Grad school!!!

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by LineInTheSand, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Remember when you're at your undergrad school....that GPA matters.

    While I was at CGA we had a saying (you may have the same saying).... "2.0 good to go". Yes, that says applies to getting through the academy and getting your commission, however that will not help you later in your career.

    You WILL need grad school if you intend to stay in your service past O-4, grad school is a good idea for that promotion board.

    I'm applying to grad school at GWU right now, and I'm realizing how much easier it would be for me had I worked harder for a higher GPA. :eek:
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Well heck LITS it's GWU, they try to keep bums like you out :shake:

    You are really smart to do it now, since it is your desk assignment. That is the problem for many people. They do not realize that not only do you need to plot your career as far as billets, but you must plot when you are going to take the time to go to grad school. For many they eventually start scurrying around at he last minute for their PRF, by then it is more stressful because they are higher up with more responsibilities and probably married with little ones at home. It is hard to juggle.
     
  3. Livinlarger

    Livinlarger Member

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    You hit the nail on the head LITS!! I went even further and thought that 22 years of professional work experience ( in one job) would compensate for a low undergrad GPA when I went back for my MBA. WRONG!!!! I finally got in, but only after a very restictive probationary period. Would have been alot easier had I known that way back when.
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    FWIW, I got into an Executive MBA program where I also earned an MS in Industrial Engineering quite easily.

    I had a 2.65 from USNA.
     
  5. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Grad School Degrees/ When to do it?

    So when would be the best time to do grad school? Also, do you get to pick what you want to study as a graduate student? What if you majored in the humanities and wanted an engineering degree or vice-versa? Is that possible?

    Thanks:thumb:
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    SAM, I'm not sure how the other services work, but if you want the Coast Guard to pay for it, you apply for "grad school" and then apply to a program. If you're selected by the Coast Guard, the grad school, in general, is also willing to accept you. That will be your FULL TIME job, you will continue to receive pay, but all you will do is go to school.

    You can also apply on your own, do night school. In the Coast Guard, a staff tour is the best time to do grad school on your own. You most likely won't stand duty and will have time at night to attend classes.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    If you're in the Army, these days it seems like your only route to grad school is either ADSO right after the academy, or get out. Back to back to back combat tours means you barely have time for your spouse, and most commanders are reluctant to let their good captains out of their operations slots to take a non-deployable billet. Beyond that, there's a lot of peer pressure to not be the "s***bag" who skates out of deploying. That, of course, is a values choice each officer must make.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    With the rate of promotions in the Army these days, would you say a masters is needed to put on O-5 Tom?
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I assume your implication is that promotion is a guarantee in the Army?

    You could make O-5, but you'd be uncompetitive for most any worthwhile job. I've only known one guy who got a battalion command without a master's, but he'd spent almost 10 years in special operations, which is a big plus. Without a kicker like that, though, you're going to be relegated to dead-end jobs.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Ah, you know what happens when you assume. No, not automatic. I know O-3 and O-4 are pretty high rate, but wasn't sure about O-5 for the Army.

    O-5 boards in the Coast Guard are a blood bath right now. While the general promotion rate is...maybe high 70s to mid 80s, the last O-5 board was mid 50%, meaning on the next O-5 board, there will be MANY above-zone O-4's looking for those silver oak leaves. It's almost a must to have at least a masters to get O-5 right now.

    Attended an interesting briefing from Lt. Gen Mulholland last week....apparently SF used to be the dead end job, until about 25 years ago. I found that a little interesting, wouldn't expect that.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    While I don't know the percentage, the Army has many more billets to fill, as it's such a huge organization. Of course it gets political at that level, but as time marches on the big discriminator will be who commanded in combat as a company commander, and to a lesser degree, who was an S-3 (Ops Officer) in combat. I don't know that there's anything equivalent to that in the Coast Guard or not, but in the Army successful command in a combat zone trumps a lot of things.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Most likely command (at O-4, we're talking cutter or high profile station) would be the equivalent.
     
  13. Weather

    Weather Member

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    In addition to a Master's degree, officers must also have the appropriate Service School (professional military education) completed to be competitive for promotion to O-4/O-5. If you're not attending PME in residence, doing it by correspondence may be almost as time-consuming as getting a Master's degree on the nights/weekend schedule.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Weather,
    This is why many officers will get their Masters' at the earliest possibility because they know that PME will be an issue at O4, and by then most are married with little ones, thus doing PME by correspondence or seminar is a bigger issue regarding time mgmt.

    Many will also do PME in correspondence to up their chances to get an in residence school slot. When Bullet went to Leavenworth as a sister PME, out of the 60 AF officers, every one had completed their Masters, AND correspondence or seminar for ACSC.
    We lived on base, and were the only sister service on the street of 24 homes. Only 1 Army guy had yet to complete his Masters. It was probably the most hellacious yr of his life. CGSC is the equal of a Military Masters, thus 8-4 he was getting a Masters with CGSC and then 5-10 he was going to school to get his Masters for civilian. Others spent their afternoons golfing or hanging with their family he spent it hitting the books. Others on the weekends were camping he was at school. When graduation came about he was the happiest to see that yr end...the rest all dreaded it because it meant that play time was over and they had to go back to the "real" military.

    Plot that Masters early on, believe it or not it will creep up on you faster than you ever thought.

    Additional Promotion boards change their regs at their whim. When Bullet was an O3 Masters were not masked for O4, when he came up for O4 they masked it. Nobody knows if or when they will decide to unmask it again for O4, but they may only give you 2 boards notice, which means the minute they announce it and you are 2 boards out you are running to the education office to register. Hard to do if you are deployed or know that you will be PCSing in the middle of that semester.
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Well I got in.

    Do not underestimate the value your academy and military experience brings when you look at grad school.

    U.S. federal service academies offer a great deal of stress, responsibility, and experience. Many admissions departments understand this, and that it may affect your GPA. You will oversee other students and fill leadership positions.

    When you graduate from a service academy, you will most likely lead men and women, manage budgets, interact with the public and be entrusted by the American public with big expensive things.


    I started my application process in March for grad school at George Washington University.

    That's not an easy thing to do. I graduated in 2006 from undergrad and having 4 years pass, the prospect of returning to school was daunting to say the least. A commander in my office, the executive assistant to our admiral made a habit of stopping by my cubicle almost every day "Did you apply yet?" or "Did you look" .... Same questions, every day. He talked to me about the benefits, and the need of a master's and how this was the perfect time to do so.

    I put it off for weeks...and weeks...and made excuses on why now was not the best time....

    Well, one day he pushed me far enough to check it out. I went online, did a search of the program I was looking for in the DC area, came up with a few schools; George Washington University, Georgetown, American, George Mason, etc...

    From there I looked at the programs, and was really interested in GW's program. I filled out the initial interest form, and received an email the next day from the program director. I suspected it was an automatic email, so I called the number and got the real email of the program director.

    I shot him an email with my little background and that I was interested in his program. He fired one back in no time, offering a chance for me to sit in on a class and meet with him. I jumped on it, and sat in on a class the following week. I was invited back by the professor and met a student who was doing a paper on the Coast Guard. I offered to help him.

    A week later I returned for the second class to sit on. I even skipped the Washington Capitals game I had tickets to to do this.

    I talked to the program director a second time, and began my application.

    In short time I had my three recommendations, my direct supervisor, my boss's boss's boss, a captain, and the a professor from CGA I looked up to and still kept in contact with. I asked them to submit their recommendations, blind, online in a month. All agreed, and all had them in within a month.

    I signed up for the GRE and submitted an application for a GRE waiver from GWU.

    It was supposed to take 2 weeks to receive a response for the GRE waiver, instead it took 2 working days, and I was granted my GRE waiver. I cancelled my GRE test, only received half of the $160 check back for the test, but it was worth not studying for that test :)

    With all of my forms in, and all of my recommendations in, as well as a statement of purpose and the resume, the waiting game started.

    Easily, the waiting game is the hardest part, as with GWU, the application website keeps you informed regarding each step of the process. "Application Complete" to "Your Application is being reviewed by the Admissions Committee" to "A decision has been made..."

    I got an email from the program director before the official GWU notification came, stating "Welcome Aboard".



    Now, my CGA GPA was not amazing....not in the slightest. I've had some good professional experiences since my time at CGA, but I was worried about that GPA.

    My advice, keep that GPA high, it DOES matter. A "2.0 Good To Go" mentality will not help in the application process later. I was short-sighted as a cadet just trying to get by. I will not approach academics in grad school the same way.

    Do not underestimate the abilities you have, advocate for yourself, and take advantage of everything that has been placed before you. Schools like veterans, they really like active duty, and they, in a small part understand what has been asked of you.

    I've found George Washington University to be very supportive of veterans, so far. They want to see more military involvement. They operated with the Yellow Ribbon Program, and they have veterans groups. I received an email from GWU this morning from the veterans programs coordinator for the school.

    Future officers in the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.... TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GRAD SCHOOL!
     
  16. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Congrats LITS!!! :thumb:

    How long will your grad school program be? What are you going to get a master's in?
     
  17. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Nice job, LITS. Congrats.

    What was your major at CGA?
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Congrats LITS!
     
  19. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Assuming that you are accepted to the grad school of your choice, what is the best/most convenient time to go?
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Early. If you have a staff tour or a tour you don't normally stand watch, that really helps. It would be difficult if you are deploying or standing a watch.
     

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