Intimidated or Not Interested?))

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by 304904, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. 304904

    304904 New Member

    Apr 19, 2017
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    My DS, a HS sophomore has shown some interest in the USMA. He attended MOC informational session last spring and while in NYC last fall, decided to take in football game and campus tour. He was nervous about spending time with a cadet and after rejoining us that afternoon he determined West Point was not for him. When pressed, he responded that saw how plebes had to act and did want any part of it. I explained the learn to follow, before learning to lead approach to no avail.

    Since then, we have not pressed the issue only to say that if his mind changes later, he might be too late in terms of building his application. He then takes the SAT without preparation and up late the night before (intentionally done, we just wanted to get a baseline). His score came back last weekend at a 1290. With some additional prep I am confident that he will be in the range for USMA. He has 3.77 with athletics, extracurriculars, part time job, etc.

    My belief is that he has some interest but is terrified of the place. I don't want to push, it is his life and his decision obviously and I hope he at least applies for SLE next year. But again, if his interest comes back around by then I fear it could be too late.

    I suppose my question is what can I do to help arm him with information beyond what he saw at USMA? Has anyone else had DD/DS come back full circle on their opinion?
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    I really can't answer the questions you want answered, but I do have a few comments that will hopefully be helpful.

    I personally don't believe this is true. All college applications are a competition and all look for essentially the same things. USMA might stress athletics and leadership a bit more, but you really need them as part of a well rounded application for almost any college these days. He should be working on these things anyway.

    I think the thing to arm him with isn't necessarily info on USMA, but info on the Army. It's the service after USMA that's important, not simply attending USMA. If he's not interested in serving afterwards then there is not much point in attending USMA. If he is interested in serving in the Army, then that probably becomes the motivator to attend USMA. Of course AROTC at a regular college is a great way to commission and might be more his cup of tea.

    DS is in the Marine Corps. He started his application to USNA primarily driven by Mom and Dad although he was dying to be a Marine. He never finished his application because he wanted a "normal" college life and decided NROTC would be the way to go for him. He's a happy 2ndLt in Okinawa right now!
    Capt MJ, batsirk and No1Fanof2 like this.
  3. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

    Feb 24, 2015
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    DD was all set for to apply to Naval Academy. After visiting she lost all interest, but was interested in NROTC. I did not know how serious she was about dumping her once USNA dream. About this same time USCGA was no where on the radar.

    Year later...After talking with CGA coach and impressed the previous coach for the club team made sure her recruit questionnaire and emails were passed onto the new Coach that set the ball rolling. We visited CGA Junior year and she attended AIM. That was all she needed. I was devastated she was not going to apply to any other SA's, ROTC didn't apply and with AFROTC she with drew her application. She only kept her Navy AP open for NROTC. She knew exactly where she wanted to be. In the end she received CGAS and eventually turned down her NROTC scholarship.

    It was never the SA lifestyle that bothered her it was just the basic feel of the campuses and everyone there that swayed her decision.
    batsirk likes this.
  4. eljay60

    eljay60 AFROTC parent, former ANC in USAR

    Nov 1, 2016
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    Our family did an East Coast vacation the summer between sophomore and Junior year, and toured USCGA, USMA, and USNA. At the USCGA a wonderful LT told us that prospective students fell into 3 categories: zealots, tourists, and prisoners (forced to attend because of families pushing). DS was fortunate enough the next year to get NASS. He ended up applying for USNA, USCGA, NROTC, AROTC and AFROTC.

    While never a prisoner, he also was never a zealot. He enjoyed NASS, but didn't come home on fire for an admission. He's more laid back than ambitious or driven, and to him the rewards weren't worth the sacrifice. Not every 18 year old is cut out for the discipline and (let's be honest) hazing that happens at a military academy. Somewhere we heard the story of a freshman struggling in calculus, only to have to report late to the class because an upperclassman decided his pants were a quarter inch too long and he had to go to the tailor (they weren't). That kind of atmosphere didn't really appeal to him.
    In the end, he didn't have to make the decision. He got a nom, but not an offer, so he's happily planning on AFROTC (which he did get) and his military career after conventional college.

    We told our son that he could always refuse an offer, but we wanted him to make his best effort to get one.
  5. Dixieland

    Dixieland 5-Year Member

    Mar 10, 2010
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    You didn't mention your son's interest in serving in the Army. West Point's purpose is to train and prepare men and women to serve as officers in the United States Army.

    Your post makes me think you are more interested in West Point than your son. The USMA Mod, buff81, said this in a post recently: "You have to REALLY want West Point to survive there." Going to West Point because it was someone else's dream, not your own, usually doesn't end well.

    I would visit other colleges he might have an interest in this summer but keep the West Point information nearby. Who knows, maybe a seed has been planted but it just needs a little time to germinate.
  6. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

    Jul 17, 2007
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    The reality is that SA's and/or the military are not for everyone. If you son has visited and decided this is not for him, I think it would be a mistake to continue to push him into something he doesn't want. Even those who are 110% sure the SA is what they want, often find the reality to be a lot different then what they expected. As mentioned above, many selective colleges all look at similar things like grades/ECA's/SAT & ACT scores, etc. so I really don't believe someone pursues different h.s. activities just because they think they will be applying to an SA.

    Whatever path he chooses needs to be what interests him and where he thinks he would be the best fit.
    MomWPgirl, eljay60, No1Fanof2 and 3 others like this.
  7. rlrmilitarymom

    rlrmilitarymom Member

    Mar 19, 2017
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    MomWPgirl and eljay60 like this.
  8. MomWPgirl

    MomWPgirl 5-Year Member

    Mar 9, 2010
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    My grad attended her official recruitment visit her senior year and adamantly said "No way is that for me!" She had already completed 90 % of the arduous application process and had an LOA. I simply encouraged her to finish the process unless she was 100% sure to avoid regrets later. So yes, she did come full circle but really doubt there are many that do. She did however struggle with her inner demons and questioned her choice the first 2 years. No regrets now and is a proud grad and often talks about long term military career.
  9. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 5-Year Member

    Apr 18, 2010
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    I cannot agree enough with Dixie’s comments above. While living on post and sponsoring / mentoring cadets, we were witness to many sad endings of cadet careers. Quite a few were the whole ‘not really here for myself, but it was just expected of me’ variety. Some were also what we call ‘football syndrome’. A kid attends an Army football game (or a cousin’s graduation, an afternoon parade - something very pomp and circumstanc-ish, you get the idea) and thinks, “This place is so cool! I want to be a part of this!” And even after all the interviews, overnights, attending classes with a cadet, etc. once they become a part of the corps, some are really shocked at the day-to-day. It is drudgery much of the time, highlighted by the occasional football game and some really awesome summer opportunities.

    It takes a perseverance that must come from within to complete the 47-month journey.