Coast Guard Vs. other schools in terms of opportunity

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by walterd, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. walterd

    walterd Member

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    Many people say that having a job lined up after graduation is a huge draw of the coast guard academy. Call me naive and reckless but I am not sure how much the Coast Guard Academy would be respected when compared to UNC- Chapel Hill in either computer science of business or NC State as part of the Honors Program and Engineering College. If for instance I was finding work outside of the DoD how is USCGA viewed? I am not knocking USCGA in any way but at least from what I've seen not many people even know what it is. I am not very concerned with job security after graduating college or the burden of college tuition since my parents are very generous and I am in-state for both schools. The main reason I am asking this is because my physics teacher went to UNC and worked for the navy in a secretive weapons and aircraft development group closely with civilians. He honestly my role model in life and most interesting man I have ever met. Is becoming him after going to UNC realistic or an exception? Would I get opportunities like that going to USCGA?
     
  2. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    You must realize that the USCGA is training you to be an officer and all that entails....Thorough understanding of ship systems, operations, communications, electronics, radar, sonar, propulsion, navigation, damage control, as well as management through training in leadership and command. What you choose to do with your life once you separate from the Coast Guard is up to you. But understand, it is not a civilian institution and it is training you to meet the needs of the service. The real question you need to ask about the USCGA is whether you want to be a Coast Guard officer, for that is what you will be if you successfully graduate, even if you have an engineering degree.
     
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  3. CoastiePilot

    CoastiePilot Member

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    From reading your post, I don't get the impression you have any strong connections with the missions of the Coast Guard...although you never really specified what you want to do after college besides follow in your mentor's footsteps. What interests you about the Coast Guard?

    From what I have seen, the people that succeed in this organization (inside CGA and afterwords), do so because they really enjoy what they do. You have to keep in mind that when you decide to attend CGA, you are committing 9 years of your future to the organization so you need to make sure you align with the goals of the organization.

    It's also not just about getting a top notch education from a service academy...you will get 5 years of unique job experiences to fill your resume that you would normally not get from a civilian college. Managing people, money, resources within months of graduation. Ouch...I sounded like a recruiter just then....I digress.

    My advice to people looking at CGA or the Coast Guard in general, is to look at the missions and make sure you find something you really want to do in the organization or you may find yourself unsatisfied and regretting your choice.
     
  4. ckarve

    ckarve Member

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    in addition to all the advise above, what you have to ask yourself is, what are your life style expectations for the next 4 years? Are you ready for the regimented life at USCGA? Can you iron your uniforms ? Square your meals? Wake up at 6.00 am?
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You may be giving UNC-Chapel Hill and certainly NC State (especially in-state) a little more weight than they typically deserve.

    The Coast Guard Academy is small, and less well-known that the three larger service academies, but it's certainly not disrespected. When the Board members at my employer found out that I was a Coast Guard Academy graduate, they were impressed. And they came from an impressive background (Rice, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge).

    The Coast Guard (and Coast Guard Academy) aren't under DOD, so it might be equally telling to ask how CGA is viewed from inside DOD.

    I left the Coast Guard after five years. It took me a little time to find a job, but it was a horrible time to look and I probably wasn't doing it right. Now I make far more than I made in the Coast Guard, and certainly more than I would have been making straight out of school.

    To your final questions, you'll meet plenty of people who worked in "secretive weapons" but the real secretive guys don't tell you that. Could you become him after UNC (as in, be a weapons guy, then working in high school) sure, I don't see why not. Could that be you after CGA? Maybe, but more likely it will suck you in and you'll enjoy your work.

    I'd recommend you do a little more research. You seem more interested in the imagine, than the actual service it entails. Read up on CGA, read up on NROTC (I know UNC has it) and figure out what you want to do.
     
  6. walterd

    walterd Member

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    I understand I am probably fairly biased since I am in-state and thanks for pointing it out. I think what caused this is what I like to call "the acceptance effect" where senior instantly think more highly of schools that accept them versus schools that have no said anything yet. I was just offered an appointment to USCGA today so I will have some tough decisions to make not just about the school itself but where I see my life 5 or 10 years from now. As someone mentioned earlier they said I might lack interest in the Coast Guard's mission. This is not the case and it is something that I find very interesting but I also find any civilian job that applies math and science or teaching also interesting. (Yes I am a typical high school senior still trying to find themselves). I am planning on shadowing a student for a night up in New London as well as doing post acceptance tours of UNC and NCSU.
     
  7. walterd

    walterd Member

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    I am also waiting to hear back from USNA (triple qualified with a nomination).
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I was actually surprised recently when I was reviewing applications for a scholarship program that according to Barron's college rankings UNC Chapel Hill is considered a Tier 1 school. CGA (and KP for that matter) were 2+. I don't recall NC State off the top of my head.

    Now those rankings have to be considered amongst numerous other things, but I was not aware of the high caliber academic status of UNC.
     
  9. walterd

    walterd Member

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    UNC is particularly good in computer science which is what I would major in if I attended there. I have also been a hardcore tar heel fan grounded in the "Hate Dook" mentality since elementary school because I live a 15 minute walk from campus. I know UNC will also be a lot of more fun ( huge school spirit, 60% girls and I love Chapel Hill) than USCGA but I believe USCGA may offer me more in the long run.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I can PROMISE you UNC Chapel Hill will be more fun than USCGA.

    You know what I think of those ranking kp2001.... one has Harvard on top, another Harvey Mudd another.... etc.

    U.S. News and World Report says one thing, Forbes another, and Barons another....



    UNC Chapel Hill is a great school. Tier 1? Eh, I don't know about that.
     
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  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You're in a good place. No need to rush to a decision. You know about NC State and UNC Chapel Hill. If you think you don't know enough, go take a tour ask questions.

    For the Coast Guard Academy and/or Naval Academy, I recommend visiting. For the Coast Guard Academy specifically, consider visiting a Coast Guard unit (call ahead, talk to them a bit). Try to find a larger unit with officers (especially CGA grads). There are small units without officers, which while fun, won't give you an idea about officer life or the academy experience.

    A small school like CGA will feel very different from a larger school like USNA or an even bigger school like UNC, so see what feels right and think about life after that school.

    The Coast Guard Academy has a good reputation. It doesn't get air time of a D1 school, but you'll find other top D2 or D3 schools experience the same thing.
     
  12. walterd

    walterd Member

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    Does anyone know much about the study abroad opportunities at USCGA? I was just offered the summer study abroad fellowship by UNC which is a $5000 stipend to use on the summer study abroad program of my choice during my rising, sophomore, junior or senior summers.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    This is less flexibility at CGA. If I remember correctly, there were some opportunities the summer of senior year. They're relatively limited and remember they often play into your major or Coast Guard experience.
     

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