Son has exciting but difficult choice!!!

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by BillT, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. BillT

    BillT Member

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    Hello all, over the past several months this forum has been a great help to get support and much needed information on the process. My son is now in the exciting but somewhat difficult position of choosing between USNA and USMA. He has attended a CVW at USNA and is planning to at least attend the one day visit to West Point. We are currently not a "military family", so he is coming with an open opinion to the two choices. I am trying to encourage him to consider the entire process, academy and service after, in making the decision. It appears comparing the two schools they are very similar, but with respect to the two service branches, the Navy appears to have many more choices to select after graduation. Many advise from the forum would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Both branches have alot of opportunities. I have an AROTC son and a soon to be USNA son. When my youngest was trying to decide between branches (AROTC, NROTC AFROTC scholarships) he talked to as many PMS at schools he could and military recruiters. It took him quite awhile to get the info he needed, since he discovered more info which led to more questions.

    But it could come down to this....does he want to be on the ground or on a ship?
     
  3. Pachrian

    Pachrian Parent

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    Both of these choices are available to USNA Mids, along with air :wink:
     
  4. js3486

    js3486 Parent

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    IMHO, it depends. What does he want to study. I know USMA has a lot more options academically as far as Majors are concerned, however the mission of the two is decidedly different. Personally I served in the Navy and I am kinda partial to Annapolis, but these are things he needs to reflect on and determine what exactly he sees himself doing after graduation, and plan accordingly but I am sure you already knew and more than likely shared that with him already. Make sure he decides quickly so my son can get his vacated spot LOL!!
     
  5. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    It comes down to...

    Who has the coolest uniforms. And yes, I'm kidding.
     
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Congratulations!! Two terrific career and educational choices!

    depends on what you mean by choices - if you mean air, ground and sea; then Navy has more choices. But... Army has more branches from which to choose and wider variety of jobs. There are some jobs you can do in the Army that you can't do in the Navy.

    He really should try to do the overnight at West Point. I think they are offered the same days as the day visit - just extended to overnight. If he does not have a clear career choice then he might want to look at the educational differences.
    There are differences in majors and also educational opportunities. If going abroad - either for a semester or a few weeks is a goal, then he should look at the programs at USMA carefully.

    If he carefully examines the career choices and educational opportunities then he should flip a coin.
     
  7. FaithfulMom

    FaithfulMom Member

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    BillT, my son is in the same position - appointments to both USMA and USNA and struggling to make a decision.

    For years he has wanted nothing but Navy, loved Summer Seminar and received an early LOA last Sept. Then discovered that his need for a vision waiver could change everything. Rapidly researched USMA and USAFA and applied to USMA late October/November (didn't need a vision waiver for USMA) and began to get more and more excited about different options in the Army, esp. once he received his appointment. He had pretty much given up on the Navy when he discovered that his USNA waiver was approved and his appointment is on the way (DoDMERB status on 2/25). In the past week he has spent a great deal of his "free" time researching the career options through both. His first passion is the SEALS, but knowing how few people make it, he is being realistic and is also exploring other Navy options, but is especially interested in the Marines. He tells me that there appear to be many similar branches in the Marines and the Army (obviously with different missions and character) and he feels there are good options for him in both lines. Not helping to make the decision any easier!

    He is going to attend a CVW at USNA in April and will also attend an overnight visit to USMA (he hasn't ever visited West Point, but has read "Absolutely American", and isn't ready to simply cross them off the list) - hopefully this will be enough to help him make the "right" decision. He also needs to find out exactly what restrictions he may have for service selection from USNA if he doesn't get PRK (laser surgery) on his eyes before graduation - this may influence his final decision.

    We are not a military family either, and when I realized that he was quite serious and passionate about all this, I spent many months researching the Naval Academy (trying to figure it all out as a parent) and reading everything I could find. Then I had to jump ship and felt like I was playing "catch up" as I tried to learn everything about West Point - very interesting the similarities and differences (all the little things that matter to us parents: R/I Day, PPW, even how the portals differ - USMA seems more efficient and everything is right there on his portal, esp. with all the appointment forms and information - I love that it is very clear what you still need to send in/submit). Now, he's confused and I just want to move forward with planning for I/R Day, ppw, etc. However, we have told him to take his time, do his research and see what he feels after his overnight visits.

    Keep us posted on what your son decides. We'll let you know as well.
     
  8. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Yes Navy has air, ground, and sea, of course. When my son met with ROTC officers, the NROTC people explained to him that he would have two 18month tours with the Navy on a ship. (6mos land, 6mos tour, 6 mos land approx). Other things open up after that. It took alot of thinking on the part of my son, to decide if that was okay with him.

    Others, correct me if I am wrong on this initial tour.

    Each branch he met with had different personalities. This remained constant as he met with different schools in different parts of the country. You wouldn't think that would be the case, but it is. From the way my son was greeted, filed reviewed and/or remembered. even the way the officer sat in a chair. It was consistant across the board depending on the branch.
     
  9. candidsmom

    candidsmom Member

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    Could you explain those differences that your son has observed? My son also has the same decision to make and has not had very much exposure.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I think you are on to something here. I have heard lots of kids just "knew" that a certain branch was "right" for them.
    There are some kids who just are easy come, easy go and will take whatever is offered.
    I have also known a couple of kids who were gung ho on one branch but when medically dq'd accepted their "fate" in another branch and have done very very well.

    candidsmom - This is why it's important to visit Academies, and ROTC units. It's one of the reasons for the BGO/ALO/MALO interviews and the ROTC interviews. This way they can (hopefully) meet with an officer or retired officer and get a "feel".
     
  11. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Army: Officers meeting with son were very engaged with son and knew his resume. Making the appointment was very easy to do and usually met with 2 officers, the PMS would stop in to talk. Many times a newly commissioned graduate was there to talk to son about cadet life. Meeting lasted 1-2 hours.
    Personalities were overall very energetic, alot of talk focused on AROTC activities that were mainly outdoors, ranger challenge, orienteering, fitness. Son felt that he would not lack physical activity!
    How did they sit? In camo BDUs, one leg up with foot on other knee, hand on bent knee. EVERYTIME

    Navy: Except for the NROTC officer that was a fighter pilot, who was energetic, the officers son met were older and very relaxed. Not as up to speed on resume, but knew he was coming and happy to answer any questions....told alot of sea stories. Only met with one officer at each school. Regarding activities? talked alot about planning events and dinners.
    How did they sit? Casual, tilting back in the chair, ready to talk for a long time.

    Air Force: Extremely polite, very helpful in answering questions, AFROTC officers seemed busy. Less physically energetic than AROTC, but not as relaxed at NROTC. How did they sit? Ramrod straight at the end of their chair.


    We thought son would go AROTC because he felt the most comfortable there, but then started in NJROTC at school and loves that too. Overall, everyone we met was very professional, confident and happy to answer questions.

    Suggest you find a recruiting office and go and ask questions about lifestyle, careers, etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    OMG!! Yes! Do you think they talk fast? Every Army officer I ever met talks fast. I am a fast talker and it makes my head spin!
     
  13. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Had to make a similar decision. I received appointments to USMA, USCGA, and USMMA, and had a nom to USAFA. The way I decided was to take less into account the actual academies (they are all fantastic), and take a good look at the options the branches coming out of each academy. Once I had made those lists, then I made separate, complementary lists about the academies. In the end, I decided upon USMA, because of the several army career options that interest me and the academic programs (specifically in regard to history) at USMA.

    Good luck with your son's decision. He can not make a bad choice! But...Go Army!
     
  14. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    It's funny, because I hadn't noticed this 'sitting' style until my son pointed it out. He was meeting with a group of AROTC officers at a college and they asked if there were differences with the branches, since every school visited, son met with all three ROTC units/battalions/detachments... He explained the 'sitting' differences and all three officers stared at my son and then looked at each other and then laughed. The AROTC PMS then walked in and sat down in that position and it took alot for these officers to not start laughing. Later they told my son he was spot on.
     
  15. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    That sounds about right if a Mid has Surface Warfare as his/her service selection. If a Mid is commissioned as a Marine Corps 2nd Lt, they will train for 6 months at "The Basic School," at Quantico, VA, followed by specialty training. Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers spend nearly their first two years of service going through their respective "training pipelines." New submarine officers also undergo substantial training, but I'm not sure how it's all scheduled. I believe that the basic submarine officer training course is 10 weeks.
     
  16. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Something I left out in my previous post:

    New Ensigns who are selected to attempt to become SEALs got to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs (BUD/S) training. The training, for those who make it through, lasts ~ 6 months. The rate of success for the average SEAL candidate is ~3%. The success rate (2nd hand info from my Mid) for USNA grads selected for BUD/S is way higher than that, more like 90%.
     
  17. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    One thing to consider is his SA experience. Not surprisingly, USMA is more "ground" focused -- long marches, land nav, living in the field, etc. Small unit leadership is important. USNA is, obviously, more focused on sea activities -- sailing, summer cruises on big grey boats, etc. A technical background is important.

    USNA has a ground option -- USMC. However, you can't count on getting it. You might end up on a ship.

    USNA has more "broad-based" opportunities -- ships, subs, aircraft, USMC. I believe (a USMA/USA person correct me if I'm wrong), USMA offers more specialized opportunities, such as Medical Service Corps, Supply, Intel, etc. directly from USMA, something not possible directly out of USNA (unless you
    re NPQ).

    Tough choice, but two great options!
     
  18. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    I can't say I know much about USNA. But when first considering the academies and which ones I applied to (I only applied to USMA), I looked at the branches. I didn't really consider the academies themselves in the decision until after I had decided which branch I'd rather go into. Overall, to me the Army seemed more like a place I could both succeed in and enjoy being in.


    In any case, whatever your son decides will be a good decision because he'll still be serving our nation in some way. I would suggest that he choose the place/branch that he feels he'd be happiest in.
     
  19. BillT

    BillT Member

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    Recent Development

    Well son just received package from West Point, some last minute thinking about the two choices, any last minute advise would be great.
     
  20. supportivemom

    supportivemom Member

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    Lasix/prk not an option for everyone. son needed vision waiver for usna due to near sightedness. has done seal screener, etc in hopes of joining seals after prk his 2c year. had his preop exam for prk, and was denied surgery. would have to shave off too much of his cornea to correct him. so now in addition to all air options other options such as seals, eod, etc are out. something for those with eyesight issues to consider. make sure you'd be happy with subs, swo, or marines.
     

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