advice on academy change


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Apr 11, 2007
Would anyone be able to help us help educate our son on a decision he has to make soon. He has prepared since middle school for attending USNA, found qualified, etc.., but recieved a rejection last week unfortunately. Bottom line we think the competition was fierce this year.The info we have been able to get about his particular situation, he really was qualifed, try again next year. He however did not want to do ROTC, it is U of M only in Michigan, and really didn't focus on that back up plan this year, so that is not an option for him.
As is it now, he did receive an appointment to USCG academy, and is trying to make a decision on going there. His heart says wait, go to a local private college and reapply, a gamble again to USNA however. Our question as parents and son also, is it looked poorly upon to go to the USCG academy , and still re-apply to USNA for next year? Will either colleges think this is unethical, or simply a choice one is making for another service academy to achieve the same goal, becoming an officer and serving ones country in the end?
We would appreciate any advice on this subject, and apologize if this has been talked about before.
I cannot answer your question for certain, but my gut tells me that such a bait-and-switch would not be looked upon kindly. Even if it were possible, I suspect it would be extremely difficult, so going into USCGA with that as a goal wouldn't be the smartest idea.

My recommendation to your son is to either go to USCGA and go CG, or else attend a civilian/prep school and roll the dice again on USNA. Be aware, however, that doing so will cost him the USCGA slot, and he may never be able to get another one. Folks who turn down appointments don't normally get second chances, from all I've heard.

USCGA was the only other SA I applied to seriously, and both it and USNA sent me to NAPS. Believe me, there are far worse places he could go than USCGA.

Best of luck. :smile:
Congratulations on your son's CGA Appointment - that is certainly quite an accomplishment! The Coast Guard Academy is a fine school and a career in the Coast Guard has many opportunities, no doubt.
Using the Coast Guard Academy as a stepping stone to the Naval Academy would not be recommended. It may happen, but rarely and going into the CGA with USNA in mind would not be wise. Go to the Coast Guard Academy to obtain a commission in the US Coast Guard. Period.

However, it sounds like a career in the Coast Guard is not what your son wants. Sounds like he wants a commission in the Navy.
If that is indeed the case he should not accept his appointment and head to New London.
Why was ROTC not planned for? Did he think last summer/fall that he just wanted to go to a service academy? Does he really want to become an Officer in the US Navy? If he truly wants a commission then right now he must pursue the NROTC route with haste. I suggest that he get in touch with admissions at Michigan and the NROTC unit at Michigan and explore his options. Even though the deadline is long past to apply, you might be surprised - since he is a good student. At the very least he can probably get in for second semester.
If he is able to secure a spot at Michigan, he can do NROTC for a year and work on his application for next year.
Keep plugging away - ignore "deadlines", call people and explore all options.

Good Luck.
Could he transfer his commission if he graduates from CGA?

I thought I had heard it all but this is a new one. I don't think the CGA could prohibit a cadet from applying to USNA, but they would not be compelled to support it. To the best of my knowledge, there are no regulations supporting or denying it so the cadet would have to submit a special request via his chain of command. I doubt very seriously it would be approved due to the requirement for CGA support, and it would not cast a positive light on the cadet for his remaining future at CGA, whether it be a few months or three years.

I am also almost positive that there are no transferring commissions at graduation. Did a random USN commissioning source search and couldn't find any CGAs. We send a lot the other way after initial obligation, but none coming to USN at initial commissioning.

My advice to any youngster going to any Academy is to look primarily at the career. If one does not want to make a career in the USCG, don't attend their academy.

lfm, your PM is blocked.
There are hundreds of kids on the alternate list for the CGA.

Those kids want to go there for four years.

Please, please, please don't let your son take up a space at the CGA if he doesn't want to go.

I don't think it would be looked upon very well by the Naval Academy that your son is willing to quit the CGA. Don't you think they would think that they would be taking a big chance with someone who already is ready to jump ship...excuse the pun...

Just a word to the wise, if they really wanted him, they wouldn't have rejected him. Time to really face facts. I seriously doubt it is going to be less competitive next year...but of course what do I know.

I too thought I had seen everything.

I just hope there are no alternates who see the first post on this thread. I think it would be heartbreaking for them to read.

I didn't mean to offend, I thought this site was for advice.

Your son seriously needs to look at what his career goal is. As stated before if he wants a commission in the Navy then accepting a CGA appointment is a very bad idea. The two services are completely different and if his true desire is to go Navy then the choice is not take a CGA appointment.

Did he not consider US Merchant Marine Academy? This is truly the only academy where you have many options after graduation (take a commmission in the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army or NOAA or go reserves and serve in the Merchant Fleet).

My question is why he did not have any back up plans. Regarding the NROTC...why is it only U of M? There are 100's of qualified NROTC school around the country.
I didn't mean to offend, I thought this site was for advice.

Every response above gave you advice. Did I miss something?

Zaphod: "My recommendation to your son......"
Just_a_Mom: "I suggest that he get in touch....."
nurseypoo: "Could he ....."
USNA69: "My advice......"
momofacadet: "Please please don't let your son...."
kpmom201: "Your son seriously needs to..."

Advice that you disagree with is still advice. :wink:
lfm, your son's situation is not entirely unique in my opinion. Since most kids who apply to academies, apply to two or more, sometimes resulting in events such as yours. If he can't let go of USNA & be happy reporting in to become a Coast Guard Officer, it would truly be a mistake for him to do so. Only he knows his heart and it would be difficult to go by advice posted here by strangers who don't know him. If he CAN let go of USNA, he will have an opportunity like no other with the CGA. I think its just that everyone got a bitter taste in their mouths in his considering to go into CGA with half a heart, perhaps wanting to use it as a stepping stone to USNA. You can understand that a good many kids feel about CGA just as your son does with USNA. They've wanted it since the third grade. To take one of their spots probably would be deemed a bit unethical. I'm sure he's torn up in trying to make this huge decision. I wish him well & happy in what he ends up doing.
I'm sure you didn't mean to offend so I'm sorry if the post just kind of blew me away. I think some of the other responses were excellent, especially this one:

**You can understand that a good many kids feel about CGA just as your son does with USNA. They've wanted it since the third grade**

I think that is it in a nutshell. We all see the value of the appointment that your son is looking at with the CGA, in the same way that those who are holding what your son wants with the NA are looking at.

Sometimes things work out the way they do for a reason and you may not understand that for years to come. I'm sure the emotions are running so high right now at your house because of the rejection from the Naval Academy that it is hard for him to really see the bigger picture and make a good decision. It is unfortunate that time is running out for making those decisions because he probably feels like he is being rushed into making a decision that he may eventually regret. Good luck to him and your family with whatever choice is made.

We are a tight family at the CGA and if your son does decide to accept the appointment, I hope you will come to love being a Coastie parent as much as the rest of us do :)
Very true & man, I would hate to be walking in these footsteps as a parent. I mean, we all want our kids to make decisions that will they won’t regret later. It won’t be possible though since we can’t see the future. Lfm might be justified in the concern that another opportunity like this may never come again. So what do you do in this case with May 1st being this coming Tuesday? Agonize & panic eat ten big macs probably.

I guess I’d be looking for any indication that the boy was not standing on shaky ground or wishy-washy but determined to graduate so I could feel that he might make it through what WILL be the toughest time of his young life. He HAS to want it. If he goes in the least bit uncommitted, you can be assured of his failure because there won‘t be room for a weak heart. One problem is that his classmates will know it immediately and probably pick him apart. It would be bad I think.

That said, if you see that less than committed attitude & USNA still the main goal, that year of college is the answer. He had what it took to gain an academy appointment. He could very well reach his goal by a second try. Many have. There are even a few on this forum.

Lfm, I do hope that you’ll share your experience. It might help future applicants who might land in these same footsteps come next year.
lfm, There was indeed a lot of advice given to you and your son on this thread.

Bottom line, the CGA is not a stepping stone. Continuing with this hypothetical thread, what would your son do and how would he feel if he did attend the CGA and was again turned down for USNA. If he can honestly say that he would be happy with this turn of events, perhaps CGA is a good choice. Just forget the reapplying to USNA which, I am sure you will now agree, for a multitude of reasons, is not a good idea.
If I wanted Navy, and Navy only, I would NEVER, EVER give least not until I was 23! Look how close he came to his goal considering they had almost 12,000 applicants for the c/o 2011 (applications were up approximately 1,000 from last year.)
If I wanted Navy, and Navy only, I would NEVER, EVER give up...

Nor would I apply to the CGA as lfm's son did. I very seriously doubt that lfm's son applied to CGA with the intention of using it as a stepping stone to USNA. There was something there originally or he would not have applied. Perhaps lfm, in presenting the "need" for a stepping stone scenario, has glossed over the son's true desires. Go back to the original thought process, forget the sting of rejection, and reevaluate why he chose CGA in the first place. It's neither a bad school nor an unfilling career. A bird in hand is worth.............
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If he wants it do college and then reapply. I applied 5 times before I was finally accepted. If this if what you really want, put in the effort.
We'll I'm in the same situation as your son. I was waitlisted for the Naval Academy(My dream school since age4 even though my dad was a coasty), the only other school I applied to being the Coast Guard Academy. I am however extremely proud and excited to go there, even though I did not consider it truly an option until last year, and will never think twice about going to Navy. Bottom line I want to serve my country, so make sure your son asks himself if he wants to stick out the Coast Guard. It's an amazing school with amazing opportunites, I do not feel as if I lost opportunities not going to Navy but rather I gained diffrent ones. Maybe I will see him July 2nd, best of luck!