mail the author any questions or comments you may have! Contact the NMMI Office of Admission for more information about NMMI.

Changing as a RAT

By Cadet Samantha Rodriguez



The reason why I chose to come to NMMI was a unique one. As a normal 14-year-old girl, I wanted to explore the world. Being home, surrounded by the same people and following the same routine was becoming stressful, since if there is something I like a lot, it is definitely change. It all started when I was in middle school. I would see pictures of people going to schools abroad and I just wanted to be part of it, so I told my parents. Their reaction was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen. They first thought I was crazy, and then that I was unhappy and wanted to leave my home. No, it had nothing to do with that. I just wanted some change, something new to experience and challenge me. My mom, thinking I was going to back off, told me the only place I would be allowed to go to was NMMI, since she was sure it is a safe place and a healthy environment. So I did it. Three years after, I am still here, getting closer to being successful every single day.

Since I was prepared for change, I really did not struggle too much as a RAT. My main struggle was not homesickness, but having to follow the rules. Not that I had discipline problems, but it just took me a while to get used to everything. Since I had had the same friends for my whole life, making new friends was also a little challenging. Having to do everything for myself was also hard. Usually, if I had any academic problem or any issue with the school, my mom would go to the school and fix it for me. Now, I was on my own.

Although it was challenging at moments, I do not regret anything, and I have learned a lot from all I have been through. I can now face my mistakes and deal with the consequences without my parents having to be there. I also learned how friendships really work. Everyone is waiting for another person to give the first step, the first smile, and the first conversation. I would pack my backpack with candy and walk around offering it to strangers just in exchange of a smile or a simple “hello”. I also learned that loneliness is a decision, since if a person truly wants to find company, it is possible. I learned that if someone yells at you, it is not personal, so I would not overthink everything and letting go became something I did.

#NMMI Spring Break 2016

By Jianna Mique

This spring break was one for the books!  My spring break started on Thursday, but I arrived back home in San Diego on Friday.  On Friday, I spent time with my grandparents and rested at home.  Then on Saturday, I went to the high school where I graduated from, Mira Mesa, and I attended the varsity softball game.  At the end of the game I had a surprise for my former teammates, and the new ones as well. I gave them all black t-shirts with a design I made on them.  The shirts had a tribal design on it with blue, gold, and white, with “Mira Mesa Marauders” written on it.  Overall, the girls loved it, and I am glad they did.

On Sunday, it was Easter, so I went to church with my family and ate at Sizzler.  Then Sunday night was the night I have been waiting for, I had a flight to Florida!  I had been waiting to go back to Florida since my mom bought the plane tickets!  My mom and I had a red eye flight, so we were really tired on Monday, but we wasted no time!   Right after we arrived in Tampa, Florida, we got our rental car, and then we went to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I bought the Tampa City pass for us for $99 each, and with that pass we could go to 5 attractions in Tampa!  The first place we went to with the pass was Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  That aquarium is home to the dolphin named “Winter” who has a movie about her called “Dolphin Tale”.  Winter is a dolphin with no tail, and the aquarium was there to help her with that problem. After we spent a good time at the aquarium, we headed over to the Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg, FL.  The place closed at 5pm, and we got there at 4:45pm, but we had a chance to look at all the amazing artwork.   We stayed at our friend’s house in Tampa, so we went there after we were done for the day.

On Tuesday morning, my mom and I went to the Lowry Park Zoo. When we got there, we were kind of bummed because a lot of the animals were put away because there was supposed to be a big storm, but it ended up not being as big as they predicted.  But, my highlight of my zoo visit was feeding a Giraffe!  It was only $5 to feed the Giraffe but I thought it was worth it!  I had the chance to feed it 3 pieces of lettuce, and it was the coolest thing!

After the zoo, we went to go watch MLB Spring Training.  I watched the New York Yankees play the Pittsburg Pirates.  The game got rained out, but I watched a good 6 innings, and the Yankees were winning 5-4.  I got to see Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) play, which was an awesome experience.  He is one of my favorite baseball players and he is the highest paid MLB player!

On Wednesday, my mom and I drove to Orlando, FL to watch the New York Yankees play the Atlanta Braves.  The game was held at ESPNDisney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.  The cool thing about this game was that I have played at this sports complex before and on the same field the game was being played on.  It was a really good game because it was 0-0 for the longest time, and then the Yankees ended up winning 2-0!

On Thursday we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studies.  We only had the time to go to one park, and we chose this one because our favorite ride is the Rockin’ Rollercoaster because it goes super-fast!

Finally on Friday my mom and I drove back to Tampa, and we first went to the Florida Aquarium.  It was cool seeing all the sea creatures, and there was Lemurs as well.  After that, we went to Busch Gardens. There were so many rides at Busch Gardens, and we had such little time.  So we only had the chance to go on the water rapids ride, which was really fun!

Overall, as you can tell, I had a great spring break!  It was the best one yet!  I had no time to rest because I did something every day, but it was worth it!  I had tons of fun and I can’t wait to go back to Florida!  I made a video that sums up my spring break, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_HMU35-6lQ