Great forum

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by GH148, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. GH148

    GH148 Member

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    As Dad with zero military background, and very little knowledge of the services I was dumbfounded when my DD wanted to pursue this type of education and ultimate career choice. Although I am not a frequent poster, I am an avid reader of the postings. When ever a question has come up I know exactly where to turn and most often the topic has already been covered and answered. Rarely is there a "snarky" answer and no competivness among parents and prospective students, just encouragment and assistance. I am very thankful to the posters and moderators. With that said I have some questions:

    1. How important is a plan ABC? DD: SA's, ROTC, Private/Public Colleges? Sound right?

    2. The congressional appointment process: Is it as grueling as it sounds? We've been to an informational meeting and there were far less prospective students than I would have anticipated.

    3. Females in the services? Tougher to get in as I note the ratio is more males than females, as I would anticipated it would be. Assaults (my wife's fear). My feeling is these kids are the best of the best, I'd certainly feel better with a DD in a SA than ANY large public university.
     
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  2. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Hi, this caught my eye as we are also a non-military family. And you are spot on. This forum is an AMAZING place. Sometimes I forget that some of the people here are not the actual academies as far as seeking info. Always remember to check out the academy sites for confirmation of advice received.

    I recall looking at this process a year ago as daunting. Grueling. Almost Impossible. Fast forward to now, and my reflections are this: take it one step at a time. Start early. Save everything. Stay organized (different files for each, we had 10 total file folders!). Did I say start early? Summer is when DS did most of his stuff. And each subsequent application gets easier as you can pull from what you have already worked on. Plug and chug, your dd/DS will be fine!

    Looking back, whether my DS was appointed or not, this process taught him SO MUCH about so many different things that it would have been ‘worth it’ without any awards (he ultimately received AFROTC, NROTC, and USNA). The experience and growth from this last year for him is priceless.

    YES PLAN ABCD IS IMPORTANT! Absolutely. I have read here of kids now wishing they had also applied ROTC. And early to hit all the boards. 1) you may not receive an appointment. 2) for sure it looks better on you applications to apply to commission through both avenues. 3) don’t close doors now. Leave them open and close them with your decision in about a year!

    Congressional nominations: lots of info here on that. Each MOC has their own process. Just do what is required of each. Yes grueling. But not so bad, and a good summer project. One piece of advice, pay attention to staffers. Don’t brush them off as unimportant to the process. They are VERY important to the process!! Get to know them if possible.
    DS developed a relationship with two of the three through email.

    Regarding females: I have no experience with this at all other than reading forums, but I don’t believe “tougher to get in as ratio is more male than female” is an accurate statement. In fact, it could actually be an advantage as they try and make up the class they want for (‘23??).

    You are competing to win your MOC’s slate at the academy at least initially. So your academy competition is your MOC slate. ROTC competitors are nationally from the start. That’s another thing to keep in mind.

    Stay focused. Take it one step at a time. Have solid backup plans and present the best YOU that you can. That is all that is within your control! Good Luck!!!
     
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  3. THParent

    THParent Member

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    1. If your DD wants to commission as an officer at a SA, then her Plan B ought to be ROTC. Plan C at a regular college is good, as well.
    If she doesn't get into a SA or a scholarship through ROTC, she can still get that 4-year degree and go to OCS and commission that way.
    One thing you almost never hear about here is Plan A: ROTC, Plan B: Service Academy. It could be that way for your DD.
    It all depends upon whether or not she has some burning desire to attend a SA, and add all that extra stuff onto her first 4 years.

    2. The Nomination process is not really grueling at all. Members of Congress (MOC) open their applications sometime in the late summer.
    It is a simple matter of filling them out and sending in the application, essay, photo, etc. and waiting for word about whether or not you will receive an interview.
    It depends upon your Congressional District (within your State) and whether or not your State "typically has a lot of applicants to Service Academies", as to whether this process will have a lot of competition.
    My DS for example, was the only applicant to ANY Service Academy from his graduating class and the other graduating class of the High School across town. That's 1 in 1,400 students.

    3. Being a female does NOT make it tougher to get in. There are fewer females, because fewer females apply. I won't say that it's easier to get in if you're female, but some will. The needs of the service dictate
    what the class profile at a Service Academy looks like on the day that they report, so if they need more females, minorities, or left-handed people, they will endeavor to give more Offers of Appointment along those lines.
    You hear about assaults on all campuses (Service Academies included). Most "regular" colleges however, do not have an Honor Code (at least to the extent that Service Academies do). It is my belief that your DD is "safer" at a Service Academy or in ROTC than in a "regular" college, simply because she would be part of a larger group that tends to look out for each other.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  4. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    1. It makes sense to have a Plan B since there is no guarantee you will get accepted at any of the selective colleges where you might apply. Far more apply to SA's than get appointments, so it is always good to have a back-up plan.

    2) MOC's usually have a website where they define the NOM application process, which is fairly straight-forward. The entire SA application process involves many steps, but the official websites clearly describe what is required by when.

    3) SA's tend to be more structured compared to many colleges. Many older threads on that topic as well.
     
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  5. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    I was in your shoes until our DD was appointed.
    #1 Agree.
    #2 She will fill out 4 congressional applications VP, 2 State Senators, & House of Rep for her congressional district. VP will be picked by the Academy; hopefully she's called to interview for the rest, but you only need one nom. Interviews can range from semi-formal to formal, Questions can be routine or not such as: What is your favorite geometric shape & why? Which is your favorite Disney Princess & why (Mulan, while technically not a princess, turned out to be great choice). Have her practice being interviewed when the time comes. Record her so she can critique herself, posture, phrasing, etc. The book, The Air Force Academy Candidate Book: How to Get In, How to Prepare, How to Survive by Sue Ross was a great help.
    #3 Sexual assaults seem to have (almost 100%) alcohol involvement. She will be too young to drink until becoming a firstie and because of the Honor Code, will want to stay far away from these parties as she is honor bound to report infractions. The Academy, some say, has swung the pendulum too far in that a women's' allegations will probably result in severe discipline/dismissal more often than not. For example: DD's Freshman year during lunch at her table, a C2C ( a Junior who just "committed" meaning he would owe the Govt $200+ K if he left) told an off-color joke. He was reported & subsequently dismissed. Also the male cadets in her squadron become protective of their squadron's cadets. Lastly, it is my understanding that the Academy takes & reports sexual assaults that occurred prior to appointment; these #'s count in their statistics. Bottom line: She is much safer there than any college. PM if you want, Good Luck!!
     
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  6. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I agree. This really is a helpful forum!

    My son's plan B was ROTC at VMI. He really wanted a military college experience as he felt that he would be best prepared for life as an officer this way. So VMI was a solid plan B for him. He applied for ROTC through a local college branch office. Plan C was simply ROTC at another college.

    Nominations - how grueling it is really depends on where you live and how many applicants are in your area. We live in one of the more competitive states, so there were hordes of applicants at the nomination interviews.

    Assaults. One way that a SA is different from another school - if the assault is proven, then the offender may face a military court. And they do not play games there nor are they swayed by emotional appeals (like can happen in a civilian court). Not too long ago a cadet was accused and convicted of raping another cadet. That cadet is now is a military prison. The sentence was much harsher than would have been given in a civilian court.

    Many of these kids are the best of the best, but it's also true that a few bad apples receive appointments also. Thefts happen. Assaults happen. Ugliness happens. But overall, our SAs are amazing places.
     
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  7. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 5-Year Member

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    Regarding question #3: As the mom of a DS 2013 service academy graduate, I thought I was pretty much prepared for the whole service academy thing when our DD decided to apply for class of 2021. Then she got an offer of appointment, and I immediately realized that I had a whole new set of worries because she is a female. When you get enough posts, please pm me (or have your wife pm me). Bottom line is that our DD is thriving and absolutely loves the service academy experience. She has seen nothing but respect from her classmates. The men in her class are actually very protective of her and she feels special. She has two older brothers in "real life," but now she says she feels like she has hundreds. Good luck to your daughter!
     
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  8. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    #1: All of the SAs are so competitive that outstanding kids are turned down by all every year. Thus, a Plan B is a must. And a Plan C . . .

    #2: Every MOC has his/her own process. Some are probably quite simple and others more involved. Most of the stuff requested is what you've already compiled for USNA and other colleges. Some MOCs may have additional essays and/or want additional LORs. Each MOC (or at least the overwhelming majority) has a SA coordinator who is there to help candidates and answer questions on the process. Always have the candidate (not the parent) make the contact and always, always be nice to this person. I would not take the number of folks who showed up at an info day as any indication of how many will apply.

    #3: In terms of admissions, USNA at least has been gender neutral for at least the last 15 yrs and probably closer to 20. More women are admitted today than a few years ago b/c more now apply as whole numbers and as a percentage of qualified applicants. In terms of sexual assault, etc. . . . any place where young men & women are put together is a breeding ground for problems. SAs probably have fewer than most, though I must confess I have not reviewed numbers on every college in the country. I would say that issues at SAs probably get more publicity than similar issues at civilian schools . . .
     
  9. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    GH148 -- A lot of good advice and answers for you already. The only thing I would add is if your DD is interested in an "SA-like" education for her "Plan-B", then in addition to (or as part of) the "ROTC. Private/Public Colleges" category you mentioned, you and she should look into the Senior Military Colleges (SMCs). The 6 SMCs are Citadel, Norwich, Texas A&M, Univ of North Georgia (UNG), Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and Virginia Tech. The designation "SMC" is primarily associated with the Army (because that is where the construct originated) but each of these schools has a "full-time" Corps of Cadets and most if not all have ROTC programs from each of the military services.

    -Norwich is a private university in Vermont, is the 2nd oldest military college in the nation (Founded 1819 -- West Point is the oldest Founded 1802), and is credited by most as the "birthplace for ROTC".
    -VMI is a public college, and is the 3rd oldest military college in the nation (Founded 1839),
    -Citadel is a public college, and is the 4th oldest military college in the nation (Founded 1842 -- USNA was Founded in 1845)
    -Virginia Tech (1872), Texas A&M (1876) and UNG (2013), are also public universities/colleges

    Each of the SMCs has its own "particulars" and its own military heritage and traditions

    Best wishes to you and your DD and thanks to her for her willingness to serve.
     
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  10. falconchic88

    falconchic88 5-Year Member

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    GH148, as a female service academy grad myself, and Mom of 3 soon to be hopefully 4 USNA kids, 2 are DD's, here is my 2 cents on your questions:
    1. Your DD's plan ABC sound great. Mine were similar, Plan A was a service Academy, they all applied to USAFA and USNA, then ROTC at whichever University they chose (They all really only applied to 2-3 other schools aside from a service academy), and plan C was attending the same university without the ROTC if there was a medical issue.

    2. Congressional Nomination Process: as other have said, it really depends on where you live. Some Member's of Congress (MOCs) have a very streamlined process, while others have a very long, extensive process. Spring of your DD's junior year get on each MOC's web page, they all usually have a "Service Academy" tab. There is usually an initial form or letter you fill out or send them letting them know of her interest in a nomination, and then the actual application is due usually in early fall. Due dates may differ, so make sure she keeps track of when everything is due. Each MOC may also have different recommendation letter requirements. Some may be an actual letter, some may be a form, some may require a peer letter, some may specify what teachers, etc. Organization is key. Ours tried to get all requirements from all MOCs and come up with the most efficient way to request recommendations letters, asking as few people as possible, in other words, If all 3 MOCs needed 3 letters, they didn't ask 9 different people, many of the people they could double or triple up the requests. Try to make the request to the writer as streamlined as possible as well. The VP nom is a simple form done online, for the rest, organization is the key!

    3. I don't think its any harder or easier for a female to get in to a service academy. Back when I was applying in '83, I would say it was easier to be accepted as a female, because not very many women applied and the Academy was trying to maintain a 10% enrollment of females. I don't think that is the issue at all these days, as plenty of females apply, yes still considerable less apply than males, which is why the appointed % are still lower than males. I also know that at least in our district, the MOC panels do not consider gender in making nomination decisions in any way.

    As far as the assault question, please reassure your wife, it is not a problem at service academies. Are there incidents, yes, and because the service academies are in big fish bowls, usually everyone hears about them. But neither myself, nor my girls have ever had any issues. I was always treated with respect and had the greatest family of "brothers" I could always count on. I married one of my best friends/classmates. My oldest daughter is a '16 grad and marrying a classmate in a few months. After experiencing it myself, I honestly can't think of a better environment for my girls. The friends I've made, both male and female, are friends for life. Its difficult to put in to words the bonds that are formed.
     
  11. Hoosiermom18

    Hoosiermom18 Member

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    I’m right there with you as neither my husband nor I have a military background so we were also dumbfounded. My son got his appointment and is now part of the USMA class of 2022.

    There are more knowledgeable people speaking here but I can tell you that the congressional appointment process was not grueling at all—-unless you count the part where I asked my son 50 times if his suit pants still fit and of course the morning of his interview he found they did not fit. He came walking out and said, “Are these okay?” Uhhhh....are you going to be performing Swan Lake for them? Because those definitely look like tights, not pants! We sprinted to the mall and got new pants and drove far too fast to the armory an hour away for his interview and made it in time.

    My DS had a good plan B and also received the 4 year ROTC scholarship as well as academic scholarships from Purdue, which happens to be about ten minutes from our house. I would say the only down side to having a good plan B is that stabby little feeling you get in your heart when you get the Purdue Parent emails and are reminded that he’ll be so much further away than that.

    As far as safety goes, I do not have a daughter but I did worry a great deal when my oldest went off to IU. College in general just seems inherently dangerous. People at Purdue and IU seem to not know how to cross the street, so they get hit by cars sometimes. They fall out of windows or off balconies, or fall down stairs. They wander around late at night alone and intoxicated and get robbed. I agree with the other poster who said most times alcohol is involved in sexual assault cases and that’s true at regular schools too. I always told my son that college might seem like this consequence free bubble but there’s actually no such thing, and you always, always have to keep your wits about you. I find that I am not worried about his safety at West Point. I mean, they are investing a lot of money in him so I figure they’re going to do their best to make sure he doesn’t fall down a manhole or jump off a balcony to try to land on a trampoline.

    It’s an emotional roller coaster for sure! Some days I am positively giddy that he got in, and other days I am weepy and wondering how this even happened? I mean, I’m a basically a hippie! My DS has done a good job of reassuring me by pointing out the diversity and the inclusion and using all my favorite buzzwords. I know it’s an incredible opportunity for him. Good luck to you and your daughter!
     
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  12. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Perhaps, but consider that there were quotas on the number of women who could be admitted b/c of the restrictions upon commissioning due to the combat exclusion law in effect at the time. So, even if not many women applied (not sure this is true), not many could be accepted.
     
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  13. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    As I have said before One DD roommate went to Stanford and another to University of Chicago. Their parents could not believe what the application process entailed for an Academy. They both loved down town Annapolis during PPW and walking around with their rock star in whites.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  14. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom 5-Year Member

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    Except if that SA is USCGA. In that case, there is no USCG ROTC for Plan B.
     
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    DD informed us in the Spring of her Senior year that it was USNA or nothing. It was a nightmare with no plan B or C. She had visited USNA and toured the Academy in high school while anchored on a sail cruise back from the Bahamas since the Captain knew someone at USNA and they had some dock space next to the 44's. It all worked out but it was touch and go without B and C.
     
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  16. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

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    My son and I were SURE he was a lock for Annapolis. Attended all home football games. Seats on the 50 yard line. Conversations with Coach Johnson on the sideline during pre-game warm-ups. Calls from his recruiting coach on their way to away games. That fell through and he snubbed VMI and went to a school that without football, he would not have gone. To make a long story a little shorter, he ended up attending five schools before graduating. But graduate he did and is now a company commander in the 1st Marine Division. He had no plan except USNA which caused heartache, concern, and much gnashing of teeth. He and we recovered, but not without bumps and stumbles.
     
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