Offer to USCGA Prep/Scholars

Discussion in 'Service Academy Preparatory Schools' started by No1Fanof2, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    So I have been ear marking threads since the news hit the USCGA2020 thread. The kid and family only thought 2 decisions out of 4 for EA would be the outcome. Now as a parent I am really out of my comfort zone to offer advice for this new opportunity.

    From my thread research I have found out the following. Please correct me if I have misunderstood any of it. I have questions too.

    1. With USCGA offer to attend the scholars program the cadet returns to USCGA for basics. 3 weeks?
    When you finish at x prep school are you directly appointed to USCGA?
    Do you still attend swab summer after your year at the prepschool?
    How are transportation costs paid for to USCGA summer to prepschool?

    2. Attendance to prep school and successful completion and passing grades are transferable units.
    What courses will you take during your year at prep school?
    If you take CAL, Chem (the cadet killer courses) are you retaking it once again at USCGA? With this question will you retake any of the classes taken a prep school back at CGA?

    3. Are you allowed to have a vehicle on campus? I think I read yes but not sure if I have this confused with self prep and appointed scholars.

    4. 2 possible prep schools. Which institute? How is the decision made?

    5. Time frame to accept. USCGA is the #1 choice, plan B is not known (NROTC scholarship) colleges 1,2,4,5 will not have a decision for acceptance until after the acceptance deadline date for scholars program. So the mind set getting on this ride was either get accepted, rejected or wait listed. Did not think application would be considered for prep.
    If you accept the scholars program are you locked into it if plan B comes through? What penalties will follow if any?

    6. Athletics are available.
    What happens when your sport is not available?
    How does this effect your ability to play the sport at CGA after the year?

    7. Time at prep goes towards federal service. Does it go towards additional time required if you get into flight school?

    8. What happens if you don't make the cut after prep school 10 mos later? Do you pay back prep school? What happens if get injured at prep school?

    9. Who should we contact for more questions?

    THANKS IN ADVANCE.

    Mom
     
  2. Physicsguru

    Physicsguru Member

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    Congratulations on the offer to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars program. CGAS is a great way for a student to be better prepared for the academy. CGAS students have a higher retention at the academy in the first year than the direct appoints, and for the past three years have a higher retention than the general population.

    First, for the points of contact. The Coast Guard Academy Admissions has a webpage for the Scholars program at http://www.uscga.edu/admissions2.aspx?id=2031. There will likely be changes coming to things like the calendar and some phone numbers, but that's a good place to start. There is also a link to the Scholars handbook (as of 2014) which can answer many frequently asked questions. At the bottom of the page is an email link to the director of the CGAS program, LT Christian Herold. Any questions you may have you can send them to him.

    So how does the program work? The admissions department identifies students that have qualities that are desired for the incoming class, but need some additional academic preparation. Those students are offered CGAS, and they do their prep year either at Marion Military Institute in Alabama, or Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. Students are assigned to their prep school, with two-thirds to three-quarters of the students historically sent to MMI. While at prep they take a year of General Chemistry, Composition, Math (either pre-calculus or calculus), and General Physics (Trig based). These are all required by the academy; students cannot validate out of these courses with AP credit. In addition, students will take Army ROTC courses as well as regular physical training sessions.

    Students arrive at CGA in July, where they attend a three week CGAS indoctrination. On the first day, the scholars will take the oath of enlistment and become active duty members of the Coast Guard. While at CGA, they will do basic training and administrative requirements for the program. Upon completion, the scholars will be flown to their prep schools to begin the prep school training periods. The students, while active duty Coast Guardsmen, will become members of the prep school's Corps of Cadets, and will wear prep cadet uniforms and follow the regulations of the prep school. Upon successful completion of the prep year, the students will receive their appointments to the CGA class of 2021, be sent home, and their enlistment contracts are terminated. They then report in on R-Day in June and start swab summer with their classmates.

    And now for your questions. I've already answered most of the first question, except to say that the Coast Guard will pay for transportation for the scholar from home to the academy for indoc, will provide transport to the prep school, and will reimburse for travel home at the end of the prep year.

    2) As I mentioned before, the scholars take Chem, English, Math, and Physics. These are all college level courses, and the scholar will earn college credits for these courses. These credits are not transferred to the academy, though a student can take a validation exam and show they can fulfill the requirements for a course. Chemistry, English, and Calculus are similar to courses taught at CGA and can be validated. If not validated, the student will have to take these courses at CGA. There is no pre-calculus equivalent at the academy, and the physics at the prep schools is trigonometry based, where the physics at the academy is calculus based. More importantly scholars learn how to handle college level courses in a strict, time-constrained environment. Scholars develop study habits at prep school that will last them their entire academic careers.

    3) Students may keep a vehicle at the prep school. This is a decision that is left to the individuals. Having a car on campus does offer some flexibility for weekend activities, but also provides temptation to leave campus when a student really should be studying.

    4) Answered earlier. Prep school assignments will likely be made in April/May, so please do not start admissions applications to the prep schools until then. The Academy will not forward any admissions documents to the prep schools, so you'll have to go through the full admissions process at the prep schools. This is because each school is a separate entity and has various state and federal laws involving documentation that must be followed. However, once a student is accepted into CGAS, they will be automatically accepted into their prep school.

    5) Please contact LT Herold as far as deadlines. If your student accepts, that's fine. If your student changes his/her mind and wants to attend the plan B institution, please let LT Herold know as soon as possible. There is a wait list for scholars, and the sooner LT Herold is notified, the sooner one of those alternates can get the slot.

    6) The prep schools do have limited intercollegiate athletics. If your scholar wants to participate, they're more than welcome to. By an NCAA ruling, a scholar in intercollegiate athletics at prep school does not use any eligibility. This means athletes will have a full four years of competition available at the academy. Having said that, CGAS is an academic scholarship, and so many students decide to forgo a year of competition in order to have stronger academics. CGA coaches are very supportive of that decision, preferring to have a student be able to maintain grades through the entire four years at the academy. If a student doesn't participate in athletics, there are athletic facilities at each prep school where they can maintain their physical fitness.

    7) Scholars, unlike academy cadets, are active duty in the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will pay a portion of the scholars' tuition, the prep schools provide the rest of the tuition cost. However, the scholars are responsible for room and board, books, fees, and prep school uniform costs. As the scholars are getting pay and benefits as Guardsmen, they have more than enough money in pay to pay these debts and actually save a large amount of money over the year. Essentially, they are hired by the Coast Guard and their job is to go to school. In addition, the time at prep school does count as time in service toward retirement. It does not count toward the obligated service that a cadet gets from attending the academy, or for going through flight training. The main benefit to the prep time in service is scholars will get pay raises 10 months before their classmates, and are eligible to retire 10 months before as well.

    8) If a scholar doesn't make the grades at the end of the prep year, they do not get the appointment. There is no payback requirement for the tuition, and since all the other benefits are based on pay, that does not need to be repaid, either. The student will have whatever college credits they've earned, and are more than welcome to stay at the prep school an additional year to earn their Associate's degree. Now, if a student is withdrawn during the year, for misconduct, for example, that student may have to pay back the tuition the Coast Guard has paid, as well as any tuition offset offered by the prep school. In summary: stay out of trouble and you won't get burned!
    As far as injuries or illness is concerned, because they are Guardsmen the medical cost is fully covered. The Academy will often give the entire prep year to allow a student to rehabilitate. If a student is unable to attend class, then we start getting into deeper issues like medical qualification to attend the Academy, but, in my personal opinion as a private person, there likely won't be a payback requirement.

    9) As I said above, please contact LT Herold for any questions you may have. You can also get more information about the prep schools at http://www.gmc.edu/ for GMC, and at http://marionmilitary.edu/ for MMI. I'll also monitor this thread and answer any questions that may come up. You may also be interested in following the CGAS program facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/14986475457/.

    Happy holidays!
     
  3. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    Incorrect. CGA cadets are active duty military, specified in Federal Law.

     
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  4. Physicsguru

    Physicsguru Member

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    My mistake, Freda'sMom. Academy students do get full medical benefits, as well as cadet pay. They do not receive housing allowances as they are living in their dormitories. However, time as a cadet/midshipman does not count toward time in service for purposes of pay or retirement. Obligated service time begins on the date of commission. Obligated service also resets if an officer graduates from flight school.
     
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  5. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    ^ and^^, ^^^
    Reading absorbing all of this. Although this will not be my decision to make I have to know as a parent how the process works for plan C(or whatever plan it needs to be calle) It hits I am sure all scholar kids as a rejection at first. Not knowing about the scholars program and the benefits can change a first impression. IMO I wish I was 18 with this opportunity, but at 18 I would be seeing it probably not much differently than the dd. I will post more questions later after looking at the link and prep schools website. Sitting out for the sport 1 year is not a bad thing seeing the Tiger Aviation program might perk up some ears.

    Stay tuned have a Merry Christmas!!!
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Since we are down in the "exception weeds," it is my understanding for USMMA midshipmen, while USMMA is a Federal academy, it does not offer full medical benefits, due to those mids not being active duty as the other 4 SA's are. And, the time at those 4 SA's can be factored into later Federal service (civilian) retirement but not Armed Forces retirement. The joys of layers and layers of policies and rules.
     
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  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    OP, if your kid's goal is to be a CG officer via the USCGA, this is the golden ticket. Prep kids tend to adjust very well to Plebe year and a lot of the stress directs have they have already done such as living away from home. They will be well prepared for swab summer and the academic year. It might feel like a rejection, but soon (and it might not be until a few weeks into swab year they figure out how much that year will help) they realize this is an amazing opportunity.
     
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  8. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    The time as a cadet/mid at a military academy does not count toward time in service for military retirement, but it does count as Active Federal Service for retirement purposes if you later take a job with the Government.
     
  9. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    Good friends of dd came home for break (college, rotc, enlisted) and her NJROTC instructors gave her some good words of advice this week at school. I think she is good to go with CGAS. She still wants to see the results for NROTC but had pulled her AFROTC application. :)
     
  10. TampaDad

    TampaDad Member

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    It seems like a big question would be, which service does she want to serve in? My understanding is you can't switch from NROTC/AFROTC/AROTC to Coast Guard down the line. CGAS sounds like a great opportunity if DD wants to serve in the Coast Guard. There are lots of positives to it and only one draw back that I can think of (delays the Academy by a year). If she is leaning towards ROTC because she likes the idea of attending a traditional university while still ending up an officer, she could always look into CSPI (Coast Guard's pseudo-ROTC). But again, which branch does she prefer?
     
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  11. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    Not sure of your dd's status yet. However, my son did CGAS at MMI, and this year was CGAS cadre. There are so many advantages to CGAS, many of which PhysicsGuru has listed. When they report for R-Day, its way less of a big deal. Direct appointments who get CGAS or prior service CG are the lucky ones over Swab Summer. The 3 week orientation prior to the academic year is tough. It is basically the seven weeks of Swab Summer with all the fun stuff taken out. When DS did Cadet for a Day, one of the cadets at his table was former CGAS. She recommeded taking it. While we were waiting for an appointment decision I asked DS if they offered CGAS would he take it? He said in a heartbeat. Was it easy? No. Was it good for him? Yes.

    For someone wanting to attend CGA this is the opportunity, "the golden ticket" as mentioned. Keep your nose clean, learn, and CGA appointment is yours, with money in the bank besides. As a plus, your DS will already know 10-20% of her class when she shows up at R-Day. She can request to have herself and a friend placed in the same Swab Summer company, and that remains through 4/C year (that was true for CGA 2017, could change). Some of that CGAS class are still tight. I see pictures of some of them at CGA games, and they're hanging together.

    As a parent, you also will have met parents and made friends who will be there at R-Day as well. What's more, there are plenty of parents (if not cadets) who wish that their direct appointment could have gone through CGAS, and why isn't it given to everyone.

    I've mentioned this is other posts, and so have others. The Coast Guard, and CGA is a very small, tight family. CGA is not like a regular college experience, but it is outstanding.
     
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  12. Momofcga2021

    Momofcga2021 New Member

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    My son has accepted his offer to CGAS without hesitation. I was secretly praying for it for him, as he is still 17 and can benefit immensely from this program. He likely could have handled a direct appointment, however, despite my very high opinion of him, after reading other threads of freshman struggles despite being at the top of a high school class, I was relieved he was offered CGAS. He is so sure of his career choice, one additional year in exchange for being more prepared for CGA is a win-win! The Coast Guard first caught his eye in first grade, and did not want to have to go to a regular college, so he knew he would accept CGAS if offered. Our family feels very blessed he was offered this opportunity! Maybe we will meet next July in CT No1Fanof2!
     
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  13. nigel

    nigel Member

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    My DD was a CGAS at MMI for the 13-14 academic year, she is now a 3rd class cadet at CGA. Just to expand a little on what has already been said, please forgive me if I am repeating information...

    2 possible prep schools. Which institute? How is the decision made?
    I asked Daniel Pinch this question, and he said there really isn't any formula or criteria. DD's coach indicated that he could request she attend a certain school but don't know if it was a guarantee.

    The two schools are very different. GMI has much newer facilities and is in a cute little college town. The Scholars who went there really enjoyed their year at GMI. MMI is quite isolated in a very economically depressed rural area and is kind of shabby. However, MMI has the better academics and it seems the instructors are more accessible. DD did NOT enjoy her year in Alabama, but does think that she and the other MMI Scholars were better prepared.

    What happens when your sport is not available?
    How does this effect your ability to play the sport at CGA after the year?

    DD's sport is not offered at MMI. She essentially didn't participate in her sport for a year, except a few times recreationally. While I am glad she had a break after years of the stress on her body and competing, I do think her abilities and skills suffered, and when at CGA she did not perform as she did in high school. She still was able to play her sport, however.

    Also, a word about money... DD received a regular paycheck as an E2 (?) in the CG. She also received a housing and food stipend which she directly turned around and paid to MMI. She never saw any kind of bill for tuition. She DID have to pay for books.

    Another nice little perk of CGAS no one mentions is that uniforms are provided. As a CGA cadet you pay for your own uniforms. Enlisted Scholars are given uniforms. The nice thing is that you can still wear the enlisted uniforms as a CGA cadet - all that is different is the distinguishing stuff on the uniforms. But the basics - shirts, pants, coats - is the same. Plus, your MMI uniforms will be provided as well, and there are a LOT of different uniforms worn at MMI. It seems like every day requires a different uniform.

    We later learned that DDs application was kind of a quandary to CGA admissions, as they couldn't decide whether to offer her CGAS or a direct admit. We are VERY glad she was given the CGAS opportunity, as it made for a much smoother transition not only to the rigors of college, but military life in general. She didn't exactly enjoy her CGAS year, but she agrees that it was very beneficial.

    Your son has been offered such a wonderful opportunity!! Congratulations to him!!!

    Nicole
     
  14. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    Thank you Nicole. Happy to say my DD is looking forward to her scholars year.

    She was proudly wearing a USCGA wind breaker and baseball cap (picked up last spring at CGA )at Disney during a Leadership seminar. While waiting in line, one of the gate attendants noticed the emblem and asked if she was in the CG. She told them no but would be attending college at CGA after her scholar year. He thanked her for future career to serve and then proceeded to announce it to all the people in line. Everyone clapped. Many other people stopped to talk to her throughout the day. The next day she wore her HS team logo apparel...
    She was very happy to talk with people who approached her but she was not ready for all of the attention. Her wind breaker and cap were very low keyed btw.

    Today as I was telling her and sis goodbye for practice I mentioned her CGA colors she was wearing. I asked her if she was sorta proud of herself? She said yes and walked off with a big smile. lil sis walked behind and said very proudly as she always does..she is a BA, mom.
     
  15. Michelle Moore

    Michelle Moore New Member

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    I have a dd who is currently a CGAS at GMC with her fingers crossed that she will get an appointment to the USCGA (calculus is getting the best of her and 7 of her fellow cadets!).

    She has actually enjoyed the majority of her time in Georgia and was just promoted to Squad Leader and Platoon Sergent for Study Hall Formation.

    The work load is difficult and the physical requirements are demanding but she continues to face-time home with a huge smile on her face. She is actually looking forward to swab summer and hopes to become a cadre.

    Her ultimate goal is to be part of the Search and Rescue team.

    Michelle
     
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  16. Keystone_Dad

    Keystone_Dad Member

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    DS got the call yesterday for CGS program. Now he'll have to choose between it and a AROTC scholarship at a civilian college. We feel blessed. Not sure what he will do, but it is nice to know he has earned some choices.
     

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