Backup College


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Mar 31, 2008
I have officially accepted my appointment to the Naval Academy. My parents told me the other day that they still want me to pick out a backup school in case I were to get hurt and even said they would pay the deposit. Is this even allowed? Would you suggest this? Thoughts and previous experiences are greatly appreciated.
I have heard of people doing this. I believe that, provided you pay the deposit, the college "doesn't care" if you withdraw, in that they can offer your slot to someone on the wait list. I am certain that every college has students who agree to come and then back out for various reasons.

The above notwithstanding, be sure to read the fine print in whatever you send to the civilian college in terms of deadlines, the college's rights if you withdraw (i.e., keeping your deposit, suing you). Provided the college's terms are acceptable to you, what you plan should be legal.
From a parent's perspective.....We’d never considered keeping a back-up school way back when in 2005 when son received his appointment to KP. We’d placed a deposit on the plan B school & when the appointment came, we’d contacted the school to receive the refund.

With the knowledge given us through the kind hearted, sharing people on this forum, we’ve learned lots since then about the "what ifs". #1 is that anything can happen. They call accidents an accident for a reason. You truly want to have a plan in place for these "what ifs". I know of a young man who broke his leg, two days before reporting in to his academy. Had to have surgery & recover so he needed a place to go to keep himself on an even keel with Plebe studies for when he was allowed back the following year. His story is not unlike a slim few others I've heard about.

The deposit is a stick in the eye to give up but worth the peace of mind so I would do your research on your plan B choices & kiss your parents for liking you so much. And tell them from me, to get you wrapped up in some bubble wrap asap. :D
Keeping a back up plan wouldn't be such a bad idea. I know this past I-Day there were 6 plebes detained in Alumni Hall for medical problems. They only kept 2 and denied the other 4 their appointments due to medical problems. One of them thought he had a sprained wrist from playing a game of pick of basketball with friends. The academy took an x-ray and it was actually broken. If any injury happens before I-Day that will not allow you to participate in the plebe summer activities they will not accept you. Just be careful.
Here is what my son did about a backup plan last year...of course this will vary for each and every candidate depending on where they have been accepted...every situation is goes the story (finally)....My son wrote a letter to his second choice school after he had accepted his appointment (well before before May 1) asking the backup school's Admissions Department for a extension of the May 1 deadline to two days after R-Day (July 4). The head of Admissions wrote a very nice letter back but declined to extend the deadline. He did offer however, to reconsider my son's application for admission if the unfortunate accident prevented him from attending West Point.

We also knew that our local very small university accepts students as late as August so he sort of had a second backup plan, too. We figured that any injury sustained before R-Day or during Beast would also preclude him from participating in ROTC, so he declined all offers for ROTC scholarships once he had accepted West Point. That worked for us, but then he had this very nice local college that would have been a very nice place to study for a there is a two year community college here, too.

Best of luck. Just make the best decision you can for your backup plan....bubble wrap is highly recommended!!!
For now, I'm keeping a backup school. I'd really hate to be a medical turnback after BCT (USAFA) and have nothing planned.
Just a word of caution - I have heard that when the going gets tough during summer training that really nice backup school can become an enticing daydream...

I had a very different saga oh so many years ago. When I turned down the last of my civilian schools, it sent me a letter saying that it would hold a place open for me for an entire year in case USNA didn't work out. Not sure how that would have worked in practice, given that I never had to find out.

I'm also not sure even now how that cut in terms of my approach to plebe summer. I still think the desire not to fail/quit overcame the option to do something else if it didn't work out.

For those who don't have Plan B or who can't afford to lose the deposit for a civilian college, all is not lost. "Worst case" scenario is that the student enrolls in a community college for a year. Obviously, if he/she was strong enough to be accepted at USNA and civilian schools -- and explains the reason for reapplying -- that year won't be "wasted." Not ideal, but it IS only one year out of a very long life.
For our Class of 2010 Mid, we put down a deposit on plan B and he filled out all of the housing information. He called Plan B school before mailing and explained the dilemma of possibly not making it to I Day. His admissions counselor allowed him to conditionally commit to their college with giving him through Plebe summer (August 10th was their deadline) to let them know if he was coming or not. They however did tell us that the deposit would be forfeited and that first semester tuition would be due on the 15th of August. They did not consider what he was doing as being "double depositing" since the $2500 was not a deposit to hold a space but was for initial expenditures. This was a very liberal, elite Liberal Arts School.

I think even if they had said no we still would have deposited as there was nothing in the paperwork that stated that he could not withdraw his acceptance.

Mine said he never really had time to think about greener grass during Plebe Summer. Never was a deterrent to making it through.
I suggested to my dd that we put a deposit down at her backup school, but she said no. Her thought--there was nothing that would make her quit before the end of Plebe Year! Her backup school offered her keep her spot for one year however, AND her scholarships! :biggrin:
Wow! That has not worked for us as all the scholarships offered were 4-yr. ROTC and they had to be turned down when the USMA offer was accepted. I did ask VMI when they called one day if something happened if they could reconsider the applicant, and the ROTC instructor basically said they would put the candidate at the bottom of the list and re-offer monies IF they had not all been given out at the time. S will probably wait until the deadline to turn down the first choice back-up school however, even though the scholarship had to be turned down now.