Not Sure about going to USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by BillT, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. BillT

    BillT Member

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    My son has an appointment but is not sure he want to go to that kind of ridgid college. He has been to both NASS and CVW and enjoyed both, but he is having a difficut time picking bewteen ROTC and USNA. I have told him a opportunity like this only comes once in a lifetime, any advise on either side of the coin would be helpful, thanks a great deal.

    :confused:
     
  2. harmi

    harmi Member

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    If your son has ANY doubts, then he should not go to USNA. Plebe year is grueling and very demanding. If he has any second thoughts, back out now. You are right about the opportunity only once, however, there are many out there waiting for his spot. If his heart and soul are NOT completely committed to the Academy, then he should resign his offer of appointment. just my opinion. If it were my son and he was having doubts, I'd counsel him NOT to go to USNA. Best of Luck with his decision!!
     
  3. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Remember the day our kids were born and reality hit that we were responsible for another life for the next 18 years! How foolish that thinking was! Now we know that parenting extends far beyond those first 18 years - LOL!!

    Give him the freedom to decide. He needs to talk it out and maybe a parent (for a variety of reasons) is not the best person to do this with. It could be pre-I Day jitters and once he gets there he will be fine..... OR he could be having serious second thoughts where his heart truly is not in it.

    One "trick" is to flip a coin. Literally. Pick one side USNA and the otherside ROTC. After you flip watch the expression on his face. His immediate reaction will give you a good indication where he is headed.

    One downside to all the accolades of winning an appointment is that it's easy for parents and the community to get 'caught up' in the excitement. I know two kids who got caught up and left their academy very soon after arriving. One was a young man who had visited, received his appointment early, didn't apply anywhere else. After 4 hours he DOR'd - knowing it was not for him. He admitted to his parents on the ride home that he had second thoughts but never expressed them because everyone was so excited for him.
    Another was a young lady who applied because her best friend was recruited. She got an LOA, didn't apply anywhere else, the local paper did a very nice article about the best friends going to the academy, her parents, family and school were thrilled. She left after 4 days, went home and applied and got into UDel. Her family was embarrassed and humilated.

    Assure him that this is his decision and while you are willing to be a sounding board you won't influence it. Some kids want the parent to decide for them, so they will have someone to 'blame' when/if it doesn't work out. He can make this decision - he has all the information and tools he needs.
    Good Luck!
     
  4. fairwinds

    fairwinds Member

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    BillT, first off, congrats to your son!

    My son is in the same situation, and all I can say to you, is this: Be sure it is his decision. I have discussed ROTC vs. SA with my son (because he asked for advice), but I believe utimately, if he doesn't make his own decision, he will not make it when the going gets tough and it will!!! I think too many people get caught up in the "hype" of the SA's and I think that puts alot of pressure on the kid to take the appointment instead of the ROTC opportunity at a civ college. If the "mission is the commission" like it is for most (if not all) of these kids, then they can get it either way. If your son is voicing concern about the "ridgity" of a SA, then ROTC may be the way to go for him. I am surprised by the number of kids who don't realize that there will be no TV, internet, phone etc. until they get to the SA. (Don't understand how this happens, but I have heard it alot!)

    This is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth! Good luck to your son in his decision!!!
     
  5. EagleMom238

    EagleMom238 Member

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    same boat

    We're in the same boat. Son attended NASS, had a blast, surprised since he's been AFA-minded from the get-go. Attended AFA SAME camp, came back wary of academy life. Has NROTC sholarship, AFA waiver, haven't heard from academies. Another surprise when he hesitated to sign go-ahead for AFROTC: "If I get an academy appointment, I'd rather have that." Dad gung-ho about USNA, I'm unsure. Going forward with NROTC if nothing else surfaces. Good luck with your decision.
     
  6. skc

    skc Member

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    Based on advice from BGO, current Mids(friends kids), USNA graduates, USNA admissions and CVW leaders; USNA success requires 100% commitment. Second guessing and less than full commitment results in a less than content Mid.

    If appointed daughter will have same decision. She was accepted and awarded NROTC Scholarship to her first choice school. She grew up always wanting to attend this school. A very good friend of hers (current 2nd yr Mid) recently told her during CVW, knowing what she knows now, NROTC Scholarship would have been very tempting especially when NROTC and USNA end up the same.

    Tough decision good luck and congratulations on two awesome opportunities for your candidate
     
  7. fladad

    fladad New Member

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    There is a big difference between "not sure" and "not wanting" to attend. second thoughts are normal. As parents we need to continue to help our kids make tough decisions because they are still kids and we know what is best for them.

    30 years ago I had a brother have those same second thoughts. Luckily my parents challenged him to put those thoughts behind him and give it his best efforts. He went on to graduate from USAFA and to this day is extremely thankful for the advice and direction.

    Service academies are obviously grueling. But if you feel your child has the ability to succeed then by all means do everything in your power to make him try it. The reason he got the appointment is because everyone involved in the decision making process thinks he's qualified. Don't let him make a poor decision that he may regret for the rest of his life because he has somm reservations. That's different then flat out not wanting to attend. JMO
     
  8. House06

    House06 Member

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    I respectfully disagree with FlaDad. Daughter has SA appts and AROTC scholarship to dream school that she has wanted to attend since 4th grade. Husband is SA grad. We have our preferences. But we also realize that at 18, daughter is choosing what she believes will be the best path for her. She will be the one to attend that school and "suck it up" and go forth into the world on the other end. Can she make it in SA environment? Absolutely! But the real issue is does she have a burning desire to do so? Only she can answer that question. Yes, there is a difference between a little doubt and "nerves" and full-blown indecision and major doubt and only the student can ultimately distinguish between the two.

    In the end, our daughter will choose and will move on to successfully pursuing a quality college education and preparing to serve her country in uniform, the color of the uniform, the name of the university on her diploma and the mission she ultimately chooses is up to her. Yes, it is stressful, but a necessary part of the "growing up " process in letting your children make adult decisions which do not come equipped with "do over" buttons.

    I am very glad to hear that others are in the "same boat" ( no pun intended) as we are.
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The above posters have said it well. I think most kids have some doubt -- it's a huge unknown and so very unlike anything they've done before. Serious doubts, OTOH, can be the first sign that USNA may not be right for him/her.

    The #1 reason people leave USNA is that they realized it wasn't right for them/what they wanted/what they expected, etc. Compounding this are often outside sources (parents, teachers, friends, etc.) who encourage the kid to attend -- "it's such a great opportunity," "how can you turn it down?", "17,000 people wanted to be in your place," etc.

    I suggest having you son consider why he has doubts. What is he worried about? He won't like it -- what doesn't he think he won't like? Can ROTC ameliorate some of those issues -- or not.

    Whatever you do, please don't pressure him, directly or indirectly, to go. I know it's hard not to but, in the long run, both of you will be sorry. It has to be 100% his choice, even if he has a few doubts along the way.:wink:
     
  10. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking Member

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    I have two nephews - the older one is about to graduate from USNA. His younger brother also received an appointment to USNA but declined it to accept an NROTC scholarship at a prestigious university. Two brothers with different personalities, different temperaments, who are both receiving outstanding educations and will both end up as Navy officers. The older one only wanted USNA - nothing else appealed to him. The younger one wanted the more classic college experience and has even joined a fraternity :eek: !

    The important thing is to know yourself and have no regrets about your decision. Those who end up declining their appointments may free up a spot for a waiting candidate who wants USNA with all their heart and soul! :thumb:
     
  11. wingnut

    wingnut Member

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    one last visit...

    Perhaps...., just perhaps, one last trip to USNA and the ROTC school will help your son make the decision of his lifetime. Seeing both schools, without the formality of being in a "program" which to some extent, is "staged" will allow the environment of the institution to settle into his bones, and see which one is the better fit. If this were my child, I would drop him off for a few hours, and let him wander, alone, and search his sole. It will be well worth the trip! WOW, what a great "problem". C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S to both you and your child for the success which will, no doubt, come through which ever path is chosen.:thumb:
     
  12. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    There's a lot of good advice in this thread. Although a strong commitment to the Naval Academy is nice - it is not required. There are a surprising number of candidates who show up on I-Day who are apprehensive, not just about the impending trials & tribulations of Plebe year, but of their desire to be in the Navy or Marine Corps. Many do not know that much about the Navy. How can a kid from the corn fields of Nebraska really know whether he would enjoy being on a ship, or submarine, or flying through the air?

    I think that's normal.

    The academy experience is designed to educate the midshipmen, not only academics, but in the possibilities they have in military service. Nobody can FULLY be sure they are doing the right thing. But you can never know unless you give it a try.

    I was one of those. I grew up in St. Louis and my dad was an insurance salesman. It was not a long time dream of mine to go to a service academy. I ran across a Naval Academy catalog early in my Junior year of high school, paged through it, and was more entranced with the application process than I was with the notion of serving my country and being in the Navy. To me, it was an application game. Writing my senators? Cool! I'm gonna do that!

    I did everything that was required of me. The next thing I know is that I received a nomination, quickly followed by an appointment to the Class of 1979.

    Oh.

    What do I do now? I really hadn't considered that this would happen. Oh well - what the heck - off I go to the United States Naval Academy.

    During Plebe Summer, pretty quickly, I discovered I really was not very interested in any of that "nautical stuff." I hated seamanship. I hated being on YPs (Yard Patrol craft). I REALLY hated Youngster cruise and that solidified my desire NOT to go SWO (Surface Warfare Officer).

    On many occasions, I thought to myself, "Man, am *I* ever at the wrong school."

    But slowly ... ever so slowly ... I started feeling more comfortable at the academy. I majored in Aerospace Engineering, mostly because it seemed the farthest removed from all that "nautical stuff." I ended up graduating, going to flight school, and LOVING it!

    Today, I am a pilot with a major airline (for the past 24 yrs) and am very happy with the life I have stumbled into.

    Now I have TWO sons attending the Naval Academy. They didn't go there all that gung-ho, either. They are off to a flying start and are seriously considering pursuing the Medical Corps.

    Just remember this: NOBODY has ever regretted graduating from the Naval Academy.

    Tell your son - "If you want to be in the Navy - don't you want to go to the Navy's premiere officer training program?"

    I don't think he has to be 100% committed. And I wouldn't be concerned that he's not. It can still work out. I think it's commendable that he's able to articulate his concerns instead of burying them.

    If he goes to the Naval Academy - I'll bet he'll do GREAT and even surprise himself.
     
  13. fladad

    fladad New Member

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    Great post Memphis 9489, How many people would have not taken jobs, not got married, not gone to college I could go on and on, if they didn't try something because they had a 2nd thought or 2?

    I'm also sure their are plenty of people who didn't last a week at a service academy even though they were 100% commited the day they started.
     
  14. DMeix

    DMeix Retired Staff Member

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    If he's considering NROTC vs. USNA, I guess we can assume he's committed to being a naval officer...so the issue is how he gets there.

    I did a year at UW in Seattle before coming here. Now, I have fond memories of ROTC and some great experiences, great friends I still keep in touch with (and see often since they came to VA for TBS)...but I wouldn't trade anything for my four years here.

    While both ROTC and USNA grads wear the same bars and are both called 'sir', their respective experience is noticable. The exposure to the Fleet offered at USNA is unmatched by any ROTC unit. There are officers from every branch and every warfare specialty for mids to talk to and make informed decisions for service selection. One lament of my buddy from UW was that he wanted to go EOD, but had no contacts with the community to learn anything other than what the internet could tell him or the (very) limited advice offered by his advisor (an NFO).

    Where else can the SWOtivators get weekly practice conning a ship (if you can call a YP a ship...), or give the devil-pups such easy access to the O-course, and nearly every pilot-select graduates with IFS completed before going to P-cola. Nowhere else are SEAL or EOD selects going to get better preparation for BUD/S or Dive schools. Speaking with the SEAL community manager in DC a few weeks ago, I learned that USNA grads have a 90% success rate at BUD/S compared to the overall officer pass rate of 65%. For that reason, USNA will be getting 35 SEAL billets for 2012 (Don't quote me on that, but that's what the CDR told me). That's up from this year's 27, and a huge increase considering 10 years ago there were only 15-16 SEALs each year.

    The biggest issue people on this forum seem to be discussing is how he's going to handle Plebe Summer and Plebe year. This is a very short-sighted approach, in my opinion. They both seem like a lifetime ago and it's only been about 4 years. The difference between Plebe year and the following 3 is like night and day. Graduation and commissioning should always be what he's thinking of....not simply surviving one step of the process. It is by no means the end-all, be-all of one's Academy experience.

    In the four year program, 7 weeks of wearing white works and 9 months of running around and yelling menu items is a small issue.

    Again, I don't know your son, but make sure he really thinks about the opportunities available, and isn't just making a comfort-based decision. Not to be trite, but it's definitely true that it's not always easy, but I think it's sure has hell been worth it.
     
  15. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    My son has gone through this same decision. Didn't expect an appointment. Didn't expect all three ROTC scholarships. Didn't expect getting into several schools. I believe he honestly thought he'd get 1 scholarship to 1 school and the decision would be taken out of his hands. Woooops!

    It became the time to grow up and realize you have to make a decision. When the appointment came he became very quiet. He voiced the 'I might want a regular college experience' concerns. We told him to talk to as many people that he wants, go through all the websites of all the schools and the different branches of military, and he spoke to military recruiters and ROTC PMS about opportunities. For two weeks he was very, very quiet. Didn't come downstairs to watch TV with us, left early for school and came home late. And then one morning he came downstairs, signed the acceptance and the decision was over.

    They just need time to think it through, on their own.


    My older son received AROTC to IU and was waiting on USAFA with 2 noms. The back and forth went on forever and when the TWE came for him and I saw the relief on his face, I knew that someone else made the right decision for him. Every kid is different.
     
  16. USNA

    USNA Member

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    After an extended CVW, which included speaking with several Marine Corps officers, We all realized the enormity of the USNA course. On the last day of our visit,I told my son, "If you really want to go to that school, I think you're crazy, but I'll support you. Don't go there because you want to make us proud. We're already proud of you." This was intended to put the decision squarely on his shoulders. I have no regrets for telling him what I did. The CVW visit convinced him, even though it was a bit of reality shock for us all.

    Next month he'll make the Herndon climb, and has absolutely no regrets. This life is not for everyone. It is very regimented, stressful, fun, exciting, purposeful, exhausting, and wonderful. But, not all at the same time! Let's just say USNA is "VERY".

    I wish you all, all the best in finding the right college.
     
  17. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    I am in agreement 100% with Memphis 9489


    RGK
     
  18. jakeUSNA9

    jakeUSNA9 Member

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    He shouldnt go if he is doubting it leave it open to someone who wants to go. Congrats on the appt. however
     

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