SLS attendees who also went to USNA and/or USAFA summer programs

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by buff81, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    If you went to SLS AND either or both summer programs at USNA and USAFA - would love to hear your comparison of the different summer programs.
    Did going to one change your mind about that SA, either in the positive or negative?
    What were the pros and cons of each program?
    Compare USMA to the other 2. What were the strong points, weak points.
    What are the main differences between SLS and the other two.
    What were the strengths of USAFA/USNA summer programs over USMA SLS and visa versa.
    Which one did like the best and which SAs did you apply to and get appointments.
    In general, your thoughts about the programs.
    Thanks!
     
  2. stella

    stella Member

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    Decisions

    Great question. For those who have been accepted to more than one, some choices may have to be made. It would be nice to hear from past participants of the USMA seminar who attended one or two others regarding benefits and negatives of each.
    In our dd's case, she is in part thinking of which gives the most insight into the admissions process and which gives the best peak at SA life in a general sense. Not sure that any will meet this need...as we understand that each is set up to 'sell' its own academy, understandably.

    S
     
  3. ID_SURF

    ID_SURF New Member

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    My daughter attended all three summer seminars in 2012. She had attended S.A.M.E. at USAFA in 2011. Going to the summer seminars, her rank order was USAFA - 1, USNA - 2, USMA -3 (if USMA had a rank at all in her mind). Returning from the summer seminars, her rank order was USMA - 1, USNA - 1, USAFA - 3. She applied to all three; received appointments to all three. I think, as a young woman, going to all the seminars convinced her that she could compete and succeed at any of them. I'm not sure that was her frame of mind before going. (Note: I'm not saying that she will succeed at any of them if she chooses to go to any of them, I'm saying her frame of mind as to her ability to do so changed after going to the summer seminars). I will ask her this evening to give a one sentence review of each, but if there is some specific thing you are thinking of having answers to maybe post what that is. Without speaking to her, she was very impressed with the lab facilities, athletic facilities and grounds of USNA and USMA -- she had visited both for part of a day each in the spring in 2011. As I said, she had utilized some of the facilities at USAFA in S.A.M.E., so I don't think USAFA had the same impact at summer seminar as the other two. It was a bit of a grind for her to go to all 3 because we live in a place where you have to make at least 2 connections to be able to take a plane to any of them. She had to go out to USMA, then go out to USNA, then go out to USAFA. She tried to beg off of USAFA as that was the last one (she was headed to MIT the week after USAFA to do research and was exhausted from USMA and USNA). I made her go to USAFA summer seminar and she was glad she did. She suggested USAFA was much different at summer seminar than it had been at S.A.M.E. I'm not sure she found the lab work or class work at the seminars challenging, but that was abbreviated anyway and before anyone takes offense I'll try to confirm with her that was her view and I'm not mistaken. As her parent, I'm glad I made her go to all three and in fact she will also have had an overnight at USMA and at USNA before she makes her decision.
     
  4. stella

    stella Member

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    Questions

    Question:
    Which ss was the most challenging physically?
    Which kept the kids the most active in general?
    Which academy would one POSSIBLY be able to gather a good sense of via a day long visit vs. the ss experience?
    Which gave the best general information about how to apply/the admission process in general?
    Finally, which one did she have the most FUN at and why?

    S

    Thanks!
     
  5. beauday

    beauday beauday

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    Summer Seminar opinions

    My son attended USMA and USAFA seminars summer of 2012. Prior to participation he preferred AFA based on online and personal research. After attending, West Point had completely won him over.

    For him, it was all about the consistent discussion of building leaders of men at West Point. The teamwork, the men, the support, the character.

    And then the history of West Point you just can't beat. Once he saw and experienced in person everything he had only read about; I think that made an impression he couldn't shake.

    Physically, he appreciated what West Point provided. He talked about the professors at West Point taking time to discuss the courses with him individually.

    When he came home he knew where he wanted to go and we are very excited that he received an appointment last week to the school of his dreams. I don't know if he can wait til July 1st to go to New York!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  6. ID_SURF

    ID_SURF New Member

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    Her answers are in red above. She did just say that she felt the summer seminars were structured in a way to let the participants see the parts of academy life that the academies wanted the participants to see but not necessarily so that the participants could see all the things that the participants might want to know before coming (no surprise to me). She regards the summer seminars as worthwhile in her decision process.

    Edit: I apologize to Coast Guard Academy cadets, personnel and graduates. I didn't think about AIM. My daughter did not apply to AIM because we had waited to see if she would be accepted to a six-week summer research program at MIT and once accepted to that, there was no way for her to also do AIM. We had visited the Coast Guard Academy previously and I hoped she would apply for admission, but she elected not to submit an application for an appointment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  7. spamalot

    spamalot New Member

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    This is pretty much exactly what happened to me. Before attending SLS last summer I was very gung ho on attending USAFA. I had done extensive research and absolutely loved everything USAFA. I applied to West Point's SLS and Navy's SS almost as an after thought. The only one I really cared about was USAFA. I ended up getting into all 3 and had the financial means to go to 2, so I picked USAFA and West Point.

    What really stood out to me was the camaraderie at USMA. The friendships I made and the caliber of people I met were just through the roof. I mean, you talk about character and leadership, those kids were the poster child. I thought everyone, from the professors to my squad mates, were just awesome people.

    I think the day that really made me reconsider my plan to go to USAFA was the day of my foreign language workshop at USMA. I thought the French professor was amazing and felt like I could really succeed in an atmosphere like the one inside his classroom. The subsequent workshops only made me like USMA more and more. The professors were amazing and seemed like they really cared and enjoyed what they were doing. None of the workshops I attended were boring or felt like a drag.

    A week later, when I attended USAFA, I expected to have a similar feeling as the one I got at USMA, however, that was not the case. I came in with an open mind, especially since that was my first choice SA, and for some reason I was very turned off about most things at USAFA. I didn't feel the same kinship with the people there. It was a very informal as compared to USMA. When I arrived I remember thinking how incredible it was that we referred to our squad leaders by their first name (except on doolie for a day). I also remembered how at some point during a brief, the speaker (can't remember who) had to ask for us to be quiet. This was a huge red flag for me. The kids at USAFA just seemed too laid-back to me as compared to USMA and at times a bit immature (but this is just my experience. I'm sure there were plenty of awesome people out there. And again, there were 3 sessions. I was only there for 1 of them)

    The professors for the workshops weren't as engaging either. Most of the time it felt like "Hey, look at all of our cool toys. Come to USAFA." Even though they had plenty of cool equipment, I felt the workshops weren't amazing because the professors weren't amazing.

    Like I said before though, my biggest reason for choosing USMA over USAFA, was the fact that I loved the people and the environment. If I had to pick people to serve my country with, I couldn't think of a better set of people than all of those I met at West Point. I have kept in contact and become close friends with everyone from my squad at USMA and even others who weren't in my squad.

    When I got home from the seminars I emailed my ALO to let him know I was no longer interested in USAFA.

    But remember, this was just my experience. I met a lot of people at USAFA and USMA who preferred USNA or USAFA after attending multiple Summer Seminars. You'll realize sooner or later what you expect from an SA and if you feel like that's the place for you.

    My advice would be to go in with an open mind. Don't sweat it. And HAVE FUN! I had a blast at both Seminars, even though I clearly preferred one over the other.
     
  8. Whatisnext2017

    Whatisnext2017 Member

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    DS attended USMA , USNA and USCGA programs.

    USCGA was by far the most physical, demanding and realistic.
    USMA was the most inspiring.
    USNA was least active, but good info on education and career opportunities.
     
  9. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    This pretty much sums up my experience. I was looking at USAFA and USMA with USAFA being my number 1. After going to both USMA's SLS and USAFA's SS plus continuing research and deciding what I wanted to do as a career, USMA ended up being the better option. A pretty good part of what changed my mind was watching the environment, particularly the camaraderie at USMA that appeared to be a lot more cohesive than at USAFA. You won't survive any Academy without working with the people around you; something I was told at SLS repeatedly and something that I wholeheartedly believe after being here for almost two years.

    Besides that, I felt more babysat at USAFA's SS as the cadre didn't really seem to care beyond making sure we didn't get in trouble and they finished their detail. There was a much stronger interest in making sure we got the whole picture of the Academy at SLS from my experience.



    Also as a side note, I'm not trying to take anything away from USAFA cadets. There's a bunch of different reasons that I think go back to the differences in the two cultures that leads to the differences which I saw. Its just my best friends are the people I go to school with now and I would seriously trust them with anything.

    I definitely enjoyed both SLS and SS and I'm glad I did them. They're a great way to learn about the Academy if you haven't had a lot of exposure. Just make sure to take everything with a grain of salt that anywhere you go, they're just going to show you the bright and fluffy side of things on purpose to get you excited about that particular institution. Make sure you ask any questions you have of your cadre. They're whole job is to make sure leave as well informed as possible so you can figure out whether this is what you want to do.
     

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