USNA vs. USMA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by EmperorQin, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. EmperorQin

    EmperorQin Member

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    So, I never thought I would ever have to make this decision; however, I have recently been accepted to USMA, as well as USNA from a month earlier.

    My background: I have been pursuing USMA for 6 years, and it has always been my first choice. When I got the call from my congressman's office, it was as if a childhood dream had become reality. However, over the past year, I have been also feeling a pull towards USNA. After careful research, I have concluded that USNA, with its diverse choices, would be best for my future career, family, and potentially even safety. Thus, logic compells me to pick Annapolis.

    That being said, it simply doesn't "feel" right. A wise man once told me that for any difficult decision, just flip a coin. You will know the answer the millisecond before the coin lands. Well, when I flipped the coin, I hoped for West Point.

    The question is simple: should I follow my heart and choose USMA or follow my brain and choose USNA. O, the paradox of choice...!

    One final note, please do not say the generic such as "figure out which service suits you best" or "where do you see yourself in 10 years." I am perfectly fine going into the Army or the Navy, and I can imagine myself with a career in either. I would, however, definitely appreciate some insight regarding the culture of each academy and how the cadets/midshipman feel about their school, or just life in general.

    Sorry for the double post, as I would like input from both sides, and thank you all for reading and contributing.
     
  2. canislupus

    canislupus New Member

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    Both are great choice so there's you can't lose from choosing one over the other. That being said, your best choice is one you won't regret.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    In the ideal world, 10 years from now, would you want to be at sea or on land? In a jet or in a helicopter.

    Ignoring the two schools, what's your dream job in the military?
     
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  4. usna2020Dad

    usna2020Dad Still Hoping my DS gets Appointment

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    Congrats EmperorQin! What an awesome accomplishment.

    I think you already know the answer to your question and you are moving in the right direction by talking about it. Sometimes saying it out loud helps our brain to make a decision because we hear what we are already thinking.

    Best of luck in your decision.
     
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  5. Joedoe

    Joedoe Member

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    You want an online forum of basically anonymous people to guide you towards this decision?
    You'll find mids and cadets alike who both love, tolerate, or hate their academies...and regularly experience all 3 emotions in 1 day.
    Did you visit both for an overnight to gain any perspective of the cultures? If WP was your 1st choice and continues to tug at your heartstrings, sounds like you made up your mind.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Generally speaking, an individual is a good fit for a service academy or not - regardless of which one it is. They are similar experiences.

    Let me tell you a story about myself that might shed some light on your situation and give you confidence that whatever you choose - it will likely work out for you.

    I graduated from USNA in 1979. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that I probably attended the Naval Academy for many of the wrong reasons. If I had been subjected to a BGO interview back then (which, at the time, was not a mandatory part of the application process), I would have been quickly identified as a young man with no true vision for my future military service.

    Early, during my Plebe Summer experience - I suspected I had made a huge mistake. I didn't like sailing. I thought it was silly that all the terminology for Bancroft Hall was if it was a giant ship. Not a floor - it's a deck. Not a wall - it's a bulkhead. Not a ceiling - it's the overhead. Not a bathroom - it's a head. I have never heard a restroom/bathroom referred to as a "head" before. In any case, most of the nautical stuff didn't interested me that much.

    "Prepare to come about!"

    "Helms alee!"

    "Jibe ho!"

    "Aye, aye, sir!"

    The upperclassmen had swords.

    I thought, "Are we going to be pirates? This is silly!"

    I hated the YPs (Yard Patrol craft).

    Yet, I wasn't going to quit. I knew I could make it through the program. I was wondering, "What am I going to do when I graduate from this place in four years? I'm at the United States Naval Academy and I don't like ships."

    Yet, as you said, the Naval Academy has many "diverse choices". I decided I would fly. And, four years later I did graduate and became a naval aviator. (I still ended up on a ship, however. So, I guess the Navy got the last laugh on that one.) There were times while I was at the Naval Academy when it did occur to me that, perhaps, I should have gone to the Air Force Academy. In the long run, it didn't make any difference.

    Over the four year period at the Naval Academy, I adapted. I got very comfortable with the routine and even grew to not mind ships so much. In fact, I was inexplicably good at conning those YPs. I could parallel park that baby!

    It works out. You adapt. No matter which academy you attend, there are going to be things you like and dislike. The Naval Academy does offer a wider range of career options upon graduation - unlike the other service academies. Quite frankly, in the Air Force, if you're not a pilot - you're a second rate citizen. Period!

    You want to be on a ship? That's easy to do! You want to be on a submarine? Get decent grades and that will happen. You like rolling around in the mud? Be a marine! You like aviation? Be a pilot or NFO! You like special forces? Work hard and maybe you can get SEAL or EOD. There are a few Medical Corps slots for those who quality. Cyber warfare is even becoming a thing.

    I'm not trying to sell you on the Naval Academy. Attending West Point would be an excellent choice. But, if you're not 100% sure what you want to do in the future, in my opinion, the Naval Academy is, by far, the academy that gives the widest spectrum of choices, all of which can lead to a viable and successful career.

    When you graduate from West Point, you're going to be on the ground. That's it. You might have boots on or riding in a tank - but you're going to be on the ground. If you go to the Air Force Academy, you had better become a pilot because, if you don't, then you're just one of the multitude of support people for the very narrow thing the Air Force does.

    Good luck in making your choice. Whichever you choose - it will be the right choice.
     
  7. coachkarl

    coachkarl Member

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    That's really solid advice, IMO.
     
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  8. distancerunner34

    distancerunner34 Member

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    I'm only a junior in HS, but I wanted to comment because your story is the EXACT same as mine (except I haven't received any appointments like you lol). West Point has been my life dream since 6th grade, but recently I've been interested in USNA. Anyways, I'm sure you'll be happy/proud at both places, so choose the branch that you prefer. That's what mids and cadets have told me
     
  9. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    Important Considerations!

    You will lose much of your WP-issued personal effects during your four years betting against Mids and this could force you to take on more debt during your time spent up the Hudson.

    You could make enough money selling off various WP personal effects you win (including enough to pay down your ACE loan) during your four years at Navy betting against WP.

    I know of one USNA Grad who has a collection of (12) USMA Robes, one for each month of the year.
     
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  10. ahs67

    ahs67 Member

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    I'm too lazy to check, but curious as to what they are advising you from the dark side?
    You can experience success at either place. A teammate of my mid found himself in similar circumstances. He made lists and columns of pros/cons and apparently it kept resulting in 50/50 splits. Only when he considered things that might otherwise be considered trivial did he decide on USNA-things like location/proximity to home and uniforms. He seems happy to me.
     
  11. EmperorQin

    EmperorQin Member

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    Thank you all for the well thought-out responses!

    I will be visiting both academies over spring break next week, so hopefully that will help me finalize my decision.

    Either way, I feel as if either choice will render me miserable. If I let go of Annapolis, I'm letting go of the opportunity of a lifetime. Meanwhile, if I let go of West Point, I will be letting go of a part of myself--my goals, aspirations, and identify.

    That being said, I am still boundlessly grateful for the choice in the first place. Thank you all for the input and God Bless the USA.
     
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  12. Rocket17

    Rocket17 Member

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    Part of yourself? I wouldn't let that go.

    For me, in 1963-64, USAFA would've been my first choice, but far out of reach. West Point and Annapolis were my options and my "goals, aspirations, and identify" led me to USNA. No regrets.

    Follow your heart. Keep doing your best. Congrats on your choices!
     
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  13. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    I am a professional financial advisor.

    One of the things I tell clients from day one, is that they can surround themselves with all the attorneys, advisors and CPA's but ultimately they must make the final decision. Inside each and every one of us we have an "inner voice." This voice is true and 99% of the time, correct. Call it instinct or intuition, but it is what helps guide people in everyday life and during their greatest challenges.

    So long as you have considered all the "logical" points and have assimilated all the information and facts.....
    ....follow your inner voice.

    As @Rocket17 says....no regrets.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  14. Letsdothis

    Letsdothis Member

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    The mom in me says, "Pick the one that's closest to your mother!" :)
     
  15. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    But the dad might have opposite idea... Go forth and do good...
     
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  16. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    First of all, congratulations on the impressive accomplishments. Regarding your question, do you prefer being at sea for months or on the ground? If you like to travel, go Navy. If you want to remain stationary, go Army. Remember to keep in mind life after the academy.
     
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  17. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Consider this, however - there is certainly a downside to the Navy if one envisions getting married and raising children in the future. A naval career poses the greatest challenge in this area. Think of the Navy as America's AWAY Team. They never have any home games on their schedule. Once I was married and had my first child, the prospect of continually making lengthy cruises became less and less appealing. Besides, carrier aviation was a dangerous business - even in time of peace.

    The Coast Guard affords the easiest life. Followed closely by the Air Force. Then the Army. And the Navy comes in dead last on this one, I'm afraid. But, it may be the most rewarding of them all. It depends on your personality, temperament and what you want out of your life. We can't answer that for you.

    I could never understand why any young girl who plans to get married and have children would ever consider a career in the operational Navy. I don't mean for that to sound sexist - it's just that it's an inescapable reality that the Navy has more obstacles in this area.
     
  18. EmperorQin

    EmperorQin Member

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    Memphis9489, thank you for bringing up personality and temperament, as I feel that these would likely be the factors that determine my ultimate decision. Which types of personality/temperament would you say best suits the Navy? What about Army?

    What are some distinguishing characteristics for the personnel of the two services? Don't hesitate to bring in stereotypes; they often carry hints of truth!
     
  19. hthp37

    hthp37 Member

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    Reading this thread got me curious about what they were saying on the USMA forum, but I can't find your posting over there. Are you only soliciting advice from the Navy forum? Interesting, if that's the case.
     
  20. HassamaMama

    HassamaMama Member

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    I'm happy to see you are going to be visiting both academies. You really need to get an air of both; experience both in person to see where you truly belong; which place makes your heart soar (military-pun intented)?
    Although USNA may seem like the "logical" place, you may get there and not like it (for some inexplainable reason, should that reason even exist...).
    Bottom line is, you need to get to both and think what feels more "right" to you. This will most likely lead you to think about where you truly want to serve, on land or at sea, and that should be the final deciding factor. For me, I want to be at sea more than anything, so Navy was the only way to go for me once I saw the opportunities it gives. Only at LOA right now, but I should hear in the next two or three weeks for my medical status and hopefully waiver.
    Good luck and enjoy visiting both - remember to really get a feel of everything at each!
     
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