Questions from a Prospective Cadet

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by lmharter, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. lmharter

    lmharter New Member

    Jan 25, 2015
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    Hi everybody, I just received my appointment to the Coast Guard Academy! While I am super excited, I am also trying to have some of my questions answered before I commit myself to four years of military college. No one in my family has ever gone into the military before so I'd like to apologize in advance of some of my questions are no-brainers. I'm supposed to go down and visit the academy in the near future.

    The part of the academy that makes me the most nervous is the first year. I know the basics about memorizing things, squaring meals and having to ask permission to go around a upper class men. But what are the punishments if I do these things wrong? Basically what's the worst thing that could happen to me for screwing up?

    Also if anyone has any tips for swab summer?

    Is there a big difference between fourth and third class year? Do I still have to square meals and memorize things third class year?

    After you graduate, do you have to get jobs in your major or can you chose whatever you want?

    I was pretty close on the weight requirement coming into this. I know I have to weigh in under the weight requirement on r-day but after that, How strict are they about the weight requirement? How does it work with body fat percentage? I read somewhere that I only have to be under 35% body fat, but I wasn't sure if that was true or not.

    Lastly, can freshman join clubs? Or does that conflict with the whole no befriending the upper class men thing?

    Thanks in advance for any enlightenment you guys can give me! I know there's a lot of questions there but anything you can tell me will help. Hopefully I will be joining the class of 2019!
  2. CoastiePilot

    CoastiePilot Member

    Jul 27, 2014
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    Wow, lot's of questions here. I'll do my best.....

    When you screw up as a 4/c they send you to the dungeon in Chase Hall where things happen that I am not supposed to talk about. Oh, wait, you probably want an honest answer! ;) Normally you might get yelled out, counseled or issued demerits but as long as you don't commit a major offense (cheating, underage drinking, etc) it isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

    I work with the swabs every summer after they report in and the one thing I tell most of them is to remember that there is some 'gamesmanship' involved in the training process. Cadre are there to break you down and build you back up to fit into the system. No matter how perfect you do things, getting yelled at is inevitable. Don't take it personally, shake it off, and move on to the next evolution. The ones I see emotionally struggling are the ones that can't take the negative feedback and let it build up till they break.

    There is a HUGE jump from 4/c to 3/c year. Not bracing up and looking at your food being a major one. You are shifting roles from a follower to a mentor on the military side of things. In academics, you are entering some of your major specific classes which tend to be more challenging. The only major thing left that you don't have are civilian clothing privileges off base.

    After you graduate it is off to a cutter, flight school or sector. Your major plays a fairly insignificant role in where you go. It's mostly about class standing.

    Weight requirements are there, and will always be there until you leave the Coast Guard. Every 6 months after you graduate. You don't want to mess around with not making weight in my opinion. It is based primarily on BMI. If you don't make BMI then you can get measured to meet a second set of standards. You should be able to google our policies on making weight along with the BMI and measurement requirements. I think the cadets follow the same system the rest of the Coast Guard does but someone else may need to confirm that.

    Yes, in fact I encourage 4/c to join clubs and play sports as a release from the everyday grind. I help out with the aviation club which is one of the largest at CGA. With everything there is balance, but you will more than likely find a club that interests you. CGA has tons of them which are on their website.

    I hope this helps and best of luck with your decision!
    matty likes this.
  3. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

    May 15, 2012
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    Everything Coastie Pilot said. My son is in his 3/C year. His comment was "It's not easier, but it's better." This is a Service Academy. It will never be easy. The first time you see your GPA might be a shock. You will have obligations you do not have now, and would not have at a civilian school. But if the Coast Guard didn't think you could handle it, they would not have offered you an appointment.

    Weight requirements are strict. I know of one cadet who was disenrolled his 1/C year because he did not make weight. And he was denied a reenrollment the following year, even though he met weight at that time. In all other respects he was an excellent cadet.
  4. grevar

    grevar CGA Admissions Partner

    Mar 5, 2013
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    Agree with the above. From a different perspective, son is a 4/C (Freshman) and is just about a month away from finishing this year. It was said to us by experienced parents that Swab Summer was only the first challenge, that the real challenge came during 4/C year. They were right! Most kids who were used to sailing through high school with zero study habits and kept 4.0 plus GPA's really found themselves struggling the first semester. For many, the first Chem test was the first test they've ever failed. Things got a little better 2nd semester. Not easier, just better. Most of it came from them adjusting to the routine and learning to manage time. My son described it as knowing what class or what assignment takes a certain amount of time and budgeting time accordingly.

    The 4/C are still squaring meals and doing many of the other things required of 4/C's but they are gradually getting their privileges back (like social media and other little things we take for granted). Soon full carry-on will come and life will be easier. They all have recently received their summer assignments and had their class crest unveiled so there is light at the end of the 4/C tunnel.
  5. TennisDad

    TennisDad CGA Admissions Partner

    Jan 7, 2014
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    The weight requirement is not something to take lightly. There have been people who have been sent packing early on R-Day for not making weight, so they are strict about it. "It's probably okay since I'm just a little bit over" won't cut it. You have three months until R-Day. You definitely should maintain or ramp up your physical exercise during this period. The fitter you are when you arrive, the better off you will be.
    grevar likes this.
  6. Momof3gr&xys

    Momof3gr&xys Member

    Oct 1, 2014
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    Carefully decide! Most have determined they want the appointment before they apply. There are many who would take that appointment off your hands in a minute. It is a great opportunity for those up and committed to the challenge.
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Nov 25, 2007
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    That first year isn't fun. But the second year is better. As another poster said, you'll focus on your major starting 3/c year. Provided you picked a major you're interesting in, the learning experience is much more interesting... and fun.

    Because you just finished a full year as a 4/c, you're essentially an expert at being a 4/c. Your job as a 3/c will be to mentor your 4/c.... teach them how to survive a rough year, how to study and train and manage their time. You won't be "friends" but you'll "like" them.... mostly because it means you're not one of them (a 4/c). Eventually you'll grow to resent the class behind you and ahead of you.... because, in your opinion, they do everything wrong. That's just natural. The "Even Year/Odd Year" friction largely comes out of that.

    Stay on top of the weight. Keep below the max at R-Day. I think people mostly lose weight that first summer. You'll sweat alot, run around all of the time, have less time to eat than you're used to (and frankly, eating is unpleasant enough that you'll just want to be done with it.... spilling on your uniform.... spewing indoc while trying to down food in 3 bites). You may even be able to keep the weight down during your 4/c year.

    And then 3/c year will roll around, and you'll have to run less... and you'll have more time to eat and it won't be so bad. And you will have gone on a cutter for for 5 weeks and Eagle for 5 weeks.... and you'll gain some weight (maybe). It's easy to gain weight on a ship with a tiny gym (if it has one) and a pretty packed duty schedule.

    And then 2/c year will roll around, and you'll want to be a good example for your swabs, so you'll be ready to run with them and work out with them and go through whatever they go through (but hopefully better... since you're a cadre).

    And then 1/c year will roll around, and you'll have 10 weeks on a cutter, and your metabolism will have slowed slightly since to arrived 4 years ago. You'll have more time to enjoy life. You won't have to run unless you're playing sports. You'll have more time to eat.... both at CGA and out on libo.

    Most people will be heavier 1/c than 4/c year. Some of that increased weight may be muscle. Some may be fat. Either way, it's not something you want to mess with. Not making weight.... failing the BMI test..... not passing the PFE.... all have forced decent cadets out the door.

    Develop good habits and stay active, keep track of it and know the requirements. It's not something you should lose sleep over... it's within your control.... just be aware and do what you need to do.
    grevar likes this.

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