Advice for creating a safety net?

Apr 2, 2017
Hello! I would love to attend USCGA. I understand that realistically, the academy is very hard to get into (the others are as well). I have spoken with a USMA graduate in addition to a USNA graduate who have said to apply to all of the academies because you don't know who is going to accept you. However, the other academies require nominations. In asking for nominations, should I mention my interest in the Coast Guard or focus solely on getting the nomination as a backup? I realize by attempting to get one, I am potentially taking a nomination from someone who would want to go to another academy. Is it worth attempting to get the backup at the potential sacrifice of someone else's dream?
My advice would not be to think of it from the point of view of am I taking a slot from another.
If you are interested in attending any service academy and have done due diligence to see if it is somewhere you want to go (for four years) and a military branch you are willing to serve (for five years) then apply to them. If you can only see yourself at one service academy, apply to it.
Plan B does not always have to be another service academy.
Most nomination applications will ask what other schools you are applying to. Also, it could come up in the interview. Be honest with what your intentions are. The interview is mainly to get to know who you are and what you're about. A person can be stellar on paper, but his/her character may not be suited for an academy or the military in general. If anything, boards will probably look favorably upon applying to multiple service academies as it indicates a willingness to serve (an Academy is not just a college on the list for you). If you live in a competitive district, you may only get the opportunity to choose one academy to compete for. Be sure to designate your second choice of USCGA doesn't accept you. Additionally, if you end up receiving a nomination and/or appointment to another Academy, do not decline until you receive your full appointment to CGA. People have been burned by relying on a conditional appointment before.
DD applied to USCGA, USAFA, and USNA.

During her congressional interviews she stated that her primary aim was to serve, and added that her first choice was USCGA, and also interested in USNA and USAFA. She received a nom to Navy.

A few months later (in early February) she was offered prep school for Coast Guard. Immediately after accepting the offer she contacted the nominating congressman's office and told them of her plans. She asked them to rescind her nom to Navy with the hopes that they would then be able to nominate someone else. They were very appreciative that she called them and were very pleased for her. While we don't know if they nominated someone else, they certainly didn't act like she had "wasted" their nom.

As a side note... she became quite friendly her senior year with a young man with dreams of attending USNA. He applied to all major academies, which was wise because he did NOT get a nom for USNA. He did, however, get two noms for Army (hard to get more than one nom in our state). And yet, he was still waitlisted at West Point. Then finally one day in LATE MAY he received a call and a FEDEXed offer from USMA!!!

So you never know, that nom to the 2nd choice school might be the one you need.

Best of luck to you!!

@ yellow rose
You have to weigh it all out and make that decision for yourself. My DD came to a firm decision to what service academy she wanted to attend end of junior year. She prioritized where she could see herself from visiting the academies talking to service member officers, etc...

My DD knew she would have received at least 1 nomination to USNA through her NJROTC she knew Navy was her second choice. I would like to say our gut would have been right with a MOC nomination too. She did feel if CGA fell apart she would pursue the Navy through an NROTC program only. There were close friends of hers who wanted USNA and she didn't want to add anymore competition for them. She also removed her application for AFROTC when she received CGAS. She did not remove her NROTC application or turn down the NROTC till she went into CGAS. We found out the NROTC scholarship doesn't transition into a waitlist pool like the academies once awarded. There were 26 left in the cue for our area and I think she was 1 of last ones standing who received the NROTC(2 awarded from our school, multiple for other branches)

The university attached to the NROTC gave her a nice scholarship before the NROTC was awarded. It was not as nice as the NROTC but still pretty nice. (The university gave a supplental room and board scholarship for NROTC scholarship winners accepted into their engineering program...tempting right?) There was some hurt feelings but when it came down to it she only put her name in the hat for 2 possibilities opening up chances for everyone else and everyone else went for it all.

She spoke with the NROTC CO about her plans and he was fine with it and said all she needs to do is report to class in August if the CGAS fell through. She could always reapply for the NROTC again. The University didn't have problem with any of this she basically would go potluck for dorm assignments. In the end we did lose 500 dollars for the deposit which we knew would happen. It was pretty much an insurance policy.

Now with her at CGAS we discussed and agreed her back up plan for it would be state U or state JC. This will be the same safety net for CGA
Thank you! I will defiantly keep your examples and advice in mind! It is helpful to know so many other people have gone through this.