graduate studies after graduation

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by skismuggs, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    is it possible to do or do many people do grad school after graduating from the academy during the 5 years they are in service? is so, do you qualify for any loans or study programs at all? i read somewhere that the GI bill exempts academy graduates??? i also read that the top 2 or 3% are able to do grad school before paying back like 10 years. i just want to get an opinion from people about med or law school possibilities. also how hard is it for females to become pilots? how hard is the parachuting course if DD wanted to earn her wings? sorry just curious convo we had over dinner last night...
    again thanks so much for the info on here.
     
  2. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    People do do grad school right after graduation. Assuming it was an AF sponsored stint then it would tack on two years to your committment but those are served concurrently with your already 5+ year committment, meaning there is really no additional time required unless you did it at your four year mark which would add a year per se.

    The ten year committment is for pilots and begins from the time they are winged. I wouldn't imagine that it is any more difficult for females to become pilots as long as they are medically qualified and physically fit, but I'm not an expert on the subject.

    The parachuting course I wouldn't even like to speculate about as I really don't know that much about it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The one thing regarding female pilots compared to their male counterparts where they get tripped up is their sitting height.

    For rated purposes there is no min/max standing height, it is sitting, and girls typically will have shorter bodies from that perspective.

    2 girls that our DS commissioned with from AFROTC had rated slots until they went for their flight exam and were too short for sitting height. One received a waiver, but was told she could not be in an ejection seat, so she entered UPT knowing she was going heavies. The 2nd girl did not receive a waiver and she is now in maintenance. Tall people can slouch...just ask Flieger.

    As far as grad school, it is good to have those goals, but realize the AFA is not like the most rigorous course load in HS. After 4 yrs of being in an academic pressure cooker many cadets are fried, and since their goal is to fly they decide not to take an AFIT or other grad school slot.

    ~~~ Many know that UPT is also a pressure cooker and academics are part of that world. It is not just about the 10 yr after winging commitment.
    ~ It is they will be in some form of academics until they are 24-25+.
    ~ For some it is also they realize that ED means their chance of becoming the class leader is higher with each yr of that ED. Nobody wants to be class leader because basically you have additional duties on top of being a UPT student
    ~ For some they worry about being FAIPed and that means it will be another 3 yrs before they get to their 1st operational squadron. If their goal is to be a Thunderbird, attending TPS, WIC, etc, and they are a FAIP after they also did AFIT, the window starts to close due to rank.

    As I said it is great to have goals, but as you get further into the program your perspective may change because now you are also seeing that each action has an impact later on.

    Right now just enjoy the moment of being 18, don't wish your life away by planning for the what ifs.
     
  4. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    "Right now just enjoy the moment of being 18, don't wish your life away by planning for the what ifs."

    thanks for that great advice!
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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  6. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    thanks so much -
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Usually, cadets with a 3.25 or better can apply for scholarships straight out of the academy. If they get scholarships, the AF will usually let them go as active duty grad students (pretty good deal, as you still get LT pay). I think 60-80ish cadets manage that every year. If you don't get a grad school assignment, you can take classes while on active duty, and get some money through the AF to help pay for it. A lot of officers do this, if they want to make Major. Most UPT students/new pilots are too busy for this, so it is not a concern RIGHT off the bat.
     
  8. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    Regarding parachuting: At the end of the fourth class year (freshman), a cadet can request to take the Basic Parachuting course the following summer. The description from the course catalog is: "Instruction in basic free fall parachuting and familiarization with emergency parachuting as it pertains to future Air Force careers. Successful completion results in award of basic parachutist rating and badge." They are graded on five free fall jumps which can lead to receiving their "jump wings" which can be worn on their uniforms for the rest of their AF careers. There are certain physical requirements for the course, and some IC athletes are not allowed to jump. If unable to work it in during that first summer, I believe they can opt to get their jump wings during first class year. Tryouts for Wings of Blue take place the first week of second class year. Some cadets who don't make WOB and still have a passion to jump can take further classes and be certified to jump at nearby airfields on free weekends (at their own expense).
     
  9. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    It's good to note many grad school opportunities are AFSC specific.

    For example, as an Ops Research major, had I gone into that career field (61A, analyst), I very likley would have gotten a grad school slot at AFIT straight out of USAFA. As a pilot wannabe, my GPA was probably 0.1-0.2 points away from being at the level to apply for competitive scholarships where I would have gone to grad school, then on to pilot training.

    There are plenty of opportunities available, if you put in the required effort.
     
  10. Wing77

    Wing77 Member

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    This probably explains why our daughter wants to do helicopters. She is very short.
     
  11. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I commend you for trying to understand the future / options. :shake:

    My DS explained that the top few percent of the students are selected and offered "free" masters or PHD programs. If you were selected to the Scholars program (45 students per grade), that is a good sign but certainly no garantee. The Scholars program is an incredible opportunity by the way.

    Medical school is an entirely different path. The Academy limits 2% of the students to enter Med school. The Academy doesn't have anything to do with who gets into Med school but they do limit the slots.

    In the past few years, fewer than 2% of the USAFA wanted to be doctors. The payback is 5 years for the Academy plus 4 more years after Medical school. So if you are following, at LEAST 17 years are planned out for you. They are 4 years for the Academy, 4 years for Med school, 5 years payback for the Academy and 4 more years of payback for an MD.

    I hope this helps. :)
     
  12. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    It is good to look at these possibilities, but remember things can change in the 4 years at USAFA. Our son had talked about grad school after USAFA, and had the GPA and class standing to pursue it. However, in the end he decided that 16 years of school was enough and he wanted to get on to the flying part. Not that UPT isn't hard-core studying, it is just that he didn't want to spend any more time in school.

    Females have it no more difficult in UPT than the males do. Several of our son's female friends in UPT have been successsful. As PIMA had mentioned, some of them have a hard time with the sitting height. One advantage that USAFA has is they use their resources to assist where they can. One girl we know is very tiny (she was on the USAFA dance team). She spent one of her break periods during her Firstie year being flown to 4 different AF bases so that she could tag along on different tanker/transport airframes to see which ones she would be ergonomically qualified to fly. The only one that she qualified in was the C-17, so she went into UPT knowing that she would be going to a C-17 and she recently graduated UPT and is headed to Charleston AFB. From what I have seen the AF is very pro-active in helping the female UPT students succeed. Remember that the service commitment for pilot training is 10 years after you get your wings, so it will be 11-12 years after USAFA graduation before they can be finished.

    The Jump program (parachuting) can be done two different ways. The first is to be selected to do it as one of your selections during the summer between 4 deg. and 3 deg. year. It will happen during one of her three-week summer sessions. They will have 4 or 5 days of ground school, and then spend the rest of the time doing jumps. The Academy has 3 Twin Otter jump planes that can hold up to 18 jumpers at a time. Dependent on weather, they can get a lot of jumps in. You need to have 5 qualified free-fall jumps to get your jump wings. If she doesn't get in for that session (son didn't, he got soaring instead), she can also take Jump as an academic class during her Firstie year if she has room in her schedule. That is what our son did, and got his jump wings his senior year.

    Stealth_81
     
  13. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    thanks so much for the info - does anyone know how the selection for jump training is? is it very competitive and do you have to show certain skills to get in? you are right about grad school - i know things will change and i will change.
     
  14. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    MN-Dad-2016, can you elaborate on why the Scholars program is such a great opportunity? I understand they are very selective, only 45 or so cadets and they take a little different type of class and graduate as an academy scholar if they have high enough GPA and complete the classes. This sounds great but does it have any other opportunities or benefits associated with it?
     
  15. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    The summers at the Academy are divided into three 3-week periods. Two will be training periods and one will typically be leave. In the summer after Doolie year, one of the training periods will be Combat Survival Training in the mountains of Colorado. The other period will be Soaring, Jump, Air and Space, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft. For selection for the last example, the cadets fill out a 'dream sheet' with their choices ranked from 1-4. Then Cadet Command takes all of the dream sheets and hands out slots based on the cadet's first semester Order of Merit ranking (GPA, MPA, Athletics) and the cadet's ranked choices. Son didn't get his first choice of Jump because he only had a 2.9 GPA his first semester, so he ended up in Soaring instead. No particular skills are required for any of the sessions, and it really has no bearing on your Academy ranking which one that you attend.

    This is based on our experience. Since it has been a few years, some things may have changed. If anyone can add more recent experience that would be great.

    Stealth_81
     
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    These are all threads on the Scholars program. Several of us on the boards went through the program.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=22226&highlight=scholars+program&page=2
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=10787&highlight=scholars+program&page=2
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=23092
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=27192
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=22226

    The opportunities are phenomenal. We were/are the first batch of people scholarship committees typically look at. The courses are usually at a higher level with better professors. More programs such as international travel are limited to scholars or given higher preference. It looks good on scholarship resumes/CVs. Typically the course load was at a higher level but also less frivolous in terms of busy work. You get to know your classmates well as you tend to stay in the program with them.

    On another topic that Stealth mentioned - I also considered the opportunity cost of delaying UPT by taking a graduate program. While I am incredibly eager to be done and I am tired of school, this was a good decision. I am close with many captains, including those closing in on their Major's boards and they are frantically trying to complete an online masters. They wish they had the chance to knock it out first. Trying to juggle work, maybe family, and personal time around a masters course is very stressful and I've watched that first hand. It has made me really appreciate this opportunity to be in grad school full time first, even if I'm sick of school. Granted, those that went for a Masters are happy since their programs were generally 18 months whereas mine (and CC's son with me) are over three years for the PhD. There are a host of other factors as well - entering UPT older with time in the civilian world, time to explore and "party" your system out, and a more mature outlook is going to be an advantage in training when it comes time to focus again. I would tell anyone to take such an opportunity and my experience has shown me that no one I know has been penalized for taking the chance and most come out on top.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hornet beat me to it; but i already started writing and didn't want to delete.

    Basically; I was going to say that the biggest advantage and reason you should consider grad school opportunities out of the academy if you can get one, is because if you stay in the air force, you MUST get grad school done eventually anyway. Some don't have any problem with eventually meaning 3,4,5,,,8 years later.

    Here's why you should pursue grad school slots out of the academy if you are fortunate to have that opportunity/option.

    1. You've already gone through 16 years of school. Your brain is still wired for academia. Most master's programs are 18-24 months long. Some rare opportunities like RAND (Which is where Hornet is at), is a PhD program and is 3 years long. But it's a lot easier to go straight into a grad program than to take 3-8 years off.

    2. Getting a grad degree in resident, while getting paid Lt. Pay, is a lot easier than taking part time night courses or internet on-line courses. (While still doing your job for 8+ hours a day). I was enlisted, and it took me 7 years to get my first degree because of working a full time military job and trying to go to school part time.

    3. By the time you're ready for this grad school education that you MUST HAVE if you want any chance of staying in the air force..... even if you're a pilot; you're probably going to be married by this time. Good chance that you have a little Mary or Mikey running around. You're going to be doing your job; spouse probably with a job; taking care of little Mary or Mikey; going to school for their events; trying to have a social life; and with all this, taking night classes or online classes trying to get a master's degree.

    It is so much simpler to give up an additional 18-36 months to get your grad school done without being married; without having to work a full time job; without taking night/online classes; without kids; etc... Yes, you could be married and with kids during grad school. But the school becomes your FULL TIME JOB.

    Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not you apply and get accepted to grad school. In an average year, it's usually no more than 10% of the class eligible for grad school. And that number would be on the high side. And depending on your major and your career field when you graduate, you may not get selected for grad school. Either way; if you can get the grades at the academy; can get the class ranking; and have the opportunity to apply to grad school; you should.
     
  18. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    hornetguy, thanks for the reply. DS was placed in Scholars classes last semester (must have been HS GPA and APs) and will continue with the program. He has enjoyed it so far.
     
  19. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    DS is in Scholars program. He just got word that he is going to travel to Israel this summer. Everything is covered on that trip.:thumb: He said the teachers are outstanding and he looks forward to the classes every day.
     
  20. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I did the JINSA trip back in 2008. That was the last year it was open, the next year it was Scholar's exclusive. It was an amazing trip, your DS will have a really great time. Hopefully Joni will be their guide again like usual.
     

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