Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by sheriff3, Apr 11, 2013.
Just curious.. Why does it require a nomination to get into USMMA and not USCGA?
Let the wise-cracking begin...
USMMA requires a nomination, USCGA doesn't.
Why doesn't USCGA require a nomination? Because the Coast Guard didn't sell its service academy soul to the political devils maybe.
And because of that, competition is equal, independent of Congressional district or state.
And this is the debate that seems to rage in many arenas; from elementary education, to hiring practices, to SA admisisons...
Should the only ranking/scoring criteria be solely objective tests?
It sounds good in theory, but in practice there are certainly times when it makes sense to consider other criteria.
One classic example is building a soccer team...
If all you did was create a dribbling and shooting scoring system, you would wind up with all forwards/attacking mids on your team and you would give up a zillion points a game. Instead, you select some players for their ball skills, and you select others for their ability to be calm under attack, hold position, reliability, tackling ability, tenacity or other subjective criteria.... as long as they have some acceptable level of ball skills.
Does that mean in some cases a better dribbler is passed over to pick up a centerback? Yup. Or might a better striker be passed up to add depth to your fullbacks? Yes. And that is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing.
Now on the other hand if you were playing nine ball...
I'm not 100% sure what the soccer discussion was supporting. As far as I'm concerned (and I do have staffer buddies), the soccer experts are the adminisions staff at each service academy, NOT anyone in congress.
Someone in Congress would say "but I really really think one of the players should be from Kittanning, Penn." even if that person has never played a days of soccer in his/her life.
Members of Congress, and the staff that they use to interview applicants are no where near the the level of knowledge an admissions staff has on what the school and service need.
Congress SHOULD be taken out of the equation, but surprise, Congress passed a law so it wouldn't be (aint that surprising).
Fair enough, Lits.
Perhaps I rebutted the wrong point; one you weren't making.
There just have been several threads lately discussing the "fairness" of having admissions be anything other than objective stats. That is what I was responding to.
If your point is that the SA's should be free to select diversity and alternate criteria as they see fit for the needs of their service without being "forced" into it by the Title 10 (I think), I can understand that.
However I think the intent of the law was assure that all geographies were represented more or less evenly was it not? With roughly half the class of most SAs coming from each district, and half coming from a national list that ignores geography, it doesn't sound too unbalanced to me... Especially when you consider that there is still a minimum criteria in place that the SA's have 100% control over.
I may be jaded because I'm 2-3 miles from the Capitol and 2.5 blocks from the White House, but I don't know how much thought went into it beyond "if Congressman Joe Blow gets two kids into a school, I better get my folks in too... let's write a bill!"
And that's for schools with thousands in a class. What about the tiny (but not smallest) USMMA?
And maybe I'm seeing throug rose-colored glasses.
I guess I never thought our MOCs were so petty as to write a federal law that might impact one seventeen year old from their district per year. You are a far better judge of that than I will ever be. So I defer to you.
But either way, as long as the SA's still have their hand on the "quality valve" by controlling the minimum requirements, then it seems like it's pretty fair overall; no matter the class size. As long as all of them are coming from a highly qualified pool, then I think it's ok that the particular make up of half the class is chosen based on geography/MOCs.
I'm not saying I KNOW that's why. But, they can be petty. That doesn't mean there aren't a number of meaningful laws, created for good reasons. It only means I'm not willing to assume all laws have been created with the purest of intentions.
I have seen your posts before and I am in agreement with you. The process that I went through to gain an appointment was difficult as it was but to realize in the end that preferences exists for some whimsical balancing act, made me sick. Though but 18 years old, I will never get over this political betrayal.
Hang on... I'm not sure we ARE in agreement at all.
I'm truly sorry that your experiences did not lead to an appoitment. Clearly you are an expectinal young man to have even been in consideration. Congratulations on that and keep pushing for your dream.
That being said, my point was that I don't think a strict "highest scores only" is neccessarily the best. In fact, I think it's just fine that the SAs and MOCs have some wiggle room to appoint candidates that are broadly representative of the nation and/or the force they will be leading. That's good diversity IMHO. The caveat is that as long as all of them are highly qualified (ie they meet the criteria)
Bad diversity is when someone chooses an UN-qaulfied person for a role just for the sake of diversity. That's hard to excuse.
So... if there are 3,000 highly qualfiied candidates, and only 1,200 can be accepted, so be it if some of the selections come from the lower half of the 3k. See my analogy of the soccer team above.
Having built a few highly successful business teams in my day, I can tell you there are always other factors at play. You don't just take the "top ranked" blindly and hope you get the right mix. Sometimes you choose for other reasons that further the team and the objective.
Again I hear what you are saying and agree. I am sure that there are many qualified candidates. Getting the recipe right in the end is a fine goal. I work for many years to ensure that I would have a uber high WCS to compete in the national pool in the event I could not secure a MOC nom (which I didnt). My naive understanding is that if you draw 3 venn diagrams of candidates around each academy, the area of intersection should be huge and I would be in that area. The USNA turned me down as I did not have a MOC nom. BTW I did get accepted at many great schools.
It sounds like your beef is with your MOC and not with USNA. Without a nomination, USNA doesn't have the legal authority to offer you an appointment, so perhaps your frustration is misdirected?
From past postings, I'm assuming you did get a MOC nomination to USAFA if you received an appointment. So the key question would be why did your MOC give you a nomination to USAFA, but not USNA?
The answer may simply be that your particular district was very competitive, with a number of highly qualified potential candidates. In such a situation, you're not competing against a national pool, you're competing against others in your district. And even with a nomination, unless you're designated as a primary nominee, you're still competing against your slate initially, and if qualified and not selected from your MOC slate, then you're competing against a national pool of qualified candidates. An imperfect and unfair system it is surely, but that system has been in place for quite some time and likely was not designed to target you in an individual or personal way.
Regardless of the details, I understand how frustrating it can be to have goals you've set and a dream you've worked for go unrealized. My advice for you would be not to take decisions and circumstances outside of your control personally - where you'll end up spending an inordinate amount of time dwelling on the negative. Rather, I'd encourage you to focus your attention on the very positive things that have happened to you and count your blessings, so you can maximize the opportunities and challenges that have been set before you.
The Congressional/Senatorial nomination process adds another screening process and is not merely favoritism. Having gone through the process more than once, I assure you at least from our district-it is pretty competitive and at least on paper-fair. You submit to their requirements and sit in front of a panel consisting of SA alumni and other community leaders. USCGA may have cadets that are from mostly coastal areas and areas close to major rivers and lakes.(rare to have someone from North Dakota) The SA I've visited and my DS and DD attend represent all the fifty states and other territories. If it were solely a matter of selection from a national pool, there's a tendency that some areas may not have any representation. I believe that the Congressional/Senatorial nomination process as it is today is good but not perfect.
I sat before a Sen. Frist panel of two people, and a Rep. Clement panel of 8-10 people.
In the end, there was nothing unique about either panel. Neither member of Congress was present. A handful of staffers were there.
After I got a nominations from Frist for the Naval Academy and thought I wasn't getting one for the Merchant Marine Academy, I called his office and asked for one.... and got it.... and then a week later the USMMA letter came from Clement's office. I guess I was just impatient.
The congressional process adds nothing. It's a "I want to keep my turf" exercise by a group of people concerned about re-election. It's a joke, and we know there are far far more nominations than class spots. But I wouldn't put it by the staffers to eliminate some folks who would likely do very well, while other staffs just check for a pulse.... and then sign the letter.
It's very sad that your view of the process is a joke. A multitude before you went through the process and many more after you will do the same. The majority of young men and women that inquire on this forum need a much more positive and constructive outlook. There are plenty of alumni and active service members that have a more encouraging slant and do not share your cynicism.
Whether or not you agree with LITS there are a few things you should remember:
1) This post is on the USCGA Forum thread where the nominations are not required so stating that the men and women who inquire of this forum "need a much more positive feedback and constructive outlook" is incorrect. if they are looking to apply to USCGA, they need not have any outlook on the appointment process.
2) If we give every post a "more encouraging slant" and "do not share [our] cynicism" we do every single person who comes to this website a disservice. We are not here to be the vocal cords of the service academies and spout off propaganda and advertisements, we are here to provide a realistic approach and look at them. We don't mollycoddle anyone with things they want to hear. I don't understand why it would be any different when talking about the appointment process than it would be when talking about Beast, Swab Summer, or Boot.
3) A multitude of people can do something because it has to be done whether or not they agree with it. Just because a bunch of people in the past have done it does not qualify it as good, it merely means that a lot of people have put up with a flawed system because the ends justified the means.
4) Finally, keep in mind that LITS is a graduate of a US Federal Service Academy, has been a commissioned officer in the United States Military and is entitled to have his opinion and to have it respected on this forum. It's difficult for the opinion of a parent of a C4C (freshman) to compare with his in my humble opinion.
Just to be fair now, I will tell you that I am a cadet first class at the United States Coast Guard Academy. That is my credential. I have endured 3.86 years at this fine institution and am slated to commission in a month. You may challenge my assertions at will.
1)Why shouldn't an applicant have any outlook on the appointment process? Many applicants don't just apply to one SA.
2)I leave it up to any individual to ascertain what is useful or trash. A balanced and realistic approach without sugarcoating is best.
3)If the end justifies the means? Are the current appointees any less deserving because the appointment/nomination process is flawed? These young men/women that are considering service through the military where it's all about order and discipline- should they have to belittle and discredit the bureacracy that they have to go through?
4)Everyone is entitled to their opinion. By no means should a difference in opinion be a sign of disrespect. You can feel entitled to anything you want.
I am not going to stoop and flash my credential or rank. I'm actively participating in a discussion of which the last time I checked was what this forum is for.
No, no, by all means, flash that credential.
1. They are having an outlook, and the outlook for some is "Congressional nominations are dumb." The Coast Guard has had to fight off the push for CGA to have nominations multiple times. Google it. There was on such push in the past few years. I would venture to guess, USMA, USNA, USMMA and USAFA aren't the proponents of Congressional nominations, but they do have to "deal" with it.
2. You want me to hail the congressional nomination process and I won't. There was once an assistant principal at my high school who would actually list his West Point congressional nomination in his bio. Did he get in? No. Everyone who is offered an appointment has a nomination. There are many nominees who are never accepted. I appreciated the process, but please, let's not give it more weight than it deserves.
3. Nominees aren't deserving of anything but a sheet of paper saying you're a nominee. People with appointments aren't any less "deserving" at an academy that requires a nominations than people at CGA, BUT I do think the nomination process doesn't allow the total number of great applications to have a chance to compete for a spot. Basically, I think competition is fiercer when Congress isn't involved.
4. I agree. So I wonder why you had an entire post just attacking mine.
Separate names with a comma.