Parental advice needed...please!

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Gballer, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. Gballer

    Gballer Member

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    Hey everyone, I have a bit of a conundrum and I figured this was the best place to go for help! My DD was just at USAFASS and came away a excited and happy, loving everything about her experience. When people ask her if that's where she wants to go, she says no! My DH and I, and our whole family, can see that USAFA would be an amazing fit for DD should she have the chance to attend, and I really think deep down she agrees. My question is: is there anything we can do to ensure that she doesn't miss a chance for this great opportunity, or do we let her chart her own course...even if that means messing up her chances? This is our first experience doing the "college thing"! Thank you so much in advance for your wisdom!
     
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  2. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Have you asked her why she says no? There might be some good reasons. I say sit down and have a chat! Don't make it formal or confrontational, just a conversation.

    Ultimately USAFA isn't for everyone, and that is not meant in a negative way at all. If your daughter is competitive for USAFA then she'll likely be successful no matter which path she chooses.
     
  3. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Gballer,
    According to your signature it seems as if your DD has had plenty of opportunities to be exposed to SAs. Most young people don't get one of those, she's had three. Maybe it's time to listen to her thoughts?
     
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  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    ASK!

    If she enjoyed being there, but doesn't want to attend, there is probably a reason. USAFA is conducive to some goals and priorities, but certainly not all. When I talk to other pilots in my squadron, some of the ROTC/OCS grads say they are glad they didn't go to USAFA. Different perspectives and priorities, even though we all wound up in the same spot.
     
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  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    :groupwave:

    You have been given amazing advice from the posters here. I think you need to have an honest conversation with her now.

    If she is truly competitive she will get a ROTC and merit scholarship...free education...LOL

    Our DS went AFROTC. He had ROTC scholarship and merit. It was in essence a free ride. He is now an O2 pilot.
    ~ It was a risk, but he knew USAFA lifestyle was not for him.
    ~~ Nobody cares when you are Active Duty if you commissioned USAFA, ROTC or OCS. At UPT they will not save USAFA grads at a higher rate than the other sources.
    ~~~ Top grads for fighter and heavy track out of my DSs UPT class were OCS,

    Just saying, there are many paths to commissioning.

    FYI...he had 4 nominations, 33/34 ACT. He actually pulled his package end of Jan. He decided he would rather go AFROTC scholarship and merit from the college. He did not want to live an academy life. He wanted to be a kid and stay up until 2 if he decided to do this. He wanted to be a kid that did not need permission to come home for a weekend.
    ~ Biggie was actually he wanted to go non-STEM, and we forced him to look at the mandated curriculum for every cadet.

    I support USAFA, and believe it is an amazing institution. Gen. Gould is the epitome of leadership. (He is gone now).

    Unfortunately, I also believe many attend for the wrong reasons. Free education and IVY illusion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015
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  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    There are plenty of kids who want to serve but want a more normal college experience and elect to go the ROTC route. My son just commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps... he started an application to USNA five (?) years ago but never finished it. He wasn't interested in attending an academy. Just have a normal conversation about where she wants to go to college and why not USAFA. If she has legitimate reasons so be it but if she's fearful or something then maybe providing encouragement is the right thing to do.
     
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  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No flaming, but this statement confuses me.
     
  8. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    The decision must be your daughter's. If she doesn't want to go and she feels compelled, it will be very difficult for her to finish the program. Many leave during/after the first year claiming it wasn't a fit and they only went to USAFA because they were expected to go. This HAS to be your DD's decision.
     
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  9. Daughnworks

    Daughnworks Member

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    My best suggestion, mom to mom, is to take her on a long car ride. These are the best of days with your daughter and all we can really do is love them and listen. I tease my son that he is like an oven casserole with only 5 minutes left on the timer. Our time with them is almost done. Figure out what she is thinking and give her some space. No judgement, just talk. It has to come from her and now might not be the time for USAFA. Of course, the last thing we want to do to force a child or guilt them into attending. If she decides she does want it, then, it's an all out effort. We can teach children our ethics, how to dress, brush up their academics or manners but the motivation is impossible unless it comes from within. Sure, it seems like yesterday when I would look at my husband in frustration and ask, "How do we light a fire under our kid?". Yeah, well, those days are long gone now.
    We are at the same time frame as your family with a rising senior. My son wanted to serve and always, kind of...knew. He even thought about joining the Guard when he turned 17. Naturally, everyone in the family and friends had their own opinion as to which branch was best. In order to be as objective as humanly possible, he applied and was immediately accepted to USMA, USNA and USAFA summer seminars or SLE. He did a week at Boys State, then USMA, then USNA. He arrived at USAFA today, sans luggage thanks to United Airlines, but he is thrilled to FINALLY make his way to Colorado Springs. I cannot tell you how much the past few weeks have helped him to understand more about each branch and his own ultimate commitment. He uses words to describe his experiences such as "well-run, efficient, orderly, exhausting, encouraging, historical, noble, humbling, clean" and a new phrase to us "wherever I am needed, whenever I am called".
    I am not one to be easily impressed but I am in awe. We've sent our son to sessions at some of the best univ. in the country over the years. Yet, I am stunned and pleased at the level of academic rigor and physical challenge at each academy. My compliments and gratitude to the staff who remains during the summer. If our children are chosen to attend, then, the real work begins.
    Good luck with your daughter. No matter what, she will be fine.
     
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  10. FalconsRock

    FalconsRock Parent

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    I can understand your concern...wanting what you think you know is best for your DD, but I agree with USAFA83GradWife, this decision must be your daughter's and your daughter's alone. It is by no means an easy decision, but if she chooses to go so as not to disappoint her family and not because she really wants to, it is a recipe for disaster. The best thing is to follow others advice and talk with her and hear her out. Sometimes sitting down and writing out all the pros and cons can help with the decision, but it is still hers. And yes, you have to let her chart her own course, even if it means she makes the wrong decision...going just to please the family is definitely the wrong decision. She has a good head on her shoulders and with your guidance and encouragement, she will make the right decision for her. Good luck to you.
     
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  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    It is no real opportunity if your daughter is adamantly opposed to USAFA - it would be a torture and a hardship.

    Why are you asking us? YOU need to ask your daughter about her reasons. Maybe they are valid, maybe they are a bunch of teenaged poppy-cock. Get square with her, then come back here.
     
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  12. Gballer

    Gballer Member

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    Thank you all for your input and insight. We have tried many times to broach the subject with DD about why she has changed her mind about USAFA--she only gets upset and shuts down about it. We aren't sure if she really truly doesn't want this or is full of
    ! I know there has got to be some fear and trepidation moving into her senior year and making decisions as a 17 year old that will affect her whole life. Trust me all, we are trying to get to the bottom of her true reason! Don't get me wrong...I absolutely want what's best for DD, whether it is a state school, private school, or SA. I want her to go where she will thrive and blossom and do amazing things! IMO, the SA would be the best fit for her...but, again, it is not my life--I am just looking at her opportunities through glasses who have seen a lot of life! Hopefully over the next week we will be able to get somewhere
     
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  13. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    Seems that SA is tough on those who REALLY know they want it. I think it would be nearly impossible for someone who ends up there for the wrong reason. Perhaps something negative happened while she was at SS, or she was intimidated by the other folks there. Don't push, let her find her way. Maybe after a year in traditional college her attitude will change. Or she will love college and soar from there. Best of luck.
     
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  14. Gballer

    Gballer Member

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    Maybe you are on to something!!! I have never thought of t that way before--thank you!
     
  15. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    My experience (and those of others I have spoken to) is that the moment I thought a school was a great fit for my child and vocalized it, that school immediately fell to the bottom of my kids' list. Having sent two daughters and two sons to school I learned my best course of action was to keep my mouth shut and let them tell me where they were going to apply and why in their own time. Kind of backdoored myself into the conversation. It may be different in your household but wanted to provide the anecdote.

    As a high schooler I visited several academies while on family vacation. My Dad tried to talk them up and I remember (to this day) the hard time I gave him. I was NEVER going to attend a military school, march around, wear uniforms all the time, etc. I was quite forceful and rude in the way a teenage boy who thinks he knows everything can be. A few months later, I was applying for a NROTC scholarship. Who knows the mysterious workings of a teenager??
     
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  16. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    There was a someone in my son's squadron who made it through BCT and filed a form-34 after acceptance. The cadet attended due to parental expectations, pressure and wishes. This kid had passed up a hefty scholarship at a top name school for the USAFA. If your child attends due to your personal expectations and pressure, this may be her story too.

    There are cadets who applied after attending a year of college and were accepted into the academy. So it is possible for her to attend a traditional college and then attend the academy later on. Some kids need more time in exploring and understanding what it is they really want and need.
     
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  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have to ask what makes you and your family say it is a perfect fit?

    I am not trying to be rude, I am trying to get how you came to that decision when she is saying it is not a fit in her opinion.

    What is her intended major? Have you looked at the mandated curriculum for every cadet, including LAC majors?

    Have you approached it from the ....okay I am confused, you loved SLS, but do not want to go, why? It could be something as simple as she doesn't want to live in Colorado. She just didn't feel that connection.

    If she is competitive she can go AFROTC scholarship, AND if come fall freshmen year she regrets her decision she can apply again,this time she will be eligible for 1 more slate {ROTC)

    FYI, I get it is an amazing education. However, I am with the other posters....this is her life. Do you want to be sitting at the Thanksgiving table and her saying I want to leave after winter break? Do you want to try to convince her again? Màybe she will stay, but at what cost to your relationship? Will she stay for you? Years from now will she blow up at Thanksgiving and blame you for her attending USAFA? Maybe she doesn't blow up, but tells her DH I never wanted this...I did it because I was 18 and didn't want to disappoint.

    My biggest regret is I went to a college my Dad said was perfect for me. I never felt at home there. I found an amazing guy and would visit his college, a place that just felt like home. I was successful because of my degree, so in the end Dad was kind of right, but it was 4 years of just keep swimming, swimming swimming.
    ~ Breaks could not come fast enough for me. I had the student loan noose around my neck, so I had to graduate on time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
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  18. Gballer

    Gballer Member

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    Don't worry--I am not taking your questions as rude at all! We see that it is a perfect fit for her based on her expressed interests. She is a science and math whiz (not just a proud mom talking here--she scored 98% and 99% respectively on Iowa Assessment tests--also reflected in ACT and SAT scores), wants to major in Behavioral Sciences and work in Intelligence. She is also very physically fit. At Summer Seminar they had a speaker that asked them to evaluate their most important value--hers was selflessness, and what drove their lives--hers was to do the most good for the largest number of people. From what we witnessed of her at SS, she just blossomed and was absolutely comfortable in that environment. This is why we are so confused. We absolutely will NOT force her into anything, my DH and I believe that our main goal as parents is to raise happy, healthy kids who contribute to society and we know if DD is forced into something that she doesn't want...she will be neither happy or healthy.

    Thanks to all of the posters, I think we will back off and just be there to listen when she is ready to talk. Let her take a breath! We will visit some other schools and go from there!
     
  19. Daughnworks

    Daughnworks Member

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    You know, the CIA and FBI have really good internships. You may want to look in that direction?
     
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  20. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    I know what you are going through because I asked a very similar question 2 years ago and pretty much got the same advice and answers. I will give you my take on this. Yes it HAS to be her choice to attend. Absolutely and positively 100% hers not yours. But YOU have the right to voice your opinion why you think this is a better choice for her as well. And together with that, you have to let her know what your limits are for her other choices (civilian college, rotc, ocs or even a non-military route) if she doesn't take the SA route. Meaning that if she wants to go to Harvard but you can't afford it or have strong objections against it, she should know about that. Maybe you can only afford State U but she wants to go to XYZ Private college on full tuition, let her know about that too. I think it is just fair that your child knows what you feel about it too, whether they like it or not. It's just not all about them (esp if other kids are involved too.)

    People may disagree with me on this but why is parental input in such an important decision viewed and treated as taboo these days? It is almost like we can not or should not tell our kids what we think anymore. Are we afraid to because it is not what they want to hear and they would be upset? Is it ok for our kids to tell us no but it's not ok for us to tell them the same thing? (Them: "No I don't want to go to USxxA, I want to go to Hopkins." You: : "No you can't go to Hopkins because we can't afford it but you can go to State U.") When did our opinions stop counting anymore? In the age of entitlement our kids have learned to take and not give. Johnny and Susie cannot be told NO because it's bad for their self-esteem. Support her with whatever you can offer (money, time, emotions, tears, etc) but also be her parent and not her friend; she has enough of those who will tell her what she wants to hear. She needs someone who cares and will continue to care for her and love her forever. It's just me but my biggest fear has always been not giving them all the facts/fears/opinions and one day in the future they come back and say "why didn't you tell me or why didn't I know about this? I could have gone to ... or i could have done..." Don't get me wrong, I am not for coddling and doing everything for my kids. I want them to be independent and mature but I also want them to be humble enough to listen to advice and counsel when given and to accept the consequences of ignoring them. Not all kids take the bull by the horns, some of them need to be put on that bull then they grab the horns LOL.

    So two years ago, our child who went in, not 100% sure about the decision but with an open mind, is now a happy and thriving incoming junior with zero doubts about the choice made what seems eons ago. Two kids we knew who were pushed and who really did not want to go to AFA left after BCT but so did many kids who dreamed AFA since they were 8 years old. However, we know of 6 more who weren't the most gung-ho kids who are now incoming 1 deg and 2 degrees and loving (relatively) it there. Is it easy at the academy? NO it's not, but DK (darling kid) can't imagine being anywhere else. I hope this helps and sometimes a counter-opinion may be what you are looking for. Feel free to PM me if you want.
     
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