the academies... difference?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by chosun57, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. chosun57

    chosun57 New Member

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    Apart from the branch of military that u join, is there a difference in terms of education you recieve at each of the academies? mainly focusing on engineering and international relations sections.
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    USAFA is far more technically oriented and is known for the most rigorourus academics of the 5 academies.
     
  3. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Says the USAFA cadet. :biglaugh:
     
  4. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Oh Hornetguy - surely a biased comment.
    What is rigor anyway? What is easy for one person is rigorous for another.


    But I digress.

    Chosun57 -
    Yes, there are different curricula at the different academies. The services are different. I suggest you actively peruse the academy websites paying attention to the Academic sections, the majors offered.
    For engineering - all academies have excellent engineering programs but it depends on what kind of engineering you are interested in. If you want Aeronautical engineering then you won't get that at USMA but you will get one of the top Civil engineering deptartments in the country.

    International Relations - seriously check out USMA. They have a top notch program and excellent foreign language department. There are also many opportunites to study abroad for either a semester or over spring or summer break.
    http://www.dean.usma.edu/departments/sosh/Academic Program/IR Program.htm
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Fine, ask cadets that have exchanged to USAFA. They tell the same story. Seems everything I say is offensive...
     
  6. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Not offended at all, just amused at your "homerism." :biggrin:
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Not directed to you Luigi. ;)
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I wasn't offended at all - same as Luigi - amused. I am still not sure if you were serious or not but your comment did nothing to help the OP who asked a good question. If you want this forum to be a fact-based forum then it probably is a good idea to present facts, as opposed to presenting a biased opinion as fact. (we get enough of that in the press).
     
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Um, I gave facts. USAFA is known as the most academicaaly rigorous of the 5 academies. It is known for its astonautical and aeronautical programs. It is also rated as a top business school. USAFA cadets tend to also get very high grades when doing service academy exchanges. Over half of the 4.0s in the 2-dig classes each year are due to their time at another academy. If you somehow think that its a bash to WP or any other academies to say we're the most academically rigorous, then you need to get real and look at each academies' service's missions. Our mission is the most technologically heavy of the 5 and we need the greater emphasize on technical classes which tends to drive the academic rigor up.

    Chosun - if you're looking for a technical degree and/or military job, USAFA and USNA are probably the ones to investigate. If you are looking for more foreign area studies or political science or civil engineering type jobs/degrees, USMA is the one to investigate. Also figure out what you want to be and search which SERVICE fits your desires. That, I think, is the better way to go. All the Academies offer top knotch educations.
     
  10. zachogden

    zachogden Member

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    To bounce off of what Hornet said a little bit, all of the service academies offer some of the best undergrad educations in the world. That is a fact that is not and cannot be argued. If you want to try and discern which academy has the "best" education, that's where things start to get sticky. The most important difference between USMA, USNA, USAFA and USCGA is what service you will be in 4 years after reporting in day. In my humble opinion it is much more crucial to decide what service you would like to join rather than what the Academy itself offers.
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Sounds like what ZachO says is pretty close to the truth. Each service has a different mission and will have its strengths and even a few weaknesses. Decide where you want to be 5 or 10 years down the road, then find out which might be a better fit for you. If all the SA's seem perfect, pursue them all (but that's my opinion). My sons were USAFA as their top choice, and USNA as second choice. Got into both with Nom and Apptmt but there was really no question about which they really wanted.
     
  12. ds52262

    ds52262 Member

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    Daughter attended NASS and USAFA SS. Was appointed to WP first followed by USAFA, and withdrew from USNA just prior to appointment offer. She was raised in an Air Force family (Mom and Dad both retired) Grandparents and Aunt's and Uncles all retired USAF. A lillte bit of bias. As the offers were coming back she said "Dad I could see myself attending USNA, but wouldn't know what to do in the Navy".

    As was said before each school has a purpose. You will get a solid BS degree no matter where you attend. If you are interested in Science and Space or Flight USAFA is probably the place for you. If you are interested in the Sea Navy is your place. If Blowing things up is your thing try West Point.
     
  13. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    I hope the students who are really confused about which academy to attend will do research other than reading your post. While I know you were attempting to be humorous, the students who read this site are reaching out for help and presenting such narrow views of the different academies really does them no help at all.

    Someone who really does not have a preference needs to spend time 1)visiting the academies, 2)researching available career paths available throught the different branches, and 3) researching available majors at each academy.

    No matter which academy you choose, the path is long and arduous. Once you survive the hell of the summer training, you have to have the wherewithall to figure out how to balance priorities to make it through the academic year. This is not a road for the faint of heart. Getting in is half the battle. Surviving what they have to throw at you is the rest. Good luck to all who strive for this lofty achievement.
     
  14. ds52262

    ds52262 Member

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    Actually Mom as someone who spent a career, 21 years in the Air Force. It really is that simple. You can become a Doctor, Lawyer, Pilot, Astronaut etc. no matter which Academy you choose. The end result is a BS degree that carries a lot of weight. The real difference is which branch of the Military best suits you. I have spent time working directly with Army, Navy, Marines and CG.

    My time with the Army was spent in lovely locations living in Tents supporting them while they blew things up! Same with the Marines. My time with the Navy and CG was at a working surface ship base & technical school. I never went to sea (I knew with one short trip in a small ship on a large bay it wouldn't work out).

    This isn't to say everyone in the Army will be in the feild killing people and breaking things (but it is their job), or that everyone in the Navy will be on a ship or sub sailing the sea's. It just is a lot more likely!:thumb:
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I totally agree. I am not going to say which academy is better or worse academically. I have my preference and everyone knows that. Personally, I believe that a young person who is interested in the academy, SHOULD pretty much know in their heart which branch they want. I'm not saying that they might not have doubts, but there should be little question about which one they want. Maybe the decision is based on family ancestry and tradition. Maybe it's based on what you want to do once commissioned. E.g. pilot, nuclear energy, engineer, etc... What does concern me, and nothing personal against the original poster so don't MISREAD what I'm saying, is that there are a lot of times where questions comparing the different academies come up where it is so easy to see the poster's underlying motivation. They are interested in going to a top notch school to get a top notch education.

    Now, is there anything wrong with that? No. But, in my humble opinion, a college education should NOT be the primary reason for attending a military academy. It should be in the type of military officer it can prepare you to be, so you can most effectively lead our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines during peace time and at times of war. Sorry, but that is what I truly believe. Some people may feel that they will become a better officer, because of their personality and style, if they attend ROTC. Again, another great choice. Some, find their "Calling" later on after having graduated from college on their own. Again, a good decision. The academy is another means to a goal.

    Let's be totally honest. There are 5 types of people when discussing the military. Those who are totally against it. (They aren't part of this discussion). They who are very supportive of the military, but it's just not for them personally. I can respect that. It's definitely not for everyone. But, of the remaining who do attend the military, there are 3 types. Those who really aspire to be in the military. Whether it's as an enlisted person or officer after college. They have wanted the military for years. This is what they have dreamed of. Obviously, those are the ones you hope are enlisting. Then there's those who join for the sole purpose of the benefits. Whether it's a free education; medical/dental; retirement after 20 years; etc... These folks have no problem serving; whether it's 4 years enlisted, 5 years out of the academy, or up to 20 years and a retirement. For them however, the priority has been the benefits, and they are willing to back a certain price through service for those benefits. Maybe a different set of priorities, but understandable. I prefer those who want to serve, even if the benefits weren't there. They now there are benefits, but their primary priority is serving. When you see pro football players leaving the game, in order to serve, then you understand. That's how many of our fathers and grandfathers were during WWII. Of course, there's also the 3rd group. Those who have graduated high school or college and have nothing else lined up. The military is a place that is an option to get them out from where they are. Again, nothing wrong with this, just that a person needs to recognize this and admit it to THEMSELVES.

    No one has to admit publicly that they are joining the military because they have nothing else going for them; or that they are in it for the benefits; or that they want to serve and that's the only reason. All anyone should do is be true to themselves. At least admit to yourself WHY you are serving. Then you can make the best choice.

    The academy however is a very unique situation. Whether it's air force, west point, Annapolis, coast guard or merchant marines, the scenario is the same. This is the number 1 place where military officers are born. Nothing against commissioning via ROTC or OTS, but academy officers are a different breed. Generally speaking, they will usually go further and higher in their military career. And in my opinion, rightfully so. So, when choosing the academy, any academy, I personally believe that it should be for the person who's dream is to be a military officer when they grow up. To serve their country during peace time and war. To lead young men and women under their command to protect and defend our country's values, morals, and way of life. That this is the number one priority. The fact that they will give you a 4 year college education, healthcare, etc... is secondary and appreciated. But NOT the reason for going. As such, you should know what you want to do in the military. Then, it's as simple as seeing which academy can help you accomplish your goals. If you really want to be a pilot or work in the aerospace world, the Air Force is the obvious choice. If you are into nuclear energy, oceanography, marine biology, etc... then the navy is probably the right choice. Maybe you are really into serving with homeland security, drug interdiction, border security, safety, etc... Then the coast guard is a good choice. Same with the army if your desire is civil engineering, political science, foreign affairs, mechanical engineering. But, when the first question is; "Which academy has the best school" or "What are the differences in the academies"; I tend to lean towards believing that service to one's country is not the primary reason for wanting to attend the academy.

    Basically, I see nothing wrong with applying to all 5 academies. As long as you can say; this is my number 1 academy because this is what I want to do to serve my country. Then, this is number 2, 3, 4, and 5 if I can't get accepted into my number 1. Again, no one has to admit their motives publicly. As long as they know deep down inside why they are wanting to attend a military academy, that is up to them. If they truly want to serve; then they probably already know which academy they want. If they are doing it just for the education, then they will "Put Up" with the military for their 5 years of service, plus their 4 years of college. But, that is why the academy only requires a payback of 5 years. Because they know that while many people who attend really want this and will probably stay in beyond 5 years, there will be those who will leave after 5 years because their priorities were different.
     
  16. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Oh my we are condesending on this board today....
    Actually ds52262 - your 21 years as an enlisted airman hardly makes you an expert on career options in today's Army or being a cadet at West Point or being an Army Officer.

    Mom3boys is exactly correct.

    This advice is correct and prudent. I certainly hope that someone with zero military background or mentors available will not listen to some of the advice given here.

    Go back and read the Original post - no where was the question asked which academy is better - however those affiliated with the AFA keep claiming, without reference that it is "superior" to other academies.
    Someone who spent 21 enlisted years in the AF wants kids to believe that the Army is all about "blowing things up".
    Ignorance abounds.

    The fact is - there are kids who want to serve. Far be it for me to analyze their motives as long as they know what is expected. The fact is when serving one's country if you give then you will get.

    Being an academy grad doesn't make you walk on water as an officer. For some they may prefer the ROTC route and this doesn't make you automatically any better or any worse an officer. Maybe the AFA promotes arrogance in their cadets, officers and parents - but in the Army and West Point, bragging is not considered good leadership.

    The fact is the academies ARE different. They are different in environment and academics. Some kids are drawn to one and not the other. Other kids really hope only to be accepted to one academy and are thankful for the opportunity and go one to live the dream.
    Don't pick Air Force because some cadet claims it's the best. Don't pick Army because you are a closet pyro.
    Do your research, visit. You will get a college education. This is a great opportunity to study what you want.
    Career wise - hardly any 17 year old really knows what they want to do - careers are flexible. There is no guarantee you will get what you want anyway.
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    One thing to consider - since commissioning will be 5 years away - the Air Force is set to do some serious downsizing in the near future. This could have an impact on your career. For those who have their hearts set on flying for 20 years - probably won't happen - you stand a good chance of being bought out.

    Army on the other hand is expanding and expected to continue. For years the AF has claimed we would never be in another ground war, but here we are. One benefit - career opportunities. Many young officers in the Army are making Captain in 3 years.
     
  18. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I would not give this advice to a youngster looking at choosing a service or a service academy. If you plot a 30 year curve you will see each of the services will have up and down periods. In 1968 the Army had 1.2 million on active duty and promotion was 2-1/2 years to Captain. In 1974 they were Riffing guys. In 1997/98 the Army was giving early retirement to majors and incenting captains to leave with $30-$50,000 buyouts as it built down to a force level of around 450,000 soldiers and quadrennial review called that number into question. In 2008 they are desperately short of Lt Colonels and Majors and are building up to 550,000 force level. In 2018 - unless you have a Chrystal ball- who knows what the force structure will be? If you want to be a soldier- focus on USMA. If you want to fly fast movers- then look at USAFA or USNA- if you want to be a sailor - then look at the 3 sea service academies- but Don't sweat the issues that will be batted back and forth at the National Command Authority level. They will work them selves out and within a 20-30 year career you absolutely will see the pendulum of force planning swing radically.
     
  19. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Bruno - you are correct - I was just pointing out that "being in the right place at the right time" is hard to predict. Some who want a 20 year AD career just may not get it - due to circumstances beyond their control.

    Regardless of how long your AD career lasts, you will always be an Academy grad with a good education and hopefully a degree in an area which interests you.
     
  20. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    you are right on target. They are all top notch schools that will prepare you well for a life in and outside of the service.
     

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