After Graduation

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by matthew4325, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. matthew4325

    matthew4325 Member

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    I am currently a senior in highschool and I am looking to expand all my options to serve our country while getting a top notch education. I am looking at the ROTC scholarships and the service academies, including USMMA...

    Just wondering, what happens after graduation at the USMMA? I looked at the website and it was very vague, saying you will get lots of opportunities...

    I know at the Coast Guard, upon graduation, you will be commissioned as a Coast Guard Officer, and Air Force as an Air Force Officer, etc etc. but what about at the USMMA?
     
  2. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    The default commitment for graduates of USMMA is serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a Strategic Sealift Officer for a period of 8 years (serving 2 weeks on Active Duty each year) and sailing on your Coast Guard 3rd Mate/3rd Assistant Engineer License or serving in a position onshore supporting the maritime industry for 5 years. You must also maintain your Coast Guard License for 6 years. Since USMMA is not dedicated to a specific branch, each branch is open to you. You can apply to go Active Duty as a 2nd LT/Ensign in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Corps. All MOS's are open to you (Artillery, Aviation, Infantry, Subs, SWO, etc.). Also, you can elect to serve in a Reserve or (Air) National Guard component as well. Keep in mind that if it isn't the Navy Reserve, it is not automatic. You must apply for an Active Duty slot and they vary in amount each year.
     
  3. matthew4325

    matthew4325 Member

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    I see... So nothing is guaranteed besides the Navy Reserves... Then could I ask, Why is it so difficult to get in? The congressional nomination, etc.
    Or a better way to say it: What makes it so special?
     
  4. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    You ask - "Why is it so difficult to get in?" "What makes it so special?"

    Assuming you are not trolling as your initial question appears genuine, I'll take a shot at this.
    First - "Why is it so difficult to get in?"
    a) It, like USCGA, USMA, USAFA, and USNA, is one of just five Federal Service Academies, and like the USCGA the entering class each year numbers only in the 100's (vice 1,000's at USMA, USAFA, and USNA). So of those initial looking and considering USMMA as an option, like at all Highly Selective Colleges and Universities, only a small fraction will actually get offered an appointment. It's really just a question of supply and demand at it's simplest point.
    b) That said, if you get through the selection process you get a full scholarship including room and board, then assuming you make it through at graduation you get i) a Commission as an O-1 in either the US Navy or if you apply and are selected (subject to the needs of each service) in any of the other services of your choice; ii) a USCG License as either a Third Officer (Mate) or A/E (engineer) to work on US Flag Merchant Ship (which means some good paying job opportunities working in the Maritime Industry are open to you) and iii) a B.S. Degree from one of the better, more respected undergraduate institutions in the Nation. You'll also have a full year of work experience as a Cadet in the Maritime Industry and no student loan debt.

    So I think you can see why, if you want to serve the country as part of your initial career and you are interested/like the sea, it's a great deal and that's why so many great people seek admission to the USMMA.

    What makes it so special?

    As a graduate (1982) and a parent of a graduate (2012) this one is easy for me to share my view as why USMMA was/is so special to me and I believe my son: it's the people you meet and go to class with every day while you are there and the literally, truly deep bonds and lifelong friendships you make. None of the Academies have alumni communities as big as many of the larger great schools you will likely have available to you as choices; however in my view none of those options, in my experience and looking at my non-academy graduate, accomplished friends have as many true friends and deep bonds with them as I have with my fellow Alumni or that I see my own son has with his. This may not be all that different than any of the other Federal Academies, the difference to me in that regard for USMMA graduates is that despite it being so small a group (less than 20,000 living graduates) I can go literally ANYWHERE in the world and if I need it find a USMMA/KP connection with usually 1 phone call/email and 99+% the time in two. That pretty much kick's Kevin Bacon's Butt.....

    Maybe not the answers you were expecting or looking for but I hope they help. Good luck in your quest - as always I'll say this, my opinion is, if it's at all possible for you, the best way to learn about USMMA and decide if it's for you is first hand by taking an overnight visit during your Junior Year. None of the Service Academies, perhaps USMMA least of all, is for everyone, but if KP is for you you'll likely know it within 6 or 8 hours into that visit.
     
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  5. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    jasperdog, I am going tag-team on your post a little bit. matthew, the point jasperdog is trying to make to you is that USMMA is a diamond in the rough almost. When people hear military academies, they think of West Point, Annapolis, and CO Springs (USAFA) almost immediately, and most include USCGA as well. USMMA is usually forgotten as a Service Academy because it isn't too widely known and some question its status as a military academy because it graduates officers of the Merchant Marine. While I am not attending USMMA (I'm at Massachusetts Maritime Academy majoring in Marine Transportation and doing the Navy Strategic Sealift Officer Program -- the same program the M/N at USMMA are in), I know a lot of the opportunities USMMA gives you. As jasperdog said, the alumni network isn't huge, but just say KP and you have alumni willing to help you with anything, especially jobs. It is true that all the Academies offer great educations, an education paid for by the taxpayers, and a guaranteed job, but USMMA gives you so much more than a guaranteed job. The vast majority of people take their Navy commission and sail, some (especially engineers) with contracts over $100,000 starting salaries. Some find lucrative employment ashore or on offshore oil platforms, and around 1/4 to 1/3 of the class take an Active Duty commission in one of the branches. Navy, Coast Guard, and Army are the most popular. Those who go Active Duty usually have some nice jobs. I met a M/N going Navy Nuclear Subs, a M/N going Coast Guard Aviation, and a M/N going Army Infantry. M/N don't get left over slots. They compete with everyone else. Every other Academy gives you one "choice." That's what warfare community you would like to be in. You have to be Active Duty in that specific branch. USMMA allows you to "select" a branch you want, and get a nice paying job without any debt. That is why USMMA is quite selective about who they admit. It's a hard road, but once you graduate, watch your opportunities open up!
     
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  6. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    Also, one other thing about commissioning. The vast majority of people in each reporting class want to go Active Duty. Some people show up wanting to sail, but they are in the minority initially. As you go through the curriculum, less and less people want to go Active Duty. Most abandon their desire for Active Duty because once they go out to sea, they are persuaded to sail by the travel opportunities and the paycheck associated with shipping. Usually, the ones who go Active Duty actually were not thinking of going Active Duty originally and people who determined early on they wanted to go Active Duty, but weighed commercial shipping heavily before reaching the decision to try for Active Duty. Everyone pretty much gives serious thoughts to sailing commercially. Some people also get touchy if you parade around saying you want to be a Navy Pilot, an Army Artillery Officer, etc. because the mission of the school is to graduate Merchant Marine Officers. Also, to make it through, you need to have at least some interest in the sea and ships. You are going to learn about it, live in it, and breathe it for the next four calendar years (notice I didn't say school years). A lot of people who DOR/Separate are people who came to USMMA because they were rejected by West Point, Annapolis, Coast Guard, or CO Springs and this is their back-up to get an Active Duty slot. They really don't have a high interest in the subject matter being taught (ships, etc.), so their academics suffer and they aren't happy being at a place so focused on shipping.

    Also, please visit, if possible. jasperdog is right on about the feel of the campus. You can tell after a bit if this is a place that you would happy with for the next four years. Go in with an open mind, but know what you are looking for in a college. It should be way more than just the majors and what type of jobs you can get.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Just for clarification; USMMA is not thought of as a military academy because, it is in fact, not a military academy. USMMA is, however, a federal service academy.
     
  8. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    You're totally missing the point of the MERCHANT MARINE Academy. Not your fault, I get that admissions sells us as a military academy with a maritime side show, but that isn't the case.

    What makes us special isn't the commission. It's the MERCHANT MARINER DOCUMENT you get when, god willing, you make it to graduation. We're a maritime school.

    Nothing is a guarantee either. Making it through the front gate is a lot easier than making it across the stage.
     
  9. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Exactly. My KP experience (Class of 81) is like many. In high school, I started early, doing what I could to get into the Air Force Academy. In going through the process, and as USNavy pointed out, I only found out about USMMA in the form that I filled out to my congressman about getting a nomination. I ticked the USMMA box with the others. . . As I was going through the process of physical testing and so forth at local Air Force bases, and as a typical 17 -18 year old, I was questioning whether or not a ten year military commitment was something I wanted. I spent more time looking into USMMA and there were many plusses back then, including an inactive Navy Reserve commission. . . I never fully understood the regimental/military aspect of KP until quite a bit after I graduated was sailing. Of course part of it comes from the history of the place, having been created during a time of war. It also serves a purpose in weeding out those who are not totally committed to the idea. One angle that I also realized was that in all of the typical senseless military details, I got a very high tolerance of BS that was VERY useful when I sailed and is still very useful in my day to day life. As beyond states, it is first and foremost a maritime school. Does it really serve the current state of the US maritime industry? Hard to say, but that would be a topic of another post. In the four years I attended, I went from someone who knew just a little bit about small boats to being a confident assistant engineer (maybe too confident) with a year's seagoing experience. Oh, and beyond's last sentence above is probably the most important of the thread. Don't go to KP for the wrong reason. . . .
     

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