The applications are submitted. The CFA is done. The nominations have been posted. Most of the DodMERB extra paperwork has been returned. All there is to do is sit back and wait. Right? Not really. This forum is dominated with parents. Parents who have been heavily involved in the application process. Parents who, themselves, have called DodMERB because “it’s easiest to get through in the morning when Junior is at school.”. Parents who have kept Junior “on track” every time he starts talking about how nice it would be to be in a fraternity down at State U. Maybe it is time to sit down and reflect over the last year and ask yourselves just why Junior has applied to one or several of the academies. Is it because he expressed an interest, or maybe you even planted the interest, and then you ran with it, never again getting his true feelings? Are you absolutely 100% sure it is what he wants? If he hasn’t been totally gung ho the whole time, have you ensured that he obtain all the information that he can off the internet and through other sources? Did you absolutely insist that he go to summer programs and to visitation weekends so he could see what academy life is all about? Did you listen closely to what he said when he returned? You didn’t tell him that he really didn’t need the visitation weekend because he had already made up his mind to go? Is she perhaps going because it is a “free” education? Do family financial concerns make a service academy a very viable education? Is he going to play football? During season, athletics are wonderful. Out of season, athletes, unless they are there to get a commission, tend to complain a lot. Some quit and call that other coach who had been recruiting them. Is it because she thinks USNA is a great prestigious institution that she would be proud to be from? Is it because from the age of six when he saw the Blue Angels perform at the local air show, all he has every wanted to do is fly airplanes? Is it because from the age of twelve, all she wants to do is serve her country in the military, and she doesn’t care how? Do you wholeheartedly and with absolutely no reservations support this decision? If it is not the last reason and perhaps the next to last, you both should sit down and truly examine why you are pursuing this quest. Why? If they don’t really want to be there themselves, they will leave. By the end of their second year when they can last resign with no further obligation, if they are there for a free education, they will decide that it is not worth it. Some Type A first borns will actually graduate because they don’t know how to quit. However, on selection night they will pick surface, even though they hate it, simply because it has the minimum active obligation. And then they will resign and get on with their “life”. It is the ones who truly want to serve their country that will excel at the academy. By middle of plebe year both their company classmates and upper class can pick the ones who are there to make the military a career. A substantial portion of that decision for the Class of 2011 has already been made. If they want a career, they will rationalize any of the BS they have to go through. The not so motivated, they will complain about getting up early in the morning, suffering through PE, and having to take all the irrelevant professional development courses. Twenty percent of the Class of 2011 will resign. Being qualified by the academic board all but ensures that they can make it academically. The only uncertainty is the will of the candidate to graduate. The greatest thing you can do between now and the end of June is to ensure that they have that will.