MOC Interview when applying to all Service Academies

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by popgeer, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. popgeer

    popgeer New Member

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    I have my MOC board interview coming up and need a little advice on how to answer questions about my school rankings. Everyone advised me to apply to all of the the Service Academies - so I did. I've already received a LOA from 1 of them - which is fantastic! Since getting the LOA I ranked that SA as my first choice school to not mess up something in hand. But I do still want to pursue my 2nd choice SA. Should I expect to be asked about why I have the schools ranked as I do? or is it fairly common that candidates will have applied to all schools? Any advice on how to navigate school ranking questions with all the Service Academies having different focuses (maritime, aviation etc)?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    It's totally up to you. it's persona. Some people simply want an academy education; want to serve their 5 year commitment, and want to get out and move on with their lives. They honestly don't care what branch of service or academy they go to. Some want to make a career out of the military as a commissioned officer. They don't care which academy they attend. If they don't like that branch of service after graduating and going active duty, they'll look into transferring to another military branch. Some totally want a specific 1 or 2 military branches, and thus those academies, and that's what they apply for. Then there are some that ONLY WANT ONE academy and ONE MILITARY branch of service. They don't and won't apply to ANY of the others. And if they don't get it, they'll take their backup plan of ROTC. And if they don't get that, they'll do their backup - backup plan; OTS. This was my son's choice. He had/has no desire whatsoever to be in any branch of the military, other than air force.

    So, for you, you need to decide for yourself how you want to rank the different academies. You have to decide if you will take ANY offers given to you. You have to decide how to address your MOC interviews. Also, we don't know your MOC rep/senators. Some talk to each other to ensure that ONLY 1 nominates to a particular branch, and another will only nominate you to a different branch, etc... This maximizes the number of nominations they give out. If this is the case, then it doesn't matter. You'd hopefully get each one to nominate you to army/navy/air force and you'd be ok. However, there's no guarantee which academy will offer you an appointment. Approximately 4000 individuals will have NOMINATIONS but won't get an appointment.

    Anyway; only you can decide what to put down for preference or how to answer questions. You said that EVERYONE convinced you to apply to ALL academies. FORGET WHAT EVERYONE ELSE SAYS!!!! Which academy do you want. And if you don't get that, are you willing to accept and serve in one that is given to you. Or, would you prefer to look at other options like ROTC? Best of luck. I know it's not the answer you were probably looking for, but you could have easily asked if you should drink Coke or Pepsi. Only you know the right answer. Don't let anyone tell you what choices you should make. Let them give you options, advice, information, etc... But it's your life; your decision. You make the choice. Good luck. Mike....
     
  3. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Several thoughts on this based on my son's experience.

    - the approach used by each MOC can vary widely. One extreme would be they have boards stacked for a particular academy, and you will be considered for your 1st choice only. Especially if you have an LOA. GA senators do this, and they really like the LOA aspect as it can count as a "free" nomination and they can still (in most cases) nominate another candidate which they are charged for.

    - If you end up with a board which is specific to your first choice, then you may want to play differently. DS's senate boards were totally stacked to the branch he had listed first. With very high ranking officers (O4 to O8 2 star/rear admiral range)! To waiver on preference there might backfire!

    - The "bird in hand" aspect of an LOA is something to consider. If you are in a highly competitive area it might be a risk to list another academy as 1st choice. You could get the nom, but not the appointment. Or vice-versa. Especially given the point above.

    - House noms will pull from smaller areas, and in competitive states you will have a better chance with them then the senators. In DS's case, they did not stack the boards specific to certain academies as heavily.

    In DS's case, they knew he already had a senate nom, and applauded him for going ahead with the interview. Toward the end of the interview the subject of academy preference came up in the context of "well, you'll likely have a sure thing with the LOA". Being truthful, he respectfully volunteered that in fact, he had just received notice of appointment to that school.

    That's where the dialog became harder. He had to navigate the point that he would like to be considered for the other academies as well. Not bad, just not smooth. My son's perception was that they just did not know how to deal with it, and a couple of the interviewers looked at him with a "what are you trying to achieve" look. He explained that two of the schools were very close in preference. And that while he learned more about the second choice school he wanted to keep his options open.

    Again, not a bad dialog, just hard. But he had to do it, otherwise they would have given him another nom to the LOA school and maybe not even considered him for the others.

    - All that said, our view is it's still best to be up front. If you have not decided 100% you should be allowed that option. This may backfire a bit if the interviewers are hardcore for "their" school. But most DS saw were trying to be objective, especially if it's not a stacked board.

    - The dynamics of LoA's really impact this process in highly competitive states. IE: It can really skew who get's noms for which schools. And given one tends to award them earlier, that impacts highly qualified candidates for chances to other schools in terms of noms. IE: if a candidate was considered highly & equally qualified across multiple schools, LoA's timing influence the outcome.

    - The dynamics could be completely different in less competitive states. Many on the forum report getting multiple noms for multiple schools.

    But that appears to be quite rare in GA, even just getting noms for two schools pretty much requires at least one to be from the house or other source. All indications are the senators coordinate to not duplicate noms, even to different schools.

    So your question is fairly complex. It will depend on your state, and even MoC's approach.

    There is a broader issue that we see as the big three each use LoA's differently, with different timing. Even with USMA significantly reducing the number of LoA's this year the timing aspect alone impacts things.

    But one thing is clear- if you do not ask or indicate to be considered for more than one school, you may miss that opportunity! Even if that means having to refrain from gung ho "beat XYZ" type interactions that some board members are looking for.

    In any case, congrats on the LoA, prepare the interviews like you are doing. And maybe think through how you will answer the preference question. Or how to raise it if it's not asked.

    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out! :thumb:
     
  4. popgeer

    popgeer New Member

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    Hawk - Thank you very much for your detailed reply! that really helped me sort out my thoughts. Had my MOC interview this AM and all went very well.
     

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