USMA vs USNA -- I'm wedged on a decision !!

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by SimpleMan, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, I am a high schol senior who has been lurking on here for almost a year, and I cannot imagine how I got through the application & appointment process without these forums.

    NOTE: I am also cross-posting this same message on USMA & USNA for which I apologize if it violates TOS, but i really have this question for both communities. Admins: Please forgive and move this if it neds to be somewhere else...

    My situation: I've got everything done; got LOAs to both USMA and USNA. DoDMERB, CFA, etc etc all clean and done; have started my nomination interviews and in my first one, I was asked to rank USNA vs USMA in terms of my top choice.. I am honestly in a DEAD TIE as to which one I would prefer to attend. Thye both are awesome and I have to get to a final ranking, but I was told by my MOC person that they will only give me a nomination to on eor the other, and that they coordinate with the other MOCs in my state so I only get a nomination from one of them. I know this ia a lucky position to be in, and want to make sure I give it the high amunt of consideration it merits.

    Bottom line: I likely need to decide in the next week or two which one I prefer, and as i type this I realize that if I intend to attend USMA or USNA then I should be mature enough to work this out in my own head, but i can't.

    I'm not looking for someone to tell me which one, but more looking for any ideas on how I can do the compare... I am planning to do overnights at both, but what kind of decision chart makes sense, what aspects?

    Sorry, but I'm paralyzed with a humbling set of good news.
     
  2. vira

    vira Surfrider

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can list out the pros and cons of each Academy and also think about what you truly want to do in the military. Do you want to be a Marine officer,a Naval officer, or an Army officer? What do you plan to major in? What do you want to get out of an academy?

    I was in your shoes last year but unfortunately I'm somewhere else now. Best of luck.
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Forget the schools. Both are great. Forget the majors. Both will have something you will be happy with. Sit down and look at each and every career opportunity of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. Find the ones that you think you would like. Research them as much as you can. Read about them. Find someone who has done them and talk to them. Further narrow the field to the ones that truly excite you. Do some more research. A pattern should develop. The rest should be easy. Call WP and tell them thanks but no thanks.
     
  4. debcst

    debcst Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    A parent chiming in here-

    I am really glad to see that you are planning to do overnights. I would do whatever you need to do to get to the academies for a visit- even a brief one- before making this decision. There is something about being there (at any college or university) when school is in session that is so helpful in assessing your own "fit." This is of course in addition to all of the reading, comparing available majors, etc. which you have probably already done.

    The other thing that should help a lot (and I'm sure you're already thinking along these lines) is to set aside thoughts of the college years and reflect on the different career opportunities in the two services. It is such a different life to be leading sailors or submariners than ground troops... and even if you aspire to be an aviator, the aircraft and careers differ greatly from service to service. That is putting it in very broad terms but I think you can see my point- that it is important to assess your fit with each service as well as each academy.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
     
  5. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ha! I was about to hit the post button saying something similar to Mongo but I like his post better. And good advice to visit and spend some time on each campus. BTW SimpleMan Congratulations and good luck! Note that for what it is worth you've received three responses here within a couple of minuets and none on the WP forum. :smile:
     
  6. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,089
    Likes Received:
    2,445
    SimpleMan congrats on the LOAs! It sounds as if your overnights won't occur before you have to rank these? I think this would be very beneficial to your decision, but understand it might not occur. Here are some questions that may help drive a decision:

    1. Major - Does one school have a major(s) that you are very interested in that the other does not offer? Is one school more highly regarded than the other in a major. Are you not sure on major? What are you leaning towards?
    2. Service selection - What are you interested in? The Naval Academy has a very broad range of possibilities from Subs to Marines. If you are very intent on Intelligence, Navy is a tougher road to get that billet because it is restricted line. Unless you are deemed Not Physically Qualified, Intel is a tough road to obtain. The Marines have Intel billets, not alot, but they do have them. If you want to fly jets, Navy all the way. Just another item to consider. Also if there are things that interest you in the Army for service selection investigate (or ask on this forum) if they have them in the Marine Corps and how hard it is to go that route. For instance the Army and Marines both have tanks. But the Marine Corps has very few tanks and it is very very hard to select them at TBS.
    3. Location - Both campuses are amazing. Navy is literally right in the middle of great little city, but West Point isn't that far from New York, but as a Plebe it will fill a million miles away.
    4. Navy is obviously much more nautical focused (obviously) in their training and West Point is focused on more Army infantry type training. Navy you will learn seamanship and navigation, be on boats, etc. Army you will learn land navigation and learn to live and operate in the field within the different branches of the Army. if you hate sleeping under the stars, maybe Army is not for you. At Navy if you are interested in field type of activities there are opportunities to be exposed to these types of activities also through the Marine Corps and SEALs.
    5. Sports/ECAs - Not sure if you want to play a sport or interested in a particular ECA. Does one school have that sport/program and the other doesn't?

    Bottom line is remember that you need to select an Academy based upon what you want to do when you are commissioned. I know that is alot to ask of a 17 or 18 year old kid, but I am sure there are some things that you lean towards. Imagine yourself in 4 more years getting ready to enter that world. Hope you can visit them before you selections as I think that would really be what helps make up your mind, but if not really give these things some thought. Best of luck to you and hope it all works out.
     
  7. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0
    Might as well throw my hat in: I'd do a PRO/CON list - NavyHoops gives some great categories to consider in doing this. Another one might be where do you want to be living the 5+ years after you graduate, i.e. consider the bases and theater of operations, e.g. Ft. Benning v. Norfolk, Afghanistan or on a carrier in the Gulf, etc. Big difference between a sub and a forward operating base in Kandahar.

    If you're religious, say some prayers, and make the call. All the weighing and deliberating in the world won't guarantee you the "perfect" decision. What it will guarantee is that you'll know you did your best to make the right decision, that you did your due diligence. At the end of the day, IMO, they're both the right decision. Neither is wrong. Let that serve to reassure you, not muddy the waters. There are a lot of biographies of famous admirals and generals who wanted to go to one and ended up at the other. Sometimes you have to trust it will just work out in ways you can't now see.

    Good luck!
     
  8. osdad

    osdad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    28
    One more factor to consider (as if you need it)

    There will likely be some major troop strength reductions in the next 3-10 years (just when you're hitting the fleet/field) my uneducated guess is that the Army will be harder hit than will the Navy.

    Maybe others can comment on how this might impact newly minted officers as they progress through their careers.

    Also, it's cold in Annapolis in the winter...but not nearly as cold as WP. :biggrin:
     
  9. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow! thank you all so much for the quick and thorough responses. I've got to digest all of this and I will update as I go forward here.

    Thanks again to all!
     
  10. bpu

    bpu Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Go back to the nomination problem. They "said" they will not give more than one nomination to one service academy per applicant. They also said the senators and house reps coordinate with each other.
    I know someone who was told flat out if he did not put USXA as #1 on his preference list he would not get a nomination from that rep. He got nominations to all 3 military academies he listed, including USXA listed as 2nd choice. He also received nominations from a senator and congressman for the same academy despite the fact he was told this would not occur because they coordinate with senators.
    Bottom line is it may be worth trying to verify what you were told does in fact occur 100% of the time without exception.
    If you want aviation you are as an 18 year old NOT picking a college but deciding what military branch you will serve in for the next 14 years. It's tough for an 18 year old in Nov of his senior year in HS to know what he really wants to do, and possibly die doing it, as a 31 year old. Explain the situation and beg for a few more months time by considering getting two nominations from the same house rep. Except for a handful of districts, no way will all 10 nominations all get an appointment so they are not in reality costing someone else an appointment by giving you two nominations.
     
  11. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    6
    Research opportunities and go talk to as many people as you can from the Navy and Army communities. Recruiters, JROTC, ROTC, servicemen and women. You will get a feel for the personality of that service. My DS did the same and was really surprised that for the most part each service had it's own unique personality. Which one do you fit into better?
     
  12. OBXmom

    OBXmom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing you can do while you're gathering info and making up your mind: call each of your MOC's offices and (very nicely) ask to speak to someone who can help you with a nomination question. Find out how many slots each one has for the academies you are interested in. (For each slot they have to fill they submit 10 nominations.)
    When my son was going through this, one senator had two slots open for USNA and only one for USAFA. The other had one each. When crunch time came and his mind was still not made up, he was at least able to play the numbers to his advantage. He requested a nom to USNA from the senator with two slots open, USAFA from the other, and requested both from his congressman. The congressman nominated him to both, and he received one nom from each senator.
    Its an incredibly life effecting decision to have to make at such a young age. Do all you can do to gather info, try very hard to get in a visit to each, play the numbers, and best of luck to you!
     
  13. Candidad

    Candidad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    11
    First off congratulations on your dilemma. It is a nice one to have. There is a lot of good advice in this thread. If that level headed advice doesn't work, try some of the following, all of which are variations of "prayer". (Hear me out, it seems stupid at first. OK and maybe after that too.) After accepting any of the following forced decisions, are you deep-down disappointed in any way?

    Flip a coin.
    Throw a dart at a map.
    Pick whichever academy has the most 3rd quarter first downs in Philly.
    Spin a twister wheel until it lands on green or blue.
    Etc.

    A little more scientific:

    Sleep out in your backyard when it's freezing.
    Swim in an ocean when it's freezing.

    At some point only you can know, and at some point you will know. Best of luck and thank you for serving our country!
     
  14. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    6
    I love that!!

    So funny, because for 4 years, every FTX weekend for my DS (AROTC) has been in the freezing rain!
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    135
    Your decision shouldn't be about which SCHOOL is best for you, rather, which SERVICE is more suited toward your temperament.

    Army life and Navy life are very different.
     
  16. dunninla

    dunninla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    5
    ^ well, I think it would help if those with personal experience, esp. one of those rare few who have actually served alongside both Army and Navy, could flesh out exactly what those differences are.

    - Subs are obviously their own culture
    - Fast planes are not an Army thing -- they split that off into the Army Air Corps, then the Air Force about 55 years ago.

    What I have heard/read (no personal experience) is that a Navy Officer over a 20 year career will sleep much less under his/her own family's (rented) roof compared to an Army Officer, which is less still than an Air Force Officer would. That is an apparently pretty important point that I would be interested in knowing more about. So sum that up, which service is the most "Family Friendly"? Which service is more "Female with children" friendly?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

Share This Page