Anyone gone KP over USNA

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by navy2016, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

    Dec 30, 2009
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    Has anyone turned down an appointment to USNA or USCGA for KP?

    After speaking on the phone with a very helpful representative of KP, I think I may need to change my user name.

    Some quick points I saw:

    USNA- most selective,
    KP- most opportunities

    Either way I could still become a naval officer. Since I am beginning to feel like applying to USNA would be for prestige but applying to KP would be more towards my interest.

    Has anyone else been in this situation in the past and felt like the right choice was made?
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    I would give you the same advice that I give kids considering going to VMI over a Service Academy. If you are fairly certain that you want to be a Navy Officer- then USNA (or USCG/UCSGA) ought to be your first choice. If however, you are interested in going to sea but you are not sure that you really want to be a Navy officer for 5 years , then USMMA would certainly make a lot of sense to be your particular first choice. It does offer you some really good options after graduation which none of the other SAs can offer, including a pretty wide range of commissioning options as well as the opportunity to have a really different college experience (and Sea year is definitely that ) and start a pretty well paying career immediately after graduation. But if you "know" that you want to be a Navy officer, or a USCG officer- then what KP won't give you is an annual invitation to founders day celebrations (or whatever they call them at USNA/ USCGA), or a ton of classmates and fellow alums in similar positions to yours, in personnel assignment slots or in positions where they can look out for you or vice versa. To disregard that if you are pretty certain that the Navy is your hearts desire is pretty foolish. So - this is a decision you should be making with your desired end state in mind. It's just my opinion of the factors to be considered- not gospel.
  3. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

    Jul 25, 2009
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    You ask:

    So 32 1/2 years ago I made the choice of USMMA over USNA and yes it was right for me. The majority of the reasons it was right for me are captured very well in Bruno's posted response and he offers a very good (surprisingly so for a Coastie - just kidding since as of right now USCGA is leading in the race for the Trophy...) list of why and why not to pick one over the other.

    In regards to your post I'd add a couple of things... from your handle and your posts on these forums it seems that USNA has been in your sights for a long time and like many others USMMA has come into your field of view only recently. In your post you say:
    "USNA- most selective,
    KP- most opportunities"
    Depending where you live USNA may or may not be the most selective/hardest to get into SA but if you have the opportunity to choose, I would say the prestige, real or perceived, of one particular Federal SA over the other should not enter into your decision process. At this point I'd continue to pursue an appointment to the Class or 2016 to all of the SA's you are interested in.

    If you are trying to decide which one to indicate as your first choice to a nomination board, etc. then of course it appears you have a lot of ground to make up in accumulating knowledge about USMMA vs. USNA. If it's AT ALL possible, I VERY STRONGLY recommend an overnight visit to USMMA and I assume you've already been to USNA at least once, and may well have been to the summer program there. There are marked differences between the two places in terms of what it's like. The only way for you to really see and "feel" these differences is to go to USMMA and "live" with a current Plebe for the 20 or so hours an overnight visit provides.

    As everyone here, including me, points out the USMMA does give you the widest array of options and opportunities immediately upon graduation. If you are indeed now finding yourself looking at those things and feeling you are no longer sure you want a long career as an active duty Naval Officer, but you still feel some sort of underlying pull to the sea and ships, then USMMA is definitely worth significant reflection and consideration. However as I say the differences are actually pretty profound and even though the USMMA may be easier for you to get into but depending on your academic interests and propensities it may well not be the easiest for you to "get through." I say this because there are two aspects relative to fit with your interests and abilities when you consider the decision in front of you - the fit relative to your expectations for your experience while at the Academies in question and the fit for your interests and aspirations following graduation.

    Neither school will be easy to get through, nor are they really set up to be. They are both set up to train young men and women like yourself in support of their mission(s) and part of that is testing you in a multitude of ways both subtle and directly each day. In some respects, USMMA can be the most academically challenging because between the limited range of options for Majors and the fact the Sea Year means that a battery of four year's worth of degree courses are squeezed into your three years on Campus, it's never easy, though many of us Kings Pointers like to carry ourselves like it is. Another thing to consider is an aspect of USMMA that provides many of the options and improves the quality of opportunities immediately upon graduation is the Sea Year. For virtually everyone who gets through it, Sea Year is a great and useful growing experience but it's a time during which everyone does A LOT of growing up, so as interesting and fun as it is, there are moments when it is what it really is - work. It's that 1 full year of what is basically International Work experience that makes USMMA very different. However, I would say that if you wanted to that is something that you could also get and accumulate during the first 3 years or so of you post-graduate working life if it's something you want to do.

    To me the big reason I choose USMMA over USNA was fit both while at USMMA - I wanted a smaller school experience, at the time the USMMA total student body was smaller than my big city High School and I was tired of "being a number" and I wanted to see the world so sea year "sealed the deal" for me; Post graduation I wanted to serve my country in some way but wasn't sure I wanted to do so as an active duty officer, as it turned out I stayed active in the reserves for 9 years and it was the right thing for me.

    Good luck in your journey and quest.
  4. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    "Has anyone turned down an appointment to USNA or USCGA for KP?"

    The short answer to your question is, "Yes, many". My DS, for one. And many others on this forum have mentioned that they have, also.

    I just spoke with my DS (who is 3/C this year) about whether he was still happy with his decision. The answer was, unequivicably, "yes".
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I would add that KP may appear to be "less selective," but I would guess that's because it's not as well known and does offer a very different college/SA experience. That doesn't mean that the students attending KP are any less talented, etc., only that there are fewer people applying because fewer people have heard about it.

    We're told that many kids in flyover country and in inner cities have never heard of USNA. If that's the case, you can imagine how many have never heard of KP.
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Nov 25, 2007
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    No. If you want to be a "naval officer" then USNA (USCG/USCGA) should be your first choice. I would add USMMA to that. If you want to be a NAVY officer then USNA or USMMA should be your first choice. Coast Guard officers do not cross-commission to the Navy. So, if you want to be in the Navy, save the TWO Coast Guard officers who are SEALs, the Coast Guard is not the way to go.

    Want to be in the U.S. Navy? The Naval Academy or the Merchant Marine Academy is a fine way to go.

    Keep in mind, naval and Navy are not one in the same.
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    LITS is correct; however, most don't go to the true meaning of Naval when using it in these contexts.

    Naval = any sea-going service including Marine Corps among others already mentioned.

    Navy = US Navy

    An interesting, yet usually, overlooked difference.
  8. North Fork

    North Fork New Member

    Aug 22, 2010
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    I can add this to the original question:
    My son and his plebe friend/ classmate rooming across the hallway declined the opportunity to attend West Point and accepted their appointments to King's Point.

    My guy did not apply to Navy or Air Force because he did not have enough interest and our Congressperson frowns on multiple nomination requests and rarely honors multiple requests. Son never completed his Coast Guard application (to my dismay) but USCG did send him a rejection letter nonetheless?

    Must say that son is absolutely thriving at KP after the first couple of months and has no regrets about his decision.
  9. sprog

    sprog Member

    Mar 10, 2009
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    Agree. I've given similar advice when recruiting for VMI at college fairs. I tell the kid that if he/she is absolutely sure that they want a career in the Armed Forces, then he/she should apply to the service-specific SA as a first choice (USNA/MA/CGA/AFA), and consider VMI a viable plan B. I think USMMA is a great first choice for a kid who is drawn to the sea (and to studying marine transportation/engineering), but maybe isn't sure about wanting to go into the active duty Navy (or Coast Guard or whatever). I think, however, if a kid is dead-set on going active duty into the Navy (especially with aspirations of career service), then USNA makes more sense as a first choice. Bruno did a good job of laying out the reasons for that, and Jasper's post is also strong on that point.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010

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