USCGA or USAFA?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by burnerafter16, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    17 yo DD received appointment offers to both USAFA and USCGA. Also type 2 AFROTC scholarship. Not decided on a specific branch or major. Just wants to genuinely serve. Varsity X- country runner and decent swimmer- not being recruited as athlete.
    Any input as to where to go? CT or CO? Pros and cons to help choose which is best.
    Thanks
     
  2. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    USAFA. Definitely.

    Stealth_81
     
  3. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    You'll probably be getting biased opinions by asking this question in the USAFA channel, but my opinion, for what it's worth, is USAFA. If your DD is not decided on a particular desire for any branch or major, USAFA will definitely provide more options for her to explore than USCGA would, which is very mission specific. Also, while both are good schools, USAFA is a better known school and I would say that the reputation would carry more weight in post USAF job applications.

    Congratulations to your daughter on both appointments, and I'm sure she has a bright future no matter where she ends up.

    FlyingFuzz
     
  4. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    Concur with Stealth -- USAFA definitely.

    okay - admit I'm biased. DS is Firstie at USAFA, I was 4 years AF, and DH retired AF.

    The decision comes down to what DD wants to do - fly, be on water, intel, do stuff with water, space stuff, water stuff, etc.

    Also -- what is DD interested in academically. CGA does not offer as many majors as USAFA.

    CGA is MUCH, MUCH smaller than USAFA. What size school does DD want?

    CO or CT -- both will have cold weather -- both have nice weather, though CT more humid. CO has fantastic skiing, CT has great water for boat stuff.

    from previous posts it looks like DD went to Summer seminar at USAFA. Has she visited New London?

    I will say DS has had opportunity to do amazing things at USAFA; he has a friend at CGA - that friend has had a great time at CGA, but hasn't done the things DS has done. Summers for CGA - on a boat. Summers at USAFA - jump, soaring, survival training, ops AF or deployed ops, summer research, powered flight.

    best of luck on the decision.
    and thanks for her willingness to serve our great country
     
  5. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    Ooops. Didn't mean to post this just on a specific SA channel.
    Wanted to get more input than what the glossy brochures provide.
    With sequestration, cutbacks, expanded role of women in the armed forces, would like for DD to make an informed decision and not just pick because of bias,convenience or location. Older sibling already at USAFA.
    Thanks
     
  6. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    Thanks for the prompt reply.
    DD would be interested in a language major or Goverment if only to shun a technical path. Wouldn't mind flying if qualified. From what we've researched, USAFA only designates one graduate to LAW school while USCGA has 80% that can choose to pursue graduate studies. If becoming JAG is an option wouldn't the latter be a better fit?
     
  7. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    From their site, CGA only offers eight majors: Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering, Operations Research/Computer Analysis, Marine and Environmental Sciences, Management, and Government.

    Thus, DD would have to major in Government at CGA. At USAFA there are more majors which could lead to law school. While only one at USAFA gets selected for law school, DD could go into a career field and then get selected for law school a few years later. Harder to get into flying at CGA from what DS's friend says.

    You state DD is runner & decent swimmer. Has she contacted CGA to see if she could make their teams? As Div 3, CGA might have different "cuts" than Div 1 USAFA.
    As a runner & swimmer, maybe Triathlon is her real sport -- both SA offer Triathlon teams (competitive club sport, but competes against other colleges).
     
  8. goldenlion

    goldenlion Member

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    I graduated from USAFA, but my daughter is currently a freshman at USCGA. So I am sort of unbias.

    USAFA is bigger and has more options (majors & careers).

    USAFA is stronger academically.

    I think the freshman year is much easier at USCGA, once academics start. For instance, freshman can visit freshman that are in different companies. At USAFA, you have to stay in your squadron area.

    USCGA: they change roommates constantly. I think my daughter is on her 6th or 7th roommate already, and she just started second semester.

    For law school, USAFA has a pre-law major. After graduating and serving 2-4 years (?), you can apply for FLEP (Funded Legal Education Program) where the USAF sends you to law school.

    Additionally, USAFA sends about 5-10% of it's graduating class immediately to grad school upon graduation.

    My recommendation would be for your daughter to really think about what branch of the service she would prefer. No job/career is a guarantee. The needs of the service always come first. If she has no interest in spending months on a cutter at sea, then the Coast Guard may not be the best option.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Yes and no. In general, the feedback from people who have been at both on exchange is, USAFA seems to be the easiest for freshmen (when compared with other academies). That doesn't mean it's easier, just easier.

    USCGA has less majors, but that's also because there are only 950 cadets total in the entire school. No need to have majors supporting 5 cadets each year just to have majors for majors sake.

    As a cadet at USCGA I took Consitutional Law, International Law and Maritime Law Enforcement. I was a government major. But then, law school doesn't require "pre-law".

    "What was your major at AFA?"
    "Pre-law"
    "And now you're a lawyer?"
    "No, never did anything after."


    USAFA is more well known, and has been in the spotlight for good and bad reasons, but I'm not sure I would focus on the "academic rigor". My friends went on exchange and didn't see much of a difference.


    New London's nothing to brag about, but then, Colorado Springs seems to be pretty dead. At least in New London, New York and Boston are relatively close and there is good east coast skiing in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Either way, you've got to like "blue".

    Good luck.
     
  10. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    DD runs and swims to be fit. CFA was OK. Being a NARP would be fine.
    It's tough enough to get through the rigors of the four years at a SA let alone setting sights on graduate school but with the mention of the possibility of graduating without commissioning, choosing a career path is imperative to a secure future. We don't have a crystal ball but with sequestration and the winds of cutbacks may precede an unpredictable economic climate in the years to come. DD could use all the input she can get to help her decide.
    -Thanks
     
  11. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    This is very helpful as you have insight and raise good points for her to digest and hopefully help her choose the path to take.
    Thanks
     
  12. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    Thank you for your perspective and helpful input.
     
  13. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    I still firmly believe that if there are cuts it won't be to SA grads -- too much money invested in them. Now if SA grad goes onto training and fails that training, then I could see the service possibly saying goodbye rather than try to find a different job for them. I think the SA's and ROTC will just continue to be more and more selective and limit enrollment until things settle out

    That said, having a good academic major to fall back upon would be a wise choice.
     
  14. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014

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    Just to key in on the summers a bit. Yes, USAFA has amazing experiences with different programs and schools. But, USCGA has awesome experiences as well and, 90% of the time, they involve interacting with the operational Coast Guard.

    3rd Class Summer:
    Eagle for 6 weeks: sail to England, Ireland, and Germany while meeting amazing people in the Coast Guard and from other countries. I went through some pretty awesome storms and it was a valuable experience.

    Cutter/Station for 6 weeks: I was at a small boat station where I earned my Pepper Spray Qual and other qualifications as well as got to learn what it was like to be a junior enlisted member of the Coast Guard. I worked hard but I had an amazing time.

    2nd Class Summer:
    Cadre: Everyone does it and we are trained by the best: The Coast Guard Cape May Company Commanders
    CATP: Aviation program where I had my first helo ride and had a pretty fun 15 hour road trip with some of my best friends here at the Academy.
    MSTP: Spent a week at a Sector and did some pretty cool inspections, including vessels from other countries.
    Colgates/L44s: Sailing
    Range Week: Pistol Qualification (Prerequisite to Boarding Officer School and Practical Pistol Qual)
    There are a lot of special programs for this summer as well (Holocaust Study Trip (NYC, Germany, Poland), Exchange at the Japanese Coast Guard Academy, Ocean Racing to Bermuda, etc.)

    And now, as I prepare for my 1st class summer, here are some of the things my class is getting an opportunity to do.

    JINSA: 21 days in Israel with the IDF
    MLE: Maritime Law Enforcement Academy to become a qualified Boarding Team Member
    Six weeks at an Air Station
    NOLS: Outdoor Leadership School
    Rocky Mountain High: Faith based outdoor leadership program
    Shiprider Program: Attached to a commercial vessel for 4-6 weeks
    Kojima: Sail with the Japanese Coast Guard Academy on their training ship from Hawaii to NYC.
    Academic Internships: FBI, DIA, Study Abroad, Capitol Hill, Working with dolphins, Arctic Missions, Google, etc.

    So, to paraphrase: Its not all about being on a boat every summer.

    Ultimately, its what your daughter wants that is important. My family is career Air Force but I liked the idea of a smaller service with a humanitarian mission. I have multiple friends here who have been a part of Search and Rescue Cases, Drug Busts, and Migrant Interdictions. The Coast Guard allows cadets to really be active when they are attached to operational units in the summer.

    As for which Academy is easier, well that's all relative. Talking to multiple exchange cadets, there are good and not so good parts of every Academy. Its all about perspective. Although it must be nice to only have morning formation a couple of times a week...and a whole hour later than ours. :wink:

    If your DD has any specific questions about USCGA, I'd be happy to answer them.
     
  15. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    Wow! We appreciate you sharing this detailed peek and a most interesting perspective from a soon to be "coastee".
    Thanks
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Coast Guard cadets are "Coasties" too.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I spent part of my 3/c summer (that's the summer between a Coast Guard cadets freshman and soph. years) on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence (summer of 2003). The VAST majority of my time on Dili, we were picking up and returning Haitians to Haiti. No matter what you hear on the news or see in movies, alien migrant interdiction operations is pretty intense for a 19 year old college student. It involves very angry people (generally outnumbering the cutter's crew 3 to 1), children and infants. Some of it makes you sad, some of it makes you angry.

    My 2/c summer I was a swab summer cadre. As unpleasant and hard as swab summer is a cadet, I can tell you, the pressure is on the cadre. Doing what your told and being yelled it all the time presents some stress, but training and developing young adults, at the age of 19 or 20 isn't easy.

    My 1/c summer I was on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active, on the west coast. While my 3/c summer was meant for me to experience the life of a junior enlisted member of the Coast Guard, my 1/c summer was mean for me to experience the life a junior officer. Nasty seas and fisheries boardings in the Pacific.

    My first unit upon graduating was the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous. My two years on Vig alternated between the north Atlantic and Florida Straits. Instead of Haitians, we most often dealt with Cubans. In the two years I was there, we had about 1,000 Cubans.

    You can't go wrong with either the Air Force or the Coast Guard. I of course would favor the Coast Guard. One thing you can be sure of, the work will always be there, in times of war and peace.
     
  18. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    Very thankful to have this forum where one can learn a lot from helpful sources of much needed guidance that eases the navigation of uncharted territory for newbies and applicants.
     
  19. Packer

    Packer Member

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    If your DD has not done a Cadet for a Day visit at the CGA, I would recommend she do so prior to making her decision. My son was set on AFA and had done a visit there and had quite a bit of exposure to AF personnel active and retired. We had to seek out Coast Guard personnel for him to talk to in order to learn more about the CG. After talking with the Coast Guardsmen we found his interest in the CG increased substantially and he did a Cadet For A Day that was offered him. After doing the CGA visit he was really sold on the CG. For him he said USCGA just felt right.

    The academy itself was a big part of his decision but I think the bigger part was realizing the mission of the CG. Paraphrasing his words he said the CG does what they train for everyday but the AF trains for what they may never do and hope not to have to do. Also, at this point he thinks he want to do a career and the CG lifestyle had greater appeal to him than the AF lifestyle.

    Your DD is in an envious position with a big decision that has no wrong choices. Good Luck!
     
  20. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    It may be a shock to some in this section, but I actually know a few who had full appointments to both USAFA and USCGA and chose USCGA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013

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