Transferring from USNA to Civilian College

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by bk2015, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. bk2015

    bk2015 Member

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    I'm a 4/C MIDN at the Naval Academy considering transferring to a normal college. I posted about this about a month ago, and I am still not sure if I want to leave yet. I love the Naval Academy -- the camaraderie, esprit de corps, patriotism. It's not that I don't want to be a naval officer, but I'm just not sure it's my number one choice in career and I don't want to be that officer whose heart is not 100% in it.

    I'm not academically challenged here at all, despite playing a club A sport fall semester and being involved in ECA and sports spring semester. I know academics are supposed to pick up in future years, but I am a high validator and I'm still bored by the classes. In addition, I just think the majors here don't offer the depth that other institutions do. I have a passion for learning and I'm just not getting the intellectual stimulus that I want here. I want to be a CS major with a concentration in computational biology and USNA doesn't even have a biology major. I thought I wanted a structured college setting with both physical and mental development. I can't deny that the structure and the physical aspects are great. I go to sleep at 2300 every night (like a good plebe!), get enough sleep, eat well. The peer pressure and morning workouts are awesome, too - I'm in great shape. I'm just not getting enough of the mental aspect which is what I value the most.

    I ultimately have two questions: 1) With a 4.0 from the Naval Academy (with a course load like DiffEqs, Physics, 300-level of foreign language), do I have a good shot at getting into schools with top CS departments (such as Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UPenn, Duke)? 2) Do you think my reasoning and logic for wanting to leave the Academy is sound? I guess I'm just asking if someone can play devil's advocate here or tell me if I am wrong in my "plebe" impressions.
     
  2. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    1. Did you do any of the things people suggested the last time you posted such as speaking with your advisor and/or your chain of command?

    2. Call the colleges you are considering transferring to. They will know more about Carnegie Mellon and Stanford than those on this board and your chances of transferring. (Though I would guess at this stage you are late in the process to apply to other elite schools)

    3. If comaraderie matters, I assure you other schools will have nothing even close unless you are playing on a sports team.

    4. Many of your professors attended top tier graduate schools. Ask them what they think
     
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  3. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Oh gosh your killing me...If only we all had these kind of dilemas :)
     
  4. rkv

    rkv Member

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    I agree with the suggestions of contacting the admissions offices and talking to your current professors. Particularly, since you will need them to write references for your applications. I would think that the elite schools would look favorably upon your time at the Naval Academy. Although, from the courses you mention I would think most freshman at universities in a technical discipline would have had more STEM courses than you are listing. Do you have more than Mathematics and Physics?. Also, they will also be looking at your SATs and high school. The more elite the school the fewer transfer spots they have available.

    I also agree with comments in the earlier posting where they encourage you to complete the year. Your relatively close. You could be viewing your transfer applications as trying to put in place a plan B and then make a decision this summer. After you've finished the year and also know where you've been accepted. You may still have a window for applying I believe most transfer applications have a later deadline than first year students, e.g., I believe Stanford's date is March 15th. So you don't have a lot of time. But it still might be possible.

    Having a plan B in place might reduce some of the anxiety and then allow you to make a decision with a clear head once you've completed this year.

    Good luck.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Regardless of all the academics and smart stuff... If you do not want to be a Naval Officer it's time to pack it up. That is just my opinion, but if that isn't something you can see doing for 5 years you are at the wrong school. My room mate at USNA was not only a high validator, but validated more courses than anyone in the history of the Academy. She was a Rhodes finalist and earned her PhD by 24. But regardless of all that, she wanted to be an officer and serve in the fleet. I would say at a minimum, start applying to schools you are interested in, put a deposit on your top pick, go on a cruise this summer and see the fleet. If you still feel this way, you know the answer.
     
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  6. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Look into the transfer VS Freshman parameters, Some of the schools allow you to apply as a freshman even with a certain amount of credits, and they accept way more freshmen than they do Transfer students
     
  7. bk2015

    bk2015 Member

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    Thank you for your responses!

    I spoke to my advisor and he said he thinks my reasons for considering transferring are fair. He is writing a college report of some sort (just an evaluation of my academic standing, I think). I also spoke to my English professor who is writing my recommendation. I will definitely call the colleges that I am applying to! And I know - that's one of the biggest things that is keeping me here. I love the people, I love the spirit, I love the values that this school instills in us.

    My high school stats are pretty good. I had a 4.16 at a top 10 public high school and a 35 Composite on my ACT. I am definitely going to complete plebe year before I make any decisions, especially because I want the credits that I take this semester to transfer to a civilian college, if possible. I've already started applying. Most are due within a month. I took normal plebe classes, except I validated Chem 1 and all of Calculus, as well as a few other courses here and there. And I am taking an upper level of a foreign language currently.
     
  8. JTGib13

    JTGib13 DS-USMA & USNA Appointee Class of 2020

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    bk2015-Here was my gut reaction to your post. If you were my kid, I would say: "I want you to be happy so make sure that before you make a decision, have as many options as you can in front of you, take a breath, make a pros and cons list, make your decision, and most important of all, don't look back---have faith in your decision."

    So........rather than wondering if you could get in to Stanford or C Melon or Duke (I'm a Tarheel so the Duke one kind of hurt a bit! ;), apply to one or all of them. My guess would be someone coming from any SA would be looked at positively. Now lets's continue the positive thoughts and assume you get in to ALL that you apply---NOW you will be able to make a better and more logical decision because the "actual" choices will be right there in front of you. You can always sit around and wonder if you should transfer, or wonder if you'd get in. Instead, if they were real options for you........what would you really do? That's hard for most to do and that's why I suggest having the REAL options in front of you before making a decision.

    If you were asking for opinions, I think you should at least apply to one so that the thought feels "more real". A real option will give you a more genuine and true answer to the question that you, and only YOU, can answer. I really hope you figure it out and find happiness in your decision! :)

    Please keep us posted!
     
  9. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    @bk2015 Sorry, but I have more questions than guidance.
    What makes you think Duke, Stanford or UPenn will be more academically challenging than USNA?
    Are the professors at USNA not "experts" in their fields?
    Are you just not getting enough challenge from the classes, minimal opportunity to take high level courses and do research.
    Are there many other students that are like you and not academically challenged?

    If you really want that academic challenge consider Bio Engineering with an Applied Mathematics concentration or duel major in both. IMHO the computer science part is easy, it is the math and bio that will challenge. I have a friend at UPENN working on their PhD in Bio Engineering (got his undergrad from Hopkins) and in his research he has to crunch through terabits worth of data to evaluate the lab test results. It gives you that Bio, SC, Applied Math twist to his research and studies. Also, JHU should be on your list.
     
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  10. time2

    time2 Member

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    You are an exception if you don't find USNA academically challenging. As I stated in the prior thread, there are certainly lots of other ways to occupy your time if you are bored with the academics or don't need to study.....tutor others who need help, join a sport or ECA....etc. Eventually you will learn that the smartest people aren't necessarily the most successful in what they do after college, good to also consider what you really want to do AFTER college whether USNA or some other institution.
     
  11. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Just spoke to one of my USAFA classmates that now teaches at one of your listed schools and he was one of those that was a lot smarter than everyone else at my SA

    His points
    Yes - you can probably find more rigorous undergraduate programs if you have a single academic focus, but other schools won't care about the breadth of that education.

    Duke won't care if you can speak to peers or even if you come to class. They won't care if you pass or fail. The University of Chicago won't care if your comp sci studies include philosophy and law

    Though he rarely engages with undergraduates now, he can assign a lab project that will take 30 hours to complete and he couldn't do that while teaching at USAFA because of the other demands of cadet life

    However, as an undergraduate he jumped out of planes, went to Recon and SERE. He had leadership opportunities and he learned how to follow as well as lead.

    It's your call but if the non academic things in life matter to you - USNA brings much more to the table than the other schools you are considering

    A good friend of mine graduated from a prestigious civilian engineering program and went to work for GE. He worked on ice makers his first 2 years after graduation.

    If you are as bright as you seem to think you are the Navy's post graduate programs and the projects you can work on will far eclipse most other opportunities.

    But if your leaving lowers the mean, I would have been all for it 30 years ago
     
  12. Norfolk63

    Norfolk63 privateer

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    Is this post for real?
     
  13. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    If you are referring to the OP. Yes I would have high confidence that it is real. Look at OP posting history. Although not many posts, a year ago they asked about validating classes, then back in Jan, while on break they asked for advice on transferring, and now this thread.
     
  14. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Nothing wrong with wanting to leave USNA. Many do and go on to successful lives. Others do and wish they'd stayed.

    Suggest talking to folks/friends at civilian colleges or who recently graduated (from undergrad, not grad school, which is a very different experience). What are their days like? What do they do during the summer? How are they paying for their education? Will they be able to graduate in 4 yrs? How easy is/was it to find gainful employment after college? What do they like best/worst? How easy is it to live on/off campus? Do they feel challenged academically? Do they have friends who they expect to be close to for a lifetime?

    Just like SAs, civilian colleges have pros and cons in general and each has pros and cons in particular.

    My only advice is to do everything you can to ensure the grass will be greener wherever you're going - before you leave. My dad had a great saying: "Wherever you are is the worst; wherever you're going is the best; and wherever you came from isn't as bad as you thought it was when you were there."

    I've found in life that it has proved true more often than not.
     
  15. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    There are only 2 good assignments in the military:

    Your last one and your next one
     
  16. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    Is there a reason why you can't pursue your other educational goals in graduate level programs after the Academy?
    Why not have your cake and eat it too?
     
  17. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Go back and read the essay(s) you submitted with your USNA application. Think about what has changed, and why, now that you are no longer in that addictively competitive hunt for a Service Academy appointment and you are actually there.

    If you no longer desire to be a naval officer, at all, by any path, and it's not just USNA is not what you dreamed it would be, organize yourself to find your right path. As advised above, do a complete comparative analysis of your choices, using both tangible and intangible elements. This is exactly why it's set up so you can attend for up to two years without obligation. The class is expected to shrink every year for both voluntary and involuntary departures.

    If you come up with a completely researched and executable Plan B1, you are ready to go. I used to see every mid leaving my Battalion at USNA, as required by the SOP for separation. The mid who showed up with clear and cogent reasons for leaving, even if they loved their company/friends/teammates/USNA, and had a ready-to-go plan for their next steps - I knew they had made their decision and were mentally a step off the Yard.

    If you do decide to stay, you are perfectly positioned for the UK Scholars group, if you keep on a top-of-class trajectory. There are probably some upper class in your company who are chasing the Rhodes, Fulbright and other prestigious opportunities for IGEP. There is also VGEP, where you could start at Johns Hopkins or other nearby schools January of your 1/c year. The hunt for a Rhodes begins early, and it's not all about grades. Double-majoring could be something to explore. If you have time to spare, getting involved with the Midshipman Action Group and giving to others is never a waste of time.

    It's up to you to find what challenges you!
     
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  18. Serve.USA

    Serve.USA Member

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    When you say that you are a high validator, how did you go about doing that? Did you validate any classes that you didn't take an AP exam in? For instance; I took AP Calc 1 and 2 in HS and got 100% in both class but I didn't take the AP exam b/c I knew you couldn't transfer credits to USNA, so would I still be able to validate those courses without taking the AP exam?
    thanks
     
  19. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    You will take tests during PS that will determine what sections you will be placed in, or if you can completely validate a course.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  20. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    USNA provides a separate academic advisors to "High Validators" I would assume that OP is in that category. From USNA "SPECIAL PLEBE ADVISERS Advising plebes who validate many courses is quite different from advising other plebes. For this reason, we assign these plebes to more experienced faculty members. These special plebe advisers can be an important resource for advisers who have students with special concerns relating to graduate degree programs and for selecting spring courses when validations are involved." Usually there is between 15-25 plebes in this category.

    For information on validating courses go here http://www.usna.edu/Academics/Candidate-Information/Course-Validation-Policy.php
     

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