Service Academy vs. Ivy League

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Anthony96, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Anthony96

    Anthony96 Member

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    This question has been racking my brain for quite some time. I have my USMA appointment and an acceptance to an Ivy, and the decision is a confusing one. I never expected to be accepted at Princeton and West Point has been 100% my goal since day one; I am still leaning towards USMA but now that both options are on the table I feel like I'll be turning away the opportunity of a lifetime. No matter where I go obtaining a commission as an Army officer will still be my goal. I was hoping someone who has made a similar decision could give some insight, I don't want to do anything I'm going to regret. If it helps I hope to major in History/International Relations.
     
  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Wow...

    Wow, congrats to you and your very fortunate to have such opportunities available to you!! WP and Princeton are two different educational experiences. Either way you're going to do very well, because you're a goal oriented person. I would pick up a few books that cover the experiences at both schools and then you'll have an idea, somewhat to make a decision.

    Keep us informed!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  3. JWP

    JWP Member

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    I think a core question for you is - above all other things - do you have a driving desire to lead soldiers?

    Leadership is not for everyone and that is exactly what West Point expects of you. Leadership has incredible highs but also carries a very real burden as you are responsible for the welfare and the lives of others.

    If the desire to lead outweighs every other consideration - West Point is for you. If not - and there is nothing wrong with choosing a different path - the best fit for you would be Princeton. At the end of the day – only you can answer that question.

    Congratulations and best of luck to you !
     
  4. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Sounds like he/she plans on seeking a commission either way and I am pretty sure the responsibilities of an officer are the same regardless of where they commissioned from.

    Indeed a very tough decision. Do finances weigh in to your decision?
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Rather than worrying if you going to regret taking a particular path, turn it around and decide which path you're going to embrace. They are both incredible opportunities, but for me Princeton would have nothing over the Academy. But then you're not me and, frankly, I attended neither.
     
  6. JWP

    JWP Member

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    Agreed on seeking a commission...my thoughts were regaring the drive to be a leader....if the drive is strong...West Point is geared towards training leaders.....Princeton is great school no doubt and will offer an outstanding education but from a leadership preparedness perspective....West Point imho has the clear advantage...again...only my opinion...
     
  7. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    At the end of the day, West Point is really no different than any other program when it comes to producing leaders. For most of your time here, you'll be wrapped up in a primarily science based curriculum and really only "leading" by forwarding emails and checking shoe shines. If you're a good leader, you'll be a good leader whether or not you go to West Point. Academically, you'll take a core curriculum here that is math/science/engineering intensive even if you're a history or IR major. If that isn't your strong suit, oh well - you don't have a choice.

    Where West Point does stand out is the opportunities available to most cadets. For the most part, we have more access to Army schools and other extracurricular experiences. We also have guaranteed Active Duty slots whereas ROTC does not.

    So, if you are set on going Active Duty and don't mind taking more science classes than history/IR classes, West Point might be the right fit for you. If you would rather get a top-notch degree and take your chances with Active Duty, Princeton is probably better for you.
     
  8. Anthony96

    Anthony96 Member

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    Finances are not really a concern, Princeton was very generous with their aid. And yes, my primary goal is to lead soldiers and this why I am leaning more towards West Point but a visit with Princeton's ROTC cadets made me realize that it is not the only option. I would like to say that I will make a career out of the military, but tbh I don't know how accurately I can say that at 17 and I have no clue what my situation will be 9 years from now.
     
  9. SuaSponte

    SuaSponte Member

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    Princeton does have a fantastic IR program, but WP is more focused on the leadership experience (and those summer training opportunities are amazing). I think there are fantastic qualities to both, it really just depends on how you want your 4 years of undergraduate education to go.
     
  10. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Yeah, those ROTC officers aren't worth their salt!:rolleyes:
     
  11. JWP

    JWP Member

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    Oh now packer....now lets not go down that path...lol... I meant no disrespect to anyone and have known and worked with some outstanding ROTC officers so if I caused offense...my apologies! Both paths are outstanding paths!
     
  12. Packer

    Packer Member

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    At 17 even those that say they know usually don't. You are ahead in that you know that you can't know. Both opportunities are incredible. As was pointed out you will be guaranteed active duty at WP. ROTC does not guarantee you active duty but if you are a strong performer and high enough on the OML you will have your choice of going active duty or reserves.
     
  13. Packer

    Packer Member

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    :thumb:
     
  14. Iowa 73

    Iowa 73 Miner

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    That would be a tough choice! Both offer unique challenges and opportunities.
    I hope my DS has a choice like that next March.
    Best of luck to you. :thumb:
     
  15. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    You may not have attended either..but neither the USMA or Princeton ever made Playboy's Top 10 list of small colleges for per capita alcohol consumption. :cool:
     
  16. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    That's true. Not everyone gets an opportunity like that! On weekdays I considered myself lucky. On weekends when my head hurt, not so much! :biggrin:
     
  17. #armystrong

    #armystrong Member

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    If I was given the option, the choice would be a no-brainer(or at least in hindsight) Princeton. But that's just my opinion. Don't get me wrong I love it here, but Princeton just seems like an amazing choice that I would not pass up.
     
  18. candidate2014

    candidate2014 Member

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    Hey!

    So when I overnighted at West Point, a senior there talked to us for our admissions brief. He mentioned he was accepted to Harvard and West Point, and ultimately chose West Point. He said he was very happy he made that decision because of the opportunities that have been offered to him--study abroad, VP of his class, personal development, all for free. He is now also a Rhodes Scholar.

    That having been said, I would go with Princeton haha.
     
  19. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    It depends entirely on your career goals.

    My son, who is currently a Cow, had exactly the same choice. He had a 4-year ROTC scholarship and an offer to Princeton and a West Point offer. Both opportunities are outstanding. You cannot make a bad choice.

    My son clearly choose West Point.

    He wanted to be in the military and be a leader of soldiers. Of course he would have been commissioned as a LT if he had gone to Princeton, but he would not have had the same level of leadership and military training offered to Cadets.

    If your goal is to be a military officer and leader, West Point is the clear choice. If you have other goals, Princeton might be the best choice.

    Whatever you decide - put you entire effort to be successful in that school and never look back or question your decision.
     
  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    What kind of Army officers depends on more on who you are than your source of commission. Just as many non ivy league graduates are doing better than ivy league graduates. Attending an ivy league vs non ivy league or attending West Point va Princeton comes down to increasing your CHANCES of achieving your goals. As stated by others, your chances of getting active duty and a branch of your choice are higher at West Point than Princeton ROTC.
     

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