Advice?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by adviceneeded, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. adviceneeded

    adviceneeded New Member

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    My son has an appointment to USNA (2015') and also a NROTC scholarship offer to his top choice school. Of course, we are very happy and proud of him but the problem is that he just doesn't seem to know which offer to accept. He wants to serve for sure but just not sure of Service Academy vs NROTC. This is his decision to make but we would like to be able to give him some advice and would appreciate if anyone has any useful information that would help with making this decision.
     
  2. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Congratulations to your son!

    My son had the same decision to make. Once the offers are in hand, it makes the choice very difficult. He had other decisions regarding multiple ROTC offers and scholarships, but it finally boiled down to USNA vs NROTC.

    The first thing he did was to accept NROTC and know that he has a place to attend college. That is a very good feeling, as a kid and as a parent. He does not have to formally accept the university with a deposit until May. If he decides to send in the enrollment deposit, read all of the fine print about refunds or any other commitments that are non-refundable (such as dorm fees, etc.). We sent the enrollment deposit knowing that it was non-refundable but we did not sign up for housing, because that refund was not guaranteed.

    When the appointment letter came in March, son took 2 weeks to decide to accept. He had already visited the schools he was choosing between and had spoken with many ROTC officers, Navy officers and recruiters to find out as much as possible about not only the schools but also his future. He also browsed admissions websites to see majors, courses, activities, etc.

    He decided on USNA and kept his NROTC scholarship and school until Induction day. Anything can happen between now and Induction Day, and injury was in the back of our mind. He notified NROTC unit and told him his plans, they did not object. The day after Induction Day, I sent NROTC and school his decline.

    Son was nervous and excited to attend USNA and was worried about the 'normal college life' that he was giving up. LOL! He has had more fun since July 1st than I would have ever imagined. Yes, it's hard and exhausting, and challenging, but he takes advantage of everything that USNA has to offer and I believe that to be the key to success.

    Church choir and a good since of humor, healthy body, and a never ending supply of cliff bars got him through Plebe Summer. Since then he has studied hard, learned the system, found his sport and activities, attends away football games, has been camping, and has made more friends in this short time than most people make in a lifetime.

    When he calls home he is excited, exhausted, determined, and driven to make the best of his time at the academy. My husband and I have been so happy to watch this evolution. His biggest frustration right now is deciding his major...but I assume alot of kids are having that issue right now.

    Your son will make his decision in his own time. Make sure you give him as many resources as possible so he can make an informed decision. Has he visited the schools, spoken to grads, ROTC officers, midshipmen?

    I truly think the kids are scared that they will miss out on something if they choose USNA. I suggested to my son that he also think about the day after college graduation and look at where he'll be. Factor that into the decision.
    Kids will make their college experience what they want it to be. Civilian school is defintely no picnic, either.

    My son is having an extremely positive first year and he has made it so. A positive attitude helps.
     
  3. greeneagle5

    greeneagle5 Member

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    If he hasn't attended a CVW at USNA have him request one ...it's a good "tool" in the final decision process...Good Luck to your son and

    GO NAVY Beat ARMY
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    IMO, the major issue is whether he wants to attend a civilian school with some military thrown in or a military school. If he is looking for the general college experience and still wants to serve his country, NROTC is probably the way to go.

    USNA is a military school -- day in and day out. It starts w/plebe summer. Then, you wear uniforms every day (not just once a week). You have room inspections. There are parades. And on and on.

    Both are great programs that offer men & women the opportunity to serve their country. But one is 99% military and the other much less so during the college years.
     
  5. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Boy, if that is not an understatement. One day my nephew changed uniform *five* times throughout the day, running from place to place like he was being chased by an assassin, and en route barking corrections at plebes and being barked at by upperclassmen.

    There is no, zero, comparison between NROTC and the Academy, other than an ultimate commissioning.

    And yet, when I last checked on Air Force, Army, and Navy chiefs, a good percentage were not commissioned via the Academy, but through ROTC. I found the same looking up the past 10 or so Joint Chiefs of Staff... heavy ROTC percentage. So apparently both avenues work out just fine for future officers. I will say it is more likely to find Army and Air Force ROTC commissioned officers at the top of the Army and Air Force command structures than it is to find Navy ROTC commissioned officers at the top of the Navy command structure.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  6. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

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    My current Plebe was in the same position, but in January last year. Declined NROTC scholarship about a month before I-Day but held onto civilian college acceptance for two weeks into Plebe Summer. In addition to the other very good advice you've gotten here, you should also consider funding availability for NROTC training. One of the issues that weighed on my child's decision to attend USNA was that there were a number of postings on the ROTC forum that there were major cutbacks in summer training opportunities for NROTC. The lower number of training slots were going to a select number based primarily on GPA and on military performance in the NROTC unit. Seemed like it was very competitive in summer 2009 and getting more so for summer 2010. Also, funding had been slashed for unit events during the academic year. So, you might want to monitor the ROTC forum and ask some questions there as well.
     
  7. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    As always, 1985 has hit the nail on the head. IMO, your son needs to make overnight visits to USNA and to his NROTC school of choice. He needs to go to classes. Meet people in the unit/Brigade. Participate in (or at least observe) unit training.

    Either choice will allow him to a)get a good education and b)earn a commission. Now it all comes down to which place is a better "fit" for him.
     
  8. USNA Homeschool mom

    USNA Homeschool mom Parent of USNA MIDN 2014

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    Tough Choice

    A lot of strategizing going on here, and it is a tough choice to make. Sometimes it is easier to only have one option. Last year son received an AFROTC Type 2scholarship early and was set with first choice school with balance of cost covered by scholarship. A little later he received an appointment to USNA. He considered the pro's and con's of both and decided that originally his goal was the USNA so he submitted his acceptance paperwork to the USNA and promptly informed the AFROTC and Embry Riddle that he was declining the offers. He also called and withdrew his AFA application even though he was fully qualified with a nomination. His reasoning was that by making this decision and taking this action he would be opening up slots for others. Perhaps a little risky, but it all worked out well for him.
     
  9. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Couple thoughts ...

    1. IF he's gone thru the arduous process of applying, nominations, and STILL does not know? I'd say he has his answer. Really. He sounds like a top notch young man who might determine quickly if not sold out to this, in the turmoil and struggles of Plebe summer and beyond, "not for me."

    2. You noted he has an ROTC scholarship to "his top choice college." Did you mean that? If so, ditto on #1.

    3. Re: dunninla's points ...I fully concur, zero comparison between USNA and NROTC at a secular institution. On his implication that there are as many top dogs in the various Services from those seculars as the SAs, I fully disagree. Remember this ...there are only 5 SAs. There are nearly 4,000 secular 4 year colleges. Again, zero comparison. The point is, IF one has a choice...SA, ROTC, OCS ... and IF one is considering a career in the military, there is only one choice. The odds on the other side are miniscule.
     
  10. adviceneeded

    adviceneeded New Member

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    Thanks for all the great advice/suggestions. He did do a weekend visit to USNA and loved the people he met and the campus. As singaporemom said, he seems to be concerned with the restrictions and missing out on the normal college experience. Military service is also full of restrictions and he does understand that. I guess I should be glad he is taking his time and trying to make the right decision.
     
  11. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    Our DS had an appointment to the USNA and turned it down last minute to attend a top national university. He joined the NROTC as a college programer and is very happy with his choice but costing dear old dad 45k/year. Several other mids in his unit also turned down appointments to service academies. Why did they choose NROTC over the academies-they didn't want to miss the normal college experience. Did they make the best choice for their future-time will tell but it was their decision and not the parents.
     
  12. osdad

    osdad Member

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    If they were being honest...to most 18 year old boys, the two biggest things they're worried about missing out on are hooking up and underage drinking. Throw in sleeping late and you'd have a "normal college experience". Trust me, I was 18 once...:biggrin:

    But seriously, another issue for me was the predominance of non-native English speakers at many of the larger colleges. Particulary in engineering. For example, last I looked, the ME department at UCONN was about 60-70% non-native English speakers. Not to say they aren't great teachers but it is a problem I experienced in my college years so it's one I'm tuned in to. I don't know the % at NA but I suspect its much lower.
     

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