CGA or USNA?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Roebuck, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

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    DS is fortunate to have received appointments to CGA Scholars program and USNA Foundation for 2014-2015. All the adults that are close to him have recommended CGA, but he has his heart set on USNA. We're not sure he will be successful at USNA academically or athletically. If he chooses the Foundation option, he knows he will have to work harder than he has ever even conceived, but he says he's up for it. He wants to fly Navy. Is this a time to let the DS make his own decision or mandate that he goes CGA? I think I know the answer but interested in your feedback.
     
  2. Arkansas Candidate

    Arkansas Candidate Member

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    Is it your future? No. Therefore, you cannot make decisions for him. I do believe that one of the first things I was told when Attempting to get a SA appointment was to make sure it was what I wanted, not my parents. If you 'mandated' that he go coat guard and he didn't want to go there, I would bet any amount of money that he would hate it and his grades would reflect that resentment towards you. Let your kid follow his dreams, not yours.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  3. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    Academically, the CGA is as tough as the USNA. One advantage, however, the CGA has is its smaller size. So I am surmising that smaller classes potentially mean more individual attention, which can help a struggling student. The bigger differences is in athletics: the the USNA a D1 school while the CGA is D3. If your DS wants to play sports in college, you have to factor that in. But if his goal is to get flung off carrier decks, the choice is pretty clear. Good luck whichever path he chooses.
     
  4. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    Are you (or he) under the impression the CGA Scholars (prep) option will not be as hard academically or athletically as the USNA prep program, and he will not have to work as hard?
     
  5. Physicsguru

    Physicsguru Member

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    He has a nice choice here, but to be honest, it is his, and only his, choice to make. It's not that he's choosing a college; he's choosing a vocation. The Navy offers a wide range of careers, from aviation, surface, subsurface, and Marine Corps. The Coast Guard offers the satisfaction of serving at home, law enforcement and life saving.

    I'll be frank; students who's parents mandate them to attend a specific academy more often than not do not succeed at that academy. The passion isn't there as the goal isn't their's.

    Both Naval Foundation Scholars and Coast Guard Academy Scholars are challenging programs. Here at MMI they take the identical courses, and share classes with each other. Successful completion of each program almost certainly guarantee's appointment, and the year of prep does help them at the academies. Regardless of the program, he'll have to work hard to earn his appointment.

    My advice, as an instructor, a parent, and as a retired Navy officer, is give him all the facts, and then let him decide. If he does go aviation, it will affect the next 12 years of his life.
     
  6. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

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    I appreciate the various opinions! I know we should not mandate his future as this truly needs to be his decision. However, I'm not convinced that he has evaluated the opportunities based on the person he really is instead of the person he fancies himself to be.

    He is interested flying crew served planes, not fast movers.

    I am sure that CGA is just as difficult as USNA. The CGA scholars program is a little less demanding in terms of GPA. 2.5 CGA vs. 3.0 USNA however.

    I am very concerned that with his academic skills that he will not have a good enough GPA at USNA to qualify for flight school. On the other hand, if that were to happen (no flight school), he would have many other opportunities for career choices at Navy than CGA - Yes? No?

    My concern is that he is attracted to USNA because of the prestige and other externalities, (e.g. his peers think it's cool, and they are unfamiliar with CGA), the Army Navy game, and it is a bigger school. Why is that a problem? Because with a bigger school he can more easily "get by" and not be noticed, which is not helpful to him. He doesn't yet realize how capable he really is. Either school will be enormously helpful with that. My perception is that since CGA is much smaller, he would have more personal attention geared for his abilities than at USNA.

    My biggest concern is that if he truly wants to fly, he will earn that opportunity more readily in the Coast Guard than Navy, given his academics and overall "do the minimum to get by' attitude right now.

    BTW he does not play any sports at the D1 level.

    Concluding, all the adults who know him, his temperment, his goals and how he is motivated believe CGA is the more appropriate place for him. His heart's desire is Navy though, and it is hard to argue with that. I want him to go to the school where he will be most successful and satisfied with his career. Perhaps I just need reassuring that he will mature during the next few years and find his internal motivation to achieve his dream at Navy.

    Any feedback or opinions about his chances of success at Navy? I'm keeping an open mind here.
     
  7. meant2b

    meant2b Member

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    "His heart's desire is Navy" If that's the case then let him go....
     
  8. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

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    Not sure where you get the idea that getting into flying after the CGA would be easier. Only about 8 percent of the class of 2014 got flight school at Billet Night. It you aren't in the top 15 percent of your graduating class you probably do not have a shot.
     
  9. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

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    TennisDad - I got the idea from a current USCGA pilot who said that he got flight school, not immediately after graduation, but after two years. He was not in the top 15 percent of his class. I take it that kind of situation is unusual?
     
  10. Physicsguru

    Physicsguru Member

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    I posted a PM to you with my contact information. I can give you more information about both prep programs.
     
  11. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    He wants Navy. He wants to be a Naval Aviator in the USN. He should go to USNA.

    It's that simple.

    Don't worry about whether he can make the cut. As long as he makes the choice to not give up on himself, he will find a way to succeed.

    My largest classes thus far have had some 20-25 midshipmen to a professor/instructor. All of my professors know my name and my face. Most of my professors have an open door policy, and all of my professors are generally available for extra instruction every day of the week. Academic tutoring run by hired private tutors is held regularly on weekday nights for the difficult classes (Chem, Calc, Physics, etc). Midshipmen may register for additional extra instruction classes (essentially adding another period of that class) for reinforcement. The Midshipmen Group Study Program is held on a weekly basis (more frequently for some courses).

    We are not as small as USCGA, but he'll get the help he needs. Unless he chooses to ignore that help, he will be fine.

    That said, if he's planning to do the minimum, he won't like it here. He probably won't like it at the USCGA either. A certain level of motivation and effort will be required.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  12. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Let him make the decision as long as he is informed and has thought this out. He has to own this decision as its a minimum of 9 years of his life. If he got in, he can make it through. The resources are abundant. As you move through each year classes get smaller. I had some classes firstie that had 8 students in them. Even Plebe year with classes like Chemistry they are 25 students and even smaller labs.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Have a friend whose son last year was deciding b/t USNA (direct appointment) and a very good civilian school. The young man's "heart" was set on USNA. However, his mother had reservations. He went to the civilian school.

    Recently checked in with the kid's dad. Kid is ok at the civilian school but wishes he'd gone to USNA. Makes me very sad, actually.

    This is NOT to say USNA is the better option but rather that your DS should go with HIS desire. Don't overthink it. Go with your gut -- usually that's the right decision.
     
  14. bearfan123

    bearfan123 New Member

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    This is scary to me and should be to everyone else attending an academy. Sometimes it is worth taking a step back and look at the facts. A mandate of any kind is telling your child where they will spend the next 10 years of their life. This is their decision to make, you can help inform them but ultimately it is up to them.
     
  15. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

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    Here are my views on the bolded elements of your statement:

    1. Yes, the Scholars program may require a lower GPA then USNA. However, this is no way equates to an easier academic time at CGA. To be completely honest with you, my class has lost approximately half of its scholars since we began our academy experience in 2010. A lot of those were for grades. So were the several high schoolers who failed out despite having a 4.0 GPA in high school.

    Additionally, from several conversations from various exchangers who attended a semester at USCGA including those from USNA, USCGA is the most regimented and demanding in terms of academics and military life. That being said, it would be much easier for him to play on a D3 sport (and actually get to play, rather than just practice) than on a D1 team.

    2. Yes, the student to teacher ratio is approximately 8 to 1 but none of the personal attention will come unless your son chooses to get the help. No one will hold is hand and carry him through. As members of his division and class, people will want to help so that he can succeed but he has to want it and therefore will have to ask. If he does, yes, he'll have plenty of personal attention.

    3. He won't get Flight School period with that kind of attitude whether it is in the Navy, CG, or any of the other branches of the military. The "do the minimum to get by" attitude you describe won't get your son appointed to Flight School in the Coast Guard. Just because the CG chooses not to select all of its flight school attendees based upon their academics does not mean that he has an easier application process. That attitude will come out quickly in the interview with the flight board and it won't be looked upon as positive. Why would the CG pay for someone to go through the school who will only do the minimum and risk failing out by doing so? Also, I'm sure you didn't intend for me to take it this way but I'm a little insulted you feel that his attitude would be more readily condoned at USCGA than USNA.

    4. If it is his heart's desire, then he should go to Navy regardless of what those around him say. If he does not mature enough to recognize the work he has to put in and that getting accepted is the easiest part of the journey, then he very well may not do well. Hopefully, that does not happen.

    At the end of the day, I think a lot of people understand where you are coming from as a parent. Perhaps encourage him to come on this forum and read about the different experiences of cadets. Your son is in a tough but positive position but it sounds as though he has already made the decision he wants to make.
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Excellent advice, all around.
     
  17. Roebuck

    Roebuck Member

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    I appreciate all the advice and varying perspectives. He has made his decision to accept the USNA Foundation option. It will be a harder road for him academically, and going through the nomination process again, not to mention more expensive for us, but we are ready support him.

    I in no way wanted to infer that CGA is easier or less demanding than USNA, only that the CGAS specifically requires a little less from him in the beginning, but perhaps that is not a positive overall. We believe that USCGA would be better for him, but we know he would not be happy there. That said, everyone associated with USCGA and USCG has been outstanding to interact with throughout this process. We are disappointed to have to close this door, but excited to see how he steps up to achieving his USNA dreams. He has a lot of growing up to do, but I believe that he will step up to the demands placed before him to achieve his ambitions.

    He will in short order learn to discipline his mind and body, to reach out to others, and that it has to come from within.

    Thanks again for your opinions - it has been helpful.
     

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