The Stars and Stripes Forever
10-Year Member
Feb 1, 2009
Hi there. So...I was accepted to both the NASS and USMA SLS, but my interest has always been in the army so I jumped at the chance and am now registered to go to the second session for the USMA SLS. A little problem came up, however. The second session begins June 6th and ends June 12th. Big deal right? Big deal for me...on June 13th, I am registered to take the ACT, which is very important for me to do well on. My parents have started to discourage me from attending (they are willing to drop the 325.00 plus ticket price) because they believe I will be too unfocused and too tired to do well, since I arrive the day before the test and have no chance to rest. They also think that I will be losing the week before the test to study. My question: which of NASS or USMA SLS is more physically strenuous? Will I really be too tired to do well on the test?

I would also like to know, from anyone who knows for sure, how much free time each seminar offers at the end of the day. I know its pretty wild, but I am actually considering just going to USMA SLS and taking my ACT stuff with me to study the week before I come home. Is this feasible? Will I have enough free time at the end of the day? Is West Point flexible about the daily schedule or is it packed?

Lastly, I was wondering about how NASS sizes up with the army or air force. I am also interested in aerospace engineering and wanted to know if USNA really does offer aerospace degrees. Would USNA be a viable alternative to study aerospace at USAFA in the event that I am not accepted to USAFA?

Thank you to those who read it all. I know I asked like three questions all jumbled up back there, and I appreciate it.

Thank you!
Start studying now. There are online study sessions you can pay for (chepa) and books at the bookstore. My son just did the online class and he did just fine on the test. Don't miss the opportunity. You won't have much time study there.
I would not recommend going taking the ACT the day after coming home. When I was there, I hardly got any sleep due to spirit missions and defending myself against other company's spirit missions. Keep in mind, there are other ACT dates that you can sign up for throughout the year. One thing I learned from taking SAT/ACT preperation classes is that you never study 2-3 nights before the actual test. You should be studying months in advance. If I were you, I would jump on every opportunity that is offered.... so go to NASS/SLS and take the ACT at another time.
As a parent here is my opionion: The opportunity to be accepted and attend any of the SA summer seminars puts you in rare company. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The main purpose is to expose you to the SA lifestyle and for you to detirmine if it is what you really want. ACT or SAT tests can be retaken if you do not like the results. The SA's take the best score from mutiple attempts so there is no downside to retake a test several times.

I highly reccommend you talk to your parents and prioritize what is most important to you. As far as performing well on a tests with little rest: get used to it, as you will have no sympathy from your future fellow plebes or cadets.

As to your other questions I leave those to someone that has experice with both SA's.
I can answer you at least about the aerospace engineering degree. USNA does in fact offer it, I'm majoring in it right now.
My personal advice is to just go.

Here's a little story:

I took the ACT, I did ok. I didn't like my score.
I took it again, but the night before I went to a function where I didn't get
home till like 3 in the morning. I woke up 3 hours later got to the test site.
I took the test on 3 hrs of sleep, no studying EVER (LOL) and scored significantly higher. It's totally doable.
Aero at USNA

...I am also interested in aerospace engineering and wanted to know if USNA really does offer aerospace degrees. Would USNA be a viable alternative to study aerospace at USAFA in the event that I am not accepted to USAFA?...

USNA has one of the top ten undergraduate Aerospace Egineering programs in the country. NYCUSNA2012 is a great resource to ask about the program.

There are two tracks, Astro and Aero. My daughter ('07) majored in aerospace eng in the aeronautical engineering track. It was tough, but she enjoyed the (hard) work. She is now in the Helo Pilot pipeline.

As for your ACT dilemma; Go to SLS, NASS and live with your ACT scores. The SSs are superb opportunities, which only happen for you once. You can always retake the ACT and the academies will look at only your best.
Here's a public link to the USNA aerospace engineering department:

Be sure to click on the "photos" link. Among other things, there are pictures of some of the Mids who worked on the small satellite program. A Midshipman-designed and built satellite is in Earth orbit, right now!
I know a few kids that did well on the ACT after doing USNA SS. It is very strenuous especcially on the last day. I slept the day after I was done, but I was good to go the next day. Plus, it will be like a test for Academy life. I am pullin two a day crew practices with classes in between at USNA. It can be done bud, just dont think about it.
The ACT pulls on already learned knowledge, take lots of practice tests now, you can always retake if you do not like the results. If you miss the SLP you have no chance to redo and may always regret missing it. Also if you hate it you may decide that a SA is not for you. That is my parental input