Extra Year Dilemma

anon2021

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Jul 21, 2016
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I recently received an appointment to the USAFA (direct/full appointment), but my Regional Commander for USMA offered me an AOG scholarship for a year of civil prep. I plan on visiting the AFA soon, but USMA has been my #1 choice since I can remember, whereas USAFA is probably my #3 (USNA is #2).

My parents want me to go for the AFA because they say that there isn't much of a difference between the SAs if I like all the career options. In other words, my standardized test scores were fine (32 ACT), but my HS grades in my math classes and some science classes were quite poor, which is what I believe prompted an AOG instead of direct appointment to USMA. Naturally, my parents are just worried that even if I do alright at civil prep, it's not a guaranteed appointment/won't hear back about an appointment until March next year - if I even get one. They ask, is that extra year truly worth it? I have explained to them how it's an additional year of maturity and military/academic familiarity, but they think I could do just fine going in this year to AFA. I keep telling them that an extra year in the future won't make a difference, but I am torn.

Can anyone offer any insight with similar situations, or can anyone tell me (in detail) about a year at civil prep? Thanks in advance.
 

kinnem

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First, it's your life, not your parents. Listen to their comments respectfully and certainly weigh the input they give you. In the end though this is your decision. Also, it's not only a choice about an academy but also about the next 4 - 10 or even 20+ years. Personally, when I compare a years wait to that, the year seems insignificant. Finally, your choice should be made on what you want to do in the military after the academy. Visit the various service web sites and make sure you understand the jobs that are available.
 

USMA 1994

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I would suggest that the academy experience may be the same but the career options of the services are quite different. Army 2LTs lead soldiers that are in direct action against the enemy or the soldiers supporting those units. Most all Army officers will spend the first four years in a line unit leading soldiers.

Air Force officers have many more opportunities as a new 2LT.

You need to understand the differences between the two and make the decision based on what you want to do in the service.
 

Alaskan

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Jul 15, 2016
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352
I recently received an appointment to the USAFA (direct/full appointment), but my Regional Commander for USMA offered me an AOG scholarship for a year of civil prep. I plan on visiting the AFA soon, but USMA has been my #1 choice since I can remember, whereas USAFA is probably my #3 (USNA is #2).

My parents want me to go for the AFA because they say that there isn't much of a difference between the SAs if I like all the career options. In other words, my standardized test scores were fine (32 ACT), but my HS grades in my math classes and some science classes were quite poor, which is what I believe prompted an AOG instead of direct appointment to USMA. Naturally, my parents are just worried that even if I do alright at civil prep, it's not a guaranteed appointment/won't hear back about an appointment until March next year - if I even get one. They ask, is that extra year truly worth it? I have explained to them how it's an additional year of maturity and military/academic familiarity, but they think I could do just fine going in this year to AFA. I keep telling them that an extra year in the future won't make a difference, but I am torn.

Can anyone offer any insight with similar situations, or can anyone tell me (in detail) about a year at civil prep? Thanks in advance.
USMA thinks that you're worth putting an extra year of preparation into!
 

jebdad

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I think you are taking a very mature look at your options. DS was a reapplicant as a free agent and the extra year flew by and was worth every day in terms of growth, maturity, academic and physical refinement, etc. It will also give you an extra year to discern if this is your path.

First you need to settle on the type of officer you want to be: AF or Army. That is the question that will lead you in the right direction. The extra twelve months is not a big deal in my opinion. It is just a blip in the grand scheme of things.

That being said, there could be some potential deal breakers in terms of an injury or possible academic failure during the AOG year, but those are also possibilities that could derail you has an AF cadet as well.

Lastly, will the financial considerations of your portion of the AOG year be a concern?
 

NavyHoops

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Take the offer that will lead to the service you want to be in. That is where you will be happiest and thrive the most. Both services are great, but they have differences. What is great for once person, might not be the right fit for another. In the whole scheme of things, 1 year is nothing. Heck, I have been on deployments nearly that long (and many on this forum have been on deployments longer than that). Yes the AOG route might cost you and your parents some money. If it leads to USMA and your future Army career, then its a great move. Whatever you do, once you make a decision, run with it and don't look back what could of, should of been.
 

brovol

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I wouldn't look at the prep school as a bad thing. My kid was a direct appointment, and is in his plebe year at USMA, but the prep schoolers have a great advantage over the direct appointees in terms of being prepared for the academic classes and the military academy lifestyle. Your grades will be much better after prep school, thus increasing your class standing, which effects so many other things. It would be a privilege to do the prep school, not a bad thing at all.
 

Humey

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I will play devil advocate. Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling
 

Alaskan

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I will play devil advocate. Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling
I will play devil advocate. Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling
You call it a "gamble" I call it an honor and a very good chance of reaching a goal.
 

brovol

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I will play devil advocate. Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling
He has two great options. USAFA is a tremendous opportunity, and so is USMA with a prep scholarship. Would be tough to pass on USAFA right now. No disagreement there.
 

USMA 1994

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These are tough choices to make. I still think it comes down to how does he want to serve his country. If you do not want to be an Air Force officer, then you shouldn't accept. Regardless of where you decide, you will have to do well your first year and every year after that.
 

Sydney C.

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anon2021

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Thank you all very much for the responses. I know that no one can make this decision besides myself. I have researched a lot about the possible career options for each branch, and it makes it that much harder because I love all the opportunities for both, but as a 17 year old, it's hard for me to make such a life changing decision. My parents will support me regardless - they are simply worried that my prep year will somehow go awry and that my appointment will be taken away. They see how hard I've worked for this goal, and they want a 100% guarantee, not a 99, which I totally understand from a parent POV.

The financial portion for civil prep would not be an issue, because the coaches at the prep schools have offered me athletic scholarships on top of that, so I truly have to wonder if the extra year is worth it. I see a lot of posts on this forum about "what uniform do you see yourself wearing in ten years" and truth is, I see myself as an Army 2LT, yet, I know that I would love the Air Force equally as much if I went there. No matter how it turns out, I am incredibly grateful to have such a difficult decision to make. Again, thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and advice.
 

kinnem

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I can't think of anything in life where it's a 100% guarantee. I'm confident if you work hard you can win a new nomination and appointment. Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I get a sense you would be disappointed if you didn't hold out for Army. Good luck wrestling with all this.
 

cb7893

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Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling

He is a she.
 

No1Fanof2

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Feb 24, 2015
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Another positive note about your prep offer is you will be with others of the same liked mind. A CGASer posted on a thread about this and I have to say talking with my DD at CGAS it is absolutely true.

I agree with the wisdom in this thread about where do you see your self. When my DD had narrowed her choices down to 2 options with one (CGAS tipping the scales) the deciding factor went back to where do you see your self, plus where do you see your self most effective/ successful while doing what you want to do as a female? That might grind some people to read but I won't apologize for it and won't engage in a debate over it. We have family members and very close friends in every branch who really laid it out for her. We also had perspective employers(family friends) give us great advice for her career after the military pertaining to her potential degree incase she only fullfulled the required 5.
 

FlyBoy1993

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I will play devil advocate. Suppose he doesnt do will that first year in college or not as well as expected. He will lose out at the USAFA and USMA. My point being that if he doesnt accept the Air Force, he is going to be gambling

An AOG sponsorship is only a gamble on yourself. If you do not finish civil prep in good academic standing or have an honors violation, why would one assume that would not have happened in the Plebe year at an S/A? Those are pretty much the only reasons a sponsored candidate wouldn't gain an appointment.

I think the OP has an outstanding opportunity with options. Every candidate should be so lucky...
 

JWP

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Dec 19, 2012
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My two cents...my 2018 was awarded the AoG civil prep option. All 26 in his class at MMI received their appointments. The academic and military standards at MMI were incredible for preparing he and his classmates for their service academy. All this to say...if your goal is to be an army officer...the AoG civil prep option is truly and incredible opportunity. Your choice! Congrats and best of luck!
 

KP2020Dad

DS - USMMA '20
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Mar 2, 2015
Messages
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Thank you all very much for the responses. I know that no one can make this decision besides myself. I have researched a lot about the possible career options for each branch, and it makes it that much harder because I love all the opportunities for both, but as a 17 year old, it's hard for me to make such a life changing decision. My parents will support me regardless - they are simply worried that my prep year will somehow go awry and that my appointment will be taken away. They see how hard I've worked for this goal, and they want a 100% guarantee, not a 99, which I totally understand from a parent POV.

The financial portion for civil prep would not be an issue, because the coaches at the prep schools have offered me athletic scholarships on top of that, so I truly have to wonder if the extra year is worth it. I see a lot of posts on this forum about "what uniform do you see yourself wearing in ten years" and truth is, I see myself as an Army 2LT, yet, I know that I would love the Air Force equally as much if I went there. No matter how it turns out, I am incredibly grateful to have such a difficult decision to make. Again, thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and advice.
You might want to talk to the coaches at USMA. You might lose a year of eligibility if you play "college athletics" at the prep school. Just something to think about. Good luck!
 

Alaskan

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Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
352
Thank you all very much for the responses. I know that no one can make this decision besides myself. I have researched a lot about the possible career options for each branch, and it makes it that much harder because I love all the opportunities for both, but as a 17 year old, it's hard for me to make such a life changing decision. My parents will support me regardless - they are simply worried that my prep year will somehow go awry and that my appointment will be taken away. They see how hard I've worked for this goal, and they want a 100% guarantee, not a 99, which I totally understand from a parent POV.

The financial portion for civil prep would not be an issue, because the coaches at the prep schools have offered me athletic scholarships on top of that, so I truly have to wonder if the extra year is worth it. I see a lot of posts on this forum about "what uniform do you see yourself wearing in ten years" and truth is, I see myself as an Army 2LT, yet, I know that I would love the Air Force equally as much if I went there. No matter how it turns out, I am incredibly grateful to have such a difficult decision to make. Again, thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and advice.
You might want to talk to the coaches at USMA. You might lose a year of eligibility if you play "college athletics" at the prep school. Just something to think about. Good luck!
Prep school doesn't count against NCAA eligibility.
 
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