Immediate family members prior service

USMA97

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How much if any does immediate family members prior service affect admission decisions? My DS is a recruited athlete and applied EA upon coach's request. One of the questions asked was regarding family members with prior service; they wanted branch, rank, time in service.
 

JC2003

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How much if any does immediate family members prior service affect admission decisions? My DS is a recruited athlete and applied EA upon coach's request. One of the questions asked was regarding family members with prior service; they wanted branch, rank, time in service.
I'm utilizing my son's account. He is a 4/C cadet at USCGA, class of 2025. This is a difficult question. Basically, I'm still pondering all the things that factored into my son's appointment offer and I can't make heads or tails of any one or group of things that worked in his favor. There is NO set guarantee of an appointment offer even if you accomplish A-Z. Of course, standard things such has excellent GPA, SAT/ACT scores, at least one (more, if possible) extra curricular sport or performing art in high school (leadership position, if possible), community service, JROTC/Civil Air Patrol membership (leadership position, if possible), National Honor Society, Student Council, etc. work highly in your favor when trying to be competitive. However, there are many little things, some of which are beyond your control, that factor-in when the Admissions team brings together a service academy class. During the Day One (R-Day) parents briefings, multiple active duty staff brought to our attention the makeup of the class; gender breakdown, under-represented minorities percentages, number of recruited athletes and performing artists, etc. A large spot in the briefing was given to the geographical background of the incoming class; what states were not represented, what US Territories were, and what countries the international exchange cadets were from. It is very important to the Academy staff to have broad-spectrum geographical recruitment. First, it provides the US Coast Guard a geographically diverse officer corps making better well-roundedness. Second, the US Coast Guard (and all branches of the armed forces) are funded by Congress. It looks good to Congress to see men and women from their state or district represented at the service academies. Your son or daughter can't do anything about their gender, ethnicity, race, or where they are applying from, right? That's what I mean by "out of your control." To your question, during the briefing they also made specific note of the number of incoming cadets that were son's or daughter's of active duty, retired, or honorably discharged prior serving parents. Also, at various places including uscga.edu, Academy staff posted a breakdown of the USCGA Class of 2025 demographics and "child of prior serving parent" is listed in their post. The facts that they brought it up at the parents briefings and have it posted on their website tell me that having a prior serving parent does factor into their appointment offer decisions. It's definitely not a make-or-break item, but it might be a tiebreaker if two or more candidates are close. Suitability is a big factor in the Admission's decisions. They don't want to offer an appointment to a candidate who won't be able to "hold the course" to their standards. Having an actively or prior-serving parent shows Academy staff that the perspective appointee knows what he or she is getting themselves into. After the Parents Briefings, I spoke directly with the Admissions Officer (leader of the Admissions Team). At this point I should disclose that I'm a retired US Navy sailor with 20 years service. I asked numerous questions about the admissions process. I will quote almost verbatim what the Admissions Officer told me. "Bringing a class together is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. We don't want everyone to be a genius. Nor do we need everyone to be an athlete. We need a broad range of talent because that is what is required to make a well-rounded successful class, and ultimately, a well-rounded US Coast Guard officer corps." Think about it. At any service academy there are multiple sport teams, performing art groups, drill teams, academic-based clubs, etc. The list could go on and on. They must have a well-rounded class for all facets of cadet life to succeed, the end-result of which is to produce well-rounded future US Coast Guard officers. I found this statistic very interesting. USCGA Class of 2025 has 291 students of which 8 are international cadets. Of the remaining 283 cadets about 150 or so of those were recruited athletes. That leaves about 135 or so, give or take, spots for non-athletes and some of those remaining spots are awarded to performing artists. It's tough to earn an appointment to any service academy.

FYI: My son was a recruited artist (All-National and multiple All-State tenor trombonist; classical, jazz, marching band, etc.) with stellar academic achievements. At USCGA, he plays with the Windjammers Drum and Bugle Corps, Cadet Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Regimental Band. He was definitely NOT a recruited athlete. Also, I served in Japan for 10 of my 20 years in the US Navy. My wife is Japanese. Our children grew up in a dual-language environment, so we listed his Japanese language ability. The US Coast Guard performs joint operations with the Japanese Coast Guard and Maritime Self Defense Force. Perhaps, this is what gave him the edge in receiving an appointment. Who knows? We will never know!
 
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I have a SA grad in the family and one in the pipeline . I sure hope they did not get any extra points because of my combat or service experience. What an unfair advantage , for something they had no hand in, that would be.

Sort of like being admitted because of sports when it was the parents that played.
 

Pmaclax

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Nov 16, 2021
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I have a SA grad in the family and one in the pipeline . I sure hope they did not get any extra points because of my combat or service experience. What an unfair advantage , for something they had no hand in, that would be.

Sort of like being admitted because of sports when it was the parents that played.
Where do you draw the line. I attended USAFA in the 80s. A classmate of mine was given consideration because his father was shot down in Vietnam. Nobody had any issues with it. Other SAs have a VP nomination process. How do you think one really gets a nomination from the VP? I’ll gamble on the service of a parent as an indicator over whatever parameters are applied for a VP nomination any day. Thank you for your service!
 

USMA97

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I definitely think service of an immediate family member should be considered, it shouldn't be any automatic admittance but it should be a positive factor to distinguish between two relatively similar applications. I know legacy does play some role at USMA just like it plays at certain other major universities. Your child still needs to qualify.
 

OldAFRet

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Yes it matters, no it doesn't, or maybe it could. How's that for an answer?

College prof years ago flew the same B52 as his father (both were USAFA grads). His son was in the USAFA at the time he was my prof, and skids were being greased to put his son into that very same aircraft. That was over 25 years ago. Entirely possible there is yet another generation of that family in grandpa's B52.

So, maybe it does matter a little bit.
 

ProudMom7

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It should matter a bit. Presumably the child of someone who served should have a better idea than most of what they're getting into.
I think this is the main impact, if there is any. I haven't heard any AOs say this is something they look for, but if the family (especially a mom or dad) have served in the military, then the applicant is more likely to understand the commitment and restrictions that come with attending an Academy or serving in the military.
 

OldRetSWO

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I think this is the main impact, if there is any. I haven't heard any AOs say this is something they look for, but if the family (especially a mom or dad) have served in the military, then the applicant is more likely to understand the commitment and restrictions that come with attending an Academy or serving in the military.
I've been involved with Service Academy admissions for over 30 years and there are most definitely some "points" added to the Final Multiple (USNA) and Whole Person Multiple (USMA) and the reason is that it is believed that there is somewhat lower attrition due to greater exposure to the military. I've been told this many times in Admissions briefs and considering how intently these institutions analyze successes and failures, I expect that they have very good stats on this.
 
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JC2003

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I've been involved with Service Academy admissions for over 30 years and there are most definitely some "points" added to the Final Multiple (USNA) and Whole Person Multiple (USMA) and the reason is that it is believed that there is somewhat lower attrition due to greater exposure to the military. I've been told this many times in Admissions briefs and considering how intently these institutions analyze successes and failures, I expect that they have very good stats on this.
“Lower attrition”. That was my point in my long essay diatribe above in this thread.
 
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“it is believed”

you mean there are no studies or actual data to support this?

sort of like my gut feel that those who play sports , often being admitted to a SA by the smallest margins, make better boots on the ground underfire combat leaders than those who did not play competitive sports.

A gut feel not analyzed data?
 

OldRetSWO

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“it is believed”

you mean there are no studies or actual data to support this?

sort of like my gut feel that those who play sports , often being admitted to a SA by the smallest margins, make better boots on the ground underfire combat leaders than those who did not play competitive sports.

A gut feel not analyzed data?
Re-read the last part of my answer

"considering how intently these institutions analyze successes and failures, I expect that they have very good stats on this."

I have not PERSONALLY seen the stats but again, they really analyze and re-analyze attritions and I'm pretty confident that the stats DO exist.
 
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