Prep School / Plan B

Discussion in 'Service Academy Preparatory Schools' started by Rocko, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    My DS has applied for both USAFA and USMA. As backup plans he has applied for AFROTC and AROTC and has already been accepted into Texas A&M. He says his goal is the Academy and he was thinking if he didn't get in this year that he planned to go to College and go ROTC (hopefully on scholarship) and then re-apply next year.

    If his ultimate goal is the Academy, would he be better off to apply to one of the Prep schools to give him better odds at getting in? Would his odds be better in the Prep school as opposed to a College with ROTC?

    Any input is appreciated.
     
  2. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Odds

    Statistically, the best route to an Academy is probably as an enlisted member of the Active or Reserve component. It's a longer route and not guaranteed. It took me an extra three years. In that time, I had to not get married, not get a dependent, get a commander's recommendation, get to USMAPS, keep on course and have a lot of luck. For someone with 970 SATs and a 2.67 HS GPA it was the only route.
     
  3. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I think your son would have a better shot at going to ROTC, personally.

    It's all really matter of "how much do you want it" and what he wants to do in the military.

    Sure, the prep school programs are specifically tailored to an application to an Academy but what happens if he doesn't make it in a second time? He will at least have a year of school done if he goes ROTC.

    As for the enlisted route, don't do it if your only goal is to make it to an Academy. It is not worth the time or the risks. Some get lucky and find themselves in an environment which is friendly for seeking applicants. I have a few friends who applied 2 or 3 times before they made it just to USAFAPS. And now that they've had a taste of the world, Academy life is extremely hard to swallow.
     
  4. tradecraft

    tradecraft Member

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    The approach we took was similar to yours. Obviously getting appointed directly would be ideal. Lining up plans B,C,D was in place just in case. Not getting accepted may be a wake up call that the SA isn't meant to be but there have been many who didn't give up and found other ways of getting to their goal. ROTC and OCS come to mind. It may take longer or not the first choice but if your DS is undeterred, there'll be options. Some of the prior enlisted that I know couldn't handle being around 17-18 year old kids at the SA feeling like they're baby sitters. Most decided it's not for them and opted to go back to their previous posts after having been in the real world. Sift through past threads of different folks who have had varying routes to their intended aim of serving their country as officers in the armed forces. Good luck to your DS.
     
  5. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Great Question.....

    Great question! Northwestern Prep, located in Crestline CA maybe something to look at. It’s a small school with only 95 students will attend. They are all in the same situation; they need to be polished up more. The first semester is there at Crestline. They focus on Math, Chem, Vocab, Grammar and Writing. They do one or two hours a day for PT. At any of the Preps Schools they will take the ACT/SAT test and will have improvement. The second semester is at a local two or four year school taking classes that are similar to their first year at a SA. The staff will also assist with application and nom procedures. NWP will also evaluate the student and send the SA their report. NWP gets about 80 percent of the Falcon scholarships student and a track record of 100 percent acceptance. The down side is with any of the prep schools is credits cannot be transferred. But that goes with the SA also, if the cadet leaves. However they will be well prepared for any college.

    The ROTC path is a very good direction. As they attend college they are working towards a commission. They can apply to the academies. One good thing about it is they are demonstrating they can handle the academic workload. But you must keep that GPA high if they still have an interest in applying for a SA.

    I hope this helps


    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  6. nigel

    nigel Member

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    Do you mean they can't be transferred to the SA, or to any 4-year college? It is true that no SA accepts transfer credits from prep. However, I was told that one of the reasons the USCGA Scholars program sends their candidates to either Marion Military and Georgia Miliatary College is because those school's credits can transfer to other colleges if the candidate doesn't go on to the academy.

    Also, if a cadet leaves a SA, those credits earned should transfer to any 4-year college. The only transfer credits SAs accept are those from other SAs.

    Nicole
     
  7. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    Enlisted isn't an option

    My DS has no plans to enlist. He has pretty much set his priorities as Service Academy and if not, then ROTC.

    What are the odds when going self prep to get an appointment? If it is less than 75% that get an appointment then I'm not comfortable with the risk of "wasting" a year and $20,000 at a Prep school in the "hopes" of an Academy appointment. I definitely agree in that case the ROTC route seems the better route.

    Regarding applying to the Academy while in ROTC, do the Cadre at ROTC look down on Cadets trying to "jump ship" to the Academy? It would not be good to take this route and end up with an angry chain of command. That could make getting AD a rough route and make his life in ROTC miserable.

    I appreciate all the feedback.
     
  8. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    As far as I know there is no negative sentiment from ROTC detachment commanders as long as your DS expresses his intent to reapply to a Service Academy early in the program. Do not keep it a secret.

    I can't speak from personal experience though, I took the enlisted to USAFAPS to USAFA route. It was long, really long, but it was my only option because I didn't have the grades, background, or money to support myself through a first year of college.

    I'll talk to a few of my friends who did ROTC for a year before coming here and get back to you.
     
  9. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    A couple of errors in this post.

    According to the Falcon Foundation website, this year there are 60 Scholars and only 24 or 40% went to NWP.

    As for college credit transfer, since NWP is not a college there are no credits to transfer. However, NMMI and MMI are junior military colleges and those credits are eligible for transfer provided you scored high enough in the class and did well enough on the validation test at USAFA. My son was a 2011/2012 Falcon at NMMI and his credits to include 6 hours of English and 8 hours of Chemistry transferred. As a result of that, it opened up his schedule to take other requirements for his Computer Engineering major.
     
  10. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    Yeah, not sure where the 80% statistic came from (and the 100% success rate isn't true every single year, just most.) When I was at NWP we had about 60% of the Falcons.

    Regarding credit transfer-it's true that the classes you'll take at NWP first semester won't transfer to colleges. However, my second semester classes at a civilian university allowed me to validate some classes here.

    NWP has pretty good odds for "free agents." Whether you choose ROTC right off the bat or a prep school is a really personal choice...I know people who have gotten here from either path. I'd encourage you to explore all your options.
     
  11. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

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    Do not rule out attending the SA prep schools either. By applying to the SAs, you are also applying to the SA prep schools. If you do not get a direct appointment, you may get an offer to go to prep for a year. Two of my roommates at the academy went to non-SA prep schools (both shelled out about $30K) and got appointments upon graduation. I went to an SA prep school.

    You cannot transfer credits from prep schools in general, however, the year of prep prepares you for classes you will be taking, and the majority of students will end validating courses they would be required to take because of the extra year.
     
  12. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    From the current USAFA catalog, page 15:

    f. Transfer/validation credit. Cadets who attended another college or university or who validate courses may earn validation or transfer credit that is included in the total semester hour count. If cadets leave the Academy prior to Lesson 9 of their first semester, transfer/validation credit will not appear on their USAFA transcripts.
     
  13. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

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    I guess Airforce operates differently to Navy. At Navy, you will be given validation tests throughout your indoc period. If you pass the validation test, you do not have to take that class, however you still need to maintain 15 credits per semester or get a waiver to take less.

    As far as I know, taking a validation test is the only way to validate a class at Navy. I haven't heard of anyone (at Navy) transferring credit from a previous college or prep school.
     
  14. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    USAFA has validation tests for some subjects during basic. Some classes have no tests but can be validated with AP/IB or transfer credits (English and Behavioral Science come to mind.)
     
  15. Runner2020

    Runner2020 Member

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    I'm kind of curious about the Prep School vs ROTC. Disregarding the money, what would generally give you a better chance with getting into an Academy? I would assume the prep school, but I feel like ROTC would ensure you didn't remain even more behind in school, especially if you were declined a second year to a SA. And is there a way to start ROTC during your second semester for NWP? Or even do the first semester before NWP, and the second during spring semester? I'm not quite sure how the whole system works.
     
  16. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    NWP....

    NWP...has a web site and call them.


    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  17. Galvodog

    Galvodog Member

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    We were faced with this dilemma. Our DD was accepted into the CG Scholars program. She went to MMI and could not be happier.She is now a 4C.
    Our DS was not offered an Appointment to any of the service academies. This year he is in Texas A&M on an AFROTC scholarship and reapplying. We went this route as he xfered in 22 credits(h.s. AP) and if not accepted into an academy is on his way to a degree at AGGIELAND. So we will let you know in April if this plan worked.

    On a side note. We could not be happier w Texas A&M and its Corp of Cadets. Its hard and the classes are harder. Seeing my daughters experience at MMI and my sons at Texas A&M. A&M is a much more real academy experience where prep is just that. Not saying prep is easy. But if your child needs an indoctrination into the military life combined with a chance to boost his/her study skills then go prep.
     
  18. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    going the rotc route also opens up another nomination route, which statistically helps your chances of getting in.

    for me, I went self prep at a school that AOG sent some sponsored preps to (Valley Forge). We were all placed in ROTC, so I had the advantage of taking actual college courses (some transferred to USMA or helped me pass validation tests), a year of ROTC (which would have transferred with me had I gone to plan B), and an extra nomination source if I needed one.
     
  19. Tman910

    Tman910 Member

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    Well because the Air Force is in a big 'cutting phase' and a large number of the ROTC sections are being cut. The service academies are really the only 'safe way' to get a commision.
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    If someone does not receive an appointment, there are usually two main reasons. First, the candidate was not academically strong enough. Second, too many well-qualified applicants for too many places.

    Those in the first category would likely benefit from a prep school. Those schools are designed to bolster your academics and standardized test scores to make you a more competitive candidate. There is obviously risk that you spend the money and get turned down again. Whether that risk is worth taking will obviously vary among individuals.

    Those in the second category are much better off going to a 4-yr college; there is no need for prep school because you were well qualified -- simply a victim of the "numbers" game. Going to prep school is unlikely to make you that much more qualified and, IMHO at least, is a waste of money.

    Instead, go to college. If you want to reapply, take and do well in the plebe courses. Do ROTC -- and consider whether you want to commission from that source. ROTC is a great program and, quite frankly, is the better program for many people.
     

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