Usmma vs nrotc

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by ddavid, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. ddavid

    ddavid Member

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    Hello everyone! I am a senior in high school from California and I have a big decision. First off as of today I was rejected from USNA. But I received an appointment to USMMA in January. Also I was not awarded the NROTC Scholarship but I do have the opportunity to join as a normal college program student at the University of California, San Diego. So my question is should I attend USMMA or join the NROTC program and attend UCSD? What are the positives and negatives? I need help this is the biggest decision of my life! :confused:
     
  2. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    What is your ultimate goal? I suggest you take the time to delve very deeply into the threads on this site, to extract information which will help you make your decision. There is much wisdom and insight for your taking.
     
  3. SAhopefulABQ

    SAhopefulABQ Member

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    ddavid,

    I know how you feel, because I am in the exact same situation. I'll pitch in my two cents.

    I am a senior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I was both accepted into USMMA and awarded a NROTC scholarship, which combined with the school's merit aid, would give me a full ride (tuition + room/board) to CU Boulder.

    Going into applications, I envisioned myself going Navy officer from USNA (still waiting on a reply, but as you will see my views have changed slightly), and applied to KP just because my counselor told me it was a good idea. In January, I was accepted to KP and so did more research, and visited it this past week. This is where all of my claims come from, but I'm not pretending to be an expert on KP.

    I learned a lot on my visit and had a complete turnaround in what I wanted.

    The biggest benefit (I think) to choosing KP over that scholarship is that KP gives so many options. Not only is the Navy officer commissioning track an excellent one, but you are exposed to a completely different side of service to country, the Merchant Marine. Being from NM, the job fascinated me personally.

    But sticking to the Navy track, KP offers two things UCSD won't-
    a) a year at sea (which is more sailing experience than any midshipman at USNA will get)
    b) the academy experience

    I don't know what works best for you, but I think the academy experience is an excellent leadership lab and teaches someone in an entirely different way than a normal college ROTC program will. That doesn't necessarily mean it's better, but that's what I know I'm looking for, and if you are also wanting that 4-year experience I think KP is the right choice.

    That said, I'm also partial to KP because I am very interested in learning more about being a deck officer in the US Merchant Marine, as well as being an officer in the Navy. And like every officer has told me, and officer is an officer is an officer, whether he went to USNA, KP, or did NROTC. You'll see on this forum that KP is not the easiest way to become an officer as the curriculum is not geared towards that, but I think that it is a great path if someone is ready for it. I definitely hope I am!

    Those are just my personal reasons for making the choice I did. Good luck with your choice- trust, me I know how big it is!

    Hope this helps a little.
     
    grevar likes this.
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Sound advice from SAHopeful. I would add that the financing sounds better at USMMA. As partial as I am to NROTC it is not a guaranteed path to a commission for a college programmer. You would need to win an in-school scholarship or gain advanced standing. Certainly doable but not guaranteed. You'll also have options at USMMA when graduation rolls around.
     
  5. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    SAhopefulABQ and ddavid:

    First congratulations on two things - a) achieving and having the choices you have to make and b) being deliberate and intelligent in your consideration of whether or not USMMA is for you before accepting the appointment. This is a smart thing to do. "The academy experience" as SAhopefukABQ calls it, especially at USMMA with the increased course-load of getting a four year degree in three years on campus, the sea days required to sit for and get your USCG Merchant Mariners Document and living the 24/7 Regimental System one has to in order to attend a Service Academy is not an easy row to hoe - and to get through it most of us needed to know it was our own decision and what we wanted to do.

    That said SAhopefuleABQ basically summed things up as well as I could but I'll try and summarize the differences as I see them - at least the key "positives" of the two choices that I understand you are looking at ddavid (aside from the fact that USMMA is basically "a full scholarship" plus:

    USMMA:
    - "Academy Experience" i.e. a 24/7 Regiment when you are on campus - which is something you don't get in most NROTC units/college experiences.
    - Upon graduation in addition to your degree and commission (which you'd also have from the NROTC route) you have a USCG Merchant Mariners License and usually several options with regard to what you want to do next with regard to your career.
    - At USMMA you will be attending college on the other side of the country (not sure if you view that as a positive or negative, but it is different than going to UCSD and being from California.
    - USMMA is definitely a small college experience - again pluses and minuses but different than UCSD - by the time you graduate you likely will at least know a little about every member of your class and have a tight group of friends that will be with you in some way or another the rest of your life.
    - USMMA feature the sea year - part of your second and third years - that you will spend at sea working aboard US Flag Merchant vessels - learning what it is the primary mission of USMMA is to train and prepare graduates for - careers in the US Maritime Industry. You'll see some of the world and learn a lot about both yourself, your core values and leadership.
    - At USMMA, your choice of majors will be limited, but upon graduation you will be part of two "fraternities" - you'll be a Kings Pointer - a small group of ~15,000 alumni that are one great alumni network; and a graduate of a Federal Service Academy - another "fraternity" that provides some mutual support and esprit d' corps.
    - For me, having entered USMMA 36 years ago, I can tell you USMMA was the right choice for me and I rarely ever regretted not having the "normal college experience" and really loved the "Academy Experience" I had at USMMA but that's me and everyone is different.

    UCSD NROTC
    - You get the "normal college" experience in a climate and locale that is second to none. 22+ thousand students a 51/49 male-female ratio; and five undergraduate colleges with a cornucopia of different majors available to you (as compared with five (5) at USMMA).
    - From what I can tell looking at US News and World Report - UCSD is a great school, with solid programs and choices and let's be honest La Jolla and the annual "Sun God Festival" sound pretty awesome...

    But what do you want to do - that's really the question you need to answer because these two choices are really, IMO, comparing Apples to Oranges. USMMA you'll be in an entering Class with 250 - 300 others and 100% of you will live on campus and be enrolled in one of five Academic Majors. UCSD NROTC you'll be in an entering class of ~6,000 and at least by the time you get to your second year only 43% will live on campus; ~35% of your classes may well have 50 or more students (a rarity if ever at USMMA - can be good or bad...); 10% of the males and females at UCSD are in Fraternities ... like I said 100% of your classmates at USMMA will be in the same fraternity (USMMA Class of 2018) ... etc.

    Good luck in your decision making process hope an old fart's perspective is a little useful.
     
  6. ddavid

    ddavid Member

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    Thank you all for your help. I have big decision ahead and I have awhile to decide but I want to make sure that what I choose is correct for me. You all made some amazing points that are really helping me make a pros cons list for both schools. I have visited KP and it is an amazing school with an amazing feel of brotherhood, I had the opportunity to spend the night with some football players and hang around and meet and talk to students who attend. I really want to experience the academy life and that is what is really pushing me towards KP. I am visiting UCSD in a few weeks during my spring break and I will have a meeting with an NROTC officer and discuss my situation. I hope by then I will have a better understanding of what I will be committing too and make sure it is right for me.
    A few quick questions:
    jasperdog what did you do after USMMA did you sail or go active duty?
    What major did you choose, did you go deck or engine?
    Also what are the opportunities for those who may not want to sail there whole life but still have the passion for ships and want to engineer and design them?
    SAhopefukABQ will you be attending KP this year in the class of 2018?
    And jasper dog you are not an "old fart" you are wise and it is people like you who inspire me to achieve my goals!
     
  7. ddavid

    ddavid Member

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    As for the question asked by KP2013dramamama my ultimate goal is to be an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps.
     
  8. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    My general views on Academy vs. ROTC vs. neither … It makes not one whit of difference. Whether or not you will develop into a quality Commissioned Officer has everything to do with you and nothing to do with your commissioning source.

    What are you interested in studying? Which school(s) offer that major? Pursuing a major you are not really interested in just because its offered at a school you like will not make for a happy four years. You will likely be spending at least 4+ hours a day in the classroom and a few more studying. If you don’t have an interest in the subject matter you could easily find yourself miserable. If you want to be a SWO, you will be faaaaaar beyond your Ensign peers with your previous maritime experience from any maritime college.

    In today’s world there are so many things that can be distractions and just being around bad actors can get you in plenty of trouble when you end up in the background of their facebook pictures that to me there is a distinct advantage to being in the fishbowl that is an Academy. There is definitely no guarantees, I shudder to think what life would have been like had we had camera phones and youtube in my day …

    If you want to be a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect then you can’t do much better than KP.

    Lastly … one may be wise, but that does not preclude one from also being an ‘old fart’.
     
  9. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    KPEngineer - LOL - True That ... fellow Northern Virginian just remember when you are pointing that finger my way four are still pointing right back at ya....

    ddavid - sending you a PM with the answers to your questions a little more information you may find of use in making your decision.
     
  10. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I have never claimed to be wise, but my daughter continually reminds me that I am an old fart.
     
  11. ddavid

    ddavid Member

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    KPEngineer: My ultimate goal is to go active duty, which they both offer, as for the major my plan is to be an engineer. As for marine engineering and naval architecture, which is what interests me, would these majors allow me to work on land at a port engineering ships or would I be working on a ship?
     
  12. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    If your intent is to be a SWO then I would try and get some navigation and shiphandling along the way. If the NavArch interests you then the Marine Engineering Systems major is the best fit for you. I have a classmate who started his own NavArch firm about five years after graduation.

    Once your obligation was completed, your shoreside options are practically unlimited. Port Engineer, Classification Society, Marine Surveyor, Project Engineer, Power Generation, Flag Registry, Naval Architect ... those are just the few that come to my caffiene deprived mind at the moment because I have classmates in all those fields. You can always move between them too. I made a career change from DoD acquisition to sailing 13 years out from graduation and after four years sailing and am now back shoreside completely non-DoD.
     
  13. SAhopefulABQ

    SAhopefulABQ Member

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    ddavid,

    I sent you a PM in answer to your question.
     
  14. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Don't go to KP if you want to be an officer in the Navy. Join the Navy. Go to Kings Point because you want to be a Merchant Mariner. What do you want to do in the Marine Corps? Join the Marine Corps and do it.

    I am not saying this of you, but many people use USMMA to get "somewhere else". I've heard that argument and I don't agree with it. That's my feeling on it. But I do know of young men and women who strive to be at KP, but their number in line for the appointment doesn't come up, b/c someone else has hitched a ride there, ultimately for a different career. Again, I'm not saying this of you, so please don't take it personally.
     
  15. powderhorngreen

    powderhorngreen Member

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    While I hear what you are saying KP2013, the admission department makes commissioning to the branch of your choice a major portion of their "sales pitch".
     
  16. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    KP2013Dramamama - As you know I used to feel the way you do. However, now not so much. Because:

    1) To me as long as it's a valid available way to satisfy the obligation Mids commit to then who are we to rail against someone who does so?

    2) How many graduates do we know that started out intending to go AD upon graduation and ended up deciding they wanted to sail as Merchant Mariners upon graduation after their first or second sea year? To me one of the big advantages of USMMA is that a young man or woman isn't expected or whilerequired to definitely know what they are definitely going to do when they report as 18 year olds.

    3) As long as the Mission, Curricula and Primary culture is in driving towards and setting graduates to be leaders in the maritime industry than, even in down economies we'll continue to see 75+% of the graduates sail on their licenses as the primary way of satisfying their obligations.

    That said the best place to go if you want to go active duty Navy or USMC is the USNA at Annapolis and that is why it exists. It's not the primary reason USMMA exists and the training you get at KP while excellent isn't primarily designed to crank out active duty Ensigns and/or Second Lts; so it is something to think about for Prospective Candidates.
     
  17. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    Pretty close to DS's story. He started out in high school talking Annapolis, but also talking about studying Marine Engineering. His uncle (retired Navy) told him about KP. He visited, loved the place, and never looked back at Annapolis. Still, he entered KP with the idea of commissioning AD. His first Sea Year assignment was MSC, and he loved it. His internship was on a Navy LHD - and he loved that too. By senior year he was torn - he received an offer from MSC and also received an offer of a Navy commission as a SWO. His friends will tell you that he put them through the wringer with his indecisiveness. :rolleyes: Ultimately he took the commission. He's on a DDG based in Japan now. However, last month his ship posted a wonderful photo of him doing a replenishment with a MSC ship (his comment: "Guess who got to parallel park?") When I mentioned the photo to DS, he noted that there was a part of him that really wanted to put a bosun's chair on the line and go right over to MSC. He loves what he's doing in the Navy - but he really values the education he received at KP and the friends he's made. :thumb:
     
  18. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Believe me! I'm still learning. I never understood why after training men and women for so long at KP, the DOT would allow mids to become anything other than a merchant mariner! It never felt "right" to me. I don't make the rules, but hopefully someday I can find out the "why" of them. That is my issue, not anyone else's, and I've been kind in my comments.

    Otherwise, I totally concur with all points made by Jasperdog and KDbax. 18 yr olds are exposed to outstanding opportunities at KP, allowing them to change their initial plans upon entering KP. Young people change quite rapidly and it's great they have the chance to make those changes.

    Perhaps KP is the best model for spending tax payer dollars after all!

    Jasperdog....you wise one!:wink:
     
  19. luv2fly

    luv2fly Member

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    Captain Johnson and the admissions department did the exact same thing to my son back in 2009.

    Today my DS is thankful he picked Kings Point.

    luv2fly
     
  20. powderhorngreen

    powderhorngreen Member

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    luv2fly - would you please share what your son did after graduation. Did he commission? How was that process for him out of KP? Also, can you please share his experiences at KP. Thanks!
     

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