Offered Falcon Scholarship, but appointed to USMA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by DeVakhan, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. DeVakhan

    DeVakhan Member

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    My son received an appointment to West Point, but also received an offer of a Falcon Scholarship to USAFA. He's always wanted to be in the Air Force, but he has a guaranteed appointment to the USMA. I've heard kids actually do better at the Academies if they have been through the prep school. He's only had Pre-Calc, and did well, so I'm wondering if the Falcon Scholarship would help him get a good grip on Calculus so when/if he goes to USAFA he'll be up to speed.

    He liked the idea of going to West Point, but is wondering if USAFA is a better fit for him. Is a good "chance" of getting to USAFA worth giving up an appointment he already has? I know this is almost impossible to answer, but I thought there might be somebody else out there who's been through this and might have some helpful comments or suggestions to help.

    It's zero dark thirty here and I'm wondering what to tell him, such is the life of a parent. I know when my son wakes up he will find out he has a Falcon scholarship and he'll be looking to me for advice.
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    DeVakhan,

    My suggestion, as a dad of a USAFA cadet, is to help your son think carefully through what he really wants to do once he graduates from a Service Academy. USAFA and USMA are preparing cadets for different roles as a Second Lt. Our DS started the application to USMA but he decided that USAFA and the AF was a better fit for him so he only finished the USAFA application. After completing his first year at USAFA, he acknowledged that in retrospect he saw clearly that he really needed that year of preparation that the Falcon scholarship had provided. I don't know the drop rate at USMA, but a good number of USAFA cadets do not graduate as they cannot handle the academics on top of all the other expectations and activities. DS had USAFA squadmates with decimal GPA's after the first semester. There is just no way to recover from that deficit so of course they have gone on to other opportunities. For our DS who wanted to be an AF officer, the Falcon scholarship was the right choice. He found the size, culture and opportunities in the AF attractive and no he never wanted to be a pilot.

    Work with your son to assist him is determining the best choice for him remembering that there are no guarantees in this journey. A few years ago, a USAFA appointee broke his ankle getting off the bus on I-Day. He tried to return the following year but was unable to make it and he has moved on to other opportunities as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
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  3. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    First let men say YEAH! and Double Congrats! We should all have these "Prob;ems" It is so hard to turn down a bird in hand.

    I was going to say the same thing as Blackbird. DS really needs to look at the missions and lifestyle of the 2 services, they are very different. Another thing to consider is Age. My son went as an older Plebe, 191/2 when he left, that Little bit of extra age really helps steady a young man, plus gets him further through the growing stage so he is not a sleepy, has more bulk etc. Math Prep is HUGE building on that good foundation. Try to get him to understand there is no rush in life. Really hard at this age.

    My husbands favorite line "Do the right thing now, it will make things easier later" .

    I am not saying Falcon IS the right, just maybe the harder decision. No easy answers, but then no bad options either! He is in the drivers seat now don't angst Enjoy!
     
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  4. DeVakhan

    DeVakhan Member

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    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. My son was initially gung ho for the Air Force, but since USAFA took so long to reply, he's sort of has convinced himself USMA would have been a better choice anyway. My son does fine with academics if he applies himself, but he is a born leader. His USMA liaison officer told him that if he wants to focus on machines, go into the Air Force, but if he wants to be a leader, go to West Point. I don't how much of this was esprit de corps, and how much was propaganda. But he did tell my son his Academics was in the middle of the pack as far as historical appointees are concerned, but also told him his leadership accomplishments/traits was "off the charts."

    He was offered 4 year scholarships from all the services, but felt an appointment to any of the Academies would be too great an offer to pass up. I'm personally leaning towards advising him to accept the Falcon Scholarship because we are already an Air Force family and he knows the lifestyle, and has siblings in the Air Force. I also think the prep work would better prepare him to succeed once he's at the Academy. No matter how good a leader he is, if he goes to the USMA and can't keep up Academically, it won't matter.

    I wish I knew what to tell him...
     
  5. DeVakhan

    DeVakhan Member

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    Do the right thing, that's my motto as well. Especially as a parent. I think a little more academic prep, and maturity would go a long way as well. Thanks!
     
  6. academyorbust2020

    academyorbust2020 Member

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    My DS just turned down his direct appt to USCGA for USNA Foundation. It was just what he felt was right for him. Preferred USNA and their mission. He is looking forward to his prep year since he knows he will be much better prepared academically.
     
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  7. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Go Navy! Beat Army!
     
  8. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Interesting that you say this. I know a prof at USAFA (also a grad) who said that USMA really does focus more on leadership. They have to given what they do... Look at the missions for each service and you can see why. Army is "boots on the ground", AF is air/space/cyberspace

    EDIT- I'm NOT saying USAFA doesn't train good leaders. That's not where I'm going. They train leaders with a different mission. What mission is your son interested in doing?
     
  9. DeVakhan

    DeVakhan Member

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    Hello, thanks for the comments. We have a neighbor who used to teach at USAFA and he pretty much said the same thing. However, he said the quality of life in the Air Force is substantially better. But he suggested that he think about what he wants to do in the future and then figure out the best way to get there. If he had received a direct appointment to USAFA it would have been an easier decision. But such is life.. As our professor neighbor also said "an embarrassment of riches"... Good choices either way. thx...
     
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  10. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    The mission post graduation should be by far the biggest part of the decision. An extra year is nothing in the long term...the Falcon year will fly by and honestly is a pretty good time, and my three years here have gone by very quickly. If the Air Force is the dream, don't give up the Falcon scholarship, but if being an Army officer is, that's a great decision too.
     

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