Academys vs IVYs

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by gsfikaris, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. gsfikaris

    gsfikaris Member

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    My son being recruited for football by both. Can they be compared to each other? Son leaning toward the Point but the "elites" tend to disparage the Academies academics. We are awed by W.P./Navy. Are the IVYs a step above?
     
  2. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

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    In my opinion, many of the ivy league schools are elitist and arrogant, relying on their reputations to tide over their academics. But that's just my opinion.

    A guy I know who graduated from West Point two years ago told me about a time when he was at W.P. when a top executive from General Electric came and spoke to the cadets. The executive told them that he specifically looked for academy grads when hiring -- but he now refuses to hire ivy league grads -- largely because he feels they are overly arrogant because of where they went to school, making them unteachable.

    My advice: Go to W.P. It isn't just the academics that are excellent there. They will teach you life lessons that only the experience there can offer.
     
  3. cisco

    cisco Member

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    If he does not want to serve any time in the military whatsoever, he should not go to the Service Academies.

    Football is not a good reason to choose a service academy unless he's interested in being a military officer.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I am a West Point grad, and my wife, sister, and uncle are Ivy league graduates. Obviously I come at this discussion from both sides.

    Are the academics at Yale or Harvard, in total, better than the academies? Yes, they are. We must consider that academics are essentially their only mission. That is what they do, and they do it very well and with the full resources of a post-graduate university system at their disposal.

    So are the academics better? Yes, in many subjects. Certainly not in engineering. Is the education better? That's the important question. I firmly believe the answer to be no.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I assume you mean the education at the Ivy's is not better than at Academies. It difficult to tell which you are referring to in the last paragraph. Keep in mind my wife tells me I'm anal on this stuff. I would certainly think the smaller class size and availability of professors is much better at the Academies and contributes to a better education. JMPO based on no experience with either. :wink:
     
  6. gsfikaris

    gsfikaris Member

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    My son not picking a place based on football but on the quality of education. He does not mind serving after graduation. The question is whether there is a difference in the quality of education, the marketability of the institution, etc.. Forbes loves the academies whereas Us News seems unimpressed.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Define "marketability." I went to USMA. My sister went to Yale and Georgetown. I make far more than she does. She's doing what she loves, but it's not a rich man's game.

    Is the education better at the Ivies or the Academies? I happen to think the education, in terms of the person you become, is better at the Academies. The Academies strip away pretense. They put you all in a meat grinder, make you wear the same clothes, and force you to deal with people you may never have imagined dealing with. They try to push you beyond your physical and emotional limits. They teach you to lead, and do it in an environment based on a strong moral-ethical foundation. They give you access to an unrivaled network of graduates.

    Do the Ivy league elites do that? Not really, or at least not in any organized capacity. They don't have to, because their focus is purely academics. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just a narrow focus which is a luxury the service academies do not enjoy. Their graduates must be more.
     
  8. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Oh- I don't know about that- I know a guy who did just that- seemed to do ok:
    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/11/gannett-army-ray-odierno-recalls-growing-up-army-life-111111/
    gsfikaris: USMA is a place where you can get a truly well rounded education in all aspects of life. While I think it is undeniable that Harvard or Yale have more world class faculty on the staff than does - I'm not sure if that translates into a "better" education. In fact I think that the combination of Academic rigor, mental stress, a focus on being a part of a larger mission and the duties and responsibilities of leadership prepare one for success in virtually any field that you subsequently find yourself. Check out this from Fortune magazine last year:
    The catch: you do owe the Army a minimum of 8 years of your life after graduating (5AD +3 reserve). So I think that is what you really ought to focus on - is your son willing to make that committment? If so- my money is on USMA as providing a phenomenal all round education. If however he is not interested in the service as at least a 5 year post graduation commitment- then off to Harvard Square or New Haven or Hanover NH.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Despite Bruno's example I would expect that unless your son has at least some level of interest in serving (as opposed to not minding it) he would not thrive at an Academy. There is a lot to "endure" there just to get an education. Of course Bruno alludes to this at the end of the post.
     
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I don't understand the poster's reference to USNews being: "not impressed"? In 2012- USNWR ranks USMA and USNA tied for #14 in the category National Liberal Arts Colleges (They don't offer graduate degrees so they don't show up under National Universities) . Is there really that much of a difference in the top 20 ? I don't think so. What is the average class size at Harvard compared to USMA? What is the % of undergrad classes that are taught by the professors on the faculty at Harvard? I don't think that the undergraduate education at USMA takes a back seat to anyone.
     
  11. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    First - I think the Ivy Schools and service academies are the top of the US education "ladder". You can not go wrong going to either place.
    I graduated from West Pont and have an advanced degree from an Ivy school.
    If you are concerned solely about academics, then the Ivy is probably just a tiny bit better. If you are looking for all around development, leadership training, and building character, I think the service academies are far better.
    However, if you do not have a passion to go to West Point look elsewhere. West Point and the Army are a way of life - not just an education institution or opportunity.
    "Elites" - perhaps the Ivy schools definition of themselves, will always look downward at others - that is a part of being in an Ivy school. In my biased view - West Pointers are the "real" elites although they tend to be muct more humble than their Ivy counterparts
     
  12. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    What I don't get is how the academics are better at an Ivy vs an Academy. Are the teachers more accessible? Are the teachers better? This is something that I've always thought was confusing. If 2 people are taking calculus, how is ones calculus class better than the other when they are learning the same information?
     
  13. gsfikaris

    gsfikaris Member

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    The posts are great and very educational to us. My son did SLS at Navy/West Point. He loved it and wants to be an officer. His mother and myself are making things much more complicated for him since the IVYs came knocking. His interest is engineering and the academies are very solid.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Depends on . . .

    There are eight IVYs, I don't think Brown is equal to Harvard.

    If you look at various college rankings, no clear winner.

    If you look at different scholars (i.e. Rhodes, Marshall, etc), no clear winner

    If you consider post graduate career, in certain areas IVY graduates are better and in certain area SA graduates are better.

    Depends on what your son wants to be his legacy - making money or having served in the military.
     
  15. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    About half of the value from attending a school is derived from the quality of the fellow students. There are a few ways of understanding the academic quality -- SAT/ACT is one, the quality of the written essays is another (this is essentially unpublishable data), GPA is another.

    HYP: ave 2 part SAT: 1485
    Academy: 1285

    You might argue that the SAT doesn't measure academic ability, or intelligence, but I think it does.

    I believe the average student at an Ivy (the others range in 2 part SAT from 1465 to 1440) allows the professors to teach at a level entirely above what a Professor can deliver at a school (any school, not just an Academy) with 1285 SAT scorers. It is the difference between a regular course at High School and an AP course. Same subject matter, but one covers twice the material at twice the depth.

    Then take the lunch and dinner meals. I had the pleasure of studying at both UCLA and Stanford. You would think the two schools were on different planets if you were to listen in to what the students talked about in their free time. UCLA = Academy, Stanford = Ivy.

    Another factor is the limited amount of time given to Mids/Cadets to study outside of class. An Academy student is going 100 miles an hour all day, but a lot of that is not academic activity -- it is about physical fitness, team building, leadership, and military capability. There is only so much that can be done in a 24 hour day, and all those other goals of the Academy would necessarily suffer if academics were given 16 hours per day.

    As to which offers a better EDUCATION, or which prepares a student better for the following sixty years of their life... that is indeed an important question. The Academies have lots of mids/cadets who chose them over HYPSM, Caltech, Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, etc..
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  16. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Valid points,

    Looked up the definition of academics and one of them happens to be

     
  17. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    In terms of the comparison between the academic strength of the Ivies and the SAs, a lot depends on your choice of major. The service academies are engineering schools, and in engineering majors or other STEM majors may be comparable or better than the Ivies, factoring in small class sizes, accessibility of full professors, etc. For the humanities, it would be hard to argue that the service academies match up with the Ivies, mostly on the issue of depth and breadth of the curriculum. There are some fantastic English/History/Humanities profs at the SAs but there aren't as many of them and there are fewer course options (very reasonable given the smaller number of students majoring in the humanities).

    My two cents as an Ivy league grad who commissioned into USMC via PLC -- if your son is really excited about the SA route, he should pursue it. It is a uniquely formative experience during the collegiate years (scoutpilot's post says it all, and eloquently). From a football perspective, if he's a good player and wants the challenge, USMA, USNA and USAFA all offer an experience a little more "big time" in nature than the Ivies, which could be very exciting (but it will be even tougher to balance the academics playing SA football at the FBS level than Ivy League football). If what he wants is the military career at the end of the day, it's not a bad idea to explore the Ivies, especially now that ROTC programs are returning to some of the campuses. As many have said, once you are out in the Fleet or in the Corps (or, I suspect, in the active duty Air Force or Army) the differences between SA grad and non-SA grad officers become less and less important, and there are good and bad specimens of both.

    This discussion is fast becoming less academic for me, as I have a high schooler who is showing some significant interest in going the service academy route but may also have the option of doing a varsity sport at the college level at an Ivy program.

    Good luck to your DS, OP, he sounds like a talented young man who will do well wherever he lands!
     
  18. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    gsfiharis
    I know exactly what you are going through. My son is in the Class of 2015 and we went through a similar experience last year. My son had a Presidential nomination, got his file completed early, got one of the first LOAs, and got a very early Offer Letter from WP (October). My son really wanted West Point but his mother INSISTED that he look at other opportunities. A reasonable procedure. He did not immediately accept the WP offer (you have until May 1). My son then got a 4-year ROTC scholorship and was accepted at two Ivy schools.
    I totally understand that the family wants the best for their son and wants to "lead" them in the right direction. That is our responsibility. However, I think many people over-analyze the selection process. However, in my view the family needs to not "pressure" or "take charge" of the selection process and let the candidate decide. Your son has several good choices - he can not go wrong. However, the important thing is where does his heart tell him to go. My advice - let him make the decision and do not look back.
    One observation - the military and leadership training at the normal ROTC program does not compare to the West Point experience.
     
  19. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    My DS had a similar experience. After weighing all of the issues presented here, he chose USMA. BigNick has very sound advice.
     
  20. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    This statement concerns me a little.
    For those interested in WP, your first reason should be that you want to be an Army officer more than just 'not mind serving.'
    If you are considering WP just for the academics, then an official visit to WP is highly recommended so that the candidate can see the difference between WP and a 'regular' college.
    Even if you conclude that Ivies and West Point are on equal footing academically, one needs to realize that there is a huge difference between the two when it comes to lifestyle and commitment.

    A few years ago - a candidate had several great college options, including a few Ivies and West Point. He chose West Point. Come R-Day, this New Cadet was totally shocked at the military emphasis. Seems he did not realize that attending the United States Military Academy at West Point meant that part of the deal was that you would serve in the military after graduation - which he had no desire to do. He indicated his desire to leave on R-day and out-processed a few days later.
     

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