9th grade son has expressed interest in SA's

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by jenarow, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. jenarow

    jenarow New Member

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    I have read quite a bit around the forums in general and haven't really seen anything that answers my question. My 9th grade boy, football player, wrestler, lacrosse player, has expressed interest in attending a service academy. I believe he has the right qualifications and temperament to even consider trying for an appointment but I'm questioning which he should seriously consider. He doesn't have a particular allegiance to any one service, his dad was Navy, his grandfathers were Army and his Uncle was Marines. If he doesn't really care one way or another, they all have football and lacrosse teams, how do you choose? We live in MD and a nomination to USNA is extremely difficult to get, are nominations to other SA's less difficult? I don't really know how to help him narrow it down, he likes the structure and order of the military and is very academic minded and does not want to have 100's of thousands of dollars of student debt and those are some of the reasons why he is drawn to the SA's, but I am at al loss on how to guide him here. His older brother was content to do the least amount possible in high school and hang out at the local community college for a few years before choosing a college to transfer to so I am really at a loss with what to do with my second son who is trying to start applying to things his freshman year of high school. Thanks!
     
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  2. mmb5

    mmb5 5-Year Member

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    Take a look at the advice on the USMA website on "starting early" - lots of good information.
     
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  3. jenarow

    jenarow New Member

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    Thank you, he and I have looked through the sites for all of the SA's together, the qualifications and classes needed seem to be about equal. The process for each is very similar too. My big question is how to help him narrow them down to one to apply to. Or does he apply for USAFA, USMA, AND USNA ans see what happens? Is that even allowed?
     
  4. golfindad

    golfindad Member

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    He can apply to all, and apply for a nom to all. Depending on what district, what connections, what he looks like on paper, etc., dictate what noms and then what appt. he gets. So, he wants to go to a service academy. He must have a reason behind this, and, that reason may help you help him. Second, nothing helps more than a personal visit. Go see all the schools. Go talk to the local alumni and/or parent groups. And, there are two other SA's that you do not have listed. USCGA does not require a nom. USMMA allows noms from any rep in your state.

    Good luck
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

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    All the services have officer career path websites which describe the various Navy officer warfare specialty communities, Army officer branches, etc., and their missions, platforms, etc. Exploring "the job" possibilities that he would spend a minimum of 5 years doing after graduation will help inform his thinking. If he found a couple of officer career paths, say, in the Air Force that looked interesting, he could then work backward to the USAFA and AFROTC sites to see how he could get there.

    Example: google "Navy officer careers." The navy.com links are official Navy recruiting sites.
    https://www.navy.com/joining/ways-to-join/commissioned-officers.html

    Reading every page, link and drop-down menu on the individual SA Admissions sites will yield a wealth of information on career paths.

    USNA has STEM camp and summer sports camps (look at www.navysports.com in January), which are great for getting some exposure to an SA. I assume the other SAs have similar programs.

    Between HS junior and senior years, he could apply to attend the SA summer programs, various names. These are designed to give an up-close look at that SA and a glimpse of what is available after commissioning.

    While there are very practical reasons for attending a SA or college ROTC, there is one common thread linked to their missions as commissioning sources - does your son, as he looks ahead, have the desire and is willing to lead men and women into harm's way, if that's what the job requires? Leadership development is at the core of officer commissioning programs. Academic skills enrich the toolkit for mission success.

    Ninth grade is a great time for trying out all kinds of dreams. Point him toward a few of these suggestions and let him research his path.

    SOMEONE in MD gets the noms to USNA, and as many here like to say, 100% of those who don't apply for them, don't get them. Your DS is in a great place to start building his resumé, for SA, ROTC, college. He can be a "lurker" here and quietly read all the "stats" and "chance me" posts listing a wide range of courses, grades, sports, ECs, community projects, leadership programs, etc.
     
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  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

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    Why choose one? Apply to as many as he has any interest in. Apply to summer programs that they offer as well like the USNA STEM summer program. Attend Academy night and listen to the representatives there.
     
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  7. AJC

    AJC Member

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    The narrowing down may happen for him when he receives nominations.
    in the mean time he should focus on his grades and staying out of trouble.
     
  8. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    Being interested in serving and an SA at his age gives him the time to prepare, as AJC said. Study hard, do sports (and get to be captain), find some community service that appeals to him (don't go do a bunch of stuff to pad a resume, do something that means something personally). He needs to keep his nose clean and eat his vegetables.

    Then with time (he's got three years) go over the different missions of each of the services. If he settles on a service where the missions speak to him, that's the direction to go.

    Shameless plug, USCG does rescue, environmental, law enforcement missions. Very different missions and feel from the big services. Also, being a small service, you have a lot more variety of responsibilities. And it really does have a family feel to it. The USCGA doesn't need a nom, but that means you are competing against others from the entire USA.
     
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  9. jenarow

    jenarow New Member

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    No need for the shameless plug...his wrestling coach's son went to USCG and has been talking to him about it. My son does play sports, football, wrestling, and lacrosse. His community service hours for high school are already finished, he refs little kid football in the fall and youth lacrosse in the Spring. He plans to continue doing those throughout High School as it is something he enjoys doing.
     
  10. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    You mentioned lacrosse and football...so my first question is does he want to play college athletics, on top of attending an SA? If so, here's a really tough question for a parent of a student-athlete...how good is he? If he is not a D-I talent (actually being recruited by D-I schools by his junior season), he will probably not play at USMA, USNA, or USAFA. If he is not a D-I talent, that leaves USMMA and USCGA. As a "9th grader," he should just focus on being academically and physically qualified for any of the SA's. If he wants to play sports at the next level, keep working hard. By the beginning of his junior year, you'll know if he is suited for one of the D-I SA's or the D-III SA's. Also, if college athletics is in his future, make sure you get "game tape"/highlight film and send it to the coaches. Good luck.
     
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  11. rkv

    rkv Member

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    My DS had this same question during his sophomore year of high school. He was interested in aviation. Initially this was USMA and helicopters, then USNA, but ultimately he only applied to USAFA where he is now a happy member of the class of 2020.

    While I would recommend all of the suggestions in prior posts, the information which seemed to be of greatest value in helping him to choose to pursue a career in the USAF came from a few conversations he was able to arrange with career officers. These officers were not part of the ALO, BGO, or FFR staff. Rather these were other active duty officers who were willing to share their thoughts on life in the various services 5, 10 or 20 years following graduation.

    We didn't have any active military in our family. But by our asking around he was able to be put in contact with friends of friends who had attended a specific academy and were willing to speak with him. In one case he cold called a nearby DOD office and was put in touch with both Naval and Air Force officers who were willing to speak with him.

    To some extent his experience may have been pure luck, but I believe those conversations were the most helpful in helping him focus on which service most appealed to him. In each case they asked for him to send a short biographical written piece prior to his conversation. In addition to helping him decide, I believe those conversations also helped him to be better prepared for his formal interviews with ALO and nominating committees.

    Good luck to your son. Please note, that while I wish people good luck in their efforts to pursue an appointment, I don't mean to in anyway diminish the importance of candidates being willing to work hard. While the process does require some luck, and many seemingly qualified candidates do not receive appointments, the best way for your son to improve his chances is to work hard on all aspects of his application portfolio.
     
  12. jenarow

    jenarow New Member

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    Right now he is ambivalent about sports in college. That may change as he gets older. I would say he does NOT have D-1 talent for football, nor the heart for it but may have the talent and heart for D-1 lacrosse. Only time will tell and it will also be up to him to continue to improve his game and work hard if he does want to try and play in college. He is more focused on the education portion of an SA at this point. He has spoken to the guidance counselors at school so he can take the necessary hard courses and be on a track for applying to an SA. He is a very focused kid, almost scary when he is determined to do something. Only time will tell but to answer your question, I don't think college athletics are high on his list of priorities.
     
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  13. Tmamon

    Tmamon Member

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    My son is a new appointee to CGA. He is a lacrosse player and was a recruited athlete. He will be required to play something even if not at NCAA level once there. Just my opinion but when military is in your heart the athletics are just icing and another way to set yourself apart. He was actively recruited D1 and chose this path. Went to see others but there was something about CGA that felt like home. If lax is his thing CGA is building a very competitive program. After watching the team play the last 2 seasons it's amazing how good they are getting in a short time. I'm sure the ability to recruit helps. I am sure he will land where he should. God bless all of these young adults that choose service over self.
     
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  14. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

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    That makes it easier. My DS "knew" he wanted to play college football from the age of 8. Once in high school, he knew he wanted to study engineering in college. Unfortunately, college athletics and engineering don’t play well together, at least from our conversations with college coaches/recruiters. Surprisingly, Ivy League coaches discouraged my DS from studying engineering if he was going to play football for them. (Most D-II schools didn't even offer engineering degrees) He had no desire to serve in the military, so it was a Godsend when we discovered USMMA. Luckily, your DS has a few years to really discover his passion. Like I tell my 12 year old son (who is interested in attending a SA now that he’s tagged along his older brother’s journey), prepare for the hardest path. If you DS works toward being accepted at any/all of the academies, than he’s on the right track. Eventually, he will realize which academy is right for him. Good luck.
     
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  15. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    My son is at USMA and he does not play any of the sports that he played all through high school. He was excited to try new sports when he arrived at WP. So let him enjoy his sports now without the pressure of thinking about what sport he wants to play when he is in college.
     
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  16. nosnow

    nosnow Member

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    My son first became interested in USNA after going to STEM camp in 8th and 9th grade. After attending Summer seminar his Jr. year, it solidified his commitment to pursue an appointment at USNA. He was asked during his MOC and Senate interviews why he didn't apply to the other service academies. I wonder now, if we visited the other academies if he would have applied there also. I highly recommend if possible you visit all the campuses and talk to the students. Also, I forced my son to visit several civilian schools. He actually fell in love with a couple of them and applied for an Navy ROTC scholarship. During his interview for ROTC, he was able to get good advice from the Captain the pros and cons of ROTC vs USNA. Good Luck to your son!
     
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  17. seacadetmum

    seacadetmum Member

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    @jenarow Your're not alone. It seems like the schools start talking college in middle school! If you are considering the STEM camp, the application is now available on the USNA website. My rising 9th grader is hoping for a spot, she's already done SeaPerch stuff with her Sea Cadets. Her goal changes but right now it's marine engineering or environmental science, next week it may be something different!
     
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  18. fencersmother

    fencersmother 5-Year Member Founding Member

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    Please remember that your child is 14/15... that means the world is just opening up to him. He is envisioning his "adult life" (which for kids that age means 20-24), and seeing some possibilities. One thing I have seen eager parents do is push little Johnny in one way, or another. Make sure the doors of opportunity stay open to him, and encourage him to
    • take the most difficult courses his school offers, including dual-enrollment, AP, etc., and do well in them
    • find a sport he LOVES - this will go a long long way to relieving the parent of nagging when things get tougher later
    • explore now something he might like to do always: illiteracy projects, civic groups, church service, animal tending...

    Around age 15/16, I asked my kids: Tell me: what do you wear to work when you are 25? 45? It helps them to think of themselves in a truly adult mode.

    Best of luck to your youngin'. Get ready for a roller-coaster!
     
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