USAFA vs. USNA - main differences?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by jackson1989, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. jackson1989

    jackson1989 Member

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    My son is trying to decide which option is best for him USNA or USAFA. We live in VA, so he has been able to visit USNA and really loves it there. He has never been to USAFA, so he is not sure how much he would or wouldn't like it.

    The main issue is he has been given a Falcon foundation scholarship by USAFA, and a TWE from USNA. He is currently mulling over his options. He plans to reapply to both next year. Advice?
     
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Can he visit USAFA before he decided to accept the Falcon Foundation scholarship?

    If he accepts the scholarship, applies and doesn't accept his appointment - I believe he is required to pay back the money.
    If he accepts the scholarship and does well in school he is virtually guaranteed an appointment. He is placed in a special cateogory of applicants and his appointment s "his to lose".
    if he rejects the scholarship and reapplies to both - he could also get rejected by both.
    Other than the obvious branch differences and geographicaly differences what are you looking for?
     
  3. jackson1989

    jackson1989 Member

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    I'm wondering about the actual academy experience - differences in philosophy and/or training. He is interested in flying, so both services are desireable to him. He thinks he is leaning towards USNA. He just had a candidate visit and loved it. The mids told him not to go to USAFA, and I'm worried their advice is a bit one-sided (understandably so). He does not want to lose the opportunity the Falcon Foundation scholarship is offering, but he realizes he has to make a choice. I just want him to feel comfortable with his decision.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Yes, their advice is one sided. Both USNA and USAFA are fine institutions. You can't go wrong with either one. :thumb:

    One question you should ask....if he doesn't get flight school out of USNA, is he ok with being on a ship?
     
  5. jscam87

    jscam87 Member

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    Well, the one sided thing is quite true, but it would be equally fair (which means not particularly fair) to say, if he finishes AFA and doesn't get a pilot slot, is he good with living underground in a missle silo in the Dakotas.
    I think a visit to AFA would be quite beneficial, and I'm sure they would set something up for a Scholarship winner. Either way he is looking at a year of taking challenging classes to show his abilities. He can do the same at most schools, but loses the promise of automatic (relatively) USAFA admissions. Does he have back up schools? ROTC? I'm sure he has some excellent choices, so the end goal would be most important at this time.
    Fair Winds...
     
  6. RaptorDad2013

    RaptorDad2013 Member

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    jscam87

    My son was in a similar, but opposite situation. He went to NASS and could see himself at either USNA or USAFA. He got first, last fall, a USNA Foundation Scholarship to NW Prep and a "his to lose" slot for USNA c/o 2014. Then, in early February he received his appointment to USAFA. He too, wants to fly. Both institutions are excellent in every way and the difference is, as pointed out above, the Service in which the graduate serves. I honestly don't think a young person can go wrong in any of the Service Academies. If he really wants to fly, fixed-wing, then look at the numbers. The key difference between the two may be that, usually there are 250 +/- pilot slots for each USNA class and 500+ for each USAFA class. And, while there certainly are still silos for young lieutenants to sit in in the Air Force, there are also a lot more non-flying options that just that particular one, where many career fields in the Navy include ship-board service. Interestingly, in the "cross-commissioning" thread http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=6045 there was a post that said a USAFA grad had a pilot slot from USAFA, but is cross-commissioning into the Marines -- where he did not get a pilot slot. So, are there guarantees? No -- the current Administration may cut pilot slots and the Class of 2014 at either Academy may have completely different options than the Class of 2009. Good luck to your son, regardless of his choice. A "civil prep" scholarship says "someone wants him!"
     
  7. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    LITS is right - they are both fine options. He just needs to get his head around it all.
    As far as the "academy experience" - they are all the same but different.
    Whichever he chooses he can't go wrong. There are awesome careers available in the Navy and AF.
    If at all possible I would book him a flight to Colorado Springs this weekend.

    Does he have a school in mind for the Falcon Scholarship?
     
  8. jackson1989

    jackson1989 Member

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    He is looking at Marion Military Institute. If he decides to go as a free agent, he is looking at Greystone Prep. They both look like great options for him.
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Two separate but related questions -- USNA vs. USAFA and USN/USMC vs. USAF.

    In terms of the academies, USNA is (obviously) more ship-oriented. You learn to sail as a plebe and, regardless of your service selection, you will spend most of your summers aboard a ship. The "campus" at USNA is smaller -- more compact. You can walk outside to Annapolis and are close to DC and B'more (which may matter when you're a firstie:smile:).

    USAFA is more air oriented and you have many opportunities to fly as a cadet. Not sure what you do during the summer, but I bet it's not being on a ship.:yllol: The campus is enormous but is in the middle of nowhere. The Springs is nearby, but it's not as if you can just step outside the "campus" and be there. And, other than Denver about an hour+ away, there's not much around.

    Coming out of USNA, you will drive ships or subs, fly planes, or go USMC. A few folks do other things but the majority do one of the above. USAFA used to guarantee grads a pilot slot but I believe that has now changed. However, I believe that, like WP, grads can go into fields such as Intel, communications, aviation maintenance and the like, whereas you can only do that from USNA if you're not phyically qualified to go unrestricted line. USN/USMC officers deploy. A lot. USAF officers typically don't deploy in the same way but they too have their "garden spots" in the world.:smile: Like missile silos in North Dakota. And, in the old days, Thule (Greenland), Keflavik (Iceland), Mountain Home (Idaho), and the like -- not sure these are all still AF bases.

    One is not better than the other -- they are just different.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    My daughter went to MMI for West Point. if you have any questions feel free to pm me.
    There are some concrete advantages of MMI over Greystone. Be very cautious of spendig a year at Greystone as a free agent, unless he wants to spend 3 more years at Schreiner. Going to Greystone will be like being babysat. He will not have the military exposure that MMI will provide him.

    At MMI he will be in AFROTC and get a fantastic beginning to the USAF, AF Careers and AF culture. He will have a huge head start when he gets to Colorado. When my daughter was there they took the AFROTC kids to UA to do stuff with their AFROTC unit and they also made a visit to CS during football season - I think the AF/Navy game.

    This is what I think - your son has Navy on the brain, naturally since he was just there. He needs to sit down and think with his head about the pros and cons of what he is doing. It's hard on kids when they get rejected - almost like they are a jilted lover.
    If he chooses the FFS and goes to MMI - I can almost guarantee you that by Thanksgiving he will tell you this was the best thing that could happen to him. Kids are resilient - if he can embrace what he has been given and go with it, then he will get on board with the AF quickly and forget about Navy.

    All of that said..... if he goes to MMI he most certainly may apply to Navy as well. Quite a few of the SAP kids apply to more than one academy. He just needs to realize the FF will expect repayment if he "defects".
     
  11. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

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