USNA vs. UPenn (Wharton) NROTC

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by ascothink, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    Hello--

    As the title of this thread probably suggests, I'm debating between USNA and Wharton with the NROTC option. I was admitted to both schools 1-2 months ago (never expected to get into both). I haven't received the NROTC scholarship yet, but my online portal shows that it's at the last step; I think I probably will receive it. If I don't, I'll attend Wharton and just do NROTC without the scholarship, as I received a substantial amount of financial merit aid.

    I'm really stuck between these two schools. I guess I should give some background information about myself. I've been in the Sea Cadets (kind of like a Navy JROTC thing) since eighth grade because my friend encouraged me to join, and I've enjoyed being in it. I never had a passion to join the Navy, but Sea Cadets made me go to trainings, and I grew to love it. I like PT, discipline, and it makes me feel badass. It also made my resume unique. I didn't want to burden myself with college loans and USNA was free, so that's why it was my goal for most of high school. I attended USNA's summer seminar, and I'm familiar with the school. It was fun. I know that if I go there I could endure it (probably better than most other people), and do well. Life (and my GPA) would suck, but it's certainly doable for me. I'd also learn things I could never learn at a civilian school, even with NROTC. At USNA I would double major in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

    Seeing as I never intended to be in the Navy, I figured I'd five and dive. Wharton came up on the radar junior year, when my friend told me I should apply to this competitive summer program they offered. I applied, got in, and spent a month at the University of Pennsylvania. I loved my experience there, and wanted to apply. I then discovered the NROTC option, and applied at the end of the summer/beginning of the school year with UPenn as my first choice. At UPenn I'd major in Finance and minor in either Mathematics or Computer Science.

    What I want to do with my life is probably relevant to answering this question. To be honest, my goal in life is to make bank. I want to go to the undergraduate school that will help me do that. I'm doing military service at either school because I know I'd like the experience and it would toughen me up a bit. I'd also stand out among other candidates to big finance firms (later, after). After the 5 years (at either school), I plan on getting my MBA (probably at Wharton), and then heading into the world of international finance and venture capitalism.

    If this was an easy decision, I would be done debating these two options by now, but it's not. I've read that some companies dig for service academy graduate resume's (because they get the job done) and throw the rest out, but I've heard negative business responses for SA graduates as well. Some say to just attend USNA and go to Wharton later to get my MBA (which made sense to me for a long time), but I just don't know. At Wharton, I'd make a lot more business connections (although I'll be in active duty for five years so they might be useless), and at USNA I'd make a lot more military connections. Someone I know told me that in business, my network is key. In that case, would USNA be better since they probably have more power-related connections? On the other hand, I'm not sure if service academy graduates will have the same weight in the business world in 10-15 years. Tech entrepreneurship is where the money is at these days (something I've considered since I have a CS background), and I'm not sure if coming from USNA helps. And through NROTC I'd be a naval officer anyways... so in that case, is Wharton better?

    I'd appreciate all the input I could get. Please don't post anything negative or redundant; opinions are well appreciated.

    (edit: usually pro-SA people say things like "USNA is for future Naval Officers." Yes, I am aware.)
    (another edit: I love this country. This country gave me and my parents so much. I would gladly serve as a Naval Officer. I wouldn't be able to JUST go to a civilian college. I'd have that sick feeling in my gut for the rest of my life if I didn't serve in the Navy. I also just happen to want to make money; this is a recent realization.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I think the MBA from Wharton could be important. The BA not so much.
    There is far more to networking than which college you attend.
    I would also state that based on what you wrote your heart is really not on the Navy other than as a stepping stone/way station to achieve some other goals.

    I would recommend either going to USNA and do the MBA at Wharton (and associated networking) later, or forget USNA and NROTC altogether and just go to Wharton. Oh yeah, you don't have the NROTC scholarship until you have it. It is sometimes tougher to get than an appointment to the academy as they don't have the geographic constraints that USNA has.
     
  3. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @kinnem
    Thank you for your input. I feel like my heart will be in the Navy if I want it to be. I just haven't decided whether I want it to be or not. At USNA, it will be. Just as an aside, I applied from the most competitive district in the nation (I live in New Jersey...)
     
  4. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    What I told my DD: The real reason to attend a service academy is to become an officer. That's what you're there for. That's what they're there for. If it's only for a "free" education, it's not the right place for you.

    So, only you can answer that question.
     
  5. SuaSponte

    SuaSponte Member

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    "To be honest, my goal in life is to make bank"

    I would highly suggest going to UPenn over USNA. The fact that you say you loved Penn and could only "deal with" USNA tells me where your heart is and what you really intend to go to USNA for (a stepping stone). Many other candidates would love to go to become officers and help serve the nation, not just themselves. You did not mention serving in your post; you even said you were going to five and dive.

    To be honest, I'd rather not have you as a class-mate if that's where your head is at; you should give the opportunity to attend USNA to someone else and directly pursue your own goals in the business world because that is what you want to do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  6. andzgrl

    andzgrl Member

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    What bothers me so much about your post is that you clearly are only using USNA as a stepping stone to get ahead in your own personal goals post-college. I thought that attending a SA meant that one clearly wanted to be trained as one of the nations top leaders to serve his/her country. I haven't seen this in what you wrote…at all.

    It saddens me. Not you wanting to be what you want to be. Not at all! I applaud you for knowing and planning and looking down the road so you can achieve your dreams. What saddens me is knowing that my son, along with many, many other sons and daughters have wanted nothing more than to serve their country and become leaders of their county, and have desired to be trained and educated at one of the best places in this country to achieve this….a Service Academy. It saddens me and confirms to me that the system for selection misses many who truly want a life of service in the military.

    As my son waits to find out if he will be fortunate enough to be offered an appointment, I do wish you all the best! I think you are going to make a fantastic banker and will go very far with that.
     
  7. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @andzgrl
    I realize now that some may find my post offensive. I personally apologize to you. I was committed to applying to USNA for many years, and I love this country just as much as your son probably does. I'm a very thankful person, and part of the reason I want to be a Naval Officer is because I can give back to what this country has given me (and to my parents who came from another country). I guess I didn't mention that in my initial post.
     
  8. SuaSponte

    SuaSponte Member

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    That would have been a good idea.
     
  9. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

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    Off topic...forgive me....but how do you know your district is the most competitive in the nation? Really just curious.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  10. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @coastiefam
    My BGO told me. And it's evident: there's hundred of kids that apply for nominations, and only 10 get them. Most kids here that apply have 700-750+ on both Math/CR sections. I had a 1600 combined.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I would probably change that from "real" to "ideal." I get what you're saying, but the reality of the situation, for some, is different.
     
  12. mjm

    mjm Member

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    UPENN

    Reading through your post I would suggest you go to UPenn. It sounds like you enjoyed the summer program there much more than you did the summer seminar and that your ultimate goals are more in line with going to UPenn.

    Something to consider: In the current global/political climate you could find yourself in the middle of a conflict .

    If you want to be a Wall Street Banker than I am not sure USNA is the place for you. Good luck with your decision.
     
  13. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    ascothink: If your goal in life is to "make bank" I am going to suggest you reconsider a military path. I suggest you go to Penn, join the Penn Club, make lots of contacts (and meet their parents) and exploit that on the road to riches.

    USNA or ROTC will be very difficult to tolerate if your goal is resume building for the future. You will have multiple years where you will not be out with your peer group chasing the almighty dollar and will fall behind. You will get discouraged as this reality sets in. I really don't think either path will get you where you want.

    Serve your country in different ways. Donate large sums of money to worthwhile charities, hire veterans, vote responsibly, and join service organizations. If you want to feel like a bad *** join a gym and participate in "mudder" competitions.

    Best of luck.
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If we only consider the best way to reach your goals, I would say Naval Academy.

    Under the current scenario, you will still serve 4 or 5 years in the Navy (ROTC or USNA. Regardless where you go. Someone else mentioned no military route (however, this means you have to be real good to get your employer to sponsor your MBA, easily $100K +, but with the military service, you can use the G I Bill).

    Applying to a top MBA program, what undergrad degree will look better?
     
  15. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @MemberLG
    Yeah I'm not doing no military for two reasons: 1. I'd have to work that much harder to make my resume interesting and 2. I sincerely WANT to be in the Navy.
     
  16. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @MemberLG
    Were you in NROTC? Can you tell me how it would be different from USNA in terms of marketability in finance?
     
  17. SarahLee

    SarahLee New Member

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    I believe your choice of going to UPenn will better serve your desire of becoming future banker or Wallstreet xxxfunding manager! On the other hand, it will leave a space for these young men / women who have the sincere desire of becoming Navy officer to serve this country wholeheartly to be admitted. My DS may not as good as you on academic wise, but he already received early admissions from 4 of the nation's top 5 engineering school, including USNA. Of course, he immediately choose USNA over the other 3 - not because the free tuition issue as you calculated here (we saved money and invested in his educational funding since he was 2 years old), but because he wants to be a Navy officer! Without this determination, one can not succeed in USNA.
     
  18. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    I'm going to offer a different opinion, on a riff off LITS.

    The intention or desire to attend a service academy should come with the crystal-clear understanding that one will serve as an officer in the US Navy for at least 5 years post-graduation. Furthermore, that five years' service may, or may not, be in a job you love or like, or even envisioned as your first choice. That job may entail tedium, dirt, heat, noise, sleep and food deprivation, and a good measure of danger. The pay is not fabulous, but there are many perks - both financial and social. Those are facts.

    Other facts, though, are these. The Navy does not promote every O-1 to O-3 and O-5. Attrition is built into the system. We all know that DoD generally and USN specifically keep painstaking demographic statistics about routes to officer accession and predicted rates of attrition. They know it's going to happen - in fact they count on it. One person's early intentions are not going to throw off USN's population-level planning. And, I can think of at least 3 Wall Street banker types from what would have been my graduating class.

    Finally, a lot can and does change between the time one is 18 and 22. Lukewarm feelings for the Navy become passions - or one realizes USN is not for them. This is part of the reason that mids don't incur financial or service obligations if they separate during their first two years.

    All of this is to say that just because you don't see yourself going beyond five years NOW doesn't mean that point of view can change one way or the other, once you are in whatever accession path you choose. So my $1.78 is not to dismiss out of hand the possibility of USNA or NROTC, merely because RIGHT NOW you do not have a burning passion to serve 20 years selflessly, and all on afloat tours. I think what the decision DOES take is that crystal clarity that, by attending and graduating from USNA, you are committing to five years' service (possibly more, depending on your service selection). Service? Absolutely. Complete selflessness? Admirable, but not required.

    In terms of how to choose, ideally you'd visit each campus - a CVW at USNA and an overnight at the NROTC battalion at Penn. Talk to the mids, visit classes, investigate the opportunities for research you might want as an upperclassman at either place. Get a feel for the culture of each place. Above all you must be honest with yourself about choosing either option.
     
  19. hthp37

    hthp37 Member

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    I applaud your honesty and straightforwardness.
    I think I read somewhere recently (Forbes, maybe?) that USNA graduates were among the top 5 (3rd, I think)colleges in income earned 15 years post-graduation. So there's that. I just think the demands placed on a mid prepare them well for future success, whatever and wherever that may be.
    Question for you: Since Ivy league schools award financial aid according to need, not merit, how did you receive "financial merit aid"?
     
  20. ascothink

    ascothink Member

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    @LongAgoPlebe
    I understand that promotions don't happen all the time, but isn't the pay during active duty as an officer good? USNA advertises it as if it is good. I think I read that USNA's average starting salary as an officer is 77k?
    & I did two CVW's at USNA, but yet to do an overnight at Penn NROTC. I will definitely look into that.
     

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