If you're a high school senior beginning the college application process, you're being told that this is one of the most competitive college admissions years. You'll need top grades and great test scores. But that's nothing compared to getting into scifi's most exclusive academic institutions. If you want to study faster-than-light physics, train in superpowered combat, or hang out with future world leaders, our guide will help you get into these schools and prepare for the scholastic embarrassments you'll suffer once you get there.
Starfleet Academy (Star Trek): Every galactic military, be it EarthForce or the Colonial Fleet, needs its officers school. But Starfleet Academy is the Harvard of the space age. Who Gets In: Students who pass Starfleet's rigorous entrance exam complete the preparatory program. You would think saving the Enterprise every week would prepare you for that exam, but Wesley Crusher will tell you otherwise. What You'll Study: Military strategy, archeology, the Prime Directive, how to handle a no-win scenario, parrises squares, and elitism. Most Humiliating Moment: When the only person who will talk to you is Boothby, the groundskeeper.
Battle School (Ender's Game): The best hope against the alien Bugger threat, Battle School trains children for combat through a grueling physical war game. The best of the best are eligible for precommand training, and later Command School. Who Gets In: Brilliant and charismatic six year-olds who stand their ground. What You'll Study: Elementary education, plus games, zero gravity battle, and psychological warfare. Most Humiliating Moment: When your homophobic classmates start calling you "Buttwatcher" (thanks, Orson Scott Card).
Sky High: With cliques, frustrated teachers, and unreasonable parental expectations, Sky High is like every other movie high school, but with superpowers. Who Gets In: Super-powed teenagers of varying abilities. What You'll Study: Hero support, mad science, and gym. Most Humiliating Moment: When Bruce Campbell decides you aren't powerful enough to be a hero, and sticks you in sidekick classes.
Xavier Institute for Higher Learning (X-Men): Charles Xavier ensures that young mutants have a place where they can peacefully live, learn, and productively focus their powers. Who Gets In: Mutants. What You'll Study: Anti-Sentinel combat, team building, and the works of TH White. Most Humiliating Moment: When you realize that whole "dog ate my homework" line doesn't work on telepaths.
Clone High: The Secret Board of Shadowy Figures cloned history's great innovators, explorers, and leaders and sent them to high school. Why? Because it's hilarious. Who Gets In: The teenaged clones of famous historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, JFK, and Mahatma Gandhi. What You'll Study: The perils of sleep deprivation, the long term effects of smoking raisins, cultural equality, conflict mediation, and the power of the sweater vest. Most Humiliating Moment: Prom.
The Academy (Firefly): It's the Alliance school where amygdalae go to die. Who Gets In: Multi-talented supergeniuses whose parents don't ask too many questions. What You'll Study: Mostly, you'll be studied, but you'll get plenty of hands-on experience in screaming, struggling, mind reading, and raving psychosis. Most Humiliating Moment: When you peered into that obnoxious doctor's mind and revealed his deepest shame. That was embarrassing. For him.
Jedi Praxeum (Star Wars): After helping dismantle the Empire, Luke Skywalker starts to repopulate the Jedi order by building a school on Yavin 4. Who Gets In: Admission is at Luke's whim. What You'll Study: Lightsaber handling, diplomacy, meditation, and lifting objects with your mind. Most Humiliating Moment: Returning to school after going through your awkward Dark Side phase.
Academy of Law (Judge Dredd): The Academy of Law molds the hyper-efficient, nigh-incorruptible Judges of Mega-City One. Who Gets In: Mostly clones of current Judges and Academy cadets (or, as we might call them, "legacies"), although a few naturally-born child prodigies slip manage to slip in. What You'll Study: Law, order, and psychological conditioning. Most Humiliating Moment: There isn't one. Any embarrassing errors are grounds for expulsion.
Bene Gesserit Schools (Dune): These schools provide the training ground for the women who quietly pull the universe's political strings. Who Gets In: Anyone with the ability or training, but it helps if you're female and a product of the order's breeding program. What You'll Study: Obedience compulsion, petit perception, lie detection, metabolic control, martial arts, and the art of seduction. Most Humiliating Moment: Potentially graduation. When you ingest the extremely toxic spice melange, you'll transform into a Reverend Mother if you've mastered your arts, and die if you haven't. At least if the latter does occur, you won't be around to feel your shame.