Slots for Soldiers go unfilled at West Point

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Just_A_Mom, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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  2. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    That was a very interesting read, JAM. Thanks for posting it.
     
  3. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    A good alternative route

    A good friend who was First Captain told me several years ago that one of the best routes to gain admission is enlisting, which is what he did. For those who really want to gain admission and are sitting in the NWL, you might consider this route. Not only do you get a very good feel for the Army, but you will have experience that will serve to help you. Read the article, look at the numbers that remain vacant, it's been that way for years.

    Food for thought.
     
  4. USMACandidate

    USMACandidate Member

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    Thanks for posting! Kind of motivated me to do that if I dont get accepted directly in High School. Would you suggest I do this if I dont get in the first time? I mean, it is like a win-win situation. If I get accepted in High School, I go to USMA. But if I become enlisted, I will have more experience and more chance of gettin in.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    NO. ENLISTMENT IS NOT A METHOD OF GAINING ADMISSION TO WEST POINT.

    Enlistment means service in the US Army. It's not a stepping stone to what you'd rather do.

    The reason so many slots go unfilled? It's very hard to get a soldier to WP.
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Very, very, very poor advice.
     
  7. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    But I think it would be so difficult for prior service cadets to abruptly change gears back to doing high-level calculus, chemistry, physics, etc. That is one of the problems mentioned in the article---several years away from academics.
     
  8. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    I really know absolutely nothing about the Army and trust scout to set me straight. However, for the Navy, back in the days when NAPS was created, there was no other formal organized method, other than USNA, for enlisted to gain a commission. USNA was, by far, the best method. However, in the past 20 years or so, all these other programs have been consolidated to form the STA(seaman-to-admiral)-21 program. Streamlined, straight forward, and efficient. In it, any enlisted who is accepted, will go to a civilian college with 10k per year for tuition (GI Bill for remainder), and full enlisted pay including housing and subsistence). And only put on a uniform once a week or so to go to the ROTC unit for muster. For an enlisted person now wanting a commission' I would question his headwork if he chooses a SA over another program.

    Yes, the roles of the prep schools are changing. NCAA regulations prohibit them being a dumping ground for athletes. Now, USNA uses them for diversity and to capture the all-around kid that was doing too many ECs to study. We will probably see some serious oversight questioning of their necessity in the near future.
     
  9. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    Well as you can see folks, there are different opinions and that is just what they are, opinions. One person who was First Captain has one opinion, another who is a graduate currently serving has another. In the end, it is up to you and it is your choice. Each of these previous poster's comments have merit, it is up to you, as the OP to digest what each is saying and chart your own course. Going the enlisted route most definitely has risks, number one, that you don't gain admission and you serve out your contract. It is by no means a guarantee, and part of what Scoutpilot is saying, is absolutely correct. However, the opinion of someone who served much longer through several conflicts also has another take on it as well. Each year there are definitely enlisted who gain admission to the Academy and each year there are slots left vacant. It IS a potential course of gaining admission, but one that has some pretty severe drawbacks, i.e. you could very quickly be a PFC in combat with people shooting real bullets trying to kill you. So you must take a good, hard look at what is going on in today's world and consider all of the ramifications. It would be a rough route to go, but if you are set on USMA, it's a route that does work, but probably the toughest. But, it IS an option.

    Having said all of that, my personal opinion? I think the Army would love to have as many folks join up thinking they are definitely going to West Point, because the odds work in their favor. Most will not succeed because they are not up to the challenge and so they will remain and serve their time. Doesn't matter to the Army, one way or the other. But on the rare occasion, there is the individual who has the smarts and ability that is wanting to attend West Point. It can work, it does work, every year. But again, take each of these comments for what they are, opinions, and digest them. Consider the source.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  10. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    LOL. And there is nothing so rewarding as attempting to lead a bunch of unhappy disgruntled soldiers who are not where they want to be. Who probably think they got 'screwed' or someone (even if it was an anonymous forum somewhere) told them it was a great idea.

    A bassic tenet of good leadership is to put people in positions where they are able to succeed.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Telling young folks to enlist because someone told you it is an alternative method to gain admission completely disregards the facts of the process of going from an enlisted soldier to being a cadet. The process involves more variables and is, in several ways, harder than gaining admission from high school.

    It's no wonder this supposed first captain recommended it. He enlisted to be a soldier and then, thanks to much good fortune, made it to West Point. He thinks it's a good method. It is one way in which, should all the variables align, a good soldier can advance professionally. But to call it "one of the best ways" to gain admission is a mischaracterization that borders on criminal.

    You are telling folks to enlist with the GOAL of going to West Point. That is entirely different reasoning and is disingenuous at best. Enlisting in the US Army solely because one thinks it makes him more competitive for West Point is a great way to end up deployed, disappointed, and serving out an enlistment that wasn't undertaken for the right reasons.

    If it was so very easy to go to USMA from the Army, the slots would not go unfilled. They go unfilled because the process is long, tedious, and requires the buy-in of many third parties plus a healthy dose of luck and timing.

    Enlisting in the Army means that you are, by and large, not in charge of your short-term destiny. If you enlist, you're looking at months or years of IET and then assignment at a unit. One does not enlist, go to basic training, announce his intentions to go to USMA, and then suddenly get whisked off to the Academy. Sadly, that seems to be the conception of most folks on this topic.
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Absolutely. Expectation management is another principle of good leadership.

    Telling kids that they should enlist because it's one of the "best" ways to get into West Point is completely wrong. Citing the fact that it has worked for some people as evidence is akin to saying "I know a nurse who got a scholarship to medical school. The best way to become a doctor is therefore to become a nurse."
     
  13. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    Sure, it involves more variables like gaining approval from your chain of command among other factors.

    Careful there big fellow. No "supposed" about it. Of course he would say that, it's his opinion, just like you have yours.

    Many join the military for a wide variety of reasons and it is not out of the realm of possibility that one of them would be to ultimately be accepted to USMA and become an officer.

    Agree 100%.

    Agree, the OP needs to be fully aware of the risk they would be taking. Much like one who joins the Army wanting to be in Special Forces but washes out of SFAS and is sent right back into the RA. The path is not without substantial risks, but it IS a path.

    I never said it was THE best way, but rather "one of the best routes" and that is his opinion backed up by his years of service and his rank.

    To the OP: Yes you "can" do it by enlisting and contrary to what others are posting, it IS possible and done year in, year out. But it would be a tough choice to make. However, some of the best officers were once enlisted, giving them a unique vantage point. It's one of the reasons why GEN Taylor pushed for the creation of USMAPS. Your ultimate goal is to serve in the Army, right? That trumps any of the bantering going on here and you need to consider what direction will work best for you. ROTC is a fine choice, as is OCS. All achieve the goal to serve in the Army. Each will have their diehard supporters as evidenced here.
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Supposed. Until he comes here and says it himself, it's simply your claim. Anyone on here is capable of saying that someone of notoriety said this or that. I can tell you that the 5th Special Forces Group commander thinks anything I want.

    Regardless, it doesn't matter if he was the first captain. The first captain and the goat both got admitted to the same institution by the same admissions board.

    That is no reason to encourage someone to investigate enlistment for reasons that are unlikely to help them reach their goal.

    Which it is not. The data indicates as much, and has for years. The President himself could call it "one of the best routes" but that would not make it so. While I appreciate the years of service comment, there are a great many folks who went to West Point and served and that does not make all of us experts on the admissions process.

    The reality is that a soldier faces more hurdles trying to get into USMA than a high school student, a prep school cadet, or a college student re-applying to USMA. In fact, when racking and stacking your options, enlisting and then re-applying comes out near the bottom when we consider the difficulty, the variables, and the likelihood of remaining competitive and being accepted.

    Is it safe to assume, since you are counseling these candidates on the virtues of enlistment and applying to the academy, that you yourself have experience with this route?
     
  15. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    No. Are you in Special Forces?
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I guess that depends upon why you want to know. Hardly germane to the issue, really. Needless to say, I don't quote the group commander. But if I did claim that he thinks one way or another on an issue, you'd all be wise to be skeptical.

    Let's try to keep the thread on the topic of enlistment and acceptance to the academy thereafter. If you want to know about my career, there's a PM button for that.

    I have tried over several years, to assist soldiers in going to West Point. It is not a system that is easy or guaranteed, and one ill-timed deployment can ruin everything. Enlisting in the Army can to go to West Point is a risky proposition. I'm reminded of Woody Hayes' position on the forward pass: "Three things can happen when you throw the ball--and two of them are bad." The same goes for enlisting solely to go to USMA. Many, many things can happen...but only one of them is your goal. Sometimes, in the game of life, it's smarter to make the odds play.

    Hard work, the prep school, junior military college, etc. Far better and more likely to get you accepted into USMA than walking into a recruiting station.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  17. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    No need to PM, you answered my question.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well, no, I didn't. Though if you took note of my previous avatar, that would have answered it for you.

    While we're on the subject, were you ever a major? Or an action figure?
     
  19. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    We dealt with this question long ago...Major Matt Mason had a space station and some really cool gadgets...and a sidekick named Geoff.
     
  20. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    He's no Roger Ramjet, I'll say that much.

    Anyhow...back on topic.
     

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