Food for thought... and discussion

Discussion in 'Service Academy Preparatory Schools' started by Maplerock, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Please take this as intended... Not to provoke, simply to see other thoughts on the subject.

    Should there even be prep schools like USAFA, USMAPS, and NAPS? Of course many great cadets and mids have come from there, but many more fully qualified and deserving young people have received TWE's or languished on the wait list to only find out that the class was full and that they were too qualified for the prep school.

    We have seen that fully qualified, competitive candidates often are left on the outside looking in, while sometimes applicants with lower test scores, weaker CFA's, or simply kids that meet a certain demographic are given the opportunity for prep school as an alternative way to get to the academy.

    Some will say, "SAT scores can't measure leadership" Or "his/her athletic ability offsets the lower academics" etc. And, indeed as I said, many fine kids have come through the academy preps, but I feel that many more 3Q's have been turned away.

    I know the academies' proud football teams would likely suffer (I am a huge fan), and probably drop in classification or be eliminated. Should that be a factor?

    Just wondering if a fully qualified kid should ever be left out in favor of one not fully qualified? What do you guys think?
     
  2. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Yes, I do believe they should exist.

    I agree with Malcolm Gladwell in his book David and Goliath regarding the improvement in all at a school when there is a range of abilities and levels present.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  3. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    Two words for this thread, "Whole Person". Great academics and perfect SAT/ACT's have their place and are extremely commendable, but this is the military. Only speaking for myself but I'd rather a Travis Manion, Brendon Looney, or a Pete Scobell rather then a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberger on the other end of a call for a QRF any day. Does having the smartest person in the room on a mission have it's benefits in certain missions, I would think so. But having a smart proven person who can sling a M4 when it hits the fan is more desired. JMHO
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    What about the candidate who stands #1 in his/her h.s. class but goes to a crappy h.s.? He/she has done everything possible in his/her environment but the h.s. prep won't be adequate for a SA?
     
  5. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Like I said, for discussion...

    The above respondents obviously like the prep school opportunity for some. I am not sure I agree with the top performer at a poor school being accepted to the prep school thereby getting an opportunity that many other qualified kids earned too, but won't get.

    I like the idea of the best prepared kids get in... and that includes physical conditioning and other factors, none of which would be how far they can kick a ball, or being huge and able to block someone.
     
  6. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    The prep schools are also for enlisted who have been out of school a while, and have demonstrated the ability to succeed in leadership positions.

    Putting those aside, I think the real question is should the prep school and academy have blue chipping? (Recruited athlete)

    Perhaps the answer to that can be found by answering what leadership traits does the academies see as desirable in athletes such that this practice continues?

    Does a nationally recognized competitor with a B average posses the same set of characteristics as a higly academic student who is an active participant in their school and local activities? (Let's assume their schools are the same in terms of academic demands/challenges)
     
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Some would argue that the athlete is more/better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead of them in life.

    I will give you an interesting anecdote that I have been exposed to recently. (disclaimer, this comes from a small sample size).
    -I currently train under a very well respected eye surgeon who has trained many, many residents and many fellows. He and I have discussed things that he looks for when selecting future ophthalmology residents.

    (Currently those applying for ophthalmology are very high caliber students: went to great medical schools, are in the top of their medical school class and on average score in the top 1-2 percentile on the medical licensing exams, and apply to around 50-80 programs just to try to land one spot....just providing that for background.)

    He stated that he loves to see athletes when looking at the applicants. He has found that those who were athletes are more "coachable" and have a background of being directed in very certain ways that translate well to the operating room and learning microsurgical technique.

    So, although I didn't always feel this way, and I probably would change my tune if I was an applicant or applicant parent I do feel there is a benefit for the current set-up.....even if it means that someone who feels they are more qualified gets passed over.

    As an aside.....does anyone have any data on career progression for those who went through the Prep schools vs those who didn't....
     
  8. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 Member

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    I lean towards finding the most capable.

    Not every kid has the same opportunities, but leadership potential and academic aptitude can still be demonstrated, even if the scale of achievement varies.

    If all we had to do was measure preparation, then why do interviews or get endorsements from professors? Just check the box on what each candidate has done and make the selection...:rolleyes:
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    This is the point of prep schools -- taking those with the demonstrated skill and -- especially -- potential and giving them the extra year to make it more likely for them to succeed.

    I agree that prep schools should not be used for "redshirting" otherwise fully qualified candidates/athletes.
     
  10. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    I know that the USNA Foundation program touts a higher graduation rate from the academy vs direct admits. Something like 90 something percent compared to the upper 70 something percent. Forgive the "something" as it's been some time since reading the exact figures.
     
  11. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    I found the thesis from the Naval Post Graduate school in 2001 reflecting data from 1990-2000. There was an updated version that i can find at the moment but I will post the thesis conclusion:

    The Success of Preparatory School Students at the Naval Academy

    Why do prep school students succeed at the Naval Academy even though their records were initially deemed unsatisfactory for direct admission? The analysis conducted in this thesis indicates that prep school midshipmen as a whole do not perform on par academically with their direct-entry classmates but they perform better in military and professional performance measures. The prep school midshipman’s OOM may be significantly lower, but the Foundation program does graduate at a significantly higher rate than direct-entry midshipmen do. The conclusion is that once the Admissions Board identifies candidates for a prep school program, and they successfully complete the program, there is a high probability of graduating from the Naval Academy. Prep school midshipmen may not be the Brigade Commanders or Trident Scholars, but they are successful midshipmen. They graduate. It appears that the Naval Academy is selecting the correct individuals to attend prep schools.
     
  12. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    Though this topic has been beaten to death on many another thread, I’ll bite.

    What I find most interesting is that the prep system is so heavily used by certain sports teams. Football, basketball, wrestling, and lacrosse dominate. These players are brought in solely to red shirt and learn the system from the coaches the same way they will be coached the following year at the academy. Meanwhile, many water polo players prep at Hill School, many swimmers prep at Peddie, and hockey preps through the junior system. Now I am unaware how many of these are Foundation prep or self-prep. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to Foundation prep all these athletes? Oh, that’s right……the coaches need access to the athletes to teach them in a specific manner. Additionally, football, basketball and lacrosse get TV contracts, while water polo, swimming and hockey generally do not. Money rules the day.

    When you look at the history of the prep schools, they are now being used for a vastly different purpose from their original intent.
     
  13. good_dad

    good_dad Member

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    .....and, you forgot to add, most of these student study hard, are very disciplined, and graduate to become outstanding young officers....while working their butts off managing their time to play sports. Exactly the intent of Prep school.

    Some of the best leaders come from the school of hard knocks. Just sayin'.
     
  14. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    Yes, of course. Totally agree. I am just stating here what I have seen change over the years. The question was, do we still need the prep schools. That is what is being debated here. No one is saying that those who come through prep are lazy.

    The OP was just asking essentially the same question the NY Times was asking in their April 2013 article.
     
  15. johnmac42

    johnmac42 Member

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    So true Good Dad! :thumb:
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm not entirely sure about the numbers listed above. In my experience, the Prep cadets had a lower graduation rate than the rest of the class (and that's only counting the prepsters that actually made it through NAPS and eventually attended CGA.)
     
  17. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    LITS – Wouldn’t your numbers add up to prove the point that your employer wants to make?

    “It appears that the Naval Academy is selecting the correct individuals to attend prep schools.”

    That’s probably what most would say if their paycheck and livelihood depended on the outcome of their thesis!
     
  18. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    Which numbers are in dispute? They are simple enough to verify. But I concur that if one takes into account enrollment into Naps thru USNA graduation adding those who drop Naps, your Grad rate would be lower. As per this study those who attended Naps had statistically identical graduation rates as direct admits. Foundation remains as stated and even if you add the prep year to the mix their success rate is documented at 95% admissions rate from those who begin the program so I would think Foundation remains as stated even with the added year.

    Either way, IMHO these programs serve their purpose and everyone will have a personal opinion along with personal bias that may mold such.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I think it would make sense to include the midshipmen or cadets who begin, but don't finish Prep, in the numbers.

    Stating "It appears that the Naval Academy is selecting the correct individuals to attend prep schools" but leaving out the students who drop before actually going to USNA, doesn't give an accurate picture. The folks that drop after being accepted to NAPS but before going to USNA are amount the "correct individuals" population.

    I have my own opinion of how prep schools are used.

    The Coast Guard Academy population is significantly smaller, so it's a little easier to see which classmates from prep schools make it, and which don't. My class president was a NAPS grad. My classmates who was the first Court Martialed cadet in CGA history was a NAPS grad. It's not as easy to distill down to "all prepsters are bad or good."

    Do academies NEED prep programs? I personally don't think so. There is no shortage in academy applicants, and many of the applicants who aren't given appointments are also qualified. Are some more qualified than Prepsters? I sure hope not, but I'd venture to guess, yes.
     
  20. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    Class of 2014 began with 1247 graduating 1068 or about 85% of which 59 were Foundation preps graduating 55 or almost 93%. My belief is the program is doing something right. But as you've detailed the spectrum of outcomes thru ones career is wide.
     

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