Help with decision

hfh9

New Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
2
Hello all,

I received a nomination/appointment for class of 2022 this past Friday and was given until May 1 to decide (~5 days). I attended summer seminar last summer and loved it. I made friends quick and told myself that if I got in, I would attend. Ive only been back one time since, and that was for a basketball game which was a fun time as it was cool to see the campus again. However, now that I have the choice in front of me, it is so hard for me to decide. If I am uncertain about something like an SA, is it not for me? My immediate family is not military so I feel like this could be a jump for me.

I have an option to do NROTC as well with a scholarship at an instate school. That was always my back up but since the nomination took so long to come, I thought that NROTC was my option and now I feel lost. I have goals to become an astronaut but I am flexible and I hope to find myself through whichever college experience I choose. I am nervous for the big transition and plebe summer but I know that after those six weeks and beyond, it will all be so worth it. Overall, I am unsure what to do now that I have all my options in front of me. I would feel terrible if I found it wasn’t for me and I took the opportunity away from someone who truly wanted it.

Just looking for expert advice—ASAP. Thanks in advance.
 

SconniDad

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Mar 1, 2018
Messages
23
To first qualify my advice, i'm certainly not an expert. My DS is patiently awaiting IDay on June 28th.

From the information you've provided, it sounds to me like you've your mind made up, but you're simply experiencing pre game jitters, if you will. That's certainly a big decision to be made in a relatively short amount of time, but it sounds like that's what you really want. I'm sure every single p2b is, or will be nervous letting up to IDay. I really felt compelled to reply when I read your comment about feeling bad about potentially taking away an opportunity from someone else. Please don't let that type of thinking cloud your judgement. You've worked your butt off for this opportunity. You've earned the chance to at least try it.

Good luck with your decision. Either way, it sounds like you have some great opportunities.
 

usna1985

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Jun 9, 2006
Messages
6,283
First, you have two terrific option and, since none of us knows you, it's obviously hard to answer your question. I suggest you do the following:

List on a sheet of paper the reasons you want to attend USNA and the reasons you want to do NROTC at the in-state school. Then put down the things that concern you about each path. See where that leads you. Putting it down on paper can often help focus thoughts by forcing you to make vague concerns concrete.

I agree with the above poster that some pre-I-Day jitters are normal. Will I measure up to my peers? Will I make it through? Will it be the right school for me? The first and third questions apply anywhere you go and, as for #2, ~90% of folks who start at USNA now graduate. The above said, if you're having real doubts, listen to them. For example, if you're really set on a "normal college" experience and still having a path to commission, then NROTC is definitely the right move.

The final piece of advice . . . it's a lot easier to go to USNA, realize it wasn't right for you, and then go to a civilian school than the converse. Ask yourself whether, if you go the NROTC route, you will be sitting there on I-Day wondering "what if."
 

Maplerock

Proud to be an American
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Jan 31, 2013
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You've been there twice. You've talked to lots of folks about it. If you're not ready to genuinely sacrifice and endure a rigorous lifestyle for 9 years, you might want the easier route.

Even at ROTC the payback is serving. By the way... there have only been 339 astronauts. 50 of them from USNA. About 85,000 mids have graduated from USNA. So your odds (if you graduated) are about 1 in 1,700.

I know... lots of those 85K came before the space program. Just having fun.

You'd stand a much better (5 times better) chance of becoming a 4 star admiral... if you stayed in 25 years.
 

Old Navy BGO

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Jan 5, 2012
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First, I don't think that anyone who ever graduated from USNA ever regretted it. It's the four years you are there that isn't so hot at times:), but
I don't think you will ever find a graduate who says it wasn't worth it.

Attending USNA v. NROTC at State U may also open up opportunities that might not exist through other channels. Attending USNA v. NROTC is a lifestyle choice. Do you want the immersion treatment or be able to stick you toes in the water, try it out and see how it feels. At the end of the day, the result is a college degree and a Navy/USMC commission. While I believe that USNA grads have a head start when they hit the fleet, by the end of the first tour, the advantage is erased and the best of the USNA and NROTC grads are competing head to head for the best billets.

As to your goal of being an astronaut --last I heard is that more astronauts had come out of USNA than any other single source. That doesn't mean that attending USNA will make you an astronaut, or that you can't make it coming from State U...but does increase the chance that members of the Astronaut selection board are USNA grads, and that can't hurt.
 

hfh9

New Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
2
Thank you all so much. All of the advice is such a huge help. I think I will accept the offer and that the thing holding me back is knowing the initial transition/sacrifices from civilian to military life will be difficult. I know it will be a journey but I am willing to experience it. Thanks again.
 

CrewDad

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Jan 7, 2018
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661
hfh9.

My honest advise to you and I have advised my DS the same, go with the stronger voice that leads the way. If you feel that you will regret not taking that path then that’s the right path to take. Not the path you think you should or feel obligated or feel emotionally attached to. Choose the path that you feel you may or will regret if you don’t. I had to face the same decision over 33 years ago. Even though I took another path and that path was also an incredible path, I regretted my decision because I didn’t listen to the stronger voice. I tell my son now to listen to the voice that is leading the path for you now and never turn back. Don’t nickel and dime which might be better for a small and trivial reason. And reason that do not guarantee you to become something that you have no control over now before Plebe Summer. Don’t over analyze.

My advice is what ever that voice is take it.
 

FMHS-79

Parent
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Feb 18, 2017
Messages
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+1 CrewDad and kinnem. My only addition is that once you make your decision, fully embrace that decision. Put aside the would have, could have, and should have doubts/fears and make the most of your choice.

Remember - both organizations (USNA and NROTC) are invested in your success. They would not have selected you if they did not believe you were up to the challenge.
 

THParent

Founder - Service Academy Bacon Forums (SABF)
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...Just looking for expert advice—ASAP...

You can't be serious. There are no experts here.

I will answer your question with a question: Why on Earth would you spend the last year jumping through all the hoops it takes to get an Offer of Appointment and consider not accepting? Answer that question for yourself, first.

If you want to be an Astronaut someday, you had better be willing to take some risks in life.
Space is the most hostile environment anyone on this rock has ever encountered. If you screw up in Space, you die.

Good luck with your decision. You have to make it. What we have to say shouldn't matter, at all.
 

usna1985

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Why on Earth would you spend the last year jumping through all the hoops it takes to get an Offer of Appointment and consider not accepting?

There are a number of reasons. Some struggle with whether they want to give up the "normal" college experience. Some may not want all military all the time. Some may worry about their ability to conform to the discipline 24/7. Some may want to play a sport or major in something not offered at USNA. Some may want to attend college closer to home. Some may not be certain they want to serve in the military right away (and thus may go to a civilian school w/o ROTC). Some may want (or not want) to attend the same school that a sibling is currently attending.

Over the years, I've known quite a few men & women who have offers to USNA (or other SA), ROTC and civilian school w/o ROTC who struggle until the last minute. And I've seen them turn down USNA for both ROTC and civilian schools. I wasn't certain of my decision until somewhat late.

It's important to remember that, while at some level these are adults, at another level they are 17- and 18-year-old "kids" for whom this is the biggest decision to date of their lives. It's a lot to think about and I actually applaud those who are taking the time and making the effort to try to come to the right decision. Yeah, maybe the decision should be made sooner but . . . is it really better/smarter to convince yourself that a SA is the only option and then be turned down and have to "resign yourself" to Plan B or to wait to see what lands on your plate and decide among those options? Hard to say . . .
 

Navyboy17

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Apr 15, 2016
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...Just looking for expert advice—ASAP...

You can't be serious. There are no experts here.

I will answer your question with a question: Why on Earth would you spend the last year jumping through all the hoops it takes to get an Offer of Appointment and consider not accepting? Answer that question for yourself, first.

If you want to be an Astronaut someday, you had better be willing to take some risks in life.
Space is the most hostile environment anyone on this rock has ever encountered. If you screw up in Space, you die.

Good luck with your decision. You have to make it. What we have to say shouldn't matter, at all.

I really don't agree with this post. I think everyone should take a long, hard time to contemplate accepting their appointment, even if they've worked their whole life for it. You need to be fully invested to come here. You don't want to be that guy/girl who takes away an appointment from some other hopeful candidate by accepting and dropping out because you didn't take the time to second and triple check your passion for coming to USNA.
 

Stealth_81

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Why on Earth would you spend the last year jumping through all the hoops it takes to get an Offer of Appointment and consider not accepting? Answer that question for yourself, first.

I would say most people who are entering a Service Academy will have some jitters when the time finally comes. We see it a lot of this forum and I know that my son had reservations in the month leading up to I-Day. I think it shows a good decision-making process to question a plan all the way up to and during implementation. Decisions need to be re-evaluated often in order to be a good leader - à la John Boyd's OODA Loop.

Stealth_81
 

THParent

Founder - Service Academy Bacon Forums (SABF)
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Points taken.
In my defense, I did add "What we have to say shouldn't matter, at all." at the end.
That includes me. ;)

I will add to this that if you decide not to accept, or accept and go for 2 years and not continue, you are NOT taking a spot away from anyone.
That fear (that you're standing in the way of someone else getting an appointment) should not factor in your decision at all. It is your Offer to do with what you will. USNA makes more offers than they expect to be accepted. If you turn your offer down, it doesn't go to someone else.
 

Old Navy BGO

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I think everyone should take a long, hard time to contemplate accepting their appointment, even if they've worked their whole life for it. You need to be fully invested to come here
> Absolutely, 100% .....you should also consider why you are fully invested -- if you are attending USNA because of the prestige, or because you are trying to do what your parents expect of you...you will be miserable.

You don't want to be that guy/girl who takes away an appointment from some other hopeful candidate by accepting and dropping out because you didn't take the time to second and triple check your passion for coming to USNA.
> No, you aren't taking away from someone else. USNA actually expects less than a 100% yield. If you are concerned about taking a slot from someone else, don't apply.. If you apply and get an Appointment, it's yours to accept or reject, you've earned it.

Finally, reservations and/or fear is normal. Some people bottle it inside, and appear stoic....others cry and get emotional. It really doesn't matter...the key is how you address the fear. Don't let fear of the unknow sway your decision.
 
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