Which one? Help...

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by NavalOdyssey2016, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. NavalOdyssey2016

    NavalOdyssey2016 Member

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    I have been in the difficult position of deciding between the West Point and USNA for quite some time now (LOAs September, WP Appointment in October, USNA Appointment Early November) and it is not getting any easier. It seems that every week I am leaning one way and change the following week after learning new information regarding one SA. When I began the application process I was Navy 100%, but after my visit to West Point I have fallen in love with USMA, yet Navy is still in the back of my mind.
    Both my BGO and ALO have been extremely helpful but I feel that I will let one down regardless of my decision because of how hard each has worked in helping me to receive the appointments. The decision for me is so close that I jokingly say that I will just flip a coin; however it seems to actually be the best course of action. I have been told that when I flip the coin I will know which one I really prefer, I just don't think that will happen because I have no preference. I feel that I would be more academically successful at West Point and have a better opportunity for the branch that I want, or should I attend USNA where I have more choices for branches (service selection) that I would enjoy and just the fact that for some reason it is still in my mind even after the research that, for me, has made West Point a better choice for me.
    Thank you for reading and any response you may have.
     
  2. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    What do you want to do? Do you want to be a war fighter? Do you want to serve on a ship? In a sub? Land planes on a ship? then go Navy.

    Do you want to be a war fighter? Do you want to swoop in for the rescue in a helicopter? Do you want to fight on the ground? Do you want to do Military Intelligence? Armor? Artillery?

    Why do you think you'll be more successful academically at West Point? Have you heard it's easier? That's crap. Is it because it's a more disciplined environment? That is true.

    Yes, Navy has won the big game for years...but in all other sports (except swimming), Army wins (army wins diving, btw).

    Where do you see yourself for four years? What about after that? I fully expected my son to choose Navy..but after he visited West Point, it was all over.

    A naval academy employee said to a group of us parents at the big meet a few months back that the major difference at WP, as far as he could tell, was that at Army you were part of a team...it was always about the team...at Navy it was more individual achievement. He was very complimentary of our athletes because of the way they build each other up and celebrate each others' victories. Others might say that isn't the case...depends on your experience.

    You have to figure out what you want, and then go after it and don't look back. Good luck! Go Army!
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The Navy has 3 main branches, Surface, Submarine, Aviation.

    The Army has 16 branches that you can branch into and even more as you gain time in service.

    If your interested in Aviation the navy has fixed wing and some helicopters, the Army has Helicopters. As a commisioned officer in the Navy you fly more, as a commisioned officer in the Army you will fly, just not throughout your entire career.

    Army has no Submarines so that's a moot point.

    The Navy has really cool white uniforms but I'm sure that's not part of the equation.

    Now this next one comes from my perspective, even though it's Coast Guard and not Navy. Life as an officer on a ship is different then life of an officer in the Army. Mom3boys talked about being part of a team, I agree that the Army has a much more team feel then the Navy or any shipboard officer. From what I have observed Army officers have a much closer connection to the men and women they command, of course the same can be said for the Marines which is an option at the USNA.

    Naval officers will be stationed for the most part near the Water, Army officers not so much, think hot and muggy, unless your at Ft. Lewis, then your just wet most of the time.

    My younger son had to make the same choice, Army or Navy, he chose Army for the multiple opportunities the Army offers as far as branches.

    It's a tough choice, you are very lucky to be in this position. I can tell you one thing, no matter what you pick, after a short time you won't see yourself being anywhere else and you will have no regrets.

    Good luck in your decision.
     
  4. NavalOdyssey2016

    NavalOdyssey2016 Member

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    I have never heard of any academy being "easy", it is the more discipline that I noticed when I visited that appealed to me and made me feel that I would succeed at WP.

    Also I am interested in infantry/ground which would be Army territory all the way, while USNA does have the Marine Corps.
     
  5. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    West Point is indeed more disciplined, as noted by how sharp the entire corps looks during the Army Navy march on...while the Navy looks nice, the Army practices drill and looks very sharp. That is just one of many areas of discipline. You will get support academically at both. You'll be an officer if you finish at either...but it sounds like your heart is tugging for West Point....does your mom want you to go to Navy? I wanted that at first because my perception was my son would be "safer" since no one is currently firing at ships. But you don't join the military to be in a "safer" environment, do you? Another great thing about Navy: they have the most darling little sailor suits you get to wear...kind of like when you were a little boy!
     
  6. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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    I was in the same situation as you all through the Fall and into the first part of this year. Consider yourself one of the luckiest high school students in the world right now, with two fine choices in front of you. I ended up accepting my appointment to WP. Now, if someone came to me tomorrow and said the WP thing fell through for some unforeseen reason and I had to attend USNA instead, I would be heartbroken about WP, but proud as well to attend USNA. But USMA is my clear choice at this point. Will I ever harbor some doubt? Of course! Honestly, I think it is human nature to play the second-guessing game in our heads, and you will have some doubt right up until you get to campus on the first day - then you will realize it is the place for you, and it will become your home. That makes you no different from most other college-bound 18 yr olds who, somewhere in the recesses of their brain, ask "I wonder if college Y would have been better than college X". Recognize your misgivings as normal and move past it.

    That's their job, and although BGOs and MALOs do an incredible job -- far far beyond the efforts of admissions drones in typical universities -- they realize from experience that USMA and USNA are usually competing for applicants from the same group of exceptional students. They are completely prepared to have you pick one and say no to the other. Their job is to help you make that informed decision and to find the personal hook in their institution that will make you pick them if they pick you.

    Yeah, I've seen that coin flip/dart throw advice on here and for me it doesn't work. I wouldn't pick my future wife that way, and this decision is similar in impact. I am much more of a Decision Matrix person. Also a big fan of the "OK let's pretend I can't go home for the weekend until I resolve this" method. However, the matrix method only works if you have all the parameters and weightings, which is tough in this case. And the "4:30 on a Friday" method only works if either decision is pretty much acceptable, which after some further soul searching may not be the case here for you.

    And of course then there is the old "signs" (a.k.a. "hand of God") method, where you simply say "Whatever is best will happen" and then wait for a sign to point you. I remember reading on here about one applicant who was deciding between USMA and USNA; he went to the chapel somewhere (maybe on his high school campus, I can't recall) trying to get his head around his decision, and as he exited the chapel door just then a fighter jet, seemingly from nowhere, screamed by right overhead. He chose USNA. Now, I'm not saying you should wait for a member of Army Special Forces to parachute into the middle of your front lawn in order to make up your mind, but if you stop thinking about it and kind of avert your gaze from the problem, you may in fact suddenly have some kind of epiphany. Stop trying to decide and maybe your mind will make it evident.


    I think the fact that you posted this in the USMA forum should be one clue that you are looking at USMA as the 'incumbent' that needs unseating (unless you cross-posted to USNA as well -- I did not check that). And I have myself posted on here in the past, asking for similar advice at one point. But it really does become akin to you posting "Strawberry or chocolate?". The answer is "What flavor do you like better?". For me, in the end, I based a lot on my experience on overnight visits, and really getting a close-up view of the cadets/mids, as people, as men and women, and the lives they were leading at their SA, and their interactions with upperclassmen, and the overall environment. I was going ground either way, so career paths, per se, was not in the mix for me. I realized that when I looked around both USMA and USNA, I saw some amazing people -- startlingly amazing people -- at both locations, but I found myself looking at the WP cadets with more of a feeling of "that's who I want to be like, that person is someone who I would be proud to emulate". My personal view, my own feeling, my own head. For you, the tipping point will be something else, but you need to get there.

    You're welcome. Sory for the long-winded response, but I had a whole study hall to work on it so figured I would give you everything I had on my mind. Maybe we'll see each other on the Hudson next year. If so, I'm sure I will be proud to know you and serve with you. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The best advice you can get is to look past both USMA and USNA, look at the services themselves, Army and Navy. The academies are only the vehicle to get you there. Once you graduate you will be in that service for at least 5 years.

    I wouldn't worry too much about which school you will be academically successful, if you were able to gain an appointment to both you should do just fine at either.
     

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