How involved should I be?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by 4BoysMom, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. 4BoysMom

    4BoysMom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    8
    My DS is applying to 3 service academies this year, with Navy being his first choice if he has the opportunity to choose. He just scheduled his DODMERB exams and will be scheduling his BGO interview later this week.

    I know this is very much a “candidates only” process, and I completely respect that - my son is very self-motivated regarding this whole process and my only involvement thus far was sitting down and helping gather the info to create a spreadsheet of what needs to be done in what format by what date.

    My question is: do I go with him and sit in the waiting room during his DODMERB, his BGO interview, or his nomination interviews? I don’t want anyone to think his parents don’t care (DH and I are both very supportive of this decision!), but I don’t want to come off as helicopter-ish either. What do the experts think?
     
  2. MtJo

    MtJo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2018
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    22
    It is hard to sit back and sit on your hands, isn't it? I'm going thru the same thing right now. My thought is your son is still under 18 so you do have to attend the DODMERB appt even if it is in the waiting room. I would stay at home for the other appointments if given the choice. Let him lead the way.
     
    MoSwimmer66, GHTeam and Dino10 like this.
  3. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    741
    DODMERB: If he’s not yet 18, helps to have you there if they need permission to do a certain procedure.

    BGO: The BGO may very well invite you to the first part of the interview, to answer any questions you may have. After that, make yourself scarce — as in, leave the house, if you can.

    Nomination: Don’t go. Drop him off, if necessary, but don’t go inside.

    Others may disagree. This worked for my DD, and was a big step in letting her own the process and the decision.
     
    GHTeam and AF6872 like this.
  4. GoCubbies

    GoCubbies Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2018
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    245

    I'm by no means an expert, but this is what we did.

    For DODMERB, I went with her. I don't think my DD would have appreciated me being in the exam room though. If it was a DS, then I don't think DS would have minded at all. I was prepared to decline the urinalysis on behalf of my DD if the doctor was "requiring" one for DD. I knew it wasn't required for the DODMERB exam but some posters on this forum have said their DD/DS had to do one. My DD is 17yo so as the parent, I can decline the lab (i.e. urinalysis) being done on her. My DD is an athlete and she runs a lot. She is at risk for having a false positive blood in urine because of the running.

    For the interview, the BGO specifically requested that DW and I be there with DD. He talked to us for about 50 minutes. He then talked to DD for another 70 minutes or so. DW and I left them in the dining room (the BGO came over to our house) while we went to the basement. We made sure there would be no distractions for DD and the BGO. We made sure DD didn't have her cell phone. We also sent out her sister and brother and told them not to come back until we texted them it was ok to do so. We made sure the cats were in the basement too to lessen potential distractions. So for the BGO, I'd take instructions from him/her on if he wants to meet the parents. My guess is that he will want to chat with the applicant and parents at the same time.

    Only one of our MoCs does interviews. Fortunately, it's the one with an office nearby. I guess the plan will be to drop her off and then I go away and hang out at Starbucks until she's done. Our MoC has a panel interview so it's just the applicant and the panelists.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    4,933
    If under 18 I would definitely go for DoDMERB as a just in case. For the BGO interview the BGO will usually say if they do a Q&A session with the parents. I usually offer it for a few minutes and then ask the parents to disappear to complete the rest of it. Nomination, no need to be there. Understand for some of these interviews it could be a lengthy drive you aren’t comfortable with your DS making yet. Totally fine. Bring a book, drop them off, find Starbucks or Target, take a nap. Good luck!
     
    AF6872 likes this.
  6. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    430
    Here’s what I did. Took him to DODMERB. Waited for him and he was done in 15 minutes at each separate eye and physical.

    I drove him to his BGO Interview at a joint military base. Shook the hands of the BGO who is dad to sons in USNA and USMA. Good man he is. I spent little time talking to him but sent their separate ways to talk. They talked for 2 hours.

    My family took him to his Nomination Interview. We knew the committee chair because he was the sponsor to DS Boys State. Many came with their parents. We thought that was rather normal. All candidates sat on one side family on the other. In a group of 5 they were escorted into a meeting room to face the committee. We waited patiently for another hour. He came back looking satisfied.

    I find nothing wrong with fully participating with your children. In fact I encourage it. Because in the end your children will appreciate that you were there to support them when they felt most vulnerable. You will see in their eyes their sincere appreciation. And you will know that the entire year of Academy Appointment process is something a lifetime experience.

    It is all the more felt on I-Day R-Day when your children report to their respective Academy. You feel proud as a family and celebrate as a family. And the Superintendent will make no secret about the Appointment. It is earned as a family. He will tell your children to first thank your mom and dad for helping you achieve this great honor to be sitting around 1,200 MIDNs and Cadets to take the Oath of Service. In that moment we all took the Oath as a family. If you can do it be there for your Children! And experience and celebrate together! It’s truly an honor!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  7. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    4,101
    Likes Received:
    3,771
    We handled our DS in 2015 very similarly to both Cubbies and MidCake:
    • BGO - He drove himself to Starbucks and chatted with BGO for an hour.
    • DoDMERB - He was 17. DW drove him about an hour away and stayed with him for the exam which was very cursory.
    • MOC - Dropped him off at the congressional office and went to Starbucks for an hour.
    There is a fine line between being supportive of your DD/DS and being perceived by him/her as being "pushy." Accordingly, it is important to offer help when asked but don't go out of your way to hand them stuff. This forum was helpful in getting DS the most accurate advice when he did ask for it.
     
    justdoit19 likes this.
  8. Dino10

    Dino10 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    19
    I’ve been an essay proofreader/editor/thesaurus. I receive screenshots of email updates and share in the excitement every time a task is marked off “The Board” he has hanging up. I ask him where he needs my service and right now it’s getting a jumpstart on some Plan B research. Otherwise, it’s just all about emotional support and a random “Hey did you get such and such done?” Or “where are you at on (fill in the blank)?”. DS is 18 so he will be going to the DoDMERB on his own. As well as CVW here in a few weeks. It’s a heck of a ride so far for sure!
     
  9. 4BoysMom

    4BoysMom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thanks, everyone, for your quick responses. Because DS is still 17, it sounds like I’ll plan on going with him to DoDMERB, go to the beginning of the BGO interview only if invited, and sit in the car or a nearby coffee shop for the nomination interviews. I appreciate everyone’s help!
     
    GHTeam, CrewDad and MtJo like this.
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,436
    Likes Received:
    3,986
    One thing that you should pass along to your son... if something has never been diagnosed then you don't have it. Do NOT self diagnose. Many kids do and it only leads to difficulties. By all means disclose symptoms if asked, but don't reach conclusions.

    It's probably really not an issue but I see posts every year where some kid said he had something wrong that was incorrect.
     
    coachkarl and justdoit19 like this.
  11. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    741
    @4BoysMom, savor that cup of coffee (awe heck, make it a double latte) while DS is doing his nomination interview, knowing that you’ve done just about all you can and that he’s ready to face the panel on his own. As for moral support, rest assured that he’ll feel it in his bones and in his heart, even if you’re at Starbucks down the road. Above all, know that he’ll feel tremendous pride that you’re trusting him to go into the (perceived) lion’s den on his own. That’s a win-win worth savoring.
     
    kinnem likes this.
  12. GHTeam

    GHTeam Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    96
    Perfect. And, to add to the above comments regarding DoDMERB, it’s helpful to have a parent present as a back-up. In your DS’s case, because he is under 18, you will need to attend, but even so, it’s good to have the parent there who thoroughly knows the medical history.
     
  13. rholt

    rholt Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    8
    I am impressed to hear how many of you parents really stepped back and let the child run the process. I will be honest - I have not. I have been 100% "in the trenches" with my son over the last 3 months working on this.

    Applying to a service academy strikes me as one of the most bureaucratically intensive exercises most people will ever deal with in their life. The elaborate array of submission requirements, forms with exacting instructions and no second chance deadlines is a recipe for disaster for someone not schooled in the art of paperwork karate.
     
    Sam2018 and CrewDad like this.
  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5,632
    Liked “paperwork karate.”

    The Admissions process is also a test of perseverance, drive, attention to detail, time management skills, planning ability, prioritization, communications skills, process-leadership, flexibility and commitment on the part of the applicant. Not coincidentally, these are all skills and traits critical to success at a SA or college ROTC, and highly desirable in a junior officer.
     
  15. THParent

    THParent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    Messages:
    1,299
    Likes Received:
    1,824
    As long as they read everything beforehand, it's actually well laid out and easy to follow.
    I was always "in the wings" when my DS was filling out all the paperwork. He asked me questions along the way.
    I must admit though, he did end up asking certain questions that I thought were intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

    Then again, I was used to government bureaucracy and thought that the average person knew as much as I did about how to read forms and infer meaning.
    It became obvious to me that my several years of conditioning (brainwashing) in the Corps stayed with me, even though I thought that I had left it behind.
    I look in my wife's closet with the shirts on hangers facing haphazardly left and right (bad enough) but with no order of dark and light colors, and it makes me crazy.
    Yeah. It worked. ;)
     
    Sam2018, USMCGrunt and USNAismyplace like this.
  16. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,206
    Likes Received:
    1,792
    THParent: great example of conditioning. A few additional lessons from Uncle Sam that have stuck with me over the years: using only black ink pens, arriving early ("if you are on time, you are late!"), standing in someone's office until invited to sit, blousing my shirts, ensuring my gig line is squared away, and on and on...

    Reading military paperwork and inferring meaning is a learned skill where every mistake is yours (attention to detail) and every time you put your signature on paper you own it. Careful reading of these application documents is critical.
     
    Old Navy BGO and THParent like this.
  17. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2017
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    161
    Right now, one of the biggest challenges is to be supportive, encouraging but at the same time pushing DS to focus on plans B, C, D and preparing the ground for crushing disappointment. And preparing ourselves (parents) for crushing disappointment so we can be strong and “real” for DS when the TWE comes and he has to pick himself off the ground and dust himself off. Not saying there isn’t hope but laying the ground work for the disappointment.
     
    MidCakePa and AROTC-dad like this.
  18. rholt

    rholt Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thankfully - I think my son understands that while he does have a shot - the odds of him actually getting an appointment certainly aren't higher than 50% and are probably substantially less than that. I have been preaching that since the beginning. My wife calls it "being negative" - I call it "being realistic".
     
  19. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,206
    Likes Received:
    1,792
    :lolatyou: Expect the worst, hope for the best...
     
  20. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5,632
    Slipping off-thread a sec, I had to laugh. All skivvy shirts and t-shirts in this house are folded the way we were both taught, me at OCS, DH at USNA. Complete shoe shine kits still in regular use. I cannot go out the door in unpolished leather shoes. I even polish my leather bags. DH has regular appointment at Del’s Barber Shop in Annapolis. Old-school. Del used to travel with Elvis.
     
    THParent and USMCGrunt like this.