Is USMMA right for me?

Hello, I have been a lurker on this thread for a while and picked up a lot of good information. Truthfully, I didn't have much interest in the Merchant Marine Academy until I received a nomination for the academy in December. I have completed my package recently (put it off for too long), and was wondering if anyone could help me decide whether or not USMMA is for me.
My biggest concern is academics. From all that I have researched, King's Point is extremely rigorous academically. I'd like to think I'm a fairly sharp guy, although not necessarily a great student. I always preferred to do something more active than studying, and seldom completed homework. I feel my saving grace was my test-taking ability. Could anyone let me know if I will have a hard time adjusting to studying more?
GPA: 3.25 unweighted/ 4.064 weighted (once I got serious about college I made a change, my last semester grades were 3.7 unweighted)
ACT: 31
SAT: 1440
I do regret only taking the college entrance exams once, as I may have improved my scores and been more competitive. Does anyone know the class of 2020's averages?
My other concern is regarding the maritime industry. I live in the desert. I've been to the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, but never on a ship. I'm comfortable launching the family 24-foot ski boat from the dock or shore by myself, but that's the extent of my watercraft experience. I don't get seasick and I'm open to new experiences and challenges, but am I disadvantaged by having no prior maritime experience?
Hopefully someone can offer me some advice or answers, thanks for reading this wall of text! Good luck to all applicants!
 

MMA19kid

Banned
I think you're a good fit for the academy. Kings Point is somewhat academically rigorous, but from having gone through it the first couple years myself, it's completely doable. And, if you pay attention in class and study enough for exams I'm sure you'll do well. The academic load isn't tremendous, and the school has decent support services to push people through the program. Being from Arizona is a great thing, less competitive for Kings Point than states like New York. 2020s averages were probably slightly lower than yours, so I think you have a great shot at admissions. You can message me if you have any questions.
 

BuckeyeGuy

5-Year Member
Cougar Battalion - With regard to the class of 2020 averages - you will need to look at the USMMA site - a good bit of the info for this is there.

Are you competitive - you could very well be but nobody knows the makeup of the other applicants except admissions.

As far as rigorous classes - remember for the most part everybody who gets into the academy is qualified on paper - a great deal depends on how you apply yourself at the academy - I know of plebes who were kicked out after the 1st tri-mester and I know that a 2c was dismissed. You yourself stated that
(once I got serious about college I made a change, my last semester grades were 3.7 unweighted)
- so if you start out not serious, you may not last too long. Your parent(s) will not be there to help you or nag you to get your work done. So, if you start out serious and get help when you need it you could/should be fine...if not you may not be fine. Read what you wrote -
I'd like to think I'm a fairly sharp guy, although not necessarily a great student. I always preferred to do something more active than studying, and seldom completed homework. I feel my saving grace was my test-taking ability.
- I can assure you that if you do not complete your sea projects while you are on board a ship, as there are no real paper tests while on board - you will not last - you will fail and you could get kicked out.

Not many people have actual 1st hand experience about the maritime industry from a sailing perspective. My DS did not get sick on the fishing boat we went on in a lake - but did get sick one time when he was on a bigger boat with much bigger waves - so to answer your question about being at a disadvantage - probably not.

Even though you have a nomination, and congratulations on that, you do not have an appointment, as of yet. I truly hope you will have a plan B - C - D - Best of luck to you
 
BuckeyeGuy,
Thank you for your response.
I know I'm completely capable of applying myself at the academy. In high school my parents never did nag me. They let me make my own decisions. However, I only did what I felt (using my flawless teenage reasoning, of course) was relevant to my goals. Homework, to me, didn't make sense. It felt like busy work. If I am accepted and attend USMMA, I know I can apply myself and do whatever I think it takes to graduate.
My concern is whether or not there is a huge gap. For instance, if students who had great work ethic in high school find themselves really struggling to keep up at the academy, perhaps the students like me are who make up for the 30-35% attrition rate.
I know I don't have an appointment yet, but I'm trying to gauge how I should feel about USMMA before I get an appointment or declination, and for that, I'm going to act like it's not dependent on an appointment. I'm going to pretend it's my choice, so I know my true opinion of the school. It's all too easy to be declined and say, "Oh, well this school wasn't for me anyways, I wouldn't even have liked it," or upon acceptance do the opposite and pretend that it is what I want, when in reality it might not be.
My backup plans have been in place. I received a Marine Corps 4 year ROTC scholarship to Norwich University in November, and a Minuteman Scholarship from the National Guard (also 4 year, less well-known, good to look in to!). Right now I'm just trying to decide where I truly want to go.
 

beyond

KπΣ15'
5-Year Member
I'd like to think I'm a fairly sharp guy, although not necessarily a great student. I always preferred to do something more active than studying, and seldom completed homework. I feel my saving grace was my test-taking ability. Could anyone let me know if I will have a hard time adjusting to studying more?
GPA: 3.25 unweighted/ 4.064 weighted (once I got serious about college I made a change, my last semester grades were 3.7 unweighted)
ACT: 31
SAT: 1440
I was a pretty mediocre highschool student... when I actually showed up.... so yeah. KP kept me engaged because the material was usually relevant. I wanted the blue tube really really bad, and if that meant grinding out physics or calc, then that is what I had to do. The classes in bowditch were easy because the application was clear. It is easy to work hard to master the material, because you knew how much it mattered to you being able to do your job when you left the gate. If wanting to be a professional in your occupation isn't motivation enough the fact that mistakes in our industry can be life and death was a healthy reminder of why what we did at KP mattered.

BuckeyeGuy,
Thank you for your response.
I know I'm completely capable of applying myself at the academy. In high school my parents never did nag me. They let me make my own decisions. However, I only did what I felt (using my flawless teenage reasoning, of course) was relevant to my goals. Homework, to me, didn't make sense. It felt like busy work. If I am accepted and attend USMMA, I know I can apply myself and do whatever I think it takes to graduate.
My concern is whether or not there is a huge gap. For instance, if students who had great work ethic in high school find themselves really struggling to keep up at the academy, perhaps the students like me are who make up for the 30-35% attrition rate.
Again, you're describing me perfectly. High school was mostly a stupid waste of my time... (6 years later I still feel this way) I didn't do homework. I took a ton of AP classes, but most of the teachers weren't capable of delivering the material at a college level, so I checked out. There were some exceptions, and the teachers that broke that rule I still have TREMENDOUS respect for to this day... but yeah. Maybe I'm an exception to the rule, but my high school performance didn't dictate my KP performance. If I wanted something I could charge hard and get it done, which made KP totally do-able. There are going to be some close calls, a lot of stress, and a ton of hours in the books, but if you want it you can get it. The 30% who don't... they're usually people who don't want it bad enough. Some people are blessed with more cognitive horse power than others and I have seen plenty of people on the left side of the IQ bell curve earn a blue tube only because they want it bad enough. The fact that you're sweating making it through indicates to me that you probably want it bad enough to be okay.


but am I disadvantaged by having no prior maritime experience?
No.

Sorry that is my messy ramble of thoughts... but I think you'll be fine kid. Get through the gate, and get out on your own terms!

Good luck.
 
No.

Sorry that is my messy ramble of thoughts... but I think you'll be fine kid. Get through the gate, and get out on your own terms!

Good luck.
Thanks for your response Beyond, this is the sort of information I was looking for. If I may ask, what was life for you like after graduation?
 

KPEngineer

Eternal Father ...
10-Year Member
What beyond said ...

I saw plenty of eggheads who 4.0 and perfect SAT scores fail out within the first year and there are plenty of us others who graduated (I had a 2.9 in High School and about 1100 on my SATs). So if you can get in your smart enough to graduate, its all a matter of focus and effort.

Are you a good fit is a completely different question. Having no maritime experience is irrelevant but the question is will you like what you are doing. What is your real motivation? Do you just want the tube, any tube or do you care whats in it. How interested are you in the limited number of majors. Its not just about staying in the industry as a whole or sailing after graduation but is the subject matter at KP enough to your liking to keep you engaged which is where your focus and effort come in.

Of the people who fail out of KP, some go on to success at other Maritime Schools or go to sea and hawsepipe it and others move into completely different areas of study having nothing to do with the maritime industry.
 

golfindad

Member
I have no experience at the other academies, and the only knowledge I have of USMMA is from DS, and what I have seen. But, after seeing what DS has to deal with, and what some of his high school classmates who have gone to other Academies deal with, I believe it is absolutely safe to say that USMMA is the most challenging Academy from an academic standpoint. It is not as regimentally structured, and the regiment activities seem to bring on more frustration than the other schools, because it is not an overriding focus. It seems that at USMMA the regiment is more of a pain than of a instilled lifestyle. But, that is totally from the outside looking in.

Just imho, if you are accepted, you have the smarts to stay. But, I think the real question is if you know how to study. Do you know how to listen in class?; do you know how to teach yourself physics or calculus?; Do you know how to prioritize your classes, and the time needed for those classes?; Do you know what material is important to know, and what material is likely bonus material? These are easy questions to say yes to and move on, but, although they appear to be simple questions, they really are not. If you are coming from a highly competitive, strong academic school, you probably have some of these skills already. If your high school homework required 3 hours or so a night; if you were writing essays or the like of multiple pages several times a week for homework; if you got on Khan Academy or similar in high school to fill in things you missed during the lecture in high school----then, you may be ready for the USMMA. Did you get 6 hours or so a sleep a night in high school, because of home work, sports and the like? If not, you have a learning curve you need to overcome, and fast. The good thing, however, is that because the Academy is so rigorous, that study groups form, and people work together. Everyone admitted can make it. For some, the transition is the downfall, for others it is the regiment, for others it is just the inability to learn how to study. But, I think everybody who starts has the ability to finish. Some times it is just knowing when to ask for help, or, how to ask for help.

So, if you do go, be ready for work nonstop, and, if you are a procrastinator, start breaking those habits now, because they will probably sink you when you get there. If you skip homework in high school, you can probably get around it, as indicated by your grades. If you blow it off at USMMA, there may be a very different result.

But, hop a plane, and go visit. That is the way you can learn if it is something you can live with.
 

KenJ

Member
I think golfindad pretty much mailed it. I'd add only one thing: hone your time management skills. The academic workload is intense, particularly for the engineers, so efficient allocation of study time is critical.

P.S. unless you're recruited for athletics, there's pretty much no way that you'll be accepted with less than a 3.5 GPA and 1200-1250 minimum SATs (but you're obviously way ahead in this area). And you might spend some time learning more about the merchant marine and the maritime industry generally. Good luck whatever you decide.
 

cmakin

5-Year Member
What beyond said ...

I saw plenty of eggheads who 4.0 and perfect SAT scores fail out within the first year and there are plenty of us others who graduated (I had a 2.9 in High School and about 1100 on my SATs). So if you can get in your smart enough to graduate, its all a matter of focus and effort.

Are you a good fit is a completely different question. Having no maritime experience is irrelevant but the question is will you like what you are doing. What is your real motivation? Do you just want the tube, any tube or do you care whats in it. How interested are you in the limited number of majors. Its not just about staying in the industry as a whole or sailing after graduation but is the subject matter at KP enough to your liking to keep you engaged which is where your focus and effort come in.

Of the people who fail out of KP, some go on to success at other Maritime Schools or go to sea and hawsepipe it and others move into completely different areas of study having nothing to do with the maritime industry.
What he said. I had minimal maritime exposure (lived on the CA coast as a kid and went sailing with my uncle a few times) but did just fine. I DID (and still do) have a strong interest in things maritime and to have been able to make a decent living both at sea and ashore in the industry for some, what, 35+ years now. . . . and, for me, it wasn't the tube that I wanted as much as the skill set AND that license. . . in fact, due to a screw up on my diploma, I didn't get it until long after walking out of there with my license. . . .
 

KenJ

Member
I have no experience at the other academies, and the only knowledge I have of USMMA is from DS, and what I have seen. But, after seeing what DS has to deal with, and what some of his high school classmates who have gone to other Academies deal with, I believe it is absolutely safe to say that USMMA is the most challenging Academy from an academic standpoint. It is not as regimentally structured, and the regiment activities seem to bring on more frustration than the other schools, because it is not an overriding focus. It seems that at USMMA the regiment is more of a pain than of a instilled lifestyle. But, that is totally from the outside looking in.

Just imho, if you are accepted, you have the smarts to stay. But, I think the real question is if you know how to study. Do you know how to listen in class?; do you know how to teach yourself physics or calculus?; Do you know how to prioritize your classes, and the time needed for those classes?; Do you know what material is important to know, and what material is likely bonus material? These are easy questions to say yes to and move on, but, although they appear to be simple questions, they really are not. If you are coming from a highly competitive, strong academic school, you probably have some of these skills already. If your high school homework required 3 hours or so a night; if you were writing essays or the like of multiple pages several times a week for homework; if you got on Khan Academy or similar in high school to fill in things you missed during the lecture in high school----then, you may be ready for the USMMA. Did you get 6 hours or so a sleep a night in high school, because of home work, sports and the like? If not, you have a learning curve you need to overcome, and fast. The good thing, however, is that because the Academy is so rigorous, that study groups form, and people work together. Everyone admitted can make it. For some, the transition is the downfall, for others it is the regiment, for others it is just the inability to learn how to study. But, I think everybody who starts has the ability to finish. Some times it is just knowing when to ask for help, or, how to ask for help.

So, if you do go, be ready for work nonstop, and, if you are a procrastinator, start breaking those habits now, because they will probably sink you when you get there. If you skip homework in high school, you can probably get around it, as indicated by your grades. If you blow it off at USMMA, there may be a very different result.

But, hop a plane, and go visit. That is the way you can learn if it is something you can live with.
Re today's OMB budget release, did not see where it calls for the termination of MARAD or elimination of the Jones Act, at least not in the abbreviated highlights. So perhaps MARAD will be around for a while longer, at least on the ports side? I just hope that the MARAD swamp in drained.
 

TexasSailMom

5-Year Member
Listen, the academics are very tough; add to that your Company, Regimential and Waterfront responsibilities, plus any Athletics --- and you will be VERY busy. Busier than you have ever been in your life. You have to commit to succeed.

For example, after Indoctrination, my DS's schedule for the 1st Trimester was 21 hours! (At a State University taking 17 or 18 hours per term is considered an insane academic load; most freshman take 15-16 hours.) DS's next 2 Trimesters at USMMA were 18 & 20 hours.
And at USMMA, you don't register for classes- they hand you your schedule. The waterfront & maritime elements are taught to all.

If you receive an Appointment, and are truly up for working VERY hard and earning a great degree, USCG license, and Commission- then go for it and don't look back!

Just remember, it's NOT EASY to achieve all of that in 36 months* but those who do make it through everything USMMA throws at them, are set up for a great life in an exciting industry.

* Sea Year takes you off campus for 12 months- so in reality, you'll complete the coursework for a Bachelor of Science degree in 36 months, instead of 48 months.
 
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