Help! Trying to decide

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by TexasSoccerMom, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    Which would be a better experience for our son? He has been pretty set on applying to AFA next year but my husband and I are insisting he visit and experience other service academies in the next year.

    He will be a junior next year. So we were deciding between Summer stem or one of the Navy sports camps. We want him to stay on campus, possibly meet some cadets and have an opportunity to get a feel for different service academies and universities. Anyone have any experience or recommendations with either Navy Soccer Camp or Summer Stem?

    He is an athlete. Plays high level club and high school soccer. Has above a 4.0. Very good at math. Only missed one question on the math psat.

    Thanks in advance for any information. As parents we want to make sure he has seen all the options and feel confident he is making a good choice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  2. usna.hopeful19

    usna.hopeful19 Member

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    So I cant tell you specifics about each academy as I am only informed on USNA, but what I can tell you as a maryland resident is that USNA by far has the best location. Really beautiful place with lots to do, though the plebes wont really have a chance to experience it for a while haha. However a little scenery can go a long way!
     
  3. Juvat

    Juvat Member

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    I can share a bit about my DDs roller coaster ride when it came to this decision. For starters, she applied to both USAF and USNA summer seminars. Despite my tenure as a USAF officer as well as Moms USAF service she was pretty much leaning USNA before heading off to both programs last summer. As she hadn't visited either campus yet I believe her preference revolved around the fact that her HS sent three kids (all her friends) to USNA the previous two years. Lo and behold, after completing both summer seminar programs she had her mind made up...USAFA! I cheered silently inside. About the time she got back from the seminars she began working on her MOC packages listing USAFA as her preference. (more silent cheers from Dad). But then about a month before her MOC interviews were scheduled she had a change of heart and decided she really wanted USNA as her first choice. Wasn't a day or two after this epiphany that she received an early appointment to USAFA (she already has a Presidential nom in place). Rather than accepting the USAFA appointment she told us she would wait to hear from USNA and would consider USAFA her Plan B. I knew at that time that USNA was in her heart. She finally received her USNA appointment in early Feb. Accepted the next day. So, my advice to you is to step back, offer what wisdom you can and allow your child to make this decision on their own. It is the first of many he will be making for the rest of his life. What tipped the scale toward USNA for my DD? I've asked her and the real tiebreaker for her was Annapolis over Colorado Springs, plus friends in USNA, plus maybe being a bit closer to home and an hour or so drive to other family near USNA. Guess I couldn't argue much with her over these reasons as longer term she wants to fly, and she could do so at either academy. I guess I'm a bit more apprehensive about this than she is. I KNOW the USAF and know it would have been a great fit for her. I know little to nothing about the Navy (specifically when it comes to women serving). That being said, this was 100% her call and I never once questioned her decision (other than to ask why USNA over USAFA...not in a judgmental way either, but I wanted to know her reasoning). So Mom and Dad, get him to the seminars if you can, let him do his research and let HIM make his choice. When you step back at look at this, there really is no bad choice here. Be proud of his decision to serve his country. Good luck to you on this incredible journey. God Bless...
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    STEM camp will obviously be much more academic based. A student will get more acquainted with the classrooms, labs, and how t all applies to possible service. They will interact with Mids and professors. They live and eat in Bancroft and King Hall. A sports camp will be like any other sports camp except it's run by Navy coaches and they live and eat in Bancroft and King Hall. Because of summer training there are very few Mids who get help out with sports camps. That is a downside.

    From an exposure perspective I personally believe STEM will give him a better view of USNA. Summer Seminar is the best for this, but that is for next summer. Just my personAl views and nothing more. Agree, give him the facts and what interests him the most.
     
  5. bandad

    bandad Member

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    DS visited USNA 7th grade during Spring Break trip to DC. The other family suggested Annapolis, we visited for the day, and it made an impression on DS. Fast forward to Junior year in HS. DS and I visited USAFA and he loved it. Had a cadet friend there who was gracious enough to show him around for the day, sort of an unofficial CVW for the day. I also took him to other in state and out of state schools. He applied to USNA and USAFA and at one point I thought it was 50/50. When rating the SAs over the three MOCs, he split his first choices between the two SAs, and it was USNA 2, USAFA 1. That should have been a hint. Anyway he was blessed to have offers from both but chose USNA. I think he was really intrigued by USAFA and liked it a lot, but his heart was with USNA. My advice would be, if possible, let them visit multiple SA, and other schools. And Pray as it is a big decision.

    bandad
     
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  6. billyb

    billyb Member

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    I think it depends on if he is trying to get recruited for the soccer team. Does he play on a USDA (academy) team? Is he looking to play soccer in college? Being recruited sure can help him get in (not that is sounds like he needs the help, but anything is a plus). I think you can get a feel for the school with either camp. You might have to do a little extra planning if you choose the soccer camp (asking the coaches to let DS spend some time with current players while there).
     
  7. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    I'm a mom whose using my sons log in :) . My son attended the Naval Soccer camp. He got a chance to meet and play in front of Dave Brandt, who is the head coach. He runs a great program and is highly respected and a dynamic personality. If he wants to play soccer at USNA, its a great place to start. He even remembered him when my son e-mailed him at a later date.
     
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  8. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    Yes son is on an academy team. He would love to play in college. But we are really insisting that he choose an academy / university first. He needs to choose a place based upon his desired major / campus versus whether or not he plays soccer. I see way too many boys choosing to go a university knowing nothing about the school/campus but going because they can play soccer there. Trying to emphasize that point with him.
     
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  9. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

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    @TexasSoccerMom - my DS went to Navy Soccer Camp twice. My DS has played high-level club soccer for many years and has gotten to know Coach Brandt. Coach Brandt is an extraordinary person and coach, and it's worth the money and time and distance to go to his camp. Your son would get to see Plebe Summer from a distance but would not talk to any plebes who are going through it this summer. He would also get to know some of the Navy players and coaches. It's a large camp - hundreds of players - but they do a good job breaking them down into groups of appropriate age and ability. It's a good way to see the campus and get to know the coaches and facilities. Do have him fill out the recruitment questionnaire on the NavySports.com website (where you register for camp). Coach Brandt recruits from Academy and club teams - he has a good eye for "value" players that may have been overlooked because they are from smaller clubs. It's an outstanding program that has won their conference (Patriot League) and been to the NCAA tournament twice in recent years. Feel free to PM me with questions. We have been through the recruiting thing and DS has chosen to go to the Naval Academy over playing at a D-I program.
     
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  10. billyb

    billyb Member

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    I 100% agree with your statement on choosing the school for the school and not for the sport. My DD plays ECNL and we see tons of athletes choosing schools that may not be great fits just because they were recruited there. IMHO, it sounds like you are taking the right approach. What I am saying is that you might be able to get the best of both worlds at USXA. If he plays on an academy team then he is definitely of the caliber to play at Navy and potentially get a leg-up in getting an appointment.
     
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  11. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    Good point - yes it is a large camp, with even recreational players attending. However, the possible recruits will be pulled into "super groups" and assessed. Also, there was a more elite camp - an ID camp that was held in February of this year. Sadly, it filled quickly and we missed registration - but check the website, or e-mail and look for the next one.
     
  12. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    I so agree! I have seen it so many times on the club soccer scene. Soccer clubs are just wanting to see their players "signed." I am seeing way too many boys sign offers to go play soccer at schools where they know nothing about the school/campus / possible majors. All they know is that they can play soccer there.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The more he knows, the better he can be in making an informed decision. Maybe he's set on the Air Force, and won't consider anything else. If that's the case, USAFA is probably the best choice. If its the thought of the service academy experience, then experience as many as you can. With the exception of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the other four service academies could make up a fun East Coast road trip. Start in Annapolis with the U.S. Naval Academy, drive up to New York City, and visit the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, drive a little farther north and visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, then turn right and head east to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.

    You want to consider far more than how great the city is that the academy is in, but if I had to rank them....

    1. Annapolis, MD (U.S. Naval Academy)
    2. Kings Point, NY (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy)
    3. Colorado Springs, CO (U.S. Air Force Academy)
    4. New London, CT (U.S. Coast Guard Academy)
    5. West Point, NY (U.S. Military Academy)

    But you'll only be there for part of your career. The most important question is "what do you want to do" and "what service do you want to be in".... everything else is secondary, in the long run.
     
  14. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    Thank you for your response! We are just making sure he is looking at all the options even though he is set on USAFA. This is a choice for potentially a lifetime. Trying to make sure he is choosing USAFA for himself. DH had an appointment and was going to play soccer for USAFA in 1993. An injury his senior year soccer season which lead to knee surgeries caused him to lose his appointment. We are being so careful to make sure DS is making his own decision and not trying to do it for his Dad. Dad is staying out of the process completely. Hence why this traditional university /sorority girl mama who knows nothing about service academies is learning all she can on this message board to understand what my son is talking about and do research to help guide/ answer his questions.
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I guess one of the good (and bad) things is, the standards are fairly similar. That's good because you're not reinventing the wheel during the application. That's bad because if you screw up your knee for USAFA, you've screwed up your need for everything else.

    I applied to the Coast Guard Academy, Naval Academy and Merchant Marine Academy in 2001. I also applied to a number of civilian schools, had a NROTC scholarship and some other money, but those three service academies were at the top of my list.

    USCGA was my top pick. But as the application process progressed, USCGA went silent while USNA was fairly active. I had to meet with Congressmen or representatives from my Senator. I had Blue and Gold interviews. I would hear from USNA and in general USNA have more visibility.

    Eventually got into each school with LOAs, went through the DODMERB process, and took a trip up to USMMA for an overnight, followed by an overnight at USCGA (I 'beansprouted'). It was the final experience at USCGA that sealed the deal. Once I was accepted to USCGA, I notified the other two.

    It think it's helpful to at least partially experience something before you "sign on." Check out the campus, meet students, check out the commuity around the school and research the actual services your son will join. Some schools, such as West Point or the Naval Academy stand out. But when you dig a little you might find a school like the Coast Guard Academy, which is amazing... even if it's not plastered all over ESPN once a year.

    It's a fun, somewhat stressful process, but embrace it!

    Good luck!
     
  16. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Not if are ranking in terms of seafood.... or local beers. New London goes to the top or bottom respectively. :)

    To the OP, I have to ask.... why the focus on visiting other SA's? His time in school will be least of his investment for the remainder of his career. And honestly the SAs are far more alike then different to spite what some may say. So maybe more of a focus on what he wants to do as an officer and which branch fits him best would be even more helpful?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Seaford should never be used to rank anything, but yes, I would hope it's ahead of the others..... beers only get you in trouble.....

    I don't think people realize how nice the Kings Point area is. It reminded me of a smaller, more managable Annapolis.
     
  18. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

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    He knows he would like to do some type of engineering. He hasn't decided on an emphasis. He is only 16. We are just making sure he isn't leaning towards USAFA to please his Dad. We want him to visit , experience the others and learn about the different branches he would be serving. This summer we want him to have a sample of everything on the buffet. Next summer he will go back and visit his favorites and ultimately know he has weighed all the options and is making an informed educated decision.
     
  19. Vtmom

    Vtmom Member

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    Ds was accepted to stem after freshman year as well as soccer camp with Dave Brandt that same summer. He enjoyed both tremendously but really got a lot out of STEM. Soccer was hot and they couldn't really work that hard but he enjoyed that too. We live a days driving distance so doing both was easy logistically for us. I can't compare AFA but if you could only do one I would do STeM. But apply for both since you may not get STeM. DS also did NASS last summer and received his appt in December.
     
  20. Laurantwins

    Laurantwins Member

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    DS#1 did STEM last year as in incoming 8th grader - he loved it. We traveled to pick him up, toured the USNA, Annapolis, and D.C. - and DS#2 has decided to pursue a service academy as well (they are twins). Both have applied to STEM for this year. I also thought about sports camps - DS#1 plays baseball and DS#2 runs cross country. I'm thinking that we'll see how well they do in high school first - see if we can get some stats together, see how much they grow - then make that decision. STEM camp was wonderful.
     

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