Can you leave West Point without any penalties?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by EndangeredQuake, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. EndangeredQuake

    EndangeredQuake Member

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    Before i delve any further, i would like to point out this is not for me, but for my mom.

    I'm an aspiring candidate to the service academies(senior). I recently told my mom that I want to go to a service academy and she took it pretty harshly. Emotions aside and all, she said (loosely paraphrasing her) I don't want you to sign a 10 year commitment and have no way out. I faintly remember hearing that you owe no service until your cow year (3rd year) but I can't find any sources. She is feeling abandoned right now, thinking I'm doing this in some sort of teenage rebellion and that I won't last/ you'll lose your ability to empathize and I want her to see this so she can have something to feel better about. Can anybody send me a link? I couldn't find one myself. Thanks.

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  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Yes. After your second year before summer starts, you have the option of walking away without any penalty and you can transfer your college credits to another college of equal.
    This does happen with every class about 50 to 75 cadets will "step left" and not continue on. Their reason can be for a whole host of reasons. The military was not what they expected, academics are too much, military demand is too great, they can't keep up with staying in shape etc.
    However, when you put on your "India Whites" and take the Affirmation oath you are in the Army now. If you separate you may either pay back your tuition and/or enlist.
    You better make sure you are all in. If you do get a nomination and appointment, and later leave. Your spot/slot will go vacant for the class. That means their may have been someone else who truly wanted to attend didn't get the chance. Your nomination source will lose that opportunity to fill it until four years.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You are correct that you can leave the Academy without penalty up to the end of your sophomore year. Unfortunately I can't find a link either. I'm sure someone will chime in further. Just wanted to reassure you that you're correct.
     
  4. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I will mention that if you do end up at WP, encourage your mom to get a Facebook account (if she doesn't already have one) and join the West Point Moms page. She will find a tremendous amount of support and camaraderie there and that may help her deal with what it's like to have her child at WP. There will also be a FB page for your class which she will find helpful as well.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    As someone who has graduated you from a SA I can confirm that you can walk after 2 years without any obligations. You will sign papers right before you start classes junior year that confirms your commitment. From that point, you have 2 years left at school and then at a minimum owe 5 years active duty (and 3 years in the IRR). There are a couple old threads on here with similiar types of stories with parents, will try to find them and add the link later today. They may help you talk to your parents and be good advice for your mom.
     
  6. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    The affirmation ceremony is held after summer break (the Sunday night of reorganization week). Classes start the next day. Technically, you can walk away if you leave before you step over the threshold of your first Monday class. Most have decided long before then, but that is the way it works. All of us who have kids at a SA will say our kids DID change...but they didn't become callous and unable to empathize. They have become more mature young men and women, fully prepared to take on the rigors of junior officership. All the best to you!
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    The committment is actually for 12 years - 4 years at West Point, 8 years of military service, where 5 years of active and 3 years in a reserve status (Some of my classmates got called back after 911. They left the Army after 5 years of active duty, but still remained in Individual Ready Reserve status as a part of the 8 year commitment.)

    The regulartory reference is AR 210-26, United States Military Acadmy

    Chapter 7,

    "The foregoing provisions [military service obligation] will be applied in accordance with the following guidance:
    (1) Term 1 of the second class year will commence at noon on the first day of regularly scheduled academic classes following the summer training period. As an exception, the second class year for a cadet who is designated a potential mid-year graduate will commence at noon on the first day of regularly scheduled classes in the term following the advancement of that cadet to the second class.'

    http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r210_26.pdf



    Lastly, if you can find a full college scholarship that allows to walk away from whatever you were doing after two years without any requirement let me know.
     
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  8. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    EQ, I understand your concern for your mother's emotions concerning the military. But one thing no one has mentioned is that this really is your decision and if it is something you want to pursue, regardless of whether or not your mother agrees, you should pursue it. I know you want the approval and encouragement from your mom, but you have to live your life the way you see fit. Graduating from an SA is no small feat and takes a lot of drive and determination to succeed. I hope your mom comes around and supports you in whatever path you choose, but if she does not, you should think long and hard about taking a path just to please her as it may bring many years of regret later. Perhaps it would help to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with her letting her know how important this is for you and asking her to have a little faith in your ability to make good decisions for your own life. Talk with other adults and friends who support you and if you can't convince her then you just have to move forward if that is truly what you want. Your mom cannot live YOUR life for you nor should she try to impose her opinion on you. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

    On that note I say that when I wanted to enlist in the Navy many moons ago, many people, including my parents, told me that too. It made me even more determined to prove them all wrong. I finished my Naval career twenty years later as a Nurse Corps officer and my parents proudly attended my retirement ceremony. They chuckled when I reminded them that they said I would never make it. I don't take too kindly to anyone telling me I can't do something. That challenge is always accepted in my book. ;)
     
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  9. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    Consider what you want to do, not what your mom wants you to do. Sure take commitment into consideration but in the end it's you that's going to be drastically changing your life based on where you go to college and what you do at college. Keep your best interest in mind and reasonably decide if a commitment like military service is for you. If it is go ahead and apply. If not you may want to rethink what college you want to go to.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Keep in mind that Mom's trepidation is probably about much more that getting into a commitment you can't get out of. Even with the two year grace period that will occur. She's probably more concerned that the commitment is to the military and her child could be hurt or worse. I know that's what bugged my wife until we brought her around.
     
  11. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    So let me make sure this is clear. If a cadet leaves after 2 years at a SA, he/she doesn't even have to reimburse (the taxpayers) for 2 years of college credit courses which he/she can transfer to another college???? For a private university, that's could be worth up to $130-150,000.
     
  12. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    That is correct. People can attend the service academies for two academic years without incurring a service or a financial obligation (other than the initial fee, which I understand varies among the SAs). The SAs, as you can imagine, collect scads of data on why people separate or are disenrolled, and very, very few individuals game the system. It's just too difficult a path for two years, for young people to think they'll just coast through a service academy for a couple of years' worth of free tuition, room and board. First they start with plebe/swab summer: no Facebook, no email, no phones, no books, no TV, oh-dark-thirty wakeups, hundreds of pushups every day, low-level fear/stress every day, and very little personal choice about anything. That alone is enough of a reality check for some people. Then they go into an academic year where everyone, regardless of his/her eventual major, takes calculus, chemistry, history (or the like), English, a military course, and PE. Fall below satisfactory performance in any one of physical, academic, or military performance, and you're reviewed for continued enrollment. This is not an easy system to game.

    On the other hand, and despite excellent information available today on the internet, learning about a system or an experience is not the same as having that experience. Most forumites know that I was appointed to USNA, completed my plebe year, and voluntarily separated - not because I was unsat. In fact I had a 3.4 QPR and as a female, they actually tried to get me to stay. It was not until I was immersed in that environment, for a "long" time (longest in my short life), that I was able to figure out I did not want to be a USN officer. The way I'd put it now is, nothing had ever been hard for me prior to USNA, and I wanted to be in an environment and with other people who wanted to do hard things. That was the wrong reason for me to attend, obviously - but I could not have figured that out without being there.

    For these and so many other reasons, the two-year, no-commitment timespan is a very, very good idea and a wise investment of taxpayers' money and, more important, our young, bright, motivated peoples' time.
     
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  13. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    I appreciate the information and the clarification. Thank you.
     
  14. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    This is another program available after your second year, however, you must be a cadet that falls under certain requirements to be "re-admittable". Be younger than 23, you must obtain another nomination (usually not an issue), be a cadet in good standing, acceptable GPA and a few more I don't remember right off the top of my head. This will allow those cadets up to two years and return for religious proselyte purposes. Every year a dozen or so cadets will leave to serve mission and return. WP allows this and understands the value, as an example-a cadet serves in a foreign mission they will have language and cultural emersion. You just can't buy that type of education. I would say 90 per cent of the language profs fall in to this category. It does take upwards a year of approval.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     

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