Still not sure about a couple things...

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by ProspectiveCandidate12, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. ProspectiveCandidate12

    ProspectiveCandidate12 Member

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    Hello all!

    I would just like to start off by saying I am extremely appreciative for the advice I have gotten on this forum so far. Unlike most applicants, I really don't have a preference as to which branch in the military in which I would like to commission. I know most people will start by saying that I need to have a preference, but I really don't have one. As cliche as it sounds, my dream is to serve my country as a military officer. I would be extremely honored and lucky to do so. Asking knowing I will probably receive some negative feedback, which academy is the easiest to get into? I would much prefer an academy experience over having an ROTC scholarship. Please refrain from unhelpful comments.

    I know that, even though it doesn't require nominations, the USCGA is still very hard to get into, since anyone can apply. I also understand that getting a nomination to any academy will be very hard. I feel that looking at acceptance rates alone won't yield the answer to my question, as many different types of people apply to different academies. I know that determining if a candidate is good enough to receive an appointment is a very intense and dense job. Students at my school have a very high acceptance rate to the USAFA in particular, and the average GPA is much lower (3.7W vs 4.1W at other academies). I am not quite sure if that is a coincidence or that the USAFA cares less about GPA and more about test scores/leadership/etc. Once again I very excited to begin the application process, and I am thank everyone here for the advice you all have given!

    Thanks again,
    ProspectiveCandidate12
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This is not a 1 year roller coaster ride, It is until you are 27 years old ride. A decade on a good day as an SA candidate. (1 year in HS jumping through hoops...Moc interviews, DoDMERB, CFA, etc./ 4 years SA life/4 years AD)

    Easiest SA? I don't know which one is the easiest! What I do know is if you don't want to be there, even if it is the easiest to get in, your chances of not commissioning will increase exponentially if the main reason you accept an appointment is because they were the easiest from an appointment perspective.
    ~ NO SA has a 100% commissioning rate from I Day.
    ~ in someways getting appointed can be easier than staying.
    ~~ They don't call USAFA the Little Engineering School in the Rockies for nothing!

    The question you need to answer is will I be happy living 24/7 for 5 years at Minot or Del Rio or Alamogordo or Mt. Home as an AF officer no matter what career field.

    That might seem unhelpful to you right now, but there are many AF officers that didn't think that this is where they would land up as an O1, yet there they are and will be for years.

    I would rethink the which is easiest approach. Can you spell KOREA or QATAR for a year? Easy doesn't always equate to happy.

    I respect your desire to serve. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your desire to defend this great nation. I just think that you don't get the cost of that free education once you graduate, Hawaii, Charleston, Eglin, Ramstein, San Antonio are what they sell. Pope, Seymour Johnson, Columbus, Vance, McGuire, etc is what you might get.

    Ask yourself are you willing to live in Abilene TX for 5 years because USAFA was the easiest SA?

    And just so you know, I don't think USAFA is the easiest.

    Sorry if my response was not considered a helpful comment.

    Just an AF wife that lived in the BF Egypts like Alamogordo, Mt. Home, Seymour Johnson, Ft. Leavenworth. Never was assigned to Hawaii or Germany or Florida. Did have my DH do lots of deployments to Korea, Iraq and Qatar though!
    ~ DS is an AF pilot stationed in Abilene.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
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  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Really think about what you want to do to serve. I know you said you don't care, but really think about a few things... Do you like boats? The water? Do you like the dirt? What are your thoughts of living in it for weeks on end? Do you have a desire to fly? Helos? Fixed wing? If at the end all of them still sound fine to you... look at Majors. Do all the SA academies offer the major you want? Each service has its own mentality and personality. Which one fits you best?

    One of the great parts of USNA, is that you can go Navy or USMC upon commissioning. That opens up the largest service selection options a candidate who is really undecided or just wants to serve. At your hands you would have the option of Subs, ships, EOD, SEALs, Pilot or USMC. And within the USMC you have a whole slew of jobs available. The Navy and Marine Corps aviation offers lots of jet and helo options. If you want to fly heavies (cargo kind of aircraft), then Air Force is the best option. The Army is almost strictly helos. CGA is C-130s or helos. The Army offers alot of the same as the USMC, but the USMC will be more water based. The Army is larger and has more diverse duty stations. Armor is much larger in the Army also. Air Force has a whole slew of jobs too.
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Oooh boy! That bold comment could be fun to smash into a million pieces!
    Tone and meaning don't always come through on the internet, so be careful what you write!

    As a more serious answer, it doesn't matter which academy is the hardest. What matters is which one is the right choice for you.
    During my time, USAFA was the most academically oriented. USNA had the most focus on athletics. USMA placed more emphasis on leadership and military aspects. That can change as quickly as leadership transitions through, so don't assume it is the same now.
    What was difficult for you may be different from what was difficult for me.

    Start figuring out some broad strokes about what you want to do and/or what kind of organization you thrive in. Then, we can give you some better advice.
     
  5. ProspectiveCandidate12

    ProspectiveCandidate12 Member

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    What comment are you talking about? Also if I had a "preferred" MOS, I would have to pick something field oriented. Such as infantry or combat engineering. This has originally led me to USMA but I do understand you can commission army or marines via USMMA.
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The only bold in your original post was about the easiest SA to get into, followed up by a comment that USAFA appointees had significantly lower GPAs. Some people get sensitive about such things, which can be really frustrating or hilarious, depending on if you are on the receiving end of someone's angry response.

    If you are looking for "field" work, there are quite a few possibilities. The Army and Marines have a large number of infantry and armor positions. Army, Navy, Marines, and AF all have flying positions. Navy and Marines will have a large number of sea-going jobs. Realize that most officer jobs are more oriented toward management and leadership rather than actually physically doing the job. The infantry officer isn't on the battlefield to fire their rifle. They are there to tell the Sergeants where and when to get their subordinates to fire theirs. There are some exceptions, like some flying positions, where the officer will be the primary operator of equipment. So, make sure you look into the details of career fields you are interested in.
     
  7. time2

    time2 Member

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    If you intend to apply based on which is EASIEST to get into, you are focused on the wrong thing. Nothing about applying or attending ANY of the SA's is easy.
     
  8. luckydoggy1234

    luckydoggy1234 Member

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    According to statistics USMMA is the "easiest" with an acceptance rate of 18%. There is however some controversy to USNA's acceptance rate of only 7-8% (you can find articles online estimating that 70% of applications were never completed or seriously considered) which means it may not be as daunting as its acceptance rate implies.
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    A huge part of acceptance is the nomination. If you are from Northern VA, tough one. If you are from North Dakota, less competition.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Merchant Marine Academy is definitely one of the most overlooked of the academies. While it does require a nomination, like all the others (Minus the coast guard academy); such a small number of people apply that it's usually pretty easy to get a nomination from your member of congress.

    Also, the Merchant Marine Academy's average GPA and SAT/ACT seem to also be lower to get accepted than the others. Here's a good link of the class of 2019 stats: http://www.collegedata.com/cs/data/college/college_pg02_tmpl.jhtml?schoolId=164

    Acceptance rate is very misleading for ALL academies. So take that with a grain of salt. As we all know, you can make statistics say anything you want to if done right. E.g. If the Merchant Marine Academy says there's an 18% acceptance rate, then how can their site also say that 11% accepted out of 2252 applicants? Easy. The same way you can say that 10% are accepted in the air force academy if you look at 1200 appointments vs 12,000 applicants. OR.... You can say that only about 6,000 applicants were QUALIFIED, therefor, the air force academy has close to a 18-20% acceptance rate. (Probably the same with the merchant marines, navy, army, and coast guard).

    Another thing overlooked with the merchant marines, is that once you graduate, you have numerous different options. You can work in the commercial industry aboard ships. But, you are also allowed to go active duty in ANY branch of the military. As a graduate, you can go to the air force, navy, marines, or army. Or, you can to reserve units. A lot of different options.

    Academically, ALL academies are tough. But if I was going to say which one gives you the best chance of getting in, it would probably be the merchant marines. But of course, a lot depends on where you're at. Example: If you're from the North-East coast area of the USA, then more people probably apply from that area than say Wyoming, Nebraska, or Kansas. Therefor, you may have a better chance of getting a nomination in a state further away. But unlike the army, navy, and air force, the merchant marines and coast guard aren't required by law to take a certain number of appointees from each state. (Obviously, pretty difficult to do when you only bring in 200-250 appointees a year, vs 1200 for the other academies).

    Anyway, don't overlook the merchant marine academy. It's definitely got some pro's vs the others. I'm still Air Force Blue all the way; but the merchant marine doesn't get looked at as much as it should. Best of luck.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would look on USMMAs forums too. I know there are several threads in the bowels that discuss it comes to the needs of the branches, and you might not be able to get your top career field. With the Army stating right now that they will speed up to getting to down to 450K year and if sequestration does not end, they will be down to 420K by 2020. That means this years candidates year group may feel the brunt when it comes down to commissioning for the Army cadets.

    If you go the USMMA route with the intention of a commissioning into any branch, do the due dilligence regarding what your life will be like there for the next 4 years. As I stated earlier....the easiest route for attending an SA does not equate to the easiest route for commissioning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  12. 2018DAD

    2018DAD Member

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    Prospective,

    Good advice given here by those that know a lot more than me.

    I can tell you a little about a local kid that got denied to the Big 3...he went MMA, had wonderful experience with tremendous travel to exotic and some mundane places. Came out of MMA, went over to Marines, and is now happily serving as a Marine officer. Initially I think he would have preferred a straighter path...what turned out was his 'cup runneth-over' with experience and maturity and education to arrive at a place and in a condition he could have never imagined or foreseen had he traveled a different path or tried to go easy.

    As you have no doubt learned from reviewing past posts; strive not for just enough, or the easiest path. Seek to excel at every opportunity, you will improve yourself mightily and will have impact on others. I know that others here would advise themselves in retrospect, scoop everything thing out you can..take advantage of what might seem at first a difficult path or choice. Do you want to exist in your military career...or do you want to live it to the fullest. I always think about an old analogy: Do you want to enjoy the view from near the bottom of the mountain or the one at the summit? Another way of putting it would be: Isn't the view from that mountaintop much sweeter after a long and challenging climb? Or do you want to step off the cable car and enjoy what others have earned?
     
  13. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Back in the day when I was young, carefree and in college, I knew someone in the MMA. He loved it. I don't know if it still works the same way, but part of the requirements for graduation was serving aboard a vessel that traveled across the seas. I remember one port of call was in Egypt, but I don't remember the others. He was gone for quite a while. It was months as opposed to just a few weeks at a base during the summer. What an experience for him to have. Researching what type of training each academy offers may help you decide which is the right fit for you.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    To our OP: please, carefully consider in which branch you are called to serve. I do commend you for that desire.

    A little exercise (for which fencerschildren had to write more than one (homeschooler) essay):

    You are 25 years old (or 30, 40... you choose, but 25 is the minimum for fencerschildren in this essay format). Serving in the US armed forces, what is your job? Are you flying? A scientist? An Acquisitions expert? On the ground commanding troops? In a submarine? What do you see yourself doing?

    There now. Fencersmother will administer a short quiz at the end of this thread. :)
     
  15. ProspectiveCandidate12

    ProspectiveCandidate12 Member

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    Let me first start off by saying that I am very appreciative for these quick responses. I cannot explain how thankful I am that I found these forums to help me in the admissions process. Looking at it in a new light, I can really only see myself in an MOS that allows for me to express myself physically. Originally I leaned towards infantry, but I do understand that the infantry officer position is highly sought after. I have taken interest in flying, but I am not sure if I meet the eyesight requirements. At the moment, my eyesight is -3.5x in both eyes but correctable to 20/20. Looking at specific aviation careers, I feel I am leaning towards Army helos. I like idea of being able to carry soldiers in and out of combat and being very mobile. So my question is, just how competitive is it to get a slot as an army helicopter pilot? It is my presumption that there aren't many and it is very difficult to attain one. Thanks again guys!
     
  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    One of my sons and PIMAs son too are flying the C130s and they practice carrying soldiers all the time. Don't limit yourself.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I had the same thought fencer. Plus, back in the day when Bullet jumped with the 82nd, he jumped far more often out of an airforce plane than out of an Army helo.

    Go Army if you want helos, AF has them too, but at a much smaller amount. Raimius flies helos for the AF. However, if you want fixed wing than you are better off going with the AF.

    That brings back in the USMMA again. I believe a couple of years ago the AF was not giving any rated out of the USMMA because they had enough pilots already in their pipeline.
     
  18. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Why are you admitting defeat before the battle starts?
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Totally agree. OP.... In your first post, your emphasized that you truly had no preference in which branch of the military you served in. That you simply wanted the honor to serve your country. I applaud you for this. Don't now limit yourself by narrowing down your choices based on the available jobs.

    This may sound illogical, but if you truly don't care which branch of service you are in, and simply want to serve, then you shouldn't care what type of job you get. You should be willing to do any job that the branch of the military you wind up in, gives you.

    However; if you DO CARE about the type of job you want to do, then it only makes sense that DEEP DOWN, you DO have a PREFERENCE in which branch of the military and academy you go to. Example: If you really want to be an Infantry Officer as your number #1 Job, then your PREFERENCE is to go to West Point and go in the Army. Why? Because the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Merchant Marines "DON'T HAVE INFANTRY". On the other hand, if you want to fly Jets, specifically Fighters, then you DO have a preference to either the Air Force or Navy.

    See where I'm going with this. You can't have it both ways. If you truly don't care what academy and branch of service you go into, then you can't really care what type of job you go into. If you do care what type of job you're going to do for the next 5-20 years, then you DO care which academy and branch of the military you go into. Maybe you should set up some priorities so you can rank the various academies and military branches in the order you want.
     
  20. ProspectiveCandidate12

    ProspectiveCandidate12 Member

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    Didn't mean for it to come across that way, I was simply acknowledging that infantry is a tough get and that I understood that. I'm willing to work hard- I really hope no one feels that I am looking for an easy route. When I said that I didn't care about what branch I join, I meant that I wasn't gung-ho marines or gung-ho army. I do have a preference to which job I do (I would much rather be a pilot in the AF rather than a communications officer, much like I would rather be an infantry officer in the army than a military judge).
     

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