Curious

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by EarlyRetirement, May 10, 2015.

  1. EarlyRetirement

    EarlyRetirement Banned

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    I'm curious to know how many graduates stay in past their 5 year commitment, and more importantly, why they leave. I had a chat with "junior" to talk about this subject being, 4 years of no college fun, and probably making a lot less than a civilian job upon graduation. He had some good answers for me. But he has a aquaintance in the USAFA that was talking about leaving after 5 before he even reported. I think this is insanity, unless your goal is a military lifestyle.

    I know this is personal, but if you could share....please do.
     
  2. rjb

    rjb Member

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    Read this somewhere - 85% of CGA grads stay in past their 5 year commitment. The 'five and dive' is much higher in the other services. That number with USNA is less than 38%. Job satisfaction rates are much higher with CGA.
     
  3. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    Earlyretirement,

    I'm not sure your premises are entirely correct. First, 4 years of no college fun. While service academy cadets don't have the freedom of a traditional college student, they have plenty of fun, but you take it where you can find it. When my cadet comes home on leave and tells me what she's been doing and compare it to my own college experience, I've got nothing to say but "wow". Swab summer is definitely not fun, but when you look at all these kids accomplish in their seven weeks there, you'll be amazed. Meanwhile, their peers going to college have generally only gotten seven weeks older. However, don't be under the impression that these young men or women are nothing but stone-faced stoics their entire time there. They have fun. The anecdotes I hear are hilarious and they form life-long bonds.

    As for making far less after graduation than going the civilian route, I'd have to challenge that as well. First, if you look at life-cycle earnings, they pay nothing for their tuition, room and board for four years (including summers) and on top of that are paid to attend. If they are careful with their money, they may even graduate with $10,000, $15,000 or more saved from their cadet pay. Thus from the get-go, they already are at least $80,000 ahead and could be even further ahead of their civilian counterparts.

    Then there is the pay. While the basic pay rates for new graduates are not great (about $35,000/yr), it is respectable and certainly higher than what new civilian graduates earn who cannot find a job. However, in addition to basic pay, the graduates also likely will receive full benefits including health care, dental and vision coverage. Last, but not least, they will receive a basic allowance for housing and basic allowance for subsistence on top of their base pay. These allowances are all tax free. While they vary based on location these allowances are substantial. For New London, CT, for example, the monthly BAH for a freshly minted 0-1 is $1347 without dependents. Overall, The value of pay, BAH and subsistence for a new 0-1 could easily exceed $50,000. Add to that the medical/dental/vision benefits, and I doubt you could point to many fresh civilian college graduates that can match this, especially on an after-tax basis.
     
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  4. rjb

    rjb Member

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    Most of these cadets experience more in the first seven weeks than their peers at a civilian college do in four (or more) years! Keep in mind that the four completion rate at civilian colleges and universities is much lower, many taking five or even six years.
     
  5. Idzak

    Idzak Member

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    Early,
    To add on to Alex...then there's the opportunity for 2 years graduate school on CG's nickel with 3 years added commitment.
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Cadets have "fun" but it's not college fun and CGA is not a "fun place." It's true you "make your own fun." But when I share what we considered fun to my friends who didn't experience it…. I feel pretty… pathetic. HAHAHAHA.


    Honestly, any service academy is not a "college experience." But there's also nothing saying everyone needs to have a college experience, so maybe that's overrated.

    You will do amazing things as a cadet. You will endure stresses your civilian friends will rarely experience (beyond the typical school stuff), you will follow and lead and be broken down and break others down and you will be built up and develop others. You will be shielded by some of the temptations of college, but you'll still have the opportunity to confront temptation, and to succeed or fail.

    I had fun at the Coast Guard Academy. I did not think the Coast Guard Academy was a fun place. I value my experiences and opportunities and I think I'm stronger now because of them.
     
  7. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    CGA isn't fun. It's a pressure cooker. I talked to my son yesterday (because I grabbed the phone before my wife, she was getting her Mother's Day call), and he is just so relieved to have made it through another semester. He is looking forward to 2/C summer with all the really interesting things he's going to do (range, Baltimore Yard, CATP, cadre, T-boats, Coastal Sail). He's been at CGA almost 2 years, has visited 3 countries, spent a week in the Pac NW with a cadet friend backpacking, hiking and skiing, sailed on Eagle a total of six weeks (not his favorite thing by a long shot), competed in several triathlon events. He has money in the bank. How much of that would he have done in a civilian college? Very little. He probably would have gone nuts not having enough to do.

    That said, you don't come to CGA without a mindset that fits with the Coast Guard. And they won't give you an appointment if they don't think you have that mindset. So all the not-fun and fun is aside from the fact that the purpose of the Academy is to have capable officers. (Yeah, thread drift)
     
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