If anyone wants to talk to a plebe

randomplebe

Kings Point '25
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
26
That ssems like a large number. Is that normal?
Attrition is a pretty big thing here is what the upperclass have told me all year. We see photos of indoc platoons from our 1/c's indoctrination and we don't recognize more than half of their platoon.
 

beyond

KπΣ15'
10-Year Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
557
Attrition is a pretty big thing here is what the upperclass have told me all year. We see photos of indoc platoons from our 1/c's indoctrination and we don't recognize more than half of their platoon.

I would think this is about right. We started just shy of 300 an finished close to 180, but some chunk of those were setbacks from 14'. I'd guess by the time we finished it was less than 150 of the original 300.
 

Pmaclax

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
75
I would think this is about right. We started just shy of 300 an finished close to 180, but some chunk of those were setbacks from 14'. I'd guess by the time we finished it was less than 150 of the original 300.
That would really shock me a 50% graduation rate. Everything I find online has USMMA at 80% +or- a percent or 2. The government would have to step in and address the cost of a 50% rate. I see CGA and USMMA running at 80% and the bigger SAs at about 85%. Even setbacks have a cost. Anybody have actual stats published by or validated by USMMA?
 

randomplebe

Kings Point '25
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
26
That would really shock me a 50% graduation rate. Everything I find online has USMMA at 80% +or- a percent or 2. The government would have to step in and address the cost of a 50% rate. I see CGA and USMMA running at 80% and the bigger SAs at about 85%. Even setbacks have a cost. Anybody have actual stats published by or validated by USMMA?
Academics here are harder because we push more credits than any other service academy, I took 20 last trimester (13 weeks) and I am taking 22 this trimester. Lots of people get here and end up failing two classes and then they get setback. Academically it never lets up and that's what gets most people. I can assure you though we started with 286 plebes on reporting day and there are currently (before vaccine setbacks) 255 plebes right now.

Admittedly it is something that I didn't know about when I committed but the academic life here can seem extremely toxic and suffocating. 60 credit academic years that last eleven months aren't for everyone.
 

KPEngineer

Eternal Father ...
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
Messages
1,314
That would really shock me a 50% graduation rate. Everything I find online has USMMA at 80% +or- a percent or 2. The government would have to step in and address the cost of a 50% rate. I see CGA and USMMA running at 80% and the bigger SAs at about 85%. Even setbacks have a cost. Anybody have actual stats published by or validated by USMMA?
I don't know if its as low as 50% but I am highly dubious of 80%.

Of course since all the hard professors are retired and the new kids on the block get cushy bennies like Air Conditioning so who knows it just might be. I am surprised the millennials haven't put a starbucks or two in
 

beyond

KπΣ15'
10-Year Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
557
That would really shock me a 50% graduation rate. Everything I find online has USMMA at 80% +or- a percent or 2. The government would have to step in and address the cost of a 50% rate. I see CGA and USMMA running at 80% and the bigger SAs at about 85%. Even setbacks have a cost. Anybody have actual stats published by or validated by USMMA?

Check the timeline of the published statistics. Some of them are 5 or 6 year numbers, I think it is possible that 80% of my class graduated, just not in 4 years. There were probably 30 or so deferred grads, who didn't walk, but finished and got their diploma a few weeks after graduation.
 

shiner

USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs, DS USMMA '24
10-Year Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2010
Messages
964
@randomplebe - do you have any visibility into how many in your class struggled with the historic Plebe Killers of Calc 1 and Chem 1 during first tri? I saw a few comments on a parent group, but wanted to see if you had first hand info to collaborate those figures - they were very alarming.

The data appears to be old, but here is some data from an official source:
 

randomplebe

Kings Point '25
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
26
@randomplebe - do you have any visibility into how many in your class struggled with the historic Plebe Killers of Calc 1 and Chem 1 during first tri? I saw a few comments on a parent group, but wanted to see if you had first hand info to collaborate those figures - they were very alarming.

The data appears to be old, but here is some data from an official source:

Haha I was one of those plebes, scraped by Chemistry. I would say 90% of the plebes that got kicked out got kicked out because of Chem 1/Phys 1/Calc 1

It was historically bad this year, so bad that the school ran out of tutors and tried to hire a new chem professor. I had professional issues with a certain chem professor this year (if you know you know)

But yes the plebe killers annihilated the class. Some of the STCW courses also completely changed teaching style/curriculum layout this year so it really screwed a lot of plebes over too.
 

randomplebe

Kings Point '25
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
26
@randomplebe - do you have any visibility into how many in your class struggled with the historic Plebe Killers of Calc 1 and Chem 1 during first tri? I saw a few comments on a parent group, but wanted to see if you had first hand info to collaborate those figures - they were very alarming.

The data appears to be old, but here is some data from an official source:
That would really shock me a 50% graduation rate. Everything I find online has USMMA at 80% +or- a percent or 2. The government would have to step in and address the cost of a 50% rate. I see CGA and USMMA running at 80% and the bigger SAs at about 85%. Even setbacks have a cost. Anybody have actual stats published by or validated by USMMA?

Update, '25 has 233 plebes in it right now after starting with about 289 according to the commandant's department
 

shiner

USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs, DS USMMA '24
10-Year Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2010
Messages
964
Update, '25 has 233 plebes in it right now after starting with about 289 according to the commandant's department
Wow - 6 months in and 20% of the class is gone. The attrition numbers from a percentage standpoint are staggering when compared to those of the DoD schools where the overall graduation rate was 87% covering 4 years (not six months!). THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success.

1) The trimester format does have something to do with it because you are theoretically taking the same course in a shorter time period, but there is more to it than that.
2) I think the watch standing system is an additional complicating factor that has students potentially sitting watch from midnight to 4am on a school night - something I do not recall seeing at any of the DoD schools. FWIW, USAFA Cadet watch ends at TAPS each day. Sleep is critical to an SA student's academic success and this one is puzzling to me for an academic environment. I understand that the ability to work on little sleep and the need to grow accustomed to a variable sleep schedule is a critical component for mariners post-graduation and you have to start somewhere, but to outsiders - this one is questionable.

Are there other factors that you think add to the high attrition rates for USMMA?
Each SA has a core curriculum that focuses heavily on STEM courses.
The student profile is virtually identical for each SA and it is more common than not that an applicant for 1 SA will apply to multiple SA.
Each SA has a class system that places additional military responsibilities on the lowest class.
Each has weekly knowledge tests covering military and professional topics.
Each has limited freedoms and privileges are earned (and taken away).
Each has restriction of movement and you are limited in opportunities to go off campus.
Each have a 24/7 military school environment.
Each consider access to a private vehicle as a privilege reserved for the top two classes.
Each location is a cold weather environment whose geography brings challenges that could be different from "home"
Each program requires a service commitment following graduation
4 out of the 5 programs require a Nomination
Each program has high medical testing standards
Each program has recurring fitness testing requirements
 

Pmaclax

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
75
Wow - 6 months in and 20% of the class is gone. The attrition numbers from a percentage standpoint are staggering when compared to those of the DoD schools where the overall graduation rate was 87% covering 4 years (not six months!). THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success.

1) The trimester format does have something to do with it because you are theoretically taking the same course in a shorter time period, but there is more to it than that.
2) I think the watch standing system is an additional complicating factor that has students potentially sitting watch from midnight to 4am on a school night - something I do not recall seeing at any of the DoD schools. FWIW, USAFA Cadet watch ends at TAPS each day. Sleep is critical to an SA student's academic success and this one is puzzling to me for an academic environment. I understand that the ability to work on little sleep and the need to grow accustomed to a variable sleep schedule is a critical component for mariners post-graduation and you have to start somewhere, but to outsiders - this one is questionable.

Are there other factors that you think add to the high attrition rates for USMMA?
Each SA has a class system that places additional military responsibilities on the lowest class.
Each has weekly knowledge tests covering military and professional topics.
Each has limited freedoms and privileges are earned (and taken away).
Each has restriction of movement and you are limited in opportunities to go off campus.
Each have a 24/7 military school environment.
Each consider access to a private vehicle as a privilege reserved for the top two classes.
Each location is a cold weather environment whose geography brings challenges that could be different from "home"
Each program requires a service commitment following graduation
4 out of the 5 programs require a Nomination
Each program has high medical testing standards
Each program has recurring fitness testing requirements
Could be some COVID impact and DoD schools might see comparable drops this year.
 

randomplebe

Kings Point '25
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
26
Wow - 6 months in and 20% of the class is gone. The attrition numbers from a percentage standpoint are staggering when compared to those of the DoD schools where the overall graduation rate was 87% covering 4 years (not six months!). THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success.

1) The trimester format does have something to do with it because you are theoretically taking the same course in a shorter time period, but there is more to it than that.
2) I think the watch standing system is an additional complicating factor that has students potentially sitting watch from midnight to 4am on a school night - something I do not recall seeing at any of the DoD schools. FWIW, USAFA Cadet watch ends at TAPS each day. Sleep is critical to an SA student's academic success and this one is puzzling to me for an academic environment. I understand that the ability to work on little sleep and the need to grow accustomed to a variable sleep schedule is a critical component for mariners post-graduation and you have to start somewhere, but to outsiders - this one is questionable.

Are there other factors that you think add to the high attrition rates for USMMA?
Each SA has a core curriculum that focuses heavily on STEM courses.
The student profile is virtually identical for each SA and it is more common than not that an applicant for 1 SA will apply to multiple SA.
Each SA has a class system that places additional military responsibilities on the lowest class.
Each has weekly knowledge tests covering military and professional topics.
Each has limited freedoms and privileges are earned (and taken away).
Each has restriction of movement and you are limited in opportunities to go off campus.
Each have a 24/7 military school environment.
Each consider access to a private vehicle as a privilege reserved for the top two classes.
Each location is a cold weather environment whose geography brings challenges that could be different from "home"
Each program requires a service commitment following graduation
4 out of the 5 programs require a Nomination
Each program has high medical testing standards
Each program has recurring fitness testing requirements

The watch system here is broken. For plebes there are three possible watch stations that get stood from 1700 to 0800 every single day. In fact, in my company there are so few of us left that instead of securing the watch they've been voluntelling plebes from other companies to come stand watch to lighten our load. We were on a three day rotation and would have been on a two day rotation. I have 16 hours of watch over the three day weekend.

I think the curriculum and teaching could be better. We would get tested twice on the same material and the average went down from a 45 to a 40 and somehow that's not the teacher's fault. But that might be universal.
 

KPEngineer

Eternal Father ...
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
Messages
1,314
THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

I would 100% place it on the need to complete the degree requirements in three years. The addition of sea year while maintaining a 4-year program forces an increase in the number of credits taken per trimester, plus add on maritime specific courses to be license eligible and you are just ridiculously beyond "typical" college. How long are trimesters, 15 weeks? So that is essentially 3 semesters a year with a larger credit load each. 12 credits are full time but we were typically 18+ and I recall as much as 22-24.

I was on a quarter system which was 10 weeks. In that 10 weeks we did a full semester course, so 4 semesters a year instead of 2. I graduated with 240 credits, the normal BS is I think 160 credits and the normal BA is I think 120 credits. So theoretically, we did 2 BAs in 3 years. That is a pretty intense pace that you will find pretty much nowhere else, not even any of the other Service Academies.

PS - KP should be a five year program which would also enable the return of the dual program.
 

KPEngineer25

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2022
Messages
1
Thxx! And what about Thanksgiving and Christmas leave? Do they have leave at all? :D
Every senior class is different in how they 'train' the Plebe class. We actually were very fortunate to have liberty 1 or 2 times before Parent's Weekend and we've been given the ability to go on liberty every Sunday from 1000 - 1800. To what kpmom2013 said, liberty and all other rates can be taken away based on poor class behavior. Based on what I've heard from previous classes, they've had no liberty while we've just been given a lot of it; all dependent on Upper Academy leadership and MIDN training staff.

For big breaks, you obviously have Parent's Weekend (2-3 days), Thanksgiving break (1 week), another November break (about 4-5 days), Christmas break (2 weeks), Spring break (1 week), and Summer break which is dependent on what Sea Split you've been assigned (some people have break, some are out at sea).
 

golfindad

5-Year Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2016
Messages
379
Wow - 6 months in and 20% of the class is gone. The attrition numbers from a percentage standpoint are staggering when compared to those of the DoD schools where the overall graduation rate was 87% covering 4 years (not six months!). THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success.

1) The trimester format does have something to do with it because you are theoretically taking the same course in a shorter time period, but there is more to it than that.
2) I think the watch standing system is an additional complicating factor that has students potentially sitting watch from midnight to 4am on a school night - something I do not recall seeing at any of the DoD schools. FWIW, USAFA Cadet watch ends at TAPS each day. Sleep is critical to an SA student's academic success and this one is puzzling to me for an academic environment. I understand that the ability to work on little sleep and the need to grow accustomed to a variable sleep schedule is a critical component for mariners post-graduation and you have to start somewhere, but to outsiders - this one is questionable.

Are there other factors that you think add to the high attrition rates for USMMA?
Each SA has a core curriculum that focuses heavily on STEM courses.
The student profile is virtually identical for each SA and it is more common than not that an applicant for 1 SA will apply to multiple SA.
Each SA has a class system that places additional military responsibilities on the lowest class.
Each has weekly knowledge tests covering military and professional topics.
Each has limited freedoms and privileges are earned (and taken away).
Each has restriction of movement and you are limited in opportunities to go off campus.
Each have a 24/7 military school environment.
Each consider access to a private vehicle as a privilege reserved for the top two classes.
Each location is a cold weather environment whose geography brings challenges that could be different from "home"
Each program requires a service commitment following graduation
4 out of the 5 programs require a Nomination
Each program has high medical testing standards
Each program has recurring fitness testing requirements
I do not know what occurs at the other academies and I only know what I saw with my son. 20% in the first year is about right. second year is 5-7% and third year is about the same. Fourth year could equal 2d and 3d year depending on what is going on at the school. Plebe year is mostly academics in the sciences, but also some people who determine it is not for them and some discipline. 2d and 3d years is sea year failures and discipline. fourth year is discipline, and some grades that kept recurring, and sea year projects. Son always said he had better teachers in his AP classes than at KP.

Some of the attrition is actually set back, maybe 10% or possibly a bit more. So, a class will lose 35% plus, but get back 10% from prior year set back. start at 280, grad with 200, with 15-20 of them from the year before.

Son's class section, or whatever it is called, of 20-25 people, graduated with less than 50%.

Son graduated with enough hours for a masters, basically. lowest hours for a trimester was 18. greatest was 24. Plebe year he had 63 hours i think. I think that the most important attribute to have, to ensure success at KP, is good, existing study habits, good, existing time management, and good, existing aversion to procrastination.

Why is it the hardest to graduate from--class load is unreal. assistance is sparse. sea year projects are not designed for the modern sailing world--i.e. use paper charts (there are no more paper charts, for the most part, unless they are found in some drawer, in the back, behind an old pair of greasy gloves and a few empty marlboro packs and a few empty tubs of copenhagen. )
 

Persistence

Member
Joined
May 16, 2018
Messages
30
The watch system here is broken. For plebes there are three possible watch stations that get stood from 1700 to 0800 every single day. In fact, in my company there are so few of us left that instead of securing the watch they've been voluntelling plebes from other companies to come stand watch to lighten our load. We were on a three day rotation and would have been on a two day rotation. I have 16 hours of watch over the three day weekend.

I think the curriculum and teaching could be better. We would get tested twice on the same material and the average went down from a 45 to a 40 and somehow that's not the teacher's fault. But that might be universal.
It’s gonna be tough for you to hear this, but as a current third mate. The watch system at KP is very valubable even though it seems stupid. I will say it prepares you for those hard arrivals or departures during the day or at random times throughout the day (much like the school day) then having watch later that day and making it through it. If that makes sense, KP’s watch system is meant to build that mental toughness to get through a hard day of classes and athletics or whatever, then standing watch. It builds you into a better mariner trust me.
 

dakiti~

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
52
So, for those who don't graduate after 4th year, where do they go? Are they still stay at campus to continue the study till they pass all requirements? Are they allowed to take only two more years to complete or any longer time?
 

Hockey10

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Messages
137
Recently, on a plane, backed out from the gate and sat for 15 minutes. The captain finally came on "Folks, the computer which calculates ......(something I don't understand) isn't working. We contacted our main office for help but it still isn't working. But don't worry, I'm going to do it the old fashioned way: paper and pencil. It'll take about 10 minutes." And off we went. I chuckled to the stewardess "I'm surprised someone can still use paper and pencil." Ha Ha. Her straight-faced reply: "We're lucky to have an older pilot on such a short flight. I don't think one of the younger pilots could have done it." I'm not a mariner but I am a STEM person who, long ago, could use every line on a slip stick. Isn't there something to be said for understanding what one's technology is doing?
 

deepdraft1

Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited
10-Year Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
535
the normal BS is I think 160 credits
That's not that far off from what my kid earned at KP.. His total credit hours came out to 171.5 [51 credits plebe year].. of that 171.5, 21.5 were earned during sea year. So his 'in residence' total was 150 credits hours. That divided by the nine 14 week 'in residence' trimesters came out to a little over 16.5 credits per trimester. Challenging? Sure, but not unduly so [especially for a deckie]..
sea year projects are not designed for the modern sailing world--i.e. use paper charts (there are no more paper charts, for the most part, unless they are found in some drawer, in the back, behind an old pair of greasy gloves and a few empty Marlboro packs and a few empty tubs of Copenhagen. )
Paper charts might not be used in the modern sailing world, but you might need to know your way around one to pass the navigation chart plot exam.. Because that exam is not given on an ECDIS..

Back in the day, I was taught Marcq St. Hilaire and 'Todds Method' for sight reduction.. I asked the instructor one time why we needed to learn and be proficient at those outdated ways of reducing a sight. It seemed to me like a waste of time.. His answer.. 'Because the Coast Guard can test you on it'..
 

Zinc4

Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Messages
25
Wow - 6 months in and 20% of the class is gone. The attrition numbers from a percentage standpoint are staggering when compared to those of the DoD schools where the overall graduation rate was 87% covering 4 years (not six months!). THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE SAY USMMA IS THE EASIEST SERVICE ACADEMY TO GET INTO BUT THE HARDEST TO GRADUATE FROM.

It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success.

1) The trimester format does have something to do with it because you are theoretically taking the same course in a shorter time period, but there is more to it than that.
2) I think the watch standing system is an additional complicating factor that has students potentially sitting watch from midnight to 4am on a school night - something I do not recall seeing at any of the DoD schools. FWIW, USAFA Cadet watch ends at TAPS each day. Sleep is critical to an SA student's academic success and this one is puzzling to me for an academic environment. I understand that the ability to work on little sleep and the need to grow accustomed to a variable sleep schedule is a critical component for mariners post-graduation and you have to start somewhere, but to outsiders - this one is questionable.

Are there other factors that you think add to the high attrition rates for USMMA?
Each SA has a core curriculum that focuses heavily on STEM courses.
The student profile is virtually identical for each SA and it is more common than not that an applicant for 1 SA will apply to multiple SA.
Each SA has a class system that places additional military responsibilities on the lowest class.
Each has weekly knowledge tests covering military and professional topics.
Each has limited freedoms and privileges are earned (and taken away).
Each has restriction of movement and you are limited in opportunities to go off campus.
Each have a 24/7 military school environment.
Each consider access to a private vehicle as a privilege reserved for the top two classes.
Each location is a cold weather environment whose geography brings challenges that could be different from "home"
Each program requires a service commitment following graduation
4 out of the 5 programs require a Nomination
Each program has high medical testing standards
Each program has recurring fitness testing requirements


"It would be interesting to understand why to either better educate applicants or more importantly, better prepare incoming students for success."
Currently, I'm a parent of a KP plebe and the emphasis on education of future applicants imo is critical for the Academy. There are areas where parents can volunteer on behalf of the school while staying in their lane:)
 
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