Straightforward answer needed- Attrition

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by Amy Nan, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Amy Nan

    Amy Nan Member

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    We vistied King's Point for the first time this week. It was impressive and my son is, at this point, planning to attend.

    I think this is great, but I have a big concern. After talking with Admissions, coaches, and Midshipmen, it became apparent that KP has a very high attrition rate, compared to other academies. (Since I work with AF Admissions, I know the numbers.)

    Why is this? Knowing the answers will help my son make sure that he is well prepared to stay.

    Thanks for any info that you can give!
     
  2. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    In a nutshell, the academic load at KP can be crushing at times. The necessity of spending a year at sea means that the midshipmen have to cram four years of education into the three years they spend at the academy. They do it by having three fourteen week trimesters each year rather than the traditional sixteen week semesters seen at other colleges. They typically carry between seventeen and twenty credits per trimester. A load that would not even be permiited without special approval in many schools. In other words, you have to jam sixteen weeks of learning into fourteen weeks of study in what amounts to a year 'round academic program with a very challenging course load. That said , it absolutely is doable. One of the laziest kids I know is about to graduate in less than ninety days. (I hope!) :shake:
     
  3. Amy Nan

    Amy Nan Member

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    Funny!
    Thanks for the info...
     
  4. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    KP does have an exceptionally high attrition rate, but I have noticed that rate start to fall in my time here.

    as Marineopsdad said, the academic load here surpasses any that i've seen any of my friends take. as an engineer, i will be graduating with a B.S. (in June) with 161.5 credits.
    the first year hits many kids hard because they haven't learned time management or proper study skills yet, and the worst of it is they DON'T ASK FOR HELP. the upperclassmen are willing to help plebes, but we're not going to seek them out to help them. so unless they're rock solid in physics, chem, and calc, many of these kids don't have a prayer because they don't know how to get help.

    to echo marineopsdad, this place is doable. i'm nearly as lazy as the kid he references :p and i'm set to graduate in, oh, 91 days i think is the official count.
    ask for help, go see teachers, fly under the radar, etc... and you can make it through this place.

    a lot of the kids that drop do so because they either shouldn't have been here in the first place, don't want to be here, or just have something happen that forces them to leave. we hate to see the third type leave, but it happens.
    hang in there and don't give up and your son will be fine.
     
  5. Amy Nan

    Amy Nan Member

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    Thanks for the info-
    and good luck!
     
  6. VRSCDX

    VRSCDX Member

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    I actually read your post and put my thoughts on the thread called Plebe Attrition. It seems we have two parallel attrition posts going on simultaneously.
     
  7. kp13

    kp13 Member

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    Fly under the radar in the regiment, but in the classroom make sure your teacher knows who you are, your name, and for the right reasons.
     
  8. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Amy Nan, I didn't have a lazy Mid. I had one giant procrastinator though. I'm not sure which is more scary actually. Lazy or turning in your Sea Project 5 minutes before the due date while running across campus stapling pages together and on the phone to Mom telling her that staples aren't really allowed. :rolleyes: Its the job of every KP Mid to FREAK out their parent's at every mid term, end of tri-mester, out at sea, & everywhere in between. They're taught this as Plebes & they are professionals so one must be prepared to do the job of a KP parent & sweat bullets the entire 4 years. Mine was class of 09 through sheer luck & bulldog determination (IMHO). I sweated those bullets until the tube was in hand. Its true that the attrition rate is high. The others here have given you such great insight & wisdom. I've really nothing to add except to say that as a parent, you're going to witness an extraordinary adventure filled with the highest of highs & the lowest of lows. You will worry from day one. I had one in civvy college & one at KP. The differences were extreme. Plebe year = 54 credits compared to civvy college engineer kid with 17 credits. Brother likes to tease that at least he had a summer vacation & got to brew beer in his dirty bathtub while his sibling was scrubbing them with a bald head in 11 months of classes. I guess what I mean to say is that there are no sure fire bets a kid will make it or not & it really is worrisome the whole KP time. He'll have help in getting through but push him to seek help or he will get hammered early on. Best of luck to you all. I've never met a non-outstanding KP graduate. Ever. :thumb:
     
  9. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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  10. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    Without betraying too much information, my ds got an email saying that one of the plebes in his charge had just failed a physics exam. He found this plebe during parents weekend and had a short talk which amounted to "I'm not smart enough to help you but I know someone who is. See me on Monday," The plebe was still there as of spring break so, maybe it worked. I think part of the problem is that, all through high school these kids were the mentors who were helping other students and now that they are the ones who need help they truly don't know how to swallow their pride and ask. Besides, upperclassmen can be so scary.
     
  11. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    Jamzmom, maybe procrastinating is a better word. But, lazy is funnier.
    We both know what they were doing when they could have been studying :smile:
     
  12. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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  13. kpskilegac

    kpskilegac Member

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    company academic officer

    Exactly where does the company academic officer fall in all this?
     
  14. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    Is2day4him, You are missing my point. What is the Squad Leader's responsibility toward his plebes? What is the Platoon Commander's responsibilty toward the plebes in his Platoon? And so forth. Saying "many of my classmates do a lot to help plebes" doesn't answer the question. I applaud the tutoring system in place and it has helped my midn, but that doesn't alleviate the responsibility of those in a leadership position over the plebes.

    Does the Squad Leader/Platoon Commander have any leadership responsibility to know the Academic position of their plebes?? If your Company Officer says "Mr Is2Day4Him, how are your plebes doing? Any of them having any problems?" Could you or 90% of your classmates in a leadership position answer question? If a kid is having academic problems, maybe the root of the problem is something other than academics. Do you care? How do you find out without talking to him? This is leadership.

    Or your answer "it's not my job. He's 18 and an adult, it's his responsibility to keep his grades up, handle his own personal problems, seek out tutors when he needs them."

    We know a plebe who was set back at the end of first tri and was a football player. Should someone have taken that young man aside and said, maybe you shouldn't play football?? Aparently no one in the Athletic Department cared. Do you think maybe a Squad Leader or Platoon Cdr could have seen the obvious and counseled this young man: "Are you here to play football or graduate as a Merchant Marine?"
     
  15. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    i see your point, sorry if my response seemed muddled.
    as far as i've seen, the squad leaders and PCs have typically attempted to keep a handle on who is doing well and who is doing poorly and push the kids that need help to get it. i would say that probably a solid 90% of my classmates in a leadership position could answer that question about the plebes under their charge.

    often times the root of the problem goes down to poor time management and other similar issues. we do care, and we do talk to the plebes. last rotation i was a zombo, however i knew all of the plebes on my deck and would check in on them multiple times a week and ask how things were going, how grades were looking, etc. if they said they were struggling with physics lets say, i'd tell them to come see me before their next test and i'd help them. most of the time those kids would find me the day after their test and say how they bombed it or whatever. that's no one's fault but their own.

    so i guess my position is somewhere in between your proposed ideas. we try to help them, but at the same time, we're not going to push someone through that doesn't want to try. if they're trying, we won't let them fall. it's that a lot of these kids aren't trying nearly as hard as they make it sound like they are and we can all see it.

    the problem i've seen with football players, since you brought up a specific example, is that the coach develops such a hardcore brotherhood mentality (which is not a bad thing... typically) that these kids often don't even consider quitting football as an option. i've tried the approach you suggested several times and rarely do the plebes listen. i don't understand that mentality of sticking to a sport at the risk of your future when it's quite obvious that you need to reprioritize.

    does that clarify things at all? :)
     
  16. noworries

    noworries Banned

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    The short answer for me is nope. It is possibly to build and maintain rapport with your plebes so they are willing to open up and truthfully discuss their problems, fears, joys, triumphs. This might get painful if you have to open up to them wiith your own. Know they will only do this if trust is present.
    Just get them talking by asking open ended questions. Never judge, truely be interested in what they are saying. After they willing open up you can help guide them in the proper direction. Usually people will throw up a false concern to mask the true concern. Ask more questions. Throw out an occasional, how's that workin' for ya? When they give you a weak plan.
    I might suggest "come see me before your next test" is not as powerful "as come see me at 1900 on Tuesday and we will see what you are having trouble with."
    Its fun to grow and develop and its is even more fun to help someone you care about grow and develop.
     
  17. KPDADTX57

    KPDADTX57 Member

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    Sorry Noworries your point is a bit over the top for me. I have watched Is2Day on this forum for over three years. You are implying that he is not not a good leader - I believe most on this forum who have read his posts would differ with your opinion. He is a regimental leader not a therapist - my DS has struggled with the coursework, completed sea year and plays a varsity sport. He is smart enough to know that when one of his officers says "come see me before your next test, inspection, watch, etc." without specifying a date and time he will seek him out. He has always found the help he needed from tutors, officers, upperclassmen, and classmates - and as parents we do not coddle him. If he pulled up with a poor grade we just told him to bear down and pick up the slack. End of story.

    For Amy Nan who first posed the question about attrition rates... yes it is high. My DS has said goodbye to many friends. Regimental leaders mean it when they tell plebes on the first day of Indoc, look to your left and right, if you graduate, one of them will probably be gone. Your son needs to go in with eyes wide open - KP is not for the faint at heart.

    If this is what your son wants and he gets in then he is smart enough to make it through if he is determined enough. But this has to be his decision... if he is going to KP or any other academy at the behest of his parents he will not survive. When any plebe hits a low point, it is only the plebe that can pick himself up regardless of the encouragement he gets from his peer or leaders.

    As a parents we offered guidance on the commitment our DS was making by accepting an appointment to KP. Stress this to your son if he gets appointed - he has to go for the right reasons and with the attitude that he will not fail. I left my son with this before we departed at Indoc - you are here because you earned it, you are taking a different path, make it to lunch, then dinner and the end of each day, your company and fellow plebes rely on you and you rely on them, there are only two ways out of here... you graduate or get tossed out; but you never quit.

    Good luck
     
  18. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    I couldn't agree more. Is2day has been rock solid since day 1. There are few others who would take the time out from studies and regimental duties to answer the questions of all of us parents. Please keep in mind, at KP the course work does not get easier. It gets harder, much harder. The upperclassmen are struggling to keep their own heads above water while throwing "life lines" to the plebes. Right now the 1st class is "sweating" their way through license prep in addition to their course load, This is a BIG deal. If they don't pass the licensing exam, they don't graduate.
     
  19. jessibee2013

    jessibee2013 Member

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    I think we are veering off topic... but...

    I have disagreed with many of Is2Day posts over the past 10 months. At times I've found his opinions amusing but often I have found his criticism of 2013 to be annoying as a parent and lacking insight into who holds the responsibility for the "failures" 2013- themselves or 1/C leaders.
    However, I agree with KPDADTX57 that 1/C aren't therapists and, likely, have received little or no training in "counseling a plebe". Realistically, they can only do so much in terms of reaching out to their plebes.

    I have no doubt about Is2Day's dedication to his responsibilities at KP and to his plebes.
     
  20. Is2day4him

    Is2day4him Member

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    thank you KPDAD and MarineOpsDad for your kind words of support!
    Jessibee,
    i understand that you dislike a lot of what i say, and you have every right to. a lot of it is unpleasant. however, you will also notice that i only slam what the plebes do or do not do, not them as people and future officers. and please believe me when i say that i have a lot more insight into this place than probably any of the commonly posting parents on here (not a slam on anyone, but let's face it, i've lived and breathed this place for 4 years now).
    you can look back into my posts where i've stated fully that it's a complete shame that we've had our hands tied and aren't allowed to train these kids the way we were trained and in the way that seems to be most effective. we know that as the 1/C leadership we have not been what these kids need. i wish i could say that it was our fault though, that'd be much easier to deal with. fact is we've been bound up in so much red tape that it makes any form of effective training impossible. i can rattle off the names of at least half a dozen of my classmates that have gotten in serious trouble for the stupidest reasons while trying to make their plebes into responsible young men and women.
    that is not me advocating IT or any of that. i think IT was rather useful (not saying that it is the best, but it's better than what we've got now). the problem i see with this whole ordeal is these kids aren't being taught consequences for their actions or inactions.
    it's a real shame, which is why a lot of my posts that you find "amusing" are worded the way they are. it should not be this way. hence my doomsday prophesies about this place. the quality of midshipmen is dropping every time you turn around and it's not their fault fully.
    however, there does need to be a certain amount of the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" in the system. the time for being spoonfed is over.
     

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