Graduate School

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by USMA2016, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    Sorry, I'm flooding this "life after the academy" section, but I am thinking of a lot of questions I have.

    Anyway, I want to serve a career in the Army.
    I plan on (well, I hope to) attending the United States Military Academy, getting a BS and majoring in some sort of engineering (prob. nuclear or mechanical).

    Does having a BS stop me from getting an MA, MBA, or MPA? or does it lock me into getting an MS?

    How hard is graduate school admissions in general?

    Also, and this is probably a stupid question, how hard is it to complete graduate school?

    Thanks again.
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    A BS won't really stop you from getting anything, although it will help with some things.

    Schools like candidates that can multi-task, handle work loads, etc. Coming from USMA, they'll know you can do that.


    I had a fairly low cumulative GPA out of CGA. I rack that up to my lack of attention to my studies. I applied to graduate school. I also applied for the GRE waiver. In large part because of the weight an academy diploma carries with it, the school waived my GRE and I was accepted to the school.

    I doubted that an academy degree would be looked at that way but now that I've gone through the process, I've found it to be true.
     
  3. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Engineering Majors more likely to get Grad School?

    I was wondering if you had any light on this subject LITS. It's something that the admissions website has on it, as well as something that is frequently tossed around on Academy grounds. Do you know if this is true or not? Thanks! :thumb:
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm not sure what you're asking here.
     
  5. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    What are the best master's degrees for a military career?

    I heard that MBAs, MPAs, and MAs in management were the best. Is that true? :confused:
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    No idea, I don't have an MBA...I have heard that in general, an MBA is the most useful masters degree.

    Having said that, you're getting a little ahead of yourself at this point.
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Honestly, unless you're in a scientist/engineer career field, I don't see the degree itself being relevant. If you want something that YOU will find useful, then the management/policy type degrees can help you form a better framework (so MBA and MPA are good ones).

    As a USAFA 2010 grad, I'll try to answer for the USMA side of your admissions question, but I'm not very familiar with their process (though, I have a 2010 USMA grad friend in Los Angeles at Caltech down the road from me here). It is very competitive. The top scholarships will likely look for 3.7+ GPA, and if it is like USAFA, you would need above 3.25 GPA min to be considered, 3.5+ to be competitive.

    For actual school admissions, the GRE and your GPA are the biggest factors. The GRE feels very much like the SAT with two 800 scored sections in qualitative and quantitative sections with a writing section scored in 0.5 pt intervals up to 6.0.

    I graduated with a ~3.75 GPA, 530 verbal GRE, 800 math GRE, 5.5 written GRE. (Also took the MCAT with a 32T for perspective).

    I finished my first quarter at RAND in my 3 year PhD program in Policy Analysis. I found the material very challenging and the structure much different from an academy education (schedule, teaching assistants, etc.) I did well on my first quarter with grades from a B to A- in 5 courses. While the academic difficulty was probably on par or harder than USAFA, I could focus only on academics since I didn't have to worry about other jobs or protocol. That was also in addition to OJT work I have to complete for my degree (completed 240 hours of that from Sept to Dec). So, while it is very challenging, it was also very, very manageable coming from the time intensity of USAFA. I hear similar stories from my peers at AFIT, MIT, and Harvard who are in engineering and MPA programs.

    If you want it, you can complete it.
     
  8. jassen2

    jassen2 Member

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    For a USAFA cadet applying to graduate school, what is the 'GPA' being considered : is it the OPA, the academic GPA including PE or the academic GPA without PE ?

    I have been reading the threads of this forum from years back and it has been encouraging to read about success stories like hornet and eagle. Their accomplishments at the academy and beyond should serve as stellar examples of what cadets can achieve !!
     
  9. uniform 419

    uniform 419 GMU CDT

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    I'm confused, is RAND a graduate school as well as a policy institute?

    If so is it exclusively USAF, exclusively US armed forces, or open to everyone?
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    GPA!! As long as the MPA and PEA are in the green (2.3+) and no probation on record, then the GPA is the key.

    And thank you. :)

    RAND itself is a think tank (formed by the AF and is often considered the first of modern think tanks after WWII). It has it's own grad school called the Pardee-RAND graduate school (PRGS). I'm afraid that RAND is only available to USAFA grads for direct out of an Academy. There was a LtCol who finished last year who was active (returned to Peterson AFB). The only other military are either retired (one in my cohort) or fellows at the O-4 to O-6 level here for a year replacing their PME with a RAND fellowship (no degree awarded). Two of the three army guys I work with quite a bit. My major project this fiscal year is an Army energy project, so I'm pseudo-in charge of those two LtCol as the focal point for the project at Santa Monica since the main team is in the Pittsburgh office.

    I think that answers you!
     

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