SLS or Boys State?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Mom-Team Smith, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Mom-Team Smith

    Mom-Team Smith Member

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    My son (son #2) has been accepted to SLS. Due to a prior committment that conflicts with Session 2, he is planning on attending Session 1 (if he is assigned that session). But, he has also been nominated for Boys State and the orientation for Boys State is during Session 1 of SLS.

    If it can't be worked out and he MUST choose between the two, what is your opinion on which would be more beneficial...not only for now, but also for application purposes?
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Whether or not he attends SLS will not matter to his application. Plenty of people who did not get to go to SLS receive appointment. Your DS could always shoot for a weekend visit (CVW) later and would probably get a better idea of what the experience will be like at an academy that way.

    Boy's State is great fun and is a valuable experience whether he attends the academy or not. Plus it Does make (a bit??) of a difference to his application to the academy (there is a check box for it on the application).

    Therefore, if he has to choose, IMHO choose Boy's State.
     
  3. kbaek

    kbaek Member

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    I myself NOT being SLS-qualified, I have always thought of the SLS as a diagnostic to see what chances of acceptance would look like. As some admissions officers put it, in a way, SLS is harder to get into than it is to become a cadet at USMA.

    Knowing that you're accepted into SLS AND Boy's State is a huge advantage that I wish I had. Whereas SLS is a chance to experience USMA and its lifestyle, Boy's State is a different experience that I'm sure only happens once in a lifetime.

    Since your child is SLS-qualified, I'm assuming that he has a reasonably good chance at getting an LOA at the least. With an overnight stay he'll be able to experience (though not the whole experience) a slice of SLS. The same can't be said about Boy's State.

    Alot of assumptions in my post, I know, but I think alot of it stems from my idea that SLS-qualified (whether or not you choose to decide to go) prospective cadets have a great chance at acceptance. Either way, congrats to him! And good luck!
     
  4. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Boys' State, hands down.

    As I have said many times before, my cadet's MALO told him that West Point values Boys' State as much as Eagle Scout. But Boys' State is so much more than something to write on a resume. It's an amazing week of learning all about state government and hearing from some of your state leaders. Both of my sons attended and got so much out of it. My civilian college son who is a senior still sees guys he went to Boys' State with. Other colleges like to see Boys' State on your application too.

    My cadet did not apply to SLS--he had no interest and way too many things going on at school. He did not get an LOA but had his appointment months before another kid at his school who had an LOA (and hadn't bothered to apply to any backup colleges).
     
  5. Mom-Team Smith

    Mom-Team Smith Member

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    Thank you.

    Thank you for your responses.

    Much to my embarrassment, I have found that if I had done a search on this topic, that it has been addressed numerous times on this forum. Thank you for your patience...lesson learned :)
     
  6. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    No, I'm glad you asked because it gave me another chance to "plug" Boys' State as something other than a resume-filler. It was very special for my sons and they learned so much. They both wished they had been selected for Boys' Nation in Washington DC!
     
  7. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    All true, from a purely WCS perspective. If it's truly a choice between Boy's state and SLS, only the former will help your WCS.

    But SLS is worth trying to go to if at all possible for several reasons:

    - It's the applicant's best opportunity to get the "vibe" of USMA and be exposed to what will become his potential peers and cadre. Remember, USMA does not offer overnights unless appointed, unlike USNA

    - It's a great chance to get an unquestioned CFA

    - It's a great opportunity to get a positive input. Which by itself will not get you in. But can counter a concern or unanswered question about the applicant intangibles.

    Though it does not help with WCS, and many get in without, it's worth saying that of the people who attend SLS, a very large percentage receive appointments.

    That's probably more due to top-grading the participants. IE: They are often are by definition the most competitive in order to be selected. (the exception to that are those who did just OK on PSAT, but rocked the SAT/ACT). The figure mentioned in briefings at SLS seems to bounce around 50% or more of attendees are ultimately offered appointments. It may vary by class of course.

    SLS is not magic, you may not find all the workshops illuminating. USCGA AIM is probably more fun. But given you are about to commit 9 years of your young life.... it's really worth trying to attend if offered.
     
  8. Mom-Team Smith

    Mom-Team Smith Member

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    Irony

    The irony of the situation is that to attend the one day orientation for Boys State, he would have to miss the whole week of SLS. Here's hoping it works out for him to do both...he really hopes to do that!

    BTW...not to appear ignorant, but what is WCS?

    Thank you again for all the advice.
     
  9. Hooah1775

    Hooah1775 Member

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    WCS = Whole Candidate Score
    You probably heard that term when your oldest applied. WP scores based upon WCS which includes Academics (60%: SAT/ACT, Class Rank), Leadership (30%), CFA (10%).

    FYI: My DS was lucky and able to attend both SLS and Boys State. DS enjoyed both very much, but reallly loved SLS!
     
  10. Mom-Team Smith

    Mom-Team Smith Member

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    WCS

    Knew it had something to do with application points, but couldn't remember the exact lingo.

    Funny thing...my eldest (who is truly enjoying his plebe year, go figure) HATED SLS! He came home declaring that "no way" was he going to the Academy. Son #2 has a different mindset about SLS: he knows his brother's SLS and plebe stories and his father's cadet stories, but wants to experience it all on his own. So grateful that he is not just accepting others' views of the Academy, but checking it out on his own.
     
  11. bpu

    bpu Member

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    "Hands down" but maybe not for SLS.

    Candidate w/4.0+ GPA, 1,500+ SAT, lots of AP classes, Eagle Scout, Varsity football captain as a Junior, Student Body President as a Senior - I would say perhaps hands down attend SLS.

    SLS, if the candidate has a positive experience, WILL help get an appointment since it will motivate the candidate more in making sure they take the steps to achieve an appointment.

    The OP's son in question has a father who is a USMA grad along with an older bro. He is just a mid-year HS junior who "wants" to go to West Point. Why? Because he is a loyal son who thinks it is best to follow in the footsteps??? Maybe he had heard all the great and wonderful things about West Point, and they are even true, but this 17 year old may need to figure that out for himself lest he may be a WP Cadet who leaves prior to his first class his junior year at WP. Sleeping in the barracks for a week cannot happen any other way for a candidate.

    SLS vs. Boy's State? Likely best answer? Work magic to attend BOTH.
     
  12. Hooah1775

    Hooah1775 Member

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    Mom - Team Smith:
    Very interesting about the difference among the two boys...each has to find their own way! :thumb:

    Best of luck to your boys!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  13. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    One other point I would add about SLS vs. Boys' State is cost. The cost to attend SLS is around $350 according to the SLS FAQs. Depending on where you live, the travel costs to and from SLS can be quite steep. Sure you can find bargain airfare, but not everyone can pony up for a plane ticket to SLS. I know one mother who drove 12-14 hours to take her kid to SLS; she stayed in a seedy motel for a week in Newburgh and waited for him to finish.

    There should be zero or little cost to attend Boys' State, thanks to the wonderful and generous veterans of the American Legion. Your fees are paid for by the AL unit that agrees to sponsor you. Possibly you could have some personal travel from your city to the site where Boys' State is (still within your state), but I am also aware of boys from several neighboring cities being transported by van (or church bus) to Boys' State by, once again, the super folks of the American Legion. My sons only expenses were to purchase extra t-shirts....because they are messy pigs and I knew they wouldn't take the time to wash clothes while they were there. Both of my sons visited their sponsoring AL units and gave a report of their week at Boys' State once they returned.
     
  14. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    I agree strongly with this.... if you can find a way to do both. Or reschedule finals, or miss that last track meet. Don't compromise your GPA or letter status, but most educators understand what the opportunity means and will support you. But this question does appear every year. And some band/varsity teams make it very hard to miss. Likewise, some have to choose between boys/girls state and SLS. (Which is a bit surprising, as there are normally 3 session, DS was able to dodge scheduling conflicts)

    SLS does not perfectly duplicate the USMA experience. But it is directionally the closest you can experience without an appointment or LOA, in which case an overnight visit provides even more insight.

    If you liked SLS, you may or may not enjoy plebe year, but you'll at least have some exposure and will not be surprised by plebe treatment.

    If you did not like SLS because of the yelling, PT, hot barracks, institutional food, restricted social activities, etc.... then you will mostly likely be very unhappy at USMA, and it's very good to find that out.
     
  15. Hooah1775

    Hooah1775 Member

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    Great point regarding the costs of SLS and Boys State. The American Legion Posts typically pick up the costs to attend, but I have also heard that some West Point Society clubs will help raise funds to cover travel and SLS fees for those that have an identified need. So, those who have a deep desire to attend SLS, but may need help in covering costs, please keep that in mind.

    Remember what the great Lt. General Hal Moore (We Were Soldiers) said "There is always one more thing you can do to influence a situation in your favor. All you have got to do is think, "What else can I do?" After that, there is one more thing you can do. The more "one more things" you do, the more opportunities open up!" http://youtu.be/PJo6YZTbPXg

    This advice especially applies to the entire USMA Admissions process and into life in general!
     

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