Enlist and then to USNA?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by lotrjedi13, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

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    Hello all,
    I'm currently a high school senior midway through the application process for USNA. I know that I want to go there, but am wondering whether it might be smarter to enlist first. I've been talking to some priors, and they've said that having served made them much more prepared for the Academy physically and mentally than kids just coming out of high school. How difficult is it for an enlisted serviceman to gain entrance to the Academy? Is it a viable option for someone wishing to attend USNA?
    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    It may help in some ways but hurts you academically because you will be rusty from the time off school.
     
  3. Riv-Rod

    Riv-Rod Member

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    i would proceed with caution. if you want to simply serve your country then go right ahead, but if you want to be an officer in the navy then i wouldnt neccesarily go enlisted. you might gain exprience i mean thats a deffinate advantage but youre not garunteed to get in once in enlisted and you have to get it approved up your chain of command. andif you dont get in you still have to serve your commitment out.
     
  4. Seeking Knowledge

    Seeking Knowledge Member

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    Suggestion

    Take a look at some older threads on this subject:

    'enlisting is not a bad play b?' from 3 weeks ago and
    'enlisted to usna risks' from 3/31/09.

    Good luck.
     
  5. chiazo

    chiazo Member

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    I would say enlist and do basic during the summer. then go to school in the fall and do NROTC. This is better because now you have two more ways of getting a nomination.
     
  6. Riv-Rod

    Riv-Rod Member

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    once enlistedunless you go reserves you cant really go nrotc. what additional ways are you talking about? you are not garnteed t get a nomination once enlistedif youre fine serving enlisted if you dont get into usna then go ahead
     
  7. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    :confused:
     
  8. Riv-Rod

    Riv-Rod Member

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    sorry i was on the internet off my phone. what i meant was if you enlist then unless you go reserves you really dont have an oppurtunity to go to school, not at the beginning anyway. You arent garunteed a nomination to the academy once you apply just like everyone else applying, so if you dont mind serving enlisted then go ahead but if you are set on being a naval officer then i wouldnt enlist . oh an chiazo what "two other ways of getting a nomination" are you talking about?
     
  9. chiazo

    chiazo Member

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    thats what he would do go reserves and do nrotc. i know he is not gauranteed a nomination but it would help. Putting on your application that you have went through basic and do nrotc would show your willingness to serve and improve your chances of a nomination. You can get a nomination from being in nrotc and being enlisted.
     
  10. Riv-Rod

    Riv-Rod Member

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    I may be wrong on this but i dont believe you can enlist and then do NROTC and get a commision.
     
  11. NAPSDAD

    NAPSDAD Parent

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    DO NOT ENLIST.
    Work out with local navy recruiter.
    Let them know that your # 1 goal is to get into the Academy.
    Attended Summer Seminar if you can.
    Enjoy high school, but keep working towards you goal.
    And remember most incoming Midshipmen/plebes did not enlist before arriving at the Academy.

    Good Luck.
     
  12. Fernando

    Fernando Member

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    NAPSDAD is right. Listen to him.

    I enlisted last summer. I did tell my recruiter that my #1 goal was going to the academy he understood. But I also did tell him that serving in the Marine Corps as soon as possible was also one of my goals. I ultimately decided that if i did enlist and I didn't receive an NROTC scholarship or an appointment i would still be happy as an enlisted man. Luckily I got both and I had a to make a slightly harder choice. NROTC marine option at USD or NA.

    It all depends on your preferences. If possible talk to enlisted people who aren't recruiters. That how i made my choice. They give you a MUCH different perspective.

    Thats my story but it doesnt always work out for everyone. You have to especially think about how tough it MIGHT be getting back into the school mode.
     
  13. chiefusnscc

    chiefusnscc Member

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    Or if you're really set on going to the Academy, you just go to the Academy if you get accepted on you're first try (remember, the majority of people who have made it through the Academy DO NOT have prior military service). If that doesn't work then you should have already applied for an NROTC scholarship which will show you're committment to wanting to be an officer plus you'll get the chance to continue you're schooling. And finally, if you don't get NROTC then you should think about enlisting. Keep in mind that I'm assuming that you want to be an officer; if all you really want is to be in the Naval service then going enlisted, NROTC, or USNA doesn't really matter because you'll end up in the Navy either way.

    Just chiming in with my personal oppinion on the original question.
     
  14. MM3 Kim

    MM3 Kim Member

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    Well to be honest the easiest way to get to the USNA right now is to enlist in the Navy or marine corps then put in an officer package. This is because it puts you into a diffrerent category that the academy needs, prior enlisted. They have 175 Secretary of the Navy nominations every year for prior enlisted that never even come clost to being filled, this is because alot of enlisted do not want their pay docted and deal with alot of the bs you have to go through at the academy. If you are serious about the academy and thats all you want and you dont get in the first time or get an NROTC scholarship then I would suggest enlisting in the Nuclear Power Program and putting in a package there. The Nuke program has maintained about a 70% acceptance rate to the Academy and when my selection board came up 100% of us got either direct input or NAPS. You are guranteed a Secretary of the Navy nomination if you are prior enlisted you just have to get your CO recommendation and everything. The numbers of prior enlisted applying to the Academy has been dropping for some weird reason, there were only 26 Prior that were at NAPS this year which is more than 50% lower than the year before. Im not trying to coax anyone to enlist this just has been my experience. I found that the prior experience has prepared me fully for the academy, especially getting through the Nuke Program. It def isnt one of those jobs which you will get out of the school mode. If anything it prepares you so much more for the Academy than any Prep school could. You just have to work hard down in SC and keep your grades up.
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    MM3 Kim has made some excellent points.

    Enlisted boot camp and the basic military skills gained there and at subsequent schools and assignments are a great base to build on at USNA -- just knowing how to spitshine shoes, prep uniforms, make the bed correctly and have general and technical Navy knowledge is a nice bump that delivers a precious commodity, time. That familiarity with military life, especially enlisted, allows for leadership skills to quickly develop. The majority of the class will not have that basis, though, but generations of plebes have handled those challenges and come up to speed quickly. NOT something to pin a decision on, IMHO.

    I have known many prior enlisted who came via the nuke path to USNA, but the majority of them did not plan it that way -- the USNA opportunity was mentioned to them, they took the test, and next thing they knew, they had orders to NAPS or direct to USNA.

    There is some risk involved. The "needs of the Navy" will always come first. If the Navy needs you more doing an enlisted specialty they are undermanned in, that's where you will go. As MM3 Kim noted, the Fleet seats are usually not fully taken, so there is a definite window of opportunity.

    And, there's many a slip between the lip and the cup -- there could be an injury or some other issue that pops up that precludes a commissioning program but would not hinder continued enlisted service.

    If direct admission and NROTC do not work despite repeated attempts, taking the enlisted path is a viable but not guaranteed Plan C. And, there are many other enlisted-to-officer programs that do not involve the Academy. Especially for those who hit the age ceiling, have kids or some other issue, there are several programs that pay for college, either full-time with ROTC, or part-time, with commissioning via OCS. There are even those who do enlisted time, get out, use GI Bill and VA benefits to get college degree, apply for a commission and come back via OCS or direct commission (have seen this for chaplains, former medical corpsmen who went to med school, lawyers, etc.).

    As usual, this often shakes out to a question on what the goal is: serve in the Navy/Marine Corps no matter officer or enlisted, serve as an officer no matter the path, attend an SA .... Put in this context, the SA is a means (turbo-charged!) to the end, serving in the Navy or Marines as an officer -- that goal is the over-arching one.

    Don't give up on the SA or ROTC route. There are many threads on here which comment on those who tried several times and finally got in, impressing the Admissions Board with their perseverance and commitment.

    Serving as either an officer or enlisted is a win-win, in the largest sense.
    “Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile… can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy.'” John F. Kennedy Darn tootin', say I!
     
  16. NorthernCalMother

    NorthernCalMother Member

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    MM3 Kim and Capt MJ have experience and knowledge few of us can offer, but I want to add a side note.

    One of my son's close friends from NAPS is prior enlisted Marine, and both are now entering their 2nd class year. While both are doing extremely well in terms of academics and general OOM, son mentions from time to time how incredibly frustrated his friend becomes. After surviving boot camp and a deployment, apparently he finds it difficult to put up w/ some of the seemingly senseless b.s. that goes w/ being a Mid.

    Don't flame me, pls -- I know there's a method to the madness -- but I empathize w/ the thinking that after you've been shot at, standing watch overnight on an empty dorm corridor might seem like a questionable use of your energy. Add to this the 25 yr old's fiancee, who has been waiting in the wings for several years already, and you feel the guy's the frustration.

    As signing the 2 for 7 commitment approaches, my son worries that his very talented friend might throw up his hands, say, "I don't need it" and return to the fleet.

    I just offer this story as another element in the decision-making process.
     
  17. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Absolutely authentic experience for some prior enlisted described above... some just relax, go with the flow, take the long view, and put up with it for the incomparable experience and life-long value of USNA -- they take that experience they have, deal with plebe and subsequent years with humor and patience, and sometimes attain the highest midshipman leadership positions in the Brigade.

    Some, sadly, fall prey to the "too cool for school" syndrome, and get themselves in all kinds of trouble, the kind they never would have gotten into when they were a sharp Navy or Marine enlisted man or woman.

    There is also a real difference between prior enlisted who come right out of a school pipeline without having experienced a permanent Fleet or Marine Corps assignment, and those who have served in the combat zone or made a deployment as part of an operating unit. The latter will understandably struggle just a bit more with being put on a par with 17 year olds just out of HS, and giving up car, apartment, big screen TV, living with significant other and alcohol --and being yelled at about "leadership" and "how it is in the Fleet" by upperclass younger than they.

    Prior enlisted, while equipped with a better military experience base, face a different type of acclimatization. Sometimes it's just real hard at 0300 on a Saturday night of a 3-day weekend standing that CMOD watch, protecting Bancroft Hall from enemy boarders, to think big picture and appreciate the immense value of a USNA education and commissioning opportunity!

    I think all mids, at some point or another, long for something they can't have at USNA to the point of thinking, why am I here ...
     
  18. usna2016

    usna2016 Member

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    The bottom line is I guess, do not enlist unless you have to enlist. If you really do not think you are prepared, speak to admissions and try to get in NAPS. But unless you really can't get in, enlisting isn't a smart idea.
     
  19. Kero

    Kero Member

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    I think I agree with usna2016 but in case I misunderstand here is my two cents.

    If you have the grades and general package to be competative for an academy nomination and becoming a naval officer is your ultimate goal, DO NOT enlist.

    If your ultimate goal is to serve in the navy and you do not have the numbers to be competitive for the academy, enilistment is not a bad option just do your own homework and do not take the recruiters word on anything.
     
  20. Soon2B~IS3~

    Soon2B~IS3~ New Member

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    I know this reply is a couple months late, but i've just stumbled across this site and wanted to give my two cents from the perspective of the guy that decided to try out the enlisted route first...

    I graduated in 08 and all of high school had been working towards attending a school such as the academy but decided in the end I just wasnt ready for it. So I enlisted first. Now it is my personal opinion im in a better place mentally for the challenges of the Naval Academy. I think my time as an enlisted sailor will in the long run make me a better leader.

    I do have to caveat this statement with not all commands are going to be as supportive as mine. In some places it can be very difficult to put together your package but where there's a will there's a way.
     

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