USNA vs NROTC officers

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by myboy2012, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. myboy2012

    myboy2012 New Member

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    I'm not sure where to post this question, so here goes. Our son applied for USNA class of 2012. He did not receive an appointment but did get an NROTC scholarship. He is seriously considering reapplying to USNA. His CO in the NROTC unit has told him that as long as his grades are good and he continues to do well in the unit, he will recommend him to USNA. Here's the problem: several of his NROTC instructors and upperclassmen are trying to discourage him from reapplying. They are telling him that out in the fleet, ROTC officers are more respected than USNA grads and that from what they've seen on summer cruises, the USNA mids have a hard time dealing with "freedom" and have had problems with drinking. He's also been told that if he wants to fly, he has a much better chance of getting a pilot slot from ROTC than he does from USNA. To me, a lot of this sounds like "friendly rivalry." He's not so sure and is starting to question whether he should go ahead with his plans. He wants to be an officer first and foremost, but he wants to be a good one as well. I truly do not want to incite a riot here, but would appreciate any and all comments.
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Not surprising. I wonder how many of them have a "We regret to inform you..." letter from USNA in a drawer at home?

    In a word, BULL****.

    To begin, your academic pedigree matters little in what amount of respect you earn (or don't earn, as the case may be). What DOES matter is PERFORMANCE, and I can point you to both diamonds AND turds coming out of both USNA and ROTC. To offer a blanket statement like the one above is simply wrong and it CANNOT be substantiated.

    That said, I found that in my five years in the Fleet, MORE was expected from the USNA grads simply because they WERE USNA grads. They were EXPECTED to be better. What does THAT tell you?

    Oh, yeah, and the ROTC Mids all go to church on Sundays, help little old ladies across the street, feed the starving children in China, and manage to win wars without bloodshed, right?

    Please! Idiots come in all sizes and from all corners of the commissioning spectrum. The statement given to your son is yet another one of those unprovables that too many folks with ulterior motives like to throw around.

    Besides, what the hell would it matter if USNA Mids WERE more prone to getting in trouble if HE wasn't among those who did?

    I can't speak to specific numbers, but that sounds like a gross oversimplification.

    Your son is wise ahead of his years if he sincerely believes what you say here, and he can be a good officer from either place. He can be a bad one, too. That is up to him.

    The question is how much preparation in support of that bigger decision does he get from USNA vs. ROTC? We can debate, but one thing that CANNOT be debated is that USNA is a total immersion program, and that counts for something. Also, I've heard LOTS of USNA types (myself included) say, "Screw it! If I got through (Plebe Year or USNA, take your pick), I can do anything!". When was the last time you heard anyone say that about ROTC?

    There is a reason why USNA grads are picked on in the Fleet by non-USNA grads. I don't care what anyone says, there are more USNA wanna-be's in ROTC than the reverse, and that's because USNA is a damned sight more picky. The results are reflective of that, and the other side knows it.

    You tell your boy that if he wants to learn about life as a USNA grad, to ASK USNA GRADS, not those who wish they were or who may have some other axe to grind. That's like asking what it's like to successfully run a business, but only asking those who have failed and are bitter about it.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I think the question is whether your son, now firmly ensconced in a civilian college doing NROTC, still has the desire to attend USNA. Four years from now, or 40 years from now, will he regret not having reapplied? Or, is he making new friends, enjoying his classes and NROTC, such that leaving will ultimately make him unhappy?

    Both commissioning sources (along with AOCS) produce fine officers. There are all sorts of reasons that young men & women pick one accession source over another. It's not that one is "better," only that one may be better for person A while another is better for person B.

    USNA isn't for everyone. Neither is NROTC. If your son is currently happy, satisfied, etc.,then he should stay where he is. If he still has a strong desire to attend USNA and can correct/improve the area(s) that hurt his application last year, then he should reapply.

    Really, nothing else matters.
     
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    To be perfectly clear in light of usna1985's usual brilliant response, my response was based on the indication that your son is still interested in attending USNA but is being disuaded for less-than-factual reasons. If that's the case, then it is WRONG and he needs to ensure that his decision is made as described by '85.

    If he decides that ROTC is better for him, then that's that and there is no foul. There is no right or wrong answer, just the right or wrong WAY to arrive at it.

    Tell him to be honest with HIMSELF, and then choose accordingly.
     
  5. kgrmom

    kgrmom Member

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    I have a question on this topic- my D is NROTC right now. Is there a stigma about ROTC kids being USNA "wanna be's" ?
     
  6. parkhurst89

    parkhurst89 Member

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    The USNA Candidate Guidance Office reports year after year that candidates who re-apply after a year of college under their belt do very well in front of the Admissions Board if they challenged themselves and performed.

    The Area 207 Coordinator (me) reports that year after year it is very difficult to get candidates to seriously re-apply after a year of college under their belt because...well...they are probably out there every night at church or studying, feeding starving children, helping the little old ladies. I have the big goose egg on this one.

    Commissioning source (USNA, NROTC, OCS, etc.) does not a good Naval or Marine Corp officer make. I always like to think of the source as the amplifier of midshipmen's character, not the formulator (if that is a even a word). Your young freshman should apply some good introspection and figure out where he thinks he will thrive.
     
  7. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    No. It is normally just a term thrown out when the usual rivalry starts. It certainly doesn't play any official role anywhere.

    Once you are in the Fleet, the only thing that matters is how you perform as an officer, not where you came from. As a general rule, more is expected from USNA grads simply because they are "supposed" to be "better", but even that varies wildly, and again normally only rears its head if a USNA grad screws up someplace, whether for real or just a typical screwup that all JO's make.

    Let not your heart be troubled. If your daughter takes care of her people and learns her job well, she will earn the respect she's entitled to. :smile:

    Nicely put. I wish I'd thought of that.

    And yes, that's a word. :thumb:
     
  8. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    What happens if you accpet an ROTC 4 year scholarship and you want to reapply to USNA? Can you do this?
     
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    flyersboy114 - yes you can do this. See the original post in this thread by myboy2012
     
  10. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    O wow, haha, missed that one. That was a fast reply to. Well thats good to know. Is it like that for USAFA and USMA as well?
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Yes it is. If you are contracted to a service, even under scholarship and get an appointment the contract becomes void - as long as you stay at the Academy.
     
  12. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    Thanks a million for that. That is great to know. If I do not get accepted, I will def. be reapplying next year. Hopefully I will have a ROTC scholarship if i dont get accepted :D
     
  13. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Attaboy! :thumb:
     
  14. kgrmom

    kgrmom Member

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    Thanks for your encouraging comments. I know she will succeed but it's my job to worry!
     
  15. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    HA! Thanks Zaphod
     
  16. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    One of the things I, as a mom of a current mid...love to do is attend local functions in our area that include both USNA and ROTC Officers. I have queried maybe 4 dozen in the past 3 years....always asking the SAME question..

    Out in the fleet - is there a difference between USNA-trained Officers and ROTC Officers?

    Without a doubt they all start with their beginnings. If the person went USNA they describe how much easier the transistion was from the Academy to Command and that their inner core of Officer-support throughout their careers remains intact. The USNA Officer can always count on invitations to USNA events and have that 'ole boy network' for socializing. Also USNA grads are overwhelmengly the ones with the longest time in service post-Commissioning, so if an Officer is looking at long-term career path, that USNA degree is a great asset.

    If the person went ROTC they indicate how 'nerdy' the early adjustments of their USNA counterparts are, how the ROTC is better preparing their Officers for 'real world' interactions, how they learn to handle freedom at an earlier point in their college years, etc.

    So the friendly rivalry is all part of any college-tension. Living in So.CA....the USC vs UCLA can produce equally firm positions, and it isn't even about the military!

    But the ONE thing without question both sides agree on and this has been nearly unanimous:

    In the first months of an Ensign's Career - the USNA grads are much more adept at fitting in and getting the command-position, job description etc. down. They are more used to living in that kind of environment. By 6 months out, however, there is virtually no difference in the caliber/quality/ability, etc. of any USNA young Officer. The Navy uses all kinds of schooling, education majors, experiences pre-graduation, personal history, etc. to make up it's fleet of Officers and they each bring to the table something that makes our US Navy the finest fleet in the world.

    Now, in terms of the original question concerning your son: It is up to him if he wants to reapply to USNA. If there is any question in his mind, he should stay where he is. It is toooooo mentally tough on a person to have in the back of his mind: "geesh, I had it better in ROTC" when the going gets tough. Keep in mind the ROTC-turned USNA midshipman will repeat Plebe year. There are advantages in terms of military knowledge and you don't have the early classes, since your college experience is counted depending on the course and grade you received, but still you may have a young Second Class or First Class mid....barely older than you.....treating you like a lowly Plebe. You have to be mentally prepared to suck it up and deal with this. This may or may not be to your son's personal liking.

    There are many mids at USNA with 1 year of ROTC under their belt. My mid is good friends with one young man, in her Class year, but 18 months older than her, who was rejected first round, went one year at a college in Wash. State, reapplied, and now is in his 3rd year at USNA. He'd be ready to graduate and be earning Officer pay soon had he stayed at ROTC. But he really really wanted a USNA experience. And so for him it was the right choice.

    Now.....the other factor concerns Marines.....

    They are an entire phenomenon all together and everything I just said throw out the window.

    Every single Marine Officer, be they USNA, ROTC, OCS, has to experience The Basic School (TBS) where they are molded into the Marine mindset the MARINES WAY! And in my talking with Marines who came from all 3 ways to their 2/Lt Commission ------no one cares one whit about your prior education. It's what you do as a M A R I N E that matters, and that happens from second one of TBS down at Quantico. My girl will take this path and sometimes she actually whistfully looks at her Marine ROTC component friends who have already had many many trainings with the Marines while she is pretty much all Navy-scheduled for Summer training requirements that conflict with her Marine-heart. But that is the way it is for USNA interested Marines. And they too must suck it up until Service Selection, Commissioning and that trip down to Quantico.

    :)

    Frankly whatever path your son chooses will prepare him well. May God guide his decisions.
     
  17. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I think the reason is that a lot of kids do not want to spend 5 yrs in "college." Even though you will get credit for courses taken at the civilian school (to the extent those classes are available at USNA), it still means an extra year of school and most people who are USNA caliber will normally complete college in 4 yrs.

    Also, once you get used to the freedoms of a civilian college -- and most kids have never lived on their own until their first year of college and therefore never experinced that freedom -- it is more difficult to consider giving that up for the rigors of USNA.

    That said, USNA looks very favorably on people who reapply and who have addressed the weakness(es) of their original application.
     
  18. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    As a mom of a daughter on the "5-year Academy plan" I would like to add my two cents.

    Most students now take 5 years to graduate from college, especially Engineering majors.
    About 30% (give or take) of each entering class does not come directly from high school - this is true for West Point and the Naval Academy.
    Those who start at an academy with some college experience are way ahead of the game at the academy especially those who have had ROTC.
    My daughter and her friends who are plebes at West Point had many advantages going in several aspects. They are more mature - huge difference between 18 and 19, more self confident. They have already gotten homesick and learned it is not a fatal disease. They have a military edge in that they know and understand military culture. They have taken college classes on a college schedule - which is a whole lot different than a high school schedule.

    Bottom line - anyone who still wants to apply from college is way ahead of their peers going in. It does make plebe year "easier".

    I also think one reason many kids who are in ROTC do not re-apply is they have formed a bond with their unit. They fit in and desire to remain with their fellow mids and cadets. They have found their comfort zone. Nothing wrong with that, either.
     
  19. myboy2012

    myboy2012 New Member

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    Thanks to all of you that have shared your views. DS told us this weekend that he is definately going to reapply. After much thought and speaking to friends at both USNA and USAFA, he decided that as much as he is happy where he is, he does not want there to come a time where he regrets not going forward. He also came to the conclusion that many of the negative comments were coming from those who did, in fact, have an axe to grind with USNA.
    So, we'll see in a few months where all of this ends up. He will do well regardless of whether he stays in NROTC or goes to USNA. As you've all shared, either choice is a fine one!
     
  20. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    I don't want to start anything but I think there might be a few SMC students ie: The Citadel, VMI et al that can say that also, some SA candidates can be DQ'ed for reasons out of their control like vision or childhood sickness. I'm just saying....
     

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