General Questions

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Swatkinz, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Swatkinz

    Swatkinz Member

    Mar 10, 2019
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    Could've just as well posted this in a general forum, but daughter seems most interested in the USNA so figured I'd post the questions here.

    1. Do all midshipmen graduate in 4 years? What happens if a student changes majors midway through their education? Does this happen? If the midshipman does decide to pursue another academic path do those students simply attend for an additional year like at a civilian school? Are all majors designed as a 4 year curriculum?

    2. If summer school is required for unsatisfactory performance or other reasons, is this something that is decided for the Midshipman or does the academic staff require/order this extra or make up course work?

    3. Do credits earned from civilian colleges or courses earned in high school for college credit transfer in and get accepted as satisfactory completion at USNA just as they would at a regular civilian school?

    4. Do all officers of the same rank (with the same tenure) earn the same pay? I.e. Does a lieutenant on a sub or aircraft carrier make the same as a lieutenant who is land based in a supply chain or logistics role? Would an Medical Doctor who holds the rank of Major earn the same as a Major who is trained and serves in some unrelated vocation? Or is there some sort of stipend or addendum pay that compensates for different levels of education, military assignments, etc.

    5. Can a new USNA graduate immediately defer their service to attend graduate school (on their own dime) and then complete their navy obligation?

    6. If active duty deferment for attending graduate school is allowed, can a new graduate fulfill any of the reserve duty commitment during the graduate school time (before fulfilling their active duty requirement)?

    7. I've read some confusing posts about the obligation of the service academies and the point of no return with respect to commitment. Is there a point at which if a midshipmen quits or decides to not complete their USNA degree that they are obligated to repay the USNA or enlist to cover those costs? If so, when is that point of no return? Is there a known formula for what that amount is based on how many semesters completed etc?

    Thanks for all of the help.
  2. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    Check out their website. I suspect every question you have asked is answered there. Tons of info on their admissions page. Tons.

    Go to the source. People here are people, with differing opinions. Hence the confusion you mention in item #7.
    momofmod and MidCakePa like this.
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    1. I'm sure there are exceptions, and I'm guessing here, but I know NROTC midshipmen are required to prove they will graduate on time, in 4 years, each and every semester. I don't thing USNA would be much different. I don't think you decide on a major for the first year in any case and it might even be 2. As mentioned above, read the entire web site. I'm sure this is noted somewhere.

    2. Summers are not free. If they think you need to repeat or do summer studies for any reason that's what you'll be doing. Otherwise there is other mandatory training over the summer. There is usually a few weeks where a midshipman is free each summer.

    3. USNA will not accept credits from any college. There is an opportunity to test out of certain courses over plebe summer.

    4. Yes and no. Pay scales are publicly available. However some payments can vary by where you're stationed (eg housing allowance), whether you're at sea, etc etc. Base pay is equal for all ranks and time in service. Not sure about any differences for medical personnel.

    5. A very few get to do this each year. These are folks who walk on water. One should plan on going to active duty immediately after graduation if one attends any military academy. Going to graduate school on the military's dime requires additional years of service obligation.

    7. The first two years at an academy are on them. If one leaves during this time there is no payback. For the ROTC programs, only the freshman year is on them.

    I hope she is considering the ROTC programs as a backup to the academies.
  4. Temple17

    Temple17 Member

    Jan 30, 2017
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    Good Questions
    1) All midshipmen graduate in 4 years with very little exception. Some have to do an extra summer semester due to conduct trouble but that is rare. Midshipmen can change their majors but they must be able to complete all the new course requirements in 4 years. That being said, changing majors isn't done too often at USNA.
    2) Summer school is often required if you fail a class or start in Pre-Calculus. Summer school can be done voluntarily to get ahead as well but this requires you to give up your summer leave. Mandatory summer school does not require you to give up your leave.
    3) You can validate courses taken at civilian schools and in high school in many circumstances. Refer to the USNA website for more detail on the specifics.
    4) Officers of the same rank and tenure earn the same base pay but some communities earn special bonuses. For example, if you are a sub officer you receive a 15k bonus each year right out of USNA and the bonus goes up over time.
    5) I haven't heard of Midshipmen going to grad school on their own dime but I know many people who are getting the Navy to pay for it. The most common program is called VGEP.
    6) Not sure
    7) The point of no return is at the beginning of your Second Class (Junior) Year. Midshipmen sign what is known as 2 for 7 which means the navy will pay for your last two years of school in exchange for 5 years of service.
  5. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

    May 22, 2018
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    Great answers above. Please, please, please thoroughly read every link, tab and pulldown on the USNA website plus the stickies on the USNA forum.

    A few additional points:

    Mids choose their major midway through spring semester of plebe year. Major courses can start sooner, though, depending on what courses are validated.

    Summer school, voluntary or otherwise, does not absolve one of completing summer training, such as youngster cruise. The summer is already full of mandatory activities and offers little time for leave. (DD has only 1.5 weeks of leave this summer between youngster cruise and LREC abroad.)

    There’ll be opportunity to validate classes during plebe summer. Theoretically one could validate nearly every class of plebe year and beyond. But that doesn’t mean one should. While it can open up opportunities down the road — such as starting grad-level courses while at USNA — it can also make for a very painful plebe year. (DD took a few youngster-level courses as a plebe, on top of regular plebe obligations. It was a beast!)
  6. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 13, 2011
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    I posted my answers above. As mentioned read the USNA admissions website thoroughly.
  7. falconchic88

    falconchic88 5-Year Member

    Aug 28, 2009
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    Most of your questions have been answered, but I will add to number 5/6. There are programs in place on a competitive basis where grads can earn their master's right after commissioning. Some are paid for by Navy, some are paid for by the grad. Some can even be started during their senior year at USNA. Their commitment/service obligation will start after grad school, and if the Navy paid for it, it will add more time to their original commitment. I am not aware of any program that lets them serve the commitment in the reserves while at grad school, as they are still serving on active duty while at school.
    My daughter just graduated USNA as a Bowman Scholar. She is going to Navy Post Graduate School in July to earn her master's in Mechanical Engineering. Its a year long program paid for by the Navy. After that she will go to Nuclear Power School, then to Submarines. Although she is serving as an Ensign, getting her Ensign pay and housing allowance, and the year will count as "Time in Service" while attending school, her commitment payback won't start until she graduates.

    If your daughter is interested in one of these programs, she should start researching her options and working toward that goal her Plebe year. Getting ahead in classes by validating courses, maintaining a high GPA, excelling in her major's courses, working towards an honors curriculum in her major, applying for internships, etc are examples of ways to put her in a good position to pursue post graduate education after graduation.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    As a general rule, officers of the same rank and tenure earn the same pay. However, there are many exceptions to that rule. There is "incentive pay" for certain specialties (subs, aviation). How and when it is paid (some is monthly and some is offered as an incentive to stay in when the initial obligation is over) is complex and can vary over time. However, understand that aviators have a longer initial commitment.

    Physician pay is a separate story. MDs in the military make more than other officers just because they are MDs (once fully qualified). How much more they can make depends on their specialty, how much the USN needs that specialty, and how many additional years they agree to serve. The goal is to retain MDs the Navy needs and to keep MDs somewhat in line with their civilian counterparts in terms of pay.

    I think most officers are fine with the way the pay system works . . . IOW, if you want sub pay, you can become a submariner. If you choose not to do that, you won't earn sub pay. Note also that there is gender equality when it comes to pay, something that doesn't often exist in the business world.