How early to start planning - and requirements

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by BDavis932, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. BDavis932

    BDavis932 New Member

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    Our son just turned 15 and for the past couple years has said that he want to go to the coast guard academy when he completes high school. I think this may be a bit early to start asking these questions but I didn't want to find out a couple years from now that we should have been working on something all along:eek:

    He is a freshman in high school and has been in scouting since he was 6. He is working towards his Eagle, which he should have in a year or so. He is Scuba Certified (getting ready to take his advanced scuba classes in the spring) and he is in jrotc. The JRotc program at our school is Navy, but his Commander is a 30+ year Coast Guard Veteran and also worked at the academy for awhile. Next year he plans to take the aviation course that is offered at our high school and by the end of his junior year he will have his pilots license. Academically, he's an A/B student and he has a clean behavior record. He also works weekends at a local restaurant.

    Are these things that will look good for getting in to the academy? What more could he/should he be doing? Also, if he doesn't get in to the academy, is it an option that he could join the coast guard right out of high school? I was also just reading on another forum about the New Mexico Military Academy. Not sure if that would be a good "plan B" if CGA didn't work out.
    We are located in Central Texas if there are other options closer.

    All of this is new to my husband and me. Look forward to any suggestions you may have. Thanks!! :thumb:
     
  2. BruceRTalbot

    BruceRTalbot Member

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    I would recommend becoming active in a community volunteer service activity at your local hospital, church, or food pantry. I would also strongly encourage sports participation year round. These two areas are as important as good grades.

    Visit a couple Coast Guard Stations to make sure it is not a charismatic JROTC instructor and retired Coast Guard officer that your son is focused on but rather the mission of the service. Visit the academy and register on the USCGA web site for the A.I.M. program.

    Take as much math as possible and don't hesitate to use a math tutor. Nothing impresses the academy like an A in calculus.

    Fall back plan: Apply to as many of the other academies as your local congress member will allow for a nomination. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy should also be on your list. Many USMMA grads transfer to the Coast Guard upon graduation. Attend the school college fair night and find out about college ROTC scholarships.

    Best of luck!
     
  3. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Great advice from my man BT...sounds like your son is on the right track. Eagle is an important credential to bring to the table...as are leadership positions within any group(s) he may be in. Also staying out of trouble as I am sure he will.

    Best of luck and drop in here any time with any questions or concernsl(Btw my son first expressed interest in a service academy when he was 10, so it's never too early). :D
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    • Good grades in challenging classes
    • High SAT/ACT test scores
    • Sports team leadership
    • Eagle scout completion
    • Staying healthy
    • Staying out of trouble
    • Enjoy being a high school kid

    These are the things he should concentrate on.

    The PPL, scuba, and the JROTC are not that big of a deal in getting a USCGA appointment
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Have fun and work on a well-rounded approach to life and school.

    Work on getting great grades, good standardized test scores, leadership opportunities on teams or organizations, etc. Take the hard classes in school.

    It's never a bad idea to have a back up plan, I had 6...and I think I would have been fairly happy with them had CGA not worked out. He's also not starting too late. I didn't really know about CGA until the summer before my senior year of high school.

    Good luck!
     
  6. summer1942

    summer1942 Member

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    Have him take SAT as soon as he can. My son took his first SAT at 9 grade and keep going on until last June at the end of his junior. Not much he can do in the senior year since all SAs applications should be completed by July/August time frame.
     
  7. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Except for USCGA, whose application isn't available until September. :wink:

    And FYI - The latest SAT test that can be submitted for consideration at USCGA is the January test (this year = Jan 22, 2011) of their senior year.

    :cool:
     
  8. capolo13

    capolo13 Member

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    Let me first say, I started planning when I was this age too. I wanted to go to the Coast Guard Academy since I got into highschool. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to the Coast Guard Scholars Program. I am currently paid by the USCGA to attend school at New Mexico Military Institute. If you have any questions about that, feel free to PM me or something. Also, if you ever felt the need or desire to visit NMMI, there is a large (30) contingent of CGA Scholars out here who could answer your questions and show you around, including a significant amount from Texas. In my personal opinion, the SCUBA and the pilot's license won't be THAT helpful in obtaining an admission to the academy. This doesn't mean don't do them, your son needs to pursue what he enjoys. However, the Academy, from what I have seen (although Luigi or one of the others may be able to correct me here), the kind of things the Academy looks highly upon would be TEACHING Scuba, being a leader at those things at which you enjoy. You can stack individual accomplishments for miles and miles on a resume, but things that have leadership are what make an applicant REALLY shine.

    Really, one of the main things (once again, that I've noticed, feel free to disagree everyone) is leadership in sports or activities, and participating in team activites. The Coast Guard is a huge family, and a huge team. We work together to get things done, and people who prove that they can slide right into that mentality make for great canidates. Officers in the fleet need to have the capacity to lead, and this is something that I'm sure the admissions department looks for especially carefully. Mental and physical toughness is another thing that at least I find is key to success, if not key to the admissions office. The Academy is a tough place, stressful both mentally and physically, pushing your limits. I'm sure the admissions staff wants to make sure that applicants have that kind of personality when selecting canidates.

    As for a plan B, yes, you could consider NMMI. There is a prep program here, and many of my friends are self prep students, who are in classes side by side with the CGA sponsered preps. But you could also go to your local community college, and excel there. There's lots of options open to you.

    As for enlisting the Coast Guard, it IS a viable option. Keep in mind though, the Coast Guard Boot Camp out of Cape May is very difficult, and trains some pretty tough sailors. Unless your son is really gung ho about it, I wouldn't recommend making this your primary back up plan until he's at least a bit older, and really knows what he's getting himself into. Plans and mentalities and desires can change, and it is important to make sure you explore ALL the possibilties before you settle with one. Additionally, it can be hard to make the transition. Yes, we do have some prior enlisted members who go right to the Academy and EXCEL, and we also have two here at NMMI, but I think even they would tell you, it is a very different mindset. Also, I'm sure this will change by the time your son is ready to apply, but currently the waiting list for the CG is over a year long (last time I checked).

    Most of all, you need to make sure your son visits the Academy, either for the AIM program, or Beansprout/Shadow a Cadet, the information which is on the Academy website. It's a very different choice to attend a service academy, and it's something he needs to be clear about making.

    PM if you'd like, I do have several friends from Texas who would be glad to talk to your son and your family if you need the perspective from the applicant's side of things. Otherwise, I'm sure the Academy Admissions Officer in your area has EXCELLENT advice on all the areas we don't know about yet; They always do! Make use of them to get all the information you need to make educated decisions on the process!

    Good luck, and semper paratus!
     
  9. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Capolo very nicely done...you show a lot of maturity for your young age...your post was excellent! Good luck in your Coast Guard career.:thumb:
     

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