Opinions of prior NROTC Midshipmen?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usnareapplicant, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. usnareapplicant

    usnareapplicant New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just out of curiosity, I was wondering if some former NROTC midshipmen (now USNA midshipmen) can provide some input/advice on their experiences (i.e. transitions between NROTC to USNA, opinions on differences in physical/mental/academic difficulty, whether or not you regret switching and why, comparisons between Freshman Orientation to Plebe Summer, etc,etc).
    I'm a current college program NROTC mid, thinking about reapplying (again).
     
  2. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    120
    My best friend, who just graduated in the top 50 of our class, is prior NROTC from UVA. I'll pass on your questions to him.
     
  3. usnareapplicant

    usnareapplicant New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you sir.
     
  4. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    594
    ^^^^^
    Ahh....it feels like the first few days of plebe summer! :shake:

    usnareapplicant, for your future awareness, Hurricane12 is a female.
     
  5. usnareapplicant

    usnareapplicant New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hurricane12, my apologies, ma'am. I did not see a gender listed on your profile (only that you are a 2ndLt) and I incorrectly made an assumption.

    Thank you, jadler03, for the correction.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    120
    No worries. :smile:

    Anyway, my friend got back to me. For posting here, I took out parts that explained stuff that happens in NROTC since you're already a mid. I'll PM the entire thing to you personally and any other candidates who want it, but here's the parts that directly addressed what you were asking about:

    On orientation v. Plebe Summer:
    Concerning military indoctrination, Plebe Summer is six times as long as what you would experience in NROTC! At the Naval Academy, there are many more options for military training, so Plebe Summer consists of more than just brute memorization (although that does play a very large part!), including lots of working out and sailing, getting qualified in pistol and rifle, running obstacle, endurance, and confidence courses, learning seamanship, and many other activities. However, because Plebe Summer is six weeks long, there is much more downtime (also known as “grayspace,” a word you will love to hate) which means yelling, “Motivational Physical Training,” rack and uniform races, and other military “games.”

    Academics:
    Academics are about the same in terms of difficulty comparing the two schools: Hard. However, there are pros and cons to each. At UVA, classes vary across the board in terms of size. Some will be absolutely gigantic (I took a chemistry class with more than 300 people in it!) while some are smaller. At the Academy, all the classes are small (the largest class I’m in has 25 people in it) and the teachers are willing to put forth as much time as necessary to make sure that each student understands the material. I have known teachers at the Academy that have stayed until 11:00 at night or later just for their students. However, at the Academy, you aren’t allowed to skip any classes without severe punishment (which consists of “marching tours” aka marching in squares around Tecumseh Court at 0530 in the morning), so you have to be serious academically. At civilian colleges, no one will say anything to you if you don’t show up to class and attendance has no real affect on your overall grade if you already understand the material without the teacher. At the Academy, it is taken much more seriously, as you can probably tell.

    Physically:
    Physically, both NROTC and the Naval Academy force you to be in shape. However, the atmosphere of the programs definitely encourage different standards. In NROTC, the main focus was simply passing the Physical Readiness Test. The standard lowers as you increase in age, and if you fail you will be put on remedial workouts. There is a slight stigma towards people who are out of shape and cannot pass these physical tests. Workouts in NROTC were once a week as a battalion and once a week as a squad. The Naval Academy, however, puts a stronger emphasis on being in shape, as does your peers. The PRT at the Academy does not lower its standards as you get older and remains constant at the 18 year old standard. Also, most companies will put people on remedial workouts if they get a C or lower on their score. So, even if you pass, if your score wasn’t high enough, they may still make you attend remedials which are every morning at 0530. Being physically in shape at the Academy isn’t only a requirement from the administration, it is also expected of you. Your peers will show you no respect if you are out of shape and I was very surprised by how heavily it influences others’ opinions here. Luckily, there are many ways to get and stay in great condition once you are here. Plebe Summer will get people in shape and then once the Academic year begins, you are required to play a sport.

    General/NROTC v. Academy Experience:
    “As you can see, those were my opinions as a plebe at the Academy. Looking back, now that I have graduated, I can honestly say that I still agree with almost everything that I said. Although I can’t speak for how the Academy technically prepared me for the Fleet just yet as I still have a year until I report to my submarine, I still feel like the things I learned at the Academy about character, leadership, motivation, integrity, and duty outweigh what I was learning in NROTC. Keep in mind, however, I only stayed at UVA for one year before going to the Academy so I didn’t experience their entire training program....
    Looking back, the big advantage the Academy has over NROTC is simply the opportunities. The amount of opportunities for training, sports, extracurricular involvement, leadership, etc. given to the midshipmen is staggering when compared to what was presented at UVA. The only catch is, you actually have to pursue them- they aren’t simply placed in your lap for the taking (as some of my classmates thought it would be, and were sorely disappointed). Yes, it is possible to attend the Academy and never be given a leadership position. You can slide through without having to do anything but academics and run a few miles for the PRTs. But hopefully you want more out of your experience than that and will actually make a concerted effort to take charge and discover more about your own character, leadership, and work ethic.
    All in all, I am extremely happy I made the decision to come to the Academy from NROTC. Yes, there are a few things that I miss from UVA, but I feel like I am a better person for taking the longer road and doing that extra year of college at the Academy. Yes, I couldn’t go out drinking every night and life wasn’t a constant party, but as you have probably already realized, those beliefs are simply a mirage as no one can succeed in college if that is all they do. The USNA midshipmen develop a belief that they are missing out on a “real” college life of parties and drinking, and while in some ways that can be true, you will still have the weekends if you are into that sort of thing.


    Hope this helps!
     
  7. usnareapplicant

    usnareapplicant New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you very much ma'am. And please thank ENS Kriegel on my behalf. The information given was very straight forward and informative, and it answered just about every question I had.
     

Share This Page