College Or Enlist?

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by paulvi, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. paulvi

    paulvi New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I am a Senior at a Northern Virginia High School this year. I attended AIM last summer as a junior and did well there. I applied early action to the Academy and was deferred and then recently rejected.

    I attend a challenging private catholic school. My gpa is like a 3.75 weighted, and I the hardest classes possible at my high school. This senior year I do have a C- in Calculus which could be a problem, but besides that I have only As and Bs throughout all of high school. Although my grades are slightly below the average, I do not see them as an issue.

    SAT scores were fine: 670, 700, and 760 with a 12/12 on writing. Class rank was like 40/260.

    Activities were fine: VP of National Honor Society, Star rank Boy Scout, 4 years of Varsity Swim Team and summer teams, JV (10) and Varsity Track (11,12), VP of German Club, National German Honor Society, volunteered providing childcare for transitional housing families, and a member of the Student Ambassadors Executive Board (like student government).

    I have worked as a Lifeguard the past three summers, and was the Head Lifeguard of a major pool last summer.

    My PFE scores were relatively low (like 210) as I am not a big buff dude, and in track i run the 110 meter High Hurdles and 300 meter Intermediate Hurdles Sprints. I did not contact any coaches. I did get the only perfect score on the Indoc test at AIM in Echo Company, so I guess that should help. The Hercules has a wider wingspan than length haha.

    Going to the academy was my dream and still is. I loved my week there during AIM and will get in there somehow.

    So should I attend Villanova University next year and re-apply regular desicion to USCGA with improved High School math class grades and PFE scores, or defer my admission at Villanova for a year and enlist in the Coast Guard this fall while I concurrently re-apply for USCGA?

    The way I see it, going through basic training at Cape May and deferring college for a year should show the admissions staff how serious i am about the Academy and get me in? Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  2. officer

    officer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    0
    Your stats are wonderful! If you were my son, I would probably advise him to take a heavy load in either a JC or 4 year college, and if you think you could handle the load, maybe involve yourself with the campus ROTC. It would be great experience, and you could get reference letters from people who can evaluate your leadership potential. I think you sound like CGAS material for sure; you have massive potential :thumb: -officer
     
  3. plmmar

    plmmar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree. From what I've read, it would be best to take a challenging course at a JC or University. Courses that would mimic the class load at the Academy. If you do a search on this site on the subject you will get a lot of good advice.
     
  4. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    972
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree about going to college and trying again. Try to get into better physical shape...work hard on math and sciences...retake the SAT's or ACT. If you were to enlist in the CG it would be a few years at least before you could try again. College is likely your best bet. Villanova is a very good school so a good record there would put you in good stead. Best of luck.:thumb:
     
  5. my3luv1

    my3luv1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    same question but slight different plan B

    I was wondering the same thing but my son's plan B is slightly different. After talking to a friend of ours who did receive appointmentship CGA but dropped out and enlist full-time to CG instead and he was recruiter during his 22 yrs, said if my son didn't make it in CGA next year (he is junior now) maybe consider to enlist in the CG Reserves & go to a local college (we have many good colleges to choose from locally). Re-apply again the following year. Our friend stated this will show(CGA) how serious my son is about getting in CGA.

    My question is there a difference between enlisting as full-time enlisted and the reserves when re-applying to CGA? We thought if he become a reservist he can go to school full-time in the fall 2011 to continue his studies and show his dedication to the CG & CGA the same time when re-applying.
     
  6. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
    Depends what you want. Understand enlisted to academy is tough, especially to CGA. There are few spots for enlisted. If you want to enlist, do it with the intention of enlisting rather than attending the academy (but with the possiblity of potentially attending the academy 2-4 years down the road). Also, I'm not sure where recruiting stands for CG as of know. I know that when I spoke to a recruiter, they had met their quota and some people weren't shipping to basic for a year...some couldn't even get a contract even with high ASVAB and good medical.

    It seems your ultimate goal is CGA, so what I would advise is do a year at a four year school...your academics are good so keep that up, and then just get physically fit. Get involved with either ROTC (maybe take a military science/naval science class or two, and PT with the unit), or get involved with the Coast Guard Auxillary. If you aren't familiar with it, look it up. It is similar to civilain air patrol, but you have to be 17 or 18 (i forget which age), or older to join. The people in charge of this in your area will most likely be retired CG and have suprising pull throughout the CG community. In fact, some retired CG (forgot rank, but high officer) was in the auxillary and was presenting for the CGA at an academy day I attended.

    You could do a year at a junior college, but if you want my honest opinion it won't be as challenging as a 4 year school. And if CGA doesnt come through you won't be stuck at the JC. You may also want to consider a military junior college, if your looking for the full experience.

    Quite frankly if you do one year at a 4 year school, take physics, english, calc, a military science class, and one other class. Get A's and B's, and get invovled with the CG auxillary or ROTC (depending if the school has it), I can't see why CGA wouldn't admit you based on the stats. Just my opinion though. Take it for what its worth.


    Good Luck!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  7. shellz

    shellz Parent

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    75
    CC is ok too...not necessary to go to a 4 year. Good grades in solid courses that mimic 4/c year are the ticket in, IMHO. (based on our experience)
     
  8. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't necessarily disagree. Maybe this is just my experience with a community college, but it just seems as if the classes aren't challenging enough. My guess is a 4.0 at a CC is probably better than a 3.5 at a 4 year for transferring. But if you can pull the 4.0 at a 4 year, I'd go with that route simply because it adds a bit more rigor. But again this is from my experience at a community college, so yours was probably completely different than mine.
     
  9. robin820

    robin820 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    At a Admissions Partner Meeting last month in Florida we were told that it is hard to get a recruiter to even call you back. The wait list is 12 -18 months.
    I agree with the others in going to school for a year, take the most challenging classes you can and reapply next year.
    I tell the story of NASA Astronaut LTCMDR Danial Burbank,USCG, who was denied his first time at applying to the CGA.He did not get accepted the first time he applied to CGA. He went to college for a year and reapplied and was accepted. Once he graduated CGA in 1985 he applied for Flight School and was denied, so he spent a few years as a watch officer on a cutter, and reapplied in 1987.After graduating Flight School in 1988,he applied to NASA twice before he was accepted there and spent the next 10 years learning to fly various other aircraft. It took until 1997 until he was selected for Astronaut training and has flown 2 shuttle missions, STS-106 in 2000 and STS-115 in 2003.
    Sometimes it takes longer than you planned to reach your goals, and you may not get there on the path that you thought you would, but the important thing in the end is that you get there!
     
  10. my3luv1

    my3luv1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    My son's plan B might be our County CC & doing the reserves. Our CC has partnership program with 8 major state colleges. In fact it is it the only CC in our state that has this kind of program. What I like about the school is they are local and a whole lot cheaper then going to those school itself for the first 2-3 years. Also, if his final GPA is 3.2 or higher he can receive either a partial or full scholarship. Only downfall with this is not all degrees are offered, so it depends on him what degree he decides on to see if he can go there or not.

    But what I have heard every CC are different & some credit hours may not be transferable. I found that out when my husband decide to go for his BA and applied to the local private college five years ago, not all his credits from the CC he went 20 years ago were transferable and he had to re-take those classes because they were core classes he needed for his degree. What a mess.
     
  11. shellz

    shellz Parent

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    75
    Good luck! The CC route worked like a charm for my son. He didn't do reserves either, but what a great plan. I hope it all pans out for your son. The determination to go through this all again shows CGA your son really means it! I think that is a huge positive factor the second time around.
     
  12. bozrah0307

    bozrah0307 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think there can certainly be a heated discussion about the rigor of community colleges courses, but that rigor may depend on your state and county. In California, the Community College system is very strong. I believe Northern Virginia Community College is also an excellent educational alternative. Of course, you would have to seek out the toughest courses and look at the bios of the professors. You might be surprised at their level of education and teaching experience.

    Just my opinion....
     
  13. shellz

    shellz Parent

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    75
    GE credits are GE credits, in my experience. But, we do live near a great CC with high transfer rates. It didn't seem to hurt my son, and the 20 bucks a unit were a sweet little perk for mom and dad. Anyway, to each his own!

    Bottom line....Do well. Do something different to set yourself apart (new sport, more volunteering, better SAT, etc) and reapply!
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,747
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Classes going through Cape May have been cut in half. A spot at TRACEN Cape May is not a given either....so I would avoid assuming 100% are making it in to boot camp these days...there's quite a wait list.

    Have you taken the ASVAB? You need to shoot for a very high score.
     
  15. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    0
    Again its all just from what I have personally experiened. Maybe its because its a georgia community college. Of course there are going to be some community colleges better than others, and I'm not knocking community colleges at all. In fact I think there a great thing considering within the next year I'll have 30 credits, and guess how much it cost? 0 Dollars. In fact they gave me 100 bucks for books a semester--I just bought used books so I didn't spend anything out of pocket.
     
  16. jjohnson55

    jjohnson55 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    long term dream?

    "I did get the only perfect score on the Indoc test at AIM in Echo Company, so I guess that should help.

    Going to the academy was my dream and still is. I loved my week there during AIM and will get in there somehow."

    Paulvi-

    More years ago than I like to admit I had a friend whose dream was to go to law school and she got in. When she graduated she was kind of a rudderless ship. She had never looked past the dream of law school. It's not uncommon to focus on the school as the dream instead of it being the vehicle to achieve the dream. And really, wasn't the CGA just an avenue to get to another place? Admittedly it may have been the preferred way to get there, but it is not the only way. So if the dream was to be a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard, I would suggest you look at the CG webpage on what schools from which they give graduate direct commissions.

    Go ahead and go to the local community college- I went to one and I still passed a few bar exams. What is important is that you get the grades and try to get into the CGA again. But if you don't, you should also be angling your way to a school that will get you into the CG as an officer by direct commission. Take the long view.

    You were in the same AIM week and company as my son. I wish you well.
     
  17. disey3

    disey3 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agree with jjohnson55...you have to think about the LONG road ahead...not just USCGA...Ask the hard questions...you'll be surprised what the answers are...

    I've read many threads and what I can say is that each individual person must make the decision based on what he or she wants...an education? a career? both?

    What does your gut tell you?
     
  18. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    16
    College or enlist

    I fully agree with Officer.

    RGK
     
  19. El Bombero

    El Bombero Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great advice. Trying to get one of these seats is very difficult. 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket.' And enlisting, hoping, and wishing.........is not a good way to spend four or more years of your life if the USCGA does not happen for you. Go to college (it IS mandatory after all ! ), make another attempt at the CGA.....and no matter what, keep moving forward. (If you live near water, consider getting on board with the local USCG Auxiliary. We are mostly, except for me, old guys who conduct Boating skills,safety, navigation,etc. courses........as volunteers. It will look good on your USCGA application, too)
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  20. Islander

    Islander Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    My son got the chance to visit a CG Sector and talk to a number of academy grads. One thing he found interesting was being told by several of them that they would have gone the college / commission route rather than the academy if they could do it again. On the other hand, those who had gone the college / commission route did not second guess their decision. Both groups were officers doing what they loved. They just got there different ways. If your dreams are to serve as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, there is more than one option of getting there. Good arguments abound for the pros of both options.
     

Share This Page