There are many differences with the main one being the living arrangements for the student. At a military boarding school, as the name suggests, the students board at the school. Apart from holidays and term vacations, the students are almost always in residence. Whereas in a military high school, those who join the cadets in the school do so but like all the other kids in the high school, go home to their family after school. Apart from this major difference there are many other smaller but no less significant differences.
In a military boarding school the students regard the issue of discipline with a greater degree of seriousness. They wear uniforms at all times, they have daily inspections, parades and regard staff as higher-ranking officers. In a military high school, the discipline activities only take place when the cadets are meeting which may be once a week. Uniforms are only worn when the cadets meet and the only staff in the school with a rank are those involved with the cadets.
The emphasis on academic matters is far stronger in a military boarding school. A military high school may well have an excellent academic program but it almost certainly won't have any regular after hours compulsory study period every school day under supervision from staff. The strong aim of the military boarding school is to enable its students to gain entry to prestigious colleges and universities across the country. In a military high school, after hours study is usually paid for by the students if they are willing and able to find staff to assist.
Discipline is given more weight in a military boarding school. With the students in uniform, there are strict rules for preparing your room, attending parades and respecting officers and orders. Failure to follow the rules will mean punishment which, if repeated failures occur, can result in expulsion. The discipline in a military high school varies from school to school but minor infractions do not carry the same consequences.
Extra-curricula activities such as sports, outdoor education and the performing arts are, generally speaking, given far more emphasis in a military boarding school. The facilities are usually first class and with students living on the school campus, there is far more opportunity for training and rehearsals. Teams and ensembles don't have the problem of missing members who have to go home. There are likely to be more field excursions in a military boarding school and more interaction with the school's local community.
Of course the major difference of the living location is one which all students and their parents need to address. Living at home with your family and going off to school every day is greatly different from sleeping in school dormitories and walking to and from school on the same campus. Whatever else may be the difference, choosing a boarding school with a military background is a way of life which suits many but not all. It takes consultation between the teen, their parents and the school to find the best outcome.