Post-Academy

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by FastFalcon7, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. FastFalcon7

    FastFalcon7 Member

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    Can I still pursue a graduate degree after the Academy? I'd like to still attend UPT or ENJJPT but I'd really like to continue by education, whether that's afternoons or nights.

    To what extent is this possible? I was thinking about getting the masters immediately after graduating the Academy.

    Thank you!
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    The only way to go immediately into a masters program after graduation is to either win a scholarship/graduate fellowship or take classes at your base after you arrive. You won't do that during SUPT/ENJJPT. That you'd do at your final base of assignment.

    But getting a masters is commonplace.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    As far as I know, there are three ways to get to graduate school out of USAFA.

    1) Receive a nationally competitive scholarship/fellowship such as Rhodes (or Holaday for just USAFA), Truman, Marshall, Hertz, NSF etc.
    2) Be sponsored by your academic department to go to a graduate school (usually AFIT - Air Force Institute of Technology) and then return later to serve for a few years on that department's faculty.
    3) Receive a slot (usually to AFIT) via AFPC (Air Force Personnel Center) because your particular career field needs people w/ graduate degrees (correct me if I'm wrong, but this could also happen a few years after school).

    It is unlikely (practically unheard of) for someone to go to graduate school before pilot training unless they were able to snag one of the international or national scholarships/fellowships.
     
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  4. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I think AFpaso captured the list. I will add the "endowed" scholarships. Basically, these scholarships are funded by ex academy grads that have done very well in business. Folks like General John Gerhart, Bart Holaday, Richard Lawson, Earl Nutter and the Franklin Wolfe. Each have their own scholarship set-up. Many of these individuals also give generously for travel abroad programs.

    Under AFrpaso's bullet #1 above, we can add the Fulbright too. Starting in 2016, this http://schwarzmanscholars.org is a new Chinese sponsored program. With the competitive scholarships, the cadets are identified and mentored for about 3 years (might I say groomed) and internally called the "Scholars Program". To get into that program, during the 1st week, all cadets have a predicted sucess score. It's based off of high school grades, transcripts, and class rigor (I'm sure other variables as well but I don't know those details).During their education, Cadets will take some different electives during their four years. IMHO, it is a world class educational opportunity and taught by some of the Academies most accomplished instructors. If you are not invited to the Scholars Program, you can still apply. Basically in order to become a scholar (Rhodes etc), the cadet needs to be in this program of about 40 students per class. In their senior year, the top cadets in the program are encouraged to apply to the scholarships. The facilities top picks have mock interviews and a subset are able to apply to the scholorships.

    My understanding is 2% (capped) of the students can go off to medical school. Correct me if I am wrong, but a grand total of 1 student each year can go to law school. I am not sure what limit there is for dental school.

    I am not sure why, but there is a concentration of graduating cadets that will be attending Harvard as well as MIT. I assume these is some sort of relationship between those colleges and the departments. For those students, they get full tuition paid plus a stipend. Someone please correct me if I am wrong but I heard about a total of 5-7% of the graduating class applies and is selected for all of these paths.

    Here is a blurb about this on the USAFA site http://www.usafa.edu/df/dfr/grad_studies/grad_studies.cfm
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  5. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    I don't think it would be possible to do school and UPT. As I understand it, UPT takes up pretty much all of your time.
     
  6. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    See the following links for USAFA post grad opportunities into health and legal professions (also discusses other post grad opportunities):

    http://www.academyadmissions.com/the-experience/academics/additional-programs/

    http://www.academyadmissions.com/about-the-academy/faq/life-after-the-academy-faq/

    In a nutshell, health professions "capped" at 4% - 3% medical school, 0.5% dental, 0.5% nursing; legal profession, approximately 6 - 8 cadets.
     
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  7. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Good links. It reads "The Academy has the authority to select one USAFA graduate a year to send to law school immediately following graduation in an excess leave status." So that question is answered.

    I thought about a dozen or so USAFA cadets traditionally go off to medical school. Some chose Uniformed Services University or USUHS because of increased financial aid (with more commitment and STILL HPSP) while others select their top medical school choice via HPSP. My DS chose this path. For students reading this and considering military medicine (and wanting an Academy experience), remember 1/2 of the USAFA student body dreams of flying. Therefore they have never approached the 3% cap rule at USAFA. But unlike a civilian college where if you don't get into a medical school you can reapply the next year, at USAFA you have one year to get in. But the good news is USUHS normally doesn't turn down a qualified academy grad. So I think all of the 2016 cadets who applied for medical school got in somewhere.
     
  8. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Good to know since DD's aspiration is to go to medical school and become a flight surgeon.
     
  9. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I'm going through the internal selection process to apply for international scholarships/fellowships right now. You are not required to be in the Scholars program, although it certainly doesn't hurt. Please PM me if you have questions.
     
  10. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    So you know, you can specialize in say cardiology and be a flight surgeon. In fact a AF doc (opthamologist) HIGHLY recommended for any AF doc to also be a flight surgeon. It's not in your daily job description but being qualified has its perks. A flight surgeon is a 6 week course.
     
  11. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Not sure what specialty, if any DD wants to go into, general or family practice initially. She was looking at flight surgeon since I told her that flight surgeons, when assigned to flying units, have the opportunity to occasionally fly in the aircraft. She wanted to be a pilot and flight surgeon, but AF rarely allows one to be both. Ultimately, when she "retires" and/or completes her service commitment, DD wants to open her own practice to serve the small rural community in which we currently live.
     
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  12. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    EVERY waking second...
    (and a lot of sleeping minutes too!)

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
    CBM Class 84-06
     
  13. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Yes, you can pursue a Masters after graduation. The scholarships allow you to attend full-time, while still being paid as an officer. Most people just use Tuition Assistance and do their courses on nights and weekends. I would HIGHLY recommend against taking courses during UPT. If you require sleep, you will already be pressed for time...taking a class would limit you to 3 hours of sleep a night! I can pretty much guarantee you will not do well flying a high-performance aircraft on months of sleep loss!
     
  14. usafa12

    usafa12 Member

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    If flying is your goal, it is far better to go straight to UPT rather than taking two years after usafa to get a masters. If you do this, yes you will have your masters but you will be behind all of your pilot peers. For example, you will be a captain by the time you get to your MWS and you will be doing the same job as a young lt. yes you have your masters but at this point it doesn't mean anything. That young lt can get his masters in basket waving at some online college and be at the same place you are in regards to education. When it comes time for promotions, that lt will have way more flying time and experience than you do.
     
  15. usafa12

    usafa12 Member

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    This is especially true in fighters, because at the captain level you are expected to be a flight lead or higher, which will not be the case if you spent two years getting a masters
     
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Most graduates who pursued a graduate degree and then went to UPT were in no way penalized. Many commanders these days see these people as top performers and their delay has not had any detrimental effects. All my peers who went grad school and then UPT are doing better than most of my non-grad school peers in terms of assignments, rewards, and promotions. Look at eagle36 from the forums, he is just starting F-22 training. I think you would find his opinion on the subject is not the same as yours. He graduated USAFA 2010, AFIT 2012, did UPT and got T-38As to Langley and has now started the F-22.

    Now, I actually advise people that if pilot is the end all in their life that they should not delay. Period. Any number of things can happen while in grad school either by their own decisions or changes in the Air Force. Ask me how I know....
     
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  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hornet is so correct. Individuals I know who went to grad school, while holding onto their pilot slot, were not in any way penalized for being a couple of years behind those who went straight into pilot training. And depending on the individual and how well they do in grad school, it looks very favorable on them by their commanders when they finally get into flying.

    Hornet is also correct that things can sometimes change with your plans. Sometimes the military has a change of plans, but also, it's not uncommon for the grad school attendee to have a change of heart on what they want to do too. My son was 2 years behind hornet graduating the academy. My son also attended RAND for grad school after the academy to get his PhD done. He had his pilot slot in his back pocket and ready to go. But after his 2nd year at grad school, my son mentioned how he really wanted to try to get accepted into Special Ops as a Special Tactics Officer (STO). He got accepted to try out, but didn't make the cut. He still had his pilot slot available. But Special Ops Command asked him to try out again. He did, this time got accepted, and he turned down his pilot slot and is now training to be an STO.

    So, a lot can change in the 2-3 years after the academy when it comes to plans. Maybe you change your mind and goals, maybe the air force does. For most however, even if they change their goals, it all works out. For my son, he's 25 years old, has a Bachelor's, a Master's, and a Doctorate's degree completed. He has no student loans and he doesn't have to worry about any other training other than for his job and typical PME (Professional Military Education). He doesn't have to worry about trying to juggle work with taking night/online classes to get his grad school completed. There's definitely pros and cons to every path you choose. But each individual is different. Direct grad school may be great for some, but not for others. You have to look deep inside yourself and determine what it is you really want.
     
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  18. usafa12

    usafa12 Member

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    I agree that you aren't penalized, but you are behind your peers in the flying world. That is fact. If you want to be a pilot, go straight to upt and get your masters later. No one has ever cared or asked if people got their masters prior to entering upt. In the end, do what you want, as all of you are right that everything works out in the end the way it should.
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    We will agree to disagree. There are plenty, relative word considering so few get an immediate grad school slot; that will tell you to go ahead and get your grad school out of the way full time before UPT. There is very little negative to being behind your peers, as you put it, in the flying world. As you admit, you aren't penalized, so what is the negative of starting as a 1LT vs being a 2LT. And as hornet explained, he knows a pilot who went to grad school and is now in the F22 program.

    Bottom line..... I'm only speaking of those who receive a direct grad school slot out of the academy. Not those doing grad school on their own. Only approximately 10% of the academy graduating class gets a grad school slot full time out of the academy. The benefits of that definitely outweigh the negatives. If you can finish the academy at the top of your class and/or your department, and offered a grad school slot you've applied for, then definitely take it. Could the Air Force possibly take the pilot slot from you while at grad school? They could, but that is very rare. Could you have a change of heart or goals and decide you don't want to be a pilot? Yes, but so what. If you change your mind about flying, maybe it wasn't really for you anyway. But being behind your class (meaning your commission/rank class) is not a negative.

    But being able to go to grad school, full time, while you're still in academic brain mode, not worrying about work, family, kids, etc. and finishing your masters in 2, or possibly your PhD in 3, has so many more advantages down the road. Not that getting your grad school done later is a big deal. MOST officers do it that way. Simply saying the advantages to getting it done immediately out of the academy has many advantages.

    And for what it's worth, my son did change his mind about not becoming a pilot. He probably would have done well flying, but after speaking with many of his friends who were/are pilots and went directly into UPT, he realized that most of the fun was during pilot training, vs the day to day routine of being a pilot. For my son, he wanted to be more involved in the Air Force. For him, that meant applying for special ops. It's a lot of training, and his mom wishes he would have stayed pilot, because she thinks it would have been safer, but he seems much happier with his decision. So bottom line is, it's an individual decision. What's right for one person isn't necessarily right for another. But the pros and benefits of getting grad school done immediately, definitely has its benefits. Then again, the odds are low that you'll even get the opportunity. Best of luck.
     
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  20. viperdriver

    viperdriver Member

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    "he realized that most of the fun was during pilot training, vs the day to day routine of being a pilot"

    If you want to fly, go fly. Plenty of time to get a masters in the AF during your career. The REAL FUN begins once you get into your squadron and you're doing the AF mission.
     
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