first child going to the academy advice

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by skismuggs, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    i have just been reading the posts on these forums for the last 2 months or so and have finally worked up the courage to post here. my daughter got her letter of assurance last december and a follow up phone call from our MOC. She has been seriously considering the academy over the national universities that she was accepted into as well for reasons that include financial, educational opportunities and the fact that she wants to live away from home. as more of these acceptances come in, she now seems to be wavering.
    what would you tell her to encourage her to look at this path more over the others? sometimes (or most times) kids dont listen to us because we are just parents but would listen to others telling them the same thing. with all things equal is there any downside of graduating from the USAFA on future job applications. im sure there are a lot of parents out there with the same issues.
    basically what im asking for is advice on how to say "you should really consider this option over the others because..."
     
  2. icarus

    icarus Member

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    May I suggest a book.
    Skies to conquer-A year inside the Air Force Academy by Diana J. Schemo
    It's given us a peek into what to expect and also to gauge the commitment that's needed to make it through doolie year and eventually the rest of four years it takes to become an officer and serve our country.
    The commitment has to come from the appointee. If she's wavering this early, she may have to really be honest with herself and go only if it is what she wants to do. Not because someone convinced her to.
     
  3. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    skismuggs, I can't overemphasize the importance of your DD WANTING it herself. She needs to go in with open eyes and be sure this is what she wants. Many leave within the first few weeks and this is a spot which could have been given to someone else. Have you visited? That is an important step and she can arrange to shadow a cadet for a day. My DS was positive he wanted to go but did go to the hill and shadowed a cadet after getting his appointment. It gave him great insight, a lot of information and prepared him for the road ahead. Not sure if you can request but my DS would be happy to have her shadow him, message me if you like.
     
  4. afag2017

    afag2017 Member

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    I can't really speak as a parent but I can share my experiences. I am a second time applicant. I did not receive an appointment coming out of high school so I decided to go to Texas A&M and I joined the corps of cadets because I still wanted to serve and live that military lifestyle. I reapplied and was blessed with an early appointment. Big universities are great and I love being at A&M but the amount of opportunities, the quality of the education, and the lessons you learn at any SA are to good to pass up in my opinion. You will get access to so many things that most students will never get the chance to experience at a university (I've experienced that first-hand). Being challenged in a military environment teaches people to really push themselves beyond their limits to overcome challenges in any arena. With the small taste of that that I've had in the corps I have matured immensely. I have become more responsible and driven and I know how to push myself. This just left me wanting more and I knew at that point that choosing USAFA was the right choice for me. You have to want it and you have to know why you're there and what you'll be doing when you leave. Ultimately the decision is hers and she needs to be at the place where she is happy and will be successful. She has been given a great opportunity and I hope she gives USAFA a strong consideration. She is going to do great things wherever she goes. Best of luck to you both.
     
  5. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    wow thanks for the info and insight and quick responses. yes she did visit and really liked the place and the cadets she met and bunked with. her first impression was - "these people are actually normal." i know it's her ultimate decision to go and it's really hard as a parent to give up some of that control especially with something as important as this. i will get that book that was suggested. she wants to go but i think she's also getting swayed by her friends from college on occasion. these kids want her to believe that college is one big party!
     
  6. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    My DD, C/O 2014, was probably much like your daughter. She had been accepted to many prestigious universities and had already made her decision (wait listed for USAFA). She bucked at every bump in the road to USAFA, we encouraged her to never let any option go. Eventually we got through the process, DodMERB, and all the other things. On May 2, 2010 she was offered her appointment. Her father and I truly didn't know which way she would turn, we had already placed a deposit at her chosen university, and USAFA was never her first choice. She was given one week in which to decide. We were truly surprised when she accepted the appointment. It has never been an easy road, but my DD has never been a quitter. She has a lot of internal fortitude. Even though she hated the first year, she never spoke of quitting. There are even times now that she gripes about the rules and feeling like she is treated like a child at just shy of her 21st birthday. I think the people she met and made friends with will be friends for life. It is the people who make USAFA great for her! Though this life is not for everyone. As many have said, "USAFA is a great place to be from". She manages to get through the daily grind by keeping her eye on the "Prize". Sometimes it is thinking about the next semester, or ring dance and getting her class ring, and finally graduation. I guess for her it depends on the hurdle she needs to clear as to what prize she dreams for at the time. She likes the idea that she knows she will graduate at 4 years, and she will have a position in the Air Force for another 5 years at least. For her at least, knowing she has financial security and independence are keys to success in her mind. She is my first child. I also have a DS at USAFA this year. Totally different personality and wanted nothing more than USAFA since he was 11 or 12. He also has hated his first year, but for different reasons, hopefully he can make it to recognition. For him this will be key. Life gets much better after March.
    The opportunities at USAFA are unlike any private university, but so are the demands. Hope she finds what she is looking for. Not sure I answered your question really, but maybe perspective on it not being a students first choice is helpful. She is succeeding and it was not really her desire to go there. She however has never backed from a challenge and has proven to herself over and over again that USAFA really was the right choice, if not the first choice.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Most here who know me, know that I am an ALO. Which means, I work for the air force academy admissions. Having said that, I will be the first person to say that the academies and the military are NOT meant for everyone. The 2nd thing I will say, as others already have, is that it MUST BE YOUR CHILD'S CHOICE!!!

    Now; having said that, in your post, no where did I see you say that your child "WANTED TO SERVE HER COUNTRY AND BE IN THE MILITARY". You mentioned financial; obviously an advantage at the academy. Educational; definitely an advantage being it's in the top-10 schools in the country; and living away from home; if you aren't from Colorado Springs, then that too is definitely an advantage. But again; does she WANT to be in the military? She has to realize that this isn't a "4 year thing". At MINIMUM it's a "9 Year Thing". 4 at the academy, and a minimum of 5 more in the military.

    Another thing you didn't mention is, with all the acceptances to these other schools, are they just acceptances or do some of them have scholarships attached. If we're talking full ride scholarships to some, then ALL 3 of the things she wants; financial, education, and moving away are all satisfied. She doesn't need the academy for that. Again; it all comes down to whether or not she wants to be in the military; wants to serve her country; wants to be an officer; wants to be part of something much bigger than herself; willing to be disciplined more than she ever has; etc...

    Not trying to discourage you, or her. But this has to be her choice and it has to be for the right reason. Do some come to the academy and military strictly for financial reasons and job security? Yes. And we, the air force, hope that during their training and education, they also develop a desire to SERVE and to be part of something much larger than themselves. Many will and some won't. Those who don't, will put in their time, serve honorably as restitution for their education, and move on. Some will embrace their service. And whether they only stay 5 years or make it a 20-30 year career, the military will become a big part of their lives and inner being. But again; this has to be her choice.

    So, in other words, if serving her country and being a part of the military, isn't that important to her; and she can get scholarships to pay to go to some of these other schools; then I WOULDN'T try to get her to consider the academies.

    What I tell all those interested that I speak with, interview, or visit at high schools, is:

    "Attending the academy and serving in the military, MUST be a CHOICE; not a LACK of OPTIONS". There are always other options. If someone is applying to the academies because they don't think they can get an affordable, quality, education by some other means, then they are mistaken and simply are ignorant of the many options out there. When it comes to affording a quality education, the academies don't have a lock on that market. When I've seen individuals TURN DOWN Full ride 100%, 5 year scholarships, to schools like Purdue; USC; Stanford; Michigan State; Tulane; Georgetown; University of Texas; and many others, to accept an appointment to one of the military academies,..... Then you KNOW they really want the academy, the military, and to be part of something much bigger than themselves.

    Let your daughter reads the many posts and advice given. Let her realize that only SHE can decide what she wants. If it's time for her to grow up and become responsible as an adult, then this is a real good time to start. SHE must make the decision. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  8. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    Many thanks to the wonderful insights and advice on here. kdc your daughter sounded like mine is now. its comforting to see that not everyone is gung ho and 1000% committed and still make the decision to go into the academy. Christcorp so sorry i didnt mention that she does want to be part of a bigger thing and serve her country. Our family has 4 military members (2AF,1USN,1Army) but all enlisted so she would be the first officer and has no one to really compare to. She has colleges running the gamut of offering no scholarship to almost full scholarships so there are some options out there. Again thanks so much for your help.
     
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    I'll echo the others in saying that if your daughter is on the fence between USAFA and say, Flagship U where she'll not be involved in ROTC, go ahead and take the full tuition at Flagship.

    USAFA, like USMA and USNA (and presumably USMMA and USCGA), requires a total commitment, a total desire. If dtr is considering Flagship + ROTC, that's a different story.

    I will say that for my twins, few other schools offered the awesome opportunities that they received at USAFA. They are SOSO different from their 22 and 23 year old peers. So grown up.
     
  10. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    fencersmother, does your DD/DS fence for the academy? PM me if you are, i have a few questions, thanks.
     

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