Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by blizzard2413, Dec 19, 2010.
What are the pros and cons of each besides money?
Ive visited both and their both very appealing.
We visited both with our DS and his final decision was between Mass Maritime and USMMA. We also had a close friend whose son was attending Mass Maritime at the time of our visit. Our biggest concern with Mass Maritime was that most of the students live locally and leave campus on the weekends. We live in Maryland so that would not be an option for our DS. We were worried that our son would feel isolated without the camaraderie of everyone being "stuck" together on weekends. This was an issue for our friend's son, who ended up leaving Mass Maritime after two years. We would not have known about this difference without his input. Just something to think about. By the way, our DS is thrilled with his choice of USMMA!
Well, I look at it like this. USMMA is a U.S Service Academy along with USNA and westpoint and uscga and the airforce academy. Mass Maritime is not. USMMA just sounds better. But i guess it's whatever you think. I just think USMMA is better because it's a us service academy it just sounds great, and I only hear amazing things from it, you have so many choices after graduation.
We looked at Mass Maritime also and loved it. Their facilities are top notch. But we also had the issue that most of the students, unless the have watch, are "encouraged to leave campus on the weekends". It certainly makes the party scene easier for the school to handle. There were out of the area kids who either had to stay on campus or go home with a friend, which did happen. When a staff member at MM asked us where else my DS was looking and we said KP, he said, "If you get in there, you have to go there". Meaning the opportunity to go to a Federal academy was too big to pass up. But I have to say that at the open house, the staff was very impressive and the day ran like clockwork. Also, the whole school goes on their cruise together from Jan until end of Feb, usually to the islands, which isn't bad in winter. And the campus under the Bourne Bridge was beautiful. Also, if you are a baseball player, they have access to the Cape Cod Baseball league, which is no small thing. Good luck with your decision. My DS has been happy with his decision to go to KP. But he just returned from his sailing period and most of the officers on his ship were from Mass Maritime and he said they were very knowledgeable, professional, and knew their stuff.
Another thing to consider, is the difference in the sea experience. At KP, sea year means going out and working and sailing on actual, commercial vessels not going out as a group to work on the school ship. It is very different to be one of two or four or six KP cadets working with a professional crew.
As noted both are good schools and you've said "besides money" so ...
here's my highly biased thoughts on the differences between the two:
1) Your sea year experience at USMMA will consist entirely of ~300 days spent across parts of your second and third years working on real, working ships. While at MMA the majority of your sea days will be earned on their school ship. To be fair there are pluses and minuses to both these experiences but my view is the biggest plus for getting sea days on a real working ship is it is a far more "realistic job preview" and you will learn how to act on a real ship with a real, working crew vice you and your schoolmates acting in those roles/positions.
2) As noted when you have graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy you will have graduated from a Federal Service Academy - on of only five out there. It does bring a certain "cache't". When you graduate from Mass Maritime Academy you will have graduated from a long established, well regarded state college/university. No issue with that but some look at a degree from USMMA as "harder currency".
3) As has been listed, for good or bad, the USMMA regimental program means that you will spend the majority of your first (plebe) year on campus and for some that helps the bonding with their classmates, etc. that then eventually is something that helps them get through and graduate successfully. It also means that years later, you are often still part of support network whose bonds and ties are a bit deeper than others.
Good luck with your decision process, if you are picking between USMMA and MMA you re looking at two good options.
Thanks For the Help!
What about the degree you get when you graduate? what looks better on a job application? (I would do marine trans.)
and when i visited Mass. Maritime they said that some employers do not hire USMMA grads because they are "stuck up" and "snobbish" because they attended a service academy. is this true or are they trying to get me to go to their school?
Sounds like their just trying to get you to go to their school. They sound a bit stuck up to me IMHO.
perspective from both worlds
Ok here are my thoughts… I attended both KP and SUNY Maritime. Personally I think I received the best of both worlds. But here are the differences IMHO
Nothing compares to a service academy. It’s just how there designed. You can’t create that type of regimental environment. So do you like that type of structure? Keep in mind the other maritime schools do have a regimental system but trust me it isn’t the same.
Academics. I preferred SUNY not because I felt it was easier but because I liked the pace, credit load and semester style of learning. KP was rushed, to me because they I attended during the quarter system. That means you have to take a ton of classes in a short period of time because you’re going to be off campus for two full quarters both 2nd and 3rd class year. They have changed this to a trimester system and I think it has really improved things for a ton of students. Still I would ask yourself what type of student are you? Can you handle the pace and the regimental environment? It’s a lot but it’s also very worth it.
KP Sea year as a cadet on a real ship you really can’t compare. This was amazing and a ton of hard work but I learned so much. When I went out to sea with the school ship from SUNY it was also pretty amazing but more of a pleasure cruise with all your friends. I had so little responsibility compared to when I was “the cadet” on board the ship. Honestly I liked both but my interest was drifting towards science so SUNY fit my needs because we had a full lab on board the ship and I got to do research.
However, if my goal was to sail after graduation I would have been really annoyed after sailing on a working vessel. Think of it this way and I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but the SUNY cruise was like playing house but instead of house you’re playing “maritime sailing”. It’s a good experience but it’s not a 100% applicable. The upper class run the cruise which is cool, they have over site by actual licensed officers. You go to great ports and get a ton of time off.
KP Sea Year you work and you get paid (poorly) but whatever. You will get to go to port but it’s not guaranteed. If you have to replace a piston in port and you’re in the engine room guess what, you’re staying on the ship. As a deck cadet you’ll have to be up for coming into port, you’ll probably help the chief mate with cargo operations which will keep you on board the ship as well and you’ll be expected on the bridge during departure. Your focus will be to learn how to do your job after graduation, not site see. Don’t get me wrong the crew will take care of you and make sure you have some downtime it just won’t be the focus. Trust me I sailed with great crews, great Captains that took it upon themselves to take the cadets with them to port towns. I would describe the difference as being very focused on YOUR education not the class as a whole.
I don’t know if MASS Maritime offers this but SUNY did where you could go out on a real ship instead of the training ship. It was competitive and you had to have high grades but other than that it was an option.
Another thing is the camaraderie. I am very close to my KP classmates and my SUNY classmates. It’s a small industry so you’ll make friends plus you’ll have very similar interests so I wouldn’t pick a school based on that fact. If you’re a social person but focused you’ll fit in at both schools.
As for the comment about not hiring from a certain school I’ve heard that 100X and trust me you’ll get a good education regardless of school. As long as you’re not a jerk at your interview you’ll get hired regardless of your alma mater. Look at it this way you’re going after an applicable job that is needed so after graduation you’ll have marketable skill set. I think KP grads get a bad rap sometimes in the industry because they graduate knowing how to walk on board a ship and assume the role of 3rd Mate or 3rd Engineer. Typically this “first” ship as a licensed officer is actually their fifth ship so they have confidence. I can see that being seen as cocky or arrogant.
One more thing and I would say this is very applicable but was only my experience so I doubt others had the same and it doesn’t mean you’ll experience this. Still here goes….when I was graduating from SUNY I applied to MSC. They offered me a job as a member of the deck department with a step up after one year to 3rd mate. My peers from KP were offered 3rd mate jobs, no trial period. From MSC's experience KP grads were well prepared. Something to think about…
Sorry this was so long hard to sum up both schools quickly it seems.
Thank you so much,
i now have a hard decision to make! I think the hardest part is going to be finishing high school!!!!
Well stated, LLP. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective.
I think that he nailed it. Now, my only experience with state schools is at Mass when I was taking some QI courses and at TAMUG for QI classes and when performing ABS surveys on the Clippers and the research vessels. I consider Mass to be a bit more regimental than Texas, but neither compare to the KP experience.
As to the sea time, my exposure to the school ships was, as stated above, with the TEXAS CLIPPER and TEXAS CLIPPER II. In the weeks before the cruise, there seemed to be a party atmosphere among the cadets as they did deck maintenance before the voyage.
As to the KP cadet shipping, I felt that it prepared me for sea far better than what a school ship would have done. Like anything, however, it is what you make of it. I would get a lot of comments onboard that I was "working a lot more than that last guy". It IS hard work, or can be, but I was young, in shape and loved it. By the time I was half way through my time on my second ship, the first engineer pretty much just gave my work list at the beginning of the day and left me alone, unless there were bigger jobs that required more hands. I don't know how they assign ships these days, but I was onboard 6 ships and certainly felt ready to sail on a license by the time I got out of school.
As far as shore time? LLP got that right, too. Then again, if you are at sea, you are onboard to work. There were days when work had to be done (no piston pulling for me, but certainly hand cleaning superheaters-typical for the Lykes Pacers-would take up a day), we would do it. For the most part, I found that if you spent a day or two working instead of heading ashore at that port, you would get time in the next one. Most times, however, we would get our nights free and that was when we wanted to go ashore anyway. More importantly, that reflected what happens in the real world. Even to this day, I travel quite a bit for my job and rarely get "tourist time" at the places I go to. To be honest, I really don't care and that was probably ingrained during my sea year.
Tough choice, but I can say that as a Kings Pointer, especially when you may want to come ashore, it carries quite a bit of weight when looking for work. Just the other day, I was meeting a client that I hadn't met before and it certainly made an impression. For me, however, the best part of KP was the cost. If you can get accepted, it would certainly be tough to turn down an appointment.
An appointment is a very difficult thing to give up and an Academy education i something that a small percent of graduates have; however the bottom line is you need to go where you will be the happiest.
My DS was accepted into SUNY, Mass and KP he is now at sea and is very pleased that he chose KP.
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