USNA after one year at college

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by anne99, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. anne99

    anne99 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    27
    I'm hoping to get some input from anyone who decided to take an appointment after having spent one year at college, especially anyone who may have spent that year in ROTC. How did it make your plebe year at USNA different than if you have gone in straight from high school?

    DS is having a great time so far at college and is applying to USNA for a second time. Since he is in the Corps of Cadets there, he is concerned that another year of being at the bottom of the food chain is going to be de-motivating. He wanted to cover all his bases toward commissioning by being in the Corps, just in case he didn't get an appointment this year.

    How do you get yourself through it? Any experience out there on this?
     
  2. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    281
    I'll give it a go. Similar but different and I'm speaking as a dad, not the kid, so keep that in mind.

    DS was accepted first time around but medically DQ'd a few weeks before I-Day due to sports related injury and turned away. Off to college but still determined to go to USNA. In spite of what many may think, it's not a slam-dunk and without any guarantees that those in his situation "automatically" get back in...not be any stretch i.e. It was re-applying, a rigorous curriculum that the academy had to approve (all those stem courses) nothing but A's or B's, new nomination, PRT, etc. You get the picture.

    He thrived at his civilian college and really enjoyed his time but was singularly focused on going to USNA with the full knowledge that none of those courses or credits would transfer, that it would be a lot of repeating, etc. It mattered not.

    When he got to USNA he never felt like he was at the "bottom of the food chain" and instead of it being de-motivating he felt like a leg up..the year at school, the experiences, the maturity, the being out on his of of sorts all contributed to make it a better experience (his words) than if he's gone right in after high school (disclaimer: he would have only been 17 first go around so that extra year meant a lot).

    In the end, roughly 30% (?) or so of all incoming Plebes have had at least one year of post HS education so these folks are not alone. He never thought about it twice...no regrets...nothing to "get through"...they are all equal now.

    I guess it all depends on what your son wants. He's in a good place, having a great time, will have a year behind him and has a solid path to commissioning. Nice! He's got to ask himself in a scenario like that what the attraction is. There a dozens of answers to that of course and only he can answer them honestly and what motivates him. But if you're asking if there's a downside to having a year at college and whether it's become de-motivating in any way, I can speak for one Youngster and five others I personally know that went through a similar experience who have told me flat out "I am where I want to be and where I'm supposed to be" and they never looked back.
     
    Cerberi and murfthesurf like this.
  3. anne99

    anne99 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    27
    That is very, very helpful.
     
  4. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    51
    By "Corps of Cadets" ..I presume he is at some form of private military college, VMI , Citadel, Norwich, etc and suspect there is some form of Plebe system. If thats the case, I understand the concern about going through that twice...but the year of experience can make Plebe year easier. Being squared away and already adapted to military life leaves more time to focus on academics, and reduces stress .
     
    GoNavy2020 likes this.
  5. TexasSoccerMom

    TexasSoccerMom Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2015
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    44
    Texas A&M Corps of Cadets? That's my son's Plan B.
     
  6. MittenMan

    MittenMan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    21
    Our DS had similar route as Sydney C's DS, however, ours got a twe for class of 2019. Backup plan was N-ROTC where he had a Tier 1 scholarship at university. (He is an Aerospace kid). His freshman year class load was a mirror to a Plebe year including his Navy commitments. His class load was 21 hours both semesters, so he was loaded up. His biggest learn was time management. Also, high school is not college - no one tells you what to do - its all on your own. This experience grew him immensely in maturity and focus. His goal was USNA and he never let go of it. He reapplied during his fall semester and ran everything down himself. He achieved an appointment, accepted and is doing very well.

    I just returned from Annapolis this past weekend visiting him - he used one of his weekend liberty grants (no doubt that Houston win!) and we had some on-on-one time. Over dinner we talked about this subject at length. Long story short, he has no regrets about leaving university to attend USNA - he really likes it there, and as Syd's kid said, a great experience. Occasionally, while walking through the yard, he has caught himself looking around thinking about his road to where he is and what he is doing; he wouldn't change a thing. I left a kid brimming with confidence looking forward to Thanksgiving break, Army-Navy weekend (our next visit) and the holidays.

    Either way, ROTC or USNA, you will commission. USNA is Navy full on with school full on; ROTC is school full on with Navy part time. I'm not dissing ROTC at all; he loved it - he just wanted Navy - Academy, and he got it, seven days a week and then some.

    One last thought, when you are a Plebe, per DS , everyone is at the bottom of the food chain. Doesn't matter where you came from or who you are. He felt his one year at university prepared him to better handle the mental part of Plebe summer including the relentless school/homework/Navy stuff in the AC year. The time management skills he learned are being used full time - he mentioned this several times.
    Hope this helps - pm me if you want more details.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,362
    Likes Received:
    1,827
    We have sponsored several USNA mids who did 1-2 years of college or a prep school. Three were at an SMC; several had done NROTC.

    All of them said "best thing for me." They cited growth in maturity, living away from home and learning how to deal with homesickness, getting away from HS and learning how to handle college-level courses, learning advanced time management, dealing with money issues and gaining everyday life skills - all equipped them to handle first year at a SA.

    They never felt bottom-of-food-chain. They just felt like plebes, everyone in the same boat from hell, regardless of whether their HS days were barely behind them or a year ago. They felt they handled many aspects of plebe year more confidently and competently.

    To sum up - if you want to go to an SA, you do whatever it takes, and dream of throwing your cover in the air on Commissioning Day.
     
  8. anne99

    anne99 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    27
    Yes, that's where he is now. As USNA Admissions told him personally though, if ROTC gets in the way of your grades, drop it fast. She didn't know anything about the Corps specifically. In my opinion though, the Corps has really forced him to practice exceptional time management and kept him on track. It's not easy.

    I see what you mean by ROTC being part time. CofCadets is in addition to NROTC but I sort of see it as "pretend" military. He ain't seen nothin' yet, so to speak.

    All in all, I think being at college for a year first may have been the best thing for him. He is handling it well, although his grades are B's and a C right now since he is just getting used to it all. He's got his time management under control now, totally different from high school. I want him to understand that this first year will prepare him better for USNA. "Starting over" has been the only concern he's had about reapplying. Knowing how others have been through it will help. So far, he's loved the Corps and I believe he will love true Navy even better - whether it's USNA Class of 2021 or commissioning out of college if his reapplication is denied. He's polishing his personal statement now, the last step in the process. All his nomination packets are in and everything else is done.
     
  9. anne99

    anne99 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    27
    Texas A&M, originally founded as a military school but isn't anymore. Corps of Cadets is very heavy there though. His "fish" year is a primer to military. He gets yelled out whenever an upperclassman is anywhere near him. They form up for breakfast and dinner and march in. They have 5am PT and all-day Saturday Corps activities (when there isn't a home game). Things like that. It's pretty time intensive and many freshman drop out because they can't keep it up and make decent grades. Out of his unit of 18 freshman, they've lost 5 already I think. He has loved it, never been homesick and treats it all like a game just to get through it. As a sophomore, you get to DO the yelling. So it's something the fish look forward to - that is unless you get that appointment and "start over". That seems to be the only niggle in his brain. He knows in his heart that it would totally be worth it. What's one year in the grand scheme of things when you get the USNA experience?
     
  10. GoNavy2020

    GoNavy2020 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    79
    One of the plebes in my DS's company is prior enlisted and NAPS. While most of the incoming plebes were nervous at I-Day, this kid was quietly confident that he could handle anything thrown at him. Result was that he almost immediately became a leader within the company, because the just-out-of-high-school kids respected his experience and example. (Helped that he was quick to assist with learning how to fold clothes and make the bed, etc.!)

    The end goal, of course, is commissioning as an officer. The question for your DS is how badly he wants to do that through USNA?
     
  11. anne99

    anne99 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    27
    He much prefers USNA. He's still pushing forward with it. He's saying now that college is sort of fun but just doesn't have the "meaning" that USNA has. I guess he means he feels like USNA is more important.
     
    GoNavy2020 likes this.
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,509
    Likes Received:
    459
    I worked with one candidate with two years of college prior to USNA and another who was a re-applicant with one year of college. Both earned appointments and did extremely well at USNA (one was a 4-striper, the other graduated in the top 40 in USNA class). Know another current mid who did a year of prep school. Also know a number of long-ago grads who did prep school or college.

    Each of them struggled with the questions the OP raised. All of them decided to take the plunge, so to speak, and all of them felt they were better prepared and did better having had post-h.s. work than had they gone straight through.

    The above said, what is right for one person isn't necessarily right for another. You might ask your BGO and/or your local parents' group if they know any current/graduated miss who were in this situation so you could talk to them.
     

Share This Page