You can read from my title that this is all new to me. I have a son who is a junior and has spent the last 2 years working toward a SA appointment. He attends a rural school and his graduating class will be in the range of 30 students. He is a 3 year varsity athlete. 3.95 GPA and probable candidate to Boys State this summer. I'm saying "probable" because he will most likely be the only applicant to Boys State from our school. The problem is, he took the ACT for the first time and his score was only a 23. I know our small, rural district is not as academically strong as other districts but I expected he would score higher than that based upon his GPA. So did he. He is pretty discouraged about this as he knows this score is really too low too even be considered for an appointment (or even an nomination). We are also an underrepresented minority family so I'm not sure if this would help to qualify him for a spot at the USNA prep school or if his ACT is still too low for that. The kid just really wants to serve and, specifically he wants to be a Marine. I'm thinking that his goal of a SA, while commendable, may not be the best path to get him where he wants to go. How do we advise him on his career pathway in the military? If he enlists after high school what are his options to career advancement? Should he pursue college (as cheaply as possible?) and talk to the Marine Recruitment Officer through the process and go through the early officer enlistment program or wait until he graduates? What about NROTC with the marine option? Does that guarantee active duty after graduation? Can somebody who has been there help me understand and navigate this pipeline so we can help this kid find his way. Thanks!