Needing advice

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Athena, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    This past Monday I received "the call" from an academy (USNA) coach to say that I am a recruited athlete. Yesterday, I received "the call" from a different academy (USMA) coach offering me a recruited athlete spot. I have also been contacted by a 2nd (different sport) coach from USMA about playing another NCAA sport for her. All 3 coaches have told me that they would put me on their recruited athlete roster. While I believe that I am fortunate, my dilemma is that I'm not sure how to proceed with one academy vs. the other academy or one sport vs. another.

    I have met with 2 BGO's and a FFR person already (I contacted them and set them up). Those meetings were social and I would consider them non-formal.

    Any suggestions about how to move forward from here would be helpful.
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Are you a junior or senior in high school?
     
  3. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Junior
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Navy Hoops asks one of the first important questions, key to decision-making, your timeline.

    One way to go about it is work backwards.

    Have you done the research about each Service, and where do you feel you would best fit? Are there a selection of specialties/warfare areas/communities/branches that you can see yourself serving in for a minimum of 5 years as a commissioned officer?

    That is the central question. Work on that first, then choose the SA that gets you there, then choose sport that you think you would enjoy doing at that SA. The SA is simply a way station, an interim goal. Be sure that you clearly understand that even as a varsity athlete, you will be on active duty in an immersion military environment.

    The great thing about SAs is that you can play in your recruited sport, but can later, after due deliberation and honest conversation with coaches, try out for another varsity sport or go club, extra curricular activity (ECA) sport or company intramurals. I have known several USNA midshipmen, recruited for one NCAA sport, who ended up in another/others. One was recruited for volleyball, played two years, had a candid conversation with all coaches concerned, worked hard over the summer, became a hurdler for track, her other favorite HS sport. Ditto varsity crew to track hammer, varsity basketball to softball, varsity basketball to club rugby, football to cheer squad, varsity baseball to marathon team, wrestling to martial arts, swim team to tri team, soccer to club rugby.

    Browse this site by SA. There are many threads that will give you insights and opinions across the board.

    If you haven't gotten a recruited athlete visit, that should be on discussion list with recruiting coach.

    The more specific your questions are in this forum, if you haven't found the answers using Search, the better chance you will get useful answers from the broad range of posters here.

    Best wishes for your path to become clear.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
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  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Since you are a junior I would tell you to tell every coach that calls at this point that you are very interested in the opportunity and would definitely like to continue communications with them. There is no need to narrow down to one school or sport at this point. The feedy frenzy of college recruiting is just beginning for you. The mailbox will get full with letters and weekly phone calls from coaches. If a SA is of interest to you, no need to shut down that avenue at this point. Continue to communicate with them and ask (when you are eligible) that you would like an overnight visit. These are normally limited to 5 official visits for a sport, so make sure you know what schools you want to visit before committing to one. Have you registered for the NCAA Clearinghouse?

    It sounds like you are a great athlete to have two different sports coming after you? Is there a preference to one over the other in college? It is rare to play 2 (besides track/XC) at the D1 level, but it is a question to ask if you really want to pursue that path. Have your high school coaches been helping you with the recruiting process and how to navigate it? If not, or they aren't familiar enough to help, go to the Athletic Director or another coach that has students recruited at the D1 level. Bottom line, its still early in many ways (although kids seem to be verbally at birth these days), so keep any door that might interest you open, learn, research and find the right school, programs, etc that fits you. A SA is a great path if the military is of interest to you. If you don't want to be in the military it will not be a good fit. Does one service interest you more than another? That should be your starting point. A SA is a reflection of the service the represent. Also a SA is unique that you don't sign a Letter of Intent (if you see someone doing this its just ceremonial) so you can walk away from your sport and stay at a SA at anytime. A SA is a ton of hard work, without a sport. Add in a D1 sport and it becomes even more challenging with time management. You don't have to divulge what sport you are interested in, but if you want to I could probably give some feedback on the USNA side.
     
  6. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Thanks for the replies. I have already registered with NCAA clearinghouse. I thought you could only have 4 official visits. I'll need to look at that for clarification. At this time I do not think I want to play 2 NCAA sports because of the wear and tear physically, emotionally, academically, etc. I already have numerous D1 school offers (10+), D3 school offers (10+) and now a couple academies. I have received over 80 school contacts because of my standardized test scores (97%). My main goal of college is academics not athletics. My high school coaches, club coaches, high school grade dean and high school college counselor have all been involved with this process. I have been to USMA, USNA and USAFA already.

    My mom's initial thoughts are this: USMA is military where you go to college. USNA is college where you learn the military. USAFA is more like USNA but with mountains.

    My parents and I have had discussions and the main word my dad uses is "pressure cooker" when referring to any/all academies. I think that I am aware of that but I want to go into this with as realistic a view as I can.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    They could have reduced and it could depend on the sport. Back in the dark ages we got 5. But that was around the time wheel was invented :)

    I was in the same boat as you. I was recruited for 2 sports at the D1 level. I knew immediately I wanted to play only 1 and it was basketball. I was recruited heavily at the D1 and D2 level and had many offers. I had my choice of Ivies and SAs because of my grades. It came down to Princeton and USNA for me. More than anything it was about the right fit in all aspects; academics, school, opportunities, coach, team, team mates, etc. The one thing most don't realize at a SA is the attrition rate of athletes. I started with 9 recruits in my class and finished with 3. I have seen some teams have no players for a class because they all decided to pursue other options. That is not uncommon at all. The demands, desire, the fit just aren't right and some decide to hang it up. In the 4 years I was there it was not uncommon to lose 50% of the recruits in the first 1-2 years. Of those that left I can only remember 3 of those leaving the Academy. To be honest of those 3, a SA was not the right fit. They went for the wrong reasons, which is one of the main reasons you see Mids/Cadets leave a SA in general.

    Each SA has its own nuances. There are tons and tons of threads on comparisons of the SA and services. It really needs to come down to the Service. Do you hate boats and the ocean? Do you hate dirt, camping and being hot/cold/miserable? Do you have a desire to fly? Cruise around these threads and you will see tons of info regarding these kinds of questions to really get an idea of how to decide if one or several of the SAs are the right fit. Visits and meeting with current players should help also. When I was there we were brutally honest with our recruits, because we knew the attrition rate at a SA (it is much lower now) and the attrition rate of the sport. And yes it is a pressure cooker, but it is a great one. I had a blast and wouldn't change a thing. Either would my friends. You will push yourself, figure out your priorities in life, get an amazing education and lead amazing people when you graduate. The things I had done by 28 were incredible. I left the Marine Corps after my 5 years and pursued other goals, but a SA has definitely played a huge role in my life in everything that I do.
     
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  8. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    Capt MJ gives great advice about understanding the military commitment prior to making your decision. Congrats on all the offers you are getting. I was recruited to play football for Navy and prior to that I had no idea what the SA's were all about. I made a visit and was very impressed with what I saw. My thought process then is a little different than now. Here was my honest outlook prior to going to USNA:
    • I know that the likelihood of making a professional career out of my sport is very low, even if I go to a top D1 school for football.
    • What happens if I get injured or things don't work out in my sport? At a regular D1 school I lose my scholarship. At USNA I'm still on a full-ride.
    • Some viewed the years of required service negatively. Back then (and even more so now), I viewed my service obligation as guaranteed job placement.
    • I was unsure of my future career. I figured 5 years in the service would give me an option to stay in for a career or get out with experience. I interviewed for 8 jobs when I decided to get out of the service in 1994 and received 8 offers. My daughter has had a lot of challenges getting her first job after graduating from UCF last August. Everyone wants experience and ew want to provide it.
    • I saw USMA as primarily ground/tank/limited air training options with nothing to do outside the walls of the grounds and colder weather. USNA I had the option for ships, subs, air, Marines (seemed like the Army options), SEALs, and other specialties. Plus you could walk outside the gate and be in a nice town. Not to mention DC and Baltimore being 30 minutes away.
    ON THE FLIP SIDE LOOKING BACK or answering the question, "Would I do it all over again?" The answer is a resounding YES. I had no idea what I was really getting into, but when I look at my civilian school options (Vanderbilt, Furman, and Baylor), I believe it was no contest. The Navy gave me great leadership training and I had a division of 80 men and women I was in charge of the first day I reported to my ship. Sea Duty was tough, but I learned many life lessons. Shore duty back in Annapolis was awesome and I finished my MBA at night school. I have a fraternity of classmates and graduates for life. I am currently the President of the Orlando Alumni Chapter and I can say that networking among graduates is a BIG deal. You can find not only USNA, but also AFA and USMA grads at high levels in corporations across America. It's not what you know but who you know that opens doors.

    Good luck!
     
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  9. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Happy to hear that most would do this again.

    Here is what I know:
    1. I am a female and the possibility of a "professional" or "check cashing" athletic career is virtually non existent. I don't think odds change between a civilian school and an academy. Never was a consideration for me.
    2. Athletics is not why I want to go to an academy. I may play 1 minute or 4 years in a NCAA sport.
    3. Right now I am between Amherst, Bowdoin, Hamliton, Princeton, Stanford, USAFA, USMA, USNA, Wellesley and Yale.
    4. I haven't been recruited to USAFA but I think I should still apply to all 3 academies. Their soccer coach has reached out (not recruited) to me through my high school coach.
    5. Today I would like my future to be in medicine. I know that medicine shouldn't be the reason I attend an academy but I think I should not give up that part of my dream.
    6. All coaches have offered official visits starting this summer.
    7. all coaches have been honest (I think) with me about the attrition rates of players. I know that time management will be crucial.

    Here's what I don't know:
    1. Almost everything academy admissions related. I have done a lot of reading and research but as my dad says " I don't even know what I don't know".
    2. With a couple offers currently between 2 academies, should I still apply to 3? I read lots of posts here that state that you should apply to all. Honestly, I don't think I want to attend USAFA. This is a recent change.
    3. Which academy would be the better fit for me. I have applied to USAFA, USMA and USNA summer programs. Hopefully I can get into more than 1 to "trial run" them.
    4. If I want to play the sport(s) for which I am being recruited. Should I use them as a "helper" to help get into one or the other?
    5. Is an official visit per institution or per sport? Would I use 2 official visits at 1 academy for 2 different sports?
    6. I don't have many hours of volunteering. Should I try to get these?

    I love the idea of serving and being in the military. I don't think I'll be upset if I don't get medicine there, my brother (sophomore in college has changed his major a few times already), I don't hate boats, I like the dirt, I'm weary of miserable (I think all academies can have this trait), flying would be an option and I haven't really given location much time yet because I enjoyed my short time visiting all 3 of them.

    I am confused on what to do except that I want to attend a service academy. I'll keep reading and researching......
     
  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    1. The application will guide you. Reading up on this site will help to prepare. It is long, but nothing you can't handle.
    2. If the USAFA is of interest to you as a service, then yes, apply.
    3. Only you will be able to make this determination. Also, possibly soccer camps could help too. Something to think about, especially if they have an elite session.
    4. If the coaches ask, then tell them where you are looking. No reason to hide or lie. Where a coach racks and stacks you in the recruiting lineup is up to them. A coach only has so much leverage on admittance. You might have such an impressive application that the coach could only need to say you will play soccer and not an issue.
    5. Check out the NCAA website. Not sure on the current rules. Just a quick google search says 5 are allowed at the D1 and D2 level and unlimited for any schools below that level. It also said only 5 total regardless of sport. But I am sure you will need to verify that.
    6. You can certainly add hours of volunteering between now and application time. Leadership is key in these also. Look to lead volunteer activities. Also think of camp, clinics, etc that you might have done leading kids. That is all volunteer work too. Alot of my volunteering was centered around my team... we did community projects, led camps, helped out kids games, etc. I led the set up, arrangements, etc of all this. Easy way to build a really good team and get in hours and leadership.

    The SAs do produce doctors, but it is limited. There are tons of threads on this. Use the search function and it will lead you to tons of threads on the ins and outs of being a doc from a SA. Honestly the official visits will really help clear things up. Ask a ton of questions of the players, they want to help you and be honest. One school will probably stand out more than another or just "feel right". I can't speak for the other SAs, but Navy Women's Soccer program is top notch. Carin Gabarra is as good as it gets. Beautiful soccer facility and an amazing team history. That team has also produced some amazing officers from a current astronaut, to doctors, COs, and more importantly some of the best humans I know.
     
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  11. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Probably the best thing in the post. Thank you!
     
  12. Full Steam

    Full Steam Member

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    Since you are a junior, have you looked at attending the Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS) or the West Point Summer Leaders Experience (SLE)? Each of these offers a week at the respective academy getting up close and personnel with current mids/cadets and learning more about what life at the academy and in the service would hold.

    http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/index.php
    http://www.usma.edu/admissions/sitepages/summer.aspx

    The applications for these summer programs are currently open. They are in high demand, so don't take a turn down as an indication that your application isn't competitive for the academy. I don't know if either counts as an athlete visit since they are open to all applicants.

    Many of my classmates chose career paths that were different from the goal they had on IDay. Most of the Naval Officers I know both love what they do and would defend it as the hardest working and most essential branch of the service. One thing I would suggest is that you take any opportunity you have to attend academy info nights or to stop and talk to reps at academy tables at college nights. Ask not only about the application process, but about what the rep did in the military.
     
  13. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    I have applied to all 3 summer programs. My parents and I have also been to several academy nights. In 1 of my earlier posts I mention that the BGO's and FFR's and ALO's wouldn't say much to me because of my recruitment status. From what we have heard, they are instructed not to say much because of NCAA rules and not wanting to break them. They directed all communications to the coaches.

    Good idea about asking what they did in the military. I am keeping an open mind about career paths and how they may (probably will) change. I do need to do some thinking about what it is that I want to do when I'm there and when I'm not there.
     
  14. Full Steam

    Full Steam Member

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    BGOs are not in a position to comment on sports or athlete recruitment other than to refer students to the coaches. Not only are there NCAA limitations, but most BGOs simply aren't in a position to know each sport or what needs the coach might have for an incoming class.

    Having said that, they may answer questions about the academy, academics, service assignment and life in the military. In other words, if the conversations are about topics they would cover with any other student, then they should be open topics. Next time you have an opportunity to chat with a BGO or equivalent, don't lead with your status as a recruited athlete (since you already know that those questions are best handled through a coach). Instead, ask them the questions that they are able to give you good information on.
     
  15. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    While many candidates post good questions on this forum, I want to say that yours stand out as being amazingly impressive and thoughtful. I'm sure everyone here looks forward to hearing about your choices down the road. Please keep us informed here. You clearly have a very bright future and any of the SA's will be fortunate to have you.

    Best of luck to you!
     
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  16. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Good idea. I did not lead with being a recruited athlete. I wasn't officially 1 until this past Monday. But I did say that I was "being looked at" because I did not want to risk any violations. But as soon as they heard that, all of them almost ended our conversations. And as far as I know, any discussions in relation to NCAA are fine if after Sept 1st of your Junior year.

    Does anyone here think I should post something similar like this on the USMA forum?
     
  17. Athena

    Athena 2021 Hopeful

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    Thank you for the kind words.

    I have been thinking of an academy for several years. It's what I have wanted for awhile. I have read many posts and I have made a list of around 80 questions.

    I know that I am fortunate to have the opportunities ahead of me that I have. They are just that, opportunities. It's my job to make them into realities.
     
  18. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    In Florida the Congressmen want you to apply to only one SA. As an athlete you have more options than others. I never received a Nomination, but an offer to go to NAPS. The Prep School ended up being one of the best years of my life. Playing football there was awesome, as was learning about the military and taking the courses I would take Plebe year. I looked at Princeton as well, but the scholarship opportunities weren't the same. You mentioned a sibling changing their major a few times. While I quickly found out that Engineering wasn't my thing and I moved into Economics, the service selection option is what changed over the years. Fortunately USNA gives you a lot of exposure to all the options and based upon my Senior Year Physical, I ended up going into the Supply Corps. If I was in your shoes I would probably focus on investigating the career paths of the various services and narrow down which one you really want to focus on. As stated before, for an athlete I think USNA gives the broadest options, which the other SAs can't offer. It also has the best location while you are in school. There are also a lot of graduate opportunities while you are a Senior (1/C) if you have great grades and are ahead on your schedule. I had a classmate getting his Masters at Georgetown his 1/C year.

    Lastly, you may want to look into an option in high school that I was never aware of, but my son joined, which is Sea Cadets. He's in a very active battalion that meets once a month and he gets a lot of exposure to the Navy. He went to a boot camp at NAS JAX his first summer and an intense Special Warfare - SEAL Training, led by Navy SEALs, last summer in Panama City, FL.
    All the best,
     

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