Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by vr2323, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. vr2323

    vr2323 New Member

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    I'm currently a sophomore in high school and I'm wondering is it worth it to go to Westpoint? Please give examples of why it is or isn't.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Whether it's worth it is an individual decision and has many different factors involved in making it. I suggest you do some research before asking such an overly broad question here. You might start here: https://www.usma.edu/oir/Class profiles/Class of 2021.pdf
    Evidently almost 13,000 applicants thought it was worthwhile last year. Oh yeah, it's consistently ranked in the top 10 or 20 each year on some college ranking surveys. YMMV.
     
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  3. vr2323

    vr2323 New Member

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    Sorry for making that such a broad question. I've got another question though. What experiences can you get at Westpoint that you can't get at other service academies or normal colleges?
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Well, it's really not at all different than the other service academies. The service you end up in is different. I suppose there are some differences in that one won't be taking soaring classes at USMA. One would need to attend USAFA for that. Summer training will be different because the services are different. You should read the web sites of all the academies, go through their course catalogs, and even explore the jobs available in each service to decide which academy/service might be the right fit for you.

    It's VERY different from a normal college experience even when participating in one of the ROTC programs. At the normal college you're in uniform one day a week. At the academies and SMCs you are in uniform every day. It's some time before you earn the right to leave the academy grounds, not true for a normal college. The SMCs (and I think the academies) have mandatory study hours, not so at a normal college (for some folks this is considered good for others bad).

    One other source for info might be Youtube videos I'm pretty sure there was a series of TV programs that went over the life of a cadet at USMA. This might be available on YouTube. If not, I'm confident there are other videos available.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  5. vr2323

    vr2323 New Member

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    Thanks this is all very informative. I'll definitely go check out the websites.
     
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  6. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    There is an excellent National Geographic video series entitled: "Surviving West Point." It might be available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Although a bit dated, it is a good presentation regarding the life of a plebe and it explores your question to a certain degree.

    @kinnem has given you some great answers. The opinions expressed here all have a perspective that will likely be favorable towards the military as almost everyone here is either former military, current military or related to one or both. However only YOU can decide how hard you want to work to achieve your goal.

    Heck, we don't even know WHAT your goal is, so it is difficult to answer your question with context. I presume you wish to serve our country, and if so, I thank you for that. The Service Academies and ROTC scholarship programs are all designed to allow you to serve as an officer in exchange for a college degree.

    It is very important to remember that serving can involve a lot of different activities including some that can and does result in the ultimate sacrifice.

    So is it worth it? You should tell US the answer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    @vr2323 I should add that as an officer in the military (regardless of service) you will be guaranteed a job after college. I would also add that you will be given far, far more responsibility than you would anywhere else. When my son, who is a Marine officer, went on active duty he was responsible for a platoon of 78 men and women along with $16 million dollars of equipment. Air Force cadets upon graduation can't rent a car but the Air Force trusts them to fly planes worth tens of millions of dollars. None of that will happen anywhere else.
     
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  8. navyscpo

    navyscpo Member

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    Yes, a little outdated, but very informative for prospective cadets and parents. We purchased this last week on Amazon and have watched most of the episodes with our DD.
     
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  9. westpoint22user

    westpoint22user New Member

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    The cadets I met thought it was worth it. Hard, but worth it.
     
  10. AnthonyWayne

    AnthonyWayne New Member

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    The common thing I've noticed in my visits and just talking with Cadets is the Camaraderie you see amongst the students. At the other colleges I visited, the atmosphere was more independent, but at West Point it was everyone working towards one goal, sharing the same ideals and working to fulfill the same purpose of service to their country.
     
  11. Armydog

    Armydog New Member

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    Ultimately, going to the USMA is about serving your country - and unless you are willing to do that for at least 8 years thereafter, it wouldn't be worth it. Sure, it's a great education, but only put yourself through it if your goal is to be an officer in the United States Army. If not, there are plenty of other fantastic, academically challenging schools out there.
     
  12. usma2021

    usma2021 Member

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    One more thing is your parent does not have to pay a humongous college tuition fee but YOU have to pay back with 5 years of active duty :).
     
  13. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    You’ve gotten a lot of really good comments here. Most shade toward “worth it.” But the point isn’t to sell you on West Point. The bigger question, as noted a couple times, is whether it’s worth it for you. So start with: What are your goals for young adulthood?

    As you ponder that, let me offer a couple of well-worn thoughts, neither of them original to me. (1) There are different paths to becoming a commissioned officer. West Point [or USNA or USAFA] just happens to be the most difficult one. (2) West Point [or USNA or USAFA] is a terrible place to be, but a great place to be from.
     
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  14. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Many will say its not worth it since you can get an ROTC scholarship at 'any' school, enjoy much of a 'normal' college experience, and still get the same 2LT commission as a WP cadet.

    BUT - you won't be part of the Long Grey Line, [likely] won't get your degree from an elite school, won't make the same career connections, won't have quite the same prospects when you ultimately leave the service.

    If a commission is your primary goal then WP might not be 'worth it' but if you consider a lifetime of prospects then it is much harder to argue the same point.

    Consider this: A big state school might graduate 10K students every year; when my class of '21 graduates he will be appx. #75K of all time to join the Long Grey Line. It makes you stand out.
     
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    You forgot to list a couple.

    OP,
    An Academy is worth it if it's someplace you want to be, someplace you have wanted to attend and someplace you can see yourself being successful. As others have mentioned you need to decide for yourself what kind of experience you want.

    There is more of a closeness to your peers at an academy, not saying you won't have the same experience in some ways at a traditional college. It's true that academies have great networking, everyone on this site knows the benefits of an academy but that's not shared by many in the civilian world. I still hear today that when someone says they are going to an academy, some people will ask if that's like a real college. It's true that West Point has graduated around 75K in it's entire existence, our local flag ship university graduates that many in 7 years. While WP carries a great pedigree, not everyone knows about it, if the person you interview with for a job after leaving the service has no clue about WP it won't help all that much.

    My point to all this is you need to decide what you want and what you want out of an academy, if you're looking for the lifestyle and want the regimented way of life and are looking for opportunities only an academy can offer then yes, it's worth it. If you're looking to commission and feel a need to explore other opportunities outside the military life while going to school then it's not worth it.

    Neither will be a mistake and both paths have their pluses and minuses, in the end it's what you make of the experience. Whichever you choose, jump in with both feet, be involved, and take advantage of every opportunity. Once you commission nobody will care where you got your commission, you're starting over and the military is very much of a "What can you do for me now" kind of place. Do your job well, take every advantage for training and you'll be a valuable asset to the civilian world when you get out no matter where you went to school.

    Do a lot of research and then decide for yourself, there isn't a wrong path, only different ones.
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Just noticed this thread was 3 months old.
     
  17. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    But a worthwhile post on a perennial topic!