USMA vs MIT

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by mahkcots, Mar 8, 2016.

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Where would you choose, MIT or USMA for Computer Science

  1. MIT

  2. USMA

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  1. mahkcots

    mahkcots New Member

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    I am presently a Senior in high school and I have been fortunate enough to get into several schools that I never thought I would be able to. I am set on studying computer science and I have narrowed down my choices to West Point or MIT on a full ROTC scholarship. I am struggling to make a decision and would love the input of anyone who feels they have an opinion one way or the other. I know I want to serve in the military and for that, West Point is the obvious choice. On the other hand, I want to branch cyber and while West Point has a good CS program, I was told by a CS teacher at West Point that their program does not hold a candle to the one that MIT has. Some of my concerns are fitting in at MIT because I feel I identify much more with West Point cadets. However, as I have yet to do an overnight at MIT, I can't confirm this. Another concern is not getting the highly specific education that MIT might provide but I don't know if ROTC will hold me back later on down the road politically when promotions come around. I'm grateful to have this choice to make and hope that I will do equally as well from either institution. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks
     
  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Your future is bright. Any path you take you will be successful if you choose to be.

    Don't ask us to make that decision, I don't know you, I don't even know the color of your hair. Its time to put on your big boy pants and make a decision you will live with.

    Welcome to life, its full of decisions, at least you have choices.

    Go for it!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
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  3. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    Do what makes you happy.
     
  4. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    If the promotion boards in the Army are making decisions for promotions based on where you or others went to school we are lost.

    They don't.

    They make decisions for promotion based on how well your performance on active duty is documented.

    Your call. Visit WP and MIT. Go where your gut tells you to go, then jump in with both feet.
     
  5. Ice64

    Ice64 Member

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    I didn't think MIT acceptances came out till Pi Day(3/14). Are you accepted to either school yet?
     
  6. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    MIT has a non-binding Early Action program as well, where decisions would have come out a few months ago
     
  7. AJC

    AJC Member

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    On the subject of politics, it is true that alumni tend to look out for other alumni.
    That being the case, a future CO is more likely to be a WP grad than a MIT grad.
    So, in that regard while MIT will not hurt, WP could help.
    However in the end your performance will make the difference not where you went to school.
     
  8. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Are you looking for a 20+ Army career? Go to WP. Are you looking to 5 and dive and then get a great techie job? Go to MIT.
     
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  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    The bottom line is to pick the school that fits you best. Remember just because you major in CS at MIT doesn't mean you will get a related field in the Army. Also you are well aware that by the time you get out of the Army after 4-5 years, technology will have moved so quickly anyways that 50% of what you learned will have passed. Its great if you get a related field, but no guarantees, needs of the Army come first. Remember going the USMA route guarantees active duty. That is great for some, but if someone really wants the chance to work in their career field post graduation, ROTC route could allow the reserve option. If you can visit both schools. Decide if you want to live a 24/7 military lifestyle. At 17-18 you can guess that you want to serve 5, 10, 20 years, but you won't really know until you graduate and get out there. Really pick the school that best fits your needs.
     
  10. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Fortunately with the choice you have you cannot make a bad decision. But, my vote would be MIT. You do need to visit both schools because the "vibe" of the campus is totally different. In fact probably at the two extremes of the scale.

    MIT has a collaborative, entrepreneurial, high tech feel, and USMA as you would expect a more rigid military feel. You really need to see each school to see what fit you best.

    If you are looking for a career in the military there may be a slight advantage to USMA because of the alumni connection and more of the future COs will be USMA grads, but then there will be many more WP grads in the pipeline than MIT grads.

    In the private sector the MIT alumni network is impressive. MIT is associated with 85 Nobel Laureates, 9 are current faculty. Want to take Biology 101 with the nobel prize winner for the Genome project, then go to MIT. The academic opportunities are endless.
     
  11. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    The current Army Chief of Staff is a Princeton grad.

    There are no bad decisions for you. Best wishes to you.
     
  12. USMA Mom

    USMA Mom New Member

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    Another option would be WP then go to MIT for your masters....
     
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  13. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Another point to consider.
    As you know MIT has a large graduate school. Often times at professors will only care about their research and don't have much of a desire to teach undergraduate. TAs may teach many of the courses and you will be interacting with the TA and not the professor. Research first, teaching becomes a necessary evil for some of the professors

    USMA is undergraduate only. There goal is to graduate their cadets. They are focused on teaching. Getting extra academic help is easy and your chain of command will insist on extra help if your academic performance is an issue.
     
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  14. Fishpart

    Fishpart Member

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    I have served with great officers from both Service Academies and ROTC programs. It is all what you make it. I will say, the Premier LEADERSHIP training institution in THE WORLD is USMA, even if you decide that long term Military Service is not your cup of tea, companies need leaders, technicians are readily available where leaders not so much... Good luck!!
     
  15. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    If you have to ask, go MIT. West Point needs more commitment than that.
     
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  16. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Respectfully disagree. The question may be less what "West Point needs" than what the Army needs. OP has learned (probably correctly) that the CS program at MIT is superior to USMA. OP appears to be maturely weighing whether the academic superiority of MIT will benefit himself and the Army better than the leadership superiority of USMA. A critical consideration may be OP's vision of his Army future (which is notoriously difficult to discern at age 18), for example, commanding troops versus working with other scientists in R&D programs where leadership skills would be subordinate to scientific acumen. An earlier poster thoughtfully observed that OP could attend MIT for post-graduate study as an officer if his talents were to lead him there.
     
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  17. TriService2017

    TriService2017 Member

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    Just my two cents...DD considered MIT as well, but after a visit decided she was not feeling the love. If you have not been there, it is, shall we say, an interesting campus, so please make an effort to visit if you get the chance. We have since been advised by several MIT grads that MIT is great for graduate school, but they wouldn't recommend particularly for undergrad. The grad students work well together and support each other's successes...undergrad is cut throat.
     
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  18. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    FLgarand, I agree on some points, but disagree on others. The Army doesn't really care all that much on major to matching up a branch. Sure they want technically proficient leaders, but the chances he goes to MIT and even if he becomes an officer in a related branch, he won't necessarily be using those skills. He will be leading troops. The military is of the mind set that if you need to know it, they will teach it from a job aspect. His job will be to lead, not be a techie. Sure after he does his first 2-3 years, they could send him to grad school and then do a pay back working in acquisition, R&D, testing, etc. Even then he will be leading contract teams who do the tech work and coordinating activities more than using his technical background. I lived in that world for more than a decade and worked with many phenomenal officers who were extremely bright, even some with PhDs. But, they weren't the techies, they were the leaders, managers, coordinators, decision makers, etc. Sure they need some technical acumen to make decisions, but they have other folks working for them doing the "button pushing".
     
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  19. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    True, we shouldn't underestimate the Army's ability to round hole square pegs. For all we know, the Army has the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates inspecting vegetables as food service officers in Alaska. As I said, a lot depends on OP's vision for his future.
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    West Point doesn't require more commitment, but the Army would appreciate the lack of reflection come transfer season (as does the Coast Guard).
     

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