Did I mess up to bad??

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Mr13652, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Mr13652

    Mr13652 Member

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    I'm heading into my second year of high school. But my freshmen year was, compared to other people wanting to get accepted into a service academy a epic fail. I had a GPA of 88. I would'nt say that is bad...but not West point material. I look at other post of people wanting to get in. I am no where close to any of that. I'm not a football captain. A president of a club or a officer of any for that point. Im not the number one in my class. I have 18 people in my class. I did football, track, and basketball. My grades were ehhh ok. I am worried about my future. I want to be a general in the Army, or a admiral in the Navy. I love the Military, I love everything about it. I have loved it since I was young. I plan on staying with the military forever, but the only way I can accomplish my goals is if I am accepted into a service academy. So I guess my question is, was my freshmen year a epic fail? I didnt accomplish ANYTHING what so ever. Just acted like a normal high school kid. And I know the service academies dont want normal. They want leaders. I dont think I am leadership material but I want to become it. I want to be a leader of men. Is my dream up because I messed up this year or can I make a come back if I buckle down these next 3 years? Also, I talked to my grandfather who was in the airforce for 20 years and left as a major. He said that getting a congressional recommendation was all political, it depends who you are, who you know, what connections you have, is that true? I dont want to work hard just so I can be denied so some rich snob can get it handed to him. Thanks, all replies are appreciated!
     
  2. jbishsta

    jbishsta Member

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    First of all, I am not an official source on anything, I am just a candidate for the SAs and ROTC programs.

    But, you say that the only way for you to accomplish your goals is to go to a SA. Don't forget about ROTC, which earns you the exact same commission as a SA.

    Also, you're only a rising sophomore. You have plenty of time to get leadership roles, bring up your grades, etc. Plus you haven't even taken the SAT/ACTs yet! Don't worry so much, just try to do your best in everything you do.
     
  3. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    If it is your desire to become an officer in the Army or Navy, you can certainly achieve this by many other means than just a Service Academy. Ever hear of a guy named Colin Powell? He never went to an academy and did pretty well for himself. So much so that a friend of mine who was the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets eventually rose to the rank of LTG. But before that he was the XO to GEN Powell during the first Gulf War. So just because you attend an SA doesn't mean you cannot achieve a very promising career in the military.

    Now as to your GPA, you have the fortunate advantage of everything is looking up from here. You must do better over the next three years. But that's THREE years to improve yourself. Work on your grades, work at becoming a leader of something, focus on a sport that interests you and do well at it. Develop hobbies and interests, in other words live a full life. Don't focus on just attending an academy. If you are determined and can bring yourself up by your bootstraps, then you can get in. If not on your first try then your second or even third. West Point looks favorably to those who persevere through their own trials. A good leader is one who has faced his obstacles straight on and figured out how to overcome them. A leader who's never had any obstacles to overcome is worthless. Time to get moving.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I would add George C. Marshall to the list of military leaders who never went to an academy. Look him up.

    I would add to the list of alternate routes to a commission the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course. Google it.

    Finally, although I respect and admire your grandfather's service, he doesn't know diddly about getting a nomination to an academy. It's definitely not political or who you know.

    Go for it. Some leaders are born. Some are made. Make yourself into a leader. The first step to becoming a good leader is to get others to WANT to follow you.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Mr13652

    Mr13652 Member

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    I know I can go into ROTC. But its not the same. It doesnt seem like a achievement to me. I want to get the full effect. I want a military life the day I start college to the day I die.
     
  6. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    First - with all due respect, your father clearly knows very little about getting into West Point. The vast majority of nominations are done by merit.

    However, West Point is looking for candidates that are very strong in academics, leadership, and physical. To date you are not strong in any of these areas. You have time to recover but you must get to work on all three of these areas.

    Beware of advice on this net from people who have not been at West Point or in the Army. You will see advice from NROTC dads, Naval Academy people etc. I have no idea why they are on the West Point part of this site. Listen to the people with real-world experience in the areas you are interested in joining.
     
  7. Cadet2017

    Cadet2017 Member

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    Don't worry about your freshman year. Stop looking into the past, and only look into the future. If you just think about your freshman year and what you should have done, it will drive you crazy. The fact that you are even so worried about getting into West Point shows that you have a lot of drive and motivation. Use your freshman year as a learning lesson and use it to fuel your desire to attend West Point. You have three more years left, so use them wisely. In fact, some colleges don't even take into consideration your freshman year because they understand that you are still growing and probably will use that year to make some mistakes. So, once again I say it, don't worry about what you didn't do Freshman Year, if you stay focused, goal-oriented, and driven for these next three years, you will be well on your way to at least be in competition for an appointment to West Point.
     
  8. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    I suggest you read the "stickies" at the top of the USMA page. There is lots of helpful information there and then you can explain the nomination process a little better to your grandfather.

    You have had a wake-up call about your academics and extracurricular activities. Yes, it's easy to say "forget about your freshman year", however, it counts in your overall GPA so you must double your efforts for academic success in order to negate its impact on your GPA. I am a little concerned about the size of your school because it seems that the tiny schools don't offer advanced classes. Check with your local community college about taking online courses through them.

    I pulled some helpful academic suggestions from the information in the stickies:

    - take the hardest classes you can take and make an A or B in.

    - make sure that in High School, you take 4 years of math (including Trig and Pre-Cal), 4 years of English, 4 years of science (including 2 years of lab science), 1 year of US history, 2 years of foreign language. Geography, economics, government and a basic computing class are recommended as well.

    - you will need recommendations from your math, English and chemistry or physics teachers, so get to know these teachers !

    - excel in your sport(s). Strive towards being Captain of team sports. Contact team sports are rated higher than individual sports.

    - stay involved in extracurriculars

    - don't join every club in your school because you think it will look good on your application. It won't. Find clubs/causes that you enjoy and are passionate about and assume leadership positions in those clubs/causes.

    - start working on your resume. Keep an accounting of everything that you have earned or done. When you are a Senior, you may have forgetten about an award you got or an activity that you were involved with while in the 9th grade.

    - call your Representative's office and find out when they are having their All-Academy Day. This is a very informational meeting where all of the academies will have representatives for you to talk to and answer your questions. Usually, the Representative will speak about the nomination process.
     
  9. RockyB

    RockyB Member

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    To add to BIGNICKS point, USMA is looking for young men and women who are academically qualified, physically fit, have leadership skills, and more. Even then you have a 1 in 4 chance of getting an appointment. See 2106 Stat thread for details. Best of luck and as others have noted there is more than one path to success.
     
  10. FallenAngel77

    FallenAngel77 Member

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    Mr 13652,

    I am not an academy grad, but I was a Marine officer through the PLC route. More importantly, my son is a Firstie at WP. By the sounds of your 9th grade year, you did better than he did as he actually failed a course one quarter. I won't tell you what it is because that is irrelevant. I will tell you the subject is now his major at WP. The point is your first year was not an epic fail. You just have to demonstrate in the future that you can do better. You have to focus on your long term goal, as my son did, and your dream can be achieved. As for your dad's thoughts on nominations, I thought the same thing when my son was in 9th grade. However, the truth is, it is not like that. The MOCs I have seen take the nomination process very seriously and have a screening process. Who you know was not a part of it. Good luck!
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    BigNick and Mr13652,

    Being one of those AROTC Parents, that served but not in the Army, that you warned the OP about, I don't think it's fair to dismiss outright some of the advice we offer.

    Myself, I check out the WP thread from time to time, my older son went through this process, he declined WP for AROTC, that was his choice and he was happy with his decision. I have a nephew who is looking into WP, he's out of the country right now and I check here from time to time just to get some information for him before he gets back, I'm sure he will come here then, Just trying to find out who he should look to for advise, you are definatly one he should talk to.

    I would never ever try to advise anyone of matters concerning WP, your right I do not have that experience. I don't think anyone else was trying to give advice either, the point a few made was only that there are other options available should WP not work out.

    My advise to both my son’s, and you can correct me if you feel it was wrong, was that their first goal should be to become an officer in the Army, if that’s what they want. Their second goal should be how to achieve the first, be it WP, ROTC, or OCS.

    If WP is the main goal of the OP then he should do everything he can to make that happen, get good information from those with the experience such as yourself.

    My only point, and the point I think others have said here is that not everyone gets into WP. I can’t speak for your son but I think it’s fair to say that most WP applicants also apply for the AROTC Scholarship as a plan B. Some of these applicants do not even get their Plan B, many will go to college and complete ROTC on their own dime, their drive to become an Army officer is that high. I think these cadets should be commended for their effort.

    My only advice I would give to the OP is don’t shut the door to all the options available, work as hard as you can to achieve the WP goal, take the advice of people like BigNick. Just don’t lose sight of the big picture, the opportunity to become an Army officer, if one door does not open for you there are other doors to try. If you put all your eggs in one basket you run the risk of ending up with a basket of broken eggs.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The reason that non-USMA folks look at this site is that we are interested. Also, there are many similarities (and some notable differences) in the approaches the SAs take toward certain things such as admissions. Finally, the challenges of a SA are generally the same, regardless of which SA one attends.

    This is an open and free forum so you get what you pay for.:smile:

    Seriously, consider the source of the advice and decide how much weight you want to give to it.
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1
     
  14. Mr13652

    Mr13652 Member

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    I was raised to believe that you should not obtain information from one source but to verify it with as many other sources as possible. Many of the answers that you guys have supplied me with I have already read about. As far as what I need to do in school. Like, advanced classes, sports, clubs. But I am very young and I dont understand everything. So I like to learn as much about it as I can. And I'm sure that the replies I have gotten here so far are legit. And I am very thankful that I have this resource at my disposal. And the fact that many of you guys would take some time to reply to my post is very heart warming. Thank you guys for all of the replies, like I said I appreciate all of it.
     
  15. Classof83

    Classof83 Member

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    Late Start

    I've known and heard of many successful SA cadets and grads who didn't really start to get it together until 10th grade or later. My cadet really found the importance of school in 10th grade. Especially for many prior service applicants, the Prep school is the way in which they make up for a less than stellar secondary school academic career.

    While not a SA grad, George Marshall was a VMI (Virginia Military Institute) graduate. Not a bad way to start a military career either.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  16. crypto186

    crypto186 Member

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    You have time to change.

    My freshman year was spent in Mexico, where I lived for 14years of my life, and my grades were not perfect: 92 avergae. Although I was football captain that year.

    I moved to central PA for my sophomore year, this year was rough, It is hard to move into a different culture and make new relationships. Many people that are admitted have known their teachers for years, and when it comes to writing LORs it helps to have a good relationship with them. I finished my sophomore year with a average of 97. I lacked leadership positions this year, I ran for class office, but my peers didn't vote for me. I was a new kid, they would say: "how do you expect to just move here and have people vote for you; nobody knows you" That year I was involved in only varsity track.

    I had 1 college course class sophomore year: accounting, and the rest were regular classes. For my Junior Year I went to many honors, AP, and college classes. I ended with an average of 105. I was in soccer and Varsity track that year. I gained a leadership position with a school club, gained a place with class office and was involved with NHS, NHS for sciences, NHS for social studies, FBLA, I got involved with key club, red cross, cancer society. It was packed and rigorous. The thing with leadership positions is being a like-able person. It took me a year to meet my entire class (140+) and to show them passion, dedication, and good qualities. People would say: "I voted for you because you did... one day and you really took one for the team" and so on.
    You have a good chance to gain leadership positions. Your class is small. You really have to show them that you are a leader, then you will get the position.

    Now for my senior year. I have 6 AP courses: calc, physics, chem, english, econ, gov and spanish 4. gonna be rough, but I sure am trying my hardest, and the sooner you start the better.

    I have not been admitted to any of the academies, and do not know if I will ever be. But I know that all the work I put in will be useful in the future.

    Use whatever advantages you have to full potential. Try your best in sports, become a captain, get varsity letters, get leadership positions, get involved with your community, build relationship with your teachers and counselors, this should be easier for you because it seems you live in a small town with a small school. My advantages are being fluent in 2 languages and my cultural background. Put passion in it, you will achieve it.
     
  17. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Focus on the 25 meter targets first.

    Your freshmen year of high school will not determine whether you become a general or an admiral. As countless others have said, use the rest of your high school year to grow. Growth will be reflected in your grades, athletics, and leadership roles, but these things do not magically appear overnight just because you want them to. Put the work in, make it happen, and you will be successful.

    And finally, before you worry about becoming a general, focus on becoming the best 2LT you can.
     

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